Sunday, February 27, 2005

"All" in a Day's Work

Otay. I really don't want to run this game into the ground, but it is kinda fun. So, as long as people are still playing, I'll keep trying to come up with topics. Today we are looking for songs that contain a specific word. That word is:


The mystery song is still in play and for the person who guesses it I will use my power and influence to make you the honorary mayor of Hylton, Texas for about 12 minutes on Monday afternoon if you promise not to let the power go to your head.

Now, pursuant to our conversation on directness versus passivity, I would be interested to hear what you may think are examples of how Christ was either passive or direct. Sometimes it may be hard to tell. For example, choosing to merely write in the dirt may have seemed passive, but what did he write? It may have been extremely direct. Anyway, I just thought that might be interesting.

Now, one more thing. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE pray for Mark Riggs. Doctors discovered a mass inside him this weekend roughly the ''size of a soup can.'' His daughter, Katie, sings on my praise team and is one of my favorite people on earth- a blessing to many. Remember this whole family, please.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Food for the Soul

Well, Mae was yesterday's winner with "Have You Seen Jesus my Lord?" As such, she chose today's topic. There are probably several that go with this topic but again, there will only be one mystery song. The topic today:


By the way, that does not include drink.

Now on to another matter. I am merely thinking out loud here and I get a little wordy, so you may just want to ignore the rest of this.

I have been pondering of late the impact of being direct with others versus being passive. My nature ordinarily leads me to be rather direct. It honestly is not borne of any desire to cause friction. I just think that honesty is, if not the best policy, at least a pretty darn good one. I am learning, however, that: 1) many people do not want honesty and 2) sometimes passivity accomplishes more.

I suppose if we stop there it is a classic example of the end justifying the means, but should we stop there? Falling back on that argument can lead to other pmistaken notions; for example: no matter what the outcome, if the intentions were honorable that should suffice. Our welfare system is a classic example of that. It is horribly broken and of the dollars poured into it through taxation less than 20% actually reaches the intended recipient. Nevertheless, whenever the system is critiqued the responding outcry lauds the intentions while ignoring the core issues. Ah, the implications of hellish road surfaces.

I bring all this up because I began my current job as a proponent of the direct approach. I have learned, though, that when logic goes ignored sometimes passivity accomplishes so much more. For instance, at one job I have had someone wanted to pursue a project that by every possible scenario would be a financial disaster. I pointed this out as directly and logically as I knew how but was told to press on. At this point, I pondered the fact that my charge was to manage assets in a fiscally responsible way rather than be a yes man. So, I drug my feet in the appointed task until the folly of the project became clear. In other words, passivity accomplished what needed to happen when direct behavior failed and we avoided a disaster.

So, this kind of brings me to a crossroads. What path should I choose in life? Do I become more passive and possibly accomplish more through manipulative but cordial relationships or do I be honest and direct and leave no doubt while possibly allienating others? Frankly, this is a question people are forced to answer every day at some level and we usually choose the former over the latter. But is that what we really want? We say we want real community, but when it has an edge to it we revert to the cushy surface relationships. I guess this really is more than just a random rambling thought. This inquiring mind actually wants to know.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

And the Eyes Have It

Today we're going for a quote rather than a theme. Yesterday's topic was rather broad so we'll be slightly more specific this time. How about songs with "panoply?"

Just kidding. Come up with songs including

"EYE" or "EYES"

The mystery song is in play again today. If someone guesses today's mystery song, they will have the opportunity to pick the topic for another entry.

Good luck.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

"Weather" Thou Goest

Well, I gotta tell you, some of the entries have been very entertaining. It is really interesting to see the eclectic tastes in music enjoyed by many in blog land. So, moving on to the next round, let's hear some songs involving the theme of:


I have a feeling this may go on for a while, so feel free to offer three songs per entry.

And, once again we have a mystery song, so good luck. If you guess the mystery song, I will use my vast knowledge of computers to equip your machine with the ability to dot all of your lower-case i's.

The Root of the Matter

We're going with a them today rather than a quote. The theme is


Also, there is a secrect song in play today. If someone guesses the secret song they will win the all new "Next to Nothing." It's not the same old nothing you're used to, but it's close! Enjoy new "Next to Nothing."

Monday, February 21, 2005


I have read my previous post and can see how there may have been some confusion, but I am looking for time references like you might find on a clock- for instance, the aforementioned "Five O'Clock Somewhere." So let's try again and I'll try to be more clear next time.

By the way, yes I do have an amusement park train. On the other hand... I have different fingers.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Time for Another

The theme this "time" will be just that. It is in quotes because what we're after here are songs that actually mention a time of day, not just "time" as a concept. Perhaps we'll do that another "time" (so to speak). So once again, we're going for songs that mention a specific time of day. Anyway, I'm so looking forward to hearing from you. I'll be counting the minutes...

Now, since people seem to be making lists of things, here is a goofy list of things about me. While these lists are somewhat amusing in an "Oh, what an intriguing exercise" kind of way, they leave out so much that they can give an odd impression of a person. Nevertheless, here it is.

100. My junior high school building in Kansas was designed to be "tornado-proof."
99. I had a black eye when I got baptized.
98. I miss the smell of cow manure.
97. I hate open-casket funerals.
96. I have stolen a car, and later returned it.
95. I want to be secretly wealthy. (That's different than I secretly want to be wealthy.)
94. I had to wear a black eye patch one summer
93. I have preached a funeral.
92. I have carried almost a half a million dollars down the street without a guard for the bank where I used to work.
91. I have a beautiful wife.
90. I hate squirrels.
89. I have never been to a professional basketball game.
88. I do not think I have a talent for leading worship but I do feel most worshipful as I am doing it.
87. I love to go muddin'.
86. My favorite TV show is the Andy Griffith Show (black and white episodes only).
85. I never liked diet drinks until Diet Dr. Pepper came along.
84. Of many nicknames I have had, Valium and VD have lasted the longest.
83. I have signed autographs and posed for pictures at a mall pretending to be Matthew Broderick.
82. I like to drive very fast but resist the temptation.
81. I am a political conservative but I do not hate liberals.
80. I have several antique fans. (That does not mean that I have admirers in the 39ers class at church)
79. When I was young I stayed with my grandma and she did not let me read fiction (so I secretly read all of the Hardy Boys books at least twice).
78. I was frisked by cops in London Gatwick Airport while my parents laughed.
77. I was flashed at Disney World.
76. A friend and I spent much of one summer trying to get in the background of strangers' photos.
75. I love roller coasters.
74. I love my kids.
73. I love to help people.
72. I haven't had a ticket in almost ten years.
71. Right now on my bedside table is "His Needs, Her Needs for Parents."
70. I love to sing.
69. I want my own double-decker bus.
68. I really like to visit New York City.
67. I drove a 1968 Bronco in high school.
66. I never admit it when I send my wife flowers.
65. I was born in Wichita, Kansas.
64. I was once propositioned by a renter hoping to get a pass on her rent.
63. I am afraid I am too lazy.
62. While I think people find me to be direct, I am becoming more passive because I think it works better.
61. If I had been a girl my name would have been Vanda.
60. I tend to focus on the negative things about myself and that keeps me pretty busy.
59. I like to live simply.
58. I am a homebody (not to be confused with homeboy or even homie).
57. I think "King of the Hill" is one of the most realistic shows on TV even if it is a cartoon.
56. I think about my wife more times per day than I could ever count.
55. I do not like to use the telephone.
54. I do not like to water-ski.
53. I have been willed a Harley-Davidson.
52. My first boss after college told me I was an idiot and later had to answer to me.
51. My first boss after college is still a good friend.
50. I have been stuck in an elevator.
49. I have rescued someone else stuck in a different elevator.
48. I love ice cream.
47. I dwell on the future too much.
46. I once jumped from a moving car.
45. I occasionally giggle at potty humor.
44. I would sacrifice anything for my family.
43. When I was five and my dad told me my mom "passed away" I did not know what that meant until I asked someone later.
42. I met my wife at Camp Blue Haven when we were very young campers.
41. I have questions about the whole Pro-Life v. Abortion issue.
40. I have had many broken bones and stitches but have never been in the hospital overnight.
39. I have been in a car chase.
38. If I could have a meal with any person in history, I wonder where Jesus would want to eat.
37. I miss Calvin and Hobbes.
36. My extended family has disagreed for years about how to spell our name.
35. I enjoy hunting rattlesnakes.
34. I have been treated for rabies.
33. I wish I had time to take piano lessons.
32. The CD's I currently have in my truck include Steven Curtis Chapman (two of his), Blues Traveler, The Spin Doctors, Van Halen, Frank Sinatra, ZOE, The Eagles and Chris Rice.
31. I love to fanagle.
30. The hair on both of my legs grows in a strange pattern.
29. I think there is irony in the fact that people lament the plight of the poor and then spend thousands per year on mere hobbies.
28. I have been described as a Jack-of-all-trades and master of none.
27. I am a bit of a tight-wad.
26. I would have a hard time arguing the point if someone called me childish.
25. I want my own lighthouse.
24. I came very close to going to Harding, but then my dad married a professor at ACU and FREE TUITION kept me. (My step-mom is worth a heck of a lot more than just free tuition by the way.)
23. The first movie I remember seeing was Pete's Dragon.
22. Several years later, Kendra and I went to movie night at camp together and saw Pete's Dragon.
21. One thing about me that I am proud of is my ability to relate to people of various backgrounds and walks of life.
20. I am on my church's worship committee.
19. I have been present for a hold-up.
18. I would secretly like to race either cars or motorcycles.
17. I am the youngest of four kids.
16. My mother died on Christmas Eve when I was five.
15. I think I probably have anger issues.
14. I have an over-developed sweet tooth.
13. I am not superstitious (knock on wood).
12. I am withholding some juicy stuff from this list.
11. I was a Sing Song host at ACU.
10. My girls (Michal, Addie and Kendra) have me wrapped around their fingers.
9. I am not disciplined enough.
8. I have been known to resist authority.
7. I think I am trustworthy.
6. I have only been to two continents.
5. Two summers ago I mowed about 30 yards for free.
4. I am thankful for many mentors I have had.
3. I do not like it when people are presumptuous.
2. I am an "already, but not yet Christian."
1. I have been redeemed.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Somethings Fishy

Okay. Today's theme is FISH.

And, to make it more fair for everyone, I thought about making the "one song per entry" rule, but in deference to Stephanie we'll make it two. If you want to enter more than once, that is fine but allow some time for others to play.

Good luck!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Not just a state of mind...

Otay campers. Today we're after a theme rather than a quote. Songs that mention states.



Wait for it...


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Between You and Me and the Gatepost(modern)

Wow. Some of those "phone" songs were a blast from the past. Today's songs need to include the word "wild." Go for it.

So Sunday as I was leaving class and heading over to find the kids I fell in beside a guy coming out of another class. He was complaining a little about the subject matter of his class and the elevated manner in which postmodernity was discussed and how he was having a hard time following the discussion. Of course this is the classic dichotomy of the topic. How are we going to rework our approach to this postmodern world? v. Why is it that when we discuss it we are not doing it? It is frustrating in a way to invite someone to church who is just as needy as we are but not in tune to our special language and therefore lost in the wake of our self-serving ways.

Whether in church or in blogs or whatever we are most comfortable when preaching to the choir and we laud one another for reading the right books or listening to the right message or watching the right films while in essence showing disdain for the unenlightened masses. I suspect this might be worse in a town where there is such a high concentration of people involved in either ministry or higher education, but it is disheartening nonetheless. Is this really how we reach people where they are? Perhaps- if they happen to be in close proximity to our ivory towers. But yesterday, it hurt me again as I sat across a table at lunch with a friend who is what some might call rough around the edges and listened to him express disappointment with other white friends who do not publicly claim to know him. The people he specifically mentioned were people with whom I worship.

I just don't get it.

Anyway, sorry for the gripe session, but I had several things I could rant about today and I chose this one.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Name That Tune

Otay. Good job on "Promise." Now for today's theme:

Phone (or telephone).

Good luck.

Friday, February 11, 2005

What do you do? (Don't say Watusi)

I was thinking yesterday of the way Nino and I used to play this silly game during the monotonous hours of driving in the old ACU vans. Someone would suggest a topic and then we would see how long we could keep thinking of songs that related to that topic. For instance, if "love" were the topic one might sing back, "She loves you! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!" Just a suggestion, though, if you ever decide to play that game: Do NOT choose "love" as a topic. It will take forever. At the other end of the spectrum might be songs that mention "The Watusi." (I can think of two) Instead, be a little more creative. I'll toss one out right now. Any songs on that mention "promise?" Good Luck....

Now on to other matters. How do you handle it when you see someone you care about is engaged in behavior that is destructive? From listening to others discuss things, we no longer live in an era wherein we are justified in holding one another accountable, so is it indeed proper to merely love them and pray but otherwise remain uninvolved? What if the issue is drugs? What if it is dangerous relationships? What if it is financial irresponsibility? What if it is illegal? What if it is dishonest? Is there, in fact, a proper way to reach out in loving accountability without portaying venomous condemnation or is any non-affirming message immediately discounted as unfair judgment? What do you do? Right now, it seems the only acceptable condemnation is that directed at ultra-conservative right-wingers. But if that is our reaction to them, are we not becoming like them- partaking of the same venom, but merely spitting it at each other? Wandering minds want to know.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Snake Hunt

There are a few pictures from the latest rattlesnake hunt on the Durrington Family blog.

For a little background, I posted about this a while back.

Friday, February 04, 2005

When the Music Fades

From her perspective, I suppose I was sitting at about 10 o'clock- watching. To this day, I don't know how long I held that post. I remember the view fairly well, though. I was next to her on my knees watching a spot on her neck where I could see her pulse. Occasionally my head was bowed. Once in a while I looked around the room at the crowd of faces blurred by tears. I remember looking over at my dad, with his gray balding head bowed in constant prayer as he relived a scene from long ago. A few times my gaze would flash to her look of panic as she struggled for a breath, sometimes heaving her tired body forward. But mostly, I was fixated on that spot waiting for the next beat to come.

Only a few days earlier I had spoken to Chris, my brother-in-law and gotten a truer picture of how things were.

"She looks really bad, Val. I know you just saw her, but she has really declined over the last few days."

My sister never really let on about how badly the cancer was progressing. When Michal Kate was ten days old we had borrowed an RV from a friend and driven to Missouri to see Vicki. She came to the family farm outside Buffalo, MO with her kids. She was thin, but doing fairly well. I remember the laughs we shared as two year-old Connor asked to see my Grandma Edie's breasts and how he reacted with horror placing his hands over his backside when someone asked to see his "bottom teeth." It was the final countdown of the smiles.

We had returned to Abilene actually feeling pretty good about how Vicki was doing. But in that phone conversation with Chris an urgency had been planted within me that I could not shake. We decided to go back to Missouri for another visit. We arrived on a Saturday almost exactly 7 years ago. In spite of what I had learned from Chris, I was shocked when I saw her. While she had long had the slender physique of a runner, she was now so thin she resembled a skeleton lightly draped with gray skin. She was at home and Hospice caregivers had her on a respirator. Still, there was a light in her eyes when she saw Connor and Michal Kate that could only come from a devoted aunt. We have a picture of Vicki holding Michal Kate in her lap and gazing at her in wonder. Chris called the picture "Hello and Goodbye." She kissed her repeatedly and even wept a little.

"Every day, from now on," she said, looking over at me, "the first ten kisses you give your kids will be from me." In saying that, she began a tradition in our family where I try to kiss my kids 21 times a day. The logic there is that if she gets ten, I have get 11 or she wins.

During that Saturday, we were host to a steady stream of well-wishers. But as the night fell, it became quite clear that things were getting worse. My brother Vance, who was also there, and I put in a call to our dad telling him he should come to St. Louis. We also called our brother.

Wearing blue pajamas with clouds and sitting in her blue leather chair in the reading nook of the master bedroom, Vicki struggled through the night as we prayed over her. As the day dawned we felt the time was getting close. I tried to call dad again. Colleen answered and upon hearing my urgency said they were on the road and dad was driving over 100 miles per hour but they were still about 30 miles out. I was a 13 hour trip, after all. I remember hearing dad pull up and seeing him run to Vicki's side. Though I will ever be the strong-willed child who butts heads with his dad, my heart was broken for him that day as I watched him deal with the situation. Here was this man who had lost a wife to this same disease at almost the same age as my sister and who was now losing a daughter the same way.

So again, here I was kneeling next to her watching the uneven pulse beating in the spot on her neck. Looking around the room, I saw our little band of soldiers in prayer. Some were valiantly trying to hold off the hosts of Heaven, wanting desperately for Vicki to hold on, engaged in the struggle between the body yearning for healing and the soul wanting the same- a common struggle with very different outcomes. I, on the other hand, felt more like a soldier in an honor guard- dispatched to play a role in a ceremony or welcome a visiting dignitary- because as I came to realize, there was One in our midst and we were on holy ground. Spontaneous prayer and praise were breaking out that Sunday morning, occasionally interspersed with wailing. Chris sang to his bride broken tones of her favorite, "Great is Thy Faithfulness," or "I Praise You, Lord." Her three children came and sat in her lap to be with her and help escort her spirit to its destiny. At one point, one of our small number appeared with a tray of communion he had confiscated from some unsuspecting church in the area. As we communed one last time in her company she again heaved herself forward into Chris' arms in one last attempt for breath and comfort. As I watched this scene wherein he held her and stroked her and sang and cried and prayed and spoke to her I begged God to let her rest.

She was just so tired.

A family friend and physician standing behind me must have watching the same spot on which I had been fixated for what seemed like days. Because as I watched it beat for the last time, he approached Vicki and checked her with his stethoscope.

"She's gone Chris."

That holy moment was a pivotal one for me in my walk. I learned so much from my sister from the way she lived and from the way she died. She was a fun-loving follower of Christ who thumbed her nose at convention and chose instead to serve people in Jesus' name. Mere days before she died she was interpreting for the deaf at church though encumbered with a wheelchair and oxygen tank. And in the months when she fought the cancer that robbed her of her health but never her spirit, Vicki was a pillar of strength and faith and so many learned from that example. I was one of them. As such, I ponder...

What might have been the scene when another confused and desperate group was trying to either hold at bay or host a band of angels. As they communed together one last time, did they understand the impact of that meal? Did they worship in their final moments together? Did they watch with bated breath as the course of history was altered by the death of someone about whom they cared deeply? Did they understand how they had been impacted? Was their faith simultaneously shaken and formed, tested and strengthened, taken and given?

In both cases, the Lord was there.

In one case, what happened created the sustenance for the other.

In both, Satan lost.

While I do not pretend that the scene of which I was a part had any significant impact on history, it was that experience that gave me more perspective on the one that took place a couple thousand years ago. It gave me a close-to-home object lesson of the victory we have over the sting of death. It gave me a personal experience of how the meal we share at the Lord's table is one where we share struggles.
Where we praise.
Where we lament.
Where we pray.
Where we love each other.
Where we invite the peace of Christ into the lives of all present.


Where at times we lunge into the Everlasting Arms, desperate to cling to the Breath of Heaven.

As we come to the table to which we are invited by our Savior, Guided by the Spirit and welcomed by God himself, we find there One big enough to overcome this world while at the same time intimate enough to care about our corner of it. And as He whispers peace to us, we are reminded that we are not alone. God has not abandoned us. Rather, once again we celebrate that He is calling us to Him. We will come as He sings over us: "How I love you. Child, I love you. How I love you."