Sunday, October 30, 2005

A Twenty-Five Hour Day

Well, yesterday proved that if there was just one more hour in the day I could indeed get more done. However, I must agree with Barb on this one--I wouldn't use that extra time for sleep; I'd do something else and probably do it poorly.

I spoke today from Matthew 6--What Jesus said about authenticity. To quote Adam Duritz, "Getting to the heart of matters; it's the heart that matters more." We took a look at "authenticity--who you are when no one's looking; who you are when everyone's looking." Jesus is not so much interested in spiritual information as he is our spiritual formation. The heart and not the head is usually in the crosshairs. One of the ideas that was good for me to learn in my study was about what Jesus said about prayer, "Don't keep on babbling like 'the pagans' because they think they will be heard because they use so many words." The thoughts was this: God does not hear us and answer us because we talk so much. He answers us because he loves us. We are to pray simply and to simply pray."

After our second service we had 3 baptisms at Prince and Leta's house, in their hot tub with a view westerward toward Mount Tam. It was very moving for me, to tears actually. "It's a courageous thing to be baptized in Marin County," Prince said. I was once again captivated by this centuries old tradition.

I drove out to Tiburon to look at the water, the boats and the city. It was a perfect day here. There's really nothing that compares to the bay area the sunny day after it rains. There's freshness in nature and sunny expectations from those outside.

We went to Terrance and Meshanette's home tonight to hang with them. Kenny is home and is quite adorable. Vincent was fun to be around. Love that family.

Here's to Halloween--now go get your freak on!!!!!!!

Saturday, October 29, 2005


Today has been a good day. Barb and I broke away from routine this morning (Saturday) and had breakfast at the Dipsea Cafe. The Dipsea is where Barb and I spent many Friday mornings when we first started dating. I worked 40 plus during the days and she worked about as much during the evenings and we were both full-time students whenever we could squeeze in the classes. The only time we could have a date was Friday mornings at Dipsea. It was good then and it was good today. I have a good wife/girlfriend.

Tomorrow I'm speaking on the topic, "What Jesus Said about Authenticity." Just a few days ago all I basically had for content was "What Jesus Said about Authenticity . . .he's for it." I've added some content since then. I'm using the Matthew 6 text: when you give don't be like the hypocrites; when you pray don't keep babbling; when you fast don't be like the hypocrites. I turned to Isaiah 58 and it rocked my world. God desires more than formalities. He deals with the heart, not the head most of the times. He's more interested in spiritual formation and not just spiritual information. Interesting: it seems that God desires justice, mercy and humility more than any other thing.

Well, hallelujah, I have one extra hour to prepare/to sleep tonight.



Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Woeful Back

Ah, a poor night's rest. There's nothing like it. There is nothing more boring than lying awake at night, hearing the wind push the bare arms and hands of the trees around causing them to drop their earthy-colored hankies. There is nothing more infuriating than lying in bed actually saying, "Man, I better go wake the rooster up; he's sleepin' late today."

Back problems. It's been a consistent issue for several years now. I'm not even 50! I'm barely half of 50! We can't afford a new mattress yet, so I'm building my own out of nails. . . . We may get a foamy kind of cover for our bed. Hope it helps. If it doesn't I'm going to have to start checkin' these bags when I go to the airport. I heat; I ice; I stretch. . . pretty much everything the docs and the phys. ther. says to do, but alas, I am like a door on a rusty hinge--moaning every time I turn.

However, I did run across a good website:

Check out the article about Halloween (sorry, too tired to remember code right now).

Friday, October 21, 2005

Kenneth has Come

Well, Kenneth has come. Terrance and Meah had their baby boy yesterday morning in San Francisco. Barb and I spent some time with them yesterday morning, went into infant icu and saw Kenny. Oh, my gosh, what a boy! I just don't know if there is anything better than seeing your friend's baby.

T and Meah moved up from SoCal about a year ago. We met them one Sunday morning and have loved getting to know them. Class A people.

Well, my small token to a huge event.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A Grande Cup of Faith?

I'll take a decaf, non-fat, extra-foamy cup of faith please. Oh, and could I get that to go? Interesting article about Starbucks.

Starbucks stirs things up with a God quote on cups
By Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAYWed Oct 19, 7:25 AM ET
Coffee drinkers could get a spiritual jolt with their java in the spring when Starbucks begins putting a God-filled quote from the Rev. Rick Warren, author of the mega-selling The Purpose-Driven Life, on its cups.
It will be the first mention of God in the company's provocative quote campaign, The Way I See It. In 2005, Starbucks is printing 63 quotes from writers, scientists, musicians, athletes, politicians and cultural critics on cups for company-run and licensed locations to carry on the coffeehouse tradition of conversation and debate.
Some mention "faith in the human spirit," but none is overtly religious. Last month, Baylor University pulled Starbucks cups after objections to a quote from writer Armistead Maupin saying that "life is too damn short" to hide being gay.
Warren says the idea of a grande pitch for God as creator came to him after seeing a Starbucks quote on evolution from paleontologist Louise Leakey. Because Starbucks solicited customer contributions for 2006, Warren sent his in. On Tuesday, Starbucks spokeswoman Sanja Gould confirmed that it would be used.
The cups carry a disclaimer that the opinions "do not necessarily reflect the views of Starbucks."
But a few companies plant clues to Christianity in their wrappings, music or signs precisely because the owners are believers. In-N-Out Burger, the California-based fast-food chain, has included tiny notations for Bible verses in some of its burger and drink packaging since Richard Snyder, son of the founders, called for it in 1987. "He told me, 'It's just something I want to do,' " company spokesman Carl Van Fleet says.

After Snyder's death in 1993, "the family felt strongly about keeping this just as he had done it" at its 196 outlets in California, Arizona and Nevada. The Bible book and verse in minuscule type "are so subtle most of our customers never notice."
One who did: Don Chang, the deeply religious founder of clothing chains Forever 21 and XXI. Five years ago, the clothier copied In-N-Out by stamping the Bible book, chapter and verse notation John 3:16 on the bottom of his stores' shopping bags: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
It's "evidence of faith," corporate spokesman Larry Meyer says.
Other owners making a faith statement in the secular marketplace include David Green, whose craft chain Hobby Lobby plays only Christian contemporary music in its 362 stores, and S. Truett Cathy, who advertises that Chick-fil-A sandwich shops nationwide are closed on Sundays to free employees to focus on faith and family.
"Americans are more accepting of overt religiosity these days, and corporations are good at figuring out how to do it with a light touch, one that's not going to scare off unbelievers," says sociologist David Halle, director of the LeRoy Neiman Center for the Study of American Society and Culture at the University of California-Los Angeles.
Alaska Airlines has put baseball-card-size prayer cards on hot-meal trays for 30 years "just to differentiate us from the competition," spokeswoman Amanda Tobin says. "Compliments have always far outweighed complaints."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

My Inner Child: the Comback Kid

Your Inner Child Is Surprised

You see many things through the eyes of a child. Meaning, you're rarely cynical or jaded. You cherish all of the details in life. Easily fascinated, you enjoy experiencing new things.
I always knew I had an inner child--I think I have punk slapped that kid every now and again. But that kid keeps bouncing back. Yes, my inner child is the "Comeback Kid." Have you ever thought about how magnificent we are, how much we can endure, and yet how easily we break?

X-rays, asprin and a tingly jaw

Good day to you. Thanks for reading.

The past week was filled to the brim. Among other things, last Friday and Saturday I got to spend some time in a city that I've wanted to visit since I was a teenager. I accompanied two others for financial counseling training in Portland, Oregon. I live very close to San Francisco, but I must say, that on that day I was in awe of the beauty of that place. No words can describe that kind of scenery. It was a quick trip but I hope that Barb and I can spend several days there (if not at once, then over the course of our life--I'm easily pleased).

I went to the doctor yesterday about severe pain in my left foot. It was a disappointing visit, kind of like that joke: I went to the doctor. I said, "Doc, it hurts when I do this." Well what did the doctor say? He said, "Well, don't do that." If you are like me, well, shame on you. But further, if you are like me then you say, "My foot is hurting. My foot is not hurting because there is a lack of asprin in my body. My foot is not hurting because there is a lack of ibuprofren in my body. My foot is not hurting because it is not ice cold enough. The pain is a symptom. There has to be a better way than simply saying, "Don't walk on it," and "Here, have some ibupropren." So, for just about the first time in my life--I disobeyed the doctor.

Although, before leaving they did send me down to get my foot x-rayed. Boy am I glad that they have those lead vests and things so you can cover what matters. So they took about three or four pictures of my foot and said I could leave, which meant disobeying the doctors order of staying off the foot. Well, I only use my left foot half the time anyway, so it's not all bad. No, not to give you the wrong impression--I stretch every way that the pamphlet tells me. I ice. I even try to avoid putting it in my mouth. I said, "So, what's next for me? When do I find out what you saw when you took that machine and looked inside my foot?" He'll call you if he finds anything irregular...

And today started off with an 845 visit to the dentist. She's good. One of the best I've ever had. I had a filling that cracked. To fill that "pothole" I stuffed some chocolate, ice cream and burrito down into it. It's fixed now. My mouth is still tingly. I have three cavities. My all time high score for cavities is around 20. I never flossed as a kid or adolescent and I never went to the dentist until I was about 18. One summer I spent every Thursday in the chair looking at two masked people and seeing the halo from the Pearson and Crane dental light. You never want to hear a dentist look into your mouth and say, "Holy, crap. What happened?"

Well, I must away.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Holy Eucharist--Beyond

There has been a renewal of the long-standing conversation about the existence of humans. Some hold to evolution. Some are speaking toward "intelligent design." And some are quite comfortable with the idea of God creating a creation that creates. I have even read where a very devout follower says succinctly, "I think evolution is one of God's greatest inventions."

At times I think that conversation is quite interesting, but I think if we were to scan all of the Scripture we would see that in its entirety the Scriptures go beyond that--beyond how and toward why.

It is one thing to speculate about how--between you and me, I wasn't there, so I can't say exactly what happened. It is another thing to speak about why. Why were humans created? Actually, let's get a bit more personal. Why were grandparents created? Why were your friends created? Why were your grandchildren created?

Why were you created? There is a purpose for your existence. We didn't create ourselves, so there is no way we can tell ourselves what we were created for (to quote Purpose Driven Life). The reason must come from God.

Beyond your skin and more deep than your cells, beyond your double helix, atoms and strings, taking up residence within your soul is something that years. Perhaps you have felt this before. You have had that suspicion that all is not as it seems--that Jesus or God or something has to be figured in. You are right, not because I say so, but because in saying so you have summed up most of the Scripture. Scripture is beyond speculation and is toward revelation; God speaking to us as individuals in a community.

And at Communion, or the Holy Eucharist, God speaks to us again and again. God did not remain in a remote location, under a rock he created, far removed from us. He sent his Son Jesus to this earth to fulfill the necessary and difficult steps of renewing and redeeming our fragmented relationship with God and others. He not only gave us his Scripture; he gave us his son.

And in coming to earth he made himself available for all--for everyone who was/is willing. Are you willing today?

Communion is more than a procession toward bread and juice. There is a quiet and deep mystery. Somehow God meets us here through these elements. At times it may seem more potent than others, and that's okay, but he has made himself available nonetheless.

You may come this morning no matter who or how you are. We don't ask allegiance to us or even membership. We simply and gently ask that you listen to God and seek to draw closer to him, even if that means amending your life.

"God, as we come we realize that you too have come. There is a difference, for you are waiting--waiting, wiling and wanting. Help us to draw closer to you, so that others may be helped, that we be pleased, and that you would be glorified. Amen."

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Oh, yeah, about those books

So, I've got a stack of books I'm (trying) to read through right now. Earlier in the summer I started accumulating the column of soldiers I would annihilate, first by breaking their spine and then devouring their contents, leaving behind the appendix. What's that good for anyway? And well, the books/soldiers have mounted an offensive against my goodwilled gestures and intentions. They have apparently taped velcro to my butt and have thus forced me to stay on the couch. Any movement made toward the books is checked by gravity, velcor and a loud tearing noise.

Actually my schedule has changed to where I have less optimal reading time. I'm really stoked about the next 10 weeks or so. I'm helping conduct the Alpha Course at Hillside Church. I'm helping teach through the Chronicles of Narnia. On Thursday night I am helping lead a small group through a curriculum called, "LifeShapes." Then, of course, there is one-on-one counseling, staff meetings, planning and the weekend services. Sometimes I stare at my calendar and I say, "Wow, that's going to be an interesting week." But I must say that each night I come home and I look at my wife and say, "I got to do what I was born to do today."

Barb and I have rearranged parts of our schedule so that still have our time together, which is a major asset to all that I do. We both have some discretionary time to use how we each want to use it. Life has changed and we are changing with it, trying to become wise with our energy and not just our time.

Oh, yeah, about those books. Here are the "to do's." I can't go into the details of each but here's a quickie:

Present Future: Six tough questions facing the Church
Volunteer Revolution: Living Beyond Ourselves
Making Room for Life: Priorities, Creating Overlapping Segments of your life
The Contrarians . . .: Uncommon Sense
Prince Capsian: C.S. Lewis
The Idiot: Don't quite know yet.
Men's Nutrition: it's more of a catalog that I pick up every now and then

Thursday, October 06, 2005

For those with throats, let them scratch

Ah, yes, it's that time of year again--pumpkins, witches, candy corn, turkey, pilgrims and Santa. But none of that is what I want to write about today. I want to express my utmost dis-appreciation for the pollen of Marin County. For the last six weeks my sleep and my mornings have been interupted by sneezing of volcanic proportions, with that bless-ed itching ears and throat. Don't get me wrong: I'm glad I have ears and a throat and windows to open to let the pollen in, but the joke has just about ran its course.

Much is happening around these parts: Barb's sister and her family (Kurt and the kids, Lilly and Conrad) had to evacuate from Jasper, Tx. They returned to find a huge pine tree on their house. They are trying to rebuild and are trying to work. My heart hurts for them. We are trying to figure out a way to help them.

Barb is teaching in Alameda and it's her first year. So there is an enormous learning curve there. I have a lot of confidence in her and know that she is learning while she is teaching.

The dog, Matches, is still alive. So, I feel that is an accomplishment these days.

I'm reading several good books right now, and perhaps I will let you in on them later, but now I have a morning meeting to go to.

Hope all is well, sorry for the short work, here.

All my best, Jason