04 December 2007

Two Jobs

I have officially been working two jobs for the past month. One is my corporate job - 32 hours there - and the other is the part time interim admin at Solomon's Porch.

It has been great to help get the books and other record keeping information up to date at the Porch and feels good to put together some systems for getting stuff done quickly so that this job can live a little less in the grey area. My head has been spinning a little bit, but I am better busy, than I am with free time - so it is generally a good thing for me.

Needless to say, my job search for another church has been a bit delayed. I talked recently to an existing church - and after a phone call and email was interested in the position. Upon reading their website - I found one of the "deal breakers" in their belief statement. It is something that many many wonderful churches have as part of their fait statement, but is just does not sit well with me. I am sensing less and less that there is a church out there who is looking for some one like me - or that I will find a church that matches anything I am looking for.

I believe the type of Christian community I would like to be a part of - wouldn't be looking out side of the community for their next pastor. If resume qualifications are what they are looking for - then they don't understand the work of God and purpose of the Church universal in they way that I do.

31 October 2007

Stop Junk Mail - Some of it at least.

Here is a way to opt out of pre-approved credit offers:


The short of it is that if you have a good credit rating, the major reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, etc.) sell your information to credit card agencies. So instead of getting pre-approved mailings 5 and 6 times a week the way we used to, with in 2 weeks, we didn't get any more pre-approved offers. I also called all the companies who were mailng on a regular basis.

You can opt out of the mailings for 5 years over the phone, or for your lifetime using a form they will send you in the mail.

Basically all you need to do is to call this number and follow the prompts:


Most of my junk mail was of this variety. I found the phone number on one of the pre-approved offers that I received, once I took the time to read them and figure out how to opt out.

20 October 2007

WKDU Electronic Music Marathon

Well, 10 years ago in Philadelphia a couple of guys (one of them me) had an idea to start an electronic music marathon to raise money for local charities on our college station. This is the 10th year of the WKDU Electronic Music Marathon.

Each DJ plays for an hour and raises money like a walkathon.

If you like the electronic stuff - tune in - you can also donate on line to the PhiladelphiaFIGHT charity - the same non profit organization we sponsored on our first year. This goes till midnight on Sunday. You can see more info, a dj schedule at their myspace page.

14 October 2007

Solomon's Porch Web Cast Issues

So we are having audio issues with the Webcast - the pictures are great, but the sound isn't coming through the computer properly. I hope this gets worked out before too long.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

07 October 2007

Solomon's Porch Webcast

I am preaching this evening at Solomon's Porch, and this will be our innaugural webcast.

We will webcast both the 5pm and the 7pm (CST) gatherings - we may be working out some technical difficulties with the webcast - the audio feed and what not - but it should give you a picture into what we are up to. I will be walking through Acts 13 -14.

You will need the most recent version of Flash Player to view the stream. (Make sure that you get the free version.)

Here is the link:

UPDATE: We had audio issues, and those will be fixed for next week.

03 October 2007

Busy/Exciting Week

We just returned from the annual Solomon's Porch Lake Beauty Fall retreat. It was great. Here are some pictures that my friend Jon White took of the weekend:

I am also preaching at Solomon's Porch this Sunday and next. I am preaching on Acts 13 & 14 this Sunday and next Sunday will be either 15 and maybe 16. We are trying to get a live webcam up in the gathering space, and I just might be the first person live on the internet from Solomon's Porch.

We also have a visitor coming in from Missouri for a Celtic Chrisitanity conference - who has been involved in intentional communities - so we are looking forward to having conversations with him about his experiences in different types of missional life.

18 September 2007


This is a sermon by one of my professors at Seminary: Dr. Fred Gaiser. He is an Old Testament Professor and has spent a great deal of time living in the prophets. All this talk about idolatry made me think about this sermon. It is convicting of all our modern idolatry of fame and money and sex.

It is a beautiful sermon, and speaks to the idols that I myself need to watch out for on a day to day basis.

Yoga and Christianity

It seems that every one is weighing in on this Christianity/Yoga debate, so I figured I would speak my mind on the conversation. I agree with some of the critiques of Doug that he spoke naïvely about yoga in the new program, and about yoga’s potential to distract people from God. I believe that we must be aware that when we borrow/reappropriate things from other cultures, belief systems, and religions that they can have elements which distract from God. I believe that Doug’s apparent naïveté comes from the great experience he and others around him have had with using yoga stretches and poses to connect with the goodness of God’s creation – and with the harmony of God’s love for the world and all that God has created.

It is very good for our faith and our experience of God to be more than just intellectual, but to also be physical. The problem is that much of the Judeo-Christian practices of physical prayer and meditation have been lost. Many of these practices didn’t fit in to Christianity any more because neo-platonic equations were imposed on Christian thought. Simply put the thought goes something like this: God = good And earth = bad. Thus: God has little or nothing to do with our physical existence here and now. This is how MacArthur lays the foundation of his argument against yoga. God’s separation from us is not a Biblical concept, but instead based on Greek philosophy (I will talk a little more on that later.)

If we have lost our traditional physical ways of connecting with God in our world and with God’s creation (part of which is our bodies that are created in the image of God) we should find ways to do that: being fully conscious that this practice is for the Glory of The One True God. The Triune God. There is no other God before God.

The main argument against yoga is that it distracts people from God, because Yoga is the product of another religion/philosophy. This for me is where the argument against yoga loses all of its steam. Christianity as most of us modern day Christians express it is anything but pure in origin.

We can look at Neo-Platonism and how it completely changed Christian thought: Augustine’s neo-platonic background colored deeply all of his theology, which has in turn shaped nearly all theology since then. This was a religion/philosophy that was part of a polytheistic society, which lead many away from Christianity and justified persecution of our Christian and Jewish forefathers. We can look at the celebration of Easter. The word “Easter” comes from the name of a pagan fertility Goddess, hence all the eggs and (fertile) bunnies – we attached the birth of Christ onto a pagan festival so that the Christian faith could reach more people. Good or bad, this is where our current faith stands.

Christmas’ rampant materialism clearly distracts people from seeking God. Many of us Christians are more upset by stores not saying “Merry Christmas” then we are about the fact that our High Holy Holiday celebrating the birth of our Lord is used to increase profit margins. We can even look at the philosophy of pure reason which underlies much of science. This philosophy has taken many people’s thoughts and eyes away from God, but very few are the Christians who won’t use electronics, cars, mobile phones because they grow out of a culture that make logic and reason its gods.

The purity of Christian practice is a myth, so arguing against yoga from that foundation is extremely flawed. However, if we borrow poses and stretches from other cultures/religions/philosophies we must not ignore their source completely (as it Doug appears to do in the interview) but we must be honest about where they come from, and how we are allocating them for a new purpose.

16 September 2007

MWM Emergent/PoMo Pastor seeking long term relationship with like minded organization...

I guess maybe I should have posted this sooner.

Lauren and I are right now looking for what is next in our lives. We are looking at small churces, large churches, house churches, neo-Monastic communities, non-profit social justice organizations and other places where we may shine God's light on the world.

If you are interested in hiring me, or even talking through future ministry options check out my resume here.

News at my Corporate Job

Sorry for not posting - I get to find out just how many people read my blog by creating an unfinished cliff hanger!

I was part of a 6 person team. That team has been separated and integrated into a large 30 person team. I am part of the "Compliance Team" - so myself and Kris, my audit buddy, remained my teammates.

I still have a job, actually I have more hours - I am upto 32 hours. I will have some additional project management responsibilities and should be busy at my job - which was one of my biggest struggles. I also have been struggling for a while at my job with lack of direction - I feel that my new manager and the structure around it will help get things moving with decisive and motivated action plans.

This job is a gift of stability for Lauren and I, but it is difficult as Lauren and I figure out what is next for us - following God's call. Churches, neo-monastic communities, house churches, non-profit community service organizations are all in the running for our future call. Crazy adventures on the way.

12 September 2007

Big News Tomorrow

Every since I graduated from Seminary, Lauren and I have been talking a lot about what is next - where we feel called to serve God. Part of that equation is my job at a large Minnesota corporation - some days it is tolerable, and others I have a hard time surviving the day. But it is a good job, they compensate me well, and respect my skills and abilities. We have been in re-org limbo for the last 2.5 months, and tomorrow we find out what is next - who my manager will be and what my new responsibilities will be. This is great to know what they want of me, and what I can offer them.

11 September 2007

33 minutes

Just an FYI, last Friday 9/7 - I got home in 33 mintues! Best time yet.

Dying to Self

There is a simple illustration of what it means to die to self, and why Jesus asks humanity to do this (Matthew 16:24-25). I experience this on a regular basis:

I am walking out of the door at work, and the person infront of me completely ignores me - and the door nearly slams in my face. I get so upset about being neglected by the person in front of me, I do the exact same thing to the person behind me.

I get so wrapped up in my "entitlement" that I completely ignore my obligation to serve those around me.

Slaps me in the face every time I do it - I see how much my obsession, with what I am supposed to recieve stands in the way of my ability to be a blessing to the world.

06 September 2007

Message from a mobile phone

I know other people have been doing stuff like this for 5 or 6 years, but I am just pleased as punch that I can post to this blog with my mobile phone. I will end up looking like Doug with his little "You have a Picture Share" posts if I am not too careful.

P.S. For those of you who are curious, this is a dinosaur lamp that sits on my desk at work.

Art or Vandalism

Lauren and I have been seeing some pretty miserable graffiti around our neighborhood - Longfellow in South Minneapolis. It seems to get worse every week. This brings up the debate for me - of is it art or is it vandalism. Being involved in the underground culture on the East Coast you learn a certain respect for Graffiti.

It is similar to the "Art or Pornography" debate in some ways - aside from the vandalism portion. For a long time, the best definition I had of pornography was the classic "I know it when I see it." In a class I took at seminary about women in the Old Testament, I heard the best definition I have ever heard: "Pornography is the commodification of a person's sexuality." This allows us to see nude paitings as art, and advertisments for Victoria's Secret as pornography when it is.

So what aside from my "I know it when I see it" feeling about Art vs. Vandalism feeling with graffiti, how do you define the difference between something like this:

That simply soils a place that the public uses (what we are seeing in our neigborhood). And something like this by Banksy:

The difference to me right now would have to be with the intent of the piece - is it to better the neighborhood - to bring a smile to some one's face or make them think? Or is it to claim your turf? Don't know, but it is definitely a scourge in our neck of the woods - no creativity there.

05 September 2007

Great Article on Senator Craig

WARNING: This article is a little graphic, but it is talking about elicit sex in public restrooms - so what else would we expect?

This article is in the Gay City News... I can't say I have read this news publication much before. But this article about Senator Craig is one of the most thorough and includes many many perspectives and insights into the situation including but not limited to:
Additional Witnesses to the Senators Behavior in both Washington and Boise.
Entrapment, and constitutionality of the sting operation.

I don't agree with the article in its entirety - it gets a little politial at the end, but it has a lot of details and perspectives that have not been covered in other articles - and not just "Pro-Gay" or "Anti-Conservative" perspectives.

Have you heard the audio of the interview done here in Minneapolis? This is a crazy story.

29 August 2007

Oprah or Osteen

Funny little quiz I found while looking at a few blogs.

28 August 2007

The Skittles Touch

My Friend Dustin works in Advertising, and told me about this commercial. So funny. So so funny.

24 August 2007

35 minutes for 7.5 miles

Same bike ride home, and I cut off another couple of minutes. Even when I have been biking less. It is still great to see the improvement. I have neglected my body for about 2 years now - and it is great to see that my body is bouncing back quicker than I thought it would.

It also feels great to save the money and the gas it would take to drive to and from work - now Lauren can drop me and my bike off at work, and I can ride home - so it doesn't matter if I get all sweaty.

I found this mapping device that uses Google Maps that allows you to create a chart of your course so WalkJogRun.net - here is my TFS to Longfellow path.

I miss the long quiet bike rides I used to take in Medina, Ohio - on the empty flat state routes covered with cornfields. They were a wonderful solace for me during junior high and the beginning of high school.

07 August 2007

Amazing pictures of the Bridge

This link was forwarded on to us, and these are some very upclose pictures of the bridge collapse on 35W.

You can see the scale and severity of the collapse.


02 August 2007

Bike Ride

7.7 Miles in 37 minutes.

Big improvement over last weeks ride. We are down to one car, and I have been talking about biking more for probably a few years now - so I am finally doing some biking. Last week I got very lost, but it was a little unnerving how long it took me to ride home. I used to ride in Philadelphia and Ohio all the time - so taking two or 3 breaks and walking part of the way - even if I did take a 3.5 mile detour (read "got lost") was a little disheartening.

It is encouraging to see an improvement so quickly.

We're Alive

Lauren and I are safe and sound. We weren't on this bridge at 6:05 yesterday, and so far we have yet to hear about any one we know who was. Our one good friend commutes on this bridge every day, and was on it about 15 minutes before the collapse.

There are two things I am thinking about after this event:
1. Traffic delays will be innevitable. As we get frustrated about our delays, remember that many people never made it home because of this incident. They are estimating 20 or 30 people are currently missing or unaccounted for, aside from the 6 who already died.
2. This is national news, headline of the New York Times. It seems to me that about 30 people die on an average day in Iraq - Iraqi Citizens, Iraqi soldiers, and U.S. soldiers.

19 July 2007

Pictures of Europe

We finally went through all our pictures, organized them, and put moderately entertaining comments on them. We hope you enjoy. We also kept a travel journal, that we would be glad to share with any one interested.

It was an amazing trip - a once in a life time opportunity and we had a blast.

We took a bunch of pictures on this trip - even if it starts to trail off towards the end.


10 July 2007


I am a big fan of re-use. It makes so much more sense than recycling. Composting lets you re-use food waste. You should see Lauren and my tupperwear - it is mainly old sour cream containers. Why buy new stuff when you can re-use stuff for another purpose - we save money on Tupperwear, and less stuff ends up in the landfill or even being processed at the recycling plant.

Well here is a company after my own heart. Terracyle - takes compost, feeds it to worms, and turns it into top notch fertilizer. Then they package it in used soda bottles. Why do they use old soda bottles? They are the cheapest container they could find! So it is good for all involved - higher profits, and less garbage/recylcing to process. Eco-capitalism is their rallying cry and it makes sense. They are even paying $.05 to schools/charitable organizations for anyone who collects empty soda bottles and sends them to them in postage paid boxes.


Just thought I would share that. We are going to post the photos soon - sorry it has taken us so long to get them all sorted and posted.

03 July 2007

Back from Spain and Italy

We thought we would post while we were on our little European vacation, but it turns out there are better things to do in spain and italy than sit in smelly internet cafe's. we took a ton of pictures, and are figuring out how to share them with all of you.

It was amazing, and we are so glad to be home.

24 May 2007


Here it is .... several months of work... three pages of bibliography ... over a hundred footnotes... and a generous helping of Hebrew and Greek. For those who asked for it. Remember, this is copyrighted or something like that. This might make more sense if you read Job 31 first.


17 May 2007


I realized the other day, I am pretty sick of violence.

I was watching Smokin' Aces last weekend, I realized that I am no longer impressed by this "stylized violence." I fully realize that sex and violence are a part of life, and cannot be glazed over. But I am disturbed by the media trend that somehow if you have gorgeous cinematography and a thin plot line you are allowed to objectify women, and kill human beings in horrible ways that are inconsequential to the plot line.

I felt like this movie brought out the worst of every one involved in the production. The life and plight of prostitutes was trivialized. I lost respect for some artists in the movie - Alicia Keys in some of the bonus features said that she had respect for prostitutes after wearing thigh high boots. I know Alicia doesn't read my blog, but get real: Alicia, hookers can't afford your boots. I am also not clear why Common was in this movie, other than the "cool" factor that I talked about.

I know a few friends who struggle with pornography - and they have talked about how sometimes they will watch Ultimate Fighting instead. I think that violence and fighting fulfill a very base desire in men (and some women too), similar to pornography.


So I was having some issues with my little 12" PowerBook G4 running slow. It is a four year old computer - so it is getting up in years. But I did a little research, and found out that most of the system upkeep that macs do happens at night - and I always close up my computer before I go to bed, so none of the clean up jobs happen.

So this little program runs the built in Mac OS clean up jobs when ever you want to run them. It took about 10 minutes the first time I ran it, but it deleted 1 Gig of log files, and sped my computer up a ton. Just some info for any other mac heads suffering from excess unix log files.


13 April 2007

Wonderful Relaxing Beautiful Days

We are back from our 7 days in Mexcio. The time in Yelapa was wonderful. Very wonderful. It was a different world. We weren't in a complete tourist trap, and got to experience life in a remote fishing village of Mexico, and we still got to sit on the beach and have people bring us beer.

Here are a few pictures:

This is the water taxi that took us the 45 minutes from Peuto Vallarta to Yelapa. It has a few more cracks than it had patches - but it got us there.

This was the view from out bed on the first morning. We fell asleep to the waves - it was a little loud the first night, but we got over it pretty quickly.

I was the cook - wasn't such a bad view from the kitchen.

This was quite the panoramic view over the sink. Lauren didn't mind dishes so much.

Around noon every day the day trippers would roll in from Peuto Vallarta. The big boats would pull in and the little boats would go out and get people and bring them back to shore. They would all leave by 5.

Add in a nap for good measure.

Cap it all off with a beautiful sunset, repeat 6 times, and it all adds up to a lot of rest and relaxation.

It was perfect as I go into the final stretch of my Masters program, and Lauren struggles to put up with me.

03 April 2007

It is finished...

Is it sacriligeous for me to use that phrase to talk about my thesis?

I have turned it in, last night - and I have my structured conversation on April 17th.

Then they will let me know that its good to go, and I will only have to finish the course work that I am involved in.

Next up, Mexico. Can't wait.

Yelapa here we come.

20 March 2007

Sarah Silverman Sleeps with God.

So here is the video that has pissed off a few Christian folks.

I guess I just don't understand why. It seems that when people tell stories out of the Bible (i.e. Darling Nikki and Proverbs 23:26-28) and make them as vivid and alive as they were in their orignal times, we get upset. Many of us like our Bible stories to be far removed, and fully separated from out of our lives today. Here is the video of Sarah waking up after a one night stand with God.

This is a Biblical story, and a Biblical analogy. God is our husband, our lover. This is the same analogy that is used when Hosea is told to marry a prostitute, Hosea 1. We are indifferent to God, we sleep with God one night, and then with another the next. Look at Jeremiah 3:
13 Only acknowledge your guilt—
you have rebelled against the LORD your God,
you have scattered your favors to foreign gods
under every spreading tree,
and have not obeyed me,' "
declares the LORD.
14 "Return, faithless people," declares the LORD, "for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion

This is the story that God has already told - it gets even better because Sarah is a Jew. Whether Sarah's intention was to tell the story that God has already told or not, she did. I for one have nothing against a non-believer who tells God's story. The people who tell these stories may or may not get the truth of them, but it is there-whether we see it or not.

This depiction is wonderfully true: our unfaithfulness hurts God, our lies and our unwillingness to accept God's love pains God. God is a jealous God, a scorned lover.

02 March 2007

Kahlil Gibran

So a friend recommended Kahlil Gibran's poetry as a key to understanding struggle.

I wanted to share one that struck me from the Prophet:

And a woman spoke, saying, Tell us of Pain.
And he said:
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that enlcoses you understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And coud you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity thorugh the winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility:
For his hand though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen.
And the cup he brings, through it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.

24 February 2007

My Thesis has Begun

So on Wednesday night I got most of the first chapter of my Thesis completed. It was an amazing feeling to get 10 solid pages out, and work out the formatting of all that geeky stuff that goes into a Old Testament Masters thesis: Abbreviations Page, Table of Contents, Bibliography. It really gave me a good feelinging - like I will be able to actually write a 50-80 page paper by April 1st.

Well, incase you are wondering, my thesis is on the 31st chapter of Job:

So I am comparing the ethical issues that Job speaks about in this chapter with the way other Old Testament writers talk about ethics, and then looking at the Gospel of Matthew and what Jesus says about ethics there. 40 to 70 pages left.


So Lauren and I are going on our first real vacation since our honey moon - one that lasts more than 2 nights.

Here is the view from our Pelapa:

There are some more pictures here:

Any ways - it is a remote village near Puerta Vallarta - only accessible by boat. We are leaving right after my thesis is due. I can't wait. 7 nights in a tropical paradise. Ahhh is all I can say.

19 February 2007

Scripture and Tradition

So what is the difference between scripture and tradition?

I am asking it, because it has come up in my own mind in my "Comparative Confessions" class.

The Bible wasn't the Bible until 324 AD, at the earliest. That is when the
canon was decided on by the early church fathers. Books were in, and books were out.

This group of books was unchanged until the 15th Century - when Luther said
that the Apocrypha was not part of the Bible. Calvin, and other reformers
accepted this move. So Calvin, and Luther demoted/threw out a few books of the Bible, after they had been part of the canon for almost 1200 years. How come they get to do that?

This article on Wikipedia on the Apocrypha is very interesting:
It talks about how Origen believed that Song of Songs should be tossed out of the canon.

My main question is, isn't it tradition (inspired by the Holy Spirit) that created the canon as we had it in 324? How can we throw out 14 books and fragments of books that have been part of our cannon for 1150 years and say that we are "Sola Scriptura"?

Seems that scripture came out of (Holy Spirit lead) tradition. We say that the early church fathers lead us, but we don't even read the same Bible. Any move to change the current scripture would be thrown out by fundamentalists who have in their hands the truncated Bible. Some might say that the "dubious origin" of the Apocryphal books justifies the removal, but many modern scholars would point to the dubious origin of many of Paul's letters (1&2 Timothy, Titus, etc.)

At the end of the day, I don't understand why people can throw out a good portion of the Bible and still say that they live by scripture alone - without tradion.

09 February 2007

Not much Theology

I know I have been doing a lot of video posts lately, and haven't babbled on and on about theology. Don't know if any one misses that, but I have been conversing with a friend of a bit more SBC persuasion about a video on the web of my church, Solomon's Porch. If you are thirsting for something a little more heavy and insightful, take a look:


The video is right there on his sight, it was done by Allen Keating-Moore, a member of the community - and it looks like he talked to a bunch of people in our congregation about why they are part of our "holistic, missional, Christian community", and not a more traditional church.

08 February 2007

Mr Deity

This is funny stuff. Found it on Doug's Blog, and I finally watched it.

They have their own website also:

Here are some of my favorite episodes:

Hope you get a laugh out of it...

02 January 2007

Mr/Ms. Garrison Explains Evolution

You know, I have had some trouble understanding evolution before this, but South Park makes it pretty understandable how the theory of evolution works: