June 29, 2004, 4:06 pm
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Our new little puppy, Maui. Posted by Hello


June 25, 2004, 7:08 am
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Oh, I guess the new political movie comes out today. I haven’t decided whether or not I’m going to see it. I have some free movie passes, so I wouldn’t even have to spend my own money for it. For the most part, I’m uncomfortable watching Michael Moore take cheap shots at people he disagrees with (I know, I know – that’s the point), but as this excellent review points out, guys like Rush Limbaugh have dominated talk radio airwaves since the first Iraq war with their cheap shots. If you care to, jump over to Metacritic, which lists the range of reviews out there – generally favorable, but mixed. Hardly the kind of acclaim that Hollywood has given the film. Kinda makes me wonder if next spring there’ll be an Oscar fight between Michael Moore and Mel Gibson.

June 23, 2004, 7:40 am
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Well, I seem to be having some issues with our digital camera, and I haven’t been able to take pictures of the pup just yet. Hopefully I’ll figure something out soon and show her to the world.

Tomorrow I’ll be going to a funeral service for the father of one of the students I used to pastor. There had been a range of ongoing health issues for several years, so his death was not shocking, but the timing came as a bit of a surprise. I’m looking forward to catching up with some of the students I got to work with, and some other friends as well. It’s hard, though, because I will also want to provide comfort to my younger friend – just graduated from high school last Thursday, and exactly one week later he’ll be sitting at his dad’s funeral. His sister, who is in college, and his 11 year old brother will also have to say goodbye.

June 19, 2004, 3:28 pm
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Our little family is growing . . .

Michelle and I brought home a little puppy today. We’ve named her Maui. I’ll post a picture soon.

June 15, 2004, 4:10 pm
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Whoa! An earthquake measuring 5.1 just hit down in Mexico. Good little jolt. No damage around here. Mexico’s building codes aren’t so great, though, so I hope things are cool down there.

June 15, 2004, 8:49 am
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Interesting conversations going on around the blogosphere over the past few days. Jordon Cooper has a couple of posts linked. Seems like a lot of attention is being given to the issue of definition. Are we “emerging”? Are we postmodern? Do we define ourselves as postmodern, but really aren’t? If we are emerging, will there come a time at which point we will have emerged?

I’ll admit to having spent a good bit of time in thought and conversation trying to figure out whether a church that I’ve visited is postmodern or not. I’ve also given thought to whether I’m trying to start emerging or postmodern churches. I’ve certainly been asked by others.

I’m guessing that in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter. It’s a natural human sort of thing to try to categorize and define. But doesn’t that usually only serve the purpose of developing some kind of power relationship? If that person or group is “xyz”, then that means they are on my team, and see things the way I do. But if they are “abc”, then that means they are on the other team and don’t see things the way I do. Since I obviously see things clearly and have everything figured out just right, then that means that the “abc” folks have missed the boat. I seek to disempower those who have it wrong so that my own highly exalted thoughts are in control.

I’ve heard it said that there are only two kinds of people in the world: those who seek to put people into categories, and those who do not. I am of the former, but I’m wondering if I shouldn’t give myself to thinking the other way for a spell.

June 10, 2004, 7:17 am
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My secret little hobby . . .

I’ve recently picked up a new habit/art form. It goes like this:

1. Find domestic cat (mine, not a neighborhood one)

2. Grab cat

3. Carry cat into guest bathroom of home, and close doors

4. Put cat down

5. Pick up electric grooming razor

6. Grab cat

7. Force cat to lay down

8. Shave cat

O.k., now before anyone calls PETA on me (by the way, my mother-in-law is a PETA member), before anyone calls the intervention hotline to see what to do about their friend in SoCal who likes cutting himself, let me just just say that a)I am not ashamed of what I do, and I may do it again . . . tonight, b)It isn’t as bad as it sounds, and c)I have a point in revealing this.

The simple truth is, this cat’s hair is out of control. She’s actually not a very large cat, but because of her raging fluff, small children have been known to run screaming from our house because they’re afraid of “the giant lion” inside. I wouldn’t care so much about her hair if she kept it to herself. But she doesn’t. No no, she leaves little reminders of herself all over the home. Despite a very clean home kind of upbringing, I was never taught that one should vacuum the house on a twice daily basis, which is essentially what would be required to keep up with the cat. I’m unwilling to do so. Instead, I shave the cat.

The other thing that’s important to note here is that the cat has an ear-popping wail. She screams loudly and often during the shaving events. If you were standing on the other side of the door, you would swear I was conducting ritual torture. Am I sick or what?! Actually, no. You see, the cat does make a lot of noise, but both the cat and, more importantly, my body emerge from “the salon” completely unharmed. She does not bite or scratch me, and even while she’s wailing, she is free to stand up and walk around every couple of minutes before I make her lie down again. She is not afraid of the buzzing razor. I’ve never shaved so close that she has bled. The only cruelty inflicted on her is the fact that she truly looks ridiculous when its all over. I think she looks like a cool punk cat, but hey, what do I know?

So what’s with all the noise? This cat, like many others in the world, is a control freak. The one and only thing she hates about her hair appointments is that she’s locked in the bathroom and cannot go wherever she wants and do whatever she wants. She knows that I have the control and strength to keep her where I want her. And so she screams. Screams like the world is coming to an end.

Here’s the point: the church of North America (a.k.a. the Christiean ghetto) is the screaming cat. We scream, we wail when our “rights” are violated. We pitch a fit when the media shows us things we secretly love to watch. We worry when our giving goes down and the budget might not cover the new ten thousand dollar jungle gym we have on order. We get all sorts of nervous because these house churches are growing and running the risk of heretical teachings by not being under our authority. And when God decides to reveal himself in unusual ways by an outpouring of his Spirit, we do everything in our power to study it, quantify it, formulize it, and then bottle it up so that we can take credit for it ourselves, and then sell it to others.

The other day I had a meltdown. I was flipping through a denominational missions magazine, which referenced a “Purpose Driven” something or other. At first, I just rolled my eyes like I always do. Then I looked closer and found that in the middle of a paragraph, right after the words “Purpose Driven” there was a little subtext TM – you know, the trademark symbol. Who do these people think they are? Do they get royalties every time those words are spoken or written? I’m sure they would argue that they’re just trying to protect their material from being misused by people who have poor motives or theology or whatever. Who cares? If this stuff was given to you by God, then don’t you think he’s able to take care of it? And even if you are just “trying to be good stewards,” do you really think making money off of other churches is the right thing to do? And if this stuff was really just cleverly invented by you, do you really think you’re doing God’s Kindgom any favors by selling it? I wish these people would get over themselves.

Obviously that’s one example among many of the futile attempts to control life in the Kingdom. But I won’t cite others until I first seek to purge my own heart of the need for control. I bear my own guilt in trying to contain and predict and strategize how I want God to move. Maybe God isn’t interested in all that. Maybe he just wants to bless me with his love and give me good gifts as he sees fit. Maybe he just wants me to be faithful.

Next time I shave the cat, I’ll keep all this in mind. And I’ll try to remember to take a picture and post it here for the world to see.