Monday, April 30, 2007

Busy Weekend!

I got a real workout as a Lutherpalian this weekend. In case you weren't aware the Southwestern Conference of the Upstate NY Synod of ELCA hired me just over a year ago to do basically the same thing that I do for the diocese. It is a "part time-part time job" but it helps fill in the gap while my position is still 80% of full time.

I started with a concert by Captive Free (Captive Free is a music ministry of young people through Youth Encounter. They give up a year of their lives to tour and play and minister. This is the group that I met this weekend, and This is a group that has a young friend of mine - Brice - touring with them. I've met both bands and their great young people!) and then followed that up with an overnight.

Honesty time - overnights are my LEAST favorite part of youth ministry. You can mess with just about any part of my routine and I can deal. Except my sleep routine.

The youth were very cool and I got about 5 hours sleep. On the whole I had a good time.

On Sunday I went back to Bethel to lead a class on Choice with their confirmation class and then worshiped with the congregation. Managed not to embarrass myself this time (don't ask).

Then it was off to Hamburg for the Core Workshop with Mark Ostreicher from Youth Specialties. I've come to be very impressed with Marko from reading his blog He just struck me as my kinda guy. He lived up to that at Core.

I will note that I expected him to be taller. Don't ask me why, but that was my thought when I saw him. In fact Marko was virtually the first person to speak to me at Core. He noticed my YS messenger bag as I was signing in. No, I was not trying to suck up. It's my day to day briefcase. The other thing that struck me about Marko (other than his intelligence and wit....OK that was a suck up)was that there's a certain Jerry Garcia quality to him. Sort of 21st Century indie rock kind of Jerry Garcia. Don't know why, just kind of struck me.

Felt sorry for him as the workshop went along. The Sabres playoff game was on TV and they were showing it on the TVs scattered around the youth center we were using. Well as the game headed into overtime there was shall we say a certain reluctance to head back in to the sessions. In the end the workshop worked out better than the game did (we lost 2-1 in double OT). We take our sports very seriously here in WNY.

At least it was fairly warm (yes Marko mid-50's is fairly warm for days in April round here) for his visit. Snow would not have been out of the question.

Kinda glad the weekend is over however.


Friday, April 27, 2007


This is my April column for our diocesan newspaper

It feels strange after six years of talking about how we're all seriously over scheduled to find myself about to advocate increasing the complexity of our lives. Recently I was listening to a radio interview that got me thinking desirable, even necessary complexity. I came to the realization that we may be working far too hard to simplify our lives.
Now I've totally confused you, right?
Here's what I mean by bad simplification versus good complexity. As I look around at all the modern wonders of our lives I realize they all have one thing in common. They allow us to shut one another out. On several of the online forums I visit they have a function that allows you to “ignore” people you don't like. Just tell the computer to ignore this poster and YOU NEVER SEE THEM AGAIN! You can do the same thing with instant messaging (IM). Even on the forums where you don't have an ignore function you can just skip over people you don't like. They never even have to know. Our computer and video games are under our control. Don't like the way the game is going? Simply put it on pause. Or just delete that session. Problem gone. If I don't want e-mail from you I just tell my spam filter that your e-mail address is spam and POOF! I never have to read one of your e-mails again. On my cell phone if you call, I see your number and I don't answer it. With the right service on your home phone you can do the same thing.
It's all so simple. I only have to deal with who and what I want.
You see the problem is that people are complicated. They all have their own needs and their own wants and their own problems. Other people are great at causing complications in your life, wanting you to change your plans, putting new questions and choices in front of you. It's irritating and frustrating, and just plain angry making! We ALL wish that we had an “ignore” option or a “pause” button in real life. But we don't. As people of faith we are in fact called to face up to that complexity, to try and help people find the answers and deal with their issues.
Does that mean you should never be able to get away from these complicating people? Of course not. Jesus gives us a great model to follow. When all the complications around him got too much he would go away with just a few of his friends. And when even they got too much he would go away by himself. It's a model that we should use every day of our life. Remember that after some time to himself Jesus ALWAYS went back out to take on the complications.
Our lives are too busy. At the same time we need to make sure that our lives are appropriately complicated. We need one another complications and all. That pause or ignore option is awfully tempting at times. Using it too much robs us of the richness around us, it steals from us and from the people in our lives.
It's time to walk away from all the simplicity in our lives and grab a little complexity.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I'm so weird

The title will hardly come as a surprise to many of you. I got tagged last week by another meme, this one is the "Six Weird Things". I'm supposed to list six weird things then tag six more people. I always hate the last bit.

I got tagged by my friend pseudopiskie

Here goes:

1: I can not abide uncovered dark windows. If it's dark outside the drapes MUST be drawn. My mother had a thing for sheers which I do not count as drapes. I don't want you (or the aliens) looking in my windows at night. During the day I have every drape open.

2: I can not remember my daughter's phone number or her dorm room # (among MANY other things) but my brain is an absolute sponge for trivia. It is the absolute bane of my daughter's life. I think my lady wife has simply learned to tolerate it. If it is pointless, useless knowledge I probably know it. My nick name is the "Fount of Useless Information".

3: I love words and word play. Do not make the mistake of thinking that I am some Oscar Wilde wit. Oh no, I love obscure wordplay and obscure words. Often I'm the only one who can track back how I made the connection. But there's always a connection. I also love phrases from other languages and countries. I'm trying to find a circumstance to work in the word "gobsmacked" (been watching a lot of BBC America)

4: I'm very good, in fact rather amazing, at recognizing people by their voices. Your face may or may not mean anything to me and your name probably fled my memory moments after we met. But if we've been around each other for very long I'll recognize your voice. I do this all the time on TV shows. Doesn't matter how much they change their looks, I'll catch the voice.

5: I don't particularly like cleaning the house. But if my wife goes away on a trip or to visit I will inevitably clean the house. Wash down the kitchen, vacuum, dust, do the laundry, clean the bathroom, whatever. I feel no urge to clean when she's around.

6: I am prone to silliness. Despite being a middle aged person with a responsible job I am known to wander around the house doing things like quacking like a duck. No reason, it just amuses me. Sometimes I quack like a Swedish duck. (You really don't want to know). I'll burst into nonsense songs, or do a silly walk or just walk around with a crazed look in my eye looking for mischief to get into. I may decide to wear the laundry hamper as a hat. As I said, it amuses me.

Well now you're all quite sure that I'm quite crackers. I have no idea who may see this or if they've done it before so perhaps I'll tag Gman, Mindi, Revref, and anyone else who so chooses. Drop me a line if you do.


Monday, April 23, 2007

Movie update

I continue to check out the wonders delivered to my door by Netflix!

"Little Miss Sunshine" - I would LOVE to use this as a youth group movie, but the language is just too much. This is a wonderful story about a very weird family dealing with some very real family problems. I'm not saying their solutions are optimal but the results work. Primarily they start actually paying attention to one another. Bizarrely it happens mostly through the agency of their foul mouthed, drug using grandfather. Through his completely inappropriate suggestions and example he gets the family where it needs to be. Caring for one another and putting aside some really stupid preconceptions. I really enjoyed this movie.

Then there's "The Weather Man" which proves that a good director and a fine cast can't save a wretched script. It's just a dumb movie. It's "solutions" to the family problems in this one are stupid and simplistic. The language issue in this one is different. The movie rolls along without much objectionable language and then it's as if the scriptwriter thought "Oh, I need more obscenity". At which point he dumps a whole scene of pointless and unnecessary swearing in. For no apparent reason. This is the second movie I got because Nick Cage was in it and the second that was just dreadful. Don't waste your time.

Finally, on my daughter's recommendation we watched "Memento" Wow. What an amazing movie. It's the story of a man who suffered a brain injury and can no longer make new memories. Stuff from before the injury is fine but after a relatively short period of time (we're talking 15-20 minutes max) everything fades away and he has to start all over again. They do a great job of leading you through the challenges of the injury and the hero's rather innovative way of dealing with it. The story telling technique is in bursts, moving backward. So if you're looking for an easy, no thinking movie, this ISN'T it. Plus it's the kind of movie that leaves you plenty to discuss at the end. Really liked this. Good call by the kid!


Paul got Punk'd

I was sitting at a youth service this week listening to the story of Saul on the road to Damascus when the thought hit me.

Jesus punk'd Paul.

In case you're not familiar with the concept it comes from a TV show on MTV called "Punk'd". Basically it was just a practical joke show. The victim was some reasonably well known pop personality who is led to believe that something is going on (usually something bad), drawn deeply into the situation and then given the old "April Fools!" routine. For this generation that's now referred to as getting punk'd.

And that's basically what happens to Saul/Paul. Saul is sure he knows what's going on. These terrible people (Christians) are running around causing upset, spreading heresy and they need some serious smack down. And Saul is the smack down artist supreme. He's got official permission to start seeking out and laying some whoop a$$ on not only folks where he lives but can even start branching out. Like the victims of the show he is full sail into the middle of it all. Just like those folks this is not going to turn out the way he expected.

Saul is so certain he's right, so certain that he's got it down, so certain that he is the living image of a godly man. So Jesus takes it all away from him. Being blind back in that time was a very bad thing. So he's kind of stuck, folks don't want to be around him much.

Then, SURPRISE!!! All those bad people? That's Jesus. Ooopsy. All that stuff you were SO certain about? Yeah, got that wrong too. In fact the first thing we're going to do is have one of "those" people to bring you back and make you right.

In the TV show the victims usually set themselves up a bit. Paul set himself up big time. The big difference is that the goal of the TV show is to make people look stupid. God's goal is to make see. Like the scales that fell away God in our own lives should allow us to see the world a little more clearly, with a little more love and caring. Those first couple days with the disciples in Damascus must have been pretty humbling for Paul. Really understanding what our lives should look like can be pretty humbling for us all.

Paul got punk'd.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Letter to the Younger Brothers and Sisters pt 2

I started this year intending to continue this sort of long correspondence with my younger brothers and sisters in faith. It got derailed for a couple reasons, none of which are important or really significant.

If this were intended to be Profound Theology then maybe the concerns would be worth noting. Think of this rather as words of advice from someone you met along the way who has been walking for a while. It'll be worth every penny you pay for it.

Having just finished reading Tony Campolo's book "Letters to a Young Evangelical" I suppose I feel a little derivative too. I can only offer that my inspiration were Paul's letters, not Tony's. So I guess I'm derivative either way. I recommend both sets of letters for your consideration.

So what's this letter going to be about? How about not being too quick to jump on board the latest passing faith train? There's one thing I've noticed about young people (both now and back in the day). That's the tendency to be hyper focused on the "now". Right now. This instant. Down the road, the future? To be honest when you're young you don't think much about it. Seems like it'll probably take care of itself. What matters is what's happening RIGHT NOW!

The problem is that we tend to make quick decisions under those circumstances. We don't want to miss the chance so there's a tendency to grab at what's right in front of us. History shows the track record for that kind of decision making is pretty poor. It's amazing how often the slick, snazzy looking offer turns out to be really low grade crap in the long run. And that can be shattering in your faith life.

So here's advice from the traveler at the side of the road (Hmmm, maybe that'll be the new title. Won't feel so derivative) Take a deep breath. Take some time to live with it for a while. Be suspicious of folks who press for instant commitment. What are they trying to keep you from seeing? Be suspicious of folks who have secrets. Things that they'll share with you only if you commit first. What are they trying to keep the world from seeing? A decision on what to have for dinner tonight can be made in minutes. The decision on who you are and what path God has laid before you should take years. In fact I'm a firm believer that you never get AN answer to that question. The answer is an ongoing process that stretches from this moment RIGHT NOW into the undetermined future.

What should you do while you're making that decision? Keep going to church. Keep praying. In my next pauses along the way I'll tell you why I think that is important. Quite simply you need to stay involved in the process of making the decision. Take a look at where you are and what you believe. It astounds me at the number of people who never think about what they "believe". Ask questions. Don't be put off by folks who don't want to answer. How they choose to answer will tell you a lot about them. Maybe more than their answers themselves.

But take your time. There's still a lot of road ahead of you.
I'll see you along the way.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Quick Movie and reading update

I've seen three movies recently and enjoyed them all in their own ways.

A Mighty Wind This is from the folks who brought you "Spinal Tap", "Best in Show" and "Waiting for Guffman". As someone who grew up listening to folk music this felt like meeting old friends. It's a wonderful, gentle send up of the folk music scene and some of its pretensions and peculiarities. I know some folks rap it because it is such a gentle even loving view of it's subjects. I really enjoyed it.

X-men 3 The Last Stand - Yeah sometimes I just wanna watch escapist silliness. This certainly fills the bill. There are the usual plot holes you could fly the X-jet through but who cares. This isn't about plot, it's barely about character, it's mostly about spectacle. Hearing Kelsey Grammar's oh so sophisticated tones emerging from the big furry blue face of the Beast is just fun. The violence level is strictly comic book as are the sexy bits. Plus for those of more perverse points of view you can have fun watching Star Trek's Capt. Picard (Patrick Stewart who places Dr. X) get blown into tiny little motes of dust (or is he?). Strictly check your brains at the door fun.

And now for something Completely Different:

No, not Monty Python.

Life Tastes Good I caught this on IFC and was just sucked in by it. How to describe it? It borders on film noir actually. There are dream like bits, and erotic tensions and ambiguity and strange which are four of the classic elements of noir (the fifth is cruelty and an argument can even be made for that). It's also strangely touching and rather funny in several places. The cast is entirely Asian Americans and the film budget was obviously very small (the killer uses his index finger. Why or how it works - he just sticks you in the chest with it - is never really explained. The director notes that he couldn't afford stage guns and so he improvised. Gotta love it!) It's a crime story, a story of family, several love stories, a murder mystery and more. It involves lemons, police detectives who still wear hats (Don't ask me, I have no clue) and a hand held tape recorder full of dreams or memories. I heartily recommend it.

I just finished reading (finally) Tony Campolo's book "Letters to a Young Evangelical". It took me a while to read even though it's a very short book, only 280 pages, but I stopped several times to think about what I'd read. It's a great book for non-evangelical Christians because it can give you a whole different view of that branch of our faith family. Campolo notes that "evangelical" and "religious right" have become synonymous for most people. He argues very clearly why that shouldn't be so, now or in the future. Campolo is persona non grata in some evangelical circles because he's not a member of the religious right and he's not a literalist. Yet he remains true to the core of historic evangelicalism. I don't think his point of view about mainline denominations (like mine) is always right but he draws those conclusions from a solid basis. And he does make some very accurate criticisms of the mainlines. This is an easy read and a wonderful thought starter for anyone of faith, even those of us neither young nor evangelical.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut, R.I.P.

One of the great authors of the last 50 years died yesterday. Kurt Vonnegut was 84. His work has had an important influence on writing and culture. Among all his work my two favorites were shorter pieces. "Who Am I This Time" and "The Manned Missiles" are both from "Welcome to the Monkey House". Each have special places in my heart.

I got to meet Vonnegut once when he spoke at Chautauqua Institution here in western New York. I was on the announcing staff at a local radio station and no one from the news department was particularly jazzed about covering him. With a well deserved reputation as a book addict they asked if I wanted to go do the coverage. I think I was out the door before they finished asking the question. Vonnegut spoke at the outdoor Amphitheater then went to the house where he was staying for the press conference. By the time I got there the only space available was kneeling right next to his chair. I crouched there with tape recorder in hand listening to the conversation. Finally it was my turn to ask a question. He had spoken of the resistance by the older generation of authors to his generations new style and approach to literature. So I asked him, now that he was one of the older generation, his thoughts on the new generation of "young turks". Vonnegut took a look at me as if surprised that I'd actually listened to the lecture and said:

"That's a good question."

That pretty much made my day. I had managed to ask a question that had, in some small way, managed to impress "the great man". His answer was that he didn't see it as his place to pass judgement. So the question turned out to be better than the answer.

I assume that some portion of the press conference ran on the news that day. There's no memory of that at all. I do remember crouching next to an author I greatly respected and asking a question that he thought was pretty good.

And now he's gone.

So it goes.


Final thought on Imus

Well it appears that my prediction that his career might not be salvaegable looks prescient. A sad final note to his career.

Equally sad is his ongoing attempt to "explain" this all away. Two things struck me. A comment by Imus saying he wants to explain the "context" of the statement. I'm still working on the context where this kind of comment would be acceptable for someone in Imus's position. The second is saying that the racist term was originated in African American culture. There is an old saw in comedy about always being able to rip on your own. Meaning that as a white middle aged American I'm pretty much free to take as many shots at white middle aged American guys as I like (and let's face it, that is a rich vein for humor). Don Imus of course is NOT an African American female college athlete so that doesn't qualify here. Beyond that a growing number of leaders in the African American community are pointing out that they don't much care for that term coming from anyone's lips.

Don, a word from a former admirer. Shut up. Take your lumps. Admit to terminal stupidity without out any mitigating circumstances. Wear your sack cloth and ash. You might just survive. Otherwise, mount up and ride off into the sunset on the ranch.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

And more of the same

It's interesting that the Don Imus thing has blown up just days after my last post.

First I need to be honest about something. I was a radio DJ for 19.5 years. If you ask me who were my professional heroes I would have listed Jack Bogut, long time morning man at KDKA Pittsburgh, Dr. Johnny Fever, fictional morning man at the equally fictional WKRP in Cincinnati, and Don Imus, then morning man at W-ENNNNNNNNN-BC in New York. I appreciated the irreverence, and take no prisoners attitude towards the famous and powerful. He could often be rude (which was not my personal style) but he consistently punctured pretension.

Today I need to distance myself from my former hero. His statements (which I will not repeat here. The image of way too many middle aged white announcers repeating those words while they "report" the story is making me ill) are despicable. What is worse to my ear is Imus's repeated reference to this as a "mistake". Don Imus has been on the air in big time radio for over 30 years. At his level you don't get to make "mistakes" like this. This is the kind of open- mouth-insert-foot stupidity that a rookie makes, not a long time veteran of center stage. "Mistake" is an excuse. Imus needs to come out and say "I thought I was being clever, and funny. My brain simply stopped working for that instant. I have no excuse. I was wrong. It's indefensible." He still may lose his job because the sponsors may want to dump him. That's what happens. I'm not sure there's anyway he can redeem himself professionally.

Following my last post I received several nice notes, both on and off the blog, and I thank everyone for them. This event ties in with what Dr. Dyson is talking about with the deeply ingrained racism of our culture and institutions. When a reasonably intelligent man(and he is, you don't sustain the level of success he's had for decades and be an idiot) can look at a group of college women and use racist and misogynistic terms for them and even think it's funny there's something deeply wrong here. Someone on ESPN pointed out that female college athletes are very different as a rule from their male counterparts. There's no illusion that they can jump off to the "pros" after a year or two. Mike Wilbon said this on PTI, that as a rule the women tend to be more articulate and better students. BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO BE! So we discover an even bigger disconnect from the reality of the basketball team and Imus's "mistake".

It's too easy when you're a member of the ruling elite (unruffle your feathers. If you don't believe that white men still make up the ruling elite then you are not paying attention) it's far too easy to say "Well, come on. Look how far we've come, it's much better than it was". Absolutely true. And equally absolutely irrelevant. The racism is still there, buried deeply in us all. As people of faith we can not, we must not, ever accept it. This is truly a case where good enough isn't good enough.

I wish I had an answer for how we achieve this. There's part of me that thinks maybe it's not possible to completely erase it but we still need to try. I'm a big believer in the "talking solution". We need to talk openly and honestly about ourselves and each other. We need to hear each other openly and honestly about ourselves and each other. We need to acknowledge what has failed in the past and look for what will work in the future.

We need to think before we speak. If only Imus had.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

I laughed while he told me I'm a racist

I have made an uncomfortable discovery about myself.

I'm a racist.

Please know I'm not at all happy about that revelation. As a political and theological liberal racism is anathema to me. I thought that I had shed it like an unwanted skin as I grew up (even while I knew that some small taint of it lingered. I assumed that it had no more bearing on how I dealt with the world than a hang nail or an appendix).

Driving to pick up my daughter for Easter break from college I was listening to the radio. I was in the mood for some interesting discussion but it was too early for the local NPR station, they were still in music. I tried sports talk but the uber cool, intellect free zone of the host and the sycophant sheeple of his audience weren't offering the cerebral nurture I wanted.

Then I found Michael Eric Dyson. Dyson is a Professor in the Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a brilliant speaker, ranging between a wide variety of character's voices, white and black, rich and poor. I found myself being challenged, and amused (some of his stuff was laugh-so-hard-I-may-wreck-the-damn-car funny). How good is Dyson? This is what Ann Coulter has to say about him: As always, Dyson is fiercely honest, controversial, engaging, funny, and brimming with arguments and ideas. The speech was presented before the Commonwealth Club of California and it was talking about the subject of his latest book Debating Race with Michael Eric Dyson. It's one of the best speeches I've ever heard, ever, by anybody on any subject. He spoke passionately and with great compassion. There was also an unyielding light shown upon all of us, white and black, when it came to the subject at hand.

I found myself, good liberal that I am, nodding along with each point. Yes, there is still much institutional racism. Yes, yes, yes, all those OTHER bad people should really get their butts into the racism free zone, where alla God's children hold hands and strive together for a better world. I should have known that when I start getting that feeling I'm setting myself up for a fall. Then Dyson took me out.

He was talking about Michael Jordan as part of a larger point about the world being a better place when people are accepted because of their skills. In part he talked about Jordan as the greatest player the game has ever seen and how (this is my phrasing of what I heard not a quote) a world of Larry Birds and Bob Cousys is just fine but the world with Michael Jordan is so much better.

And I'm ashamed to admit that my first thought was "Whoa, wait a minute there are a lot of fine white players and why are we just going to shunt them to the side?" My second thought was "Man, did he just make his point or what?". I'm not a huge hoops fan, in fact let's be honest, I am NOT a basketball fan at all. In our society today it's hard not to know a little something about the game however. And the clear consensus is that MJ stands at the pinnacle of the sport, all time. Others may be argued to be on a par, but none above him. And my objection to Dyson's statement was based entirely upon race. I couldn't just say "This is the greatest player of all time". In my head it had been "This is the greatest BLACK player of all time right up there with some white guy". This is something about which I care damn little. This is something that can be measured quantifiably pretty well. This is something that intellectually I agree should fall into the celebration of human excellence.

Is it a small point in the world of racism? Yes. The fact that the point still exists, that a white middle aged guy like me finds it so easy to fall back into that mode of thought makes my skin crawl. Like so many movie situations I find myself looking at someone I thought I knew and now know they have deep, ugly secrets.

But the institutional racism had pushed itself pretty deeply into my psyche. It's there and it needs to be confronted. At the very end the host asked Dr. Dyson for a 15 second response to two one word questions. Solutions? Hope? Dyson laughed, and said there was no way to answer them in only 15 seconds and that we should listen to the speech and read the books. And so I will. Because by the end of the speech what I wanted to hear is that there is something I can do to fight this in myself and in the society around me. It seems obvious that the first thing is to shed the liberal, middle class complacency that has over taken me. The fight is not over, at home or in the world. In this case at least I bear the stain of the sins of the fathers passed along to the sons.

I'm going to go look for his books, I'll go back and listen to that speech again. I will not accept where I am or where we are as a society.

There's still a lot of work to do.


Monday, April 02, 2007

What to talk about?

I've got several ideas I want to develop a little more deeply in the works. So I've been thinking about several little things:

Movies I've bee watching:

Calender Girls - cute funny movie. We enjoyed it a lot. There's a lot of "near nakedness" in this one, all of middle aged and older women. If you don't know the story a group of English ladies decided to raise money for their local hospital by doing a cheesecake calender. They're nude but with carefully place items in the frame so you can't really see anything. Based on a true story. Wonderful statement on beauty at all ages.

Lord of War - I'm a big Nick Cage fan and was looking forward to this one. The DVD glitched about 45 minutes into the movie and I was perfectly happy to turn it off. Probably won't get a new copy to finish it. Incredibly slow.

Waking Ned Devine - This one's an Irish film about a village that tries to claim a winning lottery ticket after it's owner dies (from the shock of winning!) There's a really cheesy bit right at the end that resolves the only hurdle to them pulling it off that's borderline terrible. Otherwise a funny warm film.

Been reading lots of things. Among those I've liked (I'll spare you the ones that I didn't like):

Green Shadows and White Whale by Ray Bradbury
. A Bradbury that I'd never heard of, written about his time in Ireland working on a Moby Dick script with director John Huston. Huston doesn't come off very well (to no surprise if you know anything about him) but Ireland gets an absolute love poem written to it. Not bad, but very Bradbury.

Letters to a Young Evangelical by Tony Campolo Not finished with this yet but I'm liking it. Campolo has made me think, even when I don't agree with him. First one of his books I've ever read.

Interesting article in the new Rolling Stone about the JFK murder. Supposedly Nixon era White House "plumber" E. Howard Hunt spilled the beans on his death bed to his son. Don't know if I believe it or not (LBJ was behind it all, sez he). What Hunt did teach me back in the day when I was just becoming politically aware is not to trust anything he says. Hunt was a con man and perfectly comfortable making up whatever he felt was "best". Makes interesting reading. So does the story on Pink Floyd. More ego driven dysfunctional rockers.

Other than that it's been quiet here. Which is good during Holy week. Take some time to pray this week. Attend a Holy week service either at your own church or somewhere else. I find the Maundy Thursday service particularly compelling.