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Showing posts from 2005

Treehouse Saga

I don't have enough to do on the weekends... yeah right! AND...my dad and I have been promising the kids a treehouse for as long as I can remember.

Soooo the project began on 11/19 with the beams. It will be a hybrid treehouse/playset for the kids with swings, slides, climbing ramp, ladder.. maybe even a trap door.. Cool thing about a treehouse is that you have to custom build it.. no two are the same. Kind of like relationships between people.

This is a lot of fun. A lot of work.. but that is okay.

Pictures of the SAGA-- click here

Update:11/28 -- Thanks to help from a friend, and from Tracee... I have finished the floor of the tree house and all of the swing sets... We now have 4 swings, a disc swing and a ring/climbing bar.. VERY COOL... I'll add some updated pics to the website when I get a few minutes. I have spent a lot of time working in the last few days...Even working by yourself can be therapeutic. I feel better when I can accomplish something and then see the…

Mature

It doesn't mean old.. it doesn't mean experienced. It means that you are comfortable with who you are, and you don't feel the need to prove yourself to those around you. The closest parallel I could come up with is the idea of "tenure" in the university systems. The difference is of course, that tenure is "bestowed" by peers and committees. Maturity is earned privately through hundreds of successes and failures. People in my life contribute, but ultimately the growth is up to me.

On Stargate SG1, they talk about "ascension" as a concept of moving past a need for a physical body. In my mind, that is similar to my line of thinking. Maturity doesn't mean that I don't care about others around me, or what they think. It simply means that how they feel and think of me, doesn't drive my happiness. It isn't the focus of my actions in the world.

When I am finally comfortable with myself, I can make the "choice" to help o…

Wires, wires everywhere

I have concerts this weekend with solo singing, so working outside is not a good plan. Air is just cold enough to turn my slight cold into something serious. sooooo working inside is the game.

After 9 months of looking at a huge box of wires accumulated from our move(in my office of course), I finally decided to organize and trash. I ended up with 4 major areas. Ethernet cables, Stereo cables(RCA and speaker), power cables, USB stuff and then the last and biggest box was the TRASH.

It was so hard to throw away those old serial connectors, ADB extension, SCSI, etc..but realizing that I haven't looked at these things in years..I didn't even know they were there, and I don't have any systems that use any of that stuff anymore. It was strangely therapeutic to move on.

That thought has been recurring this week. We have done lot of new things, in our new home, in our new neighborhood, with new people. We love the old people, but not all of those connections are sustainable w…

Good enough

When are thing good enough? Our culture seems to glorify mediocrity. We give standing ovations to every performance these days. Who is setting the standards? I know that my Juilliard/WCC background sets me up to deal with unreasonable expectations.. I do expect higher standards of myself than others. I do think that it is worthy to always find something you could have done better even in success. I have had numerous teachers tell me that the day I decide I am "good enough" is the day that my growth as a musician stops. There is something here. I want to be a lifelong learner, who strives to perform better at every opportunity. Some performances/presentations go better than others, but the crux is about my personal perspective.

I am good enough for now, but I can never be good enough forever. That doesn't keep me from trying though...

Making a difference

November stretches into December.. Christmas is upon me and I wonder if I make a difference in my world. What is special about each of us? so special that God would come down into the world as a man, live as us, among us, and then sacrifice himself for all. The story is so fantastic. The idea that one man can and did make a difference for the rest of us. My world teaches me to rely on myself, and people that I can count on. Yet, even with all I can do, I so often accomplish so little. My existence, is serial, a sequence of events bound by a finite number of interactions with others.

Today, I was amazed and moved by a simple song about Christmas shoes... the song itself a bit tacky, too sensationalist, too emotional.. yet, I was touched in a profound way on the way to work, breaking down in tears. This is VERY uncharacteristic for me. Simply hearing the song colored the remainder of my day.

When I got home from work, I watched the last 30-40 minutes of "The Return of the Kin…

Singing in public

Alyssa and Emma decided to make their public profession of faith yesterday. I was so excited that I wasn't sure what to say or feel. We have been talking with them for months about this decision. They did it on their own. They of course know that it was what Tracee and I wanted for them, but we made it clear that it was a big step that they needed to take for themselves. I will always remember their talk with Rod Hale after church..(the Rod of God) He shared with them about his personal decision and then explained that Satan would be after them now. They needed to pray and study the bible regularly to keep him away. I think they actually got it...

I led the musical worship elements at HRBC on Sunday as well and I was reminded of how wonderful it is to stand in front of people singing praises to God. Whether it is the congregation or the choir, the sound and the energy is contagious...

Quote from "ELF" with Will Farrell.... "best way to spread Christmas cheer i…

Without Faith

Conversation with a good friend at work today centered around how anyone can get through tough times without faith. Her best friend's son was beaten to death at a college in SC by an ignorant oaf, all over a girl. I didn't know what to say. I can't explain it. That is something I look forward to asking about in Heaven.

I think of all the things that populate my life. I am reminded that we can lose those things at any moment. We rented the movie "Robots" tonight.. what a great, entertaining hour and half.. Kids loved it. Tracee and I liked it. The theme in the movie was that anyone can succeed if they truly believe in their purpose, work hard and sacrifice towards it. I think there is a truth there, but not the only truth. Without my faith, my life becomes a means to an insignificant end. With faith, my life becomes a journey full of love, people, emotion, discipline, sacrifice and opportunity.

My list is incomplete, but so is my journey. Every day brings a …

Candle of Grace

Lighting a candle is a simple exercise, or so it seems. Under the right conditions, I strike a match, merge the sulphuric flame with a waiting wick, and then when I remove the source, the wick lights and becomes its own source. Grace is like this flame. God shares it with me. His love envelops me, consumes me and at the same time empowers me to share with others. The source flame is composed of love. I am bound to share this love with another this Christmas. I pray that God will help me to find an unlit or dormant candle in my world and provide the spark which will bring that person to life in Christ. Ann Weems writes in her poem Godburst:

"When the Holy Child is born into our hearts
there is a rain of stars
a rushing of angels
a blaze of candles
this God burst into our lives.
Love is running through the streets."

Father, Help me to run through the streets lighting candles of grace as I share your love in all that I do.

Forecast

My whole life seems to be consumed with looking and planning for the future these days. Resource and organizational changes are creating a good opportunity for me to grow and develop at work.. Almost all of our project and team successes are a function of our ability to accurately estimate and forecast for the future.

Good forecasts are completed at the appropriate level.. not too high, not too detailed, and for the appropriate time frame. Life is like that...

Wasn't able to go to choir practice last couple of weeks... not performing and leading in a musical outlet makes me feel terrible.. prone to mood swings, compulsive work habits... I am hopeful that some opportunities to make music will present themselves soon. I need that creative outlet..

Another forecast: Somehow, I need to find the right balance between obligations to family and the need to earn money, serving others, and serving myself... To be successful in the first two.. I have to put more focus on the third...

Funn…

The journey is the goal

I have created a world for myself that is filled with objectives. Get this, win, learn enough, become wise, don't mess up... and a myriad of others that are the "stuff" of my days, every day.

Today... it is clear to me. My revelation is that there is no revelation...in my many contexts.. I can't find the answers because I am asking the wrong questions.

The final answer is a fluid moving texture built of individuals and their love for one another... as directed and intended by God who loved us all first. We are all first born of God. It is not possible to us to love one another enough or too much. We are called to simply love..not only for today, or yesterday, but forever and more importantly, in every second of every day.

Pursuing Vital Ministry and the Emerging Future Story... for me is a call to tangible social action which demonstrates God's love for all of us.. through our love for one another. My new goal is to figure out how I do it just so I can get bet…

Beacon

Beacon is the word that repeatedly returns to my daily world through multiple paths.. God is telling me something.. so here is the first pass at talking about it.

Beacon:
1. A signaling or guiding device, such as a lighthouse, located on a coast.
2. A radio transmitter that emits a characteristic guidance signal for aircraft.
3. A source of guidance or inspiration.
4. A signal fire, especially one used to warn of an enemy's approach

I noticed the active and passive functions associated with being a beacon. I think that I am being called along with all Christians to be a beacon in our world. That means it is okay to be distinctive.. not separatist.. but distinctive.. It is important that I know what my "signal" is and that I seek out ways to broadcast.

I think of all the beacon activities I present for the world's consumption. Too many are negative.. I have slipped in my own personal standards in the last year or so. That is something I will work to correct. Who we are …

Chapter

I spent the day today visiting a treasured mentor who will soon be absent from my workplace. While the loss of his presence in the workplace is significant and depressing on one level, I was mostly struck by the refreshingly "future focused" tenor of our conversations. For him, he is striking out into a completely new arena.. non-corporate...seeking personal fulfillment through further education and work in a field for which he has passion. He has purpose, focus, a plan, and the means to accomplish all of these things. The privilege of choice is a great blessing...

For Joe and I, it seemed as though there was some sort of graduation..I matured as a "corporate thinker/manager" under this man's tutelage and example. Over lunch today, we talked about legacy, relationships, goals and journeys. A chapter of our story is written, but the book has so much left to be written...I will focus my future on seeking a place to learn which also provides me an opportunity to …

Direction

Spent a lot of energy in the past 6 months focusing on singing for me. I think that is the wrong intention and despite the realization that singing, my singing, is at the core of my identity.. It can not become my sole focus. That is NOT who I am anymore.
I was that person and years ago chose a different route. No need to seek that direction again..Self-promotion and success as a performer are not the keys do defining my purpose, or fulfilling my call.
I actually turned down an opportunity to sing weekly at a local church for good money this past week.. Seemed to me that the impact on my family, not to mention the return to solo performing in church for money would have intensely negative consequences all around. but man... the extra paycheck would have been nice

There is something different for me here, in focusing on encouraging others to sing versus singing for them. Music ministry(as defined by Jeff) should have a healthy weighting on the former and while solo singing and my growth…

Maintenance

Church was good today. Despite my general feeling of insignificant futility lately, when I am at church I feel like I am at my most effective. I am provided an opportunity to raise my voice bringing glory to God. This action is central to who I am. I decided to do some maintenance on my truck today. Normally, I would take it somewhere, but I thought maybe I could save a few buck...(jury is out on that one)

Goal was to change the oil, replace air and oil filters, replace wiper blades and replace my aging battery. While I was working diligently couple of things happened..
1. I determined that doing this sort of thing gives me a strong connection to my memories of the person that I used to be... At least as a kid.. the smells, the oil and dirt.. even the sweat all brings back intense memories of time spent with my father and grandfather. Even washing my hands afterwards flashes scenes in my brain of my grandfather washing his hands in the sink with dish soap.
2. I determined, that whil…

Good, Better, Best - no matter

The Prillaman way is somehow about seeking to be the best.. achieving success(lots of ways to define this).. then somehow changing plans before that success can grow into something that consumes me. I talk about focusing on others, I care about people, but deep down I wonder just how selfless those relationships are. This kind of thinking will really mess with your mind. Are my actions based on love for fellow man, on my call to ministry... or at a deeper level am I fulfilling some intense desire to please and impress those around me.. My initial reaction that reality-possibility is a sense of self-loathing,shallowness, and disgust.. but I think maybe this is at the crux of how the devil can take us off the path with such a little misdirection... Do we all go through this struggle as we mature?

Seeking success down a successional variety of paths... maybe that is what we are all supposed to do. Maybe I should be more content, but I have this deep seated passion to seek the "priz…

Normal..

Two very interesting comments on "normal"...I loved them both...

if you are reading this please post your ideas.. we all benefit from your thoughts...

For me, normal this week was summed up by my return to a Wed night choir rehearsal at HRBC. I had a great time. I sang hard, laughed a bit, and left wanting more. People there are no different than in past months but something is different about me. My context and my perspective to "desire" was to be in the house of God rather than feeling obligated by routine, expectations, and normalcy. I had no need to be in charge.. just a desire to lift my voice along with others...

Who defines normal for you?
What does normal mean to you in your daily actions?
What is normal in your relationship with God?
How is that different from your committment and dedication to your church?
What are the normal things about your family?
What is normal in your relationships with friends?
What are normal expectations of the "other people&quo…

Obligations

It is Sunday morning, and we should be in church right now... except, Tracee doesn't want to go, her mother wouldn't even imagine going, and my mom and dad just left after their quick visit.. All of this combined... we are not going... We are deviating from the norm... at least as defined by our recent history...

"Normal"
1 a. according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle
b. conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern
2 occurring naturally and not because of disease, inoculation, or any experimental treatment
3 a. of, relating to, or characterized by average intelligence or development
b. free from mental disorder
c. characterized by balanced well-integrated functioning of the organism as a whole
4 a of a solution, having a concentration of one gram equivalent of solute per liter b. containing neither basic hydrogen nor acid hydrogen
c. not associated
d. having a straight-chain structure
Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary, ©…

Disillusioned but searching

I am pretty disillusioned by most churches these days, even HRBC to a certain extent. What those few folks did to me at Branch's was just the icing on the cake...I'm not blaming, more like taking ownership of my role in all of it.. I am struggling to find the importance of what I have to offer these days, versus the potential damage to my family.. The risk seems so great...but I am trying to be true to my calling.. No answers on how to proceed yet. Time will tell.

I want a new way to do worship and missions where liturgy, and beauty matter more, but people are still focused on helping one another- focused outward on impacting their communities, not their churches... I no longer believe in the mechanism of the church that I have grown up in.. but it is the best out there until a newer model comes of age. Talking with Mclaren last week was enlightening... I am not sure he and his team are any further along than I am in my thinking.. Only difference is his last 20 years were …

Crisis followup..

Fog seems to be lifting.. I am sick now, but thankfully it is only a return of the dreaded stomach bug and I can handle it. Tracee has managed her test and medications well today and seems are a bit more normal, at least on the surface.

It feels like there is some sort of giant elephant in the room that we are ignoring... Not sure I can put my finger on it exactly.

What is normal these days..? Home, friends, work, church..
Home: state of total confusion..
Friends: thank God they are there.. but I miss so many folks from Branch's and it is hard to stay in touch with people.. hard to define a baseline context for many of the more distant relationships.
Work: going great, I am motivated and trying hard, our teams are succeeding and we have strong support.. good to still have a job in today's climate
Church: We want to plug in more at HRBC but that seems to be relevant only to my relationship with Philip and Bert.. Is that selfish? maybe.. but true nonetheless. Got a wonderful le…

Crisis

Family emergencies have a way of "making or breaking" everyone. In the past week, I would suggest that we have done a bit of both.. story goes like this...

Entire family was sequentially sick with some sort of stomach bug.. causing diarhea and vomiting.. it was bad but really not all that uncommon for a family of our size..so we didn't think so much of it.

When Tracee got the bug it was right before my trip so we figured it was okay.. been here, done this.. was what we thought. I went ahead and left... Unknown to us, was the fact that Tracee's blood sugar levels had been in a dangerous range for months hampering her at every turn.. When the "bug" hit.. Tracee quickly deteriorated into dehydration, and became dangerously lethargic.. once again our collective collossal ignorance played out and the thinking was that this will pass.. we just did too much this past weekend and need to rest. Tracee's penchant for demonstrating her "supermomness" c…

Questions, no answers

Lately, I have a lot more questions than answers... I sang at Monument Heights Baptist this AM at the invitation of Randy Clipp and it was wonderfully refreshing. Tracee and I both remarked at how comfortable it felt although we really knew almost noone in that congregation. The urge to seek out a new congregation to serve is overwhelming, but my instinct tells me that it is not the correct time just yet. Monument Heights seems to be doing so much right...Is that a church model that provides a template for the type of place that Tracee and I could step in?
If I am right about my ministry being centered around my singing... How does that fit into a new congregational music ministry.. ?
What is it about HRBC that seems to keep us from totally "connecting"? The Sunday school class is great, and the preaching is wonderful, but something is missing in relationships with the other musicians....What is it?
In a new "emerging" church model, how do I fit my traditional exper…

Recovery

Large parties can be accomplished... True, we had more folks than we had originally anticipated, but even with a group of 90-100 the event yesterday went off wonderfully. It was a privilege to to get to see so many friends and hopefully, the neighbors won't vote us "off the island"

Memories I want to remember..
1. Cars everywhere.. up and down both sides of the street.
2. Huge choir surrounding me and singing Happy B'day.. what a blessing.
3. Lloyd and Charles sitting at the table talking..the LSMF VIP table in the kitchen
4. HOT HOT HOT.. even in the shade, it was sweltering.. but people came anyway..
5. Talking about XML and server options with Bob and George..
6. Graham's comment.. "well it was going to be hot, no matter where I was.. might as well come over here and be hot with people I like"
7. Diversity of the food, from Scotch eggs, to egg rolls, to macaroni and cheese, to pasta dishes, to deviled eggs, to potato salad, fried chicken... ALL GREAT...

Sunrise

Couldn't sleep.. Today is the day of our big party... Feels like we are starting our "new" life. Funny we have been starting for 6 months now, but somehow assembling friends, family, neighbors, and even coworkers in a big celebration setting may provide the context for moving ahead. I am reforming my community and beginning to assemble my own base of operations to move out into the larger regional community and make a difference.

Pray for us that we can find the right pace to maintain family, but be true to our ministry calling to bear witness to the world of God's love for us.

My adrenaline is so high.. I feel like a kid on Christmas morning.. I really can't wait to see all of the folks from Branch's and just help in connecting people. This is what I love..

Thank you Lord for allowing me to wake up today!

Surprise

Tracee pulled it off.. a whole weekend, where I didn't know what was coming.. a special b'day present away from the kids.. only word is WOW.. First we drove for what seemed like forever.. then had a great time with friends(Ang and David) north of Baltimore.. then dinner at the ESPNZone in Baltimore..food was okay, games were pricey, but the fellowship with friends was priceless... Then we split up and went to the hotel...pool water was too cold, but the hot tub was nice...

Got up Sunday AM to find that we were going to worship at Cedar Ridge Community Church, this is the church where Brian Mclaren is pastor.. I got to meet and talk with Brian about his ministry and mine.. and then we took his Worship pastor Jimi Calhoun to lunch.. What a treat, his wife Julain came, as well as 2 friends... Eric and Wendy.. It was wonderfully validating to hear others who think like I do.. Thank You Jimi, Julain, Eric, and Wendy.

Most of all thanks to Tracee for a great weekend.. Click her…

Context, Perspective, Action

I am sticking with my thinking that community is the key to revolutionizing our culture and society for the better. In my experience, that starts with family...plus we had a family reunion this weekend. Interesting thing this year, was my host of emotions.. I was really glad to see everyone, but I realized how little I know about most of them.. even the closest relatives.

Relationships are predicated on context and perspective associated with purpose and action. I grew up with my cousins, we spent time together all the time, but I barely know them. We mostly have kids now, or are married, or graduating/graduated from college.. all of that provides context, but even in a reunion setting, it is hard to actually learn about one another's lives.

Far easier to give the cursory hugs, whether I remember your name or not...smile and laugh and then go about my business of my "regular" life. Kind of the way we mostly do church these days. As long as we make an appearance, and …

Community

Community: a unified body of individuals: as
a : the people with common interests living in a particular area; broadly : the area itself (the problems of a large community)
b : an interacting population of various kinds of individuals (as species) in a common location c : a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society (a community of retired persons)
Source: Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary, © 2002 Merriam-Webster, Inc.


I read somewhere recently that what our society is missing these days is a sense of community. We do very little "together" compared to the generations only a few decades ago. I think the author was on to something here. Common activities provide context for us to get involved in each other's lives and thus become a key enabler to caring about one another. It is really hard for me to become personally involved in the lives of people I don't know....It doesn't matter whether they are here…

Vacation

Recital went great.. Week in the pool at mom and dad's house with the kids was a lot of fun. Different world is refreshing and troubling at the same time. I remember when that was all I knew.. Did I progress as I have matured, or did I just make my life more complex that it has to be... not sure on that one.. spending much time on it is probably a waste of energy..

It is important that we remember who we are and use the skills and blessings we have been provided.. NOT waste our energy trying to become what others think we should be.

Community is the key to impacting and helping people. We all depend on it...How can I use my music to create musical communities...WE have been thinking on this one all week.. more info to come.. when the time is right... ideas need to percolate...

In the mean time.. Charles and I are looking for recital venues.. We have a great program.. people love it, and we can do some good in our society by raising money for good causes.. call or email if you can h…

Final Preparations

Yet another recital prep week is now underway. Even for a "professional" the impact and anticipation leading up to a big performance can be overwhelming. I am excited and exhausted at the same time.

Emotions are on a rollercoaster. Stress seems to impact me more than normally..everything is a big deal. Sleep is disrupted, and physical fatigue is a factor. I don't really want to practice or even study, but the final prep work is the key to making the quality really exceptional. I know I should be doing more.. so I do some.. Will it be good enough? Will my voice and skill carry the honesty and message from my heart into the audience directly? Will they reject me or accept me?

It is such a privelege to sing for others. I get to join in something bigger than myself. Music reachs out and the souls of the audience rise up and merge with that of the singer in some sort of special dance. To look directly into the audience's eyes and sing to them takes passion, and inten…

Relevance

Relevant: Having a bearing on or connection with the matter at hand
Jeff's take on that definition: To be relevant, you must matter, make a difference, influence, impact, be a part of either sustaining or improving things.

I have been talking a lot about how to make the church relevant in today's culture. I clearly think that God does matter and that the church is and can be a powerful tool in impacting peoples' lives. The church accomplishes its ordained purpose through people. By creating a community, we are empowered to worship, to encourage one another, to grow, to question and to learn. This is like a drug...what was a powerful tool for assisting in pain management, or recovery, can quickly be abused and become the problem itself if the user isn't careful.

A lot of churchgoers are addicted to church, and have lost sight of their purpose. Ask them why they go to church, and how God helps them to impact their world around them... Most will stutter, then come back wit…

Walking the walk, not just talk

Life lately has been pretty simple. Vacation was about traveling, seeing friends, singing and then returning home. When we are home, I have either been at work, or working on the new fence since Father's Day weekend.. Surprising how quickly time passed with so little thinking.

I haven't posted much, because I haven't had anything worth saying... I know, I know.. most of you that actually know me are laughing right now. That is rare. Thing that has struck me is that maybe I and everyone else am thinking too hard. Maybe life is supposed to be more about doing and less about thinking.

I am a strategist, visionary type but I am also a performer and a doer. Since I left Branch's I have struggled to figure out what I am supposed to DO...I have been in a constant "state of funk"... hard to really accomplish anything significant.

I think I am supposed to just be me. The musician, dad, technology analyst, project manager guy who finds ways to get stuff done. Little …

Summer Souls

I have had a lot of ideas lately.. just haven't been able to form them in to complete thoughts for publication.. If you have ideas about what I should be writing about, let me know.. I have a lot of notes...just not enough energy to write them up for real. Maybe I am reaching beyond my ability.. overintellectualizing is a common problem for me.. need to stay grounded in more doing/reality.

Lack of posting is mostly because.. I worked on the fence for most of a week, and then we went for a family vacation to Montreat NC to see friends..

Two recitals coming up next month.. keep me/us in your prayers as I run the emotional gauntlet necessary to prepare for those events..

Post Hole Pizzazz

Spent the day digging post holes and setting posts... (57 of them) and working outside with 3 of my best friends.. what a phenomenal treat.. True we are all tired.. we had our fill of mishaps.. no deliver from Lowes, to losing lumber on the road... to busting tires on trucks.. to testing our limits.. in lots of ways.. Hard work, but great fun all at the same time. What a sense of accomplishment when you achieve something together.. working as a team with friends.

I bet I am the only technology project manager, opera singer, minister of music around that also now knows how to operate a bobcat.. with both an auger and a front end loader. Probably shocked the neighbors.. they have no idea what to think. But we had a blast..

Made me realize how important my friends are. Not just because of the work.. but because of how much I enjoyed spending time with them.. People really are the most important thing in the world.. all of the rest is mostly a waste of energy..

Love your neighbe…

Spectator Religion 2

Clarifying thought...on my previous post.. I think the blame for how we got here is 50/50 on the people and the church leadership.. Church leaders like me.. must stand up and take accountability for not growing.. for allowing "spectator/tv/consumer" congregation members to continue being lukewarm... Our congregations look to us for leadership... Tough love is required.. Just like parenting.. Just like leading project teams.. Just like coaching young singers..

Accountability for what is wrong is a critical first step to fixing anything!

Question for readers? How much time do you think we have to fix this stuff? Can it take years, months, or do we need to act now.. with urgency... This is a fine line...

I am thinking that a plan and progress towards the foundation would suffice for my expectations... Kind of like turning a huge flywheel.. bunch of consistent energy gets it moving until it has its own momentum.. and then it takes very little energy to keep it going.. Disconn…

Spectator Religion

Like a couple of million other folks, I stood with baited breath awaiting the verdict of the jury in the Michael Jackson case... I know, I know.. I should probably be ashamed of the sensationalism of the event, embarassed at the devastating impact of the accusations on an apparently innocent man... but isn't that what our society today is about... We look for the next big thing.. We want to see the show, to be told the latest "scoop". When the verdict was read yesterday, it was utterly mundane. He didn't do it... according to a trial of his peers, which is our system and the one I have to abide with.. He is innocent..

Funny thing, it doesn't matter what I think in the end.. I am only a spectator. When did spectators suddenly get to vote.. Life is not American Idol.. The masses rarely know what is best...Groupthink doesn't work because the group is too easily led astray. we (the mass media version) live for the scandals, the intrigue, the falls of mankind.…

Emerging Church?

I wonder if there are any that I would characterize with that title in Richmond VA? I just finished reading some of my favorite ezine.. I highly recommend it..

http://the-next-wave-ezine.info/issue78/index.cfm

My favorite idea... "Churchs in the US = 320,000 McDonalds = 15,000" Which has more influence on the culture today?
Most shocking statement: "in past 25 years..Christian Churchs in the US have spent over a TRILLION dollars on domestic ministry with no appreciable/measurable headway towards "winning more souls to Christ" If the church were publicly traded, the SEC investigations into mismanagement and corruption would dwarf the Enron scandal.."

Listen Up!!! We need to stop focusing on growing the club, and start focusing on loving one another.. God will prepare the way and do the heavy lifting.. if we can get out of our own way long enough to let him. Size and programs don't really matter in the end.. How many people we helped, loved…

Not missing people...

As I was driving to the office this morning.. It suddenly struck me that there are some people no longer in my life that I don't really miss. I know I write about how important it is to love one another, and that everyone is valuable.. That is true...
However....
I don't miss a lot of the people who have "done damage to me and/or my family".
I don't miss people who couldn't find value in my views and positions.
I don't miss people who choose to exclude others based on petty, nothing issues.

Translate that to.. maybe I never liked those people in the first place.

Now what do I do.. ?

Bible tells me to forgive them, and love them... Not just ignore them as I (and most of society) usually do...I can't argue with the idea, but "where the rubber meets the road" there is also a cutoff point... I like the idea of "judging" them and moving on much better.. it is more satisfying.. yet, it ultimately bring focus back around to what "I" …

Base of Operations - submission

Study and Worship at Huguenot Road Baptist this morning was inspiring..
"It is not about us" Ideas brought out by Bert regarding the differences between submission and subjugation are still stirring in my mind hours later..
The music and worship and study all themed around Hebrews 5

I think that the passage we studied in Hebrews today.. also models a call to action.. Jesus learned like a child through submission and discipline.. but it was also through action.. he did the work.. How often today, we in the church come and study, learn, and self-propagate... I am struck by the image presented to me today of a church which provides a "base of operations"... it cannot be an end unto itself, but instead is a base which will size and outfit itself according to actions necessary outside of the walls.. preparation, education, worship... renewal, refitting, repair are all important but the mission is outside the walls, not within...


Heb. 5:5-10 So Christ also did not…

Cowardice=Fear/Heroism=Faith

the line between cowardice and heroism is small yet so clear. One cares ultimately about SELF.. the other cares ultimately about OTHERS. A lot of people walk around pretending to be "team players, champions of the team, leaders" when in reality, they are all show and no substance. Their personality disorders keep them from actually helping anyone but themselves. When the chips are down...Actions will tell the tale. Look at what people did/do, not what they say...

If their intentions are heroic.. then they will use their skills, often putting themselves at risk, but in the end.. they are helping others.. If on the other hand, they are cowards, they will use their skills and talents to appear to lead, to put up a good show, and to hide from the conflicts that arise in every day life.

Conflict is best seen as an opportunity. True, it is a result of the failure of "diplomacy" but it is also a unique opportunity to start fresh. A binary view on a multiple variable e…

Sith or Jedi

I think I may be obsessed with this idea of Star Wars and other movies attempting to function in a theological role. I wonder if this is new.. or if the arts have always played in this space. I think the answer is likely that the arts have always been the platform for spiritual and theological expression. The advent of mass media and the modern movie and music industry has just changed the audience to include most of the world.. at a single shot.. Mass Media is truly amazing..

Are you a Sith or a Jedi? I want to be a Jedi.. but I think in reality I am a Sith. I fall short of the pure, motives, focus and intensity of the Jedi.. They are the ultimate preacher.. they get to be "right" while at the same time, they have those cool swords and all of the powers.. They and they alone get to decide when and how to apply their "power"... they are judge and jury all combined.. they are even the police force.. Just think.. One guy gets to be the Law and the Order. (I li…

Faith based perspective

How is faith related to perspective? I think that faith becomes the foundation which allows you to have multiple perspectives. Yes, there is always more than one. Faith allows me to accept different views, find common ground with others, and have relationships.. I don't have to worry about being right or wrong, black or white, or good or evil for anyone except myself. Dealing with other's actions is something best left to the epic struggle of the Empire. The institution began as good, but was corrupted into something perverted and evil... but through it all, the Force was still there guiding all of it.. The people almost all changed roles, or were led astray. Again, your perspective determines your views their. Has today's church become the empire? Are even the good churches largely hiding from the truth regarding their minimal impact on their world? Are we connected enough to even understand that "control" and comprehension of the impact of the ecumenical…

Perspective

Right or Wrong, Black or White, Good or Evil... I saw the new Star Wars movie this weekend and I was struck by two quotes.. Late in the movie, Anakin(Darth Vader) says to Obi Wan: " From my perspective the Jedi are evil" and when you think about it... the only thing that differentiates the two sides was faith in the future. Both believe they are doing the right thing. Who am I to judge? The hinge point is not solely based on actions, it was based on what you believe the intent for the future is about coupled with an "instinctive" view of what is right. Is that instinct coupled with our desire to reach out to God? I think so...

The other quote that jumped out at me was Yoda speaking to Anakin Skywalker earlier in the movie.. and the "master jedi" said: "you should not be afraid of death, death is only a part of life... you should be happy when your loved ones pass on and join the force".... I know, I know.. Here I go again, trying to groun…

Books, Busyness, Buddies and Bo Bice

Books -- I have done a lot of reading in the last couple of months... and I think that every "modern" Christian should read all of these books. They are not just for seminary, theology types.. I think they are expertly written and address teh real issues of living in our world today.

everyone should read, I recommend this order.. if you want some good thought provoking, but easy reading for the Summer.
---A new kind of Christian : Brian Mclaren
---The story we find ourselves in : Brian Mclaren
---The last word and the word after that : Brian Mclaren
---Waking the Dead : John Eldredge
---The Present Future, Six tough questions for the church : Reggie Neal

Trust me.. buy them.. and read them in order I listed them..... it will put you on a roller coaster ride and enliven your heart as well as your mind. I am going to reread all of them.. just so I am sure that I understand what I think about them..

Busy business
My schedule has been too busy this week to allow me to think and write…

Just being..

Life is about just being, and loving, and doing, and watching. It is largely a human invention that we much make or accomplish something..Nike says "just do it" but as powerful as doing is...I think I can accomplish very little without help. Even the great man that ever lived.. spent most of his time loving... Even then, people wanted him to do.. Jesus mostly just loved people and taught, yet his every statement changed his world. from John 15 "apart from me you can do nothing"... so if you believe that it doesn't really matter what Nike says... :)

Psa. 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My essence, my soul, is unique. I am special.. but I am not better than others. I am here to love and be loved. I thank God for that tremendous gift. Christ redeems me, and allows me to be his. My music, my skill is all a gift that I am bound to use to help towards the ultimate salvation of the en…

Not Rocket science...

For some strange reason, this week has been going badly.. at least in my mind... The "commencement" on Sunday afternoon at Branch's, where all of the children's choirs sang seemed to put me into a psychological tailspin. Things at work are actually going well, yet I couldn't get "happy"

And then, I spent the last couple of hours doing what I love to do.. singing.. this was not world class art by any means. I simply went to choir practice and sang with other people who like to sing... I feel better all around. My spirit is renewed. I miss the choir and folks from Branch's fiercely... but somehow, simply making music lifted me up.

My thought for the day is that we all need to find the thing that "renews" our spirit. I think I am a pretty good singer but tonight was not about being good. It was simply about doing/being what I am.. what God made me. Giving up my personal judgement and feelings and just doing what I do seems to have been the key.…