Friday, March 28, 2008

Suicide Road Trip (pt.1 of 2) "I'm going to Jackson"

Right now I am writing this in a basement that belongs to my friend Andy's parents. This basement is connected to a house that is located in Jackson Missouri.

Andy and I left this morning at 2:30 (MST) and got here at 6:00pm. We made this drive to pick up a dog that Andy's sister and brother-in-law are giving him. Since I am such a good friend I agreed to come wit him so that he would not be alone for the trip.

We are leaving tomorrow morning and driving back to Denver.

Then I will got to bed and get up to teach twice on Sunday.

I am a good friend.

Thus far on our drive the following has occurred:
1-We ate lunch at Taco Bueno (there are no Taco Buenos in Denver...this was a big deal for me-in fact it is like a man getting to hear the Clash when he lives in a town that only plays Nickleback.

2-We saw the Oscar Meyer Weiner mobile. This is always a great sight that inspires grown men to begin making jokes that are on par with most jr. high maturity levels.

3-We almost got in a wreck. There was a wreck. It happened quickly. Due to my cat-like reflexes i was able to point towards that car that was moving at 70mph just a mere second before and was now at a stand still in the middle of Interstate 70. Because I was able to point so quickly Andy had adequate time to stop before hitting the back of the car.

4-I discovered the magic of XM Radio. The magic of XM Radio is that any given time you can find a song from R.E.M. on at least one station.

5-At one point we saw what we thought was a break in the flat lands of turns out that is was just a grassy area that had not been mowed in awhile.

I will write more thoughts after we get back to Denver. Then I will have experienced everything I did today but backwards, and with a dog.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It was...arrested development

Last night Meredith and i finished watching one of the best (if not the best) series in the history of television for the third time.

Arrested Development was 53 weeks of hilariousness and good times.

If you have not seen the show then you really need to.

If you have seen the show you know what I am talking about.

If you do not like the show then I would suggest that you go move into the mountains and not bother anybody.

However, there are very obvious rumors out there that there will be a movie. I really hope that this is so.

To make me alugh at work I think everyone should post their favorite Arrested Development quote.

Monday, March 24, 2008

At least I am batting over .500

Now that the sweet sixteen has been set I now have to look at my bracket and weep. I got 11 of the Sweet Sixteen.

My final four is shot.

Stupid Georgetown.

Culture Shift - Albert Mohler

I just finished reading Culture Shift by Al Mohler.

Mohler is the president at Souther Seminary and I have to be honest, I was a little nervous about reading this book. When I went to seminary (another southern baptist seminary) I left with a really bad taste in my mouth.

I felt like I was surrounded by people who loved to argue theology but were afraid to engage or interact with the culture. This is the problem of a lot of evangelical Christians. We like the idea of changing the world in the name of Christ but we are afraid to be exposed to the "world's evils" which I firmly believe is a bigger statement about our faith than it is about the culture.

Mohler's book (for the most part) is a breath of fresh air. Mohler uses good theology, merged with common world views from a variety of sources and ends up presenting a call for Christians to engage the world with a gospel of grace and change.

In the introduction of this book Mohler makes it clear that to sacrifice theology and blend in to the culture is a sin, but at the same time it is a sin to not live a missional lifestyle.

Mohler's take on the so called secular world view, how to deal with the issue of abortion and world relief are well thought out and well written. Mohler makes it clear that a Christian can be smart, well informed, well balanced, and yet hold to an accurate theology.

There are a couple of issues where I find Mohler a little hazy. One example is that Mohler speaks out against torture but still says there is a place for it. Unfortunately this is a pretty wide view and yet there is not definition for when such action would be deemed acceptable. I will admit that it is hard to reconcile any form of torture while holding to a belief that all people are created in the image of God.

There are also two chapters that Mohler writes in regard to dealing with students which seem to contradict each other. In one chapter Mohler expounds on the idea that we are raising a nation of wimps. This is due to increased coddling by parents who try to protect their children from any form of evil, including the child's own bad choices. When I read this chapter I found myself saying "amen" and banging a tambourine in my head quite a bit. It was like my own private mental charismatic worship service in my head.

However, in the other chapter regarding parents and raising Christian students he leads to the idea that parents should begin preparing an exit strategy from public school to protect them from the "evil teachings of homosexuality and sexual behavior" I firmly think that this flies in the face of his argument about how parents treat their children.

It seems to me that the parents could respond to this by engaging in conversation with their students (it might be awkward but it is also biblical). No student wants to hear their parents talking about sexual acts but that is part of life. This way parents can combat information that is being taught to their students while continuing to allow their students to be light in a dark world.

I do not think it is any coincidence that out nation's jr. high and high schools have become as spiritually dark as they have which Christian parents have pulled their Christian children out of high school at record numbers.

It reminds me of a quote that I used to have as my wallpaper on computer by Rob Bell. He said. "Why blame the dark for being dark, it is far more helpful to ask the light why it is not as bright as it should be."

Although I tend to begin disagreeing with Mohler on these areas I would still highly recommend this book to anybody who would like to read a good philosophy in how to deal these issues in our society in a way that is not judgmental but in a way that is loving and points people to Christ.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Not so sweet sixteen

So I just watched Georgetown lose. This is the same Georgetown that I had in the final four.

Stupid Davidson.

Right now of the twelve teams that are in the sweet sixteen I only have eight of them. No to mention that I did not pick W. Kentucky or San Diego...which mean at best I can only get 11 of the sixteen.

There is a dark cloud over my head today.

Dark cloud thy name is Davidson.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Because everyone cares...

After last night my bracket is in shambles (at least my espn one is). I am 20-12 on there.

I am actually 23-9 on my yahoo bracket.

Last year I picked all 16 of the sweet sixteen teams. This year, at best, I can get 14 of the 16 because like I said...shambles.

Friday, March 21, 2008

I am so march mad

After the conclusion of yesterday's games my bracket currently has me at 11-5. If A&M had lost like they were supposed to, and had UNLV not been better than I expected, or if I had thought a little bit more about the "suckiness" of Baylor, perhaps if Arizona and Kentucky had pulled off the upsets that they could have I would be in a better mood today.

On the brighter is a brand new day. I can look out at the world and know that Rick Astley has made me a promise that he will keep...
Thanks have made the day a little brighter.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

so far so good

So far I am 3 for 3 on bracket.

That doesn't mean I am smarter than just means I know more.

So tired...

I have gotten up at 4:30 everyday this week.

My body was not made to do such things.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

With Justice For All - John Perkins (was this book written by a third grade dropout?)

It was. John Perkins, founder of Voice of Calvary Ministries, is a third grade dropout, and a great author.

I really do not read a lot of social justice books. I think the reason I don't is due to a lack of theological correctness that tends to permeate those books.

However, I decided to read this book partially out of curiosity and partially because I got it in my Relevant network pack.

This book takes everything that I do not like about social justice books and throws it out the window. You do not have to move away from good theology to preach a holistic gospel that is concerned with the whole person.

Perkins does a great job of outlining a three step plan for dealing with the poverty that is in this culture. His ideas are based on his experiences with his work trying to break the cycle of wealth and poverty and Mississippi. He intertwines scripture (used in context) as well as a plea for people to get involved.

I would highly recommend this book. It is by far the best book written by a third grade dropout that I have ever read.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Best of 2007

So it is now half way through March and it is about time to let you know of my favorite things from the year of 2007.

Favorite Movie: Juno

This movie was beyond fantastic. Full of hilarious, sarcastic quips. Even though this movie is a comedy, it has a message, that message...Rainn Wilson is funny even in a 2 minute part.

Favorite Album: Radiohead - In Rainbows

I bought this album with the slightest bit of skepticism but it by far exceeded my expectations. It is awesome.

Favorite TV Show: Scrubs

Although this was a close one, it won out due to the fact that it made me laugh harder than any of the others that were in the running. The Office started out slow and was just getting in stride when the strike hit. My Name Is Earl was a really close second because that show it funny and if you do not agree then I do not care for your opinion. 24 was a slight disappointment last year and now I have to wait till January 2009 for the next season. House has not been quite the same. Friday Night Lights has always sucked and if you like it then you probably also listen to Nickleback. Lost and Jericho should also get shout outs because i do enjoy those.

Favorite Book: Rob Bell - Sex God

This book was really well written and made you think. I also really enjoyed The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne but it was a little to "hippie" for me.

Favorite Video Game: Mario Galaxy

This game is very addictive. I highly recommend it.

That is all. I hope you check out all of these are realize that I am right.


I have had this blog for a while.

I am just now about to have 100 views.

Thats kinda sad isn't it?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Another little bit of awesome...

I bought this yesterday and it is more fun than a magnifying glass and a bunch of ants...

Johnny Cash - The Man In White

When most people write their thoughts on something that came from the mind of Johnny Cash it is usually about his music. I love Johnny Cash's music, he is by far one of my favorite all time musicians.

However this is not the case with this blog. I just finished reading Johnny Cash's novel "The Man In White" which is about the conversion of the Apostle Paul. I was not sure if a country musician writing a novel about Paul would intrigue me or be accurate to history. I was so wrong.

This novel is fiction, it is based on how Johnny Cash imagined these events taking place. However, he works in actual events and does a very good job of showing how society worked at the time that Paul was converted.

The novel picks up with Saul obtaining his letter from the high priest that allows him to persecute Christians. Cash even gives a couple of accounts of these events. When the novel ends Paul has just changed his name and is getting ready to leave to go back to Tarsus.

This books is incredibly well written. It is historic, poetic, and though provoking all at the same time. I highly recommend this book to anybody.

It is amazing to see the similarities of these two men (Paul and Cash). Both had a hard time convincing people that their faith and salvation were real and authentic due to their past actions. Both suffered from a thorn in the flesh, although we are unsure what Paul's is we know that he did not hide it from people but spoke about it openly. With Cash we are all aware of his drug problems and he also spoke openly regarding these issues.

Cash put a lot of himself into this story. To read it is to not only get an idea of the historical context that Paul lived his life, but to also understand the mentality of a man who has had a very real experience with a very real savior and desires to move forward with a new mission of talking about his conversion.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Josh Rosenthal - Renaissance

So today when I got home from a "hard" day a the office I found Josh Rosenthal's new cd in my mailbox. So of course I immediately came home, kicked off my shoes, put my shoes back on, walked the dog, came back inside, kicked my shoes off again, and placed Josh's new cd in my stereo.

I have been a fan of Josh's for a while now, mostly because I am into "friend-rock" which means that you listen to somebody because they are your friends not necessarily because they are good. Fortunately for me I have two friend who are very gifted song writers and musicians. One of them is Travis Lawrence (who goes by Stanton) and the other is Josh Rosenthal.

I guess to not seem to biased I will talk about my complaints first.

First of all there are only eight songs on this album which leaves you wanting more after the first listen. Josh has a habit of leaving people wanting more tracks...perhaps 8 secret songs after each of the "real" songs.

My second complaint is that the case gave me a paper cut when I opened it. It was vicious.

Now, since the there are only eight tracks I can discuss them individually.

1. "Don't Run Away" - This track has a slightly different feel for Rosenthal. It is more upbeat and drum driven. However Josh's song writing ability shines through in this song about sticking to your vow of love even through the rough times. I enjoy the message of this song because it does not make "love" some pretty and polished thing. It is something that takes a commitment to be there at all times. Rosenthal has a way of making you tap your foot, smile, nod your head, sing along, become nostalgic, cause self evaluation, make you slightly depressed, and leave you hopeful all in one track. Needless to say if you are bi-polar you might want to skip to track two.

2. "Bless The Fire" - This song originally appeared on Josh's "The Anatomy of Healing" EP. This reworked version shows what can happen when you poor a little extra time and instruments into a song. The original version of this song created a very intimate feel which made you feel at home. This version which includes backing vocals, additional lyrics, and more instrumentation. Makes you feel as though you are surrounded with other people that want to "start over again". This song felt weird on my first listen after first listening to the EP version. On the second listen I am sure that I like this version even more.

3. "Long Ride Home" - This is also a song which originally appeared on Josh's "Cordillera" album. This song does the opposite of "Bless The Fire". This version actually feels more intimate than the original which for this song is completely appropriate. I actually hit the skip button back on my first listen to hear it again. Needless to say I really like it.

4. "House On Highland" - The first time I heard this song it was called "Three-Thirty" and had an 80's synthesizer feel. In fact that was the only instrument on it at the time. Josh has since reworked the song twice with a more traditional instrument. This version is MUCH stronger than the "Anatomy of Healing" version. The backing vocal make a huge difference in making the song feel like a southern gospel song. Josh's vocals are also stronger on this track than any track I have heard him on. Much like like "Don't Run Away" this song showcases more of a rock sound.

5. "Something I Didn't Want" - This song is a little more inline with Josh's earlier songs. The song is filled with a complex guitar that somehow sounds simple and natural. The harmonica played by Raphael on this track is haunting (in a good Casper). This song is one that can cause introspection, filled with well crafted lyrics about the desire to leave and stay in a place at the same time.

6. "Renaissance" - This Josh Wilson produced track is probably my favorite on the album. This is a wonderful song that is catchy yet retains Josh's artistic integrity. It is a song about grace, living in it, and using it to change the world. Which if any of you are U2 fans you already known that "grace was an idea that changed the world". This song also features backing vocals of Josh Wilson which fir perfectly into the song. Rosenthal and Wilson's voices complement each other very well. I really do not know how to describe this track, but I can say that the cost of the cd is worth this track alone.

7. "She Should Hear" - This is a stripped down song that is about wanting to speak you affection to your wife (of girlfriend possibly) but having a hard time actually speaking the words. The piano and light drums in the background create an intimate feel. It seems as though josh is in the next room playing the song as your own personal house entertainment. In fact if I am not able to hire Patty Griffin to just stay at my house and play music in the background for me then Josh is my next choice. This song reminds me of "Cordillera" (the track not necessarily the album). In addition the line about being in Costa Rica wants me to go on vacation.

8. "Gotta Get Out" - Finally a song about Lubbock...that is not about Lubbock in the rear view mirror...ok this is exactly what this song is about. This song has a sound that is more in line with "Don't Run Away" and "House on Highland". I personally can not get this particular song out of my head. In fact last night after listening to it my wife, Meredith, kept walking around singing the chorus. If you are from a town that you could not wait to get out of then you will love this song. I personally think that Josh wanted to leave Lubbock because after I moved there was no point in sticking around. Thats just what I assume, it makes sense doesn't it?

All in all this is without a doubt Rosenthal's strongest album to date. His vocals have taken a two or three steps forward. His song writing has become well-rounded. The bridges compliment the songs, the music fits the lyrics, and the songs on this album mesh well together. This album is worth the money twice over.

Needless to say I give this album 5 out of 5 Lubbock City Limit Signs.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Behind the times

As I mentioned the other day, I finished Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott. The book was a very easy read and at times almost made me pee myself from laughter.

The book has not direct theme running through it. Each chapter stands on its own. It is written in the "Blue Like Jazz" format, except I think this book came out before "Blue Like Jazz" so I guess "Blue Like Jazz" was written in the "Traveling Mercies" format. In face you could say that I am behind the times in reading these books. Who wants to read a review of a book when the author has had two new books come out since.

Of course all of those issues of Mad magazine and those Calvin and Hobbes books aren't going to read themselves.

In reality the book only has a few really challenging idea and perspective throughout the book but this should not keep you from reading it.

You also might find that Lamott is a little rough around the edges and does not sugar-coat anything. This, for me, is very refreshing. There are times where her rawness comes across as endearing and challenging and then there are time where it comes across like someone slipped some metal shaving into your hand lotion.

For simplicity sake I have made a list of things in the book. If you like more of these things than dislike then you should read the book. If you dislike more that you like then go ahead and pass it up. Maybe you can get a copy of some Rachel Ray cookbook.

Things in "Traveling Mercies":
-A lot of stories about people with cancer
-Drug use
-A mother that is very crazy about her son
-A.A. meetings
-Trips to Mexico
-Pro-choice comments
-A story about a man beating a dog
-A story about building a sand castle
-Birthday parties
-A female pastor
-A cover
-A dedication page
-Black print
-"About the Author"
-A bar code
-A Bob Dylan reference
-The price in America
-Table of contents
-The price in Canada
-An end

There you go. After you have taken the time to sit down and ask yourself the tough questions you can decide whether the book is for you.