I hate to admit it folks, but I am squeamish. I cannot stand detailed descriptions of medical procedures or conditions or I quickly begin to feel like I will pass out. Now, I would not heed this light-headed "bad buzz" had I not actually fell victim to it on more than one occaision.

The first time, I was reading about vaccinations for our children. The second time was while giving blood. The next occasion I barely fought it off by pounding my fist into the ground while my elder son was getting stitches in his lip. The doctor must have thought it was surely an abuse case.

The latest occasion was brought about by a coworker's description of his appendectomy. I sensed the "bad buzz" as one of my associates accurately labeled, and quickly dismissed my self to sit with my head down to get some blood flowing up there.

On the Waterfront


Good story and great character development by Elia Kazan.  It is no wonder this is a classic.

Prov 15:25

GOD smashes the pretensions of the arrogant;    he stands with those who have no standing

Finding Neverland


Good story.  Decent Acting.  Good family film.

New Topic - Shopping

Here we go. This is one of those recurring conversations between Courtney and me. What is the role of shopping in our culture and in our own lives? What should it be?

We believe that it may have very well surpassed baseball in being America's national pastime. How often is it that you want to go do something with your family, and the only thing you can come up with is shop.

Now I admit, this sounds a little weird coming from a guy, but I see lots of guys browsing sporting good stores and electronic stores eyeing that piece of equipment that is going to set them free to a life of pure enjoyment.

Tonight was one of those nights. We left my aunt's house and were heading home, but we were half-way to 3/4 way to Waco, so we felt like we should go explore the "big city." So, what did we do? We went shopping. We only bought a few t-shirts for the boys, so we didn't spend that much, but we did look. I dutifully went to Best Buy and looked at various electronic gadgets I didn't need. Strangely I felt drawn to them as if they would somehow improve my quality of life even though I wouldn't really use them at all or all that much.

In many ways we are defined by our stuff. It signals to others who we are, what our values are, and what we are worth. If buying determines your existence, shopping is a dang important activity. You might even call it religious. To extend the analogy, buying is sacrifice, shopping is spiritual discipline, and the marketers are our priests.

Anyway, this is my paradigm for shopping. I think it is part of the broader materialistic idolatry that pretty much engulfs the American church, evangelical and non. Sadly, I am not that different. It is really a constant struggle to not be almost completely swept up in the world's gods and ignore the one true God who purchased me and validated that my existence is of infinite worth. Believing this is the only way the church will be able to free itself from this enslavement.

Just so you don't either think I am totally wacko or a genius, most of these ideas are highly derivative. Two books that have particularly influenced me are Lead us into Temptation by James Twitchell and Bobos in Paradise by David Brooks. I was also influenced by John Meuther at RTS in a couple of classes.

Oh yeah. Buy the books by clicking on our link so we can make some extra money to go shopping with! Is there a smiley for "like gag me with a roll of quarters?" :-@

MeWithoutYou Concert

Yeah. Courtney and I will be going to see MeWithoutYou, http://www.mewithoutyou.com, Jun 24.While Aaron Weis's sining can be on the edge with his spoken word/yelling style. His music and lyrics can be compelling. Though still maturing, he has keen insight into the purpose for which Christ came: to free the poor people of this world (that's all of us) from our enslavement to the idols we create to avoid the utterly humbling encounter with a God who is love.And, Aaron is not afraid to live his conviction. Vegetarian and deliberatly in poverty (well, sort of), he boldly calls us on our rampant materialism and misuse of the good gifts that God has given us.

Unintended Consequences

There is a program at work that shows a tooltip with this message when you are about to move something: "...this may have unintended consequences."That cracks me up. Especially in light of the recent TFC movie, Run Lola Run, I think every action I take should be labeled as such an action.What doesn't have unintended consequences? This also makes me think of the movies Butterfly Effect and Groundhog Day. It is almost as if we can't hope to control our lives.Lola exerts all her powers, yet in the end, must pray and wait for God to work through her actions.

Hotel Rwanda

Sunday night after debriefing from the small group, Courtney and I watched Hotel Rwanda. My first exposure to the movie was through a sermon. Since then, I have been wanting to see the movie. The quote in the sermon was about how westerners will see the atrocities in Rwanda, feel sad, and then go on eating their dinner. This quote, and this movie causes a great deal of ambivalence in my heart. I have watch news of tragedies even while I was eating my dinner. How many tragedies do I hear about in the course of a day? I have relatively little exposure to mass media, but I must hear about at least 2 per day through the radio, TV, or internet. How the heck am I supposed to do something about them all? Not only are they so numerous, but the scale is so vast. Millions killed in third world natural disasters. Hundreds of thousands killed by terrorists or in civil wars. It prompts the age-old question, "Can one man make a difference?" Hotel Rwanda says, "Yes." Paul, an upper middle-class Rwandan hotel manager risks everything to save the lives of 1200 of his countrymen. He doesn't sell all he has and give to the poor. He doesn't abandon his family and join the Tutsi rebels. Instead, he becomes a hotel manager in a time of crisis. God prepared him through his hard work and even his sin, as he confesses, to know how to talk to people in power and to know how to work the system. Paul risked his own welfare for the sake of others. Tim George, the director, used Paul and his story to show the apathy and lack of interest by the West in stopping the genocide in Rwanda. Whatever your politics, your heart should be broken by the hideousness of the tragedy. God did not intend the world to be like this! There may be good reasons for a country like the US not to intervene. But, it must be saying "No" while we weep. Sometimes I am aghast at the coldness with which many who would tout the U.S. as a Christian nation callously turn a dry eye from a neighbor who is suffering. Sadly, I sometimes see this in the mirror. It is a small leap to see Christ in Paul and his own giving up of himself so that others might be saved. Ironically, it is through Christ's death that he frees from our idols of comfort and control so that we are free to, like him, love others who are in no way capable of helping us. We can give without asking, "What's in it for me?" While we may not be able to affect the complicated politics of Africa to stop genocide practicing this love, we can powerfully affect our own family, our brothers and sisters in Christ, and our neighbors. Who knows what good works God is preparing us for? When our hearts are torn away from our idols and cemented in love to him, God can greatly use one man or woman to accomplish great things for his kingdom.

PDI Cube Move

Start Friday afternoon - End Sunday evening

Unknowingly Promoting Hypocrisy by Being a Hypocrite

My friend and I were recently talking about different possibilities for improving our workplace. He came up with the idea of a mandatory 5 minute break to clear the mind mid-morning and afternoon. I mentioned that we would probably have to lock down the network to keep some from working. I would probably be one of those.

He reflected that we would have to do that, because as soon as we instituted the policy, there would be those that would indeed skip the break and keep working. Before long, we would be giving awards to those that skipped the break and broke company policy.

It sounds sort of ridiculous, but there are those where I work that will in one breath hold up a 70-hour work week as a model for serving the customer and with the next breath say that they really shouldn't work so much. If so, why don't we punish them for working too much? Oops, I guess we really value the work more than family, church, etc. I am not against a 70-hour work week occasionally, but the problem is that all our heros are the 70-hour work week guys. Our heroes reflect our ultimate values.