Wednesday, August 27, 2008

MOVING

I will be moving the blog the cwillz.wordpress.com.

Update the reader.

See you there.


May the Lord's will be done,
CWillZ
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Monday, August 25, 2008

Circle Circle Square Square

We had a great speaker last weekend and I'd like to share:

Eric and Danielle Timm have a ministry called No One Underground. At Springhill's fall teen retreat last weekend, Eric spoke with authority, humor, candor, and great love. He also painted two pieces of art that went along with his message. Danielle did a dramatic reading of some of her word art, which was also powerful, truthful and exacting.

The first painting he did for us was called "Issues" and is a picture that shows the God-shaped hole in every person, and three shapes (a circle, a square, and a triangle) in the background. The shapes cannot fill the hole correctly. We learned how to let go of these shapes, trust in the Lord and to get rid of the things we use to push God out of our hearts.

http://ericsamueltimm.com/Paintings.html

Check out No One Underground Ministries
Check out Eric's Artist Page
Check out No One Underground on YouTube

Thank you so much Eric and Danielle!! My students and I will have the reminder of how important it is to guard our hearts every time we see your painting in our youth room.

May the Lord's will be done,
CWillZ

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Libronix For Mac

Have a mac, love to study the Bible and depressed about the options available to you?

Libronix, a great scholarly tool for studying the Bible and theology, is going cool. I used Libronix quite a bit over the last few years and really wish I had it for myself.

Logos Bible Software for the Mac

Thought I would spread the word.
If you want to buy it for me, that would be good too ;)

May the Lord's will be done,
CWillZ

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It Comes Today

Recent history of my transportation:

April 2008: Sell 82 VW Vanagon Westfalia, Buy 88 VW Cabrio

August 2008: Sell 88VW Cabrio, Buy 89 Mercedes-Benz 300 SE


Before you hate on my newest ride, realize that it came at a very discounted cost as my grandmaw is now rolling in a much newer, and much much faster Benz.


Nelly and Cedric the enteratiner knew what they were talking about when they talked about "Rollin around town in a big body Bez with two dollas worst of gas"(Country Grammar: Intro).


SO- I bought a new bicycle. It comes today. Should save me some money, help me be less fat.


More to come.

May the Lord's will be done,

CWillZ



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Monday, August 11, 2008

6 Little Words

My friend Caitlin told me about this 6-word memoir book / site. I guess Hemmingway was once asked to write an American story in six words and came up with "For Sale: Baby Shoes Never Worn".

You can submit your own 6 word memoir, read others, and submit your own at http://www.smithmag.net/sixwords/

I submitted one:

"FS: College Degree take over payments."

Yes, I know FS is shorthand for two words. Get over it.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Watch Commercials, Unleash the Oppressed

This letter was sent to the members of a group called "Dream for Darfur", who hope to raise world awareness and influence the People's Republic of China to use their political power for the good of the Darfurian people. It is a good opportunity to creatively impact your world.

Dear Friends,

Terror continues for the people of Darfur. Despite our efforts and yours, China has not used its unique influence with Sudan and its role as Olympic host to try to address the Darfur conflict.

China has ignored the people of Darfur. Tomorrow at www.DarfurOlympics.org you can send Beijing a message by refusing to watch Chinese propaganda during the Olympics.

Every time China touts itself as a responsible world power during the Games, tune into our alternative Olympic programming on the web. Watch the Alternative Opening Ceremony with artists including Talib Kweli and R.E.M. and then watch Mia Farrow's daily webcast from a Darfurian refugee camp from August 8 to 15 at www.darfurolympics.org.

We hope that you will join us in helping to bring peace to the people of Darfur.

In Peace,
Dream for Darfur

May the Lord's Will Be Done


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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Zero Is a Happy Number

I have an abscessed tooth and did not sleep more than 3 hours last night, but I feel great.
No, I did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night or save 30% by switching to Geico(I am very satisfied with Progressive BTW). Yesterday I finished something that has taken me years -- I paid off all of my credit card debt. I would like to share a more complete story, but for now I will boil it down to a few points:

1) I went to college and spent money I did not have - DON'T DO THIS
2) I realized that I needed to pay it back - DO THIS
3) I payed the minimum payment for a long time because it was what I had - Only do this if you have to, but DON'T DO THIS
4) I payed over the minimum payment to reduce the debt - DO THIS
5) I transferred the balance to another CC with 0% interest - DO THIS only if you are serious, read carefully, don't spend any more money you don't have
6) I paid it off. DO THIS

Not a very interesting story, but the basics are there. Thank you Carol, the Fogler Family, Dave Ramsey, and all my friends who have shared thoughts and ideas along the way. Praise the Lord!!

Now about those student loans... Please pray / send me checks.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Developing Adult Volunteers for Youth Ministry

I wrote my senior paper on it. It was alot of work. I haven't read it since, and neither has anyone else, so I published it:
http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dgrh9s8b_47cv2gvphf

Tell your friends

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Monday, August 4, 2008

Kum Bay Ya

Everything they said about us came true. At Taylor we Christian Educational Ministry majors caught a fair amount of friendly joking about our lives being all about asking people how they feel, the appropriate answer to 60% of questions being "Jesus", and the like. We took it in stride and returning the favor and calling business majors "the man" or thinking that they just loved money.

As I said, everything they said came true. During our time in Jamaica we worked for and with New Hope Moravian Church in Montego Bay. At the end of the week the youth from the church had us come over for some games, singing, dancing, and time together. At the end of the night we all held hands and prayed. As were praying we sang "Kum Bay Ya", which is a normal thing for the Jamaicans. It was for real, and great.

Yesterday I was teaching Sunday School and for the first time asked a question that's appropriate answer was "Jesus". It's happening.

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Don't Get Sick!?: Healthcare and it's costs

I had to laugh a little late one night I Carol and I were on the interstate coming home from a wedding in Knoxville. We passed a car whose bumper sticker read, "Republican Healthcare Plan: Don't Get Sick". It made me chuckle a little, but the bumper sticker is a little unfair to those who truly believe that the private sector and innovation eventually will pay off in the long run. However, the bumber sticker revealed an existing belief that some in our society hold about the private sector -- its a phrase that people hide behind so they don't have to do anything about injustice (again not fair or entirely true).

Whether believe that healthcare should be left to unrestricted free market or if you are of the opinon that government should become increasingly involved (about 20% of healthcare costs are subsidized), the real cost of healthcare is this: we get sick. However, many if not most of the diseases that cost us the most are preventable.

Heart disease, diabetes, lung and mouth cancer, and high blood pressure are all very costly conditions that can be avoided by simply taking care of oneself. Its pretty simple really: eat healthy, don't use tabacco, and get moderate exercise. Save yourself and everyone some green.

"Don't get sick" is a wise plan reducing the costs of healthcare, and how those reduced costs are paid is another debate entirely. I'd rather pay the same or a little higher for my healthcare and allow for those 7 - 12% who don't have insurance and couldn't pay the bills if they did be taken care of too. I'm still hopefully for the private sector to get creative and make progress, but its hard not to be jaded.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My Money, Your Money, Our World...Transformed

Yesterday I aksed for input about where I should give money. One of the joys of having a budget is being able to give.

Since Adam was the only one to comment so far, and I need to take care of July's giving before the end of July, I took one of his suggestions and headed over to Kiva.org and chekced out what they do. Basically, they are a place that lets people lend money to others who need it to develop themselves personally or professionally. This is called microfinancing.

Microfinancing is all about helping people that banks either cannot (too risky, not enough money to be worth it) or will not (it's in thier interest to keep people only partially successful). A small loan helps people "prime the well".

So I am using my "giving" money to microfinance through Kiva. When they pay me back I will either reinvest in someone else, or donate it to another cause.





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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

To Whom Should I Give Money?

I got a job. Now I can / should give away some money.

Where should it go? Where do you give to? How do I get there? What are the biggest needs?

Comment so we can spotlight some places that could use it.



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Monday, July 28, 2008

A Knife Is Better Than a Gun

While in Montego Bay, Jamaica I met a man named Michael. The first time we interacted with him he was yelling at us something about how white missionaries come to the island, use the beach every day and never clean it up. He continued on his way spouting off something about colonization and how there can be no peace without justice.



I went back to where we saw him first and waited. Eventually he came back and we started a real conversation. That led to a few of our students becoming his friends and sharing time, clothes, and food with him.



Michael and I talked and sat along the Hip Strip during our short week on the island. One topic was violence and how the rasta fight with words instead of weapons. He reminded me over and over of the prophesy of weapons being pounded into plowshares.



"A knife is better than a gun because it can be used to peel fruit."







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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Gone to Jamaica

Faithful Readers,
My summer has not been conducive to blogging so far. I miss you. In the morning I will be travelling to Jamaica with the church my fiance and I are interning at this summer. We will spend part of the time doing physical work and part of the time interacting with the children.

I am also going to try and get a hold of some green Blue mountain coffee to have AWC roast.

Pictures and stories are coming. I promise.

When I get back I will start a full time job for Cummins Engine Company through a contractor. The job is part customer service and part IT type work. We are considating purchasing databases. I hope that everyone's summer is off to a good start.

May the Lord's will be done,

CWillZ





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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Whiteboard Masterpiece


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Presently I am working on a day by day basis to clear out the computers at one of Cummins Engine Company's buildings after it suffered damage from the flood that has devestated parts of our town.

Our boss is the one in the shark's mouth.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Graduation Playlist- Beta 1

Link
I made a fun playlist in light of graduation. Rules: had to be my music, no repeated artists.

1) "My Chains are Gone" by Chris Tomlin. I wouldn't resist the opportunity to laugh on the way home.

2) "Don't Come Around Here No More" by Tom Petty & the HBs. This is Taylor's song to me.

3) "Exodus" by Bob M and the Ws. Love me some Reggae. This was my nap CD freshman year, and the I am looking forward to the movement of Jah people.

4) "Fortunate Son" by CCR. Unlike The Dude, I still have my Creedence Tapes. Oh the Red Wide and Blue-- I ain't no senator's sawzall.

5) "Gone" by Montgomery Gentry. Whats in a name?

6) "Graduate" by Third Eye Blind. Because 6th grade wanted its song back.

7) "If You're Going Through Hell" By Rodney Atkins. This is for all those worn out juniors who will walk this lonesome valley next year.

8) "Into the Dark" by the Juliana Theory. For all of us who are unsure of the next steps.

9)"Me and Paul"by Willie Nelson. Its a song about learning from life, friends, and the cities of the nation.

10) "Run Like Hell" por Pink Floyd. 2 reasons: 1) the anti-school/social control theme of The Wall and 2) I left the first disc of the album in a middle-school classroom. Mrs. Boone if you read this, please send it to me.

11) "School's Out" by Alice Cooper. Any man named Alice who can make it in the rock world deserves some respect. Also, this list would be 67.923% incomplete without it.

12) "Self Americans" by Dogwood. Lots of talent going unheard from this band. See previous post for rationale.



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Confession

I feel ripped off. By this Saturday at noon I will be a college graduate. It has taken four years for me to realize what that means. It means that I am more educated than 98% of the world. It means that I have enough debt to keep me and my future family in the the same system. It means that I am bound by privilege.

Here at Taylor I have been given a very good, Christ-centered education. My practicum for a degree in Christian Educational Ministries took me to Juarez, Mexico where I facilitated high school mission trips in basically a squatter colony. There I learned what it looked like to not have enough resources to feed your baby properly, and to watch across a fence as another bank building goes up, waving Old Glory. As those people shared Christ and many gifts with me, I felt like I learned much more about the reality of God during my first few weeks there then I did as I was writing research papers at length for my Bible or Christian Ed classes.

My frustration is not against Taylor, but that I feel trapped. It takes a lot of effort to break myself of consuming, wasting, entitlement, and just plain ignorance. Oversimplified but not nearly as expressive as it is within me it is this that I am frustrated at: It cost me over $100,000 to realize that I don't want this kind of life-- and I have to retain my privileged place in society just to pay (a good portion) of it back.

I hope that I can find someone who can show me what it truly means to become like Christ.
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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

YouthWorks! Needs You

Last summer I worker for YouthWorks! and it was amazing (click on the "YouthWorks!" label on the right to see more.  They still need people for this summer's staff:

A Message from Rita in the Recruiting Department:
Are you 20 years old or older? Are you (or a friend) still looking for a summer job or internship? YouthWorks still has PAID summer site staff positions available for their May 26th training. Spread the word! Call the Recruiting Team toll-free at 877.249.9904- option 2 today to find out more! Again, available positions are for those that are 20 years old or older.

YouthWorks is dedicated to providing life-changing summer missions trips for teenagers; nearly 40,000 participants are expected this summer. Live in one of 78 communities in the U.S., Canada, or Puerto Rico with your staff team. Coordinate daily programming. Build relationships with 65 youth and adults who come to your site each week ready to serve. Help them be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Check out www.youthworksrecruiting.com for more information and to fill out the online application!
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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wisdom From Tea

Today I was enjoying a cup of tea when I looked down and saw that there was writing on the paper end of the string.

"Act selfless, you will be infinite." -- My Tea

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." -- St. Paul.

Who says that faith and culture don't intersect??

P.S. Try the Mexican Sweet Chili, not spicy but pleasant.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Free Books Online!


Just stumbled upon a site with a bunch of books online for free.

Love it


Online Books, Poems, Short Stories - Read Print

Test Run: ScribeFire

Listening to Solomon: personal discipline of copying

One of our chapel speakers, Mary Poplin, talked about how transcribing biblical texts has helped her re-order her thinking after her adult conversion to following Christ.  Her conversion came well after she established herself in the world of "secular" scholarship.  This scholarship was incomplete and in disarray without the truth of Christ.

I have been experimenting this month with that discipline, copying a chapter of Proverbs (conveniently there is one for each day of the month) each day by hand.  The results have been beneficial.  I find myself thinking about and remember what I have read more than simply reading them.  

Not dry and humdrum, but an avenue for a mixed up mind to mend.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Defining Faith Positively

I have a pet peeve against things that define themselves or other things by what they are not.  It used to be a somewhat popular writing style to begin with "3(5, 7, 10) things that _____ is not" and taking forever to get to what actually needed to be said.  I understand the need for exacting and explaining things, but in my mind it does injustice to define anything, especially personal faith by what it is not.

St. Paul's words to the Corinthian Christians model a more appropriate attitude of how people of faith tell others who they are:

 1When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.[a] 2For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.3I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.  NIV 2:1-3

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

An Evangelical Manifesto

A group of leaders within the Evangelical movement released an Evangelical Manifesto today, declaring and defining to the world who Evangelicals are.  A friend of mine commented that its funny that "the humanists only took like 5 years to write a manifesto while Evangelicals waited 70."  

It is an interesting read.  My observation is that the explanations given define better what the people in the movement are not than what they are.  

I am glad that this document was written and hopefully it will help in providing some sense of clarity, especially for the popular media.  

I will not be signing the document, but there are some very impressive statements.  I am particularly enthused about this statement about Evangelicals and politics:

"Called to an allegiance higher than party, ideology, economic system, and 

nationality, we Evangelicals see it our duty to engage with politics, but our equal duty 

never to be completely equated with any party, partisan ideology, or nationality.  The 

politicization of faith is never a sign of strength but of weakness."



Friday, May 2, 2008

Quick Thought

Haven't writen much recently due to my senior paper and the return of my beautiful fiance, Carol, from a semester abroad. We are in love.

One quick thought:

Wednesday's chapel speaker asked us when the last time we had our hearts broken for the world.

For me it was when I wrote "Bed Sheets".

Leave yours.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Gay Rights and Moral Non-Contradictions

George Barna:
"I have met a number of born again Christians who believe in "gay rights" -- i.e. that gays
should have the same rights as everyone else -- even while they
believe that homosexuality is un-biblical and a sin. To most people
reading this, that will seem a huge contradiction -- can you shed any
light on what Christians like that are thinking".
...
I am a "Christian like this". Barna does a good job at explaining my thoughts.
...
Still Barna:
While it is true that you can legislate morality - after all, what laws do is define what is right and wrong, which is the essence of morality - a growing number of born again people are not staking their entire realm of influence on the legal and political systems. Instead, they desire to offer a theologically honest but emotionally compassionate reaction to proponents of homosexuality. In other words, they cannot ignore the fact that homosexuality is a sin from a biblical perspective, but also realize that Jesus' primary exhortation was to love other people into a different way of understanding and living their lives
...
Dear Gay People, We love you. You know we disagree, but we love you.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

How Long I Have Missed You


I have been growing out the hair on my chinny chin chin for as long as Carol, my fiance has been gone this semester.  I know its weird, but its one of the ways I deal with her being gone.

8 Days.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Christian Celebrity Sighting


Today I got a call from a friend telling me that Shane Claiborne was at Ivanhoe's, which is our local ice cream eatery.

I hopped in my new car- a 1988 VW Cabrio, and went to see if it was true.
Sure enough he was there with some Taylor people and a couple of local ministers.  We all sat outside enjoying the sunshine and milkshakes.
Shane is a man who is doing his best to follow Christ.  Today he was soft-spoken and when he talked he had a think southern accent.

He joked about how they kept themselves entertained between speaking engagements by listening to "comedy" stations, which were political shows on satellite radio from both the far-right and far-left wings, with liquid-metal in between to keep it lively.  

I didn't gain any new transcendent spiritual concept or new illumination.  It was nice to know that there is a real person behind the "Irresistible Revolution", a book that challenged me, informed me, stretched me, made me laugh and cry uncontrollably, frustrated me, and gave me great great hope for the Kingdom of God.

May the Lord continue to prepare our sails to catch his wind/spirit.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Reason or Experience????

The Judeo-Christian tradition is profoundly experiential, not to the exclusion of reason, but as the precondition of it.  That is, the material upon which reason exerts itself is precisely those experiences of ours which need ordering and coherence.”
F. Earle Fox.  "The Spiritual Core of Experiential Educations" The Theory of Experiential Education. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

What Do Meat and Sweatpants Have in Common?

Recently I have been experiencing a good amount of ennui (French for blaaaahhhh).  The winter has stretched on longer than it should, and with Carol away I have felt it colder than normal.
~
The Lent season came, and passed.  I participated willingly, subscribing to a traditional discipline of no meat.  It helped me reflect on the life and passion of Christ, so it was worth it.
~
However, my college years are within a few weeks of escaping me.  Its been a good ride here, but I am a little frustrated with it right now.  I am leaving with more questions than answers, and many more frustrations with myself and evangelical Christianity (one is always harsher with those things with which he/she identifies closely).   I have little left to give to my studies-- as I told Dauthan , my volition is wearing sweatpants. 

Last night my coPAs (RA) and I got together to discusses the game plan and pray about the rest of the semester.  As we prayed, there was a real moment of grace for all three of us.  

For me, I realized that I had sat through Easter service and had a big family dinner without realizing that the TOMB IS EMPTY.   Lent is over, yes, but the TOMB IS EMPTY.

The power that has risen Christ from the dead is at work within us!!!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Its Been Seven Years

     When I was fifteen I purchased my first car.  It was a 1985 Volkswagen Vanagon.  I took it home and started making it mine.  I changed the brakes, did some body work, and decided to repaint it "wind blue" to get rid of the less-than-appealing champagne/brown.  It became The Mystery Machine.
     She was not perfect, but she was mine.  

The summer after I graduated high school I had the opportunity to get a 1982 Vanagon Westfalia.  It was aircooled and came with all of the original camping equipment -- even the kitchen sink.  I sold the mystery machine and bought the Yellow Submarine.  

Photo Courtesy of William Shirey.

Both Vanagons have been alot of fun, alot of work, and most the people I interact with each day do not know a me without a VW.   I sold the Yellow Submarine on Monday.  May it fare well with its new owners.  What car will I drive next?  

LEAVE YOUR FAVORITE VANAGON MEMORIES IN COMMENTS!!!!!

Example:  Remember that time we broke down on the way to a K.I.S.S. concert? 

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Dad's First Cast of the Year

After the inadvertent catch earlier this week, I returned to the lake today for another go at fly fishing.  I caught a few thousand blue gills that were too small to keep.  Pretty Annoying.  I then caught an eleven inch crappie.  Look at how pretty it is:
     My dad got his pole out to try his hand.  I told him that they were biting on smaller stuff.  He had the standard rubber nightcrawler with three hooks.  He said he was just playing.

His first cast landed him this bass, which is just over 18 inches:



I asked him what he did to deserve the big fish.  He said that he pays the mortgage.  

Fair enough.   Good work, good start to the season.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

First Fish on a Fly...A New Day is Dawned

The wonders of senior year are a stressful senior paper matched with a few general education classes that happened to be left until the last semester.  Those gen eds are ceramics, soccer, and fly fishing.  Fly fishing is the one I have been looking forward to the most.

Hemmingway:  "Anyone can be a fisherman in May."
Me:  "Yeah, but its March and too cold and they still bite for me."

After only two class meetings for fly fishing, coach let us take the school's  rods and reels how to practice casting.  I decided that I wanted to learn on our lake, so I purchased a leader and some flies.  The leader got tangled (ok, I tangled it) while I was tying it to the fly backing.  It took me over an hour to de-tangle, leaving 13 minutes for time on the water.  Typical enough.

I managed to push enough line out to where fish would be if it had been warmer than 40ยบ.  The rhythm is funny, and the motion weird for someone who has been slinging heavy bass baits out from the time he could grasp a pole.  

"10, 2...10, 2"  After getting the fly caught on the grass behind me a few times, I managed to put the fly down in the water.  It was a less-than-delicate presentation, but it got out there.  Time was up.  I started reeling back the line that I had let out.  There was resistance.  I pulled up on the line and a small blue gill came to the surface.

It was not bigger than the length of my hand, but I didn't deserve it anyway.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Hail Yes


Last summer I worked in Juarez, Mexico with YouthWorks!.  We had US and Canadian high school students come for a week at a time while we gave them places to serve by building homes and spending time with children.

Each night we had a club time, which typically began with singing.  We had decided to do worship outside on the steps that led up to the church.  We concluded with the song "Grace Like Rain".  We had heard that a storm was on the way, and the signs of the storm started showing up in the desert sky.  

I attempted to make a joke that it looked like we were going to get some grace tonight, and that we would have to move inside the sanctuary area for the rest of club time.  Being the only resident man on my staff, I was the one whose job it was to go shut all the windows and prepare for the storm.  

Long story short, I got stuck in the little tool shed area (bodega) in a different part of the property that was about 50 yards away from the sanctuary.  The rain was heavy and cold, then the hail came.
The ice cubes pelted the tin roof above me.  

I grabbed a seat on a bucket and rested in not being in control of the situation.  I started to sing "Grace Like Rain", but quickly realized that I couldn't even hear my own signing.  I sang as loud as I could, but the hail was louder.

God will do anything to help me realize how much he loves me.  Grace sometimes has to hurt to get it.  Grace drowns out all of my imperfect praise while at the same time inspiring it perfectly. 

Hallelujah!! 

Monday, March 3, 2008

Alarm Clock at 5:30 Feeling

Tonight I watched Lord of War starring Nicholas Cage. I would highly recommend this movie because of the moral choices that it presents. I won't ruin the plot, but one of the biggest ideas of the movie is honesty and the difference between legal and right.

I am disturbed by the movie, because I know that it represents something true. Arms dealers or traffickers exist, but only because of war. Why does war exist?

I came back to my room and started praying. Something like this is what came out of me:

"I have seen innocent blood shed, even though it is a movie, this is my world. Why, God? Jesus, is this the "year of the Lord's favor?"

Over the weekend I talked at our Spring Christian Ed retreat about the Exodus and the movement of God in the life of the individual and in societies. During that talk I presented the way Jesus began his ministry, which was by reading this in a synagogue in Capernum:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
Because He has anointed me
To Preach the Good News to the poor
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind,
To release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.

Over the summer, I was praying about hunger. I asked God why it existed, I dared to ask God why He would let it happen

It is hard to describe, but the answer to that prayer was sorrowful.
"My children go hungry because my other children let them."
Mother Theresa must have listened to the same voice for she said, "As long as there are empty mouths in the world, the Eucharist is incomplete."

God has and will give his family more than enough. We just wont share. We have our own peace, but will not share.

Why do I go through a day and not ask where the clothes that cover my flesh come from, who worked to make them? How can I drink my coffee without thinking of who picked it, and whether or not they can live off the wages they earned? Why do I believe the lie that it is not my responsibility to make sure those people are getting what they deserve?

When have we given enough? When can we feel good about ourselves? When we all have enough, when we all have peace, when God is feared.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Welcome to March, Welcome to Life

It is now March. The times they are a changing.



Welcome to the earth my newest cousin Aaron Michael Jacoby Holt. My cousin, his brother, Alex (AJ) is holding him.

Praise God for life. May the Lord bless and keep him always.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Dude Week

This week the men in my building, Samuel Morris hall will be participating in Dude Week.

No, its not about being misogynistic or homoerotic, but a week in which we help each other seek God and enjoy living together in relative simplicity.  Most of the men in the hall are engaging in spiritual disciplines at a more intense level starting at midnight on Sunday through chapel on Friday.  

We ask close friends to encourage us and return the favor.

The idea started when Justin Heth noticed that some of the best times around the hall are when the power goes out and guys chill in the hall.  It has become much more.

This year we are joined by a men's hall at Bethel College, who is doing something similar during this week.

As part of my participation I will not be blogging (reading or writing).

Please pray.  

DUDE WEEK

Schedule of Events

 

SUNDAY NIGHT KICKOFF

-         Pancakes in the main lounge from 8-9pm

-         Jim Spiegel speaking on Spiritual Disciplines on Sammy II at 9pm

 

MONDAY NIGHT – MORRIS OLYMPICS

          13 Events Planned and the winning floor gets Root Beer Floats.

SIGN UP FOR THE OLYMPICS WITH YOUR PAS

          Crazy’s Apartment        - Scene It Competition @ 8:45pm

                                                - Dessert Bakeoff - Entries in by 10pm

Basement         - Corn Hole Bean Bag Toss @ 10:00 pm

       - Carpetball starts @ 9:30pm     - Billiards Competition @ 8:30pm

Foundation     - Foosball Tourney @ 9:00pm   - Washers @ 10:00pm

                        - Nerf Gun Dueling @ 9:15pm

Sammy II         - Euchre Tourney @ 9:00pm     - Bible Trivia @ 9:30pm

Brotherhood       - 4 Square Tourney @ 9:15pm

Penthouse                    - Ping Pong @ 9:30pm

Front of Morris   - Nalgene Toss @ 9:45pm

 

Sign up to win Crazy’s Parking Spot for the month of March @ the Front Desk!!!

Sign up by Friday Night at 1am!  One entry per person!

Winner will be announced through a hall email!

 

TUESDAY NIGHT – All Hall Dodgeball Game

                9:30-11pm in the Odle Gym

 

WEDNESDAY NIGHT –Power Outage Night-3pm-3am – power will be shut off at 3pm

-        Enjoy the Community of your floors

-        Taylor Basketball Plays at home at 7pm against Spring Arbor

= remember if you want to save food in your fridge bring it to the front desk with your name on it.

= if you want a wake-up call on Thursday morning come and write your name down at the front desk and the time you want woken up.

= let me know if you need your power on for a certain reason

                                      

THURSDAY NIGHT – WORSHIP NIGHT/DEBRIEF

9PM in the basement.  We will also spend some time singing and reflecting back on what was learned from the week.

 

Goals of Dude Week

1.     To devote the week to intentionally fellowshipping together.

2.     To grow spiritually and develop some spiritual disciplines.

3.     For all of us to agree to voluntarily deny ourselves something we usually partake in for the week.

Don't Read This

Sorry, in advance.  Constipation of thoughts recently.  

My task this week is to write a section of my Philosophy of Ministry paper that explains the Ultimate Purpose.  I know God, so I guess I can presume that there is a purpose.

I have heard Ultimate Purpose expressed in a variety of ways, and have written a similar paper previously.  Instead of simply ripping that idea off, I decided to poke around the thought world to see what the Tradition had to offer.  Brian McLaren's mentions the Eastern Orthodox view that that Christ's coming to earth was a way of allowing creation to join in the perfect dance of the trinity.

I googled "Ultimate Purpose Trinity".  It didn't take long until I was bored of reading the debates between wether or not to call Jesus a "person", "expression" or "distinctinve/indistinctive essence".  I found a blog post that link to another, and another that had a cool name.

I read about how the author was shutting down the blog.  I also read some of the posts, mostly because some people are getting hurt.  The blog is re-opened and looks about the same.  My thought is: with things like this on the site, how do you expect people not to respond in a way that hurts someone, even if they are brothers in the faith?

Switch gears to the laundry room in Morris Hall last night.  My dear friend Christian Leman and I were about an hour into a discussion about what the Gospel means.  One of my guys from the floor comes down to hear the end of me ranting about about how debates in theology can be divisive, and how they can become "essential" rather than "important".

Christian left while his clothes were in the dryer, and the other friend said to me, "I really didn't expect to hear you say something like that."

A little aback I said "What do you mean?"

He said, "I just think of you as kind of person who likes to think about all that stuff"

It strikes me that I would be the person that is perceived to place thought above love.  

            You are burning to know what I think is essential.


  LOVE GOD, LOVE ALL PEOPLE.




Sunday, February 10, 2008

Eschatology and Missing Carol

It is lent again, which means that my mind should be focused on the life and passion of Jesus.

But, I miss Carol.

Rob Bell in "Sex God" talks about how the cup of the New Covenant that Jesus offers in the Upper Room could possibly be interpreted as having very strong ties to language used in traditional Jewish wedding proposals. I could look it up, but I like this thought.

Jesus and Paul both refer to bride / groom imagery. Jesus even says that there are many mansions (again, Bell says, a marriage reference).

So Jesus offers himself and his Father to the world, and then he has to leave, with a promise to return and meet his bride, the Church.

Carol is my fiance, and she is studying in Costa Rica this semester. We have had several periods during our relationship when we have lived in different places (Kentucky /Indiana, Mexico/Indiana) with varying amounts of communication. This has been the hardest time so far.

Christ must miss the Church, want to see her do well, and cannot wait until the time may come when they may be one.

Miss you, Babe.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Jesus Votes on His Face

    I have heard the joke made about how certain groups do everything on one side or the other.  Two examples would be that 1)Episcopalians eat, drink, lecture about tolerance, serve soup, and sleep on their left side,  and 2) that most Southern Baptists eat, drink(well...scratch that one), preach about personal sin, hand out tracts, and boycott Disney on their right side.

      Jesus didn't do much sleeping when He was here.  

I am starting to realize that getting comfortable either on the left or the right is a bad move.  St. Paul  taught the early followers of Christ that they should take on His attitude of humility.  Philippians 2 sums up in this:  Jesus gave up being God to be a man who died.  He humbled Himself.


Jesus Christ had one agenda, THE WILL OF THE FATHER.  And since it involved redeeming all things, had to involve the political. He chose to be one His face in loving obedience to the Father instead of laying on one side or the other.

The prayer of St. Francis leads us closer to that:
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Parade Rest, Rush. Parade Rest

A gathering of very influential Evangelical leaders occurred on Wednesday to discuss the relationship of Evangelicals to politics.  There is quite a movement on the way, BE A PART.  Good stuff - - listen to it here

I was alarmed to here this from a leader in the Latino Evangelical community:

Sam Rodriguez: "The major difference between Latino evangelicals and white evangelicals is that many white evangelicals take their marching orders from Bishop Rush Limbaugh, Prophet Sean Hannity, and Apostle Lou Dobbs; and Latino evangelicals still listen to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John."

I know that the statement was intended to be emphatic and the point should be considered with grace.  Although I hope fervently that he is wrong, my fear is that Mr. Rodriguez' statement is correct.  

I don't think that it is so much the case or problem that White evangelicals listen to the men listed, it is that WE have forgotten how to listen at all.  A good number of us have forgotten to take a "Berea" approach to anything said about our Faith and our Lord.

I can speak loudly on behalf of one White Evangelical to say that this statement does not describe me.  Maybe I really was supposed to be Latino.

The thing is, these men are beating on drums with old skins.  The new wine will break them.  Sure, we will be wrong about much too, but the cadence is changed.  Less march, more walk together.  Two miles.

Friday, January 25, 2008

What did I forget?

I just listening to a chapel message that my friend/boss/mentor/brother Justin Heth gave on January 14.  It is called "Practice Remembering".

Inspired by the message, I began to turn through some pages in my journal.  Here is an entry from sometime in July 2007, when I was about a month into my time facilitating short-term missions in Juarez, Mexico.

Lord, lead me.
Give me your grace.
Speak to me in truth.
Let me not judge.
God, bless the American Christians
Teach me to love
I want to spit on your children,
I am sorry.  Help me to love the Church.
Lord, I want to denounce the radio and the bookstores.

I want to break the rich.
Instead Lord, may I teach LOVE.
I want to show these young people the poor.
Please Lord, may I show them a new friend instead.
Lord I want comfort and rest.

May Your will be done above all.  May I never grow weary of doing what is good.

Daddy, give me grace.  Send Your Spirit upon us, we who are hard and think we are humble.  We who know so much and yet are blind.  We who claim love and turn people down.  We who sin and then criticize.  We who teach and lack wisdom.

Lord--pour out yourself 
Lord--Bless us with humility
Lord- Do your will
AND please come quickly

Isaiah 1:18 "Come let us reason together"

I am reading David Dark's "The Gospel According to America".  So far I appreciate it greatly.  While there are so many good thoughts in the book that someone should write a book about it, I want to share a section that addresses the preference of we Northern hemisphere believers to only pay attention to those of like opinions.

p. 29 "Ancient wisdom tells us that it's the insane person who can't change his mind and won't change the subject, but somehow popular media culture in America...has reached a fever pitch that views thoughtfulness as weakness and a changed mind as treachery.

"Militant ignorance passes itself off as integrity, and our habits of mind learn to dismiss illuminating fact and testimony with the non-argument of "bias" (whether liberal, conservative, or anti-American)..."

I am often tempted to stick to the few things that I am relatively secure in my knowledge about to truly lend an "ear to hear" to views that aren't my own.  The truth is that God created us to learn form each other, and in a state of dependence on each other and ultimately Him- even for our thought lives.

We cannot be afraid to listen to our brothers or sisters as they describe the other parts of the elephant.  The One True God is way beyond comprehension, and naturally some will perceive Him in ways that eventually will help us to truly know Him.

Homework assignments: 
1. trade your News stations to the "other side" this week (ex.  CNN to FoxNews etc.)  
2. do devotions written from a different strand of the Tradition (ex.  "Book of Common Prayer" instead of "Guideposts" or vv)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Something You Have Heard Before

I found this on PreachingToday.com's Series about money.  There is more research out there suggesting similar conclusions.  We should tithe out of both obedience and love.  


Tithing Christians Would Meet Global Need
A husband and wife team of researchers, the founders of 
Empty Tomb, Inc., in Champaign, Illinois, have tracked American and American Christian expenditures as well as global needs. John and Sylvia Ronsvalle have estimated that $70-$80 billion a year could meet the most essential human needs around the world. "Projects for clean water and sanitation, prenatal and infant/maternal care, basic education, immunizations, and long-term development efforts are among the activities that could help overcome the poverty conditions that now kill and maim so many children and adults."

The Ronsvalles go on to write: "That figure of $70-$80 billion may sound like anything but good news. God may be generous, you may agree, but has he been that generous? Consider this: If church members in the United States would increase their giving to 10 percent of their income, there could be an additional $94 billion available for overseas missions."

In addition to providing the $80 billion a year needed to eliminate world poverty, tithing Christians would also provide the $7 billion needed to provide primary education for all children, and the $5 billion needed to end the preventable deaths of children under 5.

Craig L. Blomberg, Preaching the Parables (Baker Academic, 2004) p. 51; updated statistics from www.emptytomb.org

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Learning to Dance

A Selection of Dr. King's words from "I Have a Dream" August 28, 1963:

 I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

WE ARE not free.  Yet.  Last week my class stayed at the International Teams guest house in inner-city Lawndale, Chicago.  Our host Mark Soderquist and his friend and fellow churchman Derrick joined us for a discussion about their story.  I cannot tell it well, but basically these two men of faith in our Lord have learned to trust each other and love each other although they did not when they started their relationship nearly twenty years ago.  They have now realized fuller that they are both created in the image of the Holy God, although their skin had different tones of beauty.

Later that week our class had the privilege of invading a sacred gathering of men that have become the Chicago Urban Reconciliation Enterprise (CURE).  They showed us about how being dedicated to spending time with people who are different than you can help you to love and understand them.  They even showed us how that can help to understand Scripture in new ways, bringing a more full understanding of how the Word is alive.

Surely this group is one that believes that the "banks of justice" and "vaults of opportunity" are not empty.

The Lord is saying "Love one another," as He always has.  Dr. King is right when he says that our freedoms are inextricably bound.  "We cannot walk alone"

Mr. Mandela reminds us that freedom requires steady and unrelenting passion, and Dr. King reminds us that we must do it together.  For everyone who is sick of the talk, hates it when they hear a man say "they have gotten what they wanted", and who has yet to feel like they can trust and be trusted by their character alone....keep going.  

 "Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children."  To the Glory of God.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hip Hop Church Hits Home

Tonight we went to "The House" Hip Hop Church in Lawndale (Chicago).  For two hours the church communicated Christ through hip hop, drama, talking, and by facts on the slides.  Rap artist LeCrae finished up the evening, telling the gathered people that Hip Hop is only the bridge by which the Lord uses to reach the world.

One artist prophetically asked during the service "is this Church thing a movement or just a building to fill?"  Amen.  

The theme for the evening was dating violence, and the whole service concentrated on how the Lord can end dating violence by the Spirit's renewing of the mind.

Gloria a Dios