Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Rocking Out 2008: Beverly Hills

Were I to use a single word to describe my friend James Brown, "introvert" would not be the word. James wanted to sing this one, and he decided that it would be best to scream it at the top of his lungs "really hardcore". After seeing the video, I'd say "Mission Accomplished." So here is yet another Weezer song. "Beverly Hills"

Hope you all had a great 2008. Let's hope 2009 is every bit as wonderful!

It's Nacho Cat: Last Thing You'll See

If you are a mouse in my house, this is the last thing you'll ever see.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Best Ending Of Any TV Show Ever

For Christmas, my grandfather got me a Bing Crosby CD, which I'm excited about. Bing Crosby stuff is just so positive. In Rose Bud, I always listened to Bing Crosby or Louis Armstrong while preparing my sermons. I love to try and sing along with it. The CD he got me is one of Crosby's Irish songs. One of which I had heard before, as a different version, not by Bing, at the end of an episode of Space Ghost.

Here is the ending of that episode, which is in my opinion, truly classic. I present to you "Dear Old Donegal". Especially note the credits.

Pick The Tree: Contest Results

It pains me to post this, but the votes are in, and the contest is over. Even though at a Christmas party, the judges selected me as the better Christmas tree, the people on my blog have spoken. After 95 votes, the score is 46 (me) to 49 (Carolina). I'd like to think that's still within the margin of error, but Carolina has been chosen as the winner.

Many thanks to all 95 of you for stopping by and sharing your opinion. Too bad it wasn't me. I guess I'll have to buy her dinner or something. haha

Merry Christmas from the Adams Family

Thursday, December 25, 2008

It's Nacho Cat: Meowy Christmas

Most people like Christmas trees because they enjoy looking at them, and they make a convenient place to keep gifts.

Nacho likes Christmas trees because she enjoys playing with the ornaments, and they make a convenient place to take naps and groom yourself.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's Nacho Cat: Tree Decorating

While Carolina and I decorated the tree, Nacho found some things to explore.



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's Nacho Cat: Balanced

No matter how many times I see her walk on top of fence posts, I will never stop being amazed at how cats can be such natural acrobats. This is one of her favorite ways to pester the next door neighbor's dogs. It isn't my fence she's walking on there!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Rocking Out 2008: Sweet Home Alabama

This is a video of us performing at the show. It was a dress up function, and we decided to go as "The Black Eyed P's" Nyuck Nyuck. It was in a very dark gym, so unfortunately those on the other side of the stage are not visible at all. I thought this one turned out particularly well.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

VOTE! Who Is The Best Christmas Tree?

We just had a Christmas party with the young professionals at church, and at the party, there was a competition. Somehow Carolina and I both ended up on different teams, and both of us ended up being "Team Captain". The competition was that each team had 10 minutes to decorate a person as a Christmas Tree. According to the judges, I was the winner.

But Carolina insists that she was robbed. So please take a look at these pictures and vote: Who is the better Christmas Tree? Me or Carolina?

Highlights:
- Carolina has more stuff on her
- She has a halo, and multiple garlands
- Mark has a fancy star on top, and a colorful chain

Please vote on the top right hand side of my blog.



Why I won't get a tattoo


Haha...Oh, I'm such a grammar stickler. This is one reason not to get a tattoo. There's too much potential for error.

I've always thought that people were foolish to get those tattoos in Chinese or Japanese especially. Because if I were a tattoo artist, I would create a list of incorrect ones. So a guy would think he was getting a tattoo that meant "peace" or "hope", but instead it would mean "potato" or "midget". And he would never know the difference. haha

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Where's Waldo?

I hope this is not a distasteful thing to post, but I found it humorous.

It's Nacho Cat: Presidential

Carolina took some pictures of Nacho as the leaves were changing in our back yard. I thought this one looked like a good Presidential photo, as they stare off into the distance with an American scene behind them.

Were we to use similar policies for finding terrorists that Nacho uses for finding rodents and pests, Bin Laden would be in bad shape. I say vote 'Nacho 2012'.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Life in an Upper Echelon Divinity Library

Lately I've been cramming for a paper I have due on Friday. I have been taking advantage of the Vanderbilt University Divinity School Library, and have spent many hours in there looking up books and articles relevant to my paper. In just the last couple of days, I've had a few experiences that I thought were worth noting...at least for the sake of keeping a diary of what's on my mind.
  1. F-Bomb. Though I've heard it before, and I'm sure I will hear it again, it is weird to be in a divinity library where everyone is presumably studying about God, and to hear people beside you have a conversation about partying hard and utilizing the F-bomb while they talk. Vanderbilt is quite the different environment than the Harding Grad School.

  2. Bathroom Graffiti. I don't make it a habit to whip out my camera in public restrooms. But I was the only one in there, and I saw this on the wall in my stall. If you're wondering what kinds of things people write on the walls of upper echelon divinity library bathrooms, here's a sample.

  3. Little Mystic Man. For a couple of days while I was in the library, I noticed this very tiny man who looks like Genghis Khan's shorter brother. I've seen him the last two times I've been there. He isn't even close to being 5' tall. He has wild long black hair, a long beard to match, and long, dirty fingernails. Vandy places a huge emphasis on diversity, and you'll find people of every race, sex, and nationality there studying theology...except for average white guys. I haven't seem many of them.

    So I noticed this guy a couple of days ago. He was sitting on one of the high stools at a computer 2 or 3 down from the one where I was working. His feet didn't reach the foot rest, and were just dangling loosely. He was typing away, single-key pecking with great intensity. Deep down I began to really wonder where he was from and what religion he followed. When you see someone that outlandish at an elite school, you figure they're probably a genius of some sort. So as I watched him work with such ferocity, I was wondering what he was pondering. Was he reaching into the depths of reality and experience he's had from around the world to make some profound observations about the meaning of life? What could have this little guy so worked up? What was he looking for in his research? Would it blow my mind just to try and understand it?

    Again, yesterday, he showed up after I did, taking the computer a couple down the row from me. He had a taller friend help him climb up onto the chair, where his feet were once again dangling, and he began pecking away again, with the same intensity as before. I figured he must be on the verge of enlightenment for sure.

    I just had to know what he was working on. So I finally managed to find a reason to squeeze past him. When I did, without him noticing, I paused to glare over his shoulder at his computer screen and to learn what was captivating this small mystical person.

    He was Facebooking.

It's NOT Nacho Cat: Meet Munchy

There's a cute cat that's been hanging around church a lot. He shows up especially on Wednesday nights. We aren't sure if he's owned by anyone or not. He resembles Nacho, and happens to be really friendly like Nacho.

Just as I gave Nacho her legendary name by naming her after the chips I fed her, Carolina fed this cat some Munchies the other day, and has henceforth started referring to this cat as "Munchy".

The other night, Munchy hopped up underneath Jon Austin's truck bed, and didn't want to get out. I managed to snap Munchy's picture. After he started the truck, the vibrations irritated him and he got out. It was funny while it lasted, though.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Rocking Out 2008: Say It Ain't So



Here is us practicing up on "Say It Ain't So." Weezer stuff is just so much fun! I loved that Brian nailed the feedback at the end of the song.

Notice the Cameo appearance by my good friend Jeremy Beauchamp!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

So I've been putting up some Christmas lights...

...and though I like how they look, they definitely don't compare to this.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's Nacho Cat: Rolling Around

Nacho has found this little patch of dirt beside our back deck where there is no grass. She will go here when the sun is shining and roll back and forth.

It makes you think a little more about washing your hands after you pet her.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy 135th Anniversary to the Donelson Church of Christ

Yesterday was a really special day. At the Donelson Church of Christ--where I grew up--we celebrated the 135th anniversary of the congregation. I had received a call from one of the elders a few days ago, inviting me and my wife to be there. This is a congregation that will always have a special place in my heart.

They invited back two of our former preachers: Bob Hendren, who had preached at Donelson for almost 20 years, leaving around 1989, and Randy Harris, who preached for about 9 years, leaving around 1999.

Bob Hendren was the reason my parents began attending Donelson, a year or so before I was born. As the saying goes, "He can read Greek better than you can read English." A Greek Bible was all he ever carried to the pulpit with him. He even taught several of the members Greek while he was at Donelson, and many of them are quite good at this point. He is a brilliant speaker and thinker. I had been very young when he left, but it surprised me how familiar he felt. It was like I had traveled back in time. At Donelson, we always held our ministers in extremely high esteem, and I think Bob was a large contributor to this, if not the reason for this. He was very influential, but he was the type of person who could be trusted with influence. He wasn't pushing an agenda other than the cause of Christ. He almost always preached expository lessons, just trying to help the congregation have good theology and a good knowledge of Scripture. Under his leadership, the congregation was the largest that it ever was. Many of us still think of Bob Hendren's tenure as the "good old days." I've mentioned him several times on my blog, and have even retyped some of the things he's published about Grace and Baptism, which are really brilliant.

Randy Harris followed Bob. Randy is an interesting individual. While he preached for us, he was also teaching full-time at Lipscomb University. We take a lot of pride in Randy, because even though he's very widely popular now, he was much less known when he started working with us, and we feel like we helped him grow a lot pastorally, if nothing else. When he first arrived, he was a bit socially awkward. But by the time he left, he was the one who dressed up as the Easter Bunny for the kids egg hunt in the Spring! He even started an annual tradition of taking our 2nd graders bowling. He is single by choice--which I really wish we would do a better job of honoring in the Church. I'll never forget the time he invited some of us in the youth group over to his house. He had a portrait in his bedroom of Friedrich Nietzsche which he sometimes speaks to, vowing to fight the philosophies that Nietzsche promoted. If my memory serves me right, he also had a painting of a person who was chained under water to the ocean floor, about to give up his last breath. The purpose of this is to remind him of how helpless we would be without God to save us. He also collects monk figurines, chess sets, and lava lamps. Randy seems to always do everything the way he does for a purpose. When he was struggling early in his ministry, he commited himself to praying for Donelson at least one hour a day--and it might have been two, though I can't remember exactly. He is a very contemplative Christian, and a great spiritual mentor. Near the end of his time at Donelson, while Randy was trying to get me to go to Lipscomb and study under him, I was deciding to go to Harding, but when he suddenly decided to move to Abilene, then he couldn't give me too much of a hard time about it. He's been missed.

At Donelson on Sunday, Randy preached, then Bob taught class. As I listened to both of them, it hit me just how much each of these men has influenced me. I always grew up thinking that ministers should be Greek experts like Bob, and I ended up majoring in Biblical languages. I've also got a strong affinity for studying theology, and I've noticed I tend to be drawn toward the stuff that Randy would always talk about. I think I'm endebted to Donelson for giving me the opportunity to grow up hearing these two theological giants all of my life.

As a blog post this long is obviously much more for my sake than for yours, I'm going to list a few moments yesterday that really struck me.
  • The moment that hit me the most was at the beginning of Randy's lesson. We sang a newer song about Blessed Be The Name Of The Lord. In the last section of the song, it repeats the phrase several times that God "gives and takes away." Each time we sang those words, there were two images listed above them on the slides. One was of a newborn baby, and the other was of a person who has died in the last few years. I simply was not emotionally prepared for this, and nor were many of my peers. The second picture they used was of Dan Midget, who has always been one of my favorite people. He died very quickly of a brain tumor while I was in high school, and I still mourn his loss. Also pictured was Erdner Jones, who used to work with Dan in directing our church camp program. When I run my camp, I spend so much time thinking about, "How would Mr. Midget and Mr. Jones handle this?" They also pictured Sid & Bailey. These were two old men who were brothers, and were also slightly mentally handicapped. I always shook their hands every Sunday. They were so friendly and positive. I used to get tickled at them when I would pass the communion trays on their row. One or both of them would always be sound asleep, and then would have to wake up the other one. Then there was Cliff and Lil Balduff. Every single Sunday morning when I was little, they gave me hugs and talked to me, and gave me a little pack of gum. They both had thick northern accents, and I loved them so much. In appreciation for the gum, I used to draw pictures for them on the back of attendance cards. I had been gone for so long, the reality had never sunk in for me that they're both now deceased. They showed Tom Neil, who used to always run the show at fellowship meals, and used to always make us young ones stop playing basketball while people were trying to eat. Also they showed Doug Pippen, who died just a few years ago of cancer. Our family was very, very close to him, and his wife is one of my mother's best friends. That one was more than Carolina could handle, because Mr. Pippen died about a year after Carolina's mother did, and she spent a lot of time trying to encourage the Pippens, because she could relate to them. There were others, but seeing so many people I miss so much in short 3-4 second bursts was more than I could handle. I couldn't sing, my eyes teared up, and I had to look away. It was meaningful, but a little warning would have been nice. I hadn't realized how much I still miss these people.

  • Randy had some great thoughts about reflecting on the world we live in. He made the point that no matter who's elected, the world is always going to be messed up. He told us what he said to his students, "If you don't believe me when I say that this election really doesn't matter much more than any other election, I have two words to convince you: 'Chester Arthur.' They say, 'Who?' and I say, 'Exactly!' He was supposedly a really important President and you don't even know who he is!" The main gist of his message is that it's important to remember the past, but we've got to follow the example of Jesus in John 21. Peter's sin was a given, but in that conversation they focussed on the present and the future. We've got to be willing to let go of our shortcomings, and to decide that we are going to live like Christ right now.

  • Bob spoke about how we can find the best way to unite the world. He mentioned Fred Craddock's efforts to interpret Scripture doxologically, looking for reaons to praise God, rather than looking for ways to argue with people. He layed out several approaches that haven't worked, such as wisdom and power. Education is important, but it isn't the solution. Power seems like a solution, but it comes up short. He shared some great quotes from historical leaders like Napoleon. My favorite was something Napoleon said after he lost his empire. He spoke about how men like himself had built vast empires using power, and having the biggest battalions. But Jesus Christ was a peasant, and using love and mercy had established an empire of millions that was still standing. Bob has such a bredth of knowledge about so many things. As he talks, he constantly is throwing in little quotes from classical literature, from operas, from history, and some in other languages. The rapid fire fashion at which he's able to do this is really astounding.
It was a very good Sunday to have been there. There were a lot of people who haven't been around in a long time who were there, and it was great to see them. Not many congregations can claim a history as long and robust as Donelson's, and I'm proud to be able to claim them as part of who I am.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Letter to Santa

I'm sure there are a gazillion places where you can write to Santa, but I just learned of one that I'm going to pass on for those of you with niƱos. The Old Hickory Credit Union, where Carolina has worked for the last year, has an e-mail address to which you can write and Santa will respond.

Send letters to Santa@ohcu.org

Some wisdom I heard in the hallway...

"Sometimes what 'dirty' is depends a lot on location. If you were eating oatmeal and some oatmeal got in your hair, you would say that your hair is dirty. But if you were eating oatmeal and a hair got in your oatmeal, you would say that your oatmeal is dirty."

7 Ways To Make Your Brain Smarter

I thought this article was very informative and practical.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's Nacho Cat: Window

Sometimes when we get home, Nacho feels the need to investigate our car. She mostly likes to smell everything. This particular evening, she hopped up on top of the rear seats, and we could not get her out. Carolina got particularly peeved as she started sharpening her claws there.

On the bright side, this prompted me to wash the car and vacuum the back seat where she left little traces of cat hair.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Good Luck, Carolina!

I'm very proud of my wife. Today she begins a new job working for LifeWay Christian Resources. I must also brag that while most companies, including LifeWay, are having to do some downsizing because of the economy, Carolina was viewed as such a valuable asset, that they hired her anyway. It was a hire that had to be approved directly by the president of the company.

She will be a Bilingual Universal Representative. She's going to be working in downtown Nashville at their corporate building. LifeWay is ranked as one of the best places to work in Tennessee. I'm really glad that she'll be working in a Christian environment. And much like when she worked at Harding, LifeWay has an Aramark cafeteria! We went on Friday to figure out the train and bus system to make sure she can get to work without any problems.

Keep her in your prayers as she begins a new chapter in her life today.

Rocking Out 2008: Be My Girl

Here is another video from us at my house. Obviously, it's practice because we stop in the middle of it and discuss some of the transitions. For those of you who've never been in a band, I hope you can see how much fun it is to get together and jam.

My favorite part is around 2:37 when James started nailing the cymbal with his bass. I was also rather pleased with my solo at around 3:27. It is an extremely fast pentatonic scale using double stops. Sometimes when you're improvising it sounds great, sometimes it doesn't.

Also be sure to listen to the last 2 seconds to guess who the camera person was.

Yes, Rock Band and Guitar Hero are cool video games, but they simply don't compare to actually being in a rock band.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

When The Master Comes Home...

The last time we went to Searcy was mostly a wonderful visit for us. But we also had some sadness.

It was about a year ago that we bought our current house. It took us several months to sell our house in Searcy. We absolutely loved that house. It was incredibly nice for a very low cost. We had to spend 50% more in Nashville for a comparable house, which in some ways is arguably inferior. Don't get me wrong. We're very blessed to be where we are, and I don't want to sound shallow or unappreciative. We like where we are, but our first home will always have a special place in our hearts.

Carolina had always said that maybe one day we could move back to Searcy, to our first house. Yes, it's romanticized, but we really have some good memories there. I have never really thought it would happen, but who am I to stomp on someone else's dreams? It was a beautiful place to live with wonderful neighbors.

We sold our house to a really nice couple working for the natural gas company. We were excited to learn that they were even making some enhancements, with new sinks and a new shower in the master bedroom. But work caused them to have to move very quickly.

They sold our house to the guy whose parents own the liquor store in Augusta. Though he went to a prominent private school in Searcy, he doesn't have a favorable reputation. People who've known him for a long time only use derogatory words to describe him; most of which I'd prefer not to share. They say you're lucky if you can ever find him completely sober.

So we drove past to see our beautiful home...to find it looking like this. No telling how long it's been since the bushes were trimmed. Weeds have taken over the yard. The tree in our yard is falling apart. And it STILL HAS OUR NAME ON THE MAILBOX!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's Nacho Cat: King (Or Queen) of the Castle


While we were weeding the flower beds, she sat at her post, and made sure none of those dogs people were walking in our neighborhood set foot in our yard.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Everett Ferguson is my homeboy...


...and he has a new book coming out about Baptism!

He's one of the world's leading experts on the early church, and he's got a new book out detailing the "History, Theology, and Liturgy" of baptism in the first five centuries. I love everything this guy writes, because he is so incredibly thorough, yet readable. It is sad to see great scholars getting older, but on the bright side, he's using his extra time available outside of the classroom to do more writing.

I've never bought a book from Ferguson that wasn't worth every penny. I can't wait to read it when it comes out!

You can pre-order it at Amazon:

Friday, November 07, 2008

Got plans this weekend?

Tonight, we kicked off a weekend seminar at the Old Hickory Church of Christ. Our speaker for the weekend is Bruce McLarty of Harding University, who is speaking about the book of Philemon, talking about Real Faith for Real Life.

Tonight's presentation was excellent, and I can't wait for tomorrow and Sunday!

If you are in the Nashville area and would like to join us, the schedule is:

Saturday:
7-8pm

Sunday:
9-10am (Worship)
10:15am-11:00am (Class)
11am-12:15am (Potluck Fellowship Meal)
12:30-1:30pm (2nd Service)

We are located at 1001 Hadley Ave., Old Hickory, TN 37138.

I hadn't gotten to hear Bruce speak since he was preaching at the College Church of Christ in Searcy, AR. He's now the Vice President of Spiritual Life at Harding University. He is using this study to demonstrate the intensely practical nature of Scripture. Even the short book of Philemon has some amazing insights.

If you want a copy of the tapes/CDs, you can contact our church office at 615-847-2386.

Use Your Allusion: McCarthyism

'McCarthyism' sprang forth in the 1950s, and derives its name from Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy (1909-1957). McCarthy became chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in 1953, where he set out on a hunt for Communists who he believed were infiltrating the American government.

On example of his thinking is a speech he gave on February 9, 1950 to a group of Republican women in Wheeling, West Virginia. He produced a piece of paper about which he claimed:
I have here in my hand a list of 205—a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department.
As a result of his work, many citizens suspected of being Communist sympathizers were blacklisted and faced discrimination. His tactics were very unpopular among the other Senators, and eventually he was censured with a unanimous vote from the Democrats and with the Republicans voting 50/50.

Today, McCarthyism is a term invoked to describe a political witch hunt, particularly when a person's patriotism is brought into question, and the accusations are unsubstantiated.

Many view McCarthy with disdain, while others have believed he is deserving of a better reputation. Ann Coulter, for instance, dedicated an entire chapter of her book Treason to defending McCarthy, and suggesting that the Democrats denounced him for fear that they were actually guilty of his accusations.

---------------------------------------

I think this is an important term to be aware of in light of the recent election. Obama has frequently been accused of promoting a socialist agenda, particularly when he suggested that we should "spread the wealth around." Some have suggested that he is a Communist.

This image is a good example of the suggestions that some have been making.

Are the charges justified? Are they just unsubstantiated accusations...McCarthyism? I'll leave that up to other people to argue about. Ultimately, we'll have to wait and see what decisions he makes as our next President.

But when someone speaks about attacks on Obama as McCarthyism, at least you'll know what they mean.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Need a good laugh?

Man, did I need this one. It's all in good fun, of course. The Onion is an equal opportunity satirist.

Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

Dying after a perfect game

Don Doane bowled a perfect 300, after being a member at his league for 45 years. Then within minutes, he fell over dead. While the preacher in me wants to start jumping out with comparisons and observations, I think I'll just leave it up to you to leave comments if you have any. I extend my sympathy to Mr. Doane's family. Truth really is stranger than fiction.

It's Nacho Cat: Truck


Though Nacho seems to enjoy walking and leaving little kitty footprints all over our vehicles, she rather dislikes riding in them.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Rocking Out 2008

The last full-band performance I've had in a long time (and it had been a while before this one) was in the Fall of 2006. Brian & Christy Dolinger were in town. We hooked up with Matt Sammons, Andrew Fletcher, and James Brown (Christy's brother) and threw together a show in like two days to play a Ju Go Ju function. It was a dress up function, so we went as the "Black-Eyed P's." You'll see what I mean by that later. For those of you who didn't know me in college, I was in a band called "Soma" with Brian Dolinger. He and Christy are dear, dear friends of ours. I never thought we'd get to reunite for a show, and this was such an exciting thing for me.

But from here to the end of 2008, I'm going to try and live up to what my profile claims about my guitar skillz.

So every other Monday, I'm going to bring you a song clip from either our practice together, or our show.

Today, I encourage you to enjoy some Pachabel Jam. This is what we used to warm up.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's Nacho Cat: Ladylike

No, it isn't very ladylike of her, but Nacho says she isn't here to impress you.

This is a good opportunity to point out a unique identifying mark about Nacho. She looks like most other tabby cats except that she has one albino foot. The back right one is light fur and pink skin, where all the others are black. If I'm looking at a neighborhood cat, trying to discern if it is her or not, the foot is the easiest part to identify.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Rubik's Cube, Tetris, and the Image of God

I just read an article on Wired.com which contains an interview with the creator of Bejeweled, a very addicting internet game. As an expert on creating simple games that people can't get enough of, they had him comment on several other simple games that have drawn people by the millions to put in literally billions of hours playing them.

In this interview, they walk through the different games, explaining what they are, and then he comments on what makes us drawn to them. Some of what he said really caught my attention as a theologian.

About the Rubik's cube:
A clear example of a game in which the pleasure is in creating order. You randomize it, it becomes a big mess, and then you have to bring it to an organized state.


About Where's Waldo:
For thousands of years, we've derived satisfaction from searching and uncovering...


About Tetris:
Fitting pieces together feeds the same pleasure center of the brain that gets off on packing a suitcase really well or squeezing all your groceries into a single bag.
Think back to the Biblical creation narratives, then think about the creation of Man in the image of God. If you don't go any farther than the creation story as all you know about God, what does it mean to be made in God's image?

God is an organizer of disaster. God is an architect. God is a planner. God derives great joy from seeing everything in its right place, and works tirelessly until it is so. God has hidden beauty in the design of nature that it is our pleasure to discover. These ideas seem to be the understanding that the other Biblical writers took as the meaning of the creation account.

In Job 38:6-11, God describes his putting the sea in its place, instructing the waves exactly how far they are allowed to go onto the shore. Isaiah speaks of God measuring and balancing all aspects of creation.

I think we could argue that the image of God includes much more than a mere desire for order, but is this not a significant portion of what it means for God to make us in his own image? Where there was chaos, God molded it into a beautiful creation. God is the one who proclaims good news for the poor and suffering, and who releases the slaves from captivity. Christ came to seek and to save the lost.

What is it about these games that absolutely sucks us into them? Could it be that in putting the Rubik's cube in order, we reflect God's image in a desire for order? In loving the hunt to find Waldo, are we reflecting an inner tendency to want to find what is lost?

I can't prove it, but it is interesting to ponder.

And for those of you programmers looking for a million-dollar idea, why not consider other attributes of God's personality for game ideas, to see if people are similarly drawn to them?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It's Nacho Cat: Spy Cat

Carolina and I recently finished painting in our bonus room. The room itself is green, and we wanted to make the walls of the stairs going up a yellow color. We were working on getting some things back in place at the bottom of the stairs when suddenly a voltage detector tool of mine, which I had left on the rail upstairs, came falling from above our heads. We looked up, and saw that we were being spied on.

Nacho enjoys fumbling through all the plastic, bags, and tools used for working on our house.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It's Nacho Cat: It's also na-cho fingernail file!

While I was watching Sarah Palin's RNC speech--for the third time--lying on my bed with Nacho beside me, Carolina tossed her nail file onto the bed. We thought Nacho was sleeping, but she immediately pounced on it. This soon turned into a game which continued until Carolina no longer thought she wanted to use this nail file, as it is presently covered with kitty slobber and teeth marks.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I've Got Rhythm (Final Version)

Though I hope to continue to improve at this song, this is me playing the whole thing. You may remember some previous posts where I've documented my progress learning this song. I think you'll be able to see some definite improvements.

This is the most difficult piece I've ever learned. It makes it more difficult that it's not a rock song where distortion and effects can cover your blunders. This one is completely clean, played here on my Fender Telecaster. Hope you enjoy it. I don't have time to play as much as I used to, but I think I've been able to continue playing pretty well.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Use Your Allusion: "With Bated Breath"

Several months ago, Matt suggested that I explain the phrase "with bated breath" in one of my allusion posts. My apologies to Matt for not noticing his request sooner (I do take requests).

This is probably less of an allusion, and more of an expression. But my goal for this series of posts is to help us all expand our minds a bit, and for this purpose, it will work.

According to this guy, "With bated breath" was first used by Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice when Shylock says to Antonio,
“Shall I bend low and, in a bondman’s key, / With bated breath and whisp’ring humbleness, / Say this ...”.
Unfortunately, this phrase is commonly misspelled as "with baited breath." This is likely because of our cessation of using the word "bated." Bated, which is a form of "abated" after it has undergone aphesis, means "reduced, lessened, or lowered in force."

To say you wait with "bated breath" means you almost stop breathing because of a strong emotion, such as shock, fear, or awe.

Geoffrey Taylor has cleverly seized the common misspelling of this phrase and written a humorous poem called The Cruel Clever Cat.





Sally, having swallowed cheese,
Directs down holes the scented breeze,
Enticing thus with baited breath
Nice mice to an untimely death.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

It's Nacho Cat: Mirror, Mirror

We got rid of a mirror that had been on the wall in the living room. Nacho cat was using her skills of stealth to keep an eye on us from inside the bedroom, using the mirror. Pretty sneaky!

Friday, October 03, 2008

What's that ticking sound?

If you haven't seen this Harry Potter puppet sketch, and you have an appreciation for rhythm, it's really classic.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

A Noble Cause: Mi Esperanza

If you're looking for a convenient way to help impoverished people in third world countries, I want encourage you to take a look at Mi Esperanza (My Hope). I first became acquainted with this project when I was in Honduras, where it is based.

This is spear headed by Lori Connell, who is a wonderful Christian woman. They work with women in Honduras, teaching them trades, so that they can have a way to support themselves, and hopefully even prosper. They've done everything from tortilla making, to sewing, to peanut roasting. On the website, you can purchase items of clothing and jewelry that these women make. If you're looking for a meaningful gift for someone this year, this might be something to consider.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

It's Nacho Cat: This One's In The Bag




I recently discovered some pictures of Nacho that were on Carolina's old camera from around Christmas that I had forgotten to retrieve from the memory card. I am thinking that if I ever have a secret to unveil, I may send one of these with a message about "letting the cat out of the bag."

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A cool thing about being a minister.

Something I have enjoyed so much about being a minister is that I have some really excellent people as role models. I know that in every vocation, people have other experts and leaders whom they admire. It seems like a lot of times it will be someone who is fastest or strongest, or whose company makes the most money. But their personal integrity might or might not factor that much into their status.

I got to spend most of today with Dr. Phil Slate, who I interviewed as part of a specialized practicum I'm doing this semester at the Harding Grad School. I found myself feeling like the gentile woman who told Jesus, "Even dogs can eat the crumbs that fall from the master's table." This guy is just such a solid person. He is dripping with wisdom and compassion. He's lived overseas for years, he's well educated, and most importantly, he's given his life to trying to strengthen the church. At this stage in his life, he's preparing to make yet another shift to start pouring more effort into domestic mission work because he sees a need there. We talked about a variety of subjects, and in each regard, he had some thought or advice that was positive and helpful.

I love having people to mentor me who are not untouchable famous millionaires. Despite the bad press that some ministers and Christian leaders get, there are a lot of Christian people who have led magnificent lives, and who have lived this way for noble, selfless reasons; not for personal gain. My heroes are not sports legends or CEO's. Many of my heroes are people that I've been blessed to get to know.

Spending time learning at the feet of Dr. Slate today reminded me of why I chose ministry. I had seriously contemplated trying to "make it" in the music business, or in the corporate world. But I looked at my own life and abilities and was convicted that with all the blessings I've been given, I owed God too much not to try and give him my life through church work. I've been blessed already with the two terrific congregations where I've been able to work. If in my life I'm able to contribute to the church in a way that's even a fraction of what people like Dr. Slate have done, I know I'll be able to die with the peace of feeling like my life meant something.

There is no amount of money equal to the value of a solid Christian role model.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Use Your Allusion: Simeon the Stylite

Simeon Stylites, or Simeon the Stylite, lived from 390 to 459 AD. He was an Arab who became very interested in Christianity after hearing a lecture on the Beatitudes at the age of 13. By the time he was 16, he had joined a monastery. He was particularly dedicated to an ascetic lifestyle, and would often fast for long periods of time; sometimes to his own detriment.

He had several different ventures where he would try and cut himself off from the world, but because of his unconventional life, he was constantly beraded by people seeking his prayers and advice.

The first of these ventures was that he shut himself in a hut for three years. Later, he began standing continually upright for as long as his limbs would hold him up. Eventually, he went to live on the rocky Sheik Barakat Mountain, where he imprisoned himself to live in a space that was less than 20 meters in diameter. But people kept seeking him out, so that he wasn't able to find time for his own meditation and devotions.

It was obvious that he wasn't going to be able to escape the world horizonally, so he decided to do so vertically. Amongst some ruins, he discovered a pillar that was about 13 feet high. He built a platform on top of it, then began to live there. Some of the other monks were concerned he was doing it for attention rather than devotion, and they decided to test him to see if he would be obedient to their requests to come down. When he demonstrated that he was willing to comply with whatever they demanded, instead they decided to let him stay on the pillar.

Some of his admirers eventually built him taller pillars. The last one which he lived on was about 40 feet high, and it had a platform that was about 12 square feet. He lived atop this pillar for a total of 37 years until he died. (Pictured are the remains of the pillar, marked with a boulder on top of it) And again, the more unusual he was in seeking solitude, the more people continued to seek him out. He became quite famous, and inspired many imitators called stylites, in reference to him.
---------------

I don't know how frequently Simeon the Stylite is used as an allusion in modern times. It might be a good reference for someone who is terribly anti-social. I personally think the best use of Simeon the Stylite would be in reference to David Blaine's recent "Dive of Death." Blaine hung upside down for 60 hours, though occasionally he took water breaks and potty breaks. Yawn. Compared to Simeon, David Blaine is a total wimp.