Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Church as Counter-Cultural

“What the world needs now, is love, sweet love.” The Carpenters sing these words in a society torn by anger, fear and selfishness. “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun”[1]. As the world was evil, the world is evil and the world will continue as evil. “Oh, wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”[2]

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”[3] We are all wicked. None seeks God. None draws near to him. We are evil in our very being. God spoke saying, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”[4] The words cause our hearts to scream out, “Certainly I am not evil! Certainly I am not corrupted! Yes, I can see the darkness of others. I see their worthless schemes. But not I, I am not corrupt! Sure, I make mistakes, but I am a good person! I should not be punished!” And yet, we hear the Spirit testify to us that we are evil, that we need help. Denial wraps us like a blanket, as though lies can clothe darkness with light. “Oh, wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”[5] The cold grips of death grab us like chains, in the prison of our misery.

“What the world needs now, is love, sweet love.”[6]

In the deep darkness, that covers so completely that the hand can not be seen an inch from the face, a light suddenly pierces. A light so bright, that pain grips the eyes, they shut, teeth clench, the head jerks away, as arms instinctively rise to cover the face. What is it? Who can it be?!?!

A voice speaks, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”[7]

Can it be? Is it true? Are we to be freed from our prison of misery? Will chains which have held us here so tightly be lifted, fall off? “Oh, wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? [Pause] Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”[8]

The Bride of Christ has been freed! Liberated from the prison we made with our own hands of death. “For by the grace of God we have been saved, and this is not of our own righteousness, not of our own deeds, but is the gift of God, that none should boast.”[9]

And now, those who have accepted this gift, who have surrendered their destructive control to God through Christ, are redeemed. They no longer sit alone, but stand together, as one Bride, in one Spirit, unified, in fellowship, in community, as they were designed to be, one holy people.

This is radical. This is unusual. They stood as wicked, now stand as righteous, clothed no longer in lies, but in Christ’s own righteousness. They, like their bridegroom, lay down their collective life for others. But why? They are motivated by love. The love God lavished on them, they now lavish on those who hate them. Returning beatings with kisses. Returning cursing with blessing.

Indeed the Bride is counter-cultural, for where the culture seeks pain, suffering, selfishness; the Church seeks reconciliation, joy, selflessness. Where the culture sees worthless interruptions, the Church sees divine appointments. Where the culture sees unexpected children as a hindrance to careers, success, money and power, the Bride sees these children as a blessing, demonstrating love by laying down careers, success, money, power, even ministry.

The Bride sees through new eyes, eyes she was given by her Bridegroom, God, the true truth. The culture is blinded, snickering as her as though she cannot see the truth! As though she is foolish for loving! Her love may cost her, this she knows, for she has suffered for her love and will again. She chooses the better path, the one of costly love, following her Bridegroom to joy and happiness.

[1] Ecclesiastes 1:9
[2] Romans 7:24
[3] Romans 3:23
[4] Jeremiah 17:9
[5] Romans 7:24
[6] The Carpenters, “What the World Needs Now”
[7] Luke 2:10-11
[8] Romans 7:24-25a
[9] Ephesians 2:8-9

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

another adventure at the barber's

I know, it's quite unusual for me to post anything. It takes something so big that I actually sit down and write instead of attacking the piles of work before me. I got another haircut, yesterday. It reminded me of a while back when I got a cut that resulted in a tuff in the back and a tuff in the front. This time my hair resembles a soccer ball with bangs. Who thinks that looks cool? Who says, "Can I have a soccer ball with bangs cut please?" Apparently a lot of guys do, or a lot of guys just end up with those cuts. If you see someone with a cut like this, remember they probably didn't ask to look this way, it was chosen for them. Maybe it's a technique they teach them in school. Maybe imagining that the head is a round ball helps them get over their fear of cutting hair, like imagining everyone looking silly is suppose to help give better speeches.... Whatever it may be, for cryin' out loud, just make it look even, mullets went out with the 80s, thanks to too many guys trying to look like MacGyver. He's in a class all by himself, so just give up. You'll never make a bomb with a gum wrapper, spit and pocket lint, so ditch the mullet. And let's all ditch the soccer ball with bangs cut too.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

on sacred speech

Into the dark nothingness, God spoke. Saying, “Let there be light!” These words carry with them the newness of creation, for God is the Creator! And here, from the depths of God, speech is born. And here, from the holiness of God, sacredness exists. And thus, it is testified truthfully that God’s speech is sacred.
God is the origin of sacred speech. For there is one origin of speech, God. There is one origin of the sacred, God. Their common origin finds its fullness in, God.
His words are not those of weakness, but of strength, of power, of reverence. To the human ear, his voice is as pounding thunder. Yet, he gently whispers to us in the quietness of our souls. This is a great mystery.
In his presence, holy men fall as dead. His voice is proclaimed throughout Creation, Creation formed by his very words.
As Isaiah, many will hear God’s voice saying “Whom shall I send, and whom will go for us?” As Isaiah, let them answer, “Here am I! Send me.” Let them proclaim the words of God to a generation of men who have turned away and followed idols.
How will they speak? What will make them worthy to carry this holy message, this sacred speech? (pause) He will. His Spirit in them will. His Spirit is holy, sacred, set apart.
How can this Spirit of holiness dwell in men of mud? How can God, in his holiness, dwell in houses of wickedness? (pause) He will cleanse. His blood will cleanse them! Jesus the Anointed, Son of the Most High, whose blood was spilled for the race of men, whose spirit was given over to death, in their place, he will purify them with his blood. They will call upon him, and he will answer them, he will comfort them.
They will be called Christians, and God’s sacred, Holy Spirit will dwell in them. They will walk in his power. They will love in his power. They will speak in his power. They will abide in his Spirit.
And this is sacred speech, that God’s voice would pour out of their hearts. Sacred speech is made not only with the lips, or formed only in the vocal cords. Sacred speech is seen in their eyes, in their posture. Sacred speech shows itself with body language. Sacred speech cannot be contained by a pulpit, or a Sunday morning service. Sacred speech is not given only to one who speaks as pastor, for all are ministers in different roles.
Sacred speech is poured out on all of God’s children, through His Spirit. The body of Christ, the bride, the Church speaks this sacred speech every day. We speak it through our attitudes. We speak it through our actions. We speak it through our words.
Let the one who speaks on the behalf of God, with the authority of the local church, be careful of the words they speak. Let them find times of deep meditation with God over His Word. Let them live a life of prayer, unceasing, of relationship with God. Let them hide His words of life deep in their hearts. Let them abide in him. For apart from Him, they can do nothing.
May the words they will speak be written down. May they ask Him for guidance, in how to move themselves out of the way, and let Him shine forth.
As they seek to follow Him, to make him shine forth, and to lay down themselves, they will find a joy, a deep abiding joy. A joy that comes from obeying God. A joy that comes from seeing God work. A joy that comes from being in the center of His divine will for their lives. A joy that isn’t selfish, but selfless. A godly joy.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

the call of every disciple

In his incarnate ministry on earth, Jesus gathered many whom he called disciples. There were the masses that followed after. The group of 70 men whom he sent out. The group of 12 men whom would be drawn into deeper fellowship with him. The three, Peter, James and John. Jesus did not chose his twelve by their vast knowledge of the Scriptures or their honor among the people as skilled in their profession. He chose men of many backgrounds, of many personalities to found his church on. Often I find myself humbled that the God of the universe would chose me to follow him.
As we know from the Scriptures, the disciples, once hid themselves, locked in a room following his arrest, persecution, and death. They then were transformed with the empowerment of the Spirit following his resurrection. Indeed, God’s power has been given to us as children of the new covenant. Yet, I see in the disciples, something changed, something affected in them by their time with the Master. And I hear his voice, “follow me”.
I think of Peter and Andrew, James and John in their fishing boats, tending to the nets on the shore. Jesus is walking by, and he stops. He looks Peter directly in the eye, lifts his hand out to Peter, motioning him to come and says, “follow me”. The draw of the Master is too great for Peter to resist. He drops his net, steps out of the boat into the cold water and onto the shore, to Jesus, to the Master. Jesus then looks to Andrew, eye to eye they meet, and again Jesus calls, “follow me”. The invitation pulling so strong, as though Andrew can do no other, he drops his net and follows the Master.
Jesus continues to James and John, looking to them, and again repeating, “follow me”. They also come with him, in their hearts feeling joy and excitement. “This is it!” There is something so familiar, so true to the heart, that when this Jesus, this ordinary looking man from Nazareth comes, they know. They know. It is the call of God, they don’t know how they know, but they know. And they drop their nets, they drop their security, and follow Jesus.
For me, it was a Saturday night in February, I was gathered with hundreds of other Christians who were praising God. His Spirit came upon me, calling me, “follow me.” A slight pain came in the back of my throat, and then it grew, larger and larger, my eyes were burning, my mouth dropped. I was on my knees, hands on my face, tears streaming down, surrendered. I had fought so hard to be an engineer. And then as Peter, as Andrew, as James and John, I dropped my net, my security, and said, “Ok, I’ll follow you.”
And as we sit here today, I ask you, do you heard him calling? The voice of the Master, calling us. He is saying, “follow me.”

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


"Who can really be faithful in great things if he has not learned to be faithful in the things of daily life?" ~ Bonhoeffer

Sunday, September 10, 2006

first week back

The first week back at seminary has been great. I’ve already had a ton of great conversations on God, one of the great perks of being in seminary. Just started a class on the history of liturgy, and it’s very interesting, though I’ve only read the first three chapters so far, The Shape of Liturgy by Gregory Dix is very interesting, if you are interested in how things have been done, what they meant and so forth.

It has been a bummer to be away from my girl, since we got engaged two weeks ago, and this was our first week apart. I was warned that I would find myself visiting her more this year than I had in the past, and I think my married friends are right, I got back tonight from a weekend up in Portland spending my free moments talking and spending time with her. I beat her in Chinese Checkers today, boo-yah! (yeah it was accidental, shhh!) Spending time with her makes me glad that I didn’t decide to go to seminary way over in Alabama, because well, I don’t think I could.

We have so much fun together. She got mad at me for leaning her out over the river on Saturday, now, I knew I wasn’t going to let her fall in, but she was still pretty mad at me, it only made me laugh the harder. I know I shouldn’t do it to her, but something in me sees it as just giving her a hard time, you know, flirting with her. I think she got the last laugh though, because after I leaned her over the river, I puller her back and she accidentally stepped on my sandal and my foot fell out of it, and I stepped right in the mud. That, she laughed about. I had to wash my foot in the river and I asked her not to push me in, she said she wouldn’t, but that didn’t stop her from poking me, see, she’s not innocent. Since I stepped in the mud, I’ve been called toad toes all weekend.

Now I’m back at seminary and ready to hit the books again tomorrow bright and early. If you want to come and visit, let me know!

Monday, August 28, 2006

so big, I had to blog....

For the past few months, I've dropped off the face of the planet in the world of blogging, but I'm back, with big news.

News, so big, I had to blog.

It's killing you isn't it, you want to know, what does Dumples have for his faithful readers this time?

I'm engaged!!!!! No, really!!!! She said yes!!!! I know, I was in shock too. I think my exact words were, "holy crap! we're engaged!" lol. What a rush of emotions.

My brother told me when I called him that he thought he would be the first to get married, he's seven years younger (and a punk).

All my grandparents were just bursting at the seams for us and very excited.

My dad told me that we'd have a happy and good marriage.

My mom was way, way, way excited for me and so happy.

My fiancee said, "WE'RE GETTING MARRIED!!!!" in this voice that took the breath right out of my lungs. It was emotional.

If you haven't experienced it yet, let me tell you, it was so surreal. It was like I was watching it happen. That is, until she gave me a hug, so tight, I felt her happiness in a way I hadn't experienced before and I was flying through the roof with joy in my mind.

Monday, July 10, 2006

No new posts...

If you're still reading this, I'm impressed. See, I don't have internet at home anymore. I don't have much time where I sit around either, so posts have become non-existent. If you would like something to read, let me suggest my girlfriend's blog:

Friday, June 09, 2006

a poem

My blog has been growing cobwebs I’m afraid. It has become so out of neglect, I’ve been on many adventures and spending much time active. My mind has lost track of stories that would be humorous for my readers, so I send you a short poem instead.

I once lived for myself, for my personal delight
Each breath I used to do what seemed to me right
I served myself, following his every command
Oblivious that sin had destroyed this man

Then Jesus came to me to set me free
My eyes were opened, and I could see
My heart, my eyes exposed to the light
I twisted, gnarling, hating the sight

I tried to justify my thoughts
Not realizing all the time, that I was caught
Sin, wickedness in others I saw
My finger was quick to point and my voice to call

I was a self-righteous man you see
I needed not this Jesus, this Savior,
No, no, no, not me

As time went by, the truth resurfaced at the surface
I was a man, wicked, filled with curses
Through try as I may, it was no use
By my strength, of sin’s chains, I could not loose

In shame, in humility, in weakness, I cried
Dear Jesus, be my Savior, abide!
Come in my life, set me free
I knew once with my mind, now in my heart I need thee

Take control of my life, be my ever guide
Keep me close to thee, by thy constant side
For not by my works can I be healed
Yet through faith you in I am sealed

Each day, I place myself in you
Your Spirit never leaves, you stick like glue
In you I find my strength, my power
In relationship with you, minute by minute, hour by hour

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Aced it...

I took my BCD (Basic Christian Doctrine) Exam today. Aced it. Took the hardest professor we have on campus, I wanted to make sure I get my theology down hard core. I even know all about Supralapsarianism. It was a great feeling. Two more to go....

Monday, May 08, 2006

making grandma cry

I called my grandparents today to wish my grandpa a happy birthday (it was on Saturday). Well, my grandma answered the phone and was so happy to hear from me she started to cry! I didn't know at the time, but she handed me off to grandpa and then he hung up. So I called this evening to talk to grandma (I didn't want to seem rude by calling right back). She told me she was crying on the phone and was sorry she got so emotional. I had no idea, but then realized I guess I need to call my grandparents on a regular basis. I just forget to call people with school. Now everyone is going to think I'm a horrible person, first the story about my brother and now about how I never call my grandparents. I do love them, my family is just dysfunctional and I'm trying to learn how to be a better grandson... one day at a time. One day at a time.

Monday, May 01, 2006

good brother award

Today at dinner, through a conversation with some friends, I remembered how good of a brother I am. There was a time, when my little brother was actually little, maybe 6 or 7 and I was like 13 maybe 14. I was asked to babysit for my mom. No problem. We basically ran around and goofed off like it was Lord of the Flies or something, chaos under control... Almost. Anyway, I had this great idea that I would tickle my little brother, and tickle I did! I tickled him and tickled him, through the point where he couldn't breathe and then... He puked, on mom's couch. Ah, what a good brother I am! I made him laugh so hard he puked! Give me an award!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Single or Married?!?!?

"Single or married, you'll be sorry."
-A prof.
What does that mean?!?!?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

How to Lose Two Fish

The dreaded relationship fish appeared at my dorm room about a year ago, hand delivered by my girlfriend (friend at the time). Now if I remember correctly, at the time they were not relationship fish they were buddy fish, that is fish given by a group of buddies who thought it quite humorous to give me fish after I specifically asked that I not be given plants or animals.

There they were, swimming around in this little tank one of my friends had sent me in the mail, I fed them with fish food sent from another friend, and was suppose to receive decorations and gravel from two other friends. In all the five of them conspired to give me fish. Supposedly my friend Scott was the mastermind, but my girlfriend was the follow through executioner, who made sure that I would get those fish.

After we started dating within the month, the fish soon took on a dynamic known as the relationship fish. It was not admitted to until long after I had them. Many of you wonder why the fish didn’t get the boot the first day after she left. Let me explain. I couldn’t bring myself to kill fish, especially if my friends just drop them on me. I fed them, cleaned their tank, and bought a bigger tank with a bubbler.

As spring of last year turned into summer, I bought a bigger tank, then a larger tank still, I use that term “tank” in a loose sense. It was actually a storage tub, the sides were bowing out and it was voted ghetto by everyone that came over (what do they know!). This tub was approx. 15 gallons so they were pretty much living in the Taj Mahal. I threw in some plastic seaweed, some new rocks, and of course a brand spankin’ new water filter/pump.

At this point you’re wondering how in the world did you ever get rid of this monstrosity? Instead of downgrading I was upgrading at a fast pace. You’d almost expect to see a manatee swimming around in a pool in the backyard by the end of summer. What happened was I pawned it off on my girlfriend at the end of summer as I was leaving, claming there wasn’t enough room in my dorm (which was true given it was a 15 gallon tank). She was gracious enough to take it. I think that’s when I realized she really liked me. She was even taking my jumbo storage tub filled with fish.

She downgraded the tank to a five gallon, one made of glass, the kind that is designed for fish. She moved them into her apartment. After a while she suggested I take it back, luckly she had bought a glass tank designed with panels, and my dorm doesn’t allow us to have that kind of tank. Then glory of glories, they changed the policy and we were no longer allowed to have any pets, fish included in our dorm. I don’t think she believed me for a long time but eventually the reality of the situation sunk in. She had been stuck with the fish. I was home free! And that my friends, is how you lose two fish.

What ever happened to those fish? She got sick of them and they were “returned to their natural habitat”. No, she didn’t flush them, she sent them into a pond, to swim with the fish. (Note: I don’t recommend anyone who receives relationship fish to dump them, find a way to give them back, trust me, its better this way)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


On my one year anniversary of dating my girlfriend I thought I would be mushy and make up a little scavenger hunt with a prize at the end. It started with a card that on the back had a picture of the first place she was suppose to go. She reads the card, smiles, gives me a hug and sees the back of the card (at least that’s how I remember it).

She guesses where the first place with a grin and then is off in search of what could be there. She arrives and reads the card; it says something mushy and then has a picture of the next place she’s to go to. She can’t figure out what I drew and begins to poke fun at my drawing. At first I think it’s funny and then she says, “Seriously, I have no idea what this is suppose to be.” At this point she’s looked around the apartment trying to figure out what it is and has just about given up.

I give her a hint. She’s completely making fun of my drawing now. She finds the next card, looks at the picture and can’t stop laughing. If she thought the last drawing was bad, she was wrong. She has no idea what this is suppose to be. I thought she was going to fall over laughing or break into tears, apparently I can’t draw. She asks me if it is suppose to be a highway. I tell her "No, it’s a refrigerator." She asks me which one inbetween catching her breath and laughing. I point to the refrigerator and she laughs again. Then she asks again which one is the refrigerator! At this point I realize I shouldn’t have written anything nice on the cards, I should have just written knock knock jokes and drew clowns on the back…. Is that a highway? No, that’s a clown!

She finds the surprise at the end of the adventure and she laughs some more. It's funny now to talk about so I think it was a success. And the moral of the story is, drawing isn’t my spiritual gift. I know my third grade art teacher would be sad to hear it, but her prize student is now a highway designer. (no not literally!) Sorry Mrs. Muntz….

Monday, April 17, 2006

On the Marred Image

We have suggested above that the “image of God” in human beings is in some sense the capacity for self-giving, self-denying love. This, of course, has sweeping implications for the whole range of moral behavior. Above all, the one living out such love can be depended upon to be true in every relationship.

... as the apostle Paul so eloquently demonstrated in the book of Romans, even those who teach these things regularly fall short of them [because of corrupted state].

-J. Oswalt

Saturday, April 08, 2006

on Hamartiology (Sin)

"The Bible holds that the Creator has a completely consistent ethical character. When it says that he is good, it is saying that he never acts in a way that is inconsistent with himself, nor withthe nature of his creation, nor with the best interests of his creatures. Thus, sin is not so much an offense against a divine law that has been promulgated by an immutable Sovereign, as it is a broken relationship expressing itself in a lack of conformity with the character of the Creator."

"In Romans 11:22-23, Paul clearly implies that belief in God is to continue to depend on his "kindness" whereas unbelief is to refuse to live a life of such dependence. If we do not trust someone, we will not believe what they say, and if we do not believe what a person says, we most certainly will not do what he asks. That is unbelief."

"There are also 4 occruances of apeitheia ("disobedience") that are used synonymously with apistia ["not belief" 12 occs.] (Rom. 11:30,32;Heb. 4:6-11). This synonymous usage underlines the fact that unbelief is not merely the absence of belief, but is an active refusal to act and live in faith." [Also see Mark 16:48; Hebrews 3:12]

- John Oswalt on Hamartiology (part of book in progress)

Friday, March 31, 2006

a memorable quarter

Have you ever had a nasty quarter? Have you ever tried to give it to someone you cared about? How about pawning it off as a present to your boyfriend/girlfriend? If you were my girlfriend you've done it twice. She first tried to give it to me when were sitting on her couch in Portland when I was visiting her. Then after I failed to take it with me (on purpose) she gave it to one of her close friends who gave it to another friend who gave it to another friend who gave it back to my girlfriend. What did she then do? She packed it in an envelope and mailed it to me. On the way from my mailbox to my room, it worked a hole into the side of the envelope and fell out of it, which I hadn't opened yet (this is why you tape money to the envelope). It was lost, that's about the time she started to refer to it as "our relationship quarter". What a punk! I knew it wouldn't be lost forever, I mean I don't know if you can even spend it, and it has been around the block a few times as you can see from the picture. Today, while walking back from doing my laundry, I saw it laying out on a table in the lounge, someone was kind enough to leave it for whoever lost it (that would be me of course). I picked it up, brought it back, procrastinated from doing my homework and wrote a post about part of the life of a nasty quarter. With such a special girlfriend, I don't doubt I'll have received a "wet Willie" (that's where you stick your finger in your mouth and then proceed to place it in someone else's ear) before Christmas. Then again, with such a special boyfriend as I am, I wouldn't be surprised if she ends up smashing shrubs or being put in shopping carts. I promise our relationship isn't too dysfunctional.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

screendoor on a submarine

Yeah, it's official, this blog is as useful as a screendoor on a submarine. That was a good song when I was growing up. Good job, Rich Mullins! This is exam week, so I'm trying to study for the looming exam of Basic Christian Doctrine. Have you ever wondered why you aren't allowed to take your notes into an exam? I mean, when I'm in ministry, you better believe that I'll be looking things up that I'm saying. However, I do see the need to commit these things to memory. In other news, I lost the nasty quarter Andi decided to mail to me. She's so precious! Spring break is almost upon me, which you might think would be a great time to take a break, but looks can be deceiving. Instead, I'm going to be trying my best to catch up on my school work and maybe, just possibly get ahead! If that should happen watch out! I could be making a visit to the birthplace of aviation, no it's not North Carolina! I'll try to post something worth reading next week. And till then, remember, faith without works is like a song you can't sing, it's about as useless as a screendoor on a submarine.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Heavenly Man

No one sells a product like someone who isn’t the salesman. And when the non-salesman is excited about it, man, everybody and their brother is interested. Especially if the person excited about it is someone who never gets excited about anything. That’s my intro to my friend Dj, who started reading the book, The Heavenly Man. This guy is pretty much apathetic to everything thrown at him here at seminary, but now he’s like a little fireball hopped up on this book. Of course this means I ‘m going to have to read it, I just have no idea when I’m going to make time. I’m suspecting it will be spring break, which is coming up in a few weeks. If you’ve got time laying around, maybe you should look at it too.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Changin' tires! Boo yah!

Many times when I post, I think my only motivation is to not be a quitter. I don’t know if that resonates with anyone else, but I hate to quit on things, and I would hate to quit on a blog out of laziness. Today I attempted to change a tire on Andi’s old car, which now has been passed on to her sister. In all honesty, I was feelin’ pretty stinkin’ manly. I thought to myself, “Yep, I’m going to be doin’ man-work. Changin’ tires.” I jacked up the car detorched the bolts (Andi finished taking them off while I was jacking the car up). Then I pulled the wheel off. And then I pulled the wheel off. And then… the stupid wheel wouldn’t come off!?!?! What the heck!?!?!? I pulled, I leaned against the car and pulled. I lifted the tire up and pulled. I pulled and my back started crying. All to no avail. The stupid wheel wouldn’t come off! Andi got some WD-40, I sprayed it in the screw wells and then pulled again. Then Andi’s sister got out the rubber hammer and I tried tapping the wheel off. It still didn’t budge. The car was moving, but the tire was firmly affixed to it. I even tried praying. Nothing. Trust me, many a times I couldn’t get something to work, we prayed and it just started working. God has a sense of humor like that. After a while of pulling and twisting, we gave up, put the stuff away and left the car jacked up just a bit. Maybe I should have offered the tire a bribe. Maybe it knew it was going to the big tire pile in the sky... or Xenia.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The landscape of Christianity – Part I

As I look back and look towards the future of my journey, I doubt the road behind will not be traveled again. The bridge of “once saved, always saved” has long been engulfed in flames and mere charred wood pieces remain. Take a walk through the history of the church and you’ll soon find this theology is a modern invention, not any of the early church nor did the reformers believed this, all affirmed that a believer can indeed fall away, either by God’s sovereign choice or by the choice of the person. The Scriptures testify to this as well. I know this ostracizes me from modern Evangelical America, but who can submit when their convictions are that Scripture teaches otherwise. None of us are above it, nor should pass judgment on what it says. If we find our experience differing, then we should examine it to make sure we understand it as it was originally intended to be understood.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

the burbs.

"There has been considerable crying in these latter days that the church is moving to the suburbs and isn't that too bad? It is too bad if the inner city is left without a ministry of Christ. Yet the suburban church need not be a feeble reflection of modern suburbia. It should and can be a powerful force; for suburbia is where the people are going and those of us who are working in this area ought to see it as a fresh new challenege in American Prostestantism."
Charlie W. Shedd

Friday, February 24, 2006

Absolute Knowledge & Ed

The past two weeks have flown by and yet no new posts have gone up on the blog. If there are any people out there that really wish they had a new post to read should just call me. I’m terrible at posting. I just got through a class where we talked about the use of “absolute” in philosophy and in general talk. I have to admit that the thoughts my dear friend Ed tried to express last year were somewhat skewed and unclear from what the professor tried to explain. Basically while the professor believes there are unchanging truths, he would not refer to them as absolute truths because of how the term absolute is used in philosophy. Further, because of the relatively finite things we know that do not change, that are unchanging, with complete certainty, these being laid out in the Bible as characteristic of God (as my opinion goes) by God’s divine revelation (how else would we know any truth as certain, just look at the history of science and human thought), it is best to shy away from the modern use of knowing things absolutely. The professor went on to say that we do not need to prove the Bible because to know something as truth does not require proof and proof of the Bible is completely true in all that it affirms is impossible from a scientific standpoint as history has shown, much as the bagel I ate last Friday cannot be proved, only evidenced to at best, yet I can still know that I ate a bagel last Friday through faith in my memory of eating the bagel based on its track record (as I remember it) of remembering what I ate accurately. Again, as I pointed out in the fall, knowing something is true is possible and honest, given the correct conditions, even when we can’t prove it. Enlightenment thought has come and been shown to be flawed, as all human systems have historically been seen and probably will continue to be, although probably not in their own era. Being freed from the modern mindset that we must prove everything for it to be true should be a freeing thing and also introduces instability (that always existed although not always seen) to truth and knowledge. Thankfully, we have divine revelation, even if the secular world does not recognize it.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I hate Squirrels

One more reason why the rat with a puffy tail must die:

Monday, January 30, 2006

a tale of three cuts

It all started on when I went to the barber shop with my dad about a week ago. He was paying for cuts so I thought, “Man! I’m going to save 10 bucks!” I hopped in the chair and the barber was off, clipping and chopping and going to town. I went from having a very shaggy head to having a mop piled on the top of my head and the sides removed. At first I figured that maybe it was my imagination and really there was more off the top than I thought. After a while it became apparent that actually they didn’t cut that much off the top after all.

I decided to go with my old standby over the weekend and get a cut from Shrilly. She’s always done a decent job so I went in and got it cut this past Saturday. Sure enough she took some off the top and it was looking more realistic, the sides and top were matching more…. except for the bangs. I realized that she didn’t cut them very much at all. I thought maybe I was imagining things again, so I went to hang out with my buddies on Saturday night, I mentioned I thought the barber might have left my bangs a bit long and my friends agreed, so now I needed a third haircut.

I talked to my girlfriend who suggested I cut it myself. She tells me now that she wasn’t serious, but I stood in front of the mirror that night with a pair of scissors trying to figure out where I should cut. It was similar to when you’re trying to center an overhead on a projector and you keep moving the wrong direction. After hacking some of my hair up, I realized, “Boy, this is really stupid, I’m going to cut my hair to pieces. I’ll see if I can’t get Andi to fit it tomorrow.” I went to church the following morning and some little kids and a couple of adults commented on my haircut saying it was “straight out of a Japanese cartoon” and “cool-looking”. Eventually church ended and I arrived at Andi’s place.

She called in a professional, her mom. There we were, in the bathroom, my head hanging over a sink, Andi heckling me, poking me and her family watching as her mom cut my hair. She also noticed a tuff in the back they have consistently failed to cut the whole year. I thought it was just a cow-lick, so did Andi, until now…

The moral of this story is:

a) Never get your haircut by some guy at the barber shop who hasn’t warmed up yet, and maybe not by guys who are older than 60.

b) If you find that your hair has a continual cow-lick, try another barber

c) Listening to your girlfriend can make your hair look “Cool” and “straight out of a Japanese cartoon”

d) It pays to have a girlfriend whose mom cuts hair on the side

e) I just don’t think there is a moral to this story

The Evolution of a Haircut

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

tire pressure

I had just gotten my tire replaced at Sears, down in Lexington, Kentucky. I checked the pressure of the tires upon the observation made by my girlfriend who noticed that they seemed a little low. Indeed they were low, except for the new replacement tire which was inflated 10 lbs. over, which is 30% over inflated! It was rainy and wet, I was tired as could be, as was Andi. The weekend was eventful, and we were ready to come home on this Sunday night. I decided not to make a big deal about it at the tire place, who in their right mind replaces a tire and doesn’t make sure all the tires have the correct tire pressure?!?!? We drove to a gas station, and low and behold a guy was filling his tires, so a little bit irritated, I’m tired at this point, we drive to another gas station. Andi observes that this gas station also requires that you pay 50 cents to use their air. Not ideal, but no big deal, I grab 50 cents out of my wallet and proceed with pressure gage in hand.

The rain is coming down now, and it’s down right cold. I unscrew all the tire caps and measure the pressures to get a feel for how much air I will need, since it’s going to be timed and I’ll have to move quickly to fill up all my tires. The first two tires are filled without too much trouble, there is some trouble because this stupid air station has an automatic winder, so I have to fight it and stand on the cord so it doesn’t pull at the wrong direction when filling the tire. I move around to the third tire, the new one and release air to lower the pressure. I let out just a little too much so I begin trying to put the air pump on the tire nozzle. Unfortantley, I can’t get the pump on right and it keeps letting air out but won’t fill up the tire. Lower and lower the tire pressure goes. All the time, the cord is pulling and my hands are slipping in the wet, cold conditions. Then I hear the pump shut off and I know that I have to put another 50 cents in. I lose the grip on the cord, and it flies back, no joke, to it’s home, along with the air pump, I’ve lost my patience. I’m tired and just want to get home. Andi sees it on my face, I can tell. I move the car around to face the other direction, get two quarters and hop back out in the rain.

The air pump connects with the tire nozzle this time and I am able to fill it without any trouble. I know at this point that Andi prayed for me and the situation. How do I know, I think God told me he made it work this time and that I had Andi and him to thank for it. I move to the other tire and fill it up. I go get the caps and start to put them on the tires. As I’m putting the caps back on, a man inside an old car with tinted windows starts yelling at me and telling me to come to him, I think to myself that he’s an idiot, of course I’m going to ignore him and act like I can’t hear him. I finish, get back in the car and thank Andi for praying. She says, “You’re welcome”. Yeah, sometimes you just know God did something nice for you. We drive away and I check my mirrors for the punk who was yelling at me but I didn’t see him follow. I’m thankful that God loves and blesses me at times like this.

Friday, January 20, 2006

A Must Read

If you haven't read this, and I'm guessing you haven't, you need to.

Thanks Andy for shedding some light on a dark subject.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

a weird experience

It was a few days ago, sometime in the afternoon. The dog started barking, which is usually an indication that the mailman or the UPS truck has arrived. This time it was different. The dog was going crazy, barking loud and often. He even ran down the stairs to stand against the door and try and spook whoever was on the other side. I went to the door, and walked outside, because it’s the only way to keep the dog from slipping through the crack and trying to get whoever is there.

As I walked through the doorway I noticed the old maroon minivan parked on the street in front of our house. An older gentleman of Indian origin was standing there, a step away from me. He spoke.

“I’m here to pick up Ate-E”

Puzzled, my response was, “I’m sorry, I think you’ve got the wrong house.”

Confusion came over his face as well, as he replied, “No. Right house. Ate-E”

At this the confusion on my face must have indicated he was not getting through to me, he then pointed to a scrap piece of paper the size of a post-it note, which had the name Katie scribbled at the top in pencil. It clicked in my mind, this guy was looking for Katie, not Ate-E.

“Oh! Katie. You’re looking for Katie!”

“Yes, Katie. I’m here to pick up Katie.”

“Yeah, there’s no Katie at this house. I think you have the wrong address, this is 5511. Which address are you looking for?”

He looked down and found the number, then replied, “No. This is house, grey shudders, grey house, 5551. I drop her off here.”

Just for a minute put yourself in his shoes. Here you are in another country, where the natives don’t understand you clearly. You’ve dropped off your daughter or granddaughter at someone’s house. You come back to pick her up and one of the natives, a man, in his 20s tells you that you have the wrong house. He acts like he doesn’t understand you, has no recollection of your special little one. There is a dog barking in the background. You’re trying to figure out what you’re going to do. Is this guy going to give her back? Is this the day she’ll be lost forever?

I know he’s confused, and he shows me the paper to prove he has the right house. I’m trying to keep conversation with him while I read. It appears he is on the right street, just not the right house. He’s looking for 5551 not 5511. Now I don’t know which way 5551 will be on the street, because honestly I never look at the numbers to know. I say to the man, “Ah…. well… let’s ask the neighbor, Paul. He might be able to help us.” I walk with the man, towards my neighbor. “Paul. Do you know who lives at 5551 or where their house is?” He seems less than interested and mumbles that the houses next to his are out of order. This only adds to my confusion as I head up the street with the old man following me, close. I have to commend him on his patience.

As I walk up the hill, I realize that we are indeed increasing in number, soon we should find 5551. I talk to him explaining what we are doing. “We’re looking for 5551, it should be up here somewhere….”

Then it happens. “This is the house! This is the house I dropped her off at! Grey shudders, grey house!” I looked, sure enough, 5551. I could see the tension lift from his face. “Thank you, thank you!” I handed him his scrap of paper, and then headed down the hill towards my house. I turned to see him following me. He spoke again, “I am going to go get my car, and drive it back up the hill.”

I nod and reply, “My name is Ben.”

“My name is Rev. What is your name again?”

“I’m Ben.” We then commence into small talk briefly. He thanks me again, hops into his maroon minivan and drives away.

It was a weird experience.

Monday, January 16, 2006

the other ME(s)

I recently thought I would see if I could find Dawn's blog since she hasn't told me what it is... alas, there are billions of other Dawn Douglass' in the world. Who knew?

Then I got curious and thought I would see how many other me(s) there are.

I found I'm a Catholic Apologist, Vice President of it actually (I rock)

I found that I work at a Church of Christ leading worship, ushering and serving communion

I also found I'm a swimming coach in CINCINNATI (that's where I live). Werid huh?

Lastly, it appears that I live in Oregan somewhere around Portland and really really don't like Christians. Sorry I'm not going to give this guy any help via a link...

With all this in mind, I think I've just wasted your time and mine. Have a great day!

The Ben Douglass

Thursday, January 12, 2006


What great weather we’re having here in Ohio! Maybe it’s global warming. I sure am not a scientist, but it is 20 degrees above average consistently. What’s up with all the frog extinction talk? All I can say for sure is praise God for blessing us with nice weather here! I love skiing as much as the next guy and sure I’d love to build a snowman, but while the weather is nice, I’m thankful for it. The dog and I have been out every day minus one this break and it’s been great to walk every day. If you’ve received a call from me, don’t think I’m hitting you up for money, I’m just calling my old friends to catch up. It’s one of the luxuries I’m able to afford with this break from school and work. If you haven’t gotten a call, please do call me sometime and let’s catch up.

Now with all the time off, you would expect a good story or something. I don’t really have one. The most interesting things in my life involve the daily activities of the dog. Unless you want to talk Bible stuff, then I’m studying authority and inspiration as they relate to the Scriptures. Don’t throw stones at me yet, I’m not leaving my roots, I’m just trying to understand what’s out there and why they hold what they do. I’ve also been doing a lot of reading on the C&MA denomination. They are kind of like a Presbyterian Methodist Baptist Pentecostal mutt that has a large emphasis on missions. Now if you’re really amped about another denomination and you’ve researched it, I’m open for suggestions. I’m ok with the cross-pollinated denominations as long as they are defined in what they believe and it is a genuine Christian denomination with accountability and some structure to ensure dangerous teachings are kept out.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Peanut Butter has more fat and saturated fat per serving than bacon, over double the fat.

It cost me $10 to buy my brother his Christmas present and $5 to ship it to him here in Ohio, but it arrived much later than expected, so I had to ship it again, this time it cost me $10+ to ship, making it cost more to ship him his present than the present itself!

Because school requires a lot of reading, and hoping to get a jump on classes, I checked out of the library the books used for last semester, only to discover after starting my reading that the books had all been changed this semester, thus putting me back to where I started minus the time invested!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A Dog with Two Heads

Now you've seen everything, even a dog with two heads. So consider your life fulfilled... Unless you want more than this world wants to offer you, then I suggest you try Christianity. It's worked for many that have gone before you. I'm not just a salesman, I'm a Christian too.

Things are pretty slow around the house, I think when you don't have anything you can really do, you start to get even more tired than you were before when you had lots of things to do. So in honor of my inability to get motivated to read for school or do my work for church here's a list of things I've realized this week.

1. No matter how much you feed my dog he always wants more. No, seriously!

2. My dad and the dog have a telepathic connection. The dog only appears to come back in (after I've let him out) when I'm sitting down to do something and my dad walks by the door. In this way, I look like I'm being negligent to the dog and he gets more treats from my dad!

3. If there is a puddle of mud or dirty water, my dog will find it. He's like a magnet.

4. The dishes get dirty all at once, I don't know how, but somehow they do. For instance I left to go to a dentist appointment today and when I returned, there was an entire sink of dishes, mind you there is only my dad at home and he only ate a bowl of soup. Or so the story goes....

5. Most people make too many generalizations. It sounds good when they say it, but later you realize they were making too broad of a statement. (do you see the humor in this?)

6. Green bananas go directly from green to brown, with no yellow days. I've been watching this new batch and it's not any different.

7. I've never been to the dentist when they said, "Man! Your teeth are so clean! Just leave! No need to be here!" It doesn't matter how long or often I brush them!

8. Family always calls you when you're asleep. It doesn't matter if it's 2:30 in the afternoon, somehow you'll be asleep!

9. Recommendations always come from people who hardly know you. They never ask for recommendations from people who actually know you, because they might be bias!

10. People are never happy with what they have. If they were, they wouldn't be people.