What Constitutes Family?

I had an interesting conversation with Zach from Harlingen tonight, which resulted in the following rules to the question of "what constitutes family". We were trying to decide at what point does the distance on the family tree exempt you from having to help a family member move.

The rules:

1. 3 degrees by blood

2. If you say "hi" to a trace-able "family link" in public

3. If they show up the family reunion.

4. The close friend who eats at your home at least a 4 days a week (Uncle Buck).
* The boyfriend/girlfriend who is constantly over is trying to get in the family, but not yet family.

What do you think? Would you add or subtract anything?

The Polyphonic Spree

Does anyone else enjoy The Polyphonice Spree. I first heard this 23 member group on Scrubs and have been tapping my toes to their infectious tunes ever since. Their white robes seem awful cultish, but if cult life is as enjoyable as their music then sign me up!


I enjoyed Seth Godin's post about the importance of seams in response to someone elses attempt at a seamless user experience

Which has me asking this questions...

Why do I (we), as a Christ-follower(s), try to make my (our) faith journey a seamless experience? How am I finding the attempt for seamlessness useless?

"Word Smiths"?

Having trouble keeping up with all those crazy kid's lingo? Try visiting Word Spy regularly and stay updated and in the know.
Need a few new words to upgrade your next conversation from "blase" to "semi-cool"? Try these:

scalper-bot n. A software program designed to purchase online a large number of tickets for a concert, show, or other event, enabling the person running the software to sell the tickets for a profit. Also: scalper bot.

Potterhead n. A person who is a big fan of the Harry Potter series of books. Also: Potter-head.

carbage n. The garbage that accumulates in some cars, particularly in the back seat. [Blend of car and garbage.]

Boyzilian n. A Brazilian bikini wax applied to a man. Also: boyzilian, boy-zilian.

I know I'll use potterhead. I hope to work carbage into a convo, and I don't ever want to use boyzilian.
Although it does remind me of another youth pastor who had to explain to a young man in his youth group that if he's going to ride his shorts and drawers so low then he might to "trim things up" down there. Sometimes working with youth has its awkward moments...gotta love it!

Blog Recommedation

Is anyone else out there reading The Ongoing Adventures of ASBO Jesus. It's religious cartoons that I find humorous, thought-provoking and silly.

Here are a few to wet your whistle:



Click on the banner to see what may be my new favorite sport. Watch the video for an instructional video.
The slogan is completely juvenile, but I snickered anyways.

Biblical Google Maps

Thanks to Kevin at http://kevinandrewpdx.blogspot.com/ for a heads up to this site.

BibleMap.org combines Google maps with Biblical texts. It's still in development, but already it looks like an amazing tool for ministry.

Ten Thousand Angels - Derek Webb (Featuring Andrew Osenga)

I think it's time to post a Derek Webb song. Listen to the guitar sing on Andrew's guitar solo.

Harry Potter Review

Alan Jacob's review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at ChristianityToday.com is excellent. Here's a few paragraphs for you:

Then came riding into the fray a young man—twenty-five at the time—named Gilbert Keith Chesterton, who, though a journalist and an intellectual himself, repudiated the hand-wringing of his colleagues and planted his flag quite firmly in the camp of the penny dreadfuls: "There is no class of vulgar publications about which there is, to my mind, more utterly ridiculous exaggeration and misconception than the current boys' literature of the lowest stratum." Chesterton is perfectly happy to acknowledge that these books are not in the commendatory sense "literature," because "the simple need for some kind of ideal world in which fictitious persons play an unhampered part is infinitely deeper and older than the rules of good art, and much more important. Every one of us in childhood has constructed such an invisible dramatis personae, but it never occurred to our nurses to correct the composition by careful comparison with Balzac."

Nor should our nurses have done so, because what matters most about the penny dreadfuls is the soundness and accuracy of their moral compass, and their power of inspiring their readers to discern the significance of moral choice:
The vast mass of humanity, with their vast mass of idle books and idle words, have never doubted and never will doubt that courage is splendid, that fidelity is noble, that distressed ladies should be rescued, and vanquished enemies spared … . The average man or boy writes daily in these great gaudy diaries of his soul, which we call Penny Dreadfuls, a plainer and better gospel than any of those iridescent ethical paradoxes that the fashionable change as often as their bonnets.

And above all, what Chesterton loves about the penny dreadful is this: "It is always on the side of life."

and Adams closes his review with these words:

What do we choose to imagine, when we choose? The answer is always revelatory, which is one of the reasons Chesterton was right to say that "the simple need for some kind of ideal world in which fictitious persons play an unhampered part is infinitely deeper and older than the rules of good art, and much more important." The Harry Potter books remind us of this, and they can be, if we read them rightly, both a delight in themselves and a school for our own imaginings. They have many flaws, but I have not dwelt on them here because I forgive J. K. Rowling for every one. Her seven books are, and thank God for it, always on the side of life.


Check These Out... I Won't Lead You Astray

  1. Facebook Grows Up - A cover story from Newsweek on the growth and success of Facebook. If you've "addicted" in anyway to Facebook then this is something you probably want to read.
  2. Speaking of Facebook...Josh Harris (you know the "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" guy) said this in response to a dialogue he's been having on his blog about Facebook: "Enjoy Facebook. And if you're a godly single man, receive it as a gift from God to assist you in nonchalantly building a friendship with a godly Christian woman. I'm serious, men! If you're mature enough to pursue marriage, Facebook should be 'Courtbook' for you. Don't just sit there, get on the ball and go "poke" a godly girl. Okay, enough 'Love Doctor' advice. I gave up that business a long time ago." I thought it was funny. Go read the full post, as well as the previous post where Harris gives his personal opinion of Facebook.
  3. Theocracy in America - Joe Carter writes an review of Christiane Amanpour's mini-series God's Warriors. The article has some interesting points and asks some good questions. Here is a sample paragraph: I asked Amanpour if the juxtaposition could be viewed as guilt by association, equating Falwell with religious fanatics who are driven to murder. Her response was that the intention was to “look at the totality of the spectrum [of religious political involvement], from the violent to the legitimate.” She reiterated that the producers had no intention of creating a “moral equivalency” least of all “in the tactics used.”
  4. Hate your job? Check out this site, and maybe we can begin to discover a the best avenue to pursue our passion. These guys travel around in an RV interviewing people about what about their jobs spurs their passion.
  5. "There is a time for 'in-you-face' approaches to mission, but there is also a time to simply become part of the very fabric of a community and to engage in the humanity of it all. Furthermore . . . [you give] the implied message that God actually likes them." Alan Hirsch, The Forgotten Ways.
  6. It's out and Derek Webb is back! Caedmon's Call
  7. I'm a little nervious recommeding this site, but it is really interesting. We Feel Fine
  8. Brillant and Glorious.


My Movie Career

I once was involved in a movie entitled "Call to Glory", about the Cubian missle crisis, starring one Craig T. Nelson. Unfortunately my ego and tempermental acting needs forced me to be fired before my scenes were complete. And the world has forever been struggling to find it's entertainment without me.

Any way I tell you this because ABC Family was playing "The Karate Kid" tonight with the beautiful Elizabeth Shue.

If I was play "6 Degree of Kevin Bacon." it would something like this.

  1. Me and Elizabeth Shue in "Call to Glory"
  2. Elizabeth Shue and Kevin Bacon in "Hallow Man"
I'm 2 degrees from Kevin Bacon. I know your jealous!!!

Here are some of Elizabeth's major work:

  • HIDE AND SEEK (2005)
  • HOLLOW MAN (2000)
  • CITY OF ANGELS (1998)
  • HEART AND SOULS (1993)
  • COCKTAIL (1988)
  • THE KARATE KID (1984)

Texas Execution 8-22-2007

Yesterday Texas preformed it 400th execution since the state reinstituted the death penalty. This one was a little unusually though in that the punished was the Baltimore Orioles.
Sorry I guess that's kind of a bad joke. But seriously what an amazing record in a year of milestones.

French Fry Story

For some reason this childhood memory came to my mind this morning at work.
When my brothers and I were younger we had a couple of particular things we would do when eating French fries.
First, it was always a contest; actually everything was a contest, to see who had the biggest/longest fry. We would hold it up and set it aside as if were an ancient relic, or as if the federal government was going to come after it and put in a crate next to the Ark of the Covenant. Obviously curly fries were amazing because you could stretch one out over a foot sometimes. The sad thing is that the “long fry” could not be eaten until all potential contenders were eliminated, which sometimes resulted in eating a cold French fry.
Second we would take a drink of our beverage and say, ‘First I drink the gasoline.” Then we would hold up a fry and say, “Next we take the match.” Next we would swipe the tip of our fry in the pile of ketchup saying, “Then we light the match.” For the next we would swallow the “match”. And finally we would pretend that we blew up.
Now that I think about it, it’s kind of morbid and suicidal. We were strange kids.


Why Teddy Is Cool

Why Teddy Roosevelt is cool?

In the words of Robert Heinlein: “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

Teddy Roosevelts' Presidential firsts:

  1. In the sphere of race relations, Booker T. Washington became the first black man to dine as a guest at the White House in 1901.
  2. Oscar S. Straus became the first Jewish person appointed as a Cabinet Secretary, under Roosevelt.
  3. In 1902, in response to the assassination of President William McKinley on September 6, 1901, Theodore Roosevelt became the first president to be under constant Secret Service protection.
  4. Roosevelt in 1904, became the first former Vice-President who had succeeded to the presidency on the death of the incumbent, to be elected President in his own right or even win his party’s nomination for election.
  5. In 1906, Roosevelt became the first American to be awarded a Nobel Prize.
  6. In 1906, he made the first trip, by a President, outside the United States, visiting Panama to inspect the construction progress of the Panama Canal on November 9.
  7. He was the first and to date only president from Long Island, New York.
  8. He was the first President to refer to the White House as such on his official stationery. Until then the mansion had been referred to simply as 'The President's House'
  9. He was the first President to receive a black composer when he met the British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor who had great success with his Hiawatha Trilogy and settings of poems by Paul Lawrence Dunbar the black poet and novelist.
  10. He was the first President to fly in an airplane.
  11. He was the first President to wear a necktie for his official Presidential Portrait.

Wikipedia on Teddy

The White House Bio

Theodore Roosevelt's Site

quote from Mental Floss Blog

Albright Quote

Click HERE for the full story of Madeleine Albright on politics and religion.

“In order to effectively conduct foreign policy today, you have to understand the role of God and religion. ... My sense is that we don't fully understand, because one, it's pretty complicated, and two, everyone in the U.S. believes in a separation of church and state, so you think, "Well, if we don't believe in the convergence of church and state, then perhaps we shouldn't worry about the role of religion." I think we do that now at our own peril. Religion is instrumental in shaping ideas and policies. It's an essential part of everyday life in a whole host of countries. And obviously it plays a role in how these countries behave, so we need to know what the religious influence is.”

Thoughts from 8-22-2007

1. Check out this Simpson's religious quiz.

2. Also check out this cool interactive map from the Simpson's hometown of Springfield.

3. Here is a the offical Dunder Mifflin site.

4. I learned two new words today. One is "albedo" and the second is "lagnaippe".
Albedo [al-bee-doh]
–noun, plural -dos.
1. Astronomy. the ratio of the light reflected by a planet or satellite to that received by it.
2. Meteorology. such a ratio for any part of the earth's surface or atmosphere.
3. the white, inner rind of a citrus fruit.
The fraction of the total light striking a surface that gets reflected from that surface. An object that has a high albedo (near 1) is very bright; an object that has a low albedo (near 0) is dark. The Earth's albedo is about 0.37. The Moon's is about 0.12.

Lagniappe / [lan-yap, lan-yap] –noun
1. Chiefly Southern Louisiana and Southeast Texas. a small gift given with a purchase to a customer, by way of compliment or for good measure; bonus.
2. a gratuity or tip.
3. an unexpected or indirect benefit.

5. Check out the pic below. I came across it today. on July 14th Arturo Gatti had a split upper lip after being knocked down and out by Alfonso Gomez in the seventh round of their Welterweight fight on July 14, 2007 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It looks like it hurts.


I'm old.



I'm a huge fan of PostSecrets (http://postsecret.blogspot.com/). I must warn you that some of the postcards are graphic and innappropriate. Some may also question the truthfulness of the postcards. But I agree with Frank Warren, the man behind the idea, that the expressions and "secrects" told reveal something about the person who created and sent them, whether it's the complete truth or not.


Why I Don't Sing New Songs

It's not that I don't sing any new songs, rather it's just that I don't sing songs the first time I hear them. Surely your been somewhere where you have sung or a friend has been singing along to a new song...a church, a concert, listening to a brand new CD.
Many moons ago I was at a small music festival and Geoff Moore and the Distance was playing, yes I said Geoff Moore and the Distance, and it was awesome! The band was gearing up to release their brand new album entitled Homerun. The boys decided to debut for us two new songs. The first song was "Best Days". I can remember clearly the response of the crowd. We quickly picked up the theme and message of the song and before the song reached the end of it's chorus we were singing along.
After the song was over Geoff stood flabbergast and said something to the effect of "I've never had an audience sing along to a song they didn't know. That's incredible."
That moment has stuck with me. While I've been guilty of this since that moment it has certainly been a while. I find that it typically happens during worship songs. The audience wanting so much to be in the experience will chime along to lyrics they don't know. Plus they feel that because the words are in front of them on powerpoint or whatever that they can follow.
It's incredibly embarrassing when the song changes tempos or has an awkward pause and the crowd keeps singing anyways for a beat or two. Everyone turns and looks silently judging the persons mistake.
So I make it a point never to sing a song I've never heard before. Even if it's obvious chorus or melody that I know I can follow.

Bono quote

From the book Bono: in converstation with Michka Assayas.

In response to the question, "What about the God of the Old Testament? He wasn't so 'peace and love'," Bono answers:

"There's nothing hippie about my picture of Christ. The Gospels paint a picture of a very demanding, sometimes divisive love, but love it is. I accept the Old Testament as more of an action movie: blood, car chases, evacuations, a lot of special effects, seas dividing, mass murder, adultery. The children of God are running amok, wayward. Maybe that's why they're so relatable. But the way we would see it, those of us who are trying to figure out our Christian conundrum,
is that the God of the Old Testament is like the journey from stern father to friend. When you're a child, you need clear directions and some strict rules, but with Christ, we have access to a one-to-one relationship, for, as in the Old Testament, it was more one of worship and awe, a vertical relationship. The New Testament , on the other hand, we look across at a Jesus who looks familiar, horizontal. The combination is what makes the cross."

(thanks to Snapshots from my World)


Click to view my Personality Profile page
What do you all think? Would you agree with the above as an accurate representation of who I am?


"ISTJs are often called inspectors. They have a keen sense of right and wrong, especially in their area of interest and/or responsibility. They are noted for devotion to duty. Punctuality is a watchword of the ISTJ. The secretary, clerk, or business(wo)man by whom others set their clocks is likely to be an ISTJ."
ISTJ Profile (TypeLogic)
"ISTJs are very loyal, faithful, and dependable. They place great importance on honesty and integrity. They are "good citizens" who can be depended on to do the right thing for their families and communities. While they generally take things very seriously, they also usually have an offbeat sense of humor and can be a lot of fun - especially at family or work-related gatherings."
Portrait of an ISTJ (The Personality Page)
"...characterized by decisiveness in practical affairs, are the guardians of institutions, and if only one adjective could be selected, "super dependable" would best describe them."
The Portrait of the Inspector Guardian (Keirsey)
"...private, does not appreciate strangeness, not adventurous, not spontaneous, follows the rules..."
Jung Type Descriptions (ISTJ) (similarminds.com)
"At work, ISTJs get things done on a timely basis. They honor deadlines, and they believe in thoroughness. A half-finished joy is not a job well done. They established procedures and schedules, and are uncomfortable with those who do not do the same. ISTJs put duty before pleasure. As long as they can fulfil their responsibilities, they feel useful and thereby satisfied. Their work does not have to be fun, but it has to count toward something productive. ISTJs believe that vacations are something that one takes only when work has been accomplished; thus, at times they do not take vacations even when they could and should."
ISTJ - The Reliant (Lifexplore)
Real ISTJ People
Andrew Johnson - American President
Benjamin Harrison - American President
Elizabeth II - Queen of England
Evander Holyfield - boxer
George H. W. Bush - American President
George Washington - American President
Harry Truman - American President
Herbert Hoover - American President
Jack Webb - actor, producer
Jackie Joyner-Kersee - athlete (heptathlon)
Thomas - Christ's Apostle
Warren Buffet - investor, businessman
Fictional ISTJs (Characters)
Angel Eyes - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Bruce Wayne - Batman Begins
Cliff Clavin - Cheers
Dallas - Alien
Darth Vader - Star Wars
Eeyore - Winnie the Pooh
Evelyn Cross Mulwray - Chinatown
Frankie Dunn - Eastwood in Million Dollar Baby
Fred Mertz - I Love Lucy
Gen. Yevgraf Zhivago - Doctor Zhivago
Jet Black - Cowboy Bebop
Joe Friday - Dragnet
Julia - Cowboy Bebop
Lornette 'Mace' Mason - Strange Days
Mama Montana - Scarface
Mr. Martin - Sitting in the Catbird Seat
Puddleglum - Chronicles of Narnia

Motivational Posters

I don't know if I agree with all these posters at Spurgen.org, but they are kinda fun. Here are a few for your enjoyment:

Mental Floss Questions

Asked at Mental Floss so I thought I'd answer.

1) If you could have written any movie in history – or, more accurately, if you could tell people that you’d written any movie in history – what would it be?

I suppose I might say Clerks, but not as perverse. Kevin Smith has a knack at writing dialogue that doesn't seem forced or unnatural, yet within it's absurdness there can be some depth and insight. So instead of Clerks I'll say Dogma.

2) What’s a food you’d fake a fainting spell to avoid having to eat?

Mushrooms and Olives.

3) What historical figure (pre-1900) would have made the best mental_floss blogger?

Benjamin Franklin

4) With what character – book, film, stage or television – do you most relate?

A little bit of Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer.

5) Coin a new phrase that means “I’m having a good time at this party.”

"It's falling off the bone!"

Great, Strange News

Japanese biker fails to notice missing leg... after continuing to drive for another mile.

Have You Seen This?

Click HERE for more info.


Our summer camp theme was Branded, which had me thinking a lot about the marketing understanding. As it's lingered in my mind over the summer I went back and found this diagram that Marko posted some time back.

I really want to create a youth evangelism strategy around this thinking. I'm still formulating some ideas on how to motivate students along the same thought process. Does anyone know of some material that could educate me more about branding?

Records are Chaos

I was linked to this video from Extra Mustard at SI.com.
How unforgetable this moment will be to one of these camera men.


...and one more...

I love baseball!

New Home Run King!

He did it! 756. A solo shot toward right field. Awesome!
I hope you saw it.

With the crowd chanting "Barry! Barry!" Barry dug in and took the 2-2 pitch from Mike Bacsik deep. He knew it immediately. I guess everyone did. You could feel it as he first stepped in teh box.

The Giants honored Barry with a tapped message on the scoreboard from Hank Aaron. And then allowed Barry a moment to say thank you. Bonds thanked his family, the fans, the Nationals, and struggled to thank his father.

You have to respect the fact that the two previous at bats and the record breaking at bat, Bacisk didn't pitch around Barry but challenged him. He didn't offer up a batting practice pitch, but only threw the hittable pitch when the count dictated it. As Barry rounded the bases Bacsik even tipped his hat to Barry.

Wow. I so glad I didn't miss this. History in the making. Forget for a moment all the controversy and dwell in the amazement that he actually hit 756 homers. I challenge you to take batting practice and see how long it would take you to hit 756 home runs. Brillant.

Still in awe! I saw Barry hit 70, 71 and 72 in that single season and now I actually saw this too.

It looks like a Mets fan caught the ball. The police mobbed him out of the stadium.

Awesome, awesome, awesome!


Barry Bonds hit #755 into the left field seats tonight to tie Hank Aaron for the home run record. (as of this post he's been walked the next two at bats)


Recent Interview

I returned today from the Valley after interviewing at a church. I didn't come away with a great feel for how the search committee felt about me, but I will say that I did feel very comfortable during the two days I was visiting.
Now I know many of the students and adult sponsors from camp and was able to interact with them well, so that was helpful.
Also I laid a whooping on several of the high school boys while playing Risk. I tried to warn them that they were spreading their armies to thin. They wouldn't listen. They were forced to pay.
Outside of the ministry opportunities here is a short list of the things that excite me about working there:
- a few minutes from South Padre Island and the beach. We actually stayed out on the island one of the nights. And went and walked the length of the jetty in the morning.
- the parsonage! 3 bedrooms. 2 large living spaces. A yard! That could be amazing.
- my asthma seemed to be under control, or rather better than it's been here in S.A.
- the parsonage is only a few blocks from the church and the church is two blocks from one of the high schools. My current job has me driving 30-40 to work every day.
- cost of living in the Valley is supposed to be a lot less than other places.
- the youth pastor's office is in the youth building and has plenty of potential.

I'm going to continuing praying about it until they make their own decisions.