woo-hoo! or, sabbatical, here i come!
Friday January 20th 2006, 7:08 pm
Filed under: faith, personal, blogs

i’ve been running on one more cylinder than i have for a number of months. and we (YS) have some big stuff coming up this year. we talked about this at our exec retreat, and i mentioned that i really felt i could use a couple weeks of sabbatical to re-charge. karla told me she wanted me to take a month! we looked at my calendar, and other than having to cancel my participation in the emergent board meeting and theological discussion, i had shockingly little in the next month, but lots of un-cancel-able stuff after that. so as of midnight tonite, i’m going on a four-week sabbatical! i’m so stoked.

i’m flying to hawaii on monday morning, and will have 11 nights by myself in an ocean-view condo. just me, a pile of books, a handful of questions to meditate and journal on, and a mai tai glass. then i’ll be home with my family for the two weeks following that. to make this a truly unconnected sabbatical, i’m committing to a few things that are pretty drastic for me: no blogging (posting or reading — i’m not even taking my computer to hawaii), no email, no cell phone, no checking messages. only my wife will have the phone number at the condo in hawaii.

so, fare-thee-well to my blog readers. i’ll be back.

sorry, peter
Thursday January 19th 2006, 6:18 pm
Filed under: humor

bro, please tell me you prounce your name ahz-mahn, or something like that.

apparently i’m not in a good place
Thursday January 19th 2006, 1:47 pm
Filed under: youth specialties, personal

when our exec team started sharing personal updates yesterday late morning (we’re on a retreat right now, and spent the first two days on budgets and goals, which we’re getting back to today), we thought it might take a couple hours. we finished at 9pm. wow — lots of stuff going on in everyone’s lives right now. but the primary theme, and certainly mine, was stress.

now, i know we all make choices about our lives that lead to stress. but sometimes there are seasons where it feels like you have no choices — just lots of stuff (good as each of those pieces might be in and of themselves). one of my co-workers described the feeling right now as “holding on, but not looking forward”, and that so rang true. there’s a variety of weighty things going on (much of which i can’t blog about), and i’m waiting on resolve with some of them. i think the resolve will be better in most cases — though, to be honest, in one of two of the major issues, the resolve could be good, bad or (maybe the worst) feel like more waiting. almost all of this is somewhat out of my control, which is absolutely maddening to me. i like to be able to control my world (that’s an admission), or at least maintain the perception that i am able to do so. but even the perception is clearly out the window at this moment.

i sobbed like a baby in front of the exec team yesterday (which didn’t freak anyone out at all! 4 others had done the same thing!). now, back to budgets and goals.

a very odd way to raise money for habitat for humanity
Wednesday January 18th 2006, 5:54 pm
Filed under: humor

well, i suppose the ends might justify the means in this case? not sure. i’m wondering what i could sell for habitat for humanity…

worst jesus junk of the month award
Wednesday January 18th 2006, 1:28 pm
Filed under: church, humor

ok, i don’t so much have a theological problem with painting jesus as a teenager. interesting idea, really. and i agree that, if one is to paint jesus as a teenager, it would be best to actually make him look like a teenager. but this… well, the halo, the “apostles” tat, the brush cut, the smug “i’m a young richard gere” look. it was just a bit too much for me, you might say. i did get a kick out of reading the youth ministers page. and at least this one seems to be in stock, unlike that elvis & jesus painting!



(ht to steve case)

my sin nature: remembering my first awareness
Tuesday January 17th 2006, 7:16 pm
Filed under: faith, personal

i have a very strong memory from childhood — young childhood. it’s a memory of my first self-awareness of my propensity for sin. of course, i wouldn’t have put it that way. but i was overwhelmed — almost to the point of being sick — with my behavior.

here’s the story:

i was probably somewhere between 5 and 8 years old (it’s odd that i don’t have a more clear idea of exactly how old i was — i normally do), and was visiting my grandparents in ann arbor, michigan (go blue!). my aunt and uncle were there also — jim and carol groesbeck (now in colorado springs). they were young marrieds at the time.

my aunt carol took my on some errands, and when we passed a carnival, i begged her to stop and let me go on one ride. she relented. after the ride, i begged for some cotton candy, a treat i normally didn’t get to have in my home. she was reluctant to spend the money, and i made up a justification that i wanted to get it so i could share it with my uncle jim (her husband). i think i knew i was pushing the truth, but i justified it to my little self in a full-blown plan to actually share.

but the cotton candy was too good. i got to a half-way point and stopped, thinking i needed to share the rest. but ‘one more bite’ wouldn’t change much. ‘just one more bite’ continued over and over again as we drove back to my grandparents, with me, the whole time, stating over and over again how i was looking forward to sharing it with uncle jim. by the time we got home, all i had was the paper cone the cotton candy had come on, with dark pink moist patches of cotton candy residue. in the midst of this process, i had wholly convinced myself i really was going to share.

we pulled into the driveway, and uncle jim came out. i jumped out of the car and excitedly said, “uncle jim! look what i brought you! aunt carol let me get it for us to share!” and i handed him the pink-and-white slimy paper tube. he grinned from ear to ear, thanked me, and pretended to start nibbling on the residue. i was just old enough to realize he was faking it (he thought he could fool me).

and it hit me like a ton of bricks: i’m a dirtbag. i lied. i never intended to share, and only used that as an excuse to get what i wanted. but what was really startling to me was how i had convinced myself (between the original manipulation and the revealing) that i was going to share, even though i continued on my original course of eating the whole thing.

recently, a group of people i was with were storyboarding our lives, and we were asked to pick five high-points and five low-points. it had been suggested that one of each be our earliest memories. this story came back to me. some days, not much has changed.

rationale against parrots as pets for adulterers, vol. 1
Tuesday January 17th 2006, 7:03 pm
Filed under: humor

warning to adulterers: parrots make a poor pet choice.

24 update
Monday January 16th 2006, 5:06 pm
Filed under: humor, tv/movies

ohmygosh — being a massive 24 fan, and salivating my way through the first-half of the 4 hour premiere last night, this summary from dave barry made me laugh out loud:

FINALLY the football game is over. I hope everybody has visited the bathroom and is ready for some ACTION.


UPDATE: What the hell has Jimmy Johnson done to his hair?

UPDATE: Here we go. I pity the West Coast.

UPDATE: I hate the needle-to-the-heart part.

UPDATE: Jack is wearing a hard hat. They’ll NEVER penetrate that disguise!

UPDATE: The bastards shot former acting acting president Allstate Insurance Spokesperson!

UPDATE: They’re setting up a hard perimeter. That’s always good.

UPDATE: WHOA! Chloe has a boyfriend! He’s, like, 9, but still.

UPDATE: Frank’s hot new girlfriend does not seem quite so hot now that we get a good look at her. But she is a major upgrade from Audrey.

UPDATE: The new girlfriend’s surly teenage son looks alarmingly like Chloe.

UPDATE: Michelle is reminding Tony that they used to run scenarios. That is SO romantic.

UPDATE: They got Michelle! These people are dropping like flies.

UPDATE: Oral-B has a new toothbrush that looks genuinely scary.

UPDATE: Whoa. Edgar has not been skipping the Krispy Kremes.

UPDATE: NOW THEY’RE AFTER CHLOE. It’s like they want to wipe out everybody who had anything to do with the last season! And who can blame them?

UPDATE: New Girlfriend (NGF) to Jack: “I can’t thank you enough for all the work you’ve done around here.” Heheheheh.

UPDATE: Jack wants Chloe to go dark.

UPDATE: Jack got out his Secret Agent Kit! He’s baaaaaaccckk!


UPDATE: The first lady is not taking this well.

UPDATE: Jack has commenced hitting people.

UPDATE: Jack is taking the NGF’s surly teenage son (STS) in the helicopter. It’s a chance for them to bond.

UPDATE: The First Lady says she is, quote, “not making this up.”

UPDATE: Edgar is the size of a two-car garage.

UPDATE: They’re not at speed! I hate it when people are after me and I’m not at speed.

UPDATE: Hey, Jack is stabbing now. Is that new? He was always more of a shooter.

UPDATE: Do NOT mess with Chloe.

UPDATE: The guy actually believed Jack wouldn’t shoot him! Obviously he has never seen this show.

UPDATE: At this rate, by the end of the second hour there’s going to be nobody left alive in Southern California.

UPDATE: Celebrity skating? Where will it end? Celebrity welding? Celebrity eye surgery?

UPDATE: Why are they showing the highlights of the first hour, which we JUST WATCHED??

UPDATE: Edgar ran it through a high-res filter. That’s exactly how I would handle it.

UPDATE: Chloe’s going to get Jack a schematic.

UPDATE: “Jack would never murder his friends.”

UPDATE: Edgar is jealous.

UPDATE: President Manilow is SUCH a wienerhead.

UPDATE: They launch in less than an hour! (Who the hell are they?)

UPDATE: Jack’s girlfriend is thinking she should have kept dating the plumber.

UPDATE: Chloe is reading the agents’ transponders. She is some woman!

UPDATE: “Relax. He’s really good at this.”

UPDATE: Jack is booted up, and Chloe is uploading to him.

UPDATE: Jack is a smooth talker.

UPDATE: You rarely see that kind of cleavage on a first lady.

UPDATE: Edgar found out that Chloe’s logged in remotely! With an external socket!


UPDATE: I don’t like the looks of the bald guy with the accent and the guns.

UPDATE: At some point, even the FBI is bound to notice all the unconscious agents lying around.

UPDATE: There’s, like, dozens of agents after Jack. They have NO chance.

UPDATE: The girlfriend’s on the 210 at the 10.

UPDATE: Chloe is a stand-up gal.

UPDATE: Jack really does care.

UPDATE: Somebody is messing with the first lady’s mind, such as it is.

UPDATE: Edgar says there’s chatter! They’re sourcing it! The reliability’s approaching 95 percent!

UPDATE: Eventually the bald guy is going to punch President Manilow out.

UPDATE: I see guys like that in the Miami Airport all the time.

UPDATE: You watch. The airlines will claim this is a weather delay.


UPDATE: Looks like there will be shooting tomorrow night.

OK, everybody take a handful of powerful sedatives and try to get some sleep. We’ll recap tomorrow. You’ll be on your own tomorrow night, but I think you have shown, in the comments section, that you are completely out of your minds up to the task.

(ht to dave barry)

i probably shouldn’t post this…
Monday January 16th 2006, 5:00 pm
Filed under: humor

but… this is one of those names you’d probably trade in a for an american nickname. how’d you like to go through an american middle school with this one?

(ht to dave barry)

losing my place during a wedding
Monday January 16th 2006, 4:54 pm
Filed under: personal

so, last night i was performing a wedding. it was outside (san diego!), and lit by christmas lights and heat-lamps. there was a bit of ambient light left in the sky when the ceremony began, just after 5pm. but by the time i got to the vows, at about 5:25, it was totally dark. and what i hadn’t realized ahead of time was that my little spot under the flower-covered arch was completely blocking even the smallest bit of light. i was reading the vows out of my little leather-bound ‘minister’s manual’, and the font is very small and lightweight. halfway through the grooms vows, i completely lost my place and panicked when i realized i couldn’t find it again. after a long pause, i said, “it is SO dark up here, and i have totally lost my place!” big laughter. i continued, “give me a second to try to find my place.” i took my glasses off and held the book about 6 inches from my face, scanning the paragraph for anything that looked familiar, and finally found my place. oof. good times.