a caution for youth workers
Monday July 31st 2006, 2:31 pm
Filed under: youth ministry, youth work

if you ever take your teenagers TPing, make sure you get the right house.  key quote by the police: This is the largest (toilet papering) case we’ve had in recent memory.  well, i guess you gotta give the kids props for that!

connecting with the past and present
Monday July 31st 2006, 2:20 pm
Filed under: personal, family

trips to detroit for me are often filled with nostalgia and connections with my past.  jeannie and i attended the wedding of our good friend rolly richert (whom we originally know from our time in wheaton, where rolly and his family were part of our church).  rolly lives across the street from where my home church in detroit was located, and his kids both graduated from the same high school i did.  so there were tons of people from my childhood and teen years at the wedding, in addition to people from my current YS world, since rolly directs the main stage at our conventions.  i had one of those ’small world’ episodes at the wedding also, as one of the senior VPs from zondervan was there (zondervan is three hours away from here, on the other side of the state), and neither of us had any idea we were both connected to rolly.

the church i attended most of my life while growing up (ward presbyterian, in livonia) moved several years ago, and it was totally surreal to drive past the old location and see it completely gone, replaced by a strip mall and some condos.  it felt like a part of my history had been stolen in some way.  the memories are all there, but the place is gone.

on our way to the wedding, jeannie and i drove past the house i lived in during junior high and high school, and had a nice chat with the young couple who live there now.

on saturday, while driving somewhere, we happened to be very near the company where jeannie and i met, so we swung down that street to show our kids.  the last time i’d seen it (a couple years ago), it was closed down and in disrepair, with weeds all grown up around the building.  this time, it was…. gone!  replaced by a big new building of another company.  another significant ‘place’ in my story that no longer exists outside our memories.  weird.

jeannie and liesl are in chicago for three days with my sister and my niece, and max and i are on day two of what we’re calling “Max Fest”.  yesterday, we went fishing at a stocked trout pond, and he caught two fish; then we went golfing with my dad and bro-in-law.  we finished the evening with board game with my parents and a dinner of popcorn and smoothies — a perfect max day.  today he’s at a waterpark with my parents, and i’m at starbucks getting caught up on some things.

a significant mentor in my life as a teenager was my church worship pastor.  he was one of the first people to nurture leadership stuff in me, and is a large part of why i do what i do today.  but i hadn’t seen him or connected with him in about 8 years.  so i got his phone number, and just had a wonderful 90 minute catch-up with him here at starbucks.  what a great opportunity to affirm the role he played in my life.  then i connected with my friend jason raitz for an hour.  jason is leaving detroit to join the middle school ministry staff at willow creek in a couple weeks, and i’m very excited for him.  he’s a great guy, and i’m pumped that willow sees his potential. and tonite i’m hanging out with my best friend from my childhood and teenage years.  we see each other whenever i’m in detroit, and it’s always great to connect.

i love seeing all the interconnected parts of my life and story like this.  it’s always such a great reminder of god’s presence in my story.

an american tradtion
Monday July 31st 2006, 1:59 pm
Filed under: thinking...

i was in grocery store the other day, and noticed this…


the supermarket sign saying “an american tradition” is located right above the liquor section of the store.  interesting.

confession is good for the soul
Saturday July 29th 2006, 12:12 pm
Filed under: personal

last night, 5 minutes before midnight.  jeannie and i were driving back to her parents home here in detroit after seeing the movie, you, me and dupree with her brother and his wife.  and it hit.

the craving.

it’s a craving that only strikes me in detroit and other midwestern cities, because it’s an impossible-to-fulfill craving in california.

the craving?  white castle cheeseburgers.

yes, the original slider (even white castle has caved to this name, and advertises “slyders”).  tiny little burgers with little bits o’ chopped onions and cheese you can actually taste.  i love them, and there are very few things in life, food-wise, that i crave like these babies. 

so at midnight, i temporarily turned my back on healthy living, and pulled into the drive-through to order a half-dozen white castle cheeseburgers.  craving satisfied.

headline of the day, so far
Saturday July 29th 2006, 12:07 pm
Filed under: humor

i don’t want to read the article, but i don’t understand the headline.

Dead chickens save drivers on car registration

(ht to dave barry)

a kitchen tool for manly men
Friday July 28th 2006, 1:22 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

all you manly men will be slice veggies and prepare dinner if you have one of these.slice.jpg


(ht to dave barry)

what geek (or techno-gadget collector) wouldn’t want these?
Friday July 28th 2006, 12:13 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

pen1ooh — this is way too cool.  a collection of “pens” with bluetooth that replace the need for a laptop!  they project a screen and a keyboard!  check it out…



UPDATE:  here’s the scoop on the “reality” of this technology.

finally, a product that caters to the laziest of all lazy water snobs
Thursday July 27th 2006, 3:15 pm
Filed under: humor

Ice in a boxyes, folks, welcome to your local grocery shelf: prepackaged unfrozen ice cubes. i’m not kidding. it’s filtered water, in little plastic ice cube trays, with a sealed plastic cover. so even the laziest water snob can spend crazy-money for the convenience of going to the store, buying these, opening the box and putting the trays in the freezer, waiting for them to freeze, then pulling back the plastic wrap to expose these little beauties. i mean, really, if you’re a lazy water snob, actually filling your own ice cube trays with your own filtered water can get so boring, so inconvenient, so five minutes ago. a special thanks to canada (and, really, who knows ice cubes better, except, maybe, like greenland?) for this wonderful time-saving and highly over-packaged absurdity.

oh, and according to the website, this is all about humanitarian efforts, providing pure filtered water ice as a health salvation to the world! (because, as everyone knows, our third world brothers and sisters who struggle with water-born diseases, use SO many ice cubes!).

update!: the company has also lauched two additional brands (good news for the third-world!): ICE KIDS(r), “secured spring water ice cubes, product directed for the children’s market,” and SCOTCH ROCKS (r), “secured spring water ice cubes, luxury product for alcoholic beverages.”

(ht to dave barry)

wordpress/technorati help
Thursday July 27th 2006, 2:54 pm
Filed under: blogs

technorati somehow stopped recognizing my wordpress categories as tags (though technorati says it should work).  i thought it might be because i was using the most current wordpress version, but have upgraded that in the last 24 hours, and haven’t seen a change.  i’ve virtually fallen off the technorati lists for all the categories (tags) i blog in, and have no idea why.  anyone have any input for me?

fascinating and beautiful interchange
Wednesday July 26th 2006, 12:46 pm
Filed under: faith, church, thinking...

you may have seen dr. martin accad’s wonderfully raw and pleading essay on christianity today’s website last week, called Another Point of View: Evangelical Blindness on Lebanon. it’s absolute must-read stuff for any christian, and anyone interested in the world beyond their own front door or steeple.

but here’s the kicker: accad built much of his essay around comments made by a dr. david gushee. and, in a truly beautiful open letter, gushee responded this week to accad. an excerpt:

I hear the desperation and misery in your voice. I sense your fear for the well-being of your loved ones and your grief over those already torn to pieces by Israeli bombs. I hear your rage at the nation that is inflicting this suffering on your people, and at Hezbollah for starting this latest round of fighting, and at the feckless international community, and at global evangelicals, especially in the United States, and at the U.S. government itself.

I, personally, am struggling deeply right now to have any hope about many of the same things that you are struggling with. I think the United States government has been pursuing a disastrous foreign policy since September 11 and that now we are reaping some of the consequences of that mixture of unilateralism, militarism, Wilsonian idealism, and negligent incompetence. My sympathy for Israel—which is indeed deep, a mix of all kinds of factors, some rational, some emotional—does not extend to support for what has clearly become a massive and disproportionate military offensive. And when I read about Hezbollah, and Hamas, and Syria, and Iran, and the growing sophistication of the weapons being fired at Israel, and the emergent pro-Iran Iraq, and the tangled web of ties and dark plans that connect Israel’s enemies, I sense a coming conflagration.

then, accad responded in an open letter back to gushee. an excerpt:

David Gushee’s gracious response also, in his “Open Letter to Dr. Martin Accad” that Christianity Today published, gives me the desire to be picked up from the roadside despite my wounds. At the end of this weekend I have more hope, because I have discovered life in a part of the church’s heart that I had thought dead. Thanks, David, and thank you to the new friends I have made.

If so many in the church in the U.S. actually care enough to listen and respond to a Middle Eastern Arab Christian cry, then perhaps there is enough hope, will and faith in this church to lean over the wounded “enemy” in the Middle East so that the universal church can address injustice and somehow bring to a halt this deliberate targeting of faith communities.

these three open letters have become larger than their content. don’t get me wrong: they’re all worth reading purely for their content, to more clearly understand the current violence between israel and hezbollah and its impact on the lives of real people. but beyond that, accad and gushee provide us a model for dialogue in a public space. there’s almost none of this in the christian world, from people with widely disperate viewpoints. put jerry falwell and jim wallace on nightline together, and they’ll rip each other and both make ridiculous overstatements and repeat the same lines (created by some soundbite specialist) over and over and over until i want to take a sledgehammer to my tv and the whole notion of christian debate. hrmph.

but these two guys i’d never heard of — gah! that’s the kind of interchange i want with the people i disagree with (especially my brothers and sisters in the church with whom i disagree). makes me hopeful and frustrated at the same time.

(ht to dave palmer for pointing out the last two open letters)