Thursday, April 28, 2005

Bill's on fire

Go check out Bill's post on revolution. Good stuff. Here here. Can I get a witness?

Warning: Explicit Language

This post involves use of a word not generally spoken in a chapel. If you are easily offended, you might not want to proceed with this one.

So, this past Sunday, I was preaching on grace and in doing research for the sermon, came across an idea employed by Max Lucado, that involves offering a dollar at the end of my sermon. As Lucado describes, it took a minute, but eventually someone came up to take the dollar. I then went into the application asking why others didn't take it. The obvious application is that grace is also a free gift that many will not accept. I got typical responses, many direct quotes from In the Grip of Grace. Then a guy at the back gave a different answer (not covered in the book) about why he didn't go up.

We'll call him Joseph (because that's his name) and he said, "Because it takes balls to go up there."

While I translated back that it takes "courage" to come to the front, something in me was pleased that Joseph answered as he had. When we arrived at this corps (church), one of the most important tasks in front of us was returning dignity and integrity to the worship services, but it was also to return, I think, a sense of a community of worship--that this was not just another place to get a free meal in the city, but that we were about worshiping God together regardless of our background. That Joseph wanted to contribute to the discussion and felt comfortable to comment in his own, honest way was far more important to me in the moment than the fact that he let a word slip that "wasn't a church word." He was sincere and meant no harm.

Sometimes, I think we get hung up on standards for behavior and the ways of worship to an extent that we can lose sight of what an honest heart speaking honestly to the community is really worth.

But it also raises a question for me. What crosses the line for you? What "can't happen in the chapel?" I had an interesting discussion with my How-to-do-church class at Project 1:17 on this yesterday. A dollar for your thoughts.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Plan B Morning After Pill

New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is looking to put tax money toward the Plan B morning after pill. The full story is in the Daily News today. He is the first political figure to put tax money toward this and he is doing it in the name of reducing the number of abortions in the city.

This quote blew me away: "The mayor said that of the estimated 215,000 pregnancies in the city last year, 130,000 were unintended - and 90,000 of those were terminated."

He's saying more than half of the pregnancies were unintended and 40% resulted in abortions.

The morning after pill that he's advocating is not like RU486 which essentially causes an egg attached to the uterus to be aborted. This one is like a more powerful version of birth control that a woman can take within up to 3 days.

Another quote: "'It would be nice to see the City of New York talk about abstinence,' said Conservative Party leader Mike Long, 'and not send a signal to all our citizens - especially young people - that you can be irresponsible.'"

Right to life? Government-funded? Medicaid-covered? In God We Trust?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Beautiful in the Bronx

Shea on Friday night, Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night. Due to April special promotions, I paid $14 for 4 tickets in 5 days. Yes, the Yankees were playing the Devil Rays, but Randy Johnson was on the hill and just as my friend Shawn, also a lifelong Red Sox fan, and I would have hoped, he looked awful. He gave up two HRs to Eduardo Perez who had not hit a single home run in a year's time before Tuesday and 5 earned runs overall. Then Tom "Where is the Flash?" Gordon came in and gave up some more big hits.

Perfect night for baseball, a summer night really in mid-April. As we sat in the upper tier, closer to the action than in box seats at some of the ugly 70s stadiums, we both agreed that the Yankees do not need a new stadium. I hate the team, but I can appreciate a good place to watch a game and there's nothing lacking in the Bronx, particularly when one figures in the value of history.

So for $4 less than the cheapest single seat at the Fens, I got to see two results I wanted (a Mets win and a Yankee loss) with my sister and one of my best friends. Who says everything is overpriced in the Big Apple?

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Moriah, Golgotha & Paradise

Moriah, Golgotha & Paradise words and music by Phil Laeger,
© 2003 Phil Laeger
If I look in the mirror, I don't see me
Nor in Your eyesHeavenward or straight out, nothing comes to mind
So, who am I?I'd rather die than not have wings to fly...

I know You're more than just a backdrop
I, an actor on this stage
But could You make my costume deep red,
rather than this beige
And would You mind
Tellin' me the lines to say and just which part am I?

All I want
Is all You are
All You give is Your life

So much truth, it's delicious. What a gift. How does this kid write like this? Go visit him. Click on the PHILosopher link or go to

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Shea Hey

I went to Shea Stadium last night for the first time, got tickets for $2. That's about what I'd want to pay for the Mets. Can't remember the last time I went to a baseball stadium for the first time. Shea's a weird stadium, being in the city, but away from anything really. You can get there on the subway, but I can't imagine many people walk there. It's not the kind of place, like the Fleet Center or Madison Square Garden, where you might meet someone for dinner before a game and then head to the stadium. You might meet a guy about doing bodywork on your late-model car, but not dinner.

As are so many stadiums contemporary to Shea, it is ugly and without character. The only saving grace is that it's not a complete ring and you can actually see water from the stands. Other than that, it's kind of a who cares place. Light crowd, so we moved down a level and got much better seats. The game itself was decently entertaining as Aaron Heilmann pitched a complete game one-hitter and the Mets won 4-0.

The only other amusement came from the idiot community college types behind us. One of them, in very typical guy fashion (I don't know a single woman who does this) chose a phrase and repeated it over and over again. Anytime something would happen on the field or someone in the stands would attempt to lead a cheer or get people to do the wave, he would yell out in a game show announcer voice "That's the way you do it. That's it." Being male, I laughed. If you ask my sister who was with me at the game what the guy said every two minutes, she probably could not tell you.

For those who care to comment on blogs, why does this work for guys and not for women? What is your favorite oft-repeated phrase, by a buddy of yours or within your circle of fella friends?

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Back to the Blog

So, I've gotten two comments about my bloggio silence.

I'm back and here's why I've been silent. My family is in transition again. The New York experiment has run its course. The city for Jen, as a mom and a person who grew up in the poster child for small town America, has been overwhelming. The job, for me, with its various distinct simultaneous pressures has been overwhelming. Riley had a tough transition to the city, but has really come along showing surprising ability to identify midtown geography. Funny from yesterday, we were heading up the FDR to go out of the city and Ri was looking across the river and told us that she saw the "Curious George Washington Bridge." Awesome.

Anyway, we're moving on at the end of June, but our plans have recently become more in flux than we thought they were and we've really been through a tough time of examination of ourselves and our situation the last 3 weeks. I'd love to say it's been all prayer and patience and peace, but in our struggles, don't you know we regress into our humanity and into complaining and being hurt and wondering if we can really trust? But I would say now that following some kicking and screaming on our part, we do find of course that God is good and we do have peace even though we really feel like there's a lot of suspense about where we'll be in just under 3 months time. We're trying to ascribe to the Kenny Rogers/Wyclef Philosophy as described in the recent remake of The Gambler: "You've got to count your dumplins before you touch the turntable/Cause if you run out of big dreams, that means your sound is done." You know what I'm sayin?

Covet your prayers and any job openings you might know of. "Maverick, do you remember the name of that truck-driving school we saw on the way up here? I might need that right about now."