- Carthage: 4 (me)
- Syracuse: 5 (Braeden)
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
- I haven't posted in the last couple of days.
- I haven't written about music in a LONG time.
- It was actually kind of interesting.
- three albums that I recommend you buy if you don’t already have them and
- three bloggers I’m tagging so that they’ll blog what three albums they recommend and the three bloggers they’ll tag and so forth...
First, the three albums:
- Soweto Gospel Choir: Voices From Heaven... yes, they have two other albums, but the first album is an absolute burst of rhythmic joy. I discovered this one in the same way I discovered David Wilcox so many years ago - thanks to my daily dose of "left wing radio" (hee!), NPR's All Things Considered.
- Iona: Open Sky... there is no such thing as a bad Iona album, but this has become my favorite. The sweeping Celtic harmonies & imagery combine with amazing musicianship & classic rock sensibilities to take you to another place & time. (If you really like the "orchestra meets Celtic rock band" vibe, you can check out their album Woven Cord.)
- Derek Webb: I See Things Upside Down... I've touted D. Webb a good bit on the blog, which is as it should be. His searing lyrics are married with his folk & rock roots and make for amazing listening. This is his 2nd album - and his best. The later albums have become more political - nothing wrong with that, except they aren't as likely to draw me in.
And three bloggers:
- Zion Red's Head (I'd be stunned if Paul doesn't hold you at gunpoint until you buy a King's X album.)
- The Game Ranch (Susan & Ed don't write about their musical tastes - so I'll take a wild guess & say Eagles.)
- Nashbabe's World (Will the owner of the green Honda please move it out of the white zone? The white zone is for loading & unloading only. Oh, yeah - and Lorell will be pushing some Dave Crowder on you.)
Those of you without blogs can participate right here in the comments section.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
In my experience, those whose spiritual formation includes “the quiet” are not prone to a solitary life. They tend to be party animals who love screaming lead lines, booming drum and bass, and crowds going wild. [Or wine, cheese, jazz and conversation.] They like being around others. They like recognition. They enjoy Sunday services. They appreciate youth groups. Etc…They just don’t need them. Christ, his mission and their co-conspirators give them everything they need... You may never know their names. They’re OK with that. They’re anonymous.Read the whole thing: Lessons from the Underground: Begin with the M in mind.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Like I said, there's lots more... and Collin will probably be 8-9 years old before it's all finished, but that won't stop me from looking forward to it.
All images are copyrighted by Disney.
I have got to clean houseI haven't even had the CD player on this morning... and still this song is running through my head. Not a bad thing, mind you - just weird. Jesus, how do I enjoy the stuff of earth without turning it into "a hundred little gods on a gilded wheel"? How do I finish well when I'm carrying this 3 piece set of matching emotional luggage?
gotta make my bed
gotta clear my head
It's gettin' kinda stuffy in here
smells sorta funky too
like monkeys at the zoo;
and I have been a-whorin' after things
cause I wanna get everything right
that's a big fat lie
no amount of green, gold or silver
the perfect body
another hot toddy
work for the Lord
fame and power
power and sex
a seat at the table
at the Belle Meade country club
Here's the rub
Nothin' will ever take the place of the peace of God
Charlie Peacock, "Monkeys At The Zoo" (from his album FULL CIRCLE)
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
I'll discuss truthiness more at a later date (suffice it to say that while our politics may or may not agree, I think Mr. Colbert has hit the nail on the head about a major issue for the way we view life & our decisions)... but all of this froo-froo about Comedy Central is really just introduction to what feels like another made-up word: missional. Last Friday night at the NewLife Family Dinner, I used this word to set out a vision for the kind of church I believe God means for us to become. And, because it's become kind of a buzz word in church leadership circles, I tried to define it as clearly as I could in "real live people" terms, rather than "look at our hip lingo" terms. My definition is culled from a lot of study... but mainly influenced by Ed Stetzer. I believe, as Ed says, that missional is the adjective form of the noun, missionary. In other words, if a church is missional, it is choosing to do things like missionaries would. The people of the church see themselves as missionaries, called to a particular place & people. When you hear me use the word "missonal" (and you will), I'm not talking about sending money to the Cooperative Program to support missionaries overseas. That's a very good thing, by the way. I'm all for that - but the heartbeat of a missional church is not supporting missionaries, it is being missionaries. So what do missionaries do?
It used to be, everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. But that's not the case anymore. Facts matter not at all. Perception is everything... What is important? What you want to be true, or what is true?...
Truthiness is 'What I say is right, and [nothing] anyone else says could possibly be true.' It's not only that I feel it to be true, but that I feel it to be true. There's not only an emotional quality, but there's a selfish quality.
- They get to know the culture, language, & history of the area & people they're called to.
- They live amongst the people, not set apart in some kind of protective bubble.
- They communicate in ways that those people can understand.
- They go out & live the truth of Jesus Christ in the middle of everyday routine, rather than simply wait for folks to show up on Sunday morning at 11 am.
- They are not as concerned about their comfort & preference as they are about what will help people cross the line of faith.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
You’re St. Justin Martyr!
You have a positive and hopeful attitude toward the world. You think that nature, history, and even the pagan philosophers were often guided by God in preparation for the Advent of the Christ. You find “seeds of the Word” in unexpected places. You’re patient and willing to explain the faith to unbelievers.
Thanks to Scott's Retrieving the Christian Tradition blog for pointing this out.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
- Schedule: As a senior pastor of a church, my schedule is (to say the least) wacky. Meetings at night, counseling sessions at odd hours, being "on call" round the clock, funerals monkeying with my carefully planned (ha!) activities... and then there's the whole "Sunday is a work day" thing. So, I was very aware that if my boys went to public or private school, the times that were easiest for me to flex with would be the times they were in school... and their free time would often be my work time. Homeschooling allows me to spend lots of time with them, both helping teach school & (of course) playing boardgames!
- Educational Quality: Simply put, the chances of our sons getting a high quality education are better at home (where the teacher:student ratio is 2:1) than in a public school (where the teacher:student ratio is 1:20+). Our ability to choose curriculum to fit particular learning styles & needs is substantially higher than a public or private school. We can also use travel in ways that public schools can not to further supplement our boys' education.
- Spiritual Training: While I long for both of my boys to be well-read, intelligent young men, the most important role I have as a parent is to give them the best possible opportunity to follow Jesus Christ. It's easier for that to happen when Shari & I can spend time with them... and that's easier when we homeschool.
- Flexibility: I don't think a lot of folks realize that good quality homeschooling doesn't take 8 hours a day - if Braeden is concentrating & working hard, he can do most of his work in 90-120 minutes. (Just think about how much time in school is spent moving people from one place to another, taking attendance, listening to announcements, etc.) That extra 5-6 hours per day allows him lots of time to read, to play outside, to go with me to run errands... and that doesn't even figure in our family's flexibility to travel during the off-season, when prices are cheaper & crowds are less. As well, it allows us to deal with difficult life circumstances without sacrificing education.
- Values: This is not just about kids - people pick up values from their enviroment, not from what they're taught. (Does any school teach that cheating is OK? No. Does that stop kids from cheating? No. The culture is stronger than the information... and even the chance of punishment.) By homeschooling, we're spending our boys' formative years with them in an enviroment where they are swimming in our value choices. According to research from The Barna Group, most individuals don't radically change their values & beliefs after age 13 - which means that the elementary school years are key!
- Being Kids: Shari read a book earlier this year entitled Stop Dressing Your 6-Year-Old Like A Skank: and Other Delicate Words of Southern Wisdom by Celia Rivenbark... which made us profoundly grateful that we're raising little boys & not little girls. (The book, btw, is very funny but occasionally off-color.) The pressure from popular culture is for kids to grow up so quickly now - to become little adults in the manner & content of what they consume. Shari & I really want our boys to be kids as long as humanly possible - they will have plenty of time to be adults later.
- Enjoying Family: Here's something weird & wonderful about homeschooling. Relatively healthy homeschooling families (there are unhealthy ones) seem to enjoy being together more than other families, up into & including their teenage years. I like that.
By now, some of you are wondering about what I'll call "The Two S's"...
- Socialization: A suggestion for conversational safety: do NOT ask a homeschooling parent about the socialization of their children unless you want to get an earful. I'll try to keep the volume down in my response (grin). I think there's a difference between social skills (the ability to hold a conversation, manners, "plays well with others", etc.) and socialization (knowledge of pop culture, how to fit in, finding your cliche, etc.). As well, I believe that lifelong social skills are not as easily developed in the rarified atmosphere of graded schools where you primarily interact with people your own age. Instead, I think that a wide variety of social interaction (church, friends, family, sports teams, gaming, etc.) is at least equally good at preparing kids for life.
- Sheltered: Yes, our boys will be sheltered. You say that like it's a bad thing. And, if it our existence was some kind of locked-down Christian bubble that taught Braeden & Collin that life is a tiptoe through the tulips as long as they go to church every time the doors are open & stay away from anyone who doesn't listen to Christian radio & name-drop inspirational authors, you'd be right. But, as you can probably guess, that's not what we're doing. What we are trying to do is to introduce the difficulties of life & faith at a pace that they can handle, rather than throw them in the pool & see if they can swim.
Two other points, and then I'm done. Well, not really done, as I'm very open to your questions & comments about our choice to homeschool... but you get my drift, right?!
- Should everyone homeschool?: That would be a resounding NO. Not only do life circumstances make it difficult and/or impossible for some folks to homeschool... but in some cases, temperment & personality make homeschooling a complete mess. (We had one family who chose to homeschool in our lives some years back - all of them nifty people, but, shall we say, organizationally challenged. The year they spent homeschooling was almost wasted as they were constantly putting off work.) Any decision to homeschool should be prayerfully undertaken, factoring in family situation and a host of other factors. (In other words, don't do it just because "pastor guy" is doing it!)
- What curriculum do you use?: We use Sonlight Curriculum, which uses a variety of spiritual & "secular" books. (For example, Braeden is currently reading Mr. Popper's Penguins, From Akebu to Zapotec, The Usborne Book of World History, and Leading Little Ones to God.) If you want to see the article that absolutely sold me on Sonlight, check out 27 Reasons NOT To Buy Sonlight on their website. (We also use RightStart Math.)
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Morgan is convinced that Chuck is just a fragile little gelding unprepared for the world. Elie snorts and asks, "Do you know what a gelding is?" Morgan smirks, "Yeah, it's that weird creature from The Dark Crystal." Nice! It is so hard to find a good Dark Crystal reference these days!Not only did I recognize the reference, I knew that the correct word is "gelfling." Some of you are thinking: "It took this for you to wake up & smell the coffee? You mean, the fact that you have an entire room dedicated to board games wasn't a big enough clue?!" I see your point.
Monday, October 08, 2007
- Make sure you have provisions.
- Try not to stop where it's easy to run aground.
- Try to stay away from the storms.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
- That's game themes... and I'd have to say I'm quite partial to anything exploration-ish. This explains my enjoyment of Entdecker, Goldland, Lost Valley & Thebes.
- With that said, there are very few themes that kill a game for me - except when they are total mismatch for the game.
- A "game mechanic" is a particular way of accomplishing things in game terms... for example, "trading" and "set collecting" are both mechanics in Monopoly.
- There's no real common thread in the mechanics I like... but I'm a huge fan of the Command & Colors system (Battle Cry, Memoir '44, Battlelore, etc.), so I'll go with that.
Question 3: Name your least favorite game mechanic(s) excluding roll-and-move.
- That would be negotiation - particularly when it's used to "balance" the game by having players gang up on the leader. (This would be why The Traders of Genoa only lasted one play in my collection... that, and it's [a] too long, and [b] too repetitive. It is the poster child for "lather, rinse, repeat.")
Question 4: Name the most unique or novel game you own
- There are a number of contenders for that title... it's my collection, right?!
- Based on the ownership numbers on BGG, I'm the only person who has the following games: Bis bald im Wald (diabolically tough memory game), Find the Chicks (magnetic game - blech), Kangi Cup (weird racing kangaroo game w/puzzle cut board), Rettet die Dinos (dinosaur egg stacking game), Salvation! The Game of Saints & Sinners (theologically messed-up game that's a lousy game as well), Sure Shot Hockey (simplified stick hockey), Topsy Turtle (mechanical dexterity game), and Turbulento (Selecta dexterity/memory game that's quick & fun).
- Based on sheer weirdness, I'd have to go with two different Zoch games: Froschkonig (Frog King) and Konig der Maulwurfel (King of the Dice Mouths). In Froschkonig, players attempt to stick out their frog's tongues to kiss the princess (huh?!) using a bag of wooden sticks. In Konig der Maulwurfel, players race around the table rolling dice off of sloped wooden platforms.
Question 5: Name a game in print or scheduled for release that you're most eager to own.
- Already in print: Descent - Journeys in the Dark, that I've expressed my love for previously in my blog post Stay Out Of Range Of The Giant.
- In the pipeline: probably the English reprint of Tales of the Arabian Nights, due sometime next year.
Question 6: Name a game not in print or scheduled for release that you are most eager to own.
- Still in prototype form: Frank Branham's magnum opus, the wonderous space battle game, Battle Beyond Space. (Note: I am a playtester.)
Question 7: Name a game you own that you believe is underrated by BGG.
- I don't even have to sweat to answer this one: Monopoly. It's "cool" to bash the game because it's popular & played with unwise house rules... instead of wondering why the same people win the game over & over.
- Interestingly, Fast Food Franchise runs a close second. (And it's one of my personal "top ten" games.)
Question 8: Name your favorite gaming accessory.
- I do like having lots of glass beads & chips around to act as extra tokens.
- Of course, if someone wants to give me a dice tower from Vixentor Games, I'd be happy to take it.
Question 9: Describe Puerto Rico in 5 words or less.
Question 10: Name your favorite game with fewer than 30 ratings.
Monday, October 01, 2007
- I've seen the pilot episode twice now (once by myself & once with my wife) and I've enjoyed myself both times.
- Here's the best description I've been able to come up with: it's a cross between Alias & Ugly Betty.
- Any show that can manage to hang a major plot point on Zork as well as hiring Adam Baldwin (Jaine from - collective sigh of regret - Firefly) is aces in my book.
- It's incredibly implausible - seriously, it makes Prison Break look like a documentary - but it's a comedy with dramatic undertones rather than a drama with comic moments, so heap on the wild coincidences!
- It also makes a really nice lead-in for Heroes.
- Also on Monday nights (after Heroes, naturally), the pilot was more interesting than I thought it would be.
- Best description I can come up with: Quantum Leap + Early Edition, mixed with a nice, healthy dose of reality. (What would happen to your life if you time-traveled on a regular basis?)
- Shari liked it, too, which is always nice.
- I'm looking forward to the next episode.
- Let me start out by saying that I was IN LOVE with Lindsay Wagner as a kid... one vacation we went through Ojai, CA (where Jamie Summers supposedly lived) and I wondered if we'd see her ranch house.
- I'm also a reasonably large fan of the new version of Battlestar Galatica, which was produced/run by the same guy running the new Bionic Woman. You'd figure if anyone could make this work, he could.
- Shari said it really well: "It's relentlessly dark & I don't understand what's going on." I think may understand a bit more than she did, but I watched X-Files religiously as well as collected comic books - secret govt. organizations are 2nd nature to me.
- We've both decided it gets one more episode to see if they can pull it together before we give up on it.
- It's your standard "cop w/a quirk" show - Columbo/Monk/Raines/etc. - but it's well-done.
- The quirk is Zen Buddhism (plus some kind of conspiracy to frame him for murder).
- Interesting trend for TV this year: overt spirituality. Whether it's Reaper (with a slacker whose parents sold his soul to the devil) or Amazing Grace (a messed-up cop who talks to an angel) or Life (with it's Zen Buddhist-quoting hero) or even Survivor (with both a Christian radio talk show host & a self-described "gay Mormon flight attendant"), God stuff is out front this year.
- I've now watched the first two seasons on DVD - out here in Podunktania (aka Easton) we don't get cable & I won't spring for dish when I can pick up network TV just fine with an antenna - and I'm sad I missed season 3 (which played this summer on TNT, I think.)
- The combination of murder mystery, police procedural (esp. the interrogations), department politics & the personal life of the Deputy Chief is mixed almost perfectly.
- The series can make me sick at the horrors not only of individual violent acts but also of the horrors of the imperfect system we have to catch & prosecute those people... and, within the same episode, smile & laugh & become intertwined in the lives of the Homicide Squad.
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NLT)On the other hand, there is another quality of childhood that we ought to crave... that ability to experience the world with wonder & joy. They aren't afraid to express their delight at a butterfly or their success with a difficult task or the return of a beloved parent. You see glimpses of this in the lives of adults - for me, it's the feeling I get when walking down Disneyland's Main Street toward Sleeping Beauty's Castle... or when we drive through the Wawona Tunnel into Yosemite Valley and you can hear the thundering of the waterfalls as the valley comes sharply into focus. It's the delight I have at watching my two boys play & enjoy & use their imagination... and, every once in a while, it's the way I am overwhelmed by the presence of God in the midst of a worship service.
Then He called a child to Him and had him stand among them. " I assure you," He said, "unless you are converted and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child-this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:2-4 (HCSB)Please don't misunderstand. I'm not suggesting that we chuck our responsibilities & all head down to Washington Colony School to play on the monkey bars & spray "cootie spray" on the opposite sex. But we are in danger (more than we'd like to admit) of viewing the world God created through eyes & hearts deadened by the perceived weight of our burdens. Ask Jesus today to renew a childlike spirit in your heart - a readiness to experience & enjoy all the goodness of His creation & His grace. Ask Him for the ability to drink in the wonder of His love... like a child. This article originally appeared in the September 30, 2007 issue of The Grapevine, the newsletter of NewLife Community Church.