Archive - July, 2008

My Favorite People.

applause.jpgI know. I know. Sometimes on the blog I tend to give more exposure to problems than solutions. (Consequently, if one dwells too long on what is wrong and broken rather than what is right and working, that person can become awfully bitter in life. Ironically, this is not my natural disposition, as I’m generally a guy who is classified as “easy going.”)

At any rate, I’ve decided to compile a list of a five of my favorite people in the world. These are people who inspire me, make me laugh, or, as my wife put it, one of my “man crushes”.

Without further ado, here’s the list (in no particular order):

Keith Murphy (man crush): Topping the list is WHO-TV’s very own sports extraordinaire. Rumors have been floating around the DeMo for years that Keith has been offered positions on SportsCenter, bigger markets, more money, etc. I don’t know if they’re true or not, but I do know that we’re lucky to have him. He’s funny, fair, and likable. Sports Sound Off on Sunday nights is one of the few things that I stay up late for anymore, and nothing gets a smile on my face quicker than watching Murph try and hold it together after a particularly sharp “What’s Bugging Andy”.

Shawn Johnson: “Iowa’s Golden Girl” grew up in the same city as me, West Des Moines, and also goes to the same high school I graduated from, Valley High School. We’ve immortalized her in various statue forms – everything from bronze to butter – and with good reason, she’s a peach. It’s refreshing to see a young person who speaks honestly about their talent. Shawn will tell you, she wants to win at the Beijing Olympics and wants to win big. But that desire doesn’t crowd out a humility that is hard to find in athletes, much less talented ones. Everyone here knows she’s the real deal – Go Shawn Go!

My Wife: Not only did I put this on here because I know she’ll be reading it (hi, Sweetie), but because I really do mean it! I just turned 28 and my wife planned a herculean effort with my family to pool all of the birthday resources to get me an iPhone. The gift is great (I just found an app that lets me load an iTune track and scratch over it – as in turntable scratch! Wicked cool.), but the fact that she was willing to think ahead and plan this out for me was better. She has made me a better man inside and out and I love her for it.

Dan Jass: Dan is a professor of mine at Bethel Seminary and I recently just had a week long intensive with him and the rest of my class. Dan challenged all of us in class to look at how and why we believe what we believe what we believe. The goal was not to make value judgments on those values, but to simply see how they came to be formed. (Coincidentally, once you begin to see how some of your beliefs came to be formed, you must necessarily change [or at least reorder] them in order to continue to hold them with a clear conscience.) Dan takes a lot of heat for his methods, but he is a prophetic voice that the Church desperately needs in this hour.

Kay Kinkel: For those of you who know Kay, you know how great she is. I am in the process of becoming ordained in the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) and would not be able to do it without Kay’s support. She has been a lighthouse in the oftentimes foggy process of becoming an ordained pastor. Her willingness to go the extra mile has made all the difference.

Bonus Person – Tom Green: “The Bum Bum Song”? Are you kidding me? How awesome was that?! The guy gets away with so much in the name of humor! Observational humor at its finest.

Who are some of your favorite people? What makes them favorites for you? Let us know in the comments.


More Than Music.

I’ll be leading a break-out session this weekend at Lutheran Church of Hope’s “More Than Music” Seminar. Grant Norsworthy, of Sonicflood fame, is the keynote speaker and will be addressing what it means to be a worshiper of Christ and how it invades all areas of our lives. Right up my alley.

I’ll be speaking on the emerging/postmodern church and the need to reconnect our modern-day church model with our ancient, Eastern roots. This is a hard road to navigate, as many people on both sides of the coin are passionate about the direction in which the church of the future is headed.

The following is a passage from the book, “Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism?” by James K.A. Smith. I will be using this in my talk and wanted to share it with you because it perfectly illustrates the tension that the 21st century church is in. We have mistaken a new way of doing church for being unfaithful to the charge of Jesus and the work of the 1st century church – it’s called primitivism:

Primitivism retains the most minimal commitment to God’s action in history (in the life of Christ and usually in the first century of apostolic activity ((The fact that primitivists accept the shape of the biblical canon as determined several centuries later is a nasty little exception to this rule.))) and then seeks to make only this first-century ‘New Testament church’ normative for contemporary practice. This is usually articulate by a rigid distinction between Scriptures and tradition (the latter then usually castigated as ‘the traditions of men’ as opposed to the ‘God-given’ realities of Scripture). Such primitivism is this anticreedal and anticatholic, rejecting any sense that what was unfolded by the church between the first and the twenty-first centuries is at all normative for current faith and practice (the question of the canon’s formation being an interesting exception here). Ecumenical creeds and confessions – such as the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene Creed – that unite the church across time and around the globe are not “live” in primitivist worship practices, which enforce a sense of autonomy or even isolation, while at the same time claiming a direct connection to first-century apostolic practices.

What about you? What news ways are you finding working in your church? Where do you see primitivism at work?


An autism question.

I found the following article on very intriguing. Here’s a portion of it:

“Cornell University researchers are reporting what appears to be a statistically significant relationship between autism rates and television watching by children under the age of 3. The researchers studied autism incidence in California, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington state. They found that as cable television became common in California and Pennsylvania beginning around 1980, childhood autism rose more in the counties that had cable than in the counties that did not. They further found that in all the Western states, the more time toddlers spent in front of the television, the more likely they were to exhibit symptoms of autism disorders.”

Do any of you have personal exposure to autism or to those living with autism? Does this article make sense to you? I’d like to hear about what you think in the comments.



“I often push farther than I believe. It’s necessary in order for us to see our embedded theological constructs.”


Greek quiz (redemption!).

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And that, my friends, is what you call a Greek @$$-kicking. If you’ll remember, I did not fare so well on the last Greek quiz that I took. This, I’m afraid, feels good… Maybe even “very good!”


Proverbs 23:12

“Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.” This is my prayer for this week.



“The more certain people are about something (usually a belief), the more violent they will be in their response.”


My weaknesses.

According to Facebook, here are my “areas to work on”:

But what does stupid Facebook know? I’m switching to MySpace..


I found this status update of a friend of mine on Facebook:

“So-and-so likes hanging out with people that find me hilarious.”

My simple question is this: Is this a self-absorbed statement or not? Your opinion is desired in the comments.


Quotable Quotes.

“Our biggest mistake (in the church) is that we think that spiritual leaders and organizational leaders are the same thing… They are not!”


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