Saturday, May 31, 2008

2 very important notes

I added a "tag cloud" over there on the right. Most blog posts are tagged at the bottom. The cloud shows those tags that show up the most on here (well, at the moment, 2 times or more. . .). If you click on a tag, you'll see a list of all the posts containing that tag.

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Now the fun one, and why I thank God for computer nerds like Wes, our local Microsoft guru. . .

Wes has loaded an audio player on our church website, and, in addition, has just finished uploading almost every Sunday sermon I've preached since coming to Lakebay.

Go to Lakebay Community Church's website, click on the "Sermon Player" link, and the player should show up. You can listen to the sermon there, or download it as a podcast.

One warning - we're not done with the process, so at the moment the sermons are only listed by date. In the next couple weeks we'll begin adding in sermon titles and scripture texts.

Enjoy!

(Sermon player provided free of charge by the fine folks at Sermon Player.)

Death of (another) legend

Utah Phillips died last week. Singer, songwriter, folk legend, peace activist, fiddle and banjo player, voice of the homeless and downtrodden. He was right up there with Arlo Guthrie and Johnny Cash; perhaps just not quite as famous.

Friday, May 30, 2008

You don't bring me flowers anymore

I completely changed the look of this blog, and I only got one comment on it? It's like you don't even notice me. . .(pout pout)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

From the Wide World of News (and how it affects you)

What if all the bananas died off? What if our practice of creating mono-cultures, in order to maximize sales, led to the entire species of bananas being infected by a sickness that destroyed every last one of them?

It's happening.

"Bananas are dying. The foodstuff, more heavily consumed even than rice or potatoes, has its own form of cancer. It is a fungus called Panama Disease, and it turns bananas brick-red and inedible. There is no cure. They all die as it spreads, and it spreads quickly. Soon -- in five, 10 or 30 years -- the yellow creamy fruit as we know it will not exist."

If not even to learn about bananas, the story is well worth the time it takes to read. Once again, multi-national corporations are destroying our food and health in their desire to increase profit margin.

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Way back in the day (say, a few weeks ago), when the California Supreme Court awarded gays and lesbians the right to wed, a few anti-gay-marriage spokespeople jumped onto the "slippery-slope" argument; e.g., "If you allow gays to marriage, pretty soon all who oppose gay marriage will be forced to lay aside their religious beliefs." Many gay-rights activists mocked this argument, stating "gay marriage doesn't affect anybody except the couple; this is about the rights of gays, and nothing more."

At least one person is testing the waters, proving, perhaps, that the "slippery-slope" argument has some merit. A lesbian in the Bay Area is suing her doctors, who refused to give her fertility treatments because "their Christian beliefs prohibited them from furnishing the infertility treatment to a lesbian couple." The doctors in question went so far as to refer the woman to another clinic that would gladly treat her; for the plaintiff, that wasn't enough.

From the article:
"On Wednesday, [Justice] Corrigan suggested there are only two legal options for doctors with strong religious beliefs: Choose a field of practice that doesn't conflict with those beliefs or provide their services to anyone who needs them."

Personally, I find that a little chilling. Whether or not I was a supporter of gay marriage, the courts seem to be marginalizing religious belief, they appear to be placing State Law above personal religious freedom. That ought to give everybody pause, wondering just how much we want the state to interpret the way we live our lives. The slippery slope here may not be gay rights; in the end, it may turn out to be opening the door to the whims of Big Brother government dictating what we're allowed to believe and practice.

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Seattle has the 6th-best carbon footprint of 100 major U.S. Cities. But Los Angeles is 2nd on that list? And New York is 4th? Something seems screwy there.

Or maybe it's just the effect of the brush pile I've been burning.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Just Wondering

Last Monday was Memorial Day. You all knew that. Last Sunday was the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. You all knew that, as well. It has become tradition in many churches to have a patriotic theme on Memorial Day Sunday, with flags and pledges and singing of anthems and the like. A friend of mine (ahem) told me of the lady in her church who called her to lead an impromptu Pledge of Allegiance directly following the offertory (which, btw, was "The Battle Hymn of the Republic").

It has me wondering, though.

Memorial Day was created for one purpose: to remember and honor those who have died in combat while defending the United States from foreign oppressors.

Wait. That's not quite right. Originally, Memorial Day was set aside to remember and honor those who died in the Civil War; i.e., those who died either in defense of the Union or in defense of the right to secede from the Union. Later on, it was expanded to honor all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

So, here's my question. How did we get from "honoring those men and women who died while defending our country" to "generally honoring America"?

(Aside: I know many who see the day as fulfilling neither of these roles; to some, it's a day to fire up the bbq, take a drunken boat ride, or fit in the first camping trip of the summer. I'm not talking about those people, or that issue, here.)

In other words, it's not enough to honor the dead, we are expected to honor the nation of the dead as well. But it seems to me the more we make the day about honoring the nation in a generic, 4th-of-July sort of way, the less we actually honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

And, if I can step on another toe or two. . .in many places (churches, especially), Memorial Day seems to have expanded to honor ALL those who have served (or are currently serving) in the military. We lift up those who are fighting now, we salute those who are in Iraq and Afghanistan, we sing the national anthem in support of our country's wars, and in support of those who fight our country's wars.

Please don't hear me denigrating any of our soldiers. I honor them, and support them, fully. They boldly serve a cause and pay a price few of us understand. I am grateful for our veterans and our current troops and the work they do.

But we have days to honor them - Veteran's Day, for one. The 4th-of-July, for another. In our church we maintain a list of soldiers and pray for them constantly. We have parents of soldiers who remind us over and over to lift our service men and women in prayer, and we do so gladly.

Yet those who have died have this one day - Memorial Day - and more and more there is a pressure to make that one day about ALL our troops, and about our nation in general. I wonder if that isn't muting our respect and honor for the dead. I wonder if, in slowly expanding its focus, we have lost the deeper meaning this day is supposed to hold. I wonder if making it more generic, we have taken away its true power?

And much of this comes back to our worship. As I take God's people into worship, I feel a comfort level honoring men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect freedoms many of us take for granted. But I'm more reticent taking the time we set aside for God and using it instead to praise the country in which God has placed us. Not that I don't love our country; I just never want to be guilty of elevating our country above the God we come to worship.

And I think God's not so concerned when we lift up our brothers and sisters who have served to the end; I'm not so sure he's all that happy when we turn the "house of prayer for all nations" into a "God bless America" rally.

Which is why I come back to the question about Memorial Day. If people's expectations are that we'll pull out the banners and bunting, that we'll sing the Star Spangled Banner and do all we can to honor America. . .they'll be disappointed. But aren't those all false expectations to begin with, considering all the day is supposed to mean?

What do you think?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sermon Response to Mark 11:27-12:12

Jesus, you have called us to be faithful stewards
of your Kingdom. You have called us to be

diligent workers in your fields. You expect

that your business will be our business, that

our work will be your work.

We confess that all too often we have let our

pride, our selfishness, our desire for comfort

and prestige cloud our efforts, we confess

that we have hurt each other and that

we have not, in fact, been your faithful disciples.

In confession we seek forgiveness,

dedicating ourselves once again to the simple

task of seeking your heart, and serving you

in love, humility, and gentleness toward all.

May our lives reflect your love and glory in

the world. You are the Stone the Builders Rejected,

and you are marvelous in our eyes. Teach us

to serve you first, foremost, and always.
Amen.

Friday, May 23, 2008

See, here's what you need to understand

I've always been very healthy. Other than breaking my wrist a couple times, I've avoided major medical treatments. Never spent the night in a hospital. Never had my tonsils out, never had my appendix out, never even had my wisdom teeth out. So this surgery thing is completely new territory that I am entering. Which means, I suppose, I'm going through a whole process of "psyching up" for it. Just getting my head around the fact that I'm the guy who might go in for surgery, and not just any surgery but a transplant, on my own precious eyeball. . .I'm just not even sure what I'm supposed to think about that. Or what I'm supposed to feel about that. When I do give it much thought, I don't like the idea much. And I don't like the feelings I have surrounding the idea. And yet, I know it's necessary, and I like the idea of what's on the other side - semi-normal vision.

Please forgive me, I'm still processing.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Short Rant for the Day

Why do publishing companies keep trying to sell us stuff through pre-consignment? You know the deal - they ship it to us "free of charge!" and we only have to preview it for 30 days, and ship it back if we don't like it. Only the bills start showing up the day after the product. . .and it's all a big hassle to preview, repackage, and mail back. Don't they know how irritating the whole spiel is? And lately, even if I tell them we're not interested, they try all the harder to make the sell. "What could be easier? It won't cost you anything!" A few weeks ago I said "I don't make those decisions," and the man (in the ever-present southern accent) said "But you're the pastor!" The tone in his voice added "what kind of loser pastor doesn't make the final decisions on everything?"

I'm getting ready to start hanging up on people, rather than listening to the whole song and dance, only to say "no" and then have to explain myself over and over again.

Suggestion to these people - just put your stuff on your website and point me there. It will save us all a lot of time and trouble and money.

There. I feel better now.

On corneas, medical technology, and decisions to make

"Do you want to talk about grafting?"

And so it all changed. We went to Seattle yesterday so I could be fitted with my new contact lens. After messing around with the eye, doing all sorts of tests and measurements, after getting the lens in and fitting as best possible, Dr. Ralph Archer asked the above question.

Up to this point, the game has been "Find the lens that works best." Apparently, we've reached the end of that road, unless I feel like living with a huge piece of plastic in my eye for the next decade.

In came Dr. Rotkiss, the head corneal surgeon, for a long talk about the possibility of a transplant. About the only good thing he could say about the current situation was "It's a testimony to your fortitude or stubbornness that you've lived with this lens so long."

So, the question we're pondering today is "Do I go ahead and have the corneal transplant?" So far, the doctor's recommendation is "yes." And I think we're moving in that direction as well, although I want to spend some time praying about it first. Somehow I thought this day was a lot further off, out in that nebulous "future" that we never actually believe is going to show up.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Confirmation Class of '08



Seeing how the other side lives

Yesterday afternoon, I had the privilege of attending the installation of the Rev. Heather James as pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church, over in Tacoma. Heather is the former youth pastor of Lakebay Community Church, and her parents are faithful members of Lakebay, and an invaluable support to my ministry there.

It was my first Presbyterian installation, so I was a little excited to experience it all. Unfortunately, I was about 15 minutes late, due to some bad directions (and the ubiquitous Sunday Driver we were stuck behind trying to get off the Key Peninsula). And so I walked in to a service already in progress. And as I walked in, I was a little surprised to see 6 young Cambodian ladies performing a traditional Cambodian dance, in full regalia, no less.

If I hadn't also seen the Rev. Jim Ptak (pastor of Grace Harbor Covenant Church) sitting near the back, I would have thought I'd walked into the wrong place. But as it turns out, Westminster hosts a vibrant Cambodian ministry, and this was their "welcome" to Heather.

So the service went on, a fairly traditional church service with hymns and readings, the charge to Heather and the congregations, and no less than three sermons along the way. I mentioned to Jim that I only had one sermon at my installation. Which points to one difference between Covenant and Presbyterian installations. Presbys invite many of the other Presby pastors in the area to come take part; Covenanters pretty much have the superintendent (or even the associate superintendent) show up and do it all. I appreciated having the "cloud of witnesses" present - the large showing of pastors gives visible proof of the unity of the larger body. On the other hand, I think I was fine with the single sermon at my own installation.

Finally, there was the laying on of hands, to which all ministers of Word and Sacrament were invited. So I made my way up, with Jim following, and we joined in the circle, two Covenanters shining the Covenant light into that Presbyterian crowd. Our little subterfuge, I felt. (Later, I told Heather if she got into trouble over Presbyterian doctrinal issues, she could blame Jim and me for "muddying the pure Reformed stream.") And then the congregation led into "How Great Thou Art," a hymn penned within the early Swedish Covenant movement. So even there, in that great Presbyterian Liturgical Moment, the Covenant Church was making itself known (even if nobody but Jim and I knew it. . .).

And then of course, the whole thing was followed up in the church basement with the traditional church meal of jello, pasta salad, cheese and meat sandwiches, and red punch. Plus a Cambodian dish or two.

All in all, it simply proved to me that we all have much more in common than we have differences. And the Rev. Heather James is in a good spot for a growing ministry, even if she has to affirm all that Reformed theology.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

It's been a week, I'll tell you what

On Monday we gathered to do a spiritual intervention in the life of a young man who is heading down a dark and dangerous path. On Tuesday we gathered to anoint and pray for a young father who is facing life-threatening cancer. On Wednesday I had lunch with a pastor whose church is being ravaged through the carnal, divisive behavior of ungodly leadership. On Thursday I found out a close family member had been hospitalized for a serious health condition. Thus morning I heard the 34-year-old son of a friend and church board member probably has cancer in his liver and pancreas.

Life hits everyone hard at times.

Lord, have mercy upon your children.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Thought for the Day

(Not necessarily pointed at the brouhaha in California, but fitting in the context of our "rights-demanding" culture. . .)

"To be able to do what one wants is only the appearance of freedom; true freedom is to will what God does."
- Hans Kung, The Church

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Speaking of market fluctuation

In 2002 we bought a house in Turlock for around $140,000. In 2006 we sold that house for about $290,000. Yesterday, I received an email from our friend and former realtor, informing us that the same house had just sold as a bank foreclosure for $150,000.

Somebody lost a lot of money on that one.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Good thoughts

Fred Clark, a blogger and newspaper-worker who I enjoy reading, recently posted some thoughts on a Catholic Confirmation service he had attended. In the post, he mentioned a theological quibble he had with the RC Church.

At which point, the comments box filled up with people accusing him of being "anti-catholic."

In a later blog, he responded to this by saying I do, of course, disagree -- respectfully but strenuously -- with Roman Catholic doctrine on several points. I couldn't very well be a Protestant or evangelical or Baptist if I didn't. Likewise, an orthodox Catholic will, unsurprisingly, disagree with me. It wouldn't occur to me to regard such disagreement as evidence of "anti-Baptist" or "anti-Protestant" chauvinism on their part. "Non-" =/= "anti-." And so it didn't occur to me either that my comments on feeling really, really non-Catholic during that confirmation homily could or would be interpreted as anti-Catholic.

There's wisdom in that paragraph, if you really get the point he's making. But what struck home for me was his next statement: I can't help but wonder if I stepped in it a bit because, coming from a tradition that accommodates and celebrates dissent, I'm accustomed to discussing such disagreements in a way that sounds hostile to those coming from a tradition that, you know, doesn't. If so, then I've probably just stepped in it again.

I had one of those "aha" moments in which I came to understand my own position again. You see, in the Evangelical Covenant Church, we, too, accommodate a diversity of opinions and theological positions. We, too, mostly discuss those disagreements with humility, respect, and love for the other. We offer freedom to those with whom we disagree. And, being in this tribe and having come to love the way it works out its life together, I tend to approach most theological conversations with grace and openness toward other ideas.

And then I wonder at the backlash from those who interpret any "other" position as heresy, who attack and fight and argue and demean in their attempt to prove themselves "right."

I was talking with Harvey earlier today about certain famous theologians and preachers who so narrowly define Christian Thought that anything not fitting into their box must be destroyed. At times I leave my Covenant Campground and discover the conversation tends to be a lot more virulent, and a lot less "open" out there. And, coming from this camp, I found myself caught off-guard.

So thanks to Fred, who reminded me that there are those who celebrate diversity of thought, and those to whom any diversity must be destroyed. Sometimes, just being reminded of the playing field helps in the playing of the game.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Death of a legend

Tucked away in the back pages of yesterday's newspaper was a short brief mentioning that Dottie Rambo, the prolific gospel singer and songwriter, was killed in a bus accident early Sunday morning.

Even if didn't know of Rambo, if you grew up in the Church you most likely knew many of her songs - We Shall Behold Him, I Go to the Rock, He Looked Beyond my Fault and Saw my Need (to the tune of O Danny Boy), If That Isn't Love, and Sheltered in the Arms of God. Her songs were recorded by artists ranging from Elvis Presley to Johnny Cash, Bill Monroe to Jerry Lee Lewis, the Oak Ridge Boys to Pat Boone and Sandi Patti. At the time of her death, she was working on her 80th album.

A Myth Shattered

Sunday's text took us through Mark's account of the young man with many possessions who was challenged by Jesus to "sell everything, give it to the poor, and follow me." This story is followed immediately by Jesus' teaching that it is "harder for the wealthy to enter heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle."

During the sermon, I mentioned as a side point that there are stories circulating about the discovery of a gate in Jerusalem known as the Eye of the Needle. According to the story, it was a low gate, and in order for camels to pass through, they had to get on their knees and crawl forward. The punch line of this story is that "getting on your knees" part. Jesus must be saying something about humbling ourselves and praying. This story is often told in Sunday School lessons and in sermons by well-meaning pastors.

I then mentioned that there is no evidence whatsoever for the truth of that story. Call it my little bit of Sunday Morning Myth Busters. As it stands, it is a popular little teaching that is unfounded in any reality, so it's time to lay it to rest.

I was gently "challenged" by some who weren't so sure that it's not true, and who wanted to know why I denied its veracity.

So, as a follow up, let me offer some sources:

"Imaginative interpreters have invented a small gate in the Jerusalem wall called the 'Needle's Eye' [in a] a misguided attempt to make something Jesus calls 'impossible' into something that might just be (barely) possible."
- Timothy J. Geddert: Believers Church Bible Commentary: Mark (pg 247)

"Interpretations that try to reduce the size of the camel or enlarge the needle's eye are suspect. There is no basis for the widely circulated tradition that the eye of the needle was the name of a gate in Jerusalem."
- Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Vol. 1, Clinton E. Arnold, Ed. (pg. 265)

"From at least the 15th century, and possibly as early as the 9th but not earlier, this story has been put forth, however, there is no evidence for such a gate. . ."
- http://www.biblicalhebrew.com/nt/camelneedle.htm

"Many improbably interpretations have arisen that attempt to soften this phrase, e.g., that 'needle' referred to a tiny gate in the Jerusalem city wall that camels could only enter with difficulty (but there is no evidence such a gate ever existed. . .)"
-The MacArthur Study Bible, notes by John MacArthur (pg 1482)

Friday, May 09, 2008

This one's for the Worship People

I've been reading (slowly) through Her Heart Can See, a biography by Edith Blumhofer of Fanny J. Crosby, the prolific hymn writer.

On pages 128-129, Blumhofer shares Six Points for Congregational Singing propagated by Lowell Mason, a contemporary of Crosby and songwriter, speaker, and publisher in his own right. These were part of a speech delivered by Mason in Boston in 1826. His six points were:

1. Church music should be simple, 'chaste,' 'correct' (meaning, to Mason, conforming to contemporary European scientific standards), and adapted to the performance abilities of congregation or choir. 'Let there be simple, easy, and solemn tunes selected for use in public worship,' he urged.

2. Care must be given to text as well as to tune. Text should be heard clearly; text and tune should 'fit' and convey the sae mood or idea. . .Text 'sung amidst unrestrained levity and folly' in singing schools did not prepare singers to assist in worship. Rather, it tended toward 'making an exhibition of musical acquirements' and 'drawing forth the applause of the people.'

3. Congregational singing must be promoted. 'Every member of a congregation ought to feel an interest in the singing,' he insisted.

4. 'Judicious accompaniment' was 'indispensable to complete success.' Good vocal music required instrumental support, especially organ accompaniment.

5. Music education for children was the cornerstone for congregational singing. 'A thorough and permanent reformation in church music. . .cannot be effected, but by a gradual process. Children must be taught music as they are taught to read. Until something of this kind is done, it is vain to expect any great and lasting improvement.'

6. Congregational singing as a corporate act is composed of individual acts of devotion to God. 'Mere musical talent' did not suffice for effective playing or singing of church music.

I'm a little impressed by how applicable most of these points are in today's church. We might quibble with the "European Scientific Standards" part, and would probably expand the "especially organ accompaniment" to include piano and guitar, but overall I think his ideas hold up well. The first two mark the cornerstones of many of the complaints against "modern worship" - either "it's too hard to sing" or "the words are trite" or "the music is too loud and I can't hear the words." #3 - I currently have the pleasure of serving in a church that values singing, in which the majority do join in with their voices. But in the past I've been in churches where many simply stand (or sit) with scowls on their faces and their lips pinched tight. #5 - there is genius here. Schools have taken away many of the music education opportunities, and any music kids pick up is computer driven or simplistic 3-chord pop music or the solo stylings of American Idol. Is there a place for the Church to become a bastion of music education, teaching the fundamentals of reading, writing, and engaging in music as an act of worship to God? What would it look like if the church took music education seriously? And #6 is true as well. I've been "led" in worship by people with amazing talent but no real heart of devotion, and while I was amazed at their technical skills, the lack of passion dampened any real hope for worship. Perhaps in an "Idol"- driven society, the Church might have a call to raise up humble worship leaders with both talent AND a heart for the Lord.

What do you all think? Would you agree with Mason? Disagree? What would you add or take away?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

It's Time to Hit the Trail

Washington now has a new official Wilderness Area - the Wild Sky Wilderness, the first federally-funded wilderness in the state since 1984.

As a youth, I spent a lot of time hiking these mountains, playing along the Skykomish river and camping beside deep mountain lakes. It's some of the most beautiful country I know.

Now the government agrees, and it will be set aside as an undeveloped playground and sanctuary for generations to come.

Kudos to the politicians for getting this one right.

Read the P-I article here.

From the Wilderness Society: "In the heart of the Skykomish Valley, the Wild Sky region serves as a critical link between the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and the National Park and wilderness lands of the North Cascades. Low-elevation old growth forests remain in the Sky Peaks, Ragged Ridge and Rapid River areas of the Wild Sky. They provide critical habitat for black bears, bald eagles, mountain goats, wolverines, cougars and spotted owls."

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Respond to Disaster

There are many ways to offer assistance to the people in Burma/Myanmar, where, according to one U.S. diplomat, the death toll could hit 100,000.

One such effort is Covenant World Relief, which has already made funds available to people on the ground beginning relief work there.

A news release about the CWR work can be found on the Covenant website.

A special Covenant World Relief fund has been established to receive donations from Covenant congregations and individuals to aid in the relief effort. Donations should be earmarked for Myanmar Relief and sent to Covenant World Relief, 5101 N. Francisco Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60625. Donations also can be made online by credit card at Myanmar Relief.

“We are working with two partners on the ground in Myanmar as we speak,” Sundholm says, “and we have two previous partners who have expressed interest in working with us to bring assistance to the people in Myanmar.”

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Question for a Tuesday Afternoon

Why is it that, for young people bent on moving out of their sheltered evangelical upbringing, the next stop on the train is so often cynicism?

We live in a world in which many people are asking many good questions about the assumptions of the past century's christendom. Many are rightfully calling the church to task for errors we have made in our past. The Rob Bells, Erwin McManus's, Brian McLarens, and Donald Millers of the world are pushing the church into some new areas it needs to address. And part of that process is opening up to places we've been wrong in the past. Perhaps we did allow the trappings of modernity and white european males to dominate the Church for too long. Perhaps we did make some mistakes in attempting to create christianized versions of all-things worldly back in the 1980s (note: this tendency is still alive and well).

But where I hear Bell and Miller and McManus and McLaren poking and prodding in healthy directions, I keep coming across angry young Christians who are into full-blown cynicism. It's like they get the critique of the emergents or the postmoderns or the (insert critiquer here), but they stop there, right at the "here's everything that's wrong with the church" part. They don't seem to take the next step of "But the Church is the Bride of Christ, so I will do all I can to make her beautiful"

When MLK jr decided enough was enough, he set out to make a difference. When the Dalai Lama decided enough was enough, he began to work for change. But istm that many young Christians, when they tire of the Bibleman Jesus junk and schlocky Christian Music, simply give up, preferring to hang out at bohemian coffee shops and complain about "the church is just so hypocritical, man. It's just too modernistic for a pomo like me."

Is there something about Christianity that breeds cynicism? Or is it just kids these days?

Saturday, May 03, 2008

I'm not winking at you

If you are long-time friend or regular reader of dan's hole in the wall, you know that I have a rare eye condition, one that requires a highly specialized contact lens that is about the size of a hubcap. Monday, that contact popped out while I was cleaning up following some yard work. It then proceeded to crawl under my foot, at which time I stepped on it, breaking it into lots of tiny pieces.

I called the corneal specialist, the only one in the state of Washington capable of dealing with
my cornea. Turns out he retired in January.

But, a new contact is on order, and the doctor is willing to see me one last time, to "hand me off" to the new specialist, I suppose. So hopefully all will be back to normal soon.

In the meantime, I'm pretty much blind in my left eye. So if it seems I'm ignoring you, or that I'm winking at you, or if I mix up a bunch of words when following my sermon notes tomorrow morning, it's probably just that I can't see anything.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Friday Random 10

It's been awhile since I've done one of these. Today is the Wide Open version. Usually I only play songs from a playlist - I have a "worship" playlist and an "office" playlist and a "rainy day" playlist and a "folk music" playlist, even a "random" playlist. But today I went with the entire list of music on this here laptop, which means there are some oddities in here. Like #6 and the bonus, both Christmas music. And #10 - not something I usually play while at work. #2 takes me back to those early Hume Lake days, back when I was a starry-eyed youth pastor still thinking I'd change the world. . .#8 - I'm wondering if you could still write a song with the words "Beat Me Daddy" in the title, and not have people thinking you're advocating abuse. #9 is a special one, since that's me playing trumpet behind the choir.

  1. Rebecca Go Home – The Lost Dogs
  2. Strangers – Joel Weldon
  3. Obsession – Delirious?
  4. Indian War Whoop – John Hartford (from the “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Soundtrack)
  5. Phos Hilaron (Hail, Gladdening Light) – Passion Worship Band
  6. The Crown of Roses – Choir of King’s College
  7. Nicaragua (Prelude and Dance) – Peter Ostroushko
  8. Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar – Glenn Miller and the American Band of the Allied Expeditionary Force
  9. Soli Deo Gloria Azusa Pacific University Choir and Orchestra
  10. Waitin’ for My Deary – Carol Richards (from the “Brigadoon” soundtrack)
Bonus Track:
The Christmas Song - Ginny Owens

Bring on the water barons

California is on the verge of declaring a drought and enforcing water rations. Georgia is still facing record water shortages.

Meantime, snow is still falling in the Cascade and Olympic mountains, rain is falling steadily across Western Washington.

Seems to me we need to take a lesson from the oil industry and start exporting our water surplus for, say, $4.00 a gallon. Maybe we could even fund a new basketball arena that way. Right now Oklahoma is doing quite well, thanks to the rise in oil prices. Perhaps we could do the same with our abundant H20 deposits. . .

Thursday, May 01, 2008

In the News

My dad was quoted in the Gig Harbor Gateway yesterday.

Phil Whitmarsh rode the school bus with Jerstad and said all the kids called him “Buddy” through their elementary and middle school years.