Monday, March 26, 2007

And we're back, again

I've been on vacation for the last week, and promised myself no job/ministry related stuff at all. If I'm TOTALLY honest I was about 98% good. I did check e-mail just to make sure nothing vital got skipped. Sorry if you e-mailed me and it didn't make it to the vital level. But I needed this break. Oh, boy did I need this break! I feel much better now.

Here's something to chew on from Marko's blog. It's a great reminder of why I love working with young people.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

And there was much rejoicing!

Penguins to stay for 30 years

I don't often tout my sports allegiances but they're currently the best pro sports team in my home town. It would have been a crime to lose them.

Let's go Pens!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Spamming God

(This is my column for the March issue of our diocesan newspaper)

I hate spam. I mean the useless junk e-mail, I actually love the meat in a can. Every day I get tons of it(e-mail spam) for things I don't want, don't need and usually don't want to think about. But it keeps rolling in. Over the years I've found ways to help slow down the spam and to filter it out quickly so I can find the stuff that's really important.

I'm not quite sure how that led me to think about God but it did. I began to think about all the things that people pray for, some good, some bad. And I wondered if God ever thought of it as spam? Are we wasting the divine bandwidth with a lot of nonsense, a lot of selfish stuff? Is His inbox just overflowing with offers, requests, deals, and demands that He's just NOT interested in?

The more I thought about it the more my thoughts began to change on the subject. My first thought was “Yes, we all spam God with junk and we ought to stop”. I know in my own case some of what I pray for is pretty “poor, poor pitiful me” kinds of whining. I'm not proud of it, but there it is. But the longer I thought about it the more I thought “Are you really going to write a column telling people to pray less, to censor their talks with God? Do you really think WE should be deciding what is or isn't a waste of HIS time?”

So upon further reflection I've decided that God has the bandwidth to handle whatever we decide to send his way. His inbox has no upper limit on his storage space. There is no spam in the prayer life that exists between us and God. That's not to say that some of what we send out isn't whiny and selfish and not what is best for us. I keep remembering a line from the 1970's movie “Oh God” where the character of God is asked if he answers every prayer. He answers “Yes, and sometimes the answer is no.” God reads every e-mail we send him, spam or not. He considers our needs, our real needs, not just what we think our needs are. And every e-mail gets an answer. In real life the experts tell us not to respond to spam because you'll just insure that you get more spam. You let the other person know that there really is someone there and they'll keep sending you more and more and more.

I think that's just fine with God. Every request, no matter how important or trivial is a place for you and God to continue to talk. I think that's the goal. Just keep the lines of communication open, knowing that sometimes the answer will be no.

So keep on spamming.


Monday, March 05, 2007

So what's new with you?

Been a busy week around here. So just some random thoughts:

I have a new office. It's at the other end of the hall from my OLD office but it's lots bigger. It's also a major league mess right now since I haven't found the places for everything just yet. But it looks a little better with each passing day. I'll be helping people move into my old office in the next week. Then help folks move into THEIR old office shortly after that. Beyond that there may be some more moving but it's a bit unclear at the moment.

Latest movie updates - Watched "Thank You for Smoking" which we liked. I thought the actor playing the main character did a nice job bringing some dimension to a character that would have been REAL easy to play as a cardboard cut out. Great place to talk about the choices and compromises we sometimes make in our lives. It is rated R so keep that in mind (language and some sexual content)

Also saw two older movies - Phenomenon and Fried Green Tomatoes and we liked both of them too.

I'm thinking I'll use Phenomenon at Senior High this year since we're discussing "Be Transformed". John Travolta's character goes through a rather amazing transformation and that transforms the people around him. I've seen bits and pieces of this movie on TV over the years but this was the first time I'd seen it all. Good stuff.

Fried Green Tomatoes is one of those movies I can't believe I've never seen. Yes, you can mark it off as one of the top three "Ultimate Chick Flicks" but you'd be missing a GREAT movie. This is an amazing cast of ladies and it's a neat story.

These two are PG-13 and PG respectively.

Also been watching a wonderful Canadian TV show called "Slings and Arrows". Be warned the language can be raw and there's some TV sex scenes. As someone who loves the theater it's like old home week for me. Just hysterically funny stuff. Think WKRP for the theater.

Watched the tail end of the "Jesus' tomb" special and a good chunk of the discussion afterwards on Discovery. You are free to believe what you will but color me unimpressed (honestly I think it's rubbish). I'm seeing people starting right away with the "Christians are rejecting anything that challenges the established belief system". I think that's rubbish. It's fairly clear that the SCIENCE holding up this theory is very flimsy. The movie makers (or are they journalists? They flip flopped on that a lot last night)are drawing conclusions that might be true but it's not very likely. There is nothing here that passes for good science or good research. A huge number of people who worked on the project at one time or another have pulled back from the conclusions drawn. Thanks to Revref for the link to this post that takes a more in depth look at some of the claims. Make up your own mind.

Well, the weather is absolutely howling outside my new windows. Even making the storm windows rattle. Such fun.