Friday, April 30, 2010

A Man Without A Movement

Andrew Sandlin writes a timely piece about movements and the pros and cons of being part of such. Christianity is not immune from such movements that create "inside circles" and "unenlightened outsiders." There are many within the church. Whether it's weight loss programs, homeschooling movements or theological movements, there are good and bad elements to each. Being on the outside has its pros and cons as well. As Sandlin states, though, "Being part of a movement may be comforting, but some of us are more interested in liberty than comfort." If it's liberty vs. expected conformity, which would you choose?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Late Weekend Potpourri

Little time to think to myself, so I went to the freezer:

  • The kids found the box of Crayola chalk in the back of the car and proceeded to cover the entire back patio with drawing. Then it rained. Washed away chalk dust and wet chalk crayons.
  • It finally happened. I took my oldest son to the open space and it wasn't going very well until a gopher popped out of his hole a half dozen times. Then the godsend... the ever elusive California king snake crawled backward out of a hole. He found it and showed me. It changed his week.
  • After we left the open space, I went to the pizza place to pick up the order. I knew absolutely nothing about it except Mrs. Scott's name. I ate it, though. Yum.
  • After moving, we've been unpacking. Found the espresso machine for that homemade brew. Sorry, Starbucks, I'll be a bit tardy until times come around again.
  • The side gate scrapes the concrete sidewalk. Solution: slice the bottom 1/4" off with a jigsaw.
  • Spring, spring, go away, come again another day. Today it was 85, the hottest day of the year so far with rain and cold coming tomorrow for a few days.
  • A yellow tupperware container for a certain product needed a refill, so I put in my car as a reminder. Somehow it made it to the back seat, where our two year old threw it past the face of our five year old, out his window and across traffic. I saw this unidentified flying object in my rear view mirror. It caused a global crackup in the car as I swung a U-ee to go pick it up. The trick was to open the door and pick it up as it appeared under the door without running it over.
  • Hat tip - no, hats off to Mr. Escalante for this gem.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Remembering The Resurrection

Somebody on my blogroll - I can't remember who, and I've searched a bit for it - posted something around Easter time about the resurrection. It went like this. We have one day per year dedicated to the resurrection: Easter. We hear a good sermon about Christ rising from the dead, which of course is important stuff. But, how often do we think about the resurrection the rest of the year?

Okay, I'll give my devalued 2 cents. Probably a lot less than necessary, yet probably a lot more than some people realize. I recently read an interesting observation. Muslims meet on Friday, Jews on Saturday and Christians on Sunday. And Christians meet on Sunday because of the resurrection. Two women went to some tomb somewhere looking for something that wasn't there and then went and told a bunch of people that they couldn't find it. And that is why we meet.

And just what is it about the resurrection that is so important? Well, starting with the crucifixion, Christ paid for sins. That's good by itself, but it leaves us with little hope beyond that. See, condemnation was averted, and I'm not downplaying that at all. But if being released from prison is great, it doesn't mean much more if it is at 5:30am in Northern Minnesota in January with nothing but the tank top and sandals you were arrested in way back in July. What is needed is that limo parked at the curb that takes us to the airport on our way to the beach in Hawaii. Crucifixion is death to sin; resurrection is newness of life.

Sometimes it's at times that life seems hopeless because of never ending personal failures. Having a body that will do things without stumbling is something to look forward to. A body that won't get old in a few decades. A body I know will be able to eat fish as opposed to floating around in some spirit form forever staring into some bright light. Sometimes I think about the resurrection on days where it seems like that's the only hope there is. And maybe that's true.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Night Potpourri

Too much thinking to think:

  • I've seen more ducks this last couple of weeks than I have in my entire life.
  • Last week I got my year's worth of basketball fix. I was listening to the Opening Day baseball coverage on the radio when I heard that there was a minute left in the NCAA final game. I turned to the station covering it. A three point shot at the buzzer to win the national championship hit the rim. Must have been a good season.
  • Then, with two minutes left, I tuned in to Don Nelson's record breaking win for all time winningest coach. I turned into the driveway, ran in and watched the last 3 seconds of the Warriors' win. Can't wait for next year.
  • Our verbally advanced two year old explained to me after turning right at a red light (after coming to a complete stop) how I needed to wait for the light to turn green. At what age do kids start learning about exception to the rule?
  • Such a short, yet intense, song.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Two Books Added To The List

There are two books out (or close to being out) that I am looking forward to reading and blogging about. The authors of these books have had a relatively large impact on my thinking and views of Christianity.

The two books are Your Church Is Too Small by John Armstrong (already out), and Mere Churchianity by Michael Spencer, aka the Internet Monk (coming out in June).

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Five Year Blogiversary

Today is the five year mark for this blog. Wow, five years blogging. In dog years, that's pretty long. Maybe blog years are even more lengthy than dog years. So, at five years, I'm kind of an old timer, middle aged at least.

Anyway, I hope for many more at From the Pew, and I hope to provide better writing, better thinking and better blogging in the future. Thank you to the readers for all your support.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Friday Night Potpourri - Where Are You?

A day late, that's where:

  • I needed to get some jogging in, but had all my boys with me. The youngest fell asleep, so I parked at the park, let the two older ones play on the swings while I jogged within car's view. Perfect.
  • Our new house is situated kitty-corner with relation to a major intersection I grew up near. All the left turn lanes and U-turns and ways to get to stores have been totally revised to include those that I've never used. I quite often drive past turns I need to make, etc, only to realize a lifetime of hard-to-break habit reinforcement.
  • I think I like electric lawn mowers for small lawns. Just don't run over the cord.
  • Julie Neidlinger gets a new computer.
  • Nevermind the pit bull, Mr. mailman, we found a wasp's nest in our mailbox.
  • Wii Baseball has a mercy rule. Which will come in handy when I play against my five year old.
  • We're baaaaaaack. Oh, what a good week.

House Cleaning and Beating the Rug

You may have noticed something different about From the Pew lately. Well, numerous things are going on in the background with my blog. Let's just say there's some house cleaning and a bit of remodeling going on. The cat is gone, but the fleas laid eggs. Y'all know how that goes. Oh, and it's time to beat the rug over the back rail.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Michael Spencer, aka Internet Monk, 1956-2010

Michael Spencer, aka the Internet Monk, has passed away. I'm over a day late in hearing the news as yesterday was a busy day with no internet surfing. I never met Michael, though he's one for whom I would have made the attempt if I were travelling to or near Kentucky. Michael had one of the top read Christian sites on the internet. He was brutally honest about his ideas and feelings about many topics, and wasn't hesitant in the least about stirring the pot that contained the evangelical status quo. He was always an advocate for the marginalized within Christianity; the misunderstood, the neglected, the smoldering wick, the bruised reed.

My journey with him started several years ago as I stumbled across his blog. He was linked to by a few others that I read. At first, I only checked him out occasionally, and often didn't know how to think about him. Some things resonated with me, others were a turn off. Somehow, my connections to his blog from others' links increased, and I became a regular reader.

Not too long afterward, I started commenting on his blog. His comment sections were alive with a cross section of views and opinions. Much sparring and many threads started, Michael often being the one who stirred the comment pot. What I noticed about my comments is that they were rarely replied to by others, and almost never by Michael himself. I felt like a "comment failure" there.

But then one day about a year ago, completely out of the blue, I received an email from Michael. He said he had been reading my work for a while and was a fan of mine. He invited me to submit, if I wished, occasionally to his blog, and he would publish it. He wanted me to have a wider audience, thought I was a good writer, and thought we were on the same page about much of evangelicalism. I created an intro post which he published, but personal issues kept me from putting the finishing touches on a second one. A few months later, Michael was diagnosed with cancer. Then only a few [much too] short months later, he was gone.

Sympathies and prayers to his wife Denise, and his family. I'm hoping in the future to glean from his blog's archives, and I'm certainly planning on getting Michael's soon to be released book, Mere Churchianity. Getting his book would also include reading it and blogging about it. May God rest Michael's soul.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Friday Night Potpourri

Brain freeze this week:

  • In school I learned that a Slurpee is a slurry. Any connection, marketing wise? Would the 7-Eleven crowd get it?
  • Wood. 'Round my parts, there are many subdivisions built in the 60's and 70's where many/most of the street names end in "wood." Almost any thinkable word is placed in front of wood to create a street name. What's "Thornwood?" "Ironwood?" "Maplewood?" Isn't maplewood just maple? Maybe Gene has an idea.
  • Hey, you got your Easter egg in my cream cheese! And you got cream cheese on my Easter egg.... Okay, I'll quit while I'm ahead. I was co-opping in pre-school today. Yum.
  • Last week it was 80. A friend reports snow on the mountain yesterday. Only in spring here. And as I understand it, it can snow in Denver in the summer.
  • Opening Day in baseball is on Monday. Well, I know there should be a game Sunday night on national television, but I haven't checked the listings. Play Ball!, I say.
  • When you make four trips to the hardware store to buy variations of the same thing with the same crew on shift, you feel like an idiot. Not to mention broke.
  • When music was a little more innocent than today. One of my faves from the decade of my birth. Note: this song at 3:00 was the long, unedited album version.

Is There Something Wrong With This Picture?

I have something I'm trying to get at with this post, and I'll reveal it later. Imagine a two bedroom apartment with two people living there, one in each bedroom. They have different jobs, working different schedules, have different friends, different hobbies and passions and likes. They come across each other's paths only occasionally, but they are friendly and cordial to one another.

Their differing schedules make it seem, for the most part, like each lives there alone, unbothered by the other's quirks and oddities. They are on good terms with each other, generally, and have no outstanding problems with each other. They have no problem sharing the fridge space, and common living areas are never a point of conflict. They can have their own friends over without bothering the other because their schedules are so different. They each pay their fair share of the rent.

Looking at this, it seems like a good roommate relationship. Each can live their own lives unhindered by the other. It seems almost living there alone most of the time. Their differences are actually beneficial to the other.

Now imagine if the situation I've described is not between two roommates, but two people who are married to each other. Suddenly red flags raise all over the place. I would think it not an ideal situation at all, but rather, even worse for some very good reasons. Such a relationship between married people could seem just as good as the roommate relationship, but for me, there would be great pain because of what a marriage should be like is missing. Many expectations of marriage are not being met. Since this situation is not like that, there is added grief and despair. More later. [Disclaimer: this is not about my own marriage, but something else I'm getting at. It's just an analogy]