Wednesday, December 6, 2006

I am such a slacker...


A big wet kiss on the mouth (or substitute prize of comparable value) to the first person (besides Bill) who can name this song.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

I care very little for politics.

Yesterday Austin and I went to UBA (Union Baptist Association) headquarters for a dialogue on the Emerging Church. It was reasonably well-attended by some key leaders in the Houston area, as well as some prominent and influential Emerging Church personalities. Doug Pagitt, Chris Seay, and Debbie Jones (wife of Andrew "Tallskinnykiwi" Jones) were in attendace, as well as a group of guys from a ministry in Germany called Kubik. All in all, I'd say there were about 30 people there.

The boys from Kubik are evidently masters of audiovisual technology, and showed us a short flash presentation they had put together, which included a series of question that they and the folks involved in their ministry are asking. Questions such as (I'm paraphrasing here), "If God is inclusive, why are we so exclusive?", "Why do we feel like we can't be honest about our failures?", "Why are we so inward-focused?", and some others that were so profound that they have escaped my memory. We then spent the next 10 minutes in small groups of 5 or 6 reflecting on our impressions of those questions, and which ones resonated with us the most.

Next, we spent about an hour in a circle, just questioning and answering. A couple of questions that came up:

"Where are all the women in this movement?"

"Is the Emerging Church really just a phenomenon among affluent white people, or is it crossing racial and cultural lines as well?"

Ken Shuman, the local guy who kind of put this gathering together, asked
"What does an Emerging Church look like?"
Which, of course, is the question you just CAN'T ask. Not because we don't want to answer it, but because it can't be answered, which is kind of the whole point. Churches will reflect the communities and relationships that they are generated out of, and not some predetermined formula. "Emerging" is not a style, or a model. The sooner people figure out that "Emerging Church" does not mean candles, soft music, gotees, Apple computers, and flash videos, and that you cannot just drop these things into your old service and make it postmodern, the sooner they will get their arms around what "emerging" really means.

Out of this conversation came a remark by Doug Pagitt that the Emerging Church is not merely a question of ecclesiology, but a question of theology, which prompted me to ask,
"Theologically, then - is there anything that is 'off the table', not open for discussion?"
It's a question that Tony Jones had posed at the Late Night Theology Discussion at NYWC.
One of the responses to this question came from a guy who talked like he was really important, but I have no idea who he is. He said, "If you're asking if there's anything theologically that is off the table, then I would say - the table. If you're trying to develop some kind of 'Emergent Orthodoxy', then I'm not interested."

Brilliant. For more questions like this, check out this blog post by Tony Jones.

After this discussion was some more time just to talk and network a little bit. I had a minute or two to talk to Doug Pagitt, who made a remark in our private conversation that didn't go over very well with Austin. Doug said, basically, that American Christianity, which he would call "Augustinian Christianity", in the form of Catholicism and Anglicanism had failed. I understood this to mean that they had ultimately failed in the end, and are failing today - not that they had been a failure all along.

I then posed the question I wish I could have asked 2 years ago.
"What's a guy to do when the language and questions of the emerging church are capturing his heart, and interest, but the church where he serves, that he loves dearly and is invested in keeps butting up against those things? Can he stay there, and be a change agent? Or does he have to leave and start something new?"

Doug said that that guy could stay in his current position as a change agent as long as he relinquished his salary. If he wants to continue to get paid by that church, he cannot stay there and try to push an agenda that is contrary to the vision and values of the existing church. "Pirates" is the exact word he used for them. The fact is that most guys who ask that question, when they get another job, don't give a rip about the church they were in. So if you really feel like you need to be a change agent for the church you're in - you gotta give up your salary, and you have to stay just as committed as if you were still receiving it... which I would guess is not all that likely.

Also, I asked the guys from Kubik if they had a website. One of them said - "Don't bother, it's all German." The other said, "We did have one, but we took it down because we were getting overrun with a bunch of Christians."

In other news - I've added a wedding countdown to the sidebar over there. I will now begin accepting your congratulations. And your gifts.
The couple is registered at Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Amazon.com

Saturday, October 7, 2006

I must admit...

... I had never listened to the David Crowder Band. I pretended to. I mean, I knew some of Crowder's songs, because, let's face it, every church and youth group in the country is singing them. To be perfectly honest, I can't stand "praise and worship" music, except in the context of an actual worship service. I can't imagine buying a cd of that kind of music, and I certainly can't see myself popping it into the CD player while I drive, or study, or clean the house.

This is the point where you're thinking, "What line of work are you in, again?"
Yeah, I know.

Today was the first full day of the National Youth Worker Convention in Austin, TX. There were 2 General Sessions today, and the David Crowder Band led worship both times. I was blown away. I think the David Crowder Band might be my new favorite. Not only is Crowder hilarious (he sounds nothing like I would have imagined. And what's up with that drawl - is that real?), he was totally cracking jokes during the worship set, and it wasn't a distraction because the music and lyrics were strong enough to speak for themselves. It wasn't like "praise and worship" music, at all. It was rock opera, heavy metal, bluegrass, key-tar, turntable, electric violin, screaming and whistling. Amazing. This may call for some sort of intervention. Somebody stop me before I spend 100 bucks on all their CD's.

On another note, I met the editor of HM Magazine (as seen in my left hand column links!), formerly known as Heaven's Metal, a magazine I have been reading since I was but a wee lad. They have a booth here. I am such a geek.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Concerning MySpace

Articles at churchmarketingsucks.com and CNNMoney.com are citing some fascinating statistics about the users of MySpace. According to comScore,
Some 87% of users today are 18 or older; 52% are 35 or older...
These numbers do not appear to just be taken from the ages given when people register, either, but independent offline research by the company.

If this is true, it better not get out. Nothing will make MySpace less cool than finding out it's populated by oldies. Especially those of us who claim to secretly hate it, but nevertheless have elaborate pimped out profiles, even though we are "just trying it out" (I'm looking at you, J.T.'s friend list).

Does anybody buy these statistics?

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Sooo....

... I got engaged today. To Abby.
I know - I'm just as surprised as you are.

Edited to add:
Check out her take here.
Also,
"J.T.! I knew you were likely to take a wife!" - Shane Mullin

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Prodigy



Her name's Maddie. She's like 12 years old, and 4 foot 8.
And yes, she drums for my youth group.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

ICE COLD!



What's cooler than being cool? This cover song.
(Mat Weddle of the band Obadiah Parker)

Monday, September 18, 2006

West-Coast Wing

I found just what I've been looking for to fill the West Wing-shaped hole in my heart.

Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip

Yes, despite its long, awkward title, and characters based so obviously on its creators - I have decided, after only one episode, to marry myself to this show for life.

Its life, not mine.

Already, one of the chief complaints about the show is that it's too good to be true, and destined for cancellation. Either a key player is going to leave, or the network will crumble under the weight of a dozen most assuredly high salaries. Not to mention the fact that Aaron Sorkin - the genius writer that makes this show so tasty - isn't exactly known for turning scripts in on time.

I wouldn't be a supernerd if I hadn't already watched it again on the DVR, and looked at all the online feedback I could find, now would I? Stay tuned for the funniest thing I've heard about this show so far.

The drama in the show stems from Judd Hirsch's character, the director of an SNL-type show, who has had it with television in general, and interrupts the live broadcast of the show to go on a tirade about how lame, debased, and neutered television has become. The obvious similarities to the film Network are acknowleged, and even riffed on a little bit. Long story short - Hirsch's character is mad as hell, and he's not gonna take it anymore. He says to the camera that your remote control is like a crack pipe, and demands that everyone watching change the channel, or just plain turn their television off.

It's in dealing with the fallout from this that the show gets going. Network executives freak out, fire Judd Hirsch, and start talking about the aftermath. Lawsuits, sponsors, standards and practices, etc. They are worried about all the people that will be upset with what Hirsch's character said. Finally, Amanda Peet's character laughs at them all, and suggests that what they should really be concerned about is how true his words actually were. That's what the real story would be.

What I think is hilarious is that it is now 12:00 a.m. Central time - only 2 hours since the end of the actual show - and already Christians are complaining that the show is anti-them. They are complaining that one character's remarks about Pat Robertson and The 700 Club were offensive, and that Sarah Paulson's character (a Christian, incidentally) is misrepresentative of Joe Disciple. Typical, they say, of Hollywood.

Could life imitate art any more clearly? As Christians, what we ought to be worried about is not that Hollywood is saying negative things about us. What we ought to be most worried about is the fact that what they are saying is so sadly true.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Bootleg...

It really is quite amazing (and frightening at the same time) what you can find on eBay if you just look hard enough. I just KNEW that there was one of these out there somewhere. Of course, those were the days before MP3's. Bonus tracks include Gothic Mad Libs, a poem by Melchizidek, the Plague Giver, and one song by lesser artists, No Girls Allowed.

And yes- I've checked iTunes. No way NOSFERATU-tu will ever be sold there. Mainly because I'll never sell my share of the rights. No way. Forget it.

Fortunately - I have the only known VIDEO of this concert in existence, and I'm pretty sure there's part of an episode of Seinfeld over some of it.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

God is too big for my box...

Crisis of faith? Surely not.

Big youth event tomorrow night. Bring 'em in with lots of fun stuff, food, and the opportunity to win big expensive prizes - and while you have 'em, throw some Jesus at 'em. See what sticks. I know - it's the seedy underbelly of youth ministry. The bait and switch.

Somehow I got elected to give "the talk".

So now it's the night before, and I'm not sure that I should do it....
can do it. What I mean is, I don't think I can be spiritually and intellectually honest with myself and with God - and say the things that people usually say in these kind of talks.

I'm not really interested in convincing people to attend a church.

I'm not really interested in getting people to subscribe to a particular religion.

I'm not really interested in getting people to give their intellectual assent to a set of beliefs, or a well-formed spiritual argument.

I don't think I want to call people to make a decision to ask Jesus "into their heart" to become their "personal lord and savior".

Something in me knows that the point of life is bigger than that - that God is too big for that box. That God is bigger than morality, bigger than church, bigger than Christianity, and certainly bigger than the other religions. Something in me understands that, fundamentally, God is reality. God is the over-arching fabric and construction of the universe. God is truth. God is love. God is one. God is the way things
should be, were, and will be again. God is not a Christian - God is God. Christians do not own God. We don't even share Him with the other religions. So how can we presume to give him away?

I'm rambling on here, but I kind of feel like giving people an "invitation to receive Christ" would be a shallow, mediocre verson of what I should be doing. Kind of like a sales pitch, and my job, or my reputation, or our youth ministry depends on
how many people I can close the deal with tomorrow night. So the pitch itself has to be great (which pretty much goes against everything I believe about the way people are "saved", and God's role in the process)

But how do you invite people into a relationship with
the way things should be? Into a relationship with reality? How do you invite people into a relationship with the most unimaginably huge thing in all of existence, by getting them involved with a little bitty thing like church. How can I boil God down to a little formula, and a 15 minute talk, when it's taken thousands of years, and volume upon volume to get us to what we know about him today - which is still very little.

I guess I could try and hand this thing off to somebody who gives these church talks all the time - but my conscience would still hurt me because I bet they would probably say all the things I believe it would be dishonest of me to say.

I guess what it boils down to is this:
I know what I should say - and would love to say - and what I believe God is longing for people to hear.
And I know what a good youth minister at a local church is
supposed to say.
And they seem so far apart.
And that saddens me very much, because I think that God is too big for my box.

Can anybody hear me?
Does anybody have a clue what the heck I'm talking about?
Bueller . . . . . Bueller . . . . .

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

On Crack...

... Daddy, that is. Crack Daddy. We went to ETBU together. Actually, they used to call him Crackbaby, for obvious reasons. But his knack for luring beautiful women, and the fact that he's now married and the father to several delightful (I'm sure) children, led to my referring to him as Crack Daddy. Anyway, Crack always had a knack for getting songs stuck in my head. Every day in the cafeteria he would be singing some off-the-wall tune that inevitably haunt me for the rest of the day. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.

Good Morning, Starshine
comes to mind.

Since I have a gift for remembering lyrics, I am always getting crap stuck in my head.

Not long ago, Abby recounted a story to me that I had forgotten.
Back when we were in college, we were discussing this very predicament. Having a song stuck in your head, I mean. She says I told her I thought that having a song stuck in your head was one of the ways God speaks to us when he wants to tell us, or remind us of, something.

"Well, what's he telling you today?" she asked.

"Don't Fear The Reaper" I said.

"Good word." she replied.

So true.
Anyways - I told you that story to tell you this:
Evidently, today's song/word from God is:

"Might as well jump. Go ahead and ju-ump."

Also a good word.

Shalom.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Wikiality

I love the ridiculous power of media. I also love the ridiculosity and truthiness of Stephen Colbert. The Colbert Report just might be my new favorite show. Since I was actually watching during this bit - I thought it was hilarious that relevantmagazine.com had this as one of their "slices" today:
After a segment on his show poking fun at the user-updated online reference database Wikipedia, Stephen Colbert got blocked from the site. On the air, the satirical talk show host logged into the site and changed random facts within articles and then challenged his viewers to do the same. Chaos ensued, and it all ended with Colbert getting banned ...8/3/06 | 10:54 AM
Currently Listening
Mockingbird
By Derek Webb
Track #2 A New Law

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

"Our Church Is Smaller!"

I LOVE Relevant Magazine. Who cares about CNN or FOXnews - I get my current events from the "slices" at relevantmagazine.com. I also love the way they seem to completely agree with me theologically and culturally. Way to go, Relevant!

I've posted a couple of their articles here before that deal with the "small church" theology. In conversations I have gone on and on about "small church", often pointing to the way the church in Communist China is thriving, not in spite of - but because of - the persecution. Today, Relevant posted an article by R.C. Bachmann called Our Church Is Smaller! on their front page, and it blew me away. I write this post to recommend it to you. The cool thing about Relevant's articles is that they are barely a page long - so check it out.

Apparently, the Chinese government has actually gone so far as to authorize two choices for Christians - The Roman Catholic Church (for Catholics) and the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (for Protestants). It was even more interesting to hear that:

Not one of the people they encountered said they belonged to either of the authorized churches. Instead, nearly everyone answered that they were members of “house churches.”

“Aren’t house churches illegal?” my friend asked.

“Of course they are,” answered one Chinese Christian. “But the government leaves house churches alone as long as each one remains small. Apparently they do not think small churches are a threat.”
Later - as they are discussing what a typical Lord's Day looks like, he mentions:
“Our church is about 20 people. We tithe 10 percent of our income, and from that money we can rent an apartment that is used just for church. Two of the brothers get to the apartment early Sunday morning and begin too prepare a meal for the others.”

"Yeah, our church serves donuts and coffee, too,” my friend offered.

The Chinese brother smiled: “Well, this meal they prepare will be the biggest meal of the day. While they are cooking, brothers and sisters begin to show up one or two at a time. We all come at different times so as to avoid attracting attention.”
Their meeting lasts the entire day, and they leave just the same way they arrive - in groups of one or two - so as not to attract attention.

For all my going on about house-churches, and pointing toward the Chinese - it may be that what they have there can't be reproduced in America. Perhaps because of the hundreds of years of institutional religion, or because of the lack of persecution. But it sure does feel like home to me.

Currently Listening
She Must and Shall Go Free
By Derek Webb
Track #10 - The Church

Friday, July 28, 2006

For those who might miss it...

Who'da thunk it?



You scored as Batman, the Dark Knight. As the Dark Knight of Gotham, Batman is a vigilante who deals out his own brand of justice to the criminals and corrupt of the city. He follows his own code and is often misunderstood. He has few friends or allies, but finds comfort in his cause.

Batman, the Dark Knight


92%

Maximus


75%

William Wallace


71%

Neo, the "One"


71%

Captain Jack Sparrow


67%

James Bond, Agent 007


67%

El Zorro


63%

Indiana Jones


58%

The Amazing Spider-Man


58%

Lara Croft


54%

The Terminator


50%

Saturday, June 24, 2006

T.H.H.H.A.A.


Word - holdin' it down in H-town. Sho 'nuff reppin' for the 281. Keepin it crunk in 2006 fo' da Lone Star State. Tonight was the 2006 Texas Holy Hip Hop Acheivement Awards, and yours truly, MC B0y1der, was in attendance. Artists from all over the U.S. walked the red carpet, performed, presented and accepted awards for Christian Hip-Hop. The event was held - I kid you not - at Copperfield Church, the church where I work. Another shining example that I have the greatest job ever, and that my church is willing to partner with, and open its doors to anyone who is reaching the community. You just wish you could have been there. No, seriously - I'm not kidding. It was quite a spectacle. Very, very surreal. My lead pastor, who we're now calling L-Dub Holy Ghost (and who is also whiter than an albino snowflake) presented an award alongside our perpetually hip worship pastor Ol' Dirty Austin Ryan.

Artists such as SoulFruit (who took home 4 awards), Educator, Govenor (not kidding), Nahledge, Tha Gim, Pettidee, Bigg Moose, Prblm Chyld, and DKUN FROST were all represented. Not to mention DJ Holy Ghost, DJ Millhouse, and DJ Stibs. The Atomic Dog, George Clinton of the Parliament Funkadelic, was supposed to be in the house as a presenter (rumor has it he's in Houston doing some community service), but I never saw the guy, and believe me - I looked (camera in hand). Two-time Boxing World Champion Reggie Johnson was on hand, and so was Big Mike - formerly of the Geto Boys (you remember them, right? My Mind Is Playin Tricks On Me?) - who delighted the crowd with a special performance.

The whole event was founded, put together, and made possible by the CEO of Much Luvv Records - Bobby Herring, A.K.A. Tre9 (pictured above). "Tre-nizzle", as we affectionately refer to him, is a great guy who I know because he actually goes to my church, and has been in attendance for several of our youth events. He even performed in Sunday School a few weeks back. I'm tellin' ya... crazy, our church is.

The after party for the event is currently being held in my youth room at the church. Here's hoping we can sort the place out before our regularly scheduled Sunday morning activities tomorrow.

Check out the site for the T.H.H.H.A.A. here.
I submit that you will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

My birthday... your one-week warning...

I got this year's first birthday present this past weekend. Abby got me this shirt with the guitar dudes on it - because I'm so metal. That's right - 100% METAL. If you can't read it - the first dude's guitar is saying "Shug Shug Shugga Shugga Shug", and the second dude's guitar is saying "Weedleha Weedleha Weedleha Weedleha Weedlehaweeeeee!" It's actually the perfect shirt. Just in case you've never seen the perfect shirt. Now you have. My second birthday present came from Mark just yesterday. It was a killer Petra Mixtape - okay, it was a CD - with a bonus track of us doing killer renditions of Every Rose Has Its Thorn and I Remember You. It made me weep like a girl. Good times, man. Just another example of how metal I am. METAL.

Anyways - my 29th birthday. June 19, 2006. 7 days. Consider yourself warned.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Rock is dead...

... long live Paper and Scissors!!
No, seriously.
The USA RPS League Championships - on A&E in about 2 minutes.
I'm giddy.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Good Friday

Went to the Service of Darkness tonight at Church. I love these services, and the way they force us to come face to face with the ugliness of Good Friday, so that Easter morning is that much more beautiful. As much as we would like, we cannot escape the sheer brutality of what happened that day. We cannot have Sunday's resurrection without Friday's crucifixion.

After the service I stuck around to walk through the Stations Of The Cross. It was incredibly moving. It reminded me of walking a Labyrinth. 7 artists in our church supplied 2 works of art each, to help illustrate the stations. There was a booklet with a picture of each piece, relevant verses of scripture, an explanation and a prayer for each station. The booklet also included descriptions by each artist of what inspired and motivated them to create each piece, and what they were thinking as they did, which I found most interesting of all. I was amazed at the level of talent within our congregation. I also really love the fact that my church places such a high emphasis on art in worship. Several stations offered opportunities for interaction. Station 2, when the cross is laid upon him had an actual cross for picking up, and feeling the weight. The stations where Christ fell (3,7 and 9) all had stones for you to kneel on, so you could feel the sensation of cobblestone or gravel on your knees. Station 8, where Christ meets the women of Jerusalem, and tells them not to weep, had tiny cups of salty water so you could taste their tears. Station 11, the Crucifixion, had a hammer, huge nails, and a piece of wood for you to nail into. I'm so proud of my church for offering an opportunity like this for the community. I think it would be great if we could leave them up all year long, but unfortunately we just don't have the room.

Tonight's experience made me wish I were more creative. I'm far too lazy. It also brought to mind something that's particularly appropriate for today, which we all might get a kick out of. I haven't read this in forever, but I thought i could include it here, for posterity.

The Gate
Inside the stony gateway awaits the anxious hoard.
They nervously anticipate the coming of the Lord.
Through the ancient doorway rides the only son of God,
To traverse the cobble roadway holy feet have yet to trod.
"Hosanna! Blessed is the king!" the master hears them say,
Bearing coats and branches that they lay down in His way.
He cries for them, and knows deep down inside for Him, their hate.
An ass's colt His mount as Jesus enters through the gate.

Now they wait, outside the gate, an angry mob this time,
To see the man condemned to die, though guilty of no crime.
A heavy cross upon His back, and beaten half to death,
He struggles up the muddy hill, gasping for a breath.
Though His burden's heavy, from the maddening crowd He hears
Streams of curses aimed at Him, blaspheming in His ears.
He knows His death is imminent, Golgotha will not wait.
In spite of this, He loved me still, while stumbling out the gate.

Hanging there upon a tree, His soul vacates it's shell,
Through the murky depths descends the catacombs of Hell.
Bound in chains the souls of those who died before the cross.
His holy ones will be redeemed, they shall not suffer loss.
Forgiving sin, the sacrifice, He died all souls to save.
Three days and nights His body lay, lifeless, in the grave.
He breaks the bonds and steals the keys to seal the tempter's fate.
Hell cannot prevail against this rock who stormed the gate.

A stranger to this world, I am - a pilgrim in this place.
My path is straight and narrow made because of Jesus' grace.
Atoned by substitution - Praise the Father! Praise the Son!
Praise the Holy Spirit - for it's nothing I have done.
My righteousness as filthy rags, I scarce can take it in.
Grace, like a bloody blanket, warms my heart and hides my sin.
Lord, should I falter and forget thy goodness, do not wait,
To take my hand and lead me to my home beyond the gate.

- Jason Thomas, 1991 (age 14)

How embarrassing.

BONUS: a prize for anybody who can tell me what that picture is from. I'll be your best friend, too.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Interpret THIS...

So, last night I had this dream. I dreamt I was in some kind of travelling theater company or something, and we had this play we were going around doing at different places. Next stop: Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan. Rob Bell's church. Naturally, the dream-me was super pumped up at the thought of being at the real-(dream)-life Mars Hill, and hearing Rob speak in person again. For whatever stupid dreamy reason, we arrived after their two morning services had already finished, and just in time for their last service of the weekend, on Sunday night, and would therefore not be hearing Rob after all - but would instead be the main event ourselves. I wandered around the building amidst the crowd of people, hoping to meet the man himself, when all of a sudden, here comes Rob Bell clad in a leather jacket and Ray-Ban shades, down the aisle toward the back of the room. He brushes right by me as I say, "It's really cool to meet you in pers- oh.. .nevermind then...".

My thirst for celebrity thoroughly quenched, I turn to see my fellow players coming toward me, asking where I've been, and pushing me toward the exit doors. Color me startled when I bump into someone on the way out, only to turn around and see something I never thought I would. My own grandfather, W.H. Rallinson Jr. (in extremely poor health of late), a man who hasn't darkened the doors of a church in decades, is standing there. Turns out he'd been commuting to West Michigan from Minden, Louisiana every weekend for years and years, and hadn't bothered to mention it to any of us. Looks like it took a church like Mars Hill to bring that man back around to God's side. I guess if there's any church that could do it - that's the one. He smiles a big smile, and we share a moment there because it's been a while since we've been together. Too long, we say.

Dumbstruck, I'm in even more trouble now because the curtain is about to go up, and I still don't know if we're doing Twelfth Night, or Twelve Angry Men, or what. End of dream.

Beats me what the heck it means. As I mentioned, my grandfather has been in very poor health lately, and I have not been for a visit in quite some time, what with the new job, new city, and all. There may be a bit of fear on my part that something unfortunate will happen to him before I have a chance to see him again - which is odd, because although I love him dearly, I've never really been sentimental about him. There was a sense when I woke up, not of joy because he was in church again after all this time, but of dread, because maybe his being at church meant that his time had finally come, somehow. Maybe on some level I feel guilty for not having seen him in so long (I missed his birthday again this year), and this is just my mind's way of expressing it. Or maybe, like Sigmund said, "A cigar is just a cigar."

Monday, April 3, 2006

Fair warning...

This Wednesday morning at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 a.m. in the morning - the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06. This won't happen again until the year 3006.

So... I guess... make a wish. Or kiss somebody. Or take a picture. Or all of the above in any combination. Or - OR... you could just, you know... sleep.

In other news, you'll never guess what I did last night. Jr. high guy and I chose 10 names out of a hat, and invited those kids over to his house to watch Wrestlemania 22 on Pay-Per-View. Seriously? Wrestlemania? His idea. That's exactly the kind of event I would talk myself right out of. I guess it just figures that it was the most fun I've had at a youth event in a LONG time.

Saturday, April 1, 2006

Number one with a bullet-point

It's J.T.'s 100th post extravaganza!!
In celebration of my hundredth post, may I present to you - bullet-points.

- It's halftime of the LSU/UCLA game, and things are not looking good for the Fightin' Tigers. That's okay, though - because our boys are no strangers to a point deficit - not for years. Anyway, I have confidence that even if they don't win this one - they can erase the 15 points that currently seperate them from UCLA. If they DO win, then look out Florida. No way you beat us twice in a row. Either way - Congratulations, guys. You played a great season, and got infinitely further than I ever figured. Your games vs. Texas A&M, Duke, and Texas provided me enough thrills to last me a long time. Can't wait until next year, when I'll tune in earlier in your season. GEAUX TIGERS!

- How about this week's LOST, huh? I'm still debriefing on that one. How about that map that Locke saw when the black light came on? Full of diagrams and Latin phrases. Well, for your edification, here are a couple of enhancements and translations of said map. I think you'll find them interesting.


(Click either one to enlarge)

- Anybody see those "The More You Know" PSA's done by the cast of The Office this past Thursday? Too funny, man. I'd embed the video of them here, but I'm a little gun shy right now, for reasons I'll mention in the next bullet point. Instead, you can find them right here on the NBC site. I think my favorites are the ones about calling your own fouls, and taping yourself having sex.

- So, a couple of days ago, I was checking the Stat-Tracker on this site, and saw a couple of visits from an unexpected place. The U.S. Department of Justice. A couple of weeks ago I linked to a video from youtube.com of the West Wing promo that showed Josh and Donna finally getting their kiss on. I'm not sure if maybe there's somebody in the D.O.J. who really enjoys TWW, and was checking out a several-weeks-old promo video on youtube on taxpayer time - or if the D.O.J. is issuing a round of fines and subpoenas for people who use video that's not theirs. You think I should be worried? I can't imagine NBC being upset about it, though. After all, I'm giving them for free what they would normally have to pay for. Right? Right?

I took the video down.

- GiGi is a lady at my church who runs the Journey Bookstore. She's the coolest, really. Always makes me smile. Periodically on Thursday nights, the bookstore hosts a special lecture, or teaching on specific subjects. A while back, GiGi asked me to do one on some Jewish traditions, or something... I forget exactly. That kind of pumped me up, because we all know how I love the Jews, and their traditions. I guess I let that one slide a little bit, b/c she came back to me with a different idea, and this time - she brought dates. She asked me to do a lesson on De-bunking the Da Vinci Code. Now, I gotta be really honest here. I've never even read the Da Vinci Code. I'm not even all that sure it needs to be de-bunked. I'm not even sure what bunk is, or if the Da Vinci Code contains any. What if I read the book, and really enjoy it? That's not outside the realm of possibility. I'm actually kind of excited about the movie that's coming out. Well, GiGi is not the kind of lady that you can say no to. So, here I am - de-bunking scheduled for the end of April. I guess I'm looking forward to it.

- Brian McLaren's new book, The Secret Message Of Jesus is out. That pretty much means that all my other reading (after the Da Vinci Code is done, of course) will get put on hold. Blissfully on hold.

- By the way - if you read this, and you're on MySpace and haven't found me yet, look me up. www.myspace.com/b0y1der

Well, that's all I got. How's that for a 100th post? I could probably have covered all of those if I had bothered to post at all in the last couple of weeks.

J.T. out!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Particularly appropriate...


From The Times (UK):
"Furore in the BBC TV newsrooms, as George Bush’s Chief of Staff Andy Card resigned yesterday. “Who the hell is he?” one journalist cried. “Like Leo from The West Wing,” said another. “Got it,” said the first."

Friday, March 17, 2006

Irish Boy

Well I had a drink with a friend of mine a week ago today.
We were celebrating a month and a half too late St. Paddy's Day.
Well I bought 'im a round and he bought me a round,
and the bouncer bought us anudder.....

What's an Irish boy from a good family doing in the gutter?

Well we looked at each other and had to laugh as we lay there in our stink.
Well I woulda cried if I woulda thought, but every time I thought I'd drink.
And if his poor old gray-haired ma'd
seen us there she woulda shuddered.....

What's an Irish boy from a good family doing in the gutter?

Well my Irish friend he liked to surf but me I couldn't swim.
Well he said that he could teach me how, and I said I trusted him.
He swore he'd never let me drown,
he loved me like a brudder....

What's an Irish boy from a good family doing in the gutter?

Well sure enough I drowned and I wound up at the pearly gates,
where St. Peter said, "You're drunk as hell! Son you shoulda ate!"
So he sent me back down to get a bite,
but instead I bought anudder.....

What's an Irish boy from a good family doing in the gutter?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Mission New Orleans



Austin put together an amazing video of the work we did in New Orleans last week.
These pictures are worth more than my thousand words.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Cold

Been away for a little while. VERY BUSY. Hope to post very soon about last week's trip to lend a hand to some relief efforts in New Orleans. In the meantime, the thing I am MOST IMMEDIATELY EXCITED ABOUT is tonight's West Wing, with the Josh, and the Donna, and the making out, and what have you. Click the play button and see for yourself.

Tonight begins the final six episodes of TWW. Those final six episodes will include appearances by Sam Seaborn, Ainsley Hayes, Amy Gardner, John Hoynes, and others. They will also feature the death of Leo McGarry (R.I.P. John Spencer). Home stretch. I'm pumped!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Kissing

Kissing:
A means of getting two people so close together that they can't see anything wrong with each other.

I ran across these today, and thought SOMEbody might enjoy them.

The Philosophy of Kissing

The Theology of Kissing

In other news - Sick... sick as a dog. That's what I am. I never get sick. I think my white blood cells must be having a Sabbath.

Ahavah and Shalom.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Must-See TV

Oh, my goodness.

BEST. IMMUNITY. CHALLENGE. EVER!
Classic Survivor.

Also - could anybody be hotter than Misty?
Not in J.T.-land.

**UPDATE**
WHAA!! Voted out??!!
NOOOOOO!
It appears that the love of a simple J.T. is the kiss of death.
I may never watch again.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Transatlanticism

This is Brett.
Brett was in my youth group when I first started serving at JBC in Baton Rouge. He's in college now, and is one of the coolest friends ever. When he was in High School, he played the drums for our worship band, and on the wall behind him hung an empty picture frame (I have no idea why). Every week he would write some little message on a piece of paper, and it hung there as the band played, and as I spoke. You can see it behind Mitchell in this picture:
Half the time I had no idea what they meant, or where he came up with them, but sometimes they were cool, and more than once, they ended up working into my Bible Study. I think I'm the only one that noticed that. Anyway- when I left, I stole them. Pulled them right off the wall, and put 'em in my bag as a souvenir. Here's some of the best of them.

"Transatlanticism"

"When you get what you want, but not what you need"

"I'd dig my way to China, unless I was there. Then I'd dig my way back home."

"I just want one more chance to put my arms in fragile hands."

"These are the words that take me away"

"We are who we were when"

"She's like a Paige Davis with a Monroe kiss"

"You live, you learn, then you get Luvs refrigerator"

"Join me on this lonely cloud"

"Smile like you mean it"

"Give it a name, call it a franchise"

"I've got soul, but I'm not a soldier"

"If wishes were horses, beggars woulde ride"

"They're walking to Wall Street in a straight jacket"

"real eyes
realize
real lies"

"Everything is alive
Everything is breathing
Nothing is dead
Nothing is bleeding"

"It is usually the boys who cry wolf that grow up to be the men who cry Sanctuary"

"The only fresh start we need is a change of underwear"

"If you see it then you'll understand"

"Say hello to good times"

"I'm fighting for us, my heart is a soldier"

"You know me better than I do.
It's better if you lead the way."

"The times when I feel nothing,
I wake up to your eyes."

"His love lights the way to the last day"

"Don't cut your fabric to this year's fashion"

"Home is where you make it"

"They're only chasing safety"

"Ocean breathes salty"

"Keys to doors that don't exist"

"Disguising mistakes with goodbyes"

"It's failure that hurts the most"

"The way it should and shouldn't be"

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Go brain, go!

A couple of things I'm thinking about tonight:

- Dr. Rick Davis puts the smack down on his blog, aintsobad, today. Among other things, he says,
"... we can function with the church as organic. Jesus says so. He is always talking about how the Kingdom grows in organic germs.

So, we could stop acting like the church/Kingdom grows organizationally. For every Saddleback, there are ten BoardedUps. (By the way every mega-church is about two generations away from a big, empty building. Go to England, drive by Spurgeon's old church. Empty.) Prayer, Bible teaching in understandable expressions and connections to the soil/air make a church grow organically."

WHOA! Yikes. I'm thinking you might want to check out the whole post.

- Stupid Texas. Everybody over here drives trucks. Now, I don't really care if you drive a truck - but for crying out loud, learn how to park it! Always overlapping the freakin' lines and stuff. Hey Zeke, there's only so many parking spaces under the sun - you can use one at a time per car (unless you can figure out how to use fewer). Here's what I think. If Bubba can't figure out how to put it between the lines, he loses the right to complain if, sayyyy... I dunno... his tires get slashed, or something - speaking hypothetically, of course. I know, I know... that's not love. Fine. Try this: If you want to straddle the parking line, I would LOVE for you to get hemmorhoids. How 'bout that?

- My Name Is Earl. This show is TV gold, if you ask me. An original plot device that makes sense, and serves to provide material that moves the story along every week? That's more than you can expect from most 30 minute sitcoms. Genius. Plus? Jason Lee and that super-hot chick (and no, I'm not talking about Jamie Pressly). Gold, I tells ya.

- Evidently, due to a dispute with the franchisee, all the Krispy Kremes in Houston will be shut down, and re-opened as Jumble's Dough Factory & Coffee Bar. No more KK for H-town.
In other news - I couldn't care less.

- Looks like the Texans are exercising the option on David Carr's contract. Contrary to popular will, it seems he might be around for 3 more years, making it fairly obvious who they are going to choose with their #1 draft pick.

- Reggie Bush, RB from USC - in case you were wondering.

- I think my upstairs neighbor must be an insomniac who weighs about a gazillion pounds, and is only endowed with a single leg - forcing him or her to hop their considerable girth around the apartment at all hours of the day and night.

- Dear Grey's Anatomy,
I'm glad we finally got to get together for a bit the other night. I have heard so many great things about you from people whose opinions I trust. I'm sorry for falling asleep during your third episode. Don't get me wrong - you're great, and all, but... I'm afraid you might not be for me. Oh, no, it's not because of anything you really did or didn't do. It's more of just a place that I'm kind of at right now. I mean, I know it's not what it used to be, but I've had this thing going with The West Wing for a long time, and with reruns and syndication and all, I don't want to mess that up. Things are also really good between LOST and me, right now. The truth is, I just don't have room in my life for another show. Especially one so complicated and long-running as you seem to have become. Oh -no... those are good things, just.... like I said... not for me - not right now. I'll always keep you on my external hard-drive, though. And maybe one day - after this new season of Survivor has come and gone - we can give things another try? I'd hate to give up so easily, you know? I'm not a quitter, but I know you deserve more.

Thanks,
J.T.

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Uhhmmmm.......



A couple of thoughts...

1. How the mighty have fallen.

2. Germans love him. They really, really do.

3. Is it just me - or is this guy Bruce Wayne? If it wouldn't violently rip all credibility from the character - I'd say that he's got the perfect look for Bruce Wayne, and maybe even the build for Batman. At least, he did when this video was made - whenever that was.

4. Nah, it's just me.

5. The lyrics on his version? Botched.

6. I'll admit that I actually LOVE this song....

7. ... the B.J. Thomas version.

8. Maybe we could just keep that stuff I said before about Bruce Wayne/Batman between us, huh? It'll be our little secret.

That is all.

Oh, except for this:
It's black history month - never forget. Never, ever forget.

Also - Happy G-hog day! 6 more weeks of winter? Here in H-town, I'd be surprised at just one.

Shalom.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Remind me to start using these phrases...

... they just came up in conversation today.

"Better is a worldly value."

and

"So why should I be noisy...
...if silence will bring the same result?"

The prose of everyday language is often so much better to me than anything that people write.

Selling Our Soulmate

Dilemma: Is posting an entire article considered stealing? What if I link to it? What if the article is free anyway? Will my people enjoy it? Will they ever read it any other way? Eh, here you go.


Written by Ryan Barnhart for Relevant Magazine
View the article here.

Almost every day while listening to a Christian radio station out of Dallas, I hear a commercial for an online dating service that says it can help me find my soul mate or “the one.” I had become immune to their commercials until a recent conversation with a female friend stirred my curiosity of what they are selling.

One night, Emily was going on and on about how great her boyfriend was, and then she admitted they were already discussing marriage. Another male friend of ours, who at one time had a crush on her, must have been thinking what I was and quickly asked, “How long have you two been dating?”

“About a month,” she said.

She immediately noticed our unusual reaction and added, “But when you know you’ve found the one, you just know.”

I smiled and said I was happy for her, and so did our other friend, even though I knew he was jealous and didn’t mean it.

Romance novels, magazines and movies are profitable because of this soul mate concept, but is there really one person we are destined to marry and be happy with the rest of our lives?

Lyrics from 80’s music regularly revolved around meeting that special someone that made the musician’s life complete. The music was great, and it gave us a warm fuzzy feeling to hear the hair band rockers sing about the love of their life. However, we fail to realize that if those musicians were not broke from rehab and alimony payments, they would now write new songs about how much they hate that same woman.

I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t have something in my eyes producing a few tears when I first heard Jerry Maguire say “You complete me.” I’m just as guilty as the next person in wanting to believe the possibility exists that God has hand-picked a spouse for me, and we will end up “happily ever after.” I’m also a realist, though, and I began a holy grail-type search through the two sources I trust the most: Google and the Bible.

I searched both and Google led me to 6.3 million results. I have a job and a social life, so I only selected a few hits, and it seems like everyone wants to find their soul mate and there are 6.3 million ways to do so. Ironically, most of these sites informed me they could find my soul mate for just a minimal price. I thought to myself: Shouldn’t a soul mate—if there is such a thing—be worth more than a minimal price?

My next search was to see what God says about soul mates, and unfortunately, I couldn’t find “soul mate” in the concordance of any of the three versions of the Bible I own.

I thought to myself again: Maybe someone coined the term years after the canon was closed. I started reading all the examples of marriage in the Bible, and that didn’t help much either. Besides God yanking a rib from Adam’s side and presenting him with Eve, I couldn’t find another example that could back up the modern soul mate theory.

God told Hosea to marry a prostitute, but didn’t specifically mean Gomer. The servant that found Rebekah at the well for Isaac wasn’t looking for Rebekah, he was searching for the first woman that watered his camels and agreed to leave her family. Solomon had at least 300 wives; were all of them his soul mates?

Since the Bible didn’t offer the results I have been led to believe, I started asking pastors for input and surprisingly, none of them would adhere to the theory either. One posed the question: What would we categorize widows who remarry as? Another spoke of the high divorce rate and said, “People sometimes leave relationships and marriages because relationships are hard work, and they believe ‘the one’ is still out there.”

Finally, the best advice I received came from a pastor; he said, “Mass media of our modern culture has ruined the concept of a soul mate because soul can now mean anything metaphysical and mate can be anyone.” He also said, “‘The one’ we should be looking for is Jesus, and then He’ll help us change so that we could make a marriage work with whomever.”

That’s a strange concept: Marriage with anyone would work as long as we follow God’s guidelines and commit to living that out daily. It makes sense, though, because I have seen many people fall in and out of love faster than they change their socks. If we rely upon feeling in love, then that obviously doesn’t work.

The above are the reasons I’m not buying the soul mate theory, and why I’ve never paid an internet site that knows nothing about me $49.95 to find my soul mate from a list of women that have also paid $49.95. Besides, I would rather spend the money on some good Tesla and Chicago cds that are now at garage sales and recycled music shops.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Going All The Way Back

"If we insist on going back to something in the past, perhaps we should go back to the beginning, rather than getting off conveniently at some 18th-century plateau (or 16th or even 12th)."

Larson, Osborne, The Emerging Church (1970), p83
From today's reading at Our Daily Blog
Ripped conveniently and cleanly from Andrew Jones' blog.


Just Like Heaven

show me
show me

show me how you do that trick
the one that makes me scream she said
the one that makes me laugh she said
and threw her arms around my neck
show me how you do it
and i promise you
i promise that
i'll run away with you
i'll run away with you

spinning on that dizzy edge
i kissed her face and kissed her head
and dreamed of all the different ways
i had to make her glow
why are you so far away? she said
why won't you ever know
that I'm in love with you
that I'm in love with you

you
soft and only
you
lost and lonely
you
strange as angels
dancing in the deepest oceans
twisting in the water
you're just like a dream...

daylight licked me into shape
i must have been asleep for days
and moving lips to breathe her name
i opened up my eyes
and found myself alone
alone
alone above a raging sea
that stole the only girl I loved
and drowned her deep inside of me

you
soft and only
you
lost and lonely

you
just like heaven

- the cure

Friday, January 27, 2006

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Acute Bibliomania

Pity The Nation: Lebanon At War by Robert Fisk

The Brothers Karamazov
by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Castle
by Franz Kafka

How To Be Good by Nick Hornby

Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, And Beauty On The Open Road by Donald Miller

A Generous Orthodoxy by Brian McLaren

A New Kind Of Christian
by Brian McLaren

Revolution by George Barna

Present Future Six Tough Questions For The Church by Reggie McNeal

A Short History Of Nearly Everything: Special Illustrated Edition
by Bill Bryson

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Batman: The Ultimate Evil by Andrew Vachss

The Importance Of Being Foolish by Brennan Manning

To Own A Dragon: Reflections Of Growing Up Without A Father by Donald Miller and John MacMurray

Girl Meets God: A Memoir by Lauren F. Winner


This is my queue. The list of books that I am either currently engrossed in, or have plans to be engrossed in, as soon as I knock one of the others off the list. How did it ever get this far? How can one man continue to buy books, knowing he cannot read them for quite some time? Clearly I need to triage - but that would seem to me something like choosing between your children. I do love them all so. Here's your chance to weigh in - or pile on. Prioritize for me. Or suggest something that you can't believe isn't on the list. Just let's please hold off on the "A Million Little Pieces" 's and the "What about the Bible?" 's - if you don't mind. Yes, this means YOU. Anyone?.... Anyone?....

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Warfare of Genghis Khan

Season 5, Episode 13

Josh:
So, I had this meeting with NASA this morning...

Leo: What a waste, since the moon. My generation never got the future it was promised.

Josh: What do you mean?

Leo: 35 years later, cars, air travel's exactly the same. We don't even have the Concorde anymore. Technology stopped.

Josh: The personal computer?

Leo: A more efficient delivery system for gossip and pornography. Where's my jetpack... my colonies on the moon? Just a waste...

The West Wing =
The best thing *wink*

So I got this stat-counter put on this site, not to boost my ego, but so that I can gather important information, yo. For example, I've already gotten several hits from The United Arab Emirates, Sweden, and Belgium - which tells me that, in order to best serve those people, I should probably include some content in their respective languges... or at least a convincing accent. It also tells me how people link to, or get referred to my site. Big ups to my top three referrers (after just 3 days), in order - Krysten, Shelly, and Jamie. Still, my all-time favorite referrer is The West Wing News Blog, which actually linked to one of my posts a couple of days ago. Eat your collective hearts out Jamie, Shane and Tanya!

Those of you who fell for the Crush Calculator: So did I. Didn't you TOtally get that sick, scared feeling in your stomach when you hit send, and found out that all your choices were being sent to me? That's all I really wanted. I don't freakin' care who you have a crush on. Honestly - those things don't come to my inbox. They go to another site, which sends a message to my inbox, and then I have to go there, log in with e-mail and password, and click around blahblahblahblah - it really is quite a load of bollocks. All of that to say - I'm not actually looking at your answers. It's too much trouble. So set your minds at ease. I have gotten more comments and e-mail the last couple of days from people who filled that thing out, found out I would see their answers, and then wanted to do damage control. Breathe deep - your secret is still safe. Of course... if you ever cross me... or if I need a favor... it could somehow become public knowledge that you didn't put your husband or girlfriend on there. Let's hope it never comes to that, shall we?

I'm mostly kidding about that last part.

Finally - I got ordained last night. So now I'm officially going to heaven, no matter what. It really was a beautiful thing, and I'd love to tell you all about it - but I'll save that for when the pictures/videos come back.
That's right. I said videos, sucka.
Hold your breath.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Don't click this.

The Crush Calculator!

Oh my gosh. This is either one of the best ideas, or one of the worst ideas EVER.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Hodgepodge

- Check out these sidewalk drawings by Julian Beever. CRAZY stuff. Click on the link to see more, and see how he does it.

- Our offices are NOT closed for MLK day, as they should be. So, here I am, practically alone. Tommy and I are the only members of the leadership team who bothered to show up. Makes me think I'm about 30 minutes from pretty much heading back to the house. Feeling a little bit not-awesome today, anyway.

- The West Wing = The Best Thing. Last night's episode was my favorite in a LONG time. AND, did anybody notice the credit - Written by Bradley Whitford.

- I also watched two David Blaine specials last night. I really, really want to think that he is for real, but I know better. However, I think he might be the devil. I am very proud to say, though, that thanks to the magic of DVR, I was able to rewind live television, and unravel the mystery of at least one of his tricks.

- Here's a pretty cool Benediction from my first trip over to ecclesia a few weeks back.
Nestled in the arms of God
You with jubilant desire for his love
Who are the reflection of his eye
The creation who arrest5s his breath
You are the object of his jealous passion

Weeping upon his footstool
You who yearn and hope for his presence
Who find yourselves captured in obsession
In search of a grace filled love, after adulterous rejection
You are the object of his jealous passion

Suffering for the sake of conscience
You who feel injustice boil blood and stir wisdom
Who find time to fill plates and cast vision
The worn and weary humble laden... rest.
You are the object of his jealous passion.

Within a new day abreast a new year of our Lord.
May sacred blood mark your chest and you words
In a candid love affair spilling faith from promises kept
Where you see you are the object of his jealous passion.

May you be overwhelmed with hugs and kisses
From the hearts of innocent givers
May a childlike trust overwhelm you
So you know you are the object of his jealous passion.