Saturday, July 22, 2006


"When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer.

To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I amand what God's grace means. As Thomas Merton put it, 'A saint is not someone who is good but who experiences the goodness of God.'"

The Ragamuffin Gospel - Brennan Manning

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Yesterday, my dear friend Eddy was struck by lightning and died. Today, I am still at a loss for words and I am in mourning. Eddy's family... I can't even imagine. Eddy was 37 years old, single-parent, soon to be married, child of God. If such a thing as a good man exists, Eddy was a good man. Eddy understood and lived grace. He was a great friend and will be missed.

There is a void on this earth today.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Edward Hidalgo

Elijah -
Rich Mullins

The Jordan is waiting for me to cross through
My heart is aging I can tell
So Lord I'm begging for one last favor from You
Here's my heart take it where You will
This life has shown me how we're mended and how we're torn
How it's okay to be lonely as long as you're free
Sometimes my ground was stoney
And sometimes covered up with thorns
And only You could make it what it had to be
And now that it's done

Well, if they dressed me like a pauper
Or if they dined me like a prince
If they lay me with my fathers
Or if my ashes scatter on the wind
I don't care

But when I leave I want to go out like Elijah
With a whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire
And when I look back on the stars
Well, It'll be like a candlelight in Central Park
And it won't break my heart to say goodbye

There's people been friendly, but they'd never be your friend
Sometimes this has bent me to the ground
Now that this is all ending I want to hear some music once again

'Cause it's the finest thing I have ever found
But the Jordan is waiting
Though I ain't never seen the other side
They say you can't take in the things you have here
So on the road to salvation I stick out my thumb and He gives me a ride
And His music is already falling on my ears

There's people been talking
They say they're worried about my soul
Well, I'm here to tell you I'll keep rocking
'Til I'm sure it's my time to roll And when I do

When I leave I want to go out like Elijah
With a whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire
And when I look back on the stars
Well, it'll be like a candlelight in Central Park
And it won't break my heart to say goodbye
When I leave I want to go out like Elijah
With a whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire
And when I look back on the stars
Well, it'll be like a candlelight in Central Park
And it won't break my heart to say goodbye

The Jordan is waiting The Jordan is waiting Bye, bye

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Accidents and perspective

Yesterday, I sat at my desk going over paperwork, estimates and emails. It was morning and I had just read a particularly frustrating email from someone who has no clue what he is talking about, yet I suspect that as he wrote his email he did so with a sense of arrogance, despite his 4 years of experience vs. my 15 years in the industry I work in.

I called my friend Robert to talk about it. Robert says, "Dude, my brother-in-law just got into an accident, he's in critical condition at Jackson and they don't know if he's going to make it".

Perspective. Everything else falls away. The only thing that matters is a friend at a loss for words and emotion, and a broken man lying on a hospital bed hanging by a thread.

I went to the hospital just to be with my friend and spend some time with him as he struggled with what just happened to his loved one. The whole thing, as always, gets you thinking about life, death, finality, and our existence; why we're here.

Now my friend Robert is a Christian who like me, is a bit rough around the edges. But he believes. He struggles. He falls and gets back up. Still he is a child of God. Yesterday, he said twice, "That's it... tomorrow, I'm gettin' Baptized".

It always happens. Death stares you in the face, and the questions and doubts come flooding in all at once.

Recently another friend walked out of the hospital with his dad, who had almost died. As he walked out, he tells me saw another son, who would not walk out of the hospital with his dad. The son held his head in his hand, saying "I won't have my dad anymore."

Perspective. While these are somber moments of reflection and questions, I find it sadder still that it takes these moments to make us ask these questions. The rest of the time, most people just walk around in a semi-catatonic state (called life), thinking that these questions are just too complex and "heady" to be thinking about.

My faith does not ask me to "just believe". My faith asks me to think; to love my God with all my heart, soul and mind. My faith asks me to analyze & reflect -- constantly; to be vigilant always.

Some think I take my faith too seriously. I think some people take their unbelief too seriously.

A few months ago, a guy who was working on my house told me how his brother goes to church every Sunday, but he on the other hand does not. He held his brow very high as he said this. He went on to tell me that it wasn't because he didn't want to go, it's just that he "doesn't really think about that stuff". I didn't tell him he should go to church, or repent of his sin of unbelief, or that his brother is a better person than him. NONE OF THESE ARE TRUE. I simply told him that one day, God would bring him to a place where he would have to think about that stuff, and that just because he doesn't think about that stuff, the stuff is still there, waiting for him to think about it.

He was confused. So was I.

I know I say this a lot, but I'm so glad my faith is not about going to church on Sunday, being a good person, repenting of sins, and being nice to people. I'm so glad it's about so much more than that. I'm glad that my faith is about God's grace, and the assurance that when faced with those questions, I can know that I have the answers. The pain is still there, but the questions and doubts are answered beyond "hey guys come on... he's a fighter and he's gonna get through this. "

"Love's as strong as death, my love. Unyielding as the grave." - Rich Mullins

PS - my friends brother-in-law is doing better. Thankfully, it appears he may come out of this one.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

"This town needs an enema!"

The town, Christianville, USA.

The enema, now, that's the tough one. What to use as an effective cleansing mixture? I'm not sure, but God, please do it quickly.

This morning I was watching Spongebob Squarepants on Nickelodeon (with Racky of course). As I'm writing this, she's still watching, and I can hear a commercial for "Kid Bop 10", the latest collection of poorly reproduced top 40 pop (mostly crap) songs pawned off to kids on a daily basis. Now you gotta know I already have a serious problem watching commercials where 7 year olds are dancing to Britney Spears (yes, that was a few years ago but you can insert the name of your flavor-of -month pop "can't sing if my life depended on it" singer here... after all we are on Kid Bop 10), under a disco ball, followed by another commercial for Brat Dolls latest family addition, Syphilis Sue.

As if the attempt to turn our kids into shallow, superficial club junkies wasn't bad enough, now we have Worship Jamz, a collection of poorly reproduced top 40 WORSHIP music.

There are so many things wrong with that sentence, I can't put it all in 1 blog. Simply put however, it's bad enough that we're at a place where music written to bring worship to our God is considered a kind of cash cow. But now it's being pawned off to our children, complete with images of kids with their hands up in the air in staged worship, looking like something out of a Jr. High production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Don't get me wrong. I love listening to good worship songs now and then. I've been a proponent of Christian musicians expressing their faith through music for years. From Beethoven to Van Morrison, to Bob Dylan, to Bono. Unfortunately like everything else, someone catches a whiff of an opportunity to make some cash and runs with it. What happens next? People who have a problem with everything Christian now have reason number 102 to add to their list of reasons why they have a problem; that reason is Worship Jamz.

The other day we were talking to a friend about CS Lewis, and his faith as a Christian. Specifically, we talked about how Lewis came to belief in Christ through reasoning. He did not hear a great sermon by an evangelist. He did not go to a mega-church. He did not get struck by a flash of light and see the image of Jesus. He didn't see the Virgin Mary on a piece of toast. He didn't hear a song about Jesus that changed his life. He was an Oxford professor who had spent much of his time scoffing at Christians and hanging out with other high-brow intellectuals who liked to talk about how great a deception professing Christians were under, and what an ignorant an un-enlightend group of lemmings they all were to believe that Jesus was the only answer. Then one day, after much consideration and a season of wrestling with the logical and reasonable nature of the Christian faith, he believed. The high-brows were not as smart as they thought they were; their questions and pet answers existed only to mask their own fear; the truth that something greater than them might actually exist; worse yet, "it" may actually be God.

So what then is the correct mixture for the enema? Reason and logic, mixed in with some faith. I don't think God wants us to sell worship music ($18.88 plush S&H) on Nickelodeon. Christians have gotten into the habit of boycotting companies (i.e. Proctor and Gamble for a symbol on their packaging, Walmart... didn't we boycott Farm Store at some point... or was it Dunkin' Donuts?). I think we should boycot Worship Jamz and Kid Bop. I think we should boycott TBN (The Crouches and Benny Hinn). I think we should boycott books that give the slightest impression that Christianity equals the good life, if only we think happy thoughts and follow a formula.

The list goes on and on.

"The greatest single cause of aetheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, but deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world finds unbelievable." - Manning