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Monday, December 29, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My view for 6 hours on December 23


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It looked just like this except dark, rainy and miles and miles of cars. . .


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See here for what happened. 16 hours in a car by yourself is loads of fun. . .

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Shameless plug

So, one of the blogs I read is a Christian Personal Finance blog. It is actually where I got the idea for my gift to for my wife. Well, the folks are giving away some cool things. I don't agree with every thing (mostly the posts on Gold) but it is a good resource for looking at finances through biblical lens.

I hope you enjoy it (and maybe benefit from winning an Ipod). . .

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Florence Y'all


I can't believe a week from today I'll be able to see that stupid Florence KY water tower and actually like seeing it. I wish I could also see the I-75 Touchdown Jesus but alas, I don't think I will have the time to drive up there.

I can't wait to get back to Cincy for at least a few days. Too bad I have to drive 9 hours by myself to get there.
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Monday, December 15, 2008

Things are starting to look up. . .

All I got to say is there is nothing better on this side of heaven knowing that I have advanced to my Fantasy Football Finals. . .

I love Andre Johnson, Chris Johnson, Tampa Bay Defense, Steve Slaton and Phillip Rivers.

Much Fantasy Love. . .

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Confessions of selfish compassionless Jerk

Jerk- n.- Slang. a contemptibly naive, fatuous, foolish, or inconsequential person.

It is one thing to admit something. It is another to be burdened by it. I was called out today be some one close for being a compassionless jerk. It is 100% true. I'm dead to rights. I can't deny it. The truth is I have a hard time entering the worlds of other and feeling what they feel. I can enter their world and think what they think, thus making me an emotionless idiot. When people want to celebrate, I want to bring them back down to Earth. When people are low, I want to fix them to make them better. I don't think about it.

If I have been this to you, please tell me. I'm too stupid to see it sometimes. If you hate that about me, please tell me so I don't hurt you again. I am remorseful that I let people I love down more than I did something wrong. As the book of Proverbs says "Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy."

So if you love me, wound me. I know I am sinful and have issues. I give full permission for you to tell me. My only surprise won't be that I did it but that I didn't hurt you more.

Deepest regrets from a recovering Jerk.

Friday, December 5, 2008

You don't know what you got, 'til its gone. . .

Recently, we lost internet at our apartment. Because we don't have the money, we cannot get it back. It isn't all bad though. I have found myself wasting less time on the computer and more time with my wife. We've been talking more and it is nice. Today, I also picked up Alice (my guitar) for the first time in a LONG time and forgot how much I loving singing and playing to God. Keeping in mind, I'm not that good but I enjoy doing and I think playing Rock Band has made me better.

Because I don't have internet, I have to purposefully choose to go somewhere to check the wikipedia and see the latest internet meme. I'm on the internet much less. I'm more focused and watching less t.v and hence spending more time meditating on God and his work.

I know it makes life easier but I find a simple life more enjoyable and more God centered. What about you?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I think the punishment fits the crime. . .



. . . or would this violate the Bill of Rights for cruel and unusual punishment? :-)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Perhaps this is why I have felt so blue lately

So if you know me, you know that I'm currently in a state of transition. Right now, I'm in the midst of a hunt for where God wants me to serve him next. That means I have a lot of free time on my hands since a person can only do so much resume sending and job board looking. I have picked up a part time job driving a fork lift around UPS in the VERY early mornings and I have been volunteering to days a week at a local church help them do some admin work in their offices.

That still leaves me with more free then if I had a full time job. I do read a lot online (like news, church blogs and money saving tips) but I still find myself gravitating to one thing that I have always had a hard time saying no to. Watching T.V.

It is interesting that watching T.V. is the one thing that unhappy people do more than happy people. According to a Study done by the University of Maryland:
We looked at 8 to 10 activities that happy people engage in, and for each one, the people who did the activities more — visiting others, going to church, all those things — were more happy,” Dr. [John] Robinson said. “TV was the one activity that showed a negative relationship. Unhappy people did it more, and happy people did it less. (HT to Lifehacker)
Growing up, I lived off watching T.V. You named it, I watched it. The Simpsons, Herman's Head, Married with Children, Eerie Indiana, You can't do that on Television, Friends, Seinfeld, MNF Football, Salute Your Shorts, ER, In Living Color, Batman Cartoons, Power Rangers, Home Improvement, News Radio, Sportcenter, Behind the Music Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, Saved by the Bell and many reruns of older shows. I think you get the point. T.V is one of those things I have always gravitated to is that glowing Box in the corner. It was something I worshiped. One time when I couldn't watch something I wanted to watch, I chuck a remote control at my sister's head. She still bears the scars of that interchange.

When I became a Christ Follower in 1999, I still struggled but no with other things I was watching. That lead me to go without a Television for two in years college. I then moved in with other Christian and started watching T.V. more. When I went to Seminary, I did without a T.V. for my first two years. When I got married, we got a T.V. I can honestly say from experience, that I am more happy when I stay away from the T.V. If that is the case though, why do I keep coming back to watch?

We don't have cable but through the magic of the Internet, I can watch full episodes of 18 shows that I enjoy. This is the first time I've counted. Wow, that is a lot! I am realizing for the first time that I have been addicted to T.V. Maybe that's why over the last couple weeks, I have been pretty down. I blog three weeks ago about my enjoyment of disconnecting. I was riding high and that's where the T.V. crept right back into my life. Over the last few weeks, I have notice myself being really down. I can see why Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes "If a man is lazy, the rafters sag; if his hands are idle, the house leaks."

Instead of turning to God, I've been escaping to T.V. That is hard to admit. I should have it under control but for some reason, I can't control it. You might say, "It could be worse like an addiction to drugs, pornography, gambling or something worst." As Paul writes "'Everything is permissible for me'—but not everything is beneficial. 'Everything is permissible for me'—but I will not be mastered by anything."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I guess this is tolerance. . .

I wonder if these protesters are being "tolerant" to this 74 year old.



(HT to Lasting Divergence)

I didn't vote in California but if I did I would have voted for prop 8. Why? Because while somethings are unpopular, some things would hurt our county more than help it. While Christians should focus more on making our own marriages healthier, we need to hold the line some where. We need some moral margin some where. The line needs to be drawn some where regarding family and normal sexual behavior.

If you believe that homosexuality is a choice, then accepting the consequences are easy since people are choosing the life they are living. However, if people are born that way, the argument is a little more harry. From a biblical perspective, it is easy to argue from. But how do you argue this from with someone that doesn't believe in the Bible? I've wrestled with this question a lot since I know some homosexual couples even with foster children. How would I stand on my position with using the Bible? It would be difficult because that take all truth is taken away and we have to rely on feeling to tell us what is right.

What scientific support can people give to support same sex marriage as something we should encourage? Scientifically, two people from the same sex cannot have a baby or procreate. Scientifically, via the theory of evolution, they then would cease to exist after this generation because natural selection and chance dooms them for death. How would this be any different than a person born with blindness, deafness, cancer, lame, retarded or the like (other than the fact these people can procreate). I'm sure these people would gladly trade the ability to procreate to live or see if they had to. Some people I guess scientifically are unlucky and can't do certain things.

Legally then, laws are enacted to protect people from being hurt by people who can't and shouldn't these things. Laws keep people who can't see from driving but they can procreate. Laws prevent the physically unable from being in the military but they can procreate. Laws prevent retarded (or the unintelligent) from being Doctors, teachers, and lawyers because they all require certifications to practice such but they can procreate. Homosexual person may be born without the desire to be with the desire to be sexually with the opposite sex thus they cannot procreate. They can do everything else but that one thing.

So why marriage laws then? Marriage laws are in place to ensure that procreation can take place in a safe, productive way so the species can survive (as well as property rights) They protect people so that people aren't taken advantage of. Keep marriage laws one man and one woman draws an easy line to protection that people know. It puts the fight elsewhere. During a war, the fight always takes place on the boarders until the boarders are clear.

Murder is illegal and it is a clear line that people try to stay far away from. The fight is over intent usually not if it happen. When alcohol was illegal, alcoholism went down. With alcohol legal, the new line is when is too much too much and what you can or cannot do with alcohol thus resulting in more With marriage laws right now, we fighting over what is marriage. Once this fight is over and it is clear, then the fight with move on to something else. By making marriage clearly between a man and woman, it makes the boundary clear for everyone and what it is for.

Is it discrimination? Maybe. What about those other things? Will anyone call these things discrimination? Probably not. Seemingly. From a scientific point of view, it is not. Just luck. Heck, Homosexuals/Liberals will use science to disprove God why can't natural selection be used in this case? Are people trying to use it to validate their current state.

Are there holes in my argument? Probably. I'm trying here. At least with Christianity, it offers the promise of giving the blind sight and the deaf hearing. We live in a fallen world so of course babies do not come out of the womb 100% healthy. News flash: nature is not tolerant. Jesus is the only one who truly is. He tolerant enough to not come back until all have a chance to know him. The fact that he puts up with us is unreal. Jesus said some will be born enunchs. Why can't God give these people a chance to be made whole? This may be a bit of a ramble but it was the first time I tried to put this to paper.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I have a theory. . .

Being a Christian is simple. Follow Jesus. That's it. What we do is simply do what Jesus did. Pray, Read the Bible. Give resources. Reach out to others.

Making money is easy. Save more than you spend.

Being married is easy. Lay down your life for your wife and your marriage.

To quote Homer Simpson: "In Theory communism works. In Theory Marge. In Theory."

Then why are all of these so hard to do? A lot of things look easy on paper with humans. and in theory. But what separates us from animals is our mind. Theories are great for the perfect world but we live in a fallen world. We have a human will that wants to focus solely on ourselves and wishes everyone would serve us. When Jesus came to show us the way, he came to give us hope and truly inspire us (through the Holy Spirit) to live beyond ourselves.

That's why there is something inside of us that yearns for something more than theory to motivate us to change. On paper, the tax policy either John McCain or Barack Obama could be better than the other and help us out of this economic problem. But would that really help? I like what Mark Cuban (owner of the Dallas Maverick and rich dude) said about why he voted Barack Obama (even though he disagrees with Obama's economic policy). He writes:
I have said it before, the power of the American Spirit is what separates our country from every other. We have been able to overcome the stupidity that politicians do every year, and will do for ever more. The election of Barack Obama is a shot of adrenaline for those who felt they could never participate in the American Dream.

How do you stimulate and turn around the economy in this day and age ? Motivate those who in the past couldn’t , wouldn’t or didn’t, into those who can and do. Motivate those who can and do, to continue to innovate and increase productivity.

I couldn't agree more. We need more people motivated. In long run, only the church can bring true change in the lives of people. Policy alone will not cause any one to change (see legalistic churches).

Monday, November 3, 2008

The benefits from unplugging

One of the biggest problems I see today (in my life especially) is being able to unplug from electronic life to actually enjoy life. By constantly taking in T.V., movies and other media, we forget how much what we take in affects us. Last week, Lori and I had a guest over last week that greatly influenced we did all week, mostly me. Since I have a pretty fluid schedule right now, our guest impacted me the most. I'm use to coming home and doing a lot of blog reading, movie watching, Internet time wasting and napping. Fun times!

But with a guest, that changed. Mostly that meant that a lot less T.V. and Internet. A lot more reading time, walking time and quality time with my wife (& God). It was fun playing games and hanging out with less T.V. and less Internet. I was able to reconnect with Church History. I had time to surprise my wife. I was able to have conversations with random people at Starbucks about God. I didn't have the stress of trying to figure out what Person A was doing on Facebook or what I name McCain was calling Obama. I was peaceful. It was nice.

I heard Craig Groeschel say recently in order to change you have to be willing to do something big. It reminded me of college when I got rid of my T.V. to help me focus more on God. It reminded me of the time I got rid of Internet in order to stop sinning. It reminded me that I needed a drastic change in my daily routine and I got it with the guest in town. While I am still looking to God for where my next step is, it doesn't mean that I am waiting to follow God again. I can do it now! It isn't to say that I haven't been following him but I will say I have been distracted. That is why I've been AWOL on Facebook and blogging. That's why I trimmed back my podcasts and blogs substantially. I'm trying to hear from God and I had put way too much noise around me to listen.

Thanks be to God. Creator of All and lover of my soul.

As an aside, I saw this article on CNN.com that shows why it is important to disconnect from T.V. and at the very least, think about what we watch. The highlights:
  • Experts: Parents should discuss sexual content on TV with kids
  • Previous study showed sex on TV linked to initiation of sexual intercourse in teens
  • TV shows rarely portray negative consequences of sex

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

There are Dumb Husbands and then there is this guy. . .

This guy has to be the dumbest husband ever. You don't mess with Momma and you don't mess with Momma's Baby (even for an election).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

One thing Title IX can't do anything about.

I found an interesting thought on ESPN.

Gregg Easterbrook writes:
Lately there has been attention to the uneasy fact that high school girls are more likely to sustain sports injuries than high school boys,
especially torn knees. The female body structure can't take as much knee stress
as the male, and it is harder for girls than for boys to build muscle mass --
increasing the muscle around a joint takes pressure off the joint. High school
girls' soccer and basketball may carry a higher risk of knee injury than prep
football. It's not clear if there is a solution to this problem, though this new
study
led by medical researcher Julie Gilchrist of the Centers for Disease
Control suggests girls and women can reduce knee injuries from athletics by
using flexibility exercises.

I just had to think that I guess men and women at equal in everything. That doesn't mean they are inferior, just different. I would rather see woman's gymnatics than men's. There is just something about the flexbility and the grace that the men's just don't have.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Three surprises

First, American League Champion - Tampa Bay Rays! I never thought I would see the day. Maybe there is hope for my Detroit Lions (who can't beat anyone - even if the former QB "gave" the ins and outs of the offense to them).

Second, since the fist economic stimulus package worked SO well, let's try another one! When are we going to learn that keep fixes don't work.


Third, what can brown do for you? That's right, I'm working part time for UPS right now as a dock worker by RDU in order to make a couple bucks while waiting to see what God has for us next.. I hope I don't end up like this!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Two of the best years of my life



Two Years Ago Today - Lori Michelle made me a very happy man.


Today - A lucky man whose wife took him to see the Red Wings cream the Hurricanes 3-1 at the RBC Center in Raleigh.

I LOVE THIS WOMAN!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

T-O-L-E-D-O!


13-10 Toledo over Michigan at the Big House. Where are you at now Michigan. . .

I would not want to be President

I look at the 24/7 campaigning and "job" stuff and think that this is crazy. For two years, Obama and McCain have been working non-stop for a job that will asked them to be "on-the-clock" 24/7. No wonder why Bush has done a bad job. Dude haven't had Sabbath for some ten years! That's nuts! I've also heard interviews with Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain about their need to get away after the election. I have to wonder what the long-term consequences of all of this on families, job performance and personal health.

I then saw this article on CNN.com talking about the health of presidents. The article says:

Early in his administration, Clinton worked too hard and his decision making suffered as a result, according to [Clinton press secretary Joe] Lockhart.

"The first term, particularly the first couple of years, the president kind of set his own schedule and he worked from very early in the morning until very late at night. And he wore himself out, and I would argue, his decision-making ability was not nearly as good as it was in his second term," Lockhart says.

No matter how the president chooses to unwind, the enormous burdens of the job are never far away.

"Even in moments when you're physically trying to relax in whatever outlet you have, you have a member of the military within 15 feet with nuclear codes," Lockhart said. "That kind of takes the fun out of whatever sport you're into."

This work and family and rest balance is the hardest thing for a pastor/congressman to due since life and death is all around us.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Office. . .

So I got to watch The Office tonight and I was disappointed for two reasons.

One, it just wasn't funny. I miss the Pam-Jim against Dwight bits. BRING PAM BACK! It just isn't the same without the flirting and pranks that makes office life better. Plus, I miss Toby. Although I really enjoy Andy and his constant dropping of his Ivy League Education from Cornell (one of the lower tier Ivy League Schools) and his ineptitude while there (like taking Psych 101 twice), he just can't carry the show. As an aside, I didn't know ABBA sung "Take a Chance on Me" until I saw Momma Mia! with Lori (I don't recommend it). That makes this scene even funnier.

Secondly, the ethics point they were making was extremely sad. I don't want to ruin for those that have not seen it (go to Hulu to watch it if you would like). It was just sad the end result and the brazen forgetfulness of what is right and what is wrong in a corporate culture. This partly the reason we are in the financial problem we are in because companies put profit over treating customers with dignity with the long term in mind.

I was reading Seth Godin's book The Dip and something that stuck out to me was that most salesmen give up after five interactions while it usually takes seven to close a deal. His point is that interactions over a long period is the best way to grow something.

I wish I would focus on the long term more.

By the way, I got two more calls from the McCain campaign today (as well as two polls: one asking about my local news preference and the other my political choice right now). I wish people would stop calling me and getting my hopes up that some one is calling for a phone interview.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Telemarketing. . .

Over the last week, I have gotten SIX phone calls from the John McCain's auto-dialer to tell me to vote. I'm undecided but with the amount of annoying phone calls I'm getting, John McCain might just be annoying me into voting for Obama (since I have gotten Zero calls from him).

(Of course I'm joking. I'm not going to decide who I'm voting for based alone on which candidate annoys me less)

It does show though the different in campaigns. Obama=New Media. McCain=Old Media.

Last night's debate was interesting. The Winner: Tom Brokaw for the number of times he reminded the candidates who was in charge last night. I wish the candidates would actually straight talk and not simply deliver their stump speeches/talking points every second. Plus, there really wasn't anything different from the first debate. Discouraging. . .

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Books, Books, and more books

Since I'm currently in the process of hearing from God as to my next step, I've been taking the opportunity to catch up on some reading in an attempt to improve myself and become a better leader. I know leadership is forged by doing. Now that I have a moment to look at how I lead for during my last ministry, I'm beginning to learn a lot of myself. Here are a list of books and the big thing that I need to work on.

Five Temptations of a CEO by Patrick Lencioni

Good Book with some very helpful insight. Particularity, what accountability actually means. I do want to be a people pleaser too much to ask people hard questions. I also value harmony too much with the people under me nor am I clear enough to for others to understand where I am taking them. my wife is quick to remind me that one when I expect her to do something that I only thought about and specifically told her.




Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

I guess I never realized how much responsibility a leader had to build a team and how often chemistry affects performance. I also realized that I need to do my part in creating the team environment not just as a subordinate but as a leader. I must do my part to break down barriers of trust and cannot fear conflict like I sometimes do. (Granted, the times I have conflicted I haven't done it in a humble and respectful way thus maybe why I feared conflict or people fear conflicting with me).



Three Signs of a Miserable Job by Patrick Lencioni

Probably the best of the bunch. I realized I slack I was in measuring myself daily to see whether or not I was making a difference. Also, I need to better a job of helping people see that same thing. I'm seeing it now because I'm not doing any thing that is "making a difference" except blogging (maybe). I realize (as a christian) I never really have been miserable as a worker because I've usually been pretty good at making things purposeful (but it was of no thanks to my bosses).



Flipping the Switch by John Miller

I can only control myself and myself alone. I should learn to ask only questions that begin with "How" and "What" using only "I" (not we, me, or you). As I mentioned in a previous post, it has opened my eyes in a big way to the way I ask questions.






I think that is it for now. I have others that I am reading but for now. I am being stretch

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Myth vs. Fact

Myth: People can't get loans right now

Fact: People that shouldn't be borrowing money in the first place can't get a loan right now (i.e. sub-prime mortgage).

I've been doing a lot of reading lately and one of the books was talking about personal accountability. He was making a pretty strong case saying people should only ask questions beginning with What and How (instead of who, why and when) using only the "I" pronoun (since only "I" can influence what I do).

For example,
Stupid questions: Why is the Federal Government not doing fixing the problem for us? Who is responsible for this mess? When is help coming for us?
Good questions: How can I make my household get through this bad economy? What can I do to help my current situation? What changes can I make to ease the problems in this country?

Am I living in Polyanna? Maybe. But just imagine a world where all of us took responsibility for our own actions and would we have gotten into this mess in the first place? Maybe it just might be a good thing that people can't loans because people's portfolios aren't liquid enough to cover debt right now and this is forcing us (the people with a NEGATIVE savings rate) to save and say no for a change.

Bill Maher. . .

So I saw Bill Maher talking about his new movie and I feel sincere sadness for the dude. He makes some interesting points that I agree with but overall he is certain of one thing: His Mind. If he can't perceive it, than it cannot be true. He claims that he was approaching this upon the idea that no one can be certain about God (except he is certain all religions are stupid). He is right though that most don't really know what they believe and I am curious to see what he has to says in his meeting. See the interview below (two parts).





While his movie may not be hateful in nature, this interview sure was. I can't help but think how that would could his opinions when approaching religion. He does not sound like his mind is open to anything he cannot understand because he lives in an "enlightened" 2008. Intellectual snobbery. Plus, why does he interview average people? I would like to see him interview Tim Keller (see below) or see Martin Bashir from ABC interview him here. Both would be far more advantageous than seeing Relegulous.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Money Management, Government and You



This whole economic crisis recently has freaked me out. Not because I see it as doomsday but I see it as another example of how messed up we view how to fix money problems in this country.

I have two problem with all of this. First, it seems very short sighted. I heard W speak last night on the bail out and made clear that one of the reasons we need to bail out Banks is so that can give people car loans if they need them. What people REALLY needs a car loan? If they do, why can't they wait a little bit? They answer a problem with borrow more money. None of this would have happened if everyone was borrowing out of their eyeballs to reap a short term profit three years ago. As Americans, is that our first response, ease the problem now without regard to the long term consequences? If they do talk about the long term, it always seems to be talking about a fearful future. I'm pretty sure almost every decision I make out of fear is a back one.

Secondly, where are the other options being talked about? All I hear is borrow more money. I'm a big Dave Ramsey guy and the other day on his show he actually talked about another options that makes sense. He talks about it here but it only requires extending FHA insurance to sub-primes and changing the an accounting regulation. It seems like a better option but why didn't I hear this mention on the nightly news? Why must borrowing be the only way?

It is hard to tell if government is a reflection of who we are or simply the people we are inadvertently modeling our lives after. I believe leaders have to set the example since more things are caught rather than taught. Then upon seeing on Tim Stevens' blog about Joe Biden only giving away 1/4 of 1% of income kinda upset me too.

As he says:
Charitable giving speaks to your belief in people. It reflects your heart and whether you truly want to help people who are less fortunate. Lack of giving reveals a selfishness and self-sufficiency. It says, "Screw the world, they are on their own." As a politician, it speaks loudly that your confidence is in big government and not in the American people. And, for someone running for political office who knows his tax returns will be made public, it shows a lack of political astuteness at best (and sheer stupidity at worst) to not think this will make a difference.

I'm not saying Biden needs to be a Christian and give money to a Baptist church to be vice president. But couldn't he find any cause to believe in? Perhaps finding a cure for cancer, helping people with the AIDS epidemic or giving money to help unwed mothers. Surely there is some cause in the world worthy of his support? Nope. (HT to Leading Smart)

It is sad to see the leaders in this country so far off the mark.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I'm a Lions Fan again!




Matt Millen removed as Lions team president, CEO

The Matt Millen era is over in Detroit. The embattled Lions team president and chief executive officer is leaving the position, his wife Patty told ESPN's Chris Mortensen. "We're fine," Patty Millen said. "In the world's view, this may look like failure. It's been a hard road, football-wise, but we've gotten a lot of eternal blessings. We'll move forward. I told him, 'You're out of football prison now' and we have a greater purpose." FOXSports.com first reported Wednesday that Millen had been removed from his position. It was unclear whether he had been fired or had resigned, according to the report. The move comes two days after Bill Ford Jr., the son of team owner William Clay Ford, publicly said he would have fired Millen if he had the authority to do so. The Lions are 31-84 under Millen. But until this point, the Lions have resisted widespread demands from fans seeking Millen's ouster. According to the report, Millen had informed a number of employees about the change on Wednesday morning and had large packing boxes in his office. (HT to ESPN)

Worldview. . .

Have you ever heard someone say "You're an idiot for believing that?" I've heard diehard Republicans call Democrats "Left-wing Nutjobs" and Democrats call Republicans "Right Wing Nutjobs" every night on Fox News and the Daily Show (yes I watch both). I've heard Christians say(and have said in the past) those outside of the Church are "morons" and vise-versa (See Bill Maher's new movie).

I like what Seth Godin said this week on this:

Your difficult boss, customer, prospect, voter, student... probably not stupid, probably just uninformed. There's a huge difference.

Every person makes decisions based on their worldview and the data at hand. If two people have the same worldview and the same data, they'll make the same decision, every time (unless they're stupid.)

So, there are plenty of times where a lack of information leads to a bad decision. Plenty of times where an out of sync worldview leads to an out of sync decision. (Read more here)

Why do we get so mad at others with different opinions? Haven't we all believed something false before? I do believe in absolute truth and this what Romans 1 says about people believing something so much that they lie to themselves.

We forgot in the church how the "other side" lives. We forget how they think because we forget how WE use to think. This produces grace.

I've been reading Hebrews recently and it talks a lot about Jesus being the High Priest who is able to relate with us. Jesus came down to Earth, put on a skin suit, just to understand us more. He doesn't see us as stupid, just misinformed. By coming down, He wanted to give us more information (both head knowledge and heart knowledge) to show us the "stupid" ways we are living.

We are born to think we are number 1 so why do we get mad when we see people living that out daily? Are we stupid or just misinformed?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

One up, One Down, One Weird interaction



The last 24 hours has been interesting. First, the best news. Lori and I were walking around Cameron Village walked into the Fresh Market and found out they carried Tony Packo's Pickles and Peppers, only the greatest thing to come out of Toledo EVER and by far my Favorite Restaurant of all time. I miss this more that Skyline (which we couldn't find).

The down side was I got my first flat tire on my bike and I had to get it fixed. :-(

On the way to the bike repair place today (over by NC State) , I was walking to the closest Wolfline stop (since it is free and save me a walk) and a woman stop me asking for directions to the Bus Stop. I said follow me I'm going there now. On the way, we were talking and I found out she was a pole dancer. When I found that out, my bus arrived so I didn't get to talk to her more. I guess you never know the people you come across on a daily basis.

Monday, September 22, 2008

New look. . .

Since I'm in the process of looking for my next step in ministry, I thought I would take some time to update my blog. I bought danstaifer.com so soon that will be the domain name. Also, I'm working on hosting my resume and some same teachings. It should be fun. So if your a possible employer, enjoy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Palin and the issue of women in the Church

This is one issue that I have been on both sides of the issue. I do find it interesting how evangelicals are going Koo-Koo for Palin being on the ticket even when she cannot preach in these same churches. Here is a debate on this issue between Dr. Voddie Bauchman (very smart dude and has spoken at Northpoint in Atlanta) and Margret Feinberg (author and has spoken at Mars Hill in Grand Rapids).


(HT to Life on Life Begins really at 1:00)

I do believe there are better people out there who can speak on the "women in leadership" issue than Feinberg (like NT Wright). She was speaking more from feeling than scripture (which Voddie called her out on). Because two parents have to work, doesn't make it right. Many times it is because of poor financial decisions that lead to two parents having to work. My wife and I (many like us) are the biproduct of two working parents and wished we could have had our moms home more (and Dad for that matter).

I can't imagine Obama having good family time right now with his daughters while being on the campaign trail for almost two years straight. Politics is such a demanding career that it would be hard for anyone to maintain the attention needed to raise children.

I agree with Voddie that a person's political belief is an outpouring of our religious beliefs. The problem is what happens when a certain political party contradicts what we believe biblically? Where do we draw the line?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Every New Beginning comes from Some Other Beginning's end

These are the words from the song "Closing Time" by Semisonic and they are oh so true right now.

Yesterday, I had to do one of the hardest things I've ever had to do: resign from a church filled with people I love and have seen Jesus use in my life. It just was not the right time or season for both the church and I to be together. I pray God will do a great thing there but as for me, I know God has something big in store for me and my house. I want to publicly thank C4 for allowing me to serve there. While hard, I know this was best for both of us.

So look out world, I'm on the prowl looking for a place to partner with in turning back darkness and proclaiming Jesus to the world.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My three favorite websites right now

1) Lifehacker.com - A website devoted to geekery and the like.
2) Alltop.com - you see the top 50 RSS for a variety of topics (like the church). 
3) C4church.com - I'm a little biased but I believe we have a great church website that was build from the ground up with a very 'reasonable" budget. Kudos to Sugar Maple!

By the way, I'm typing this on Google Chrome. The jury is still out on if it will replace Firefox. . . 

If you are still using IE, SWITCH TODAY! You'll thank me later.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Too good to Pitch?

This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard in my life. I guess Michael Phelphs should have been banned last week because he is too good. Tiger Woods should never play golf again because he is too good. Steve Jobs should quit because he is too good. Google should shut down because they are too good. What a communistic approach! Very rarely do I get mad at something but this takes the cake. I remember striking out against the Mark Rabbitts, the Matt Pearsons, and the Ben Tobias's growing up in baseball who made me into a windmill but I still went up against them. It was intimidating but I grew from it. How stupid!

9-year-old boy told he's too good to pitch

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Nine-year-old Jericho Scott is a good baseball player -- too good, it turns out.

The right-hander has a fastball that tops out at about 40 mph. He throws so hard that the Youth Baseball League of New Haven told his coach that the boy could not pitch any more. When Jericho took the mound anyway last week, the opposing team forfeited the game, packed its gear and left, his coach said.

See more at here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Great Quote on faith, works and Social Justice

"I fear there are some Christians among us to whom Christ cannot say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Your haughty dwellings arise among thousands who have scarcely fire to warm themselves at and have but little clothing to keep out the biting frost. You heave a sigh perhaps at a distance, but you do not visit them.

My dear friend, I am concerned for the poor, but much more for you. I don’t know what Christ will say to you on the great day. You seem to be Christians, yet you don’t care for His poor. What a change will pass upon you as you enter the gates of heaven. You will be saved but that will be all. There will be no abundant entrance for you. He who sows sparingly will reap sparingly.

And I fear that there may be many hearing me who know that they are not Christians because they do not love to give. To give largely and liberally requires a new heart. An old heart would rather part with its lifeblood than its money. So friends, enjoy your money, make the most of it, for you will be paupers throughout eternity."

-Robert Murray M'Cheyne

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Junky Car Club

I'm a proud member with my 91 Buick Regal without a radio, working driver side window and broken trunk.





(HT to Ben Arnent)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I pray that this can be true here. . .

I'm excited that I just got a new book today on Youth Ministry written by a guy here in Raleigh, Steven Wright from Providence Baptist Church. He is talking about a different approach to meeting the needs of students that sounds very appealing. He posted about it today and he is praying for and working towards. He writes:
This movement is defined by:

• Ministry that seeks to make Christ above all else beautiful and that declares an uncompromising Gospel to those who do not know Christ (Galatians 1:6-9).

• Ministry that is measured by lasting disciples rather than attendance campaigns and focuses on the glory of our matchless Savior (John 15:1-15).

• Ministry that truly partners with parents and seeks as a priority the task of resourcing, training, and involving parents as the primary disciplers of their children (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).

• Ministry that prioritizes and champions equally the two institutions that are God-given: the Family and the Church (Acts 2:42-47).

• Ministry that seeks men who are biblically qualified pastors rather than charming activity directors (1 Timothy 3:1-7).

• A ministry environment that is healthy for a student pastor and his family; an environment where pastors will desire to stay long past today’s destructive low tenures (Matthew 10:10).

• Ministry that seeks to mentor students for adulthood, marriage, and family rather than seeking to develop lifelong youth group attendees (1 Corinthians 13:11).
Sounds good. I can't wait to read it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

There is dumb and then there is dumb!

I can't believe someone is dumb enough to take a bath in a Burger King Sink. The dude is twenty five, taped it and put it on myspace. The worst think is that this was in Xeina, OH. See the story here.


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You can see the video here. Caution there is some language and real stupidity. Don't mimic anything in this video.

And the guy is 25 and not a teen.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

So you had a bad day

As a pastor, I know that I always need to watch my life and doctrine closely. I'm always being watched and I always have to a give an account to Jesus (not just Capital City). I saw this story today about Joel Osteen (you know, the smiling preacher that you see on T.V. every Sunday that does this cute Bible chant).

Basically, Joel's wife is accused of pushing a stewardess on a flight in 2005. You can read the story here (ht to DennyRadio). Whether she is guilty or not, I don't know. All I know she appeared to be angry enough to warrant a lawsuit.

That is why we must be "above reproach". We must constantly be pushing into Jesus so that when we have "weak" moments, they fall above the reproach line. No matter what, this whole situation could have been avoided and the good news of Jesus is drug through the mud.

May God redeem this situation. . .

Monday, August 4, 2008

I have my issues with Christian Music. . .

If you have known me for a while, I know I'm not a huge fan of labeling things with the adjective "Christian" since it has always appeared as a noun throughout history. Last week, I saw on the Collide Magazine blog an article asking "Is Christian Music Dying?" One quote I read that I have to agree with from insiders in Christian Contemporary Music (CCM) was the following
The best thing that can happen is for people to forget entirely that they once specified whether their music was ‘Christian’ or ‘mainstream.’ That divide has been the single most damaging idea to Christianity in the modern world. CCM may be as bad as ever or even going downhill, but that's ultimately a win for Christian art, because at some point no one will listen to it anymore. (See here for the entire article)
I agree with most of the article and thought it was well written. I then read another article today talking about pop star Katy Perry. You can read about her songs here, here and here. What does she have to do with CCM? She use to be a Christian Artist. According to Beliefnet, when she signed, she wasn't even modeling "Christian" life but still was able to sign the record deal because her parents were ministers. You can listen to her song here.

I know some will say I'm throwing the baby out of with the bath water and condemning an entire industry because of one bad apple. I personally think getting out into the industry is more effective then creating a sub-culture to protect our ears. I'm not against worship music because the purpose to point to God. Christian Music grew on the backs of Youth Ministers and Parents that want to protect their children from the evils of rock rather than truly go out and reach people. Plus, the industry is more about money than actually doing its shadow mission of reaching people for Christ.

If you don't believe me, listen to some people's story who were in the industy.
  • Blogger and Church Planter Chris Elrod use to be in this industry as a comedian. Read his story here and here.
  • Anderw Osenga (who happens to be one of my favorite artists) use to be in a "Christian" band called the Normals and now doesn't know what to call himself artistically. He also sings back up vocals for Caedmon's Call. Read his lament here and here.
  • Former Supertones Drummer, Jason Carson, is now a Youth Minister. Hear why here.
I hope is people start listening to what they listen to and see if it is God honoring or not. Just because it is Christian, doesn't mean it is Godly (in theology). Just because it is "Mainstream" doesn't mean it can't point out a spiritual truth. Don't take the easy way out by just labeling things one thing or another. I can't wait to hear Perry speak on this next week.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Of course, the day I...

Of course, the day I decide to go to Derrin(?) Bowl's game with about 20 people, it rains, the rainfall weather. Bye. listen

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Friday, July 18, 2008

It's been too long since...

It's been too long since I've ridden my bike, three weeks to be exact. I'm ready to do some hardcore bike riding. Take that side. listen

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

In the style of Proverbs

There are three things that annoy me, four items that are the bane of my existence:

Toenails (they always grow!)
Electric appliances that have lights that show that they are "off" (if it is off, it is off - don't give me a little read light to show me it is on "stand-by" or plugged in)
Dust jackets on hard covered books (Books look more scholarly with out them)
Billy Mays

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What are my doing to...

What are my doing to myself? I just found the cup cake shop in Raleigh, and now my wife is proudly gonna make me take her there every week at least once a week to buy her cup cake. Death to me and my waste lines." Forget flowers, I want cup cakes". That as my wife screamed. listen

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Has your child walked away from Jesus?

If so, you are in good company with many. I recently saw this post by Steve Wright, student minister at Providence Baptist Church here in Raleigh. He writes the following:

Recently I sent an article to the parents in our ministry. I had an overwhelming response as many parents were encouraged and given hope. Just the thought that John Piper had a child that rebelled lifted a ton of guilt for many of our parents.

I often share with parents I meet with that God placed Adam and Eve in an incredibly “safe” environment. The problem they faced was more of a matter of the heart than it was external influences.

We are also encouraged with great news concerning a prodigal in Luke 15. An often overlooked detail of this story was that when the son demanded “his portion” of his inheritance that his father “wrote the check”. Even though he knew his son would more than likely blow it all (which he did) it would be worth it if his son found Christ.

Here is an encouraging article if you have a prodigal.
If it can happen to John Piper, it can happen to any one. Everything rests with God. Everyone stands on their own. A Christian's job is to point to Christ and not save people.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Persistence pays off....

Persistence pays off. In February, my wife went to the emergency room. While we were billed for it in May, we were billed for it in April, and we paid for it in April but didn't get credit(?) the bill. That for a couple of months of wrangling(?), they finally giving us our money back. Hooray God for hooking us up and getting us our money back. listen

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Monday, June 30, 2008

There is one thing I'm a sucker for. . .

I've always loved acoustic versions of pop songs. For example, Maroon 5's "She will be loved": Okay. But the same song acoustic: awesome! MTV Unplugged is to thank for that in the 90's. Some of my favorite Acoustic remakes are the following:
  • Drive by Incubus
  • Walking in Memphis by Marc Cohn
  • About a Girl by Nirvana
  • Big Empty by Stone Temple Pilots
  • Like a Hurricane by Neil Young
  • 3 am by Matchbox 20
  • My Own Prison by Creed


I found this new group on Youtube who does a lot of current acoustic covers of pop music and I'm LOVIN' IT! They're called Bryce Avenue. Here is their cover of Viva la Vida from Coldplay. It is really good! Enjoy

Thursday, June 26, 2008

This is why I don't pulbically comment on Politics. . .



(HT to Mark Riddle)

I'm not saying that Christians shouldn't speak about political issues but it is hard to justify either party in the eyes of the Bible. Granted, Jon Stewart is taking things out of context (in regards to the Levi slam) and goes on a tangent to the issue. Does Dobson say anything about Obama misusing Levi? Not by the sounds clips they present. So it is a fair attack? No. It might be implied but it is a little too much reading between the lines.

Plus, what Obama said about religion and politics at the end was very similar to what Huckabee said and is a good argument against the removal of religion from the secular landscape. Tim Keller uses this same argument in similar words. He says it is impossible to separate world view from political policy making. His example is divorce laws. Think about how world view concerning marriage would influence how people agree on this issue alone. Just a thought.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

More than one way to God. . .

I'm not surprised by the Pew research findings at all. Thoughts to the Video? Sounds like I'm okay you're okay type of thinking.


(Ht to Gman)

A good talk against this thought can be found at here by Tim Keller (one of the smartest men in America).

Monday, June 23, 2008

Do we look alike?

I had a a lot of people last week at camp tell me that I look like Toby from the Office.



So what do you think? (BTW, that is a stapler in Jell-O).

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Seth Godin is killing it. . .

Seth Godin is making me laugh and think at the same time recently.

First, he talks about the marketing of fear (which the church is good at doing). All I know, after reading it and watching the attach video, I need to buy robot insurance. Mort importantly, I have to ask the question how much do I play off peoples' fears when I talk about Jesus?

Second, while I would take it a step further, here is a pretty important marketing guy talking about the importance of staying out of debt.

Third, the e-mail checklist. I need to follow it more but it did confirm some things that I was already doing in a good way.

Fourth, he talk about the pomp and circumstance at a grand opening and how it means nothing. I was struck by this quote and how it might apply to Youth Ministry:
Non-profits do the same thing when they spend months planning an elaborate gala that takes all the time and enriches the hotel and the caterer. Far better to spend the time and money building actual relationships than going for the big 'grand' hit.
This might be the start of a man crush. That title has been only reserved for a few people. The Dan Staifer Man Crush hall of fame is Will Kirby, Mark Driscoll, Steve Carrell, Dave Ramsey (both of them) and Randy Bicnaver.

Hooray for man crushes. . .

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The New Additions at the Staifer Home



This has been my new ride as of late. The mountain bike! It has actually saved us some money. It is getting hard with the heat but I haven't filled my Buick's tank in a month (and I still have over half a tank). With it, I've noticed I'm less hurried to get to places because of it (and I'm getting more fit).

For my birthday, I got two new musical devices. The one on the left is Alice, my new electric-plug in Alavez acoustic guitar bought for me on behalf of the Teens of C4 and Lori. It blew my mind. The one on the right is the Fender Strat used for the PS2 game "Rock Band" (thanks Dad). Lori has been singing and I have been playing either lead guitar, bass, or drums. Quite enjoyable.


Last but not least, our new pet, the guinea pig. His name is Gilbert. Lori has been loving on him for the last week. She thinks he looks like a pirate.



There you have it. The new things around the Staifer house.

Monday, June 9, 2008

It's just another manic(?)...

It's just another manic(?) Monday, last week we get to church on Monday morning and there's a flood. This week there's a tree branch that took out a power line right outside my office. I don't know what it is, but Mondays don't seem to agree with us at Capital City. Next week I'm at camp, so hopefully nothing bad happens there on Monday. listen

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I want to be a Track Star when I grow up

Question: How can we tell what we're supposed to do in life?


(you might want to turn down your volume since I tried recording this with my Digital camera)

Here is the Life Development Plan regarding Work I mentioned in the video. The rest can be linked from that link. Really good stuff.

If you have a question and want to stay anonymous, submit them here.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Great Flood of 2008

So we had a pipe bust at C4 . It affected our kids space and my office.

Here is my office with everything put on or next to my desk (the only dry spot).



Here is our hallway. See all of the stuff in the hall (including the carpet from. . . )



. . . our nursery (aka the Duck Pond). See the paint that started peeling off the wall as we removed the carpet.



The Noah's Ark unfortunately was not safe from the waters of the flood (since it was right next to the bathroom that flooded). You would think with that name it would have been safe.


Here is the Clubhouse (aka the one dry place yesterday big enough to store everything)



Here is the Greenhouse that came away in good shape apart from the small water damage in the corner.



All in all, pretty crazy day. The weekend was really good and yesterday was hard. Top this with the Wings losing in 3 OT and 30 seconds from a victory, yesterday was awful.

Seeing Lori was the only highlight.

Friday, May 30, 2008

It's funny that you...

It's funny that you never see sidewalks until you need them. I don't know how many times I've driven on roads and not noticed sidewalk until today where I tried to go a different way home from work on my bike and I gt lost and I am glad I saw the sidewalks because I have to be stay off busy roads and not get hit by cars. I probably biked 3 hours in an hours. Yes, bye. listen

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

To Tattle or not Tattle?

Question: My math partner is taking some kind of pills during class when the teacher is not looking. Today he nearly fell out of his seat and began sleeping on my shoulder. I don't know what to do. I practically don't have anyone to help me with this math, but I don't want to narc on him. What should I do?



Thoughts from the video response above?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I think this says it all


(ht to Page 2)

Go Wings. Go Pistons. Oh yeah, Go Tigers! Where are you at now Penguins! 7-0 after two games. Osgood=Conn Smythe.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

No Country for Old Men and Nothing for a Car Thief

Two things.

I think Old Country for Old Men is one of the most Biblical Movies of the year in showing what happens when Men are left to their on devices with a Justice giving "king". For more on that, go to Cinemagogue to hear his description of the film and theology. Below is the Best Scene in the movie to jog your memory.



Also, I got my car busted into on the church grounds on Sunday night. I think I forgot to lock it. When I went over to it yesterday, the driver side door was ajar and my glove box was opened. When I looked to see what booty they plundered, the list was probably 9 black ink pens and the my car tape adapter. Pictured below. The funny thing is they didn't take the Bible in the backseat. At least, they had some ethics. Enjoy the pens and the tape adapter!

Monday, May 19, 2008

I Believe. . .

In honor of Kevin Costner in Bull Durham:

I believe that the Kentucky Derby is a strange event. Where else can a second place winner get injured, then euthanized and cause a ruckus from beyond the grave. Thank goodness Big Brown won and no one got hurt over the weekend.

I believe that the closer is the most overrated position in baseball.

I believe that the NBA playoffs are actually interesting. The Boston/Cavs game was actually compelling. On the other hand, there is something unwatchable about the game play of WNBA. It is like watching the MLS after watching a European Champions Cup match. It just doesn't compare (yet).

I believe that the episodes of the Office that has Mose are the better ones.

I believe the Red Wings will win tonight against the Stars (and then beat the Penguins in the Cup finals).

I believe that it is hard to hear of people ruining there lives by walking away from Christ and his ways.

I believe John McCain was actually likable on SNL last Saturday.

I believe every one should see Iron Man right now.

I believe the Tigers will turn it around in time for a pennant run.

I believe Stuff Christians Like is the funniest website I've seen in a while. That and Garfield minus Garfield.

I believe that people that leave anonymous negative comments have no class. If you are not man/woman enough to stand behind your words, do not say it. If you can't say it to some one's face, do not say it. Talk about arrogance. I saw a 20/20 piece on JuicyCampus.com (a gossip website started by a Duke Grad that people can post privately about EVERYTHING - notice I didn't hyperlink to it). That website runs on people flame throwing in private while ruining people's lives in public. Granted, this might be some people's private life seeking up on them and one of many reason to live above reproach. However, more importantly this site illustrates there is no way to tell what is real and what is true when it is anonymous. See this about online shamming. Why do you think the Bible talks about having at least two witnesses to back up a claim? That is why I moderate my comments here and if you post an anonymous negative comment, it won't go up.

Peace.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What me angry?

Question: How should I respond when someone of the opposite sex is yelling at me? I want to yell back but that can't be right. . .



If you have something you want me to try and answer, submit your question here.

Questions about faith is good. The unquestioned life is the one that lacks depth.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ironman equals awesome...

Ironman equals awesome really enjoyed it. Lorrie and I had a great time seeing Ironman for a date night and I recommend it to all. Robert Downey Jr. was great. There wasn't just a good ____ for her on movie. It was a good movie so EA(?) Ironman [unclear speech, please listen] wait, I'm doing Jott won't be able to understand that. Think black(?) status Ironman. Bye. listen

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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Only if this were true. . .



If it were a McCain/Schrute Ticket were a reality, I just might have decided on my president vote (after all, he works hard). The Schrute buck to replace the dollar. What a great idea!



See video around 5:36 for the announcement.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

"Jesus made me puke"

My brother recently pointed me to a story written by a reporter for Rolling Stone Magazine named Matt Taibbi. He went "undercover"at a retreat sponsored by John Hagee's church in San Antonio. Some of his perceptions were pretty interesting.

Here are a couple of excerpts from it:
When most Americans think of the Christian right, they think of scenes from television — great halls full of perfectly groomed people in pale suits and light-colored dresses, smiling and happy and full of the Holy Spirit, robotically singing hymns at the behest of some squeaky-clean pastor with a baritone voice and impossible hair. We don't get to see the utterly bat[dung] world they live in, when the cameras are turned off and their pastors are not afraid of saying the really dumb stuff, for fear of it turning up on CNN. In American evangelical Christianity, in other words, there's a ready-for-prime-time stage act — toned down and lip-synced to match a set of PG lyrics that won't scare the advertisers — and then there's the real party backstage, where the spiritual hair really gets let down.
I totally agree with this stereotype of Christianity. As a "public" Christian, I have to watch what I say. I hope that I can be the same in "public" as I can in "private" but that can be hard.
again, there is something very odd about modern Christian men — although fiercely pro-military in their politics and prehistorically macho in their attitudes toward women's roles, on the level of day-to-day behavior they seem constantly ready to break out weeping like menopausal housewives.
I couldn't help but nod my head again. If men think this about the Church/Christ, no wonder why they don't want to come check things out.

After two days of nearly constant religious instruction, songs, worship and praise — two days that for me meant an unending regimen of forced and fake responses — a funny thing started to happen to my head. There is a transformational quality in these external demonstrations of faith and belief. The more you shout out praising the Lord, singing along to those awful acoustic tunes, telling people how blessed you feel and so on, the more a sort of mechanical Christian skin starts to grow all over your real self. Even if you're a degenerate Rolling Stone reporter inwardly chuckling and busting on the whole scene — even if you're intellectually enraged by the ignorance and arrogant prejudice flowing from the mouth of a terminal-ambition case like Phil Fortenberry [the leader of the weekend]— outwardly you're swaying to the gospel and singing and praising and acting the part, and those outward ministrations assume a kind of sincerity in themselves. And at the same time, that "inner you" begins to get tired of the whole spectacle and sometimes forgets to protest — in my case checking out into baseball reveries and other daydreams while the outer me did the "work" of singing and praising. At any given moment, which one is the real you?
I wonder how much this is true for a normal Christian. How much is it just "goin' through the motions"?

You can read the whole article here.

What are thoughts? There is an interesting part when he tries speaking in tongues. I know this is not a typical interaction with the Church and there are some things I disagree with the Deepak/Tony Robbins methods with the Bible comparison (just wondering what came first). It does lead to good conversation.