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Friday, April 29, 2005

I do believe 


you HAVE to read Ryan's account of a day in his life

read it here

yet again 

New Ghetto Blog

Thursday, April 28, 2005


This post is brought on by the fact that Matt (who finally started blogging again, after being a hobo-blogger for so long) was talking about his childhood, so I though I'd share a nice memory.

I will always remember Sunday afternoons after church. I'd always get to see my friends at church, then came the inevitable, "Mom can _____ come over and play?"

I was one of the few times that we'd get to spend quality time with each other, because none of us went to the same elementary school.

Matt, Marshall and I were the 3 amigos. We had known each other since kindergarten and had grown up at the same church. Marshall lived only about 2 miles away so we got to see each other more, but Matt was around a good portion of the time.

One memory that sticks out, (correct me if I'm wrong Matt) was one Sunday after church I convinced my mom to let Marshall and Matt come over to my house to play. On the way home we stopped at Burger King and got food. This was in the 80's so all burger type foods came in boxes not just wrapped in paper.

After we ate and started to play, we quickly got bored and had to figure out what to do next. We finally came up with the idea to play tanks in the backyard, with our burger boxes being our tanks. We poked small holes in the front and inserted straws for cannons. We then proceeded to take all the extra catsup packets, twist them so that all the contents were tightly wound to the bottom and placed them on the battlefield. We found some hammers and the battle ensued.

What an unadorned time it was, a nice sunny day in the back yard smashing catsup packets to simulate blood.

Oh what fun we had.


Drip, drop, drop, drip, drip.

Rain falling on the roof at 3 in the morning.

So peaceful.

I don't want it to stop.

Wish I wasn't so tired.

God's beauty never ceases to amaze me.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

always surprises me 

god is amazing at how he provides situations that we are not trained for but somehow works through us

99c or less 

Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our church. We are fighting today for costly grace.

Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheap-jack's wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. Grace is represented as the church's inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits. Grace without price, grace without cost! The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing...

Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner...Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without contrition. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the Cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble, it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows Him.

Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.

Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of His Son…Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon His Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered Him up for us.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship pg 37-39


I got another one of those late night cravings for an Ultimate Cheeseburger.

But to my dismay. No more 1.99. I almost cried, when it said 3.39 for one. I ordered something different.

And they had them yesterday. I missed by one lousy day.
I only had 4.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Food & Grog 

Just got home from the HMS Bounty, no I'm not talking about the ship. 2nd review site.

Bill (still no link) and I had been wanting to go here for a while. Ever since we saw it in the book Resident Tourist: Los Angeles. And Laura joined us as well, which made it a small crowd but fit the mood perfectly.

It wasn't exactly what we were expecting. But we soon warmed up to the dim, eclectic mix and friendly atmosphere. The jukebox was great, the waitress was a hoot, and the service was superb.

I asked what kind of beers they had when we first arrived and the waitress (bless her heart) named off about 10-15 beers, repeating 3-4 of them at least 3 times each making the list around 20 beers.

Remembered conversation.
Me: What kind of beers do you have.
Waitress: Guinness, anchor steam, heineken, newcastle, budweiser, anchor steam, corona, miller, anchor steam, newcastle, pacifico, guinness, and anchor steam.
Me: I'll have a newcastle.
In all seriousness, out waitress was a blast. And the food was good too.

The best part is the bathroom. Not like Buca di Beppo's or anything like that, but more of the adventure you had to trek on to get there.

You had to go out a side door, which led you to the lobby of a hotel, where you thought you were going to head straight down a hall, but before you get there a nice old man sitting at a desk asks you if you are looking for the bathroom, to which you reply yes, and then he proceeds to tell you that you take the stairs downstairs behind him, which lead you down to a basement, with a laundry room right in front of you, you then take a right and see a door marked "beauty salon" and then pass through a doorway towards the salon and then see the men's room right on your left.

It got even better for me. There was a dead bug on the sill of the urinal while I was going. So much fun.

For you ladies you stop at the top of the staircase and it's right on your left. Not as much of an adventure.

I'd HIGHLY recommend the HMS Bounty if you are looking for a fun, kinda querky place to go. If you live in LA definetly stop by sometime. And if you don't, put it on your list of places to go when you visit.

Got to try the fish and chips next time I go.

Prices are good, between 6-14 bucks a meal and drinks run between 3-5 bucks.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Podding again 

Ok folks. Gotta keep doing it.





2 people that's all. I'll even whore out your link once I see you've helped me out.


Wednesday, April 20, 2005


New Ghetto Blog

and a really good discussion on this post. Keep it coming.


I was making calls to other churches in my area today to find out who their youth directors were, and it toally baffled me to find that so many of them did not have youth directors.

When thinking about the future of the church, we are killing oursleves without thinking about the necessity of raising young (teens) people up in faith.

I'm not knocking ministry to seniors or older people, but who is going to carry on the church if we spend all of our time and money on older (dying for lack of better word) members???

I have always held to the statement that,
the youth are not the future of the church, but they ARE the Church.

Let's start treating them as that. Firstly by hiring people to care for them and minister to them. They are not sub-par when it comes to their salvation. I want to raise people who have a LONG LIFETIME to serve in the church, instead of waiting til they've wasted half their lives before they start to serve the church.

I think this is definately an issue for the emergent community to continue to raise.

< /rant >

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Ever since 9/11 I have gotten into the habit of checking the news on a regular basis. Part of me doesn't want to miss out on important events taking place in the world.

I really enjoy waking up in the morning, rolling over and checking cnn.com to see what's been happening during my slumber.

It's a lot like when you wake up to a freshly fallen snow and you think to yourself, "wow a lot has been going on while I slept". God has been working.

There have been days where I wake up to tragedy as on my birthday a few years ago when the space shuttle had blown up during lift off.

Today was one of those days where I woke to good/exciting news. A new Pope.

It's just a constant reminder that God is working even when I sleep. That every new day brings new things. God does not slumber. So why should I doubt that he is working through out the day? Maybe just because I'm so busy that I can't stop, wait for God to work and then see the results.

When is the last time you took a good long break from running around? Sit for a while and then look again. God will have done amazing things, we just never stopped long enough to appreciate the work he was doing.

Monday, April 18, 2005


In continuing (see other post) to evaluate my experience as a Christian and the perspective I bring to ministry and learning about God and his character, I have to stop and question a part of my Christian identity.

All of this was spurred on by a talk given last night at high school group by my friend Laura.

During her talk about holiness she shared her testimony. Her testimony drastically differs from mine. She is the product of an awakening to who Christ is, much like that of Paul. While I come from being a life long Christian, henceforth referred to as a lifer.

I began thinking about what Christ calls us to be and how be end up living out that call. Over and over Christ calls us to radically change, to turn from our sinful ways and live a new life. That once we accept him as our Lord and Savior then we should be changed. Radically changed, so that we die to the old and are reborn.

Being a lifer, I have found it hard to relate to this whole experience. Yes, while there are times in my life when I am convicted of my sinfulness and want to change, I more than often find myself not having the passion that many people with "conversion" stories talk about.

Does this mean I am less of a Christian or does it mean that I lack an integral part of faith? Am I not really a Christian at all?

I live in the construct of being raised in the faith. I have no conversion. I have no turn or burn story. I cannot pinpoint the moment I became a Christian.

In some ways I envy Laura's testimony, it so much more clearly accentuates the portion of faith that I do not possess. The portion that says I walked in darkness but I clearly see the light now.

The fear that lingers in the back of mind is one that is telling me that I am missing an essential tenet of faith. I long for the passion that comes with a conversion story. I fear that I live a mediocre life of faith. I lack the passion to live my life completely different than the day before. I live a slow progression.

Yes, I can look back over my life and see the countless graces that God has bestowed on me, but I cannot refer back to that "one moment in time" where everything changed.

I hope I am not living a lie; speaking about something that I truly know little about. I do not want my ministry to be all for naught.

I constantly trying to challenge the church to re-evaluate itself. Maybe this fits perfectly into who I am as a lifer. The church possibly has grown so accustomed to itself that it must turn to introspection to see its faults. Perhaps my situation is not for winning souls with an exhilarating testimony, but being able to help those of us who are stuck feeling like we understand an incomprehensible God.

We must transform ourselves into people who experience the freshness of God like in a conversion, so that we can look upon a Church that has grown complacent with its ways and procedures.

I think I am possibly seeking a change that is not mine to grant. I am longing for something that is not necessary in my life. The only part of that is how to spur myself onto a zest and zeal that compares to the experience of conversion. Or am I comparing apples and oranges?

I know I have been called to live a life that is holy and pleasing to God. I have been called into ministry. And I have a strong desire not to let our Church die/rot away.

A life in Christ is unique. So why am I worried about what I think I am missing? Or is it deeper than that? Do we as Christians need a certain set of "things" to be a complete person in Christ?

As a Progressive/Emergent Christian I think these are valid questions to wrestle with. Do I have the answers? Obviously not.

So what have we gained from this conversation? Hmmm...not sure. I guess I'm still kinda where we started. Still unsure if part of my faith is missing.

I do know that God is real and God is present. I know I am struggling with these things for a reason and God will let me know when he's good and ready.


watching Lost in Translation

kinda sums it up right now

Sunday, April 17, 2005


Ultimate Cheeseburger #4

Maybe I should run tomorrow.

Friday, April 15, 2005


In my history of religious experience I often times feel divorced from the rest of the spiritual community. Especially since that background is Presbyterian. We Presbyterians seem to be more or less (I'm really generalizing here) fairly middle of the road. I guess that's why I like being Presbyterian so much.

By middle of the road, I am referring to the fact that we are not uber-conservative, i.e. bible belt Christians, nor are we 4 square evangelicals, or even mega-non-denom church-like in our structure or our style of worship or even our theology. What I'm trying to get at here is the fact that sometimes I feel I'm missing out on things like the flood of the Holy Spirit or worship lasting 3 hours because the congregation recognizes the need to continue worshipping past the allotted "worship time".

While I'm not knocking the Presbyterian way totally here, I'm trying to align the Emergent perspective alongside a mainline denomination, bringing the two into a symbiotic relationship, that maintains tradition yet is fluid enough to adapt to a changing culture and an awareness of the presence of the Spirit. I guess this is kinda along the whole lines of my thinking about Emergent in the first place. But this article is dealing more with a specific issue, than the church overall.

I want to experience church in an evangelical way, within the confines of being Presbyterian.

While the title "Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire" is directly correlated to a book on prayer, I like the idea that we are being renewed and keeping things "fresh". Sometimes I feel that Presbyterians are quite stagnant. Like the phrase says "the frozen chosen". What says we can’t break that mold and be "the active chosen".

Over the last few days I have been thinking about being overly filled with God's joy. Meaning, I wonder what it would feel like to be so filled with God’s joy that we were then incapacitated, incapable of doing anything but reveling in the presence of joy.

So much of today's society and church members are plagued by sorrow, doubt, sadness, and depression that they are all but incapacitated to their weeping, making them incapable of doing nothing.

Are we not allowing ourselves to be overwhelmed by joy?

Is my desire, to be overwhelmed by joy, enough? Or should I actually get to the point where I am completely overwhelmed? Is it even possible to get to this point living in a fallen world?

Trying to wade my way through discovering who I am, and how I live as a Presbyterian and a person who wants to challenge the constructs of my denomination to change, I find myself wrestling with questions like this. I want to be a overwhelmed Presbyterian Christian leader who is modeling a new life, a rush of the Spirit in our denomination.

Am I doomed not to experience such a thing while confined in the Presbyterian system, or is it a matter of our style of worship?

It is my hope that we are not doomed to live stagnant spiritual lives. I pray that we do not become as the people of Israel who became blind to a living Christ walking among them. I am willing to experience the other parts of Christ and the Spirit that other denominations seem to have found, but it is my desire not to have to leave my spiritual home to have to do so.

Reformation does should not have to be a crash in the night waking everyone from slumber. Reformation should be able to exist as a slow progressive transformation, where everyone is malleable to the calling of the Holy Spirit.

Pray for the softening of hearts, something that we as ministers cannot do. Pray that by the Spirit that hearts will be softened to change, and an ear will be attentive to hear God's calling to wake. Arise O church, wake to the daylight, be prepared to experience all that I have created for you this day. Be ready to be overwhelmed by my joy, so overwhelmed that you can do nothing but sit in my praise. Declares the Lord.

Bring me some Bible, bring me some healing, bring me some evangelicalism, bring me some 4 square, bring me some gospel, bring me some tongues, bring me some Pope, bring me some change, bring me Jesus, bring it to the PCUSA.

Thursday, April 14, 2005


I've really been bogged down this week trying to get things ready at church. I'll try and come up with something tomorrow. Thanks to the faithful who have been checking, waiting for new posts.

If you want more to read, check the Archives, if you comment on anything, leave a comment here telling me the title of the post you commented on, so I can go back and look.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005


I really should start driving more like a Christian.

Though I do catch myself occasionally going out of my way to allow people into my lane or to merge when no one else will let them. If only we all would drive like this all the time.

because God loved me first 

An open letter to the sleeping homeless man outside the Canoga Park Post office.:

Dear Sir,
Enjoy the Ritz and graham crackers, sorry I did not have more to give.

Grace and peace of the Lord be with you.


Monday, April 11, 2005

eat off it 

So I cleaned my office tonight.

One of the perils of getting a new office.

I think I may have incurred some light brain damage from the cleaning supplies. I vented too late.

Oh well.

Getting excited cause I get to spend money at Ikea to spruce up the office. The check's in the mail...

Friday, April 08, 2005


Sorry for the numerous posts in the last few days.

I've had a lot of things to post about. I must admit some of them haven't had too much substance, so I do appoligize for that.

But since I haven't posted about DDR in so long (and haven't played in a long time too) here's a cool video.

Also the New Ghetto Blog is up.


Ultimate Cheeseburger #3

total calories consumed so far 2835
total fat consumed so far 193.5 grams



In response to my post, Anastasia wrote a little blurb here.

Callin you out 

Ok, I said I'd stop buggin all of you if you helped me out. So you did and I stopped buggin you about the free iPod stuff.

Here's the catch. See I said here, that I needed 2 people to ACTUALLY COMPLETE an offer. While 3 people have signed up, their offers still have not come through.

I'm looking at you Katie and Kelsey, since I don't reconize the other email address.

Any other takers?

But mainly this serves to bug the aforementioned people of their commitments.

I just changed my desktop to a pic of the iPod, as to remind me of what I desire so much.

While I know I could go on and on, theologically I know that I need not stuff, but man, it's sooo cool.

And it's considered emergent, right?

Thursday, April 07, 2005


It's officially happened. I guess this makes me at least a little more credible in the emergent/progressive scene.

I've been labeled a heretic. Thanks to Anastasia. (whom I like and respect)

Acually she called me a pilgrim/heretic. So I'll assume that it's more of a compliment. And she really only just did that on the link, not in a post.

Basically I'm blowing this out of porportion and basking in the glow.

That's all.

New Ghetto Blog soon.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

stormin' the castle 

Bobby got this sweet game called Weapons and Warriors (alternative site)from his grandma in Vegas or something. But it comes circa 1994.

Let's just say shooting little plastic balls at other things is fun, especially if they ricochet off other stuff.

Apparently there are other versions (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5) too, but I don't think we'll be getting those too.

funny, huh? 

It was funny how on my way home, there was a brokendown car in the oncomming right-hand lane closest to the curb (intersection in the middle of screen), and a line of cars behind it. This one guy would rather swerve into the other lane to get around him instead of taking the 30 secs it took me to make my turn, park my car and help this guy push his car out of traffic. Geesh. (edit 4/6/05 10:45pm) No wonder people don't know we are Christians by the way we act. They will know we are Christians by our love.

< whew > 

If you remember the Splat post...let's just say God has a really big mop.

I'll post more later when I have some time.


Ever have those times where you want to do something that you know you'll regret tomorrow?

Tonight was kinda one of those nights for me.

(I know some of my readers get all concerned when I post things like this. So I will assure you that I didn't do anything. Nothing to be concerned about. Really.)

Monday, April 04, 2005

juice & crackers 

I have a few thoughts about communion, first is a thought and the other is a personal experience.

When thinking about the different ways that communion is presented and some of the rituals that take place in order to prepare communion, I began noticing a few things. Sometimes there have been the calls to make sure you are "right" with others before coming to the table. Sometimes there is the time of confession, so that people can come with "pure hearts". And sometimes there are even altar calls.

I noticed something this last Sunday as I was listening to the pastor give the invitation to communion and saying the words of institution. In most churches and for sure in my denomination the PCUSA, there is an open call to anyone who calls themselves a believer in Christ to partake in communion, that you don't have to be a Presbyterian or even a member of that particular church to come to the table. After these things were said I began thinking as they were passing the plates (which was just the way we happened to be doing it this Sunday) that there never seems to be the acknowledgement that maybe some people aren't ready or in a place to want to take communion. While I'm not in the business of not erring on the side of grace I began to think.

Communion can sometimes become ritualistic for some people, or just something to do because everyone else is doing it, I mean who wants to look dumb and not take communion as either the plate is coming down the pew or people are standing up to go up to the altar. Where is the clause that states, maybe some of you out there aren't ready to participate in this holy and sacred event, and that is perfectly OK. (This point connects to the other point I will make down below.) Where is the part of our community that will not look down on someone if they kindly state that they wish to pass, not because they may or may not be Christian, or for one reason or another do not feel like they need to participate, especially if they feel the pressure of NOT being holy and upright? (Yes, I know that you do not have to be perfect or a certain way to participate in communion, so don't go ranting about that in the comments, I'm just making a point.)

I would hope that people would be able to come to church and not have expectations on them to act a certain way or do certain things.
Communion for me is one of those special times in my week and in my life in Christ where I feel ultimately connected to who he is and what he did for me, and maybe it's my pride but I feel hurt knowing that there are some people (this is not directed at anyone personally) who will participate in communion just because it is what everyone else is doing at the time, so they don't stand out.

With all of that said, let's turn to my personal experience with communion on Easter Sunday.

A little pre-Easter history. The Saturday before Easter my friends and I were gathered at one of their houses for some dinner and fun. During the evening the discussion turned to church matters as some of the people there were on staff at church. In context of church matters we were talking about the contemporary service where communion is served every week, by intiction, (rip and dip method), and people from the congregation come up and help with the stations along with the pastors. One of my friends had started the conversation saying that he had really come to be annoyed by the numerous times that he had been asked, either right before the service or very shortly after it had started if he would be one of the servers. There are a few other issues that can be inserted here such as in the Presbyterian Church's policy on who serves communion, and the fact that this is mainly overlooked at this service and then an issue that was raised on our Mexico trip about the same thing, but those are their own separate posts. Then the conversation was moved in the direction that since most of the time there aren't enough people to serve that the service sometimes goes 5-10 mins over and this annoyed other people. Eventually the discussion moved into matters about why people worship and the condition of people's hearts when they do worship and how some of us were annoyed that there were even comments about how much "over" the service went.

All of this led me into Sunday morning (Easter) thinking about who was serving communion and what that meant and the santicty of communion being one of the two sacraments that we as Presbyterians celebrate. On top of that, was the fact that this was one of two Sundays that all of the "closet 'Christians'" come out of the woodwork to show up to church. I have always struggled with that as well. If communion is one of two celebrated sacraments then it should be protected.

When it came time for communion I glanced over the people who came up to serve and had to wonder about where they were spiritually and whether or not they had a grasp about what they were presenting and such. Especially since I noticed one of them was a High Schooler who rarely comes around to anything. I'm not saying here that I have the power to judge, but if our bylaws in the Book of Order makes it clear about who can and cannot serve then I think those need to be followed, not just brushed aside so that our service "flows" more smoothly so people don't have to wait for communion.

I sat there in that sanctuary trying to bring myself into a place where I was ready to receive communion, and I couldn't. Like I said above this is really one of the things that greatly connects me to the character of God. On a side note if you haven't already read "Can You Drink the Cup?" by Henri Nouwen, do so. As I sat there I felt an absence of God in that place. As personal as communion is to me, I usually get this "warm and fuzzy" feeling as I prepare for receiving the elements, and it was not present. I was sitting there conflicted about whether or not I should even get up to go and partake in communion. I didn't know if it was acceptable to refrain from communion because I was not in the right place or felt comfortable doing so. The last thing I wanted to do was to do it, just because. I tried praying, I tried looking for God's presence. Nothing seemed to help. Eventually I convinced myself that no matter what God's presence would be in the elements. If this is what they truly stand for then he would be there. I mustered up the effort to stand and make my way forward to receive communion amongst the masses of people who I didn't recognize.

Once I received the elements and was on my way back to my seat, I could faintly feel God's presence within the bread and juice. Though not as strong as I usually do, and by the time I finally returned to my seat where I usually revel in his presence, it was all but gone. I was utterly disappointed. Maybe because it was due to my surroundings or my view of who was serving or whatever.

I almost at this point wish I wouldn't have taken it, though I know God honors it. And I wish someone had said that this was something special and to only partake if one was serious about what they were doing.

It felt fake.
I felt I was doing it for the wrong reasons.

Where does this leave us?? I don't know.

I do know that Jesus loves me and died for me. And communion is the constant reminder of that sacrifice, within me. Digested.

Saturday, April 02, 2005


click Trogdor to play
brought to you by audioblogger.com

Friday, April 01, 2005



if you really want to know call me, I may or may not pick up