Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hip Hop and LeBron

Barbara and I usually attempt to see the movies each year that receive Oscar nominations for Best Picture along with at least some of the ones with actors/actresses who are nominated. One of those that we did not get around to this past year was Blood Diamond. A few days ago Taylor rented it, and he and I watched it one night. There were a few themes that ran through the movie - the self-centered mercenary who in the end sacrificed himself for a friend; the father desperate to reunite and save his family; the oppressive violence wielded by the parties in power; the desperation of African refugees trying to escape unthinkable violence and violation.

But the thing that caught my attention more than anything was the Hip-Hop music that was constantly present among among the young men and boys who were taken from there families, and forced to either become soldiers or die a torturous death. Through the course of the movie they transformed into the same violent bullies that they had been abducted by, and a constant in almost all of their scenes was loud Hip-Hop music.

I have fairly eclectic tastes in the music that I enjoy listening to, but have to admit that from a personal enjoyment perspective, Hip-Hop is just not real high on my list. And I have a real problem with the violence and degradation towards women and others that exists in some of the gangsta lyrics. But, I also have an admiration for the art form, and even more so after reading this article in National Geographic that Larry James referenced in a recent post.

My initial assumption while watching the movie was that the Hip-Hop had been imported from America, but realize after reading the article that the music may have been locally produced. It is a style that is pervasive around the world, and is a language of a culture or cultures that I might understand better if I didn't automatically tune it out.


As I write this I am witnessing one of the most incredible individual performances in NBA playoff history. LeBron James received quite a bit of criticism for not making a spectacular play at the end of both games 1 and 2 of the series between Cleveland and Detroit. Detroit won both of those games by 2 points, and in both games, LeBron had a final opportunity to score but did not. Tonight he has just taken the ball forcefully and definitively to the hole for dunks twice within the last 40 seconds of the game and has gotten his team to overtime. He has scored all of his teams points through the first overtime period and is carrying them through the second as well....

He just took the ball to the hole again for a layup with 2 seconds left to win game five for the Cavaliers. Nearly fifty points for the night, including the last 25 points consecutively for his team, as he willed them to a win. I don't believe that even his will and talent will be enough to overcome San Antonio in the finals, but tonight was a performance that will not be soon forgotten.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Gasoline - A Little Perspective

Like most people with email accounts, I occasionally get forwarded emails from friends, relatives, and/or complete strangers. Depending on the source I may or may not read them, but I never forward them on. I am making a semi-exception by posting this one because 1) it came from my parents, and 2) I just spent $75 filling up my tank. $3 per gallon gas has me seriously considering getting rid of my 11 year old, trouble-free, very comfortable, and long ago paid for Tahoe and replacing it with something more fuel efficient. One side of me says that I can buy an awful lot of gas for the cost of payments on a new vehicle...

At any rate, all of these examples do NOT imply that gasoline is cheap...

Compared with Gasoline......
Lipton Ice Tea 16 oz $1.19.....$9.52 per gallon
Diet Snapple 16 oz $1.29.....$10.32 per gallon
Gatorade 20 oz $1.59 .... $10.17 per gallon
Ocean Spray 16 oz $1.25 .... $10.00 per gallon
Brake Fluid 12 oz $3.15 .... $33.60 per gallon
Scope 1.5 oz $0.99 .... $84.48 per gallon
Vick's Nyquil 6 oz $8.35 .... $178.13 per gallon
Pepto Bismol 4 oz $3.85 .... $123.20 per gallon
Whiteout 7 oz $1.39 .... $2542 per gallon

And this is the REAL KICKER...Evian water 9 oz $1.49....$21.19 per gallon!
$21.19 for WATER And the buyers don't even know the source. (Evian spelled backwards is Naive.)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Proverbs...and Joe Paterno

Reading through Proverbs in Eugene Peterson's The Message, I was struck by the way he worded some that I've read numerous times before...

Start with God - the first step in learning is bowing down to God; only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning. 1:7

So - join the company of good men and women, keep your feet on the tried and true paths. It's the men who walk straight who will settle this land, the women with integrity who will last here. The corrupt will lose their lives, the dishonest will be gone for good. 2:20-22

Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God's hand for that person. Don't tell your neighbor, "Maybe some other time," or "Try me tomorrow," when the money's right there in your pocket. Don't figure out ways of taking advantage of your neighbor when he's sitting there trusting and unsuspecting. 3:27-29

Keep vigilant watch over your heart, that's where life starts. Don't talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip. 4:23-24

I have long been an admirer of Joe Paterno and the Penn State football program. It seems entirely appropriate to me, in a post on proverbs, to include a link to this article about Paterno. There is a good side to college athletics...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Singing: The Way to Heaven's Door

One of the books in my stack to get to is Darryl Tippens' book on spiritual formation, Pilgrim Heart. The 12th chapter addresses singing, and was distributed in booklet form at the Pepperdine lectureship. Here are a couple of excerpts to ponder...
Christian hymns invite us to delight in God's presence, not merely think about him. Music awakens us to God's matchless power, beauty, and transcendence – his sheer otherness. Music can simultaneously make us feel God's grandeur and our smallness compared to him. This is why, whenever a worshiper approaches God – as seen in Isaiah 6:1-5 or throughout the Book of Revelation – the worshiper invariably resorts to symbolic language, image, and song to describe the uncanny experience. These are the "tools" of the worshiper to suggest the unsearchable, ineffable nature of God. "O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!" (Romans 11:33). p147

It is possible that the quest for the ideal hymn perfectly performed could obscure the goal of meeting God in worship. George Ives was a church musician and the father of the great American composer Charles Ives. The father taught his son to respect the power of vernacular music. Concerning a stone-mason who sang irritatingly off key, the father instructed Charles: Watch him closely and reverently, look into his face and hear the music of the ages. Don't pay too much attention to the sounds–for if you do, you may miss the music. You won't get a wild, heroic ride to heaven on pretty little sounds.

In the so-called "worship wars" too many people, trapped in futile debates about the "pretty little sounds," have sadly missed "the wild, heroic ride to heaven." If we would be but more patient and flexible, recognizing that our singing is our gift to God (and therefore not primarily about our tastes or what we like), then it would matter less whether the song selection matches our personal preferences. Christian music is first and foremost a simultaneous offering of our voices to God, a receiving of God's word to us, and a statement of our faith proffered to the world. If we must err in one direction, a missional attitude is prudent. In the spirit of Luther we should advocate music that wins the hearts of the young and the untaught. p154

Saturday, May 19, 2007

60 Minutes Segment on Homeless Patients

I'm passing this post along to you at Larry James' request...

Plan now to tune in to 60 MINUTES tomorrow evening on CBS televison. A segment of the program is entitled "Dumped on Skid Row."

Here is an advance publicity piece that we received from CBS television describing the segment:

Are some Los Angeles hospitals simply throwing homeless patients out on the street after discharging them, literally dumping them on Skid Row --even if they come from other places in Los Angeles and are in no condition to fend for themselves?

While there have been allegations of hospital dumping for years, people only started paying attention recently, after several shelters installed special cameras on the street to try to capture the practice.

Anderson Cooper’s investigation will air this Sunday, May 20, on 60 MINUTES (7PM ET/PT on CBS).

For more details you can check out the CBS News website at:

If you have any further questions, please contact Robin Sanders at

I continue to be amazed at just how expendible the poor have become in this country.

I hope you'll watch the report.

Please pass this post on to your friends, family and associates.

Friday, May 18, 2007

More Missional Vision...

The remainder of Edward Fudge's comment on missional vision...

In an "attractional" church, success is usually measured by the number of people in attendance, the size of the offering and (using those calculators) the growth of the institution itself. In a "missional" church, success will not be measured by counting heads or dollars but by faithfulness to God's mission, deepening faith and the development of Christ-like disciples. Obviously these intangible indicators are much harder to assess than those borrowed from the business world. That does not bother missional people, however, because their focus is not on the institutional church to begin with. It is rather on the kingdom and mission of God.

Missional people understand that the church is called to be an expression of God's kingdom during the interim between Christ's first coming and his final appearing. God has planted the church in the world as a model community, an advance demonstration of the redeemed society of the new heavens and earth to come. But they understand that even at its best the church is always a flawed and incomplete expression of God's kingdom. They confess that sometimes the church scarcely resembles God's kingdom at all. To the extent that the church does express God's kingdom now, its presence in this world is a sign of God's kingdom that has come and is yet to come. And to the extent the church aligns itself with the mission of God, it is also an agent of God's kingdom to which that mission is surely leading.

This vision of a missional church is old truth in new clothes. It is the vision of discipleship we hear in all the parables and teachings of Jesus. It is the sort of Christianity we discover throughout the Book of Acts, the kind of church the Epistles all call us to become. Consider, for example, the following missional goals which in reality are New Testament values: * Using God's mission as the standard for determining priorities and allocating resources (Matt. 6:33; 2 Cor. 8:1-5; 9:8-15). * Measuring success by sacrifice and self-giving (Mark 12:41-44). * Placing kingdom concerns ahead of any particular congregation or denomination (Acts 13:1-3). * Expecting believers to meet high standards (Rom. 12:1-2; Col. 1:28). * Participatory worship meetings open to the fresh leading of the Spirit (1 Cor. 14:26). * Learning truth to obey it and not merely to know it (Eph. 4:20-24; 1 Tim. 1:5-7). * Every believer a missionary on God's mission (Phil. 2:13; Eph. 2:10). * Being honest, authentic and real (1 Thes. 2:3-10; Eph. 4:25). * Changing the world in keeping with principles of God's kingdom (Titus 2:11-14; 3:8). The list could go on and on.

Those who wish to be missional people, God's fellow-workers on behalf of his kingdom, must cultivate a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as living members of his spiritual body the church. We must become a people of prayer, a people fed by the Word, a people totally dependent on God and not on ourselves, a people guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Such a prescription holds little attraction to a fleshly-oriented, self-centered or worldly-minded church. On the other hand, nothing less than this prescription will enable us effectively to become God's fellow-workers through whom his mission is carried out in this world.
Copyright 2007 by Edward Fudge. Permission hereby granted to reprint this gracEmail in its entirety without change, with credit given and not for financial profit.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


This from Patrick Mead's Tentpegs - you can read the entire post here...

...Pretend with me for a moment. Pretend that you are a goat herder in Yugoslavia (that’s right. You are so far off the beaten track that you don’t even know there isn’t a Yugoslavia anymore). A Bible falls out of the sky right in front of you, in your language. Let’s stretch this a bit and assume you are literate, so you sit and read the thing — perhaps several times. While these questions are primarily directed at my own religious tribe, I think we could come up with some interesting questions for a variety of religions.

1. Would you come up with the idea that the Lord’s Supper was commanded once a week, day, month or year? Would you assume the elements are holy and shouldn’t be touched except by a priest? Would you assume that it was all right to fight the other goat herders about this?

2. Would you assume that instrumental music was wrong? Would you assume that God only liked certain kinds of music? Would you think God cared whether the words were memorized, chanted, read from a book, or projected on a screen, downloaded to an iPod…..?

3. Would you assume that you needed to build a building and start Women’s Day programs, Senior Suppers, Youth Pizza Night…?

4. When you told others about what you’d read, would you insist that they dress up first? And sit in rows facing you while remaining silent?

This list could go on and on and the answer would always be the same: no. Then why are all of these — and hundreds more — issues that cause people to leave churches, call for debates, proclaim this person or that congregation out of fellowship, and enforce that division by fiat, shunning, papers, and seminars?...

A Missional Vision

The following is the second of a multipart gracemail from Edward Fudge.

THE 'MISSIONAL' VISION:Old Truths in New Clothes (2)

If the church is to have a future in the countries that once composed "Christendom," missional church advocates tell us, we who constitute the church must undergo what the Apostle Paul calls a "renewal of the mind." That means that we must re-imagine the ideal which God calls the church to become. We must rethink the church's character and reformulate its purpose and goals. This call to think in a new way does not suggest that we think other than biblically about what it means to be the church. It means that we return to a biblical way of thinking, a way of thinking that changed considerably after Constantine and Theodosius changed the church from a radical and persecuted counter-culture to the official institutional religious establishment of the Roman Empire.

The very word "missional" is crucial to this new understanding in several respects. It reminds us that Christian "mission" is not something for special people who go overseas to foreign lands. It is the work of every Christian wherever each one already lives. It says that the church is not intended to be a comfortable religious "club" for which we occasionally recruit new members. It is rather a group of people who are themselves called and assigned a mission by God. The adjective "missional" sometimes stands in to "attractional" -- a word that describes the kind of church with which we already are most familiar.

The "attractional" church expects to fulfil its mission by attracting outsiders to special events at the church building. The "missional" church will emphasize meeting people where they normally live and work and play. Meeting people this way is not merely social. It is purposeful, a way for us to join in God's own mission. This is how we form genuine human relationships that bridge the worlds of faith and unbelief. This is "incarnational" Christianity, meaning that it requires us to get involved as real people with real people -- and not just people like us -- even when that is hard, tough and dirty.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Poverty Simulation

During the week before our winter break we at Region 10 have very little direct interaction with our school districts. During that week each year the 150+ professional staff in the Division of Instruction participate together in 2 days of professional development. This year one of those days was spent in a poverty simulation exercise.

Nearly 1 of every 4 kids enrolled in Texas schools lives in poverty; that percentage is even higher in urban areas. The poverty simulation was designed to build better understanding of the issuses faced by the families of these students, and of the systemic forces that combine to place formidable obstacles in their paths to success in school.

Several staff members were assigned roles in the various institutions within the community: a hospital - the primary employer, a bank, a check cashing store, a grocery store, a pawn shop, a convenience store, a school, a social services agency, a landlord, etc. As they entered the room, everyone else was given a card with the name, age, and gender of the character they would play and assigned to a table along with the rest of the members of his or her 'family'. At the table was an envelope with all the details about the family and its situation, along with various resources that the family had accumulated.

The objective for each 'family' in the simulation was to survive for a month - the simulation consisted of four 25-minute 'weeks', with a 5-minute 'weekend'. During the course of the 'month' the family faced the issues that the poor deal with on a regular basis - low-wage jobs/unemployment; inflated costs for food, accessing cash, and transportation; lack of health care; child care; shelter; plus those unexpected things that seem to occur on a regular basis.

I will talk about my experience in the simulation in another post, but for now I will mention a couple of observations from the simulation.

The first is that it costs more to live when you are poor. When your only viable food options are convenience stores and fast foods, the purchasing cost is higher and the health cost is higher. When you don't have enough money to meet the minimum requirements for a bank account, you either pay higher fees to the bank or you are forced to use check-cashing stores or payday loan services where the fees are usurious. When you can't afford reliable transportation your job options are limited to those locations served by public transportation. When you work in a low-paying job the chances are great that you don't have health insurance provided; in turn, it cost more to access the health care system for routine or emergency care because you bear the entire cost rather than a co-pay. The list goes on...see this chart in Business Week for more examples.

The second is that when you are poor it requires a tremendous amount of energy and resilience just to survive, let alone try to improve your station. The obstables are great and the resources few. And just when you think you are beginning to make a little progress, some unforeseen expense comes along to put you further in the hole. There are few, if any safety nets, and sometimes there is no amount of hard work and determination that is enough to maintain your situation, let alone improve it.

A third observation is that poverty is a self-perpetuating cycle. Let me give one small example from my own simulation. Keep in mind that I am well-educated and well-intentioned, and am well aware of the role that fathers have instilling values and expectations in their children. In the simulation I was the father of 3 children - the oldest was a school aged daughter who wanted me to help with homework and excitedly wanted to show me what she had done in school. I was so concerned with trying to keep a roof over our heads that I did not have the time to interact with her - I did not ignore her as part of my role assignment, it was the natural condition in which I found myself. Think about the implications of how that plays out over and over in the real world of poverty...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

As Far as the East is From the West

The LORD is merciful and gracious; he is slow to get angry and full of unfailing love.
He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever.
He has not punished us for all our sins, nor does he deal with us as we deserve.
For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
He has removed our rebellious acts as far away from us as the east is from the west. Psalm 103:8-13

God has this bountiful feast prepared; the table is set, the food is wonderful, and he longs for us to sit at his table and savor the banquet. But there is a problem. The gulf that divides us is so deep and so wide that we might as well be on opposite ends of the earth. The chasm that is created by our sin is impossible for us to navigate. But God, in his unfailing love, has removed our sin through the cross. Now it is our sin that is as far from us as the east is from the west, and we are free to sit at God's table and share in his banquet.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Good News for South Dallas

I was delighted to read in yesterday's Morning News that Baylor Health Care System is planning to build a Diabetes Prevention and Treatment Center in the Frazier Courts neighborhood in South Dallas. As I read the article two familiar names jumped out at me. Dr. Jim Walton has been an active partner with Central Dallas Ministries in providing health services to the poor, and Don Williams is one of my heroes, a man I greatly admire.

There are a number of reasons why this is good news for that community - one reason is simply that it brings a positive and needed resource to a much neglected area. A second is the pervasiveness of Diabetes and Diabete-related issues among the poor. The lack of grocery stores in the neighborhood, the lack of health care, the general lack or resources all are contributing factors to a Diabetes rate in South Dallas that is nearly 3 times the national average.

I've copied part of the article below...

"We're trying to not [only] treat symptoms, and a lot of times diabetes – the disease of diabetes – really could just represent a symptom of something more," said Dr. James W. Walton, vice president and chief health equity officer at Baylor.
The goal, Dr. Walton said, is for the center to function as a base for health workers dispatched into the community to provide screening and lifestyle education.

"A lot of the work happens away from the center, it happens away from the community, at the school," Dr. Walton said. "We have this vision of block captains, people that work from other locations in the community in order to achieve the objectives. "

But programming based at the center would also focus on factors traditionally outside the realm of most health care systems. For example, governmental entities, nonprofits, religious groups and other community organizations would be brought in to collaborate and combat unemployment, poverty, lack of education and the absence of grocery stores, housing and economic development.

"The problems are so entrenched in the South Dallas-Fair Park area that it's got to be something very comprehensive," said Marcus Martin, director of the J. McDonald Williams Institute, a key collaborator with Baylor on the project. The Institute is the research arm of the nonprofit Foundation for Community Empowerment.

In 2004, the hospital discharge rate per 100,000 residents due to long-term complications from the disease was 320 in South Dallas, according to statistics compiled by Parkland Memorial Hospital. The rate was about 110 per 100,000 residents countywide and 120 statewide.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


One of the sessions I attended at Pepperdine was co-taught by Josh Graves and Sara Barton from Rochester College. Sara was talking about getting people to give testimonials as a part of her responsibility for planning chapel programs, and commented that until recently she had never felt like she had a testimony worth sharing. She had grown up in a Christian home, gone to a Christian college, experienced her share of life's ups and downs, but had not experienced any of the particularly dramatic moments that made for a "good" testimony (a perspective that I could fully relate to). She said that she had come to realize that she DID have a testimony, that she had a story to tell of what God had done for her...

Last night in the Rotunda class Dwight opened things up by reading the passage in Luke where Jesus cast out a legion of demons from a man into a herd of pigs. Afterwards the man asked Jesus if he could follow him, and Jesus' response was "No, go back to your family and tell them all the wonderful things God has done for you." (Luke 8:39) After he finished reading two Skillman members gave testimonies of what God has done for them. Nothing dramatic, but stories of their faith and journeys to this point in their lives...

Whether we recognize it or not, our lives are a testimony - whether good or bad. But verbal testimonies of what God has done can strengthen the body, and can strengthen the persons giving them. And they don't have to be dramatic to be effective.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Homeless in Dallas

One of the "ups" during the month I was away from my blog was the annual Urban Ministries Prayer Breakfast at the Anatole near downtown. Central Dallas Ministries has been sponsoring this for a number of years, and it is always a treat to get together with several hundred others who share a concern for the plight of the poor in this city. There is typically a noteworthy speaker and a concert of prayer.

This year's breakfast featured a moving testimony by Wyshina Harris, a resident of one of the poorest apartment complexes in the city (you can read it here) and a forum of 7 of the mayoral candidates who were each given a few minutes to address specific issues affecting the poor. I was also delighted that Tino Trejo was on the dais to give the invocation.

One of the features at this year's breakfast was this video that Central Dallas Ministries produced for the event. It tells part of the life story of five people who have struggled with homelessness in Dallas for many years.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Defending the Fort

Phil Ware had a great Heartlight article yesterday - here is an excerpt from it...

So much of our approach to faith depends on our perception of what the goal of our faith is.

Are we on a journey or are we defending the fort? It can't be both. You can't defend the fort when you are caravanning to a new and better home (Hebrews 11:13-16; 13:14)!

If we are daily being conformed to be more like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18), then how can we be overly critical of those who find themselves at different points in their own journey?

My own church family is made up of newborns and people over 100 years old. Our journeys are different. The language of hearts is different. The music imprinted in our DNA is different. The primary modes of communication are different. The way we comprehend truth is different. (See for some examples of why this is true.) But, our destination and our Father and our Lord are the same. So rather than being so critical of others who are not where we are, why not pray for their journey to our common destination? Rather than trying to defend the fortresses we left behind to pursue our higher and heavenly goal, why not encourage other caravaners along the way to press on toward that goal?

How can we be overly critical of those who find themselves at different points in the journey?

Does this mean we give up on core values or God's revealed truth? No! But it does mean we take seriously Jesus' call to look for fruit rather than judging motives. It does mean that we value those who sojourn with us even if they are taking different routes through the wilderness. It does mean that we welcome folks into our caravan who are at different points in the journey (Romans 14:1; Romans 15:7). It does mean that we focus on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-3) and the upward call of God rather than the flawed human embodiments of our Savior we call churches.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Home Again

Taylor and I pulled out of Malibu at 1:00 Saturday afternoon and pulled up in front of the house last night a little before 9. Other than driving through a downpour between Sweetwater and Abilene, amid reports breaking in on the radio of a tornado sighting and tennis-ball sized hail moving through communities that I had never heard of and that were not on the map. Turns out that we were moving parallel with a serious storm about 12 miles to our south - a little dicey feeling for a while, but did not really impact our trip.

Driving across Arizona we listened to Taylor's ipod - Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews, Coldplay, Dispatch, Mason Jennings, the Black Crows, Augustana, and even a little Acapella. I'm not that familiar with contemporary musicians, but if what I heard on this trip was a good sample he has pretty good taste. I'm glad for the opportunity to make the trip with my son.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Pepperdine Day 3

Just got out of the third day of a 3-day series of afternoon lectures with Wade Hodges, and wanted to get some of this down while it is still fresh. The series has been based in Luke and focused on the people that Jesus ate with. Jesus was criticized by the religious leaders of his day because he ate with sinners and tax collectors. 2 particular thoughts from today.

The first is to imagine the expression on God's face when he looks at you - is it one of joy? anger? disgust? longing? pleasure? disappointment? pride? sorrow? Wade suggested that our perception of how God looks at us drives how we look at others.

I can see times in my life when each of those emotions were likely to have been on God's face when he looked at me, but I think maybe the predominant expression is one of impatient expectation, mixed with loving disappointment that says "When are you going to get serious about loving my people?" and "Why do you spend so much time and energy consuming the candy of this world when I have so much more to offer?"

The second thought from today was his analysis that the greatest crisis facing the church today has nothing to do with budgets, declining attendance, or worship issues, (In the 2+ years that I've been an elder I would estimate that at least 90% of the discussions I've been involved with have either been about one or more of these directly, or were influenced by how whatever was being discussed would impact one or more of these) but that the greatest crisis facing the church today is our inability to balance a call to repentence with the unconditional love and acceptance that Jesus showed to those he encountered.

This thought tied so well with the message that Harold Shank brought Wednesday evening about 2 kinds of churches - one where you can't get in if you are broken, and one where you have to be broken to get in. Wade put it like this - if you repent and clean up your act, we will accept you (the pharisees' view of who would be allowed at the table) vs we will accept you as you are, and anticipate that repentence will occur at some point (Jesus' view of who would be allowed at the table). Acceptance does not equal endorsement of sin, but neither does it depend on its elimination as a prior condition.

Plenty of meat to chew on there.

Monte Cox hit a "home" run with this morning's keynote about living in exile and being at home. And David Fleer bats cleanup tonight.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

More From Malibu

It has been a good 2 days and I anticipate that tomorrow will be, also. Among the highlights have been seeing Taylor in this environment - he is comfortable here and maturing well.... The speakers have ranged from very good to outstanding - especially the keynoters - Glenn Pemberton, John York, Harold Shank, Yukikazu Obata, and Dan Rodriquez have all delivered powerful and challenging messages from Jeremiah; tomorrow's promise to continue that trend - my classmate Monte Cox always does a good job and David Fleer is one of the best I have heard.... It has been good meeting and hearing from some of the bloggers I read - I've been in sessions led by Wade Hodges and by Josh Graves, and have gotten to meet David Underwood; and it is always a treat to see/hear Mike Cope.... It was good seeing some old friends and meeting a few new ones at the Harding reception tonight.... It also doesn't hurt that this is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and the clear sunny days and cool evenings with the full moon shining on the pacific only enhance that beauty.... There is one question that has me bumfuzzled - What happened to the Mavericks?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Greetings From Malibu

It is lunch break on the first full day of the Pepperdine Lectureship. This is my first time to actually attend any lectureships. I sang here with a combined group from Skillman and Preston Road several years ago, but didn't really get to any of the other sessions. I worked during Harding's lectureship when I was a student and occasionally got to a few of those sessions. This time I am here just to soak in whatever I can, and so far it has been good. The theme is Hear the Word of the Lord from Jeremiah, and the 2 keynotes so far have been outstanding. I'll try to give a little more detail later....

The main reason that I made the decision to attend this year is that Taylor has just finished a good freshman year here; he will be at Heidleburg next year at Pepperdine's campus there, and he has to pack up and drive home with all his stuff. So, I decided to come to lectureship and then drive back across country with him at the end of the week. He is driving one of the shuttles around campus during lecturship - no small task if you have ever seen the inclines on the campus roads...

I have been awol from the blog for a while - haven't had much energy to write, and haven't even been turning on my computer most evenings so I haven't kept up with the other blogs I like to read. It has been a month of ups and downs, and busy. Within a week's time both Larry James and Rubel Shelley spoke at Skillman - definitely a couple of the ups. There was the shooting at Virginia Tech - definitely a down, especially for parents with kids living in a dormitory. Lots more going on, some of which I may get around to writing about, but I am feeling energized by being here in Malibu. Pepperdine is a great place.