December 31, 2002, 2:56 pm
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Yahoooooo, Michelle and I saw The Two Towers last night. Wow, what a great job they did – amazing, really. Peter Jackson and company absolutely nailed the character of Gollum/Smeagol – I truly can’t imagine how they could have done better.

So many things going through my feeble mind about the movie right about now. I think I need to keep processing before I go spoutin’ off, though.


December 30, 2002, 3:17 pm
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December 30, 2002

YEMEN. Three of our IMB personnel were killed and another wounded on Monday, Dec. 30, when a lone gunman attacked a Baptist hospital in Jibla, Yemen. Hospital administrator Bill Koehn, purchasing agent Kathy Gariety, and physician Martha Myers were killed and pharmacist Don Caswell was injured in the early morning attack. A 35-year-old man surrendered to hospital security personnel and was taken into custody. “We are devastated by this news,” said board spokesman Larry Cox. “We are moving quickly to assist family members. We’re grateful God spared the lives of others and pray that His spirit will meet the needs of everyone touched by this crisis.” As news of the attack spread, the streets outside were filled with local residents, said Kaye Rock, another Southern Baptist worker at the hospital. “People here loved these people so much,” Rock said. The murders won’t deter Americans at the hospital from their ministry, Rock said. “We can’t let someone with a gun make us afraid to do what God wants us to do. We’re asking people to pray that these deaths will not be a senseless waste, but that God will complete all He has intended here and that He will be glorified.”

Thank you so much for being on call and instantly responsive to this need and all urgent prayer requests.

December 30, 2002, 2:45 pm
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Hoooweee, it’s been awhile since I blogged. I guess that’s o.k., with the holidays and all. The past week has been pretty quiet actually. Michelle and I had a good, fairly typical Christmas – her parents throw a big party every Christmas Eve (I’m usually late because of our Christmas Eve service at church). Lots of friends that we don’t see much throughout the year. Laughed a lot. Enjoyed hanging out. On Christmas day we went to my sister’s place for more family fun. Watching the nephews enjoy the excitement of Christmas is a hoot. My four year old nephew, Evan, is getting pretty funny to watch and listen to.

The day after Christmas, we went to see Catch Me If You Can. Pretty fun film. The rest of the weekend was just cleaning the house and hanging out being quiet. Michelle and I had some good conversations (uncomfortable at times, but good) over coffee . . . coffee brewed with the new super-deluxe Cuisinart® Grind & Brew Thermalâ„¢ 10-Cup Automatic Coffeemaker that Michelle’s folks gave us for Christmas. What will they think of next?

December 24, 2002, 3:12 pm
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Merry Christmas everyone!

December 23, 2002, 1:56 pm
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Michelle and I had a “fun” conversation the other day. It was about some of the good ministry ideas and perspectives that I’ve put into effect at the church . . . and have totally bombed. I’m not being sarcastic when I say they’re good ministry ideas and perspectives – it’s just that they weren’t right for this church. Few things that I think of or about are – it’s almost comical, really. I’m realizing more and more, though that I am really the one that is out of step. So many good hearted people that I love deeply, and I’d never want to hurt any of them, but ultimately if I stay here I will end up hurting them – it’s me who needs to go. When I do go, it will be a celebration for all of us, and not because we’re ridding ourselves of each other. It will be a sweet parting of ways enlightened by new avenues and opportunities for faith and growth for each of us.

December 23, 2002, 1:22 pm
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Michelle and I had the great pleasure of going to the Matthew’s House Christmas Connection last night. It was really cool – a great feast, meaningful worship, and a mini mural got painted which was awesome. People were encouraged to bring a gift to give to the King of Kings, and each gift that was shared was special. I had only met a few of the people before, but we felt embraced and loved in a wonderful way. A few people shared that they have been praying for us, which was really encouraging. I love being a part of the Church, and being able to unite with complete strangers almost instantly because of our citizenship in the Kingdom.

December 22, 2002, 7:39 am
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Seems like some of the postmodern deconstructionist thinking has come full circle for some people out there, and the notion of blogging is being questioned. I’ve read people challenging their own reasons for blogging, challenging others’ reasons for blogging, defending the credibility of blogging, etc. Deconstructing all this stuff is good and helps distill motives and values . . . as long as people are actually willing to be deeply honest with themselves.

I read a post a few months back from one of the hottest new bloggers on the block lamenting that his daily hit count had dropped from about 1,200 per day to only about 500 per day. Poor guy. If his motive is to get as many hits as possible, then perhaps he should consider some marketing strategies.

I read another post the other day from someone forecasting that the end may be near for his blog. I guess it bores him. Fine, I guess. Except for the fact that he has argued very effectively and consistently for the communal nature of the blogging world. If it is legitimate community, is it good to pull the plug? Perhaps he’s feeling the pressure of all the people out there that look to him daily for his new thoughts and links. I get that (not from personal experience, mind you), but when you’ve promoted blogging and defended blogging and helped to define some of the possibilities of blogging, it may be important to ask about the nature of responsibility that you now have because of it. You don’t have to be tied to it indefinitely, but try posting only once a day or every other day instead of fifteen times a day.

Let this be very clear – I’m not trying to get on a soap box, because I have a LOT of screwed up thoughts and motives myself. And if I’m as honest about motives as I am challenging others to be, then I have to admit that one of the reasons I’m taking others to task is in order to deconstruct my own inner blogger.

Do I want people to read my blog? My initial response is that I don’t really care much. O.k., so why don’t I just open up my word processor and keep a journal there? Why do I feel the need to have a public site to gush into? Because, yes, I do want others to read. I’m not looking for a daily hit count that exceeds the number of dollars I make in a month. Heck, I’d be happy with a hit count that exceeded the number of dollars it takes to buy a ticket to an NFL game. I would think I’m famous . . . and then I’d start feeling pressure and want to stop blogging. Actually, my desire for others to read is to get some help sorting out my thoughts and questions and opinions on some things. The more, the merrier. If I want more hits (and I’m not sure that I really do), then I’ll work harder to generate thoughts worth reading. If I want to start more conversations in the blogosphere, then I’ll start pushing more buttons or telling more jokes or spending more time daily posting links.

One of the primary motives for my blog is to force myself to do some thinking “out loud.” When I have random thoughts rattling around in my brain, I usually lack the discipline to articulate them in a way that leads me anywhere. This is my domain for articulation. I wish I had other outlets for this – other safe places, but God has me in a context where many of my thoughts and opinions would so offend people that it would be divisive. It’s good to learn to control my mouth . . . but I also need an outlet to say things like “We need to take the American flag out of our church’s sanctuary” and “Our church choir sucks” and “My home group is the only aspect of my present experience of church that remotely resembles real community.”

More thoughts later. Until now, please join me in my new campaign to make Spirit Famer the hot new blogger on the block. Thank you for your support.