Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Random Resurrection Thoughts

Sometimes we want to capture something–some grand thing or idea–using the most amazing communication techniques and images, and yet we are just unable to do it. I struggle every year to come up some grand and wonderful idea to explain the Resurrection of Jesus. The reality is that the Resurrection of Jesus, while about as far as you can get from the mundane, is mostly experienced in the mundane. And that’s what really matters, and that is actually wonderful news!

Why is it easier to talk about the death of Jesus than it is to talk about his resurrection? Is it because we are so familiar with death? We see it daily and are constantly reminded of it. But how many of us have seen someone rise from the dead? We have such limited experience (make that no experience) with bodily resurrection, so we are limited in our understanding and our illustrations.

Which pushes all this back into the realm of faith. And what about the faith of Jesus? Didn’t he have to have a lot of faith that his Father would raise him from the dead? We don’t talk a lot about the faith of Jesus while he was in the flesh, but think about it. How could he do what he did, if it was not predicated on faith–ultimately the faith that his Father would raise him from the dead. Faith that God’s words are true.

That’s the kind of faith we are called to have. It’s interesting to think about having never seen a bodily resurrection and to then hear these words from Hebrews (11:1):

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

When do have faith, and when we embrace the Story of Jesus (through baptism’s re-enactment of that story - see Romans 6), then we live a resurrected life, a life that says we believe in the end we will be raised to live forever.

That’s kinda interesting to think about in light of what Jesus says in John 5 (25, 28-29). He speaks of 2 resurrections; one now and one later.

“I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.”

“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.”

The reality of the second resurrection–the one from the grave–dictates how I live my life in the mundane and ordinary. I want to rise above all the junk that won’t last.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Why is it that I want to break out in song? A song about my troubles?

Yesterday was beautiful! I ran early, which worked well with my schedule but it meant that it was cold and cloudy. I'm really tired of cold weather runnning. Perhaps it is about over? I'm getting ready to go again, though, and it is 38 degrees. It will warm up quickly though.

Yesterday pretty much unfolded as I thought it would, which is kinda unusual. There were not too many interruptions or disruptions. Henri Nouwen's quote is deeply imbedded in my heart, so schedule changes don't bother me like they once did. Nouwen said this (my paraphrase):

Most of life I have complained about interruptions to my ministry. Then I realized that the interruptions are my ministry.

A good run, some study, test prep, Capstone Ministries meeting, lecture on Catholic Reformation (the students were surprisingly alert and chipper after spring break), finish test, special project, pick up Ben @ 5, men's Bible study @ 7: a good, solid, busy day. There was one interruption. It slightly haunts me.

Around lunch time someone came in the building. Melissa was not in her office so I came out to see how I could help. It was a guy wanting overnight lodging. This kind of request is so difficult. We used to do a fair amount of it, but we kept learning that many of the people we were helping were con artists just looking for a free night in the local motel. We decided to stop doing it (in the name of good stewardship).

The guy explained he was coming from Maine and that the people he was coming to see had moved. He couldn't find them. He said he had been to every church in town and no one would help him get a room for the night; been to the police station too. I gently quizzed him about where he had been etc. Long story short: I told him that we simply didn't do this anymore. We instead poured our time, energy, money into helping people in need in other ways.

"So you are telling me that you are not going to help me," he said in an angry tone. "Yes, that's what I'm saying, and I'm sorry." He said, "You're not sorry, and you will pay for this! Don't tell me you are a church and then turn me away." As he left he kept shouting things at me. I didn't hear most of them; didn't want to.

I could quickly justify my actions by saying, "He's probably a con man" or something similar, but I really don't know. I always feel confused and somewhat guilty after these kind of exchanges, and I have had several of them over the years.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Week Ahead

Here it comes! Another week. I think I'm ready, but it is going to be a very busy one. I have a few extra things this week, which is not unusual. I've been down this road so many times that I know that everything will work out, get done and be fine.

Here's a pretty cool verse (1 Peter 1:3-6) that links Resurrection and Birth:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.

My Life Group helped me find that one. Last night we brainstormed Easter some. It was good and helpful. I am working toward a theme of the Resurrection being real in real lives. I am in the frustration stage that usually leads to something creative. Been down this road many times also.

My schedule calls for another, and the last, 50 mile week this week. It will end on Saturday with a 15K (9.3 mile) race. Next week I begin tapering, although I plan to run one more 20 miler a week from Saturday. I'm now beginning to focus my mind on April 24, seeking images and techniques that will sustain me through 26.2 miles of hard running.

I am looking forward to warmer weather this week. The forecast is looking pretty good!

I hope to stop in here from time to time this week and talk a little about what is going on. Even if no one reads it, it helps me! ha ha.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Final Four!

I love it!

Lester says that 660 Butler student can get tickets to Final Four for $25. I wonder if there will be any interest in them?

Dawging and Blogging

Watching Butler and blogging. I am too A.D.D. to just watch... I really want Butler to win, but if they don't it won't ruin my day. I do feel some connection to Butler, since Lester is a student there. We usually spend some time around Hinkle Fieldhouse when we visit Lester. He works for the football team and does some filming for the girl's basketball team. Hinkle is a really cool place.

Another Saturday and another 20 mile run. They are getting easier and faster. I think today's run was close to an overall pace of 8.15. This is just 3 seconds off the mile pace required for a Boston qualifying marathon. Several more miles, a little more speed work, tapering and rest--it all should add up to a good day on April 24.

After I got back I took the trash off in the Bronco. I love that thing! I took Ben with me, so we had to venture off the road just a little. Fun.

Keith Dillman came by to discuss his upcoming political campaign. He is seeing several people today. He is a good, honest man; a man of integrity. We had a nice visit.

I am really wrestling with what to say on Easter Sunday. There is so much to say, but on that day--a day with lots of visitors--you want to say the best and most appropriate thing. I am looking for some good thoughts connecting the Resurrection and new birth, since we are going to dedicate babies that day.

Tomorrow's sermon is about Andrew who was probably usually known as "Peter's brother." He was a guy who lived in the shadows. There are only three stories where Andrew does anything, and in each story he simply connects people to Jesus. He doesn't seem to know what to do, so he simply takes them to Jesus. Not a bad approach.

I spent a little time reading about the Catholic Reformation, which was in response to the Protestant Reformation. It's pretty interesting stuff, and it is the lecture for Monday's class. Test Wednesday.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Back home

We made it back home safely. It was a long trip. We stopped in Nashville to see Luke and Caroline, and then we dropped Rebecca off at Patoka Lake for a youth group overnighter. We finally made it back about 6.30.

It went for a run in the rain this morning before we left. I was hoping to run 14 miles but settled for 7. I waited too long for it to let up, which it never did. So I just went and got wet. Oh well... I ran along the wonderful greenway (pictured above).

Got a lot of reading done the last couple of days, and I rode my bike 20 miles yesterday. I went down to the TN River. It was a nice ride.

Not much more on my mind at this time... Too tired to think, I think.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Life in Huntsville

It was another good day in Huntsville. The weather changed and improved dramatically. It went from yesterday’s cold and damp to today’s nice and sunny mid-60s. It was really nice!

This morning I got my running workout done. I did something different today: Yasso 800s. Yassos are named after an experienced runner/writer. He has a theory that says you can predict your marathon time based on your time for 800 meter repeats. For example, I need to run the marathon in 3 hours and 35 minutes (or better) to qualify for Boston. This means that I need to run Yassos 800s in 3 minutes and 35 seconds.

It seems like magic or voodoo running, but he claims that many, many marathoners have tried it. He says it correlates nearly every time. Of course there are detractors and disputers, but I decided to do 10 Yasso 800s today. I warmed up for a couple of miles and then got started. After each one you jog one lap.

I was pleased to average slightly better than 3 minutes and 30 seconds for each one. I hit 3.30 right on the mark 5 times; the others were slightly faster. In theory this means I should be able to run the marathon in 3 hours and 30 minutes, but I don’t plan to go out that fast. It was a pretty hard workout. With the cool down I ended up with 10 total miles.

Rebecca and I went to see Avatar in 3D. We had a really nice time. We both enjoyed the movie. There certainly is a lot to think about and unpack regarding the movie. Lots of theological themes to explore... A lot of political statements as well.

After the movie I got the bike out. I bought a cheap bike computer yesterday, so I got it installed. I took off and headed south. I ended up riding about 11 miles. It was very nice. Pleasant. Tomorrow I plan to ride to the Tennessee River via a green way. It will be about a 20 mile ride, I think. I plan to run 6 miles before I ride.

That’s enough for now...

Monday, March 22, 2010

It snowed today!

We left home at 2.15 this morning. Ben needed to be at school at 2.30 to get ready for his big trip to Washington, D.C., so we decided that we would all drop him off and head south. There was no traffic, which made for a really quick trip.

We met Kedra's parents at our favorite place to eat breakfast--the famous Gibson's Barbecue. Eggs, country ham, toast (passed on the grits). Good stuff.

As we traveled south an unusual thing happened: it kept getting colder. By the time we hit Alabama it was in the 30s. It was cold and very damp; a mist was ever present. Thanks goodness for intermittent wipers.

After breakfast we went to Kedra's old home place, and I took a nap for about an hour. I needed to run and wanted to run. I kept looking outside; it was raining. Time to man-up! Well, I didn't have my favorite pants (see a few posts ago), so I had to don an old pair that I'm not that crazy about. I got all dressed up, so the place to go was outside. Six miles was on the schedule. It was raining when I started but it was not very long until there were huge, fat flakes of snow falling from the sky. Beautiful. Weird. All OK. Got the six miles in. I was wet and a little cold.

Hot shower. Another nap. Trip to Wally world for stuff. Trip to Dick's for some gel for running. Waiting on everyone else presently. Looks like we are going to eat at Longhorn Steakhouse tonight. The day is going to end well, very well!

And I reflect on my eating today it is a good thing that I have a good workout planned for tomorrow: 9 miles of running and several on the bike.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Break

It won't be much of one, but we'll take a little break and go to Huntsville, Alabama to see Kedra's parents for a few days. Ben is going to Washington D.C. on a school trip, so it will just be three of us heading south.

I enjoying being in Alabama. I usually relax pretty well. I'm taking my Kindle, my computer, running clothes, and my bike. That ought to do it. I hope to read a bunch (downloaded a new book this morning), run a lot, and ride some. The time will pass quickly.

Luke left a little while ago. I always hate to see him leave. He is such a delight to be around. We're going to stop in Nashville and see him on our trip home in a few days. He hopes to intern at Crane this summer but he has not heard anything yet. We're hoping the announcments will be soon and will include Luke as one of the interns. Otherwise he is going to be scrambling to find a job for the summer.

Told this story this morning:

A boy comes home and doesn’t see his mom is visiting with their preacher. He holds a rat in his hand. “Mom, you’ll never guess what. There was a rat running around behind the garage. I saw it and threw a stone and hit it. It just laid there, so I went over and stomped on it. Then I picked it up and threw it against the wall as hard as I could. And I picked it up and threw it again.” Then he sees that the preacher is there and that if looks could kill, he would be a dead kid. He holds the rat high in the air and adds in a pious voice, “And then the dear Lord called him home.”

I was talking about how we all are fakers a fair amount of the time, perhaps especially in the church context. God has called us to be real, genuine, authentic, etc. I shared this quote from a book I just finished by John Ortberg, The Me I Want to Be:

There is an old hymn that includes the lines, “Just as I am, without one plea.” This song speaks of coming to God without hiding, knowing that I am loved simply as a gift. A few people in my life allow me to relate to them “just as I am,” and I cling to them the way a drowning man clings to a raft. If ever there were a true “just as I am” church, if ever there were a community where everybody could bring all their baggage and brokenness with them without neat and tidy happy endings quite yet, if ever there was a group where everyone was loved and no one pretended — we could not make enough room inside the building.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Bronco Lives!

Long time readers of this blog know that about 3 years ago my 3 sons bought 2 Broncos for 3 hundred dollars. Years later, after 100s of dollars spent, the Bronco is hitting its stride. Luke rolled it about 15 months ago and has spent a lot of time getting everything back together. He, along with Ben (and I think Lester) "chopped" the top off, converting it from a SUV to a small truck. This week he tracked down some tires, and now it's all good to go.

We could not have done any of it without the help of Brent Fields. He has help a lot, and this week he welded a new, cool bumper for it. The original one got totally messed up in the infamous Luke roll.

I love it! When I was a kid my dream vehicle was the original Bronco. I still remember getting brochures at Mitchell Motors and dreaming of what it would be like to have one. Now my dreams have come true! I took the trash off with it this afternoon. You may see me driving it around town. How cool I will be!

My neighbor, Redneck Roger, saw us playing with our new (much needed for the driveway) pile of stone today. He wanted the boys to change his oil, so we motioned for him to come down. He came down and then proceeded to run his truck up on the stone pile just like boys did with the Bronco. We all cracked up.

Roger is deaf and has been an interesting part of our lives for the last several months. He is a good neighbor with lots of funny stories.


Today was my big 22 miler. I can't say I was looking forward to it OR dreading it either. I just wanted to get it done. And done it is. I think I actually did around 22.5 or a little more.

I started around 6.40. I wanted to get a few miles in before being joined by John H. and Larry M. at 7.20. I came by the truck, gulped some water and gel, and the three of us took off for 4+ miles before coming back at 8 a.m. to meet the rest of the crew.

The default run for the group this morning was a 10 miler. That went really well. I ran several of the miles at the required marathon pace or faster, so that was a confidence builder. The 10 mile segment went quickly and so did the last 4 miles, which were with Rand H, Bill D. and John H. It was a great way to finish a great day!

I feel good, and I feel like I am just about ready. Five weeks from today is the big day. I have 2 more weeks of hard training, a week of hard, mixed with tapering. Then 2 weeks of tapering. Next week I plan to run another 20 miler, followed by a 15K the next week, followed by one last 20 miler. Starting to the see the finish... I like what I see.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Forgiving Tiger

I've always liked Tiger Woods. When he plays I like to watch. It's about the only time I like to watch golf.

Like everyone else I was pretty disappointed when I learned about all his sleazy behavior. His long silence following all the revelations was a little frustrating and troubling, but he finally spoke. I listened, and I think we have to take him at his word. He said that his actions would be the thing to watch. We all will be watching, but in the meantime we operate on the basis of forgiveness, remembering our own failures and imperfections.

Kenny Perry a member of the Church of Christ in Franklin, KY and a great golfer who gives 5 percent of his earnings to Lipscomb University has spoken about Tiger. It is a message of redemption, forgiveness, and family.

Here is the heart of the article:

Perry admitted that he thought the world number one would chose to return at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill next week, but is just glad that Woods will soon be back to boost the game once again.

"Well that's great, it's great news," he told Sky Sports News.

"I figured he'd come back next week at Bay Hill since he lives there and he's won it six times I think.

"But whatever, it's awesome to have your stud back, our star. He carried our tour, I thank him every day because my pay-check has really risen because of him and our sport really grew because of him."

Perry continued: "We all forgive him, he's come back and we're his family out here.

"You know I tell everybody I've got my family at home, but I've got my tour family that I travel with week-in, week-out. We're like a travelling circus, we travel different cities but we're all together.

"I just want to give the guy a hug, give him a handshake and get him on back out here playing great golf again. I want to beat him!"

Good stuff!

Mi Famalia

The top picture is everyone, so far, who has originated from my parents and/or is married to someone who originated from them. My two sisters and I have been fairly fruitful. I especially multiplied well!

The bottom photo is my clan of 7.

Jean, who married Matthew, is the most amazing photographer!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How do you say good-bye?

Don’t tell anyone but the Holy Smoker has been running in holy pants. Thankfully no one has noticed. Modesty dictates that I remove them from active duty before someone notices and speaks up. Most people are not gentle about exposing posterior exposure.

You must understand that removing these pants is not an easy task for me. You see, I’ve had these pants since around 1986. I bought them in New Zealand and ran many miles in them there, and I have worn them on a regular basis since then. Most of my 360+ miles this year have been in them, and my guess is that I’ve run close to 5,000 miles in them over the years. Who really knows, though? I do know that I have run a few marathons in them, and I wore them to run my 50K. If these pants could speak . . . On second thought that might not be a good idea.

This morning as I gently wept at the thought of removing these pants from active duty, I think Kedra was (at least inside) probably leaping for joy. She never has really liked them. (I think it might be the stirrups.) She has even hinted lately that they might be out of style. I would argue that they are like a vintage, classic car – things like these never go out of style.

I will be a little lost without these pants. I’m just thankful that warmer weather, shorts-wearing weather, has arrived. It lessens my grief, but I imagine the first cold day of late fall will be a hard day for me. I will go looking for something to keep my stunningly beautiful, perfectly shaped legs warm and then the grief will hit me again.

I’m not really sure what to do with these beloved pants. I put them in a trash can but later retrieved them. They actually look pretty good hanging from my bookshelf. Maybe a nice shadow box is the right place for them? I probably should let my grief pass before making any major decision.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday evening

It's been a good day so far. I'm getting ready to go to Jay's for a men's Bible study here in a few. It's always a nice time. There are just a few of us, so the conversations are very relaxed and real.

I'm still laughing about what a kid said in church yesterday. For those who weren't there or don't attend with us, let me tell you what happened. Each week we have all the little kids come down to the stage at the beginning of our assembly. Jean does a children's lesson with them. She does such a great job!

Yesterday as they were getting ready to leave she asked them if there were any songs that they would like to sing in the future while they leave the stage. They usually sing "this little light of mine" as they exit. The predictable songs were mentioned.

As she held the microphone up to the kids, one said, "Jesus loves me"; another said something similar. Then another little fellow raised his hand. Jean put the microphone up to his mouth, prompting him to make his request. The little guy then said in a loud, strong voice, "The devil went down to Georgia." Everybody cracked up!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday evening

It's been another good day!

This morning I had a good 16 mile run with some great people. It was very enjoyable. It was a little bit of a relief also. I had a hamstring scare mid week. No, it didn't jump out from behind a wall and say "Boo!". [I am so funny.] The scare was that it got very sore after Tuesday evening's tempo run. I took Wednesday off and cut Thursday's run short as a preventative move. It worked. Everything seems fine now.

This afternoon I smoked ribs. Lester and Maddie came in around 3. They are on their way back from Florida. They will spend the night and go to church with us in the morning before heading back to Indy tomorrow afternoon. Luke got in about 5. He is on spring break. I really look forward to having him around.

Tonight was truly special. It's hard to get all 4 of the kids + Maddie together at the same time. Since we were all together I had some pictures taken. We celebrated Luke's 20th birthday which is tomorrow (14th).

Getting ready to spring forward as I get ready to jump into bed before too long.

Good night!

Friday, March 12, 2010

What a day!

I have my new computer, which means I am trying to figure out lots of stuff. I don't have my email working yet, but I have a plan to get it going. Lots of newness! Can this old dog deal with it? We'll see...

Yesterday was a great day! The highlight was baptizing three wonderful people. I'll introduce them on Sunday.

Last night Kedra and I went to Texas Roadhouse to celebrate our anniversary. Texas Roadhouse has lots of memories for us. It is mostly where we have celebrated significant family events over the years, from the time the kids were young. It just seemed like the place to go last night. And of course the food is good AND we had gift cards. At this point practicality is romantic!

On our way home we got a call from Lester and Maddie, down on the Gulf Coast. They asked if it would be OK for them to come by Saturday night for supper and to spend the night. We told them that it would be very inconvenient and that they should not come. JUST KIDDING! We told them that we would throw another rack of ribs on the smoker and couldn't wait to see them. Luke will be home, so everyone will be here. I love it.

Today is going to be filled with computer learning, finishing up prep for Sunday, and a quiet evening at home.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


You very good at it?

Someone observed that you have 2 ears and 1 mouth; should tell us something.

Eugene Peterson in The Message translates a portion of James 1 like this:

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God's righteousness doesn't grow from human anger.

It is interesting to me that God a few times tells us to "be still." It's hard to hear God or anyone else if there is always noise.

"But we like noise!" Yeah, I know; me too. Lately I've trying to reduce/remove some of it; been turning the radio off. Also the TV (not as much; harder to do).

Listening to God quickly tells me that I really need to listen to others. Really. Listen.

My buddy Henri (Nouwen) says this:

Listening as Spiritual Hospitality

To listen is very hard, because it asks of us so much
interior stability that we no longer need to prove ourselves
by speeches, arguments, statements, or declarations. True
listeners no longer have an inner need to make their
presence known. They are free to receive, to welcome, to

Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while
waiting for a chance to respond. Listening is paying full
attention to others and welcoming them into our very beings.
The beauty of listening is that, those who are listened to
start feeling accepted, start taking their words more
seriously and discovering their own true selves. Listening
is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite
strangers to become friends, to get to know their inner
selves more fully, and even to dare to be silent with you

Can you hear me now?

Who said that?

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


Tonight was tempo Tuesday. I was 2 seconds slower for the first 2 miles but several seconds faster on the last one: 6.47, 6.47, and 6.38. Next week I'll shoot for a consistent 6.40 pace.

The temperature was 60 degrees! That was nice.

Tomorrow I will have been married 26 years! Kedra is wonderful, and I could not be blessed any more than to have been married to her for more than half of my life (met that point last year - 50 years old/married 25 years). She is beautiful, and she loves me. That last part is pretty amazing! I am not worthy!

My computer finally bit the dust today. Booo! I knew it was going to happen sooner or later. Todd is working on getting me a new one. I don't get very excited about a new computer. It just represents a lot of work of reloading everything and getting used to a new machine. That's sounds like a complaint, and I don't really mean it that way. I guess I am saying I was quite content with my old machine. In the meantime I am on the family computer.

Luke comes home this weekend! His spring break is next week. He wants some smoked baby back ribs on Saturday night. I am more than happy to help him out!

Lester and Maddie are in Orange Beach, AL. He is on spring break this week, and Maddie took a few days off work. I am so happy for them having some time away. I told him that I wish I be there too. He didn't too excited about the thought. ha ha.

Tomorrow is the long day. I have a meeting in the morning, followed by some study time. I'll visit a couple ladies in nursing facilities on my way to OCU-B. I'm giving a test tomorrow, so that means I'll get away from there a little quicker. I think I'll run tomorrow afternoon and then go the gym. Then I'll have a little more time to read. The meal at church, followed by my class will round out the day.

OK, that's enough rambling for now...

What should we do with sin?

Monday, March 08, 2010


What a nice weekend it was!

I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday. The weather was beautiful, and we had a nice crowd at church with lots of life. We had lunch with some friends, followed by a short nap. Then Kedra, Rebecca, Ben and I made our way out to the Park. The girls walked, Ben ran, and I rode my bike. Rebecca plans to walk the Indy Mini (13.1 miles), so she is trying to get some training in. Ben is planning to run it, so he was looking for a good training run. I’m after some cross-training, and Kedra just likes to walk. I think we were all satisfied.

Life group last night was good. There were 9 of us, and we talked some about unity in the church, focusing on the difference between those who are pretty engaged with church and those who simply attend but are not involved, which is probably the majority of folks.

One thing that we talked some about, and something I have been thinking a lot about, is the problem of perception. Sometimes people who are really trying to live a life in relationship with God (the engaged) can come across as “having it all together” or worse “holier than thou.” The reality is, I think, that very few people feel either way, even though those who are struggling with life may (maybe the majority, non-engaged attenders?) perceive them that way. It doesn’t make much sense for us to go around advertising our faults, failures, and insecurities to all who will listen, but those things do come out in authentic relationships.

The key to breaking down the barriers in church, as well, as outside is the pursuit of honest relationships where we truly live for the sake of other. Intentionality!

I read this this morning from Henri Nouwen; seems kinda related:

One of the hardest spiritual tasks is to live without prejudices. Sometimes we aren't even aware how deeply rooted our prejudices are. We may think that we relate to people who are different from us in colour, religion, sexual orientation, or lifestyle as equals, but in concrete circumstances our spontaneous thoughts, uncensored words, and knee-jerk reactions often reveal that our prejudices are still there.

Strangers, people different than we are, stir up fear, discomfort, suspicion, and hostility. They make us lose our sense of security just by being "other." Only when we fully claim that God loves us in an unconditional way and look at "those other persons" as equally loved can we begin to discover that the great variety in being human is an expression of the immense richness of God's heart. Then the need to prejudge people can gradually disappear.

It’s going to be a great week! Busy but good. This is a “rest” week in running. I’m going to drop from 50 miles to 45 this week. Some rest, eh? I’ll do a tempo run on Tuesday and 2 mile repeats (5) on Thursday, and a 16 mile run Saturday. Those are the “focused” runs. This morning is a nice easy 6 miler with Tim at the Park. Actually gotta go right now! See ya!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Runnin' & Smokin'

There's nothing quite like a good smoke after a good run!

Yesterday afternoon I got my smoker out and washed it and the trailer upon which it rides. They both had picked up a lot of mud from being transported from the barn to the house and back during some of the sloppy muddy, snowy times we've had this winter. Yes, I've smoked all winter long. It's a habit you know; quite addictive.

This morning I got up early and met Ryan R. about daylight. We ran 8 miles before the rest of the group showed up for their scheduled 12 miler. That's right, it was another 20 miler in the works. I am happy to say that everything went really well. I'm not sure of the overall pace, but it was good and consistent. It was another confidence builder. Running with a large group is such an enjoyable experience. Ryan had a good run. He's looking strong for his marathon, which is a week after mine.

Now I have a chicken and some beef ribs on the smoker carefully preparing themselves for my enjoyment. I've smoked lots of things, but I've never done beef ribs. I think they will turn out well; hopefully my plan for smoking them will be successful. I'll let you know.

White Castle Wedding

Recently a couple got married at a White Castle hamburger place. Pretty weird. But, hey, if you are really into White Castles, then why not?

Here is a video.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Interesting Approach!

Repent Amarillo is a Christian group that is trying to convert the entire city by becoming the army of God.

Here are some of their targets:

1. Gay pride events.

2. Earth worship events such as “Earth Day”

3. Pro-abortion events or places such as Planned Parenthood

4. Breast cancer events such as “Race for the Cure” to illuminate the link between abortion and breast cancer.

5. Opening day of public schools to reach out to students.

6. Spring break events.

7. Demonically based concerts.

8. Halloween events.

9. Other events that may arise that the ministry feels called to confront.

These large events may involve both the intercessory prayer AND the soldier groups. Some of the smaller events that can be accomplished in between the larger events may be:

1. Sexually oriented businesses such as pornography shops, strip joints, and XXX-rated theaters.

2. Idolatry locations such as palm readers, false religions, and witchcraft. Many of the smaller missions listed above may be just prayer oriented missions for tearing down demonic strongholds or they may involve more aggressive use of soldiers and prayer warriors. Some other missions occasionally employed may be “undercover operations” where the groups show up together but are not publicly visible together to effect the outcome of a public meeting such as city commissioners meetings, etc.

Wow! Doesn't seem quite like the approach of Jesus to me.

This Too Shall Pass

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Couple of good lines

Here's one to live by:

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

One to wrestle with:

I'm not much, but I'm all I think about.

A guy in my class last night came out with that one; cracked everybody up. Pretty profound when you think about it.

Put those two statements side by side today and think about them.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Tuesday Evening

After a day of wrestling with the Waldensians, the Inquisition, Scholasticism, and a bunch of other interesting stuff from church history, along with studying Ephesians 4:1-6, I needed to get out an run.

Tonight was Tuesday Tempo, so I joined about a half dozen others in warming up for a couple of miles and then running hard for 3 miles, followed by a 2 mile cool down. My goal was to run 3 miles at a 6.55 pace, but I hit the first mile at 6.45. I was able to hold that pace for the next mile and then finished with a 6.44. I was very happy with a 6.45, 6.45, 6.44 tempo run! Tomorrow 6 miles, Thursday 10, off Friday, and then 20 on Saturday. That will make 50 miles for the week.

Here are some things a wrote down/copied today.

From Henri Nouwen:

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”

Isn’t this what the church is supposed to be/do? Yes. The answer is yes.

Do we value God’s love enough to be shaped by it?

“The ego is the main problem in relations, for therein lies the origin of feelings of inferiority and arrogance, of envy and greed, of prejudice and defensiveness, and of intolerance and abuse. As William Temple noted, pride is always the root of spiritual failure. The solution is in a sense of God’s grace, for grace prevents the ego from inflating its own significance.” K. Snodgrass

Green Leaf Living

This video features Lynn Anderson talking about his cancer and approach to suffering and living. It's worth watching. Lynn is the author of They Smell Like Sheep and other books. His work has greatly influenced my ministry, as well as that of our elders.

Monday, March 01, 2010

6 months to live

What if that's all you had? Six months to live - what would you do?

We had a really good discussion at Jay Eubank's home this evening, and it included this question.

It's been a good day; busy but good. I got a lot accomplished, and that always makes me feel better. I got a good 7 mile run in this morning. I ran a hilly course from Spice Valley church to the Bryantsville church and back, plus a little more. It felt good; the warmer weather is nice.

Oakland City went well today. My students were in a mood to talk/discuss. That always makes things better. We talked about the Eastern Orthodox Church, St. Francis, and the Crusades. We covered a lot of territory!

Tomorrow is my day to study. Church history. Ephesians 4:1-6.