Friday, July 29, 2005

Some of the captions last time were awesome. I rather feared that not much could be said of dear Sister Elsie of Our Lady of Jersey Convent but there are some of you who are quite clever. We even had a few of you who mixed the last contest and this one to offer songs that pertained to the picture. You earned special style points (I'm keeping track in my head). Anyway, here is another picture for you. Let's see what you've got.

Monday, July 25, 2005

I fear that the last picture may have been risque enough that some of you were afraid to touch it (so to speak). There were a few responses though: some clever, some charming, some disturbing...

Anyway, here is a new one. Let's go ahead and get the obvious out of the way: HOLY COW!

Good luck.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Times, They Are a Changed

Sometimes I ponder how incredibly different things are today compared to other times in history or even to just a generation ago. I know people say the more things change the more they stay the same, and perhaps that is true on some levels, but some things are very different. Not necessarily better or worse in some cases, but different. I would suggest that perhaps the things that are the same are the very things we deny.

Classism is a bane of humanity and we willingly wag or finger at historical examples and examples in literature and boast at how enlightened we are now. However, classism is perhaps even more rampant now because it exists in the face of so-called enlightenment.

Examples abound, sadly. Consider churches that hold memberships to country clubs for their clergy. Country clubs by their very nature are exclusionist based on class. Colleges, especially private ones, are also examples of institutionalized exclusionism. But wait! Does this mean that any arena wherein ability to pay is inherently classist? Of course not. Capitalism works on many levels when it comes to exchange of goods and services for whatever the market will bear. But both of these examples are things which professing Christians pursue, practice and uphold when we shouild be willing to offer these things- namely a Christian environment and fellowship- to anyone who needs them. Something about that just seems plain wrong.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


I'm back in the saddle briefly to offer updates on what's going on in our world. I just haven't been able to devote much time to blogging lately. Sorry about that. This won't be a very complete telling, but I'll try to hit the high points.

Addie turned SIX yesterday! Where does the time go? (sniffle) Is this the little girl I carried...? (sniffle, sniff) It's a heck of a ride with her, though. This week she has had flags flown in her honor, we have been chalked, forked and had special dinners. The actual party, though, is next week. Check for other Addie tributes on the family blog.

The contrast between the happy life Addie has had so far and what other children around the world and even around or town must endure was driven home to me Wednesday. I got a call from "B," one of the ladies that helps manage a few rent houses, that evening to tell me that a renter (Ms. T) was pretty past due and wondered what we should do. I asked her to tell me the whole story and as she did my heart sank. She has a brand-new baby for a total of three kids and her husband just went to jail for molesting a child outside their family. She has taken a new job with "Mr. C " (an attorney I know) but does not think she can afford to pay her rent nor make up what she owes. The immediate prayer of "Oh God, please help this woman" immediately began to tumble around in my roomy mind. I told "B" simply that I thought this was someone who really needed our help and to her credit, she agreed whole-heartedly and said she had already asked "Ms. T" what she could afford. We lowered the rent to that amount and I told Ms. "B" to keep me posted if other needs arose. Pray for this tragic situation and for all those involved- especially the abused and his or her family and the abuser and his family.

In another story of people overcoming the odds, my buddy Dale needed a ride yesterday to pick up his car from the shop. This is not all that unusual until you realize that his mechanic is blind. By blind, I mean all he can see is a little bit of light out of one eye but no shapes and nothing out of the other eye. He will turn if he hears you coming, but will not be able to see you. Nevertheless, he is apparently a genius when it comes to A/C and brakes. I only met him yesterday, but he is an inspiration. I need to get over myself if I ever think that my gifts are not useful.

Summer continues much like it began. The kids are indulging in play-time with friends, swimming, sleep-overs and, of course, baseball. I think we may take a day or two at some point and get out of town, but we may wait until Thanksgiving to actually take an out-of-state vacation trip. This summer has just been too jam-packed.

Okay, now back to our picture contest. I have been wondering what to call this little feature. I believe I may call it HIC-PIC. HIC stands for Humor In Captions. It's not billiant, but it's the first thing I thought of and then I got tired of thinking about it. So anyway, here is you HIC-PIC photo of the day. Share your captions.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

There were some great captions provided last time. But what I loved the most was the variety of respondents. It reinforced my thinking about allowing anonymous comments. People who for whatever reason are not registered with Blogger were still able to leave comments and I think it was cool. I mean, for goodness sake. I actually got comments from neighbors and even from the Clois and Betty. How awesome is that? Anyway, once again in lieu of a real journal entry, offer up some captions for the above picture if you have a minute. And have a nice day.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The latest mystery song was "The Gentle Healer." We had some great guesses (thanx Stephen) but no one gets the prize. It's a shame, too, because the prize was awesome. Anyway, now a semi-regular feature will revolve around pictures. Above is a picture for which I invite you to provide a caption. There may or may not be a clear winner on this, but it sounds like it could be fun. I do allow anonymous comments so even if you are a lurker out there (my family), feel free to respond. So, give me your captions.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Good for What Ails Ye

Well, nobody got the mystery song again. It was from "Life in the Fast Lane" by the Eagles.

Doctor says he's coming but you gotta pay him cash...

That one was a little tough. I am going to stay in the same neighbor hood for the next topic and go with eveything related to doctoring and doctors but the word itself. Good luck with that.

I had an interesting experience this weekend. A guy who I had tried to help out a little started to get a little annoying, I am sorry to say. I hired him a few weeks ago to trim some trees for me and ended up having to use my own equipment to haul away the debris. Well, he has gotten a few other jobs in my neighborhood and I have now used my equipment to help him on two other jobs. It is frustraing since I am not getting paid, but yesterday while wanting to say something completely different, the thought that kep running through my head was "Not just your coat, but your cloak as well." Although I am pretty sure I have never paid as much for a cloak as a tank of gas, I eventually got the point. Now I need to work on the "cheerful" part.

Have a great day.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Oh Dear Christian College We Owe Thee

Let me start by saying that I graduated from ACU. Twice. Once in 1992 and again in 1995. And although I wasn't exactly the "Big Man on Campus," I did my share of activities. I took a class or two, climbed the Bible Tower a few times, sang in a few groups (including a garage band), pledged a club, hosted Sing Song and even had an on-campus job in the post office. I say all of this, not because it makes me necessarily qualified to discuss ACU, but to give a little background. My experience at ACU was a positive one and I harbor no bitterness toward the school because of personal experience.

As tuition at ACU approaches the $500/hour mark, it occurs to me that it has become something different than what was originally intended. I believe that the Childer's Classical Institute of about 99 years ago began as an outpost where students could go to get an affordable education in an environment that they could trust to be edifying, uplifting and an hononr to the name of Christ. In all honesty, I believe the "powers that be" at ACU still want this, but have turned their collective backs solidly against the "affordable" part. Consequently, students seeking the rest of that equation are being forced to give up that quest. The end result is that ACU is in danger of becoming an elitist university in conscious trade for the original design of a Christian university.

What are the implications of all this? Well, one implication is actually an opportunity. As students are being forced to look elsewhere for higher education, those who were also seeking Christian fellowship are still in need of that element. In light of this, perhaps the old notion of campus ministries are once again destined to be an understaffed and understated area of ministry. The interesting question is whether or not private Christian universities will offer degree plans or other training in this area. Perhaps not since to do so would be an admission of the need they have themselves helped create. Then again, perhaps market forces would also suggest that any student able to afford ACU would not be content to make the salary of a campus minister and any such program would fold for lack of interest.

In my case, I still love ACU and would love for this institution to continue as a beacon of Christian higher learning. But the rapid trend toward a private university catering primarily to the elite may be difficult to reverse. Just a thought to stir the pot.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

So Now What?

Well, we're out. We got beat last night for the second time in this double elimination All-Star Tournament. It was a tough night after the game going through the beginning stages of baseball withdrawl. Luckily there are several of us going through it together so the support group will be big. We can't exactly go cold-turkey on this because Connor wants to play in the summer league which starts this weekend. Besides that, Connor and I scored some tickets to tonight's Rangers game (thank you Gina and Mark) so we will still be getting a baseball fix.

I know that this is the blustery prideful Dad in me talking, but in spite of the tough losses, I think Connor did very well. He is a great ball player and I love to watch him play. He just gets it, you know? A friend of mine who is a baseball coach has a son who has gone on to be very successful in baseball. My friend saw Connor play the other night and he told me that he sees a lot of potential because his reactions are automatic and beyond what he might think of as coachable. Whatever. All I know is that Connor loves the game.

The winner of the mystery song last time was "Smelly Cat." Congratulations to Chris! The topic this time is DOCTOR(S).

It was a nice Fourth of July. We went over to a building I have near the interstate and had a perfect view, but even better than that, quicker than average access to a clear road home. While last year it took over an hour to get home, this year it took about fifteen minutes. Schweet.

In recognizing the Fourth, it amazes me how popular it has become domestically to hate America. Sadly, as a country we have done better than churches at overcoming racial biases, at extending aid to those in need, at defending the defenseless, at shrugging it off when recipients of help and protection have chosen to thumb their noses at us, at welcoming all comers. Still, we daily take it on the chin. It is always popular to hate the big dog, but most big dogs would react by saying, "Fine. You're on your own." or "Fine. I think I shall bite your head off now." Are there bad things about our nation? You bet. But we are not unique in that. All in all, I think we are merely one nation on this planet among many. Not the most important- just one of the nations on this planet but one for which I am thankful.

Jerry Taylor was awesome Sunday morning. That guy can bring it! I encourage you to come hear him on July 10th as well. I am confident he will make it worth your while whether you like it or not. Services begin at 9:00.

That's all I have time for for now, so I'll leave you with this.


Sunday, July 03, 2005

Did you ever have a truly nasty experience that made you think those morons on Fear Factor were a bunch of ninnies? Yeah. Me too.

Back to song topics, the mystery song last time was "Grandma's Feather Bed" by John Denver.
It'd hold eight kids and four hound dogs and a piggy that we stole from the shed.
We didn't get much sleep, but we had a lot of fun on Grandma's feather bed!
Nobody got it, but Chris Campbell does get style points for one of his suggestions.

The song topic this time is:
In other words, any song that deals in some way with scent or smell or stench. Good luck with the mystery song. Who "nose" what it might be?

I'm leading worship tomorrow. For those interested in the worship order it is:

Higher Ground
Family Concerns: Mary Lee Mattis
Pastoral Prayer: Bob Allen

Come Ye Sinners Poor and Needy
Call to Worship: I Corinthians 2:6-10~ Val
Open My Yes, That I May See
Open Our Eyes, Lord
Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord
The Lord's Prayer~ Val

Amazing Grace
Luke 18:35-43 ~ Tammy Rector
Message ~ Jerry Taylor (Pulpit Minister from N. 10th & Treadaway)

There's a Stirring

Communion ~ Col 1:15-20
Readings & Prayers ~ Cal Sumrall and Alan Barr
Alas and Did My Savior Bleed

Tithes and Offerings
Give Thanks

Victory in Jesus

Benediction ~ Val

I am excited to hear Mr. Taylor speak. We are blessed to have him for two Sundays in a row as one of the guest speakers while Mike is away on sabatical or study break or hookey- whatever you want to call it.

It is entirely possible that I will lead worship next Sunday with a shaved head. I told Connor if his team made it through the district All-Star tournament they could shave my head. He is actually lobbying for a mohawk, but I just don't see that happening. I think their hardest game will be Sunday night at 8:00 against Sweetwater. Go Dixie!

Just for the record, I got to hear a story of truly un-sing heroism today. By that, I mean a story of someone who stepped up and quite probaby saved lives and at the very least protected someone's future. I wasn't granted permission to re-tell the story, but let me just say: Brad, I believe you were an extension of peace at the behest of the Holy Spirit and I am very proud of how you handled the situation. You are a hero.

If you're still reading this and wondering about the nasty experience and why I chose "SMELL" as a topic, I have had two awful experiences involving horribly offensive olfactory exposures this week. Monday I went out to ranch and discovered a squirell had come in through the vent and died in the dryer. The stench was brutal as one might expect, but I took the dryer apart and did my best to clean it up. It looked spotless by the time I left, but I let it sit outside in pieces to air out. When I returned a few days later it was still pretty bad. Time for a new dryer. Then today I discovered that a breaker had been thrown on the circuit powering our deep freeze. Technically I suppose it is hard to quantify, but offhand I would wager that 30-40 pounds of beef and a pound of sausage and half gallon of ice cream and other stuff left unfrozen for a couple weeks creates a stink that is approximately 11.3 times worse than your average dead squirell. If I weren't otherwise engaged tomorrow, I might have offered to change diapers in the nursery just for the step up.

Later. I'm gonna go snort some cologne and gargle Pine-Sol.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Dixie 18 - Clyde 3

Our next game is at 8:00 on Sunday, July 3rd at Cedar Creek.