Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Too Tired To Think Straight

I had several ideas for posts lined up for tonight, but my brain went into standby mode. I wanted to add some comments to my last post as well as plop something down on eschatology. My eyelids are heaby now, (that's heavy) and I'm off to bed in a minute. I just ate some chips that I shouldn't have eaten (tortilla chips). I just brushed my teeth, too. Can I get away with not brushing after eating chips? I already took the garbage out and it's cold again tonight after several weeks of rain. My wife and three boys are sleeping and I'm off to join them. Five-thirty will come early tomorrow. It takes me about 45 minutes of snooze alarms to finally get out of bed. It's not that I'm not a morning person, but once I'm up, I stay up. Aw, nevermind. Zzzzzzzz.....

Monday, January 28, 2008

I Love Mexican Food

Mexican food is my favorite cuisine. My favorite restaurant is actaully two restaurants. El Tapatio and La Tapatia. Family owned for 25 years, there were three El Tapatio locations in my area. One was sold to another owner. They kept the same menu and added bean dip along with the tomato based salsa and jalapeno salsa. They changed the name of the restaurant by changing the gender to La. The La variety just opened a new restaurant in my neighborhood. It is wonderful. I order the Tapatio or Tapatia special every time, with a chicken enchilada.

It is such a family favorite, we had our wedding rehearsal dinner there before we got married. It caught fire a few years ago and has since been remodeled. Can't wait to eat there again.

More Favorite Songs

Some more favorite songs of various groups/artists:

Van Halen: Somebody Get Me A Doctor, Eruption, Dance The Night Away, Hot For Teacher, I'll Wait

Journey: Stone In Love, Patiently, Winds Of March

Foreigner: Long Long Way From Home, Blue Morning Blue Day, Women, Starrider

Boston: Peace Of Mind, Don't Be Afraid, Something About You, Long Time

My Favorite Barry Manilow Songs

My wife likes my sense of humor.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Re-Thinking Church Membership (Part 17)

Read the entire series of posts here.

Continuing from the same quote, in Parts 14 and 15 of my series, from Part 2 of Pulpit Magazine's article on church membership with regards to pastors' responsibilities:

Elders can shepherd the people and give an account to God for their spiritual well-being only if they know who they are; they can provide oversight only if they know those for whom they are responsible; and they can fulfill their duty to shepherd the flock only if they know who is part of the flock and who is not.
There is a large assumption here. A Christian can be a regular attender (regular assembler) of a church, obey the leaders, obey God, obey the bible, love all their brothers and sisters, and yet not be considered a member by the leaders. Because this Christian is looked at as a non-member by the leadership, they assume that God will not hold them accountable for that sheep. They feel free to ignore that sheep. And I have had elders tell me this personally.  This is scary.

Part 16 . . . . . . . . Part 18

Saturday, January 19, 2008

My Favorite Sunday of Football

Tomorrow is my favorite day of football for the entire season. The conference championship games. Playoff games are a war with life and death consequences. It is late in the season with quite a bit of inclement weather. It is supposed to be 0 degrees in Green Bay tomorrow. The snow game last week was awesome.

I don't like the Superbowl because of the following reasons:

  • It's a neutral site.
  • There's too much media hype.
  • Too many people show up that have no real interest in either team.
  • Real fans aren't as plentiful as at the playoff games.
  • The halftime show usually sucks and is a lot longer than usual.
  • I don't like warm weather football in January.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I Love The Fog

It was very foggy this morning. It's supposed to be foggy all week. I love the fog. Visibility was just a few blocks. For some reason, the fog creates a cozy, comfortable feeling. Sound is dampened. This is the thick ground fog as opposed to the overhead San Francisco type of fog.

I grew up between two ridges in a little "valley." Fog would sit in this valley and take longer to burn off during the day. I remember times it was so foggy in my neighborhood that I had to drive with my head out the opened driver side door in order to see the dashed line on the road. Tomorrow morning should be another nice day for weather.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Pulp Fiction

I just watched Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction for the first time. I had no idea what to expect, as the 90's was kind of my lost decade and didn't pay much attention to cultural things back then. Aside from the f-word being used in two out of three words, it was difficult for me to figure out what the point was. But it was definitely one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. My favorite line was when Harvey Keitel said to Travolta and Jackson, drenched in blood and not realizing that they needed a change of clothes, "You look like a couple of guys who just blew somebody's head off." I haven't laughed that hard in months. If anything, I can now say that I've seen the movie.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Saddam Hussein Flocked His Christmas Tree

Vache Folle pointed out in the comment section that my last post had a Saddam Hussein label. I'm sure this was a mistake, but I now realize that it applies. I just read an article that traced the roots of the Baath party in Iraq to the Eastern Orthodox church. They celebrate Christmas. So, I'm sure that Saddam flocked his tree.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

No Flocking and Trash Day

This year we got a flocked Christmas tree at the request of our six year old. Never again. It made a mess of the house, mess of the yard, the garbage company's tree pickup policy doesn't allow flocked trees. So I had to cut it up and put it in the greens can. Too much time. It still smelled good, though.

Thursday is the hallowed day in our neighborhood. Trash day. The last two weeks it was Friday because the garbage company gave its employees Christmas and New Year's off. So I had extra space in the can this week to throw unconventional stuff. Can't wait for next Thursday!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Mrs. Scott

I am married to Mrs. Scott. She cooked a mean dinner tonight for my dad's birthday party. Oven fried chicken, mashed potatoes and a tasty green bean dish with caramelized onions and almond slivers, homemade biscuits. The chocolate birthday cake was delicious. She's a great cook.

But the even better thing is that she's a graduate of the prestigious, world famous California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, with certificates in baking and pastry arts. She worked a number of years as a professional baker before we married. And, yes, it tastes as good as it sounds. I am blessed.

More On Singleness

Thanks to each who commented on my recent post on singleness. My good friend Shelly wrote some about the expectations of others and the difficulty in dealing with that. During my singleness as a Christian, I also had to deal with the expectations of others in the context of all the various doctrines of marriage/divorce/remarriage, some of which are rigid salvation-dependent doctrines. I had friends who expected that since I was previously divorced that I was to remain single. Others thought it okay to remarry. Still others thought it my duty to remarry. Yet others thought I needed to pursue and reconcile with my ex-wife. Several close friends even told me that if I decided to remarry, since I was married previously, that they wouldn't attend my wedding because that would be giving a blessing to adultery. As "Christians" they couldn't bless adultery.

Also, since internet dating was in its infancy, reactionary conservative Christians had yet to consider the possibility of God allowing it as not sinful. Additionally, I had read Joshua Harris' book "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" and fell into the trap of viewing his book as "the biblical" way to look at dating instead simply his own personal convictions. I hurt several women as a result. I then kissed "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" goodbye. There are those who advocate the "courtship" system (man-made system, no less) and condemn those who "date," even if they do so without sin. Some who "date" actually unknowingly follow the courtship system, but since they don't know that there are self-appointed priests of relationships out there that christen the system with the name "courtship", they are condemned.

With all the talk about contentment during singlehood, I think the least content people are the ones who place the expectations on singles. They are not content to leave the lives of others alone. They don't believe that singles can discern God's will from reading the bible. They manufacture doctrines and condemn those who don't fit with their religious utopias. How would they know what I have to deal with on a day to day basis? Job's friends, they. Jesus said to his disciples that some were born eunuchs, some are made eunuchs by men, and some make themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom, and that not everybody could accept such a statement. Yeah, Jesus, I know.

Now for a clarification on my first post. I don't have a problem with matchmaking or matchmakers (yes, Steve Schlissel has a matchmaking service) or with friends helping out by suggesting somebody special, as long as the person they "help" is okay with it.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Drive-By Shootings In The Blogging World

"He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him." Proverbs 18:13

I have noticed with the technology of blogging, combined with Google and other search engines, that it is easy to search for one's favorite pet peeve topic, find somebody's blog who mentions it, get royally pissed off, leave a flaming comment, then go away for ever. Or until the blogger responds, then an argument can start. Many blogs I've read over the [few] years have had such a problem with this that they've had to radically alter their comment sections - or even blogs - to avoid this. Many bloggers don't mind comments that oppose their viewpoint, as long as it's done civilly. Some blogs even offer a topic and encourage debate in the comment section. I don't have a problem with this, but my concern here is with the anonymous flaming.

I've had a few drive-by's from anonymous strangers. It's just a part of the blogging world we live in. But to avoid doing this myself, I've learned to read any blog new to me for a while to get the flavor of the blog; to get to know the character of the blogger; to get to know the blogger in a more personal way. Often, drive-by's miss the point, miss the context, miss the opportunity for good interaction. So, get to know what you're responding to before you respond.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Neither Rain, Nor Snow, Nor Sleet...

I am a daily, morning jogger. Occasionally I miss a day because I'm behind schedule or due to illness. Overall I average over six days per week. In 15 years, I have never once missed a day of jogging due to the weather. Until today. I have jogged in rain, storms, snow, slush, below freezing temps, etc. But the west coast has been hit with a monster storm. There are 40 mph winds with gusts to 60 mph. Rain, flooding. Above 1000 feet in elevation there are hurricane force winds, with areas in the mountains near Lake Tahoe that are being hit with category three hurricane gusts of 140 mph. Driving to work today was a fun one and I was reassured that I made the right decision to not run. I can't wait for the drive home.

The Gift of Singleness?

I came across this article at Better Bibles blog about the idea of singleness being a gift from God. A Carolyn McCulley book on women's singleness is looked at (along with a linked critical review) in light of a mistranslation of the bible to give the impression that singleness is a gift from God. It brings back some memories of being single and observing the lives of other singles.

I don't believe singleness is a gift in the biblical sense, like tongues or prophesy. Singleness is often a grave difficulty for those who desire to be married. I should know, I was single for a number of years. But there's a problem because there are often blame and guilt games being played by people who think they have the final word on the subject. Some wallow in self pity. Some blame the church. Some blame women. Some blame men. Those blamed blame back. Some just drop the "God is Sovereign" bomb and demand contentment from others. The critical review in the link I provided blamed the flight of men from our churches as to why so many women are single.

In my experience, there is a shortage of women in the churches. But that's only because I have attended doctrinally oriented Reformed churches that place a high emphasis on analytical theology. Women aren't drawn to doctrinal zealots. In my first church, the single men outnumbered the women by 10:1. And the women were beyond homely. But the men were just as weird. My next church had a few women, but their potential for being my wife was obscured by a neo-puritan prairie muffin Little House on the Prairie type of aura. Some of my friends needed to recruit good looking, socially normal women from large Arminian or Charismatic churches and convert them to being Calvinists. Some engaged in "missionary dating" with attractive unbelievers. Then there are the giddy married women who act as self-appointed matchmakers who don't always produce good things. There are plenty of teachings about dating and courtship, the internet, arranged marriages, all in competition.

Contrary to those who harp on God's sovereignty in providing a wife from within one's own church, I went outside as well. I don't envy those Christians who are single and having a hard time finding a mate, but I have little sympathy for those who play the blame game. I'm glad I didn't marry one of those. Singles should be encouraged - to whatever they can be, either as single or married - but not condemned for dating or internet matchmaking. We have enough legalists without issues of singleness, dating and marriage being added to the forbidden list.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

My Favorite AC/DC Songs

Okay, this goes waaaay past worldly. This is strictly forbidden in fundamentalist circles.

My faves: It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll), Sin City, Bad Boy Boogie, Dog Eat Dog, T.N.T., Beating Around The Bush, Girls Got Rhythm, Shoot To Thrill, Hell's Bells.

Honorable mention: Highway To Heck (Baptist re-mix)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

College Football: Rankings, Bowls and BCS

I like college football. I'm not a fan, but I like it. I like bowl games in general, but don't watch much of the regular season because most of it takes place before the World Series is over. My loyalties are simple; I attended the University of California, Berkeley. In NCAA terms, they are known as "California" and "Cal" and are officially the "Golden Bears" but mostly known as the "Bears." So, I hate Stanford, our bitter rival. We are the ones that lateraled a kickoff five times through their marching band in the greatest football play ever.

I don't like the current BCS bowl system. But I have some problems with the traditional rankings system, too. I don't mind rankings, but question the method the polls use in moving teams up and down during the season. A team's record seems to have more bearing on their ranking than whether they are a better team. For example, let's say sometime during the season there are six teams that are undefeated and ranked one through six, and number one plays number two. If number one wins by one point, it is likely that number two will fall below all other teams below them, and maybe even below some one-loss teams who they are now in competition with. But if number one and number two play, number one should win, but not by much. So if number two loses to number one by one point, which they should, they should still be the number two team because they gave no evidence that they are suddenly inferior to other teams below them. Those other teams never played the number one team.

Many argue that a playoff system is best. I happen to like the pre-BCS traditional bowl system and debate over number one. Does the division 1-A (or whatever they are these days) need a playoff system and a national champion? There are over a thousand college football teams, so it's more complex than the NFL. In any case, the BCS seems to combine the worst of the old system with the worst of a playoff system. I would prefer either the old system or a playoff system to the BCS.