I’m a good Catholic
September 28, 2006, 5:30 am
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O.k., so I’m not Catholic. Only been to a regular mass once. I’ve been to one Catholic wedding too. Growing up in a Protestant world, one of the critiques I always heard of the Roman Catholic church was the way their structure of priesthood mediated a relationship between people and God. One of the scandals of the coming of Jesus was to open all that up, and give us direct access to God – the temple veil was torn. Cool.

But I’ve begun (and probably only just begun) to notice how my following of Jesus and pursuit of God is mediated by other people. To be transparent here, there are times that I’d much rather read a book about scripture than scripture itself. There are times I’d rather read a blog about church than experience church first hand in the way I interact with others.

Over the past few days, some of the bloggers I track have written about the possibility that their blogging days are coming to a close. They are saying important things – about working out the life of Christ in real, human relationships. And yet, when I read those words, they cut – and it’s because I’ve used these blogs to help mediate my relationship with Jesus and his bride. There’s a lot that is good about that, but again, if my temptation is to go to substitute that for flesh and blood relationship with people, it’s off base.

A life of faith in the community of ekklesia is often an experience of mediated worship. We need one another. That’s good. But it’s incomplete. I can claim all I want in public environments to be captivated by who Jesus is and the radical, subversive ways he does things, but unless I’m daily with him – like really walking and talking with him, living his kind of life, the evidence will speak for itself.

Go with Jesus, my friends.


Coffee Geekery
September 22, 2006, 12:10 pm
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  That funky machie there is an elite work of art.  If you’re into coffee . . . like waaaaayyyy into coffee, it’s a technological advance of epic measure.  What does it do, you ask?  Drum roll please . . . it brews a cup of coffee. Ummm, o.k., that didn’t really sound impressive, did it?  Let’s try again – coffee purists far and wide will tell you that the best way to enjoy a cup of quality coffee is to grind some well roasted, fresh beans, perfectly proportioned to the amount of water you’re using, and run it through a french press.  This machine, called the Clover, is better.  It’s a machine that allows the barista to give the same kind of care to a cup of brewed coffee as he/she does for a fine shot of espresso.  There are only a few of these babies in the world.  Curiously, despite the fact that the Clover company is right here in Seattle, none were to be found here . . . until today.  Zoka coffee rolled it out in style.  Jeremy and I went over this morning (he being a super supreme coffee geek) and got in on the action.  Jeremy introduced me to Trish Skeie, a Zoka legend and coffee world rock star.  Good times.  We enjoyed some of their Thatcher’s Reserve (Panamanian) coffee from the Clover, and I’m happy to say it lived up to the hype.  Better than a french press in consistency, flavor range, and texture.  You still end up with a little bit of sludge at the bottom of the cup, but less than a french press, and I actually thought the texture added to some of the chocolate notes of the coffee.  For the sake of you who don’t appreciate all this stuff, I’ll stop there.  Suffice it to say I got my day off to a swell start.

A technical diagnosis
September 21, 2006, 12:42 pm
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So I’ve been getting these headaches over the past couple of days that feel roughly like an ice pick is being jammed into the top of my head, behind my right eye.  At times, I get a two to three second flash of pain about once every 30-90 seconds.  Being the paranoid wuss that I am, I ended up going to Urgent Care last night.  The doctor, in consultation with a neurologist diagnosed me with . . . “Ice Pick Headaches.”  Now, I’m not very good with technical medical terms, but I gotta say . . .

Oh yeah, the block party
September 15, 2006, 6:14 am
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Michelle popped on my blog last night, and said, “Is that really the last time you posted?”  Yep, it’s been a super busy week.  I’ve actually thought of multiple items to blog, but alas, I’m not getting enough work done as it is.  This story is likely to continue . . .

Anyway, we did have our little block party last weekend.  Good times.  I’m sorry that we waited until the end of summer to do it – I’d bet we would have been out there another two or three times throughout summer if we had started sooner.  Oh well, there’s always next year.

I won’t get into counting numbers here, but about half of the homes that were invited had someone show up.  Not bad.  We heard some cool stories and some strange stuff, too.  Here are some random tidbits that we observed:

  • As the newcomers to the block (only a year and a half), we were surprised at how long some of the folks have lived here: 30 years, 19 years, 13 years . . . wow. 
  • Multiple times were heard various people say, “You know, we used to do this kind of get together all the time.”
  • One of our neighbors actually said, “Wow, that’s not really that bad . . .”  This in response to the conversation that discussed the two or three shootings and the home invasion on our block that have happened over the years.  Mind you, we live in middle class suburbia here.  I’m not naive enough to think that stuff like that doesn’t happen, but . . .
  • The divorce rate on our block is alarming.  Sad. 

I’ll leave it at that.  It was good to connect with people, to learn some names, to hear the stories.  I’m looking forward to more times like that.  I’ve got a lot to learn from the people I live with.

Pope Benedict
September 15, 2006, 5:59 am
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If you hadn’t noticed, the new (er, but also old) Pope got people all kinds of stirred up with a speech earlier this week.  I’ve seen him quoted on International news sites, Christian sites, atheist sites, and while I haven’t visited any (yet), I’ll guarantee he’s been talked about a ton on Muslim sites.

The most heated discussions are going on around the part of the speech where . . .

In his speech, Benedict quoted 14th-century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus who said, “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

Ummmm, if I may be so bold as to call out his holiness, I doubt that’s a line that the head of the Catholic church has any business quoting if he means to condemn the practice of conversion by the sword.  He’s a poor historian indeed if he hasn’t heard of the Crusades.

Conversion by the sword is a part of Protestant history as well, lest some of us get smug.

I am greatly grieved that both Islam and Christianity have chosen violence and compulsion as a means to spread their empires.  It fails to produce true converts, it does untold damage to peoples’ true faith in the meantime, and never accomplishes the goals of its leaders.

Block Party
September 8, 2006, 3:13 pm
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Tommorrow we’re co-hosting a block party with Jeremy and Daniele for our neighbors.  We’re wanting to make more and deeper connections that will spill over into relational opportunities.  We have the two end homes on our cul-de-sac, so it works well logistically.  Now all we need is some weather cooperation (chance of showers is 50 percent).

It’s a neighborhood thing, but if you’re in Seattle on Saturday at say, 4pm, and you want to know where to score a free hot dog, shoot me an e-mail, and I’ll hook you up.

Poems from the dark side
September 7, 2006, 9:14 am
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A new friend and school mate of mine, Artie Sposaro introduced our group to the work of a roaming poet, Lucien Zell.

Here are a couple of his poems:


I wander through

the dark wilderness

by the light

of my burning map.


Silence dreams of voice.

An empty cup longs for tea.

I made no friends in the darkness

until I made the darkness my friend.


We tend to speak of darkness as an enemy, as only bad.  These words reveal the often hidden beauty of the dark.  As Len Sweet reminded us last week, Jesus’ favorite time to get away and pray was in the morning, while it was still dark.