Saturday, July 30, 2011

Friday Night Potpourri

Well, it's back.  A fortnight in the rear view mirror:

  • Home from working overtime on swing shift.  Was tonight Friday Night?  It doesn't feel like it one way or another, but just like it's late at night, which it is.
  • In my lab work, there's lots of call for what is known as de-ionized water (or "deionized" as one word, DI for short).  Anyway, Microsoft Word's spell checker doesn't recognize the word "deionized".  So, in its suggestion box it lists "demonized" as an alternate.  Demonized water? I guess that's different than holy water, no?
  • Visited a new friend's house. The friend is new, but the house is old.  There's a concrete pouring in the back yard with the footprints of a young child imprinted in it and a name and date scratched in.  The date: 1952. 
  • One thing about swing shift is that staying up late (or early as the case may be) allows viewing opportunities of the "paperboy" tossing the paper on the driveway as the car flies by.
  • Summer is in full bloom and autumn is just around the corner.  My favorite season of the year.  The trees have, what, two months of totally green leaves left?
  • The roof has accumulated a number of small toys.  Many of them were batted up there by our middle boy.  When I find the red volcanic rock in the back yard, I know it's been hit over the house by a little slugger.
  • There's no other word to describe it than classic.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's Not So Much About "Institutional" vs. "Organic"

I've been following for several years now websites that have to do with ecclesiology, namely with the differences between the traditional/institutional church model and the house/simple/organic church model.  Supporters of each idea have their own warnings about the other and their own bible proof texts, etc., and argue for their own way of "doing church."  I appreciate the dialog, monologue and exchange.  Even the flames and sarcasm.

But even though I do see the house/simple/organic folks' ideas and arguments in the bible and I don't see the traditional/institutional folks' ideas and arguments in the bible, I don't see the ultimate argument as one of institutional vs. organic.  What I do believe is foremost is whether a church accomplishes what churches are supposed to do.  For example, the "one-anothers" of the bible.  Even though I see one-anothers being employed in the church assembly (i.e. 1 Cor. 11-14 and Heb. 10), they certainly aren't limited to when the church assembles together.  And even though I don't see passivity in listening to sermons during a "worship service" without any one-anothers during the assembly in the pages of the bible, I would rather attend a traditional/institutional church that has the one-anothers right in all other areas of church than attend a house/simple/organic church that doesn't.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Blog Spotlight Monday - A Pilgrim's Progress

Eric Carpenter blogs at his A Pilgrim's Progress site.  Eric is a former "institutional" church pastor who felt convicted over a period of time that his paid pastorate in the specific corporate structure of his church didn't line up with the bible.  So, he has blogged about his journey; hence a pilgrim's progress.  He stepped down from his position, becoming unemployed.  His family started assembling with a group of other people in homes, or if you like, a simple or organic church life.  After a while of part time work, Eric got a full time job as a working man and continues to write about his life journey.

I came across Eric in the comment sections of Alan Knox'sThe Assembling of the Church blog and other blogs friendly to Alan (they attended the same seminary if I'm not mistaken).  Eric writes quite a bit about ecclesiology - or study of the church - but also about many other topics as well.  He isn't afraid to take on church theology head on and I find his writing stimulating and authentic.  Despite living in the South (Savannah, GA), Eric is a Phillies fan and we had a bit of fun last fall when they played my Giants, and he's looking forward to a rematch that I would gladly welcome.  Eric is in my "ecclesiology" links box as a result of his continual desire to examine the church in the light of the scriptures.  Check out Eric's A Pilgrim's Progress.

Starting Up and Not Blogging Much

It's odd. Mrs. Scott and I were talking this evening and I mentioned that I was involved in three start-ups right now.  I'm working during a startup at a new plant for a startup company.  It's their first plant.  And we've started meeting with a group that is doing a startup phase of a new church.  And if you wanted to push the issue even further, you could rightly say I'm in the startup phase of a new career.

I've been absent from the blogosphere lately as I've been working a lot, and working opposite schedules with Mrs. Scott.  I could purposefully engage in another startup (creating a new blog), but I won't do that.  I've kind of thought about our lives over the last few years as starting over in so many areas.  I might as well be involved in so many startups, doesn't it seem?  Is this how God works, starting people over in everything at once?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Blog Spotlight Monday - Wilderness Fandango

Bob Spencer blogs at a musical place on the internet called Wilderness Fandango.  I forget where I came across Bob, but I think it was on the Internet Monk site.  There are several things that make Bob's site a good read for me.  One is that he has a church history that I can relate to in terms of what church is and how people are supposed to fit into existing ideas.  He's not a fan of the "institutional" church model, and writes often about his visits to various churches and his ideas about what does and doesn't work in church.  Another is that he likes baseball.  I hope I've got this right when I say he's a Red Sox fan.  It's the team that most people in Maine worship, uhhh, I mean follow.

Bob is a big bluegrass music fan and often puts up clips of various pieces of music, many outside of the bluegrass genre.  Either way, they're always tasteful and a good listen.  But one of the things I enjoy most about Wilderness Fandango is that Bob is a good writer.  No matter what he writes about and no matter if I agree, he writes about it well.  So, there you go for a Monday.  Check out Bob's Wilderness Fandango.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cautiously Optimistic...Again

There are some rumblings for our family and possible connection with a church.  A colleague of Mrs. Scott is involved with a group that is planting a church and is in pre-startup phase.  We've started hanging out.  Hopefully things will click overall, as it has with just a small few so far.  We haven't jumped in head first yet, as we're again cautiously optimistic.  The last time we were cautiously optimistic it didn't turn out so well.  So we're hoping that something sticks this time.  If you care to pray, pray for the love of the brethren.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Friday Night Potpourri

Late again.  In the habit?

  • We got plenty of plums off the plum tree this year, and the apricots just ripened to the point of picking this last week.  We beat the squirrels this year.  There didn't seem to be many.  Sill some pits lying on the top of the back fence.
  • True to form, it hasn't rained here in the San Fran area for a few weeks.  We had tons of rain this winter, and now that summer is here, none.  That means extra special care in watering things.
  • Hopefully I'll get to be back on the normal Friday night routine for FNP.  Because of my job, I've been getting up a lot earlier and we've been trying to do family things at night.  Sometimes I just crash at the computer.
  • Why is it that the bbq potato chips always go faster than the regular potato chips?
  • Looking out the window, there's a huge fog bank to the south.  Bright and white.  It was overcast this morning and not all of it has burned off.  It's cool today with a breeze.  So somebody down there has no sun.
  • Saw Chronicles of Narnia 2 last night in the parking lot of a church in the downtown of a small town.  It used to have about 300 people in the 70's when I was growing up and the housing boom started in the 80's.  It still has a small town feel to it.  We brought our chairs and blankets, yet were still cold.  The kids liked the movie, and so did we.
  • Speaking of such towns...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I was unemployed for 27 months and between all the job seminars, job fairs, "networking," attending vocational school with numerous other unemployed or underemployed people, I got a fairly good idea of what was happening in other people's lives.  The stories, the difficulties, the situations.  I've done quite a bit of observing and thinking about it.

One theme to many people's lives is that they seem to be "stuck."  Stuck in the position they're in.  Stuck in the house they're in, stuck in the lease they're in.  Just plain stuck.  One example is of a man I know who had a great family and a great career making great money.  Now he's lost a lot of those things, but he's still paying the rent he paid when he could afford it.  Well, why not move into a less expensive apartment?  Because he can't qualify.  You see, his life doesn't match the status quo for moving into another place, regardless of how cheap it is.  But because he can make the payments in his current house - just barely with very little left over - that's the only place he can live.  In other words, entrance requirements are much more difficult than requirements to stay once you're in.  He already got in and now it's the only place he can stay even though he can't really afford it.

If once you're in something bad happens, you can't get out to somewhere else.  You're stuck.  The status quo is forcing a lot of people to be stuck and remain stuck.  What can be done for this?

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Friday Night Potpourri

A day late and a dollar short:

  • Yeah, yeah, late again.  But, what else can a man do?
  • The youngest kids got dish soap out and washed mom's car with it and the garden hose.  Two days in a row.
  • I wonder if "extra dough" really means extra dough.  So many ways of interpreting this, and... wait a minute.  If this applies to chocolate chip cookie dough, then it becomes easy.
  • The back lawn has been temporarily shut down for fertilization.  After reading the label on the back of the bag, it says that I'm supposed to wear long sleeves, pants, shoes, and to wash my clothes separately from the others.  Serious stuff.
  • There's a brightness difference between copy papers.  Yup.  Some whites are whiter.  It makes it weird when the plain paper drawer of the printer has multiple whitenesses of paper mixed in.
  • Despite living in the same house for over 50 years, my parents have had three different area codes and three different zip codes during that same time. 
  • So I'm at the gas station this evening, and the guy at the pump in front of me is pumping gas with his door open and stereo up, grooving to and singing this song out loud.  I couldn't help but join in.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Hymns vs. Choruses/CCM

Music in the context of the church has been debated for centuries.  Music has changed and it has its own history that would benefit most of those doing any arguing.  But what I want to write about here is using music and/or singing in the context of a church gathering, whether a Sunday meeting or a small group during the week.

I've been in churches that sung mainly hymns from a hymnal to a piano, and then in smaller settings in homes during the week, the piano might have been absent and the hymns sung a Capella. I've also been in churches where modern choruses were sung with worship bands up front.  Also I've experiences a few churches that had a mix of both.  In the churches where there was a mix, some of the people had opposite reactions.  Once my pastor told me that occasionally he was hit up by people after the service, in succession, that the church was boring and stuffy because of all the hymns, then alternatively that the church had jumped right into rock 'n' roll and was loud and disrespectful.

But as far as my personal tastes go, I prefer hymns to modern choruses or praise and worship music.  It's not because hymns are better, and it's not because hymns are better because they're older.  There have been multitudes of hymns that were bad, and time and discretion have weeded them out from the pool.  There are bad choruses today that will be weeded out in due time, leaving the best to last for several more generations.  The reason I like hymns is because of their "singability."

For the most part, hymns are easier to sing precisely because they were designed to be sung by a group of people.  The melody is there and a simple instrument might be the perfect accompaniment.  People who are more talented at singing can sing harmony.  On the other hand, many of the newer choruses were designed to be performed in a recording studio by recording artists with many instruments and special electronic effects, then put out as professionally recorded CD's, etc.  The songs aren't as much sung as they are vocalized.  Then these pieces are adapted to be used in church settings.  I find these types of songs much more difficult to sing in groups, and the result is often less than desirable.  There are some modern choruses that are perfectly singable in groups, and I like them as well.  All this is not to say that hymns are good and choruses bad, it's just to say that I prefer music that is singable by a group to music that is not.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Friday Night Potpourri

Toward the weekend ahead:

  • Friday, July 1st is one of the worst days to go to the bank.  The last time I went on a Friday, July 1st, it was insane.  Friday is payday for many people.  The 1st is payday for many people.  And since the 4th of July is on a Monday, Friday July 1st is a three-day weekend getaway day.  I hope none of you got stuck in a long line.
  • In the last town we lived in we established a tradition for the 4th.  There are fireworks over the water and the marina park is the gathering place for thousands of people.  From our vantage point, we can see four different shows from the various waterfront towns and nearby theme park.
  • This year we're determined to gather all the ripe plums and apricots off the trees before the squirrels get them all.  This year's yield looks to be several times what last year's was.
  • It promises to be a gardening weekend around the house.  Weeks to pull and plants to water and cultivate.  A house full of black thumbs don't make things any easier.  It's good that there isn't too much to care for.
  • Mrs. Scott just pulled into the driveway.  Sometimes that means a car full of stuff the kids will help bring in the house.  Let's see what's in store...
  • Okay, yes I sat down last night to do FNP, but fell asleep at the mouse wheel.  I'm getting up way earlier than I used to so the night owl in me is at a disadvantage.
  • They had then more hair than I have now.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Mui Overtime

I've been working a bunch of overtime at my new job, as it is a startup company opening their first plant.  So, my blogging time has been limited to sleep walking time which I guess isn't happening.  Hope to post something again soon.  Like tonight's Friday Night Potpourri!