Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sex God

It's very rare for me to get a book, and tear through it. I was brought up fully immersed in the video game/movie/television generation. It's not that I don't enjoy reading a book, it's just that it's not the easiest thing to keep my attention for extended stretches.

Well, in less than a day, I tore through Sex God.

And I have two major things to say about it:

1) When I have money in the budget to buy a book, I'm buying it.

2) If you haven't read it, go read it.

Seriously. Read it. It will impact your life in some way. It will challenge your life in some way. I've already mapped out more than half a dozen ways I can see myself using it.

  • Advice book for a friend getting married
  • Advice book for friend(s) in a rocky marriage
  • Make a strong marriage stronger
  • Encouragement for the down days in a career path
  • Book to read together when it's time to talk to kids about sex
  • Encouragement for a single friend
  • Understanding and conquering sexual demons in a way even Every Man's Battle couldn't and didn't

Seriously. Rob Bell mixes funny anecdotes with deep thoughts, scriptural basis and nuances, as well as historical and common sense knowledge. It doesn't matter where you are on a faith journey or if you have even formally started one.

Go read this book.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Who's with me?

Rob Bell for President.

No, seriously.

I'd vote for this guy against just about anyone. Even Aaron Aldridge. And maybe even the guy Aaron beats out. (Honk if you get that joke)

I picked up Sex God from the library today (my next Star Wars LotF novel isn't available for me yet), and I'm already almost halfway through it. I'm forcing myself to put it down between chapters so I can absorb what's written in it, and not just fly through it like fast food fiction.

I'm convinced, more than ever, that Rob Bell is a centrist. He's level headed. He gets things. He gets common sense things. He gets practical things. He gets philosophical things. He gets intellectual things. He gets spiritual things. And he presents them all in a manner that not only can I understand. But in a manner that I want to hear more.

Seriously ... Rob Bell for President. Who's with me?

Monday, June 25, 2007

My, How We Change

So, I realized I've changed quite a bit in the past 2.75 years since Rachel and I got married. I didn't realize until this morning just how deep the impact she's had on my everyday life.

I was putting socks on. And I noticed they weren't on my feet correctly. The seams weren't lined up correct. So I took them off, and put them back on correctly.

Let me explain: up until Rachel and I started dating, I didn't know that socks could go on in an incorrect manner. They're socks. They shape themselves to your feet. It's what they do. I even had some athletic socks with toe and heel marks on them, and still didn't get the message that the heel mark was supposed to go on your heel. I just thought it was a suggestion.

So, anyways, I get done with that, and get my semi-casual brown shoes out. Walk out to the living room to put them on, and see my tennis shoes, which I wore yesterday. I immediately set my brown shoes down and pick up my tennis shoes and put them away.

Again, up until Rachel and I started dating, I didn't know you needed to put shoes away. I thought putting them out of the way of tripping you was good enough. My parents even had a shoe tree in the main closet when I was growing up. I just kept my shoes in my bedroom for easier access for me. Thought the shoe tree was a suggestion.

Maybe Jeff Foxworthy is right ... all men are being trained ...

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Gamaliel Principle

So, last night at Journey we were discussing Acts chapter 5. And there's a lot of weird stuff in there, and there's some good nuggets of info, too. I was exhausted from another marathon weekend away from home, so I didn't get to share thoughts at Journey, so i figure I'll share them here, as I know at least a few of the people who attend church with us also read my blog.

What really stands out is what Ryan refers to as the "Gamaliel Principle" (at least I think that's the terminology he used). The NASB records the passage thusly:

But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law, respected by all the people, stood up in the Council and gave orders to put the men outside for a short time. And he said to them, "Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men. For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. But he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing.After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered.So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God."

Now, we always are encouraged by Ryan and Trevor to look for the implication of a passage in our lives, rather than just the application.

And maybe I'm just oversimplifying things. Or maybe I'm too big a part of the television generation. But I see the implication here pretty plain as day.

The name of my blog is taken from a Nike campaign. The implication I see in the Gamaliel Principle is taken from an earlier Nike campaign.

Just Do it.

Is it not obvious that if God is calling us to action, we need to just do it? If we're unsure if it's God, and we don't act, these are the outcomes:

1) It really was God, and it should have been done, and we really missed the boat.
2) It wasn't God, and nothing at all has changed.

If we're unsure if it's god and we do act, these are the outcomes:

1) It really is God, and there is nothing to be done to stop us from accomplishing it.
2) It really isn't God, and no matter how hard we try it won't work.

So the best case scenario from not doing it is pretty much the same thing as the worst case scenario from doing it: nothing changes. So, perhaps the best way to decide if the prompting within us is from God or from us is to try, and see if it works. Seems like the Gamaliel Principle to me.

just do it

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I guess sometimes you just need a break from reality.

Last night I got one of those. On television and in my reading.

Last night was the return of my favorite summer show, Last Comic Standing. I didn't watch season 1, but I've been hooked on it ever since. The trainwreck auditions are nowhere near as funny as the American Idol trainwrecks, but it's worthwhile for the funny people who don't make a single cut, because sometimes they have really good lines.

Also, started a new book last night. As much as I love reading deep, challenging theological stuff, sometimes I just need a break from reality. Something to entertain my brain, not challenge it.

So, I returned my "The Four Loves" copy to the library and picked up Betrayal, the first book in the new Star Wars "Legacy of the Force" series. Should be an interesting read, since I'm spoiled on the major events that have happened so far during the series.

Anyone have any other suggestions for summer TV shows? Or for good fiction? I'm really looking for fiction that is easily parlayed into theology (I know ... mixing fiction with my desire for deep, challenging stuff), but isn't mainstream (i.e. no LotR, Eragon, Harry Potter, etc).

Monday, June 11, 2007

I need a pick-me-up

I'm in a funk.

I can't seem to get ahead at work. Still banging my head against the same walls I was banging against four months ago. I look for small signs of progress, and I find them, but what value do they actually bring? It sometimes feels like I'm trying to travel from Europe to America, only I'm moving on a Glacier that's heading in that direction. Yeah, sure, I'll make it there, but it's gonna take a little while.

I can't finish the book I've been working on. It's become too try and involved for me, and coming off the deep logic of the Ted Noel book, "The Four Loves" is just too much for me. Which is a shame, because I really wanted to find great nuggets in it to use for STE in the coming year. Maybe I'll revisit it in a little bit, but I've pretty much lost desire to read it at all at this point in time (though, the skimming I did still had me coming away with some good nuggets of information).

And other stuff. It's also so ... meh, and rutty.

I think Relient K sums it up best:

hoa - oah
I've been banging my head against the wall
Whoa- oah
For so long it seems I knocked it down
Yeah it got knocked down
Whoa- oah
And the heating bill went through the roof

Whoa- oah
And the wall I knocked down is the proof
That my landlord needed to kick me out
I got evicted now I'm living on the street
My spirits lifted, oh wait that wasn't me
Too many turns, have turned out to be wrong
This time I learned that, I knew it all along
Got crashed where you burn and I'll be what you were
Whoa- oah
And I'll see what I should, and I'll see that its good, that its good

To experience the bitter-sweet, to taste defeat
Then brush your teeth
Experience, the bitter-sweet, to taste defeat
Then brush your teeth

Cause I struggle with forward motion
I struggle with forward motion
We all struggle with forward motion

Cause forward motion is harder then it sounds
Well everytime I get some ground I gotta turn myself around again
It's harder then it sounds
Well everytime I get some ground I gotta turn myself around again

Whoa- oah
I've been banging my head against the wall
Whoa- oah
For so long it seems I've got knocked out
Yeah got knocked out cold
Whoa- oah
And the medical bills went through the roof

Whoa- oah
And the scar on my head is the proof, that I'll still remember this when I get old
I got evicted now I'm living on the street
My spirits lifted, oh wait that wasn't me
Too many turns, have turned out to be wrong
This time I learned that, I knew it all along
Well I grasped to concept that I'll sleep where you slept
Whoa- oah
Well I know I need help when I allow my self
Allow myself

To experience the bitter-sweet, to taste defeat
Then brush your teeth
Experience, the bitter-sweet, to taste defeat
Then brush your teeth

Cause I struggle with forward motion
I struggle with forward motion
We all struggle with forward motion

Cause forward motion is harder then it sounds
Well everytime I get some ground I gotta turn myself around again
It's harder then it sounds
Well everytime I get some ground I gotta turn myself around again

Cause I struggle with forward motion
I struggle with forward motion
We all struggle with forward motion

Cause I struggle with forward motion
I struggle with forward motion
We all struggle with forward motion

Well everytime I get some ground I gotta turn myself around again
Cause I struggle with forward motion
I struggle with forward motion
We all struggle with forward motion

(this is how bad the rut is ... I couldn't even find a good enough YouTube clip for the song)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Mistakes and Regrets

You ever make a mistake, and immediately upon seeing and feeling the ramifications wish you could undo it?

For example ...

This past weekend, on our trip to Wal-Mart, I needed to pick up a new box of cereal. My Kroger brand frosted shredded wheat bites was almost gone, and my Kroger brand of Corn Pops was all gone.

Wal-Mart doesn't have an off-brand of Corn Pops, and I didn't really want to get shredded mini wheats again. So I opted for Toasted Oats (GV Cheerios) instead of Honey Nut Spins (GV Honey Nut Cheerios).

Just two bowls in, and I already regret the decision.

Anyone care to commiserate with me?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Preface: I hate politics as they currently are. I love the idea of politics. The idea that someone can truly get a feel for the people, and serve them with their best interests at heart. I long for America to have this, but I acknowledge that it will probably never happen, and if it does happen, will only appear on a local level. That said, as it currently is, it is a necessary evil, and i feel it my duty as an American citizen to become informed.

Last night, after Bible Discussion Group, the group stayed over to watch the Presidential Forum on Faith, Values, and Poverty. It was an interesting watch, especially with the company I had (which ranged from conservative to liberal). I consider myself a slight-right leaning person, but I strive to be a centrist deep-down inside.

I was blown away by a few things:

1) That anyone would consider a person's stance on abortion and/or evolution to be critical the decision making process in electing the next President of the United States of America confuses me. Exactly what role will the stances taken on these two issues by our President influence our country?

I know the pro-life (and probably the pro-choice) crowd will yell about the task of appointing Supreme Court Justices. But, isn't the better question about how you view the Constitution, not about how you view abortion? I am pro-life (pro-innocent life, at least), but I would rather see a pro-abortion strict-interpretation of the Constitution judge appointed than an anti-abortion interpret-the-Constitution-a-new-way-every-month judge!

And I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out something plausible for the evolution issue. Maybe because our nation has to have a Christian/intelligent president and you can't be a Christian if you believe in evolution, and you can't be smart if you don't? I know many Christians who believe in the plausibility of evolution, and I know a lot of smart people who reject the theory of evolution. So I'm still stumped. Anyone able to help me?

2) Why can't politicians just give straight answers? Why does everything have to be longwinded? Why can't the answer be "sometimes, I have to rely on what I call divine inspiration, but what you might call a 'gut feeling' over advisers and data" instead of "you know, sometimes you have to look at the big picture, look at how you're praying, when you're praying, what the people of the nation think, you have to ask yourself if it's possible to effect the nation for 20-50 years with your decision or if it's something that will be forgotten in a couple of months, and then you need to examine it case-by-case, and when you do that, sometimes you get a different answer than you expected, and sometimes it's hard to tell if what you have gotten is an answer of a hypothesis, and then you need to consider the difference between the two, and is it right to move forward on a hypothesis instead of an answer, or is it wrong to sit there on an answer and do nothing when the answer really is in front of you, and then you decide that you just need to be like the common man!"

(Yes, I'm look at you Obama!)

(Although this is not restricted to just the three Dem front runners. We flipped over the a GOP debate after the one we were watching ended, and saw every one of them make a point (or ramble), and then get cut off, only to ramble more and more. Even Rudy Giuliani, the person I support most right now among fully declared candidates, gave a very good, quick, coherent answer to a good question, and then rambled some more after his cut off.)

3) As I stated above, I'm a right-leaner (love low taxes and small government), but I try to be open-minded coming into political debates and elections, because deep-down I really do want to be a centrist. But if that's really the best of the Democrats, I'm not impressed. The only one who said anything worthwhile was Jon Edwards, and I'm pretty much morally and philosophically opposed to him. So, it looks like I'm probably voting GOP again next year, unless major changes happen or something really stupid happens.

Anyone else watch this and have thoughts on it, and the process in general?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I Like Animal Crackers

It's true.

I like Animal Crackers.

They taste good. They're fun. They're decently healthy, too, for a snack.

And you get sixteen of them in a serving! Sixteen whole crackers. That's a lot!

I mention this because Rachel and I have decided that we need to lose more weight. We both lost quite a bit in the last year (you'd have to ask her how much she lost, and all I know for sure is I dropped from a 44 to a 38 pant size), but neither of us are happy with where we are. We want to go further, we need to go further.

So, we decided that while we're working on really watching our finances and using a budget in a real manner, and all the other stuff Dave Ramsey advocates, we might as well use the same basic principles to work in our diets, as well. Budget out our food.

And the easy thing is, someone already laid out a blue print. We just have to follow it. And the blue print is super easy to follow. It's called "serving size".

We're fairly certain we can market this as a new diet and make a killing on it. We'll sell a book along with cooking attachments. Like a blue cup (that coincidentally is half a cup) that you use to make rice for one person. And a green cup (that coincidentally is the exact same size as the blue cup) that you use to make pasta for one person. And a multiplication chart, telling you that you need to use the cup x number of times to feed x number of people.

And while I'm at it, I figured I'd work on improving my overall health, since physical health is only part of the picture. I figure I'll take the advice of Dr. Fuller (the chair of Mathematics at ONU when I graduated): you need to make sure you do at least one thing in each of six areas every day. The six areas are career, mental exercise, physical exercise, spiritual exercise, fun, chore. And, there can be no overlapping (i.e. I went to Journey, walked around and talked, and discussed is spiritual growth, not physical, spiritual, mental, fun, and chore all in one). Sounds simple, but I'm convinced that if I really make an effort every day to do something from each category, I'll be healthier, happier, and probably wealthier.

Also think I'm going to resolve to set aside more time for reading. I blogged a few blogs back about a big queue line for books, but I don't schedule time for it. I just do it when I don't have anything else to do. And it's a shame, because I'm not going to finish my current book (I want to be Left Behind, by Ted Noel) before it's due back at the Library Thursday. Oh well, at least I already have another book out to read! (The Four Loves, by C. S. Lewis)

Also, I need to blog more. I only blogged four times last month. And I, for one, think that was far too infrequent.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Star Wars Guy

Apparently, I'm the Star Wars guy.

And I'm okay with that. When I pick a movie for Rachel and I to watch, one of the six movies or two Clone Wars DVDs is usually at least considered by me. I throw random Star Wars quotes into casual conversation. I make theological parables using Star Wars. My entire "list" at the public library is Star Wars books. I try to insert Star Wars figures into Christmas decoration. I celebrated the 30th anniversary of Star Wars last Friday with my wife. I'm a moderator on the largest Star Wars website. I have action figures, decorations, collectibles, books, comic books, TBPs, lightsabers, etc.

I just didn't realize I was so much the "Star Wars Guy" that friends call me with questions from their four-year-old son and his five-year-old cousin. My only regret is that I'm not well versed in Lucas Arts projects that are aimed primarily at children that young.

Except, of course, for The Phantom Menace. I know that pretty well.