Monday, June 30, 2008

Jesus for President - The Issues

I am reading a book written by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw called Jesus for President. This excerpt called The Issues was awesome. What would it look like in the church if ALL subscribed to this principle? All of the petty differences on doctrine cause too many rifts in the church today. Check this out:

As I (Shane) was growing up in East Tennessee, my political worldview was carefully crafted by Bible Belt culture. I had all kinds of views on the hot-button political issues. But mostly I had ideologies, which aren't very compelling, even if they are true. I've learned from conservatives and liberals that you can be politically correct and still be mean.

I can remember ripping liberals up in debates on homosexuality. But I didn't know anyone who was gay or who felt like talking to me about it (which is understandable). Years later I met a fellow in college who shared with me that he was attracted to other men and that he had grown to feel that God had made a mistake when God created him. Far from finding any sense of community or intimacy in the church, he was alone and confessed that he wanted to kill himself. I thought that if this brother cannot find a home in the church, who have we become? I marveled at the complexity of the struggle to understand our sexuality, a complexity I couldn't understand until the issue took on a face and had a story and cried tears.

We would do much better to create communities in the church in which people can find intimacy and love than to split congregations over issues. Christians should stick to replicating the sacrificial love of Jesus toward gay people and trust that this loving service will do more to transform people than laws ever could. Besides, the contradictions in evangelicalism are clear. Take divorce, for example, a sin Jesus spoke clearly about. The divorce rate of evangelical Christians now surpasses that of the rest of the population in the United States. Evangelicals are getting divorced, and gay folks are wanting to get married, and religionists keep accusing homosexuals of destroying the family. Yikes. If we truly had a church in which people could love and be loved, we would tanscend so many divisive issues and be free to become the people God has created us to be.

After all, our deepest longing is for love, not sex. As my celibate mentor reminds me over and over.

"We can live without sex, but we cannot live without love."

And there are plenty of folks who have a lot of sex but very little love, and plenty of others who have never had sex at all but experience a great deal of love.

As I continued to wrestle with complex human and political issues, I resolved myself to one thing: the starting point must be that the church is a place where we can grapple with difficult questions with grace and humility. And I believe that, even more important than thinking identically on every issue, we must learn to disagree well. Our ability as a church to disagree well is as powerful a witness to the larger society as our uniformity on every issue.

I really loved that last part that I put in bold. Could you imagine what would happen if all churches did this? Think about it..................................................................................................


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Barack The Vote 2008: Join The MOVEMENT

BA-RACK the Vote 2008

If you feel so inclined please speak out against the verbal attack that Dr. James Dobson spewed about Obama by signing here


A night of sushi and then some folk music

Patty and I had a nice date night last night. We went out to eat at one of our favorite places, the Pacific Seafood Buffet. This place is awesome and if you're a sushi lover, then you need to check this place out. Even if you don't like sushi, they offer all the asian hot dishes too. It is all-you-can-eat, which is awesome if you like sushi, because sushi can get pricey if you have to order and pay for different types of sushi at an ordinary sushi bar.

After dinner we headed over to a little coffee bar called Cup O’ Karma located at 1710 W. Southern Ave. Mesa, AZ 85202-Directions: Between Dobson & Longmore, across from MCC & next to Cheba Hut. My good buddy Todd Baio sent me this invitation:
Hi Friends,

gonna be playing some acoustic music with my friend Paul in Mesa this Friday night from 7:00 to 9:00pm......

I'll be packing the guit-fiddle, ukuleles, harmonicas, kazoo, and my new washboard!!!

He blogs at ragtagshope and you can buy some of his music here. If you like folk music, I highly recommend checking him out and supporting him. You can listen to some of it here.

The coffee bar was cool too. It was donated to a non-profit organization that helps and trains victims of domestic violence and battered women to get back on their feet. An awesome organization to say the least.

Thanks Todd for inviting us, it was a blessing to see you and your friend Paul play.

To my readers,
Todd is a great humble guy and I encourage you to buy his CD to help him out. He is a very encouraging kind of guy and has been a blessing in my life.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Pets of the homeless

A person by the screenname of happytails left a comment on my previous post. They pointed me to an organization called

A few years ago I knew a homeless guy that hung around the church we attended back then and he had a loyal dog that was always with him. We used to feed the dog too.

Thank you happytails, whoever you are, for sharing this site with us. Bless you!


Helping the Homeless

I have always wanted to start a ministry to the homeless. There are many here in the Phoenix area due to the climate. Keith Giles, a blogger that I read daily, offers some excellent guidelines in starting a ministry to the homeless.

Ministry to the Homeless: What You Need to Know Before You Go

Ministry to the classically homeless is much more challenging than you might think.

Our family has centered mainly on ministry to families who live in motels or to individuals who find themselves suddenly in danger of becoming homeless, or to the elderly.

Ministry to those who have lived on the streets for long periods of time, those I call "Classically Homeless", can be difficult. Here's some of why that is and what can be done to provide assistance.

Why are They Homeless?

Many of those who live in a state of long-term homelessness are there because of drugs, alcohol or mental illness issues.


For those who are homeless because of addiction and substance abuse issues, you should keep in mind that they will do whatever it takes to get money from you in order to get their drug of choice. Don't be surprised or offended if they lie to you. Don't be afraid to tell them you know they are lying (if you suspect it to be so). Honesty can go a long way and it helps them to know you're not easily fooled.

How to Help

Usually the best course of action to take is to help them with the condition in place that they seek out help for their addiction. So, if you buy them something to eat or if you put them in a hotel, etc. you let them know that next time your helping them will depend on whether or not they have followed through with getting off the streets and addressing their greater need to escape addiction.

Mental Health Issues

Many of those who are living on the streets for long periods of time are dealing with mental health issues. Local mental health hospitals have the unfortunate habit of releasing residents who are not dangerous to themselves or to others due to over-crowding and a lack of funding. This puts many homeless on the streets who are not taking their medications and are suffering (not just due to hunger but also the pain of their illness) without any hope of getting better.

Communication with them can be difficult, if not impossible. Some cannot carry on a coherent conversation while others can appear lucid at first and then drift off into delusional behavior and display wild mood swings and unexpected changes due to their illness.

How to Help

In these cases I usually refer them, if possible, to a local mental wellness organization or to a non-profit that is more adept at treating people like this since it's very far outside my area of expertise.

Of course, not all of those who are homeless are mentally ill or struggling with addictions. Some of them have emotional issues and others have simply fallen deeper into the pit of poverty due to a loss of employment or other unexpected event.


Ministry to the classically homeless is much more difficult to do as a family due to the erratic and sometimes frightening behavior which can be encountered. Our family has focused mainly on ministry to the elderly and to families living in motels or in low-income housing since its something we can do with our children. However, there is plenty of great ministry to be done with those who are living in long-term homelessness. This will usually involve a more specialized skill-set and typically requires a person have lots of patience and a high level of discernment.

Ministry to Prostitutes - Into the Real Darkness

I've only been out about four times to the streets here in Orange County to minister to women caught in prostitution. Most of what I've learned is based on research and several crushing episodes of utter, empty defeat and failure.

This ministry is easily the most challenging and "outside my comfort zone". It means entering a dark, dangerous world where you are an outsider and the level of commitment required is off the charts.

First, a little bit of background about the issue.

Hard to Quit

Most girls who are on the streets will either get off and back into a normal life in the first three months or it will be another ten years before they can escape this lifestyle. Why? Because the work is so repugnant and degrading, at first, that if they're ever going to escape it has to be in those first few months. Otherwise, they get trapped into this lifestyle through fear of their pimp and/or through dependence on the drugs their pimp supplies them with.

Hooked by Fear and Addiction

What keeps most girls on the streets is the fear of being abused or killed by their pimp, and/or their need to keep an expensive drug habit going. Their pimps usually get them hooked on drugs as quickly as they can in order to control them. They know that no other lifestyle would afford their girls the kind of money they need to keep the drugs flowing, so the girls are essentially trapped into this life of prostitution.

Human Slavery

Another difficult and impossible situation is where you have forced prostitution through organized crime syndicates. Many girls are here from Russia, the Ukraine, Romania, Thailand, Cambodia, and other impoverished nations. Many were tricked into coming here and are kept here by the threat of harm to their families back in their home country. They cannot leave, even if they desperately want to escape, because to leave would mean the murder of their mother, father, siblings, etc.

It's very shocking to realize that human slavery is alive and well in the United States of America. Just about a year ago the Orange County Police Department broke up the largest human trafficking/forced prostitution ring in the history of this region. I remember it because it was just weeks before the Freedom Day on March 25th at Vanguard where hundreds gathered to protest slavery and bring attention to this very real problem.

America is the number one market for human sexual slavery. Anaheim, the home of Disneyland, is one of the largest markets for human trafficking in the Nation.

You can find out more information about this online at

Different Types

You'll encounter one of four different kinds of girls who work on the streets.

1)Street level- Normally these are homeless girls who have no pimp and work prostitution for the food and for drugs. It's purely survival and quick cash.
2)Weekenders- These girls come and work to support their children or save money for college or other reasons. They are healthy and generally wear clean, attractive clothing.
3)Circuit Girls- These girls work a circuit throughout California, Nevada, Florida, etc. They wear exaggerated clothing (very Hollywood-esque). These look the most like obvious prostitutes and are the easiest to spot.
4)Transvestite- A man who dresses like a woman to turn tricks. Some have had surgery and take hormones to round off the illusion. You think it would be easy to tell the difference. You would be wrong.

Ministry Ideas

*Stay Up Late

Due to the nature of this ministry, to find the girls you need to be where they are, and that means on the streets between 12am and 4am. You're guaranteed to loose sleep over this ministry.

*Mixed Teams

If you go out you need to always stay in mixed teams of guys and girls. It's a bad idea for guys to go out alone, since they might be arrested for soliciting, and it's not safe for girls to go out alone either. Mixed groups of at least four people work best.

*Pray, Pray, Pray

Prayer is crucial since you are entering into the Enemy's camp. This is where the Kingdom of Darkness clashes with the Kingdom of God. Expect a lot of spiritual attack at home and during the ministry time.

*Bless Them

You mainly want to get to know these girls. As with other ministries weve discussed thus far, consistency is the key. Build a relationship. Buy them breakfast if they'll let you. Listen to their stories. Ask them what they need and try to meet practical needs.

*Gift Bags

One local ministry to prostitutes brings gift bags to the girls with make-up supplies, gift cards to shops and food stores, clothing stores, etc. It brings down their guard and allows you a chance to smile, bless them, find out their names and ask if you can pray for them.

*The Pimps

Believe it or not, getting to know these guys can be a significant part of the process. One ministry I know of actually spends a lot of time trying to help these guys change their lives and turn to Christ. If they do, the girls usually follow and the operation is shut down because the girls, and their pimp, have surrendered to Christ and are seeking to live a new life.


Sadly, 98% of the girls who are on the streets now will stay there, and die there. This means that out of every 100 girls you reach out to, only 2 of them will get off the streets and stay off.

For those who do get off the streets, the process means getting off the streets and then relapsing over and over again for a few years before finally, eventually, getting off the streets for life.

Of course, these statistics don't tell the whole story. Some girls get off and stay off in one shot, some leave after several years, others after only a few months. But you should know what you're getting into before you commit to such a challenging ministry.

Getting Them Real Help

If you encounter girls who are under 18 you should refer them to "Children of the Night" (if you have one in your area) or even the local police department. These are minors who need to be rescued from this lifestyle.

The challenge I've run into is the lack of resources for girls who are under 18, don't have a Driver's License, or a SS card. These are usually girls who are here illegally or runaways.

If the girl is over 18 you can send them to Teen Challenge and/or another drug and alcohol treatment center where their addictions can be addressed and they can receive spiritual guidance and emotional healing. Sadly, most non-profit groups will not accept a girl who is under 18. Go figure.

What is really needed to minister to these girls is a long list of resources:

*Trained counselors
*Free shelter
*Addiction treatment
*Job Training*Free Child Care*Healthcare access (for health checkups, STD's, etc.)

As I said before, the most challenging and overwhelming ministry I've ever known is ministry to prostitutes. Not for the faint of heart.

I know this series doesn't even come close to scratching the surface of this topic of serving the poor and the homeless and people in need, but hopefully this is enough to get many of you thinking and praying about your own first steps.

I do hope you will email me directly if you have further questions or response to this series of articles. Many of you have already asked me for permission to reprint them and use in your Church or ministry efforts. That's what these are for. I do appreciate knowing about where these are being used and how, but otherwise they're meant to help you to serve others more effectively.

Keith Giles is the author of "Nobody Follows Jesus (So Why Should You?)" which is available as a free PDF download at his website,

Dobson's a dork

Found this blog on She really breaks down Dobson's attack on Obama point by point. Great stuff.

Dobson's a dork

Thu, 06/26/2008 - 11:33am — Barbara.

Okay, not really a dork. But still.

Now this is going to get awfully long, and I apologize, but Dr. Dobson's broadcast really pissed me off.

In case you missed it, Tuesday Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and the unofficial leader of the Christian Right, the man millions of Americans turn to for direction in voting decisions, decried Obama as "confused" and a "fruitcake." He did so in a scathing deconstruction (his discussion of Obama starts at the 11 minute mark of his broadcast) of Obama's brilliant 2006 "Call to Renewal" speech on the place of faith in politics.

Now, I don't know if Dobson has watched or read the entire speech. But I have done so several times, and the delivery is one of the finest in a generation of politics. Either Dr. Dobson did not read the entire text, or worse, if he did, he deliberately distorted the meaning and purpose of Obama's remarks.

Dobson takes segments of the speech out of context to suggest that Obama

1. lacks the Biblical understanding necessary to derive appropriate political direction from the Scriptures.
2. desires an entirely secular government based on the "lowest common denominator of morality."
3. endorses legislation of ethics/morality only if 100% of Americans agree, thereby rendering any ethical legislation impossible.
4. "doesn't give a flip" about the preservation of the family.

Here is my response to Dr. Dobson's allegations:

1. Dr. Dobson uses Obama's discussion of Exodus, Leviticus, and Matthew, to suggest that Obama is equating Old Testament law with New Testament grace, and that Obama somehow believes OT law offers political direction just as legitimate at that derived from the Sermon on the Mount.

That's absurd. Anyone listening to the entire context of Obama's remarks would understand that Obama is simply suggesting that we cannot rely on any one sacred text alone to determine our colective political course. The decisions of government must be rooted in the will of the people (which indeed is often determined by our beliefs and our faith) combined with the written parameters defining the scope and purpose of our government.

2. Dr. Dobson continues his analysis in suggesting that because Obama does not see Scripture alone as a valid source for law, Obama is proposing a secular state, an amoral state. Again, that's not what Obama was saying. Why would he even make such a proposal while speaking at a church venue in a forum dedicated to the renewal of faith in politics?

What Obama is suggesting is that when we as Christians desire to effect change in political direction, we cannot rely simply on our own Scriptural interpretation to do so. We must appeal the law of our land and the purpose of our government when forming our arguments. It is possible to ground most of our moral and ethical arguments in these, and in doing so our arguments and movements become legally stronger, not weaker.

3. Dobson suggests that because 70% of Americans are self-proclaimed Christians, the Christian voice effectively serves as a majority voice, and majority rule. He caricatures Obama as believing that 70% is not enough, that "we the people" means every last person must be in agreement in order to effect any change. But obviously Obama is not suggesting a need for unanimity in direction.

What Obama is suggesting is that this nation was founded on the notion that there will be no official American relgion no matter how great the number of adherents. Neither 70% nor even 100% of the population following one religion is enough to make that religion the foundation of our laws. This is why Obama rightfully asserts that we as Christians must be able to make our policy arguments independent of Scriptural citation. If we as Christians are allowed simply to appeal to Scripture to make policy changes, we've effectively become the state-sponsored religion.

4. Dr. Dobson says that none of the three candidates has uttered "a single word" on the importance of preserving the family. This is patently false. Obama has won accolades by being unafraid to challenge Americans to stop making excuses and start effecting change in their own homes. He's said we have to turn off the TV and start spending time with our kids. He's said we need to get "Uncle Willie" off the couch and help him find a job. He's said we need to show our youth how to invest in the community to help break the cycle of broken families. And Obama, unlike his opponent, has honored his commitment to his marriage.

Throughout the broadcast, Dobson and Minnery are openly mocking of Obama's message, his church, and his faith. This strikes me as the utmost in hubristic self-righteousness and utterly inappropriate for a Christian leader. Last I checked judgmentalism was not among the fruits of the Spirit, and it is His throne, not ours, that was established for judgment.

At one point Dr. Dobson and the show's moderator have this exchange:

Tom Minnery: I think he is dragging Biblical understanding through the gutter, I just don't know whether he's doing it willfully or accidentally.

James Dobson, replying to Minnery: I think he's deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own world view, his own confused theoogy.

Well, this is my take. Dobson and Minnery are clearly dragging Obama's message through the gutter. I just don't know for certain whether they're doing it willfully and accidentally. But when I think about it, it seems they're deliberately distorting Obama's remarks to fit their own political views and their own confused agenda.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Jim Wallis Responds To Dobson's Attacks On Obama's Faith

Dobson and Obama: Who is 'Deliberately Distorting'? (By Jim Wallis)

James Dobson, of Focus on the Family Action, and his senior vice president of government and public policy, Tom Minnery, used their "Focus on the Family" radio show to criticize Barack Obama's understanding of Christian faith. In the show, they describe Obama as "deliberately distorting the Bible," "dragging biblical understanding through the gutter," "willfully trying to confuse people," and having a "fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution."

The clear purpose of the show was to attack Barack Obama. On the show, Dobson says of himself, "I'm not a reverend. I'm not a minister. I'm not a theologian. I'm not an evangelist. I'm a psychologist. I have a Ph.D. in child development." Child psychologists don't insert themselves into partisan politics in the regular way that James Dobson does and has over many years as one of the premier leaders of the Religious Right. He has spoken about how often he talked to Republican leaders -- Karl Rove, administration strategists, and even President Bush himself. This year he tried to influence the outcome of the Republican primary by saying he would never vote for John McCain or the Republicans if they nominated him, then reversed himself and said he would vote after all but didn't say for whom. But why should America care about how a child psychologist votes?

James Dobson is insinuating himself into this presidential campaign, and his attacks against his fellow Christian, Barack Obama, should be seriously scrutinized. And because the basis for his attack on Obama is the speech the Illinois senator gave at our Sojourners/Call to Renewal event in 2006 (for the record, we also had Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republicans Rick Santorum and Sam Brownback speak that year), I have decided to respond to Dobson's attacks. In most every case they are themselves clear distortions of what Obama said in that speech. I was there for the speech; Dobson was not.

I haven't endorsed a candidate, but I do defend them when they are attacked in disingenuous ways, and this is one of those cases. You can read Obama's two-year-old speech, [audio link] which was widely publicized at the time, and you can see that Dobson either didn't understand it or is deliberately distorting it. There are two major problems with Dobson's attack on Obama.

First, Dobson and Minnery's language is simply inappropriate for religious leaders to use in an already divisive political campaign. We can agree or disagree on both biblical and political viewpoints, but our language should be respectful and civil, not attacking motives and beliefs.

Second, and perhaps most important, is the role of religion in politics. Dobson alleges that Obama is saying:

I [Dobson] can't seek to pass legislation, for example, that bans partial-birth abortion because there are people in the culture who don't see that as a moral issue. And if I can't get everyone to agree with me, it is undemocratic to try to pass legislation that I find offensive to the Scripture. ... What he's trying to say here is unless everybody agrees, we have no right to fight for what we believe.

Contrary to Dobson's charge, Obama strongly defended the right and necessity of people of faith in bringing their moral agenda to the public square, and he was specifically critical of many on the left and in his own Democratic Party for being uncomfortable with religion in politics.

Obama said that religion is and always has been a fundamental and absolutely essential source of morality for the nation, but he also said that "religion has no monopoly on morality," which is a point I often make. The United States is not the Christian theocracy that people like James Dobson seem to think it should be. Political appeals, even if rooted in religious convictions, must be argued on moral grounds rather than as sectarian religious demands -- so that the people (citizens), whether religious or not, may have the capacity to hear and respond. Religious convictions must be translated into moral arguments, which must win the political debate if they are to be implemented. Religious people don't get to win just because they are religious. They, like any other citizens, have to convince their fellow citizens that what they propose is best for the common good -- for all of us, not just for the religious.

Instead of saying that Christians must accept the "the lowest common denominator of morality," as Dobson accused Obama of suggesting, or that people of faith shouldn't advocate for the things their convictions suggest, Obama was saying the exact opposite -- that Christians should offer their best moral compass to the nation but then engage in the kind of democratic dialogue that religious pluralism demands. Martin Luther King Jr. perhaps did this best, with his Bible in one hand and the Constitution in the other.

One more note. I personally disagree with how both the Democrats and Republicans have treated the moral issue of abortion and am hopeful that the movement toward a serious commitment for dramatic abortion reduction will re-shape both parties' language and positions. But that is the only "bloody notion" that Dobson mentions. What about the horrible bloody war in Iraq that Dobson apparently supports, or the 30,000 children who die each day globally of poverty and disease that Dobson never mentions, or the genocides in Darfur and other places? In making abortion the single life issue in politics and elections, leaders from the Religious Right like Dobson have violated the "consistent ethic of life" that we find, for example, in Catholic social teaching.

Dobson has also fought unsuccessfully to keep the issue of the environment and climate change, which many also now regard as a "life issue," off the evangelical agenda. Older Religious Right leaders are now being passed by a new generation of young evangelicals who believe that poverty, "creation care" of the environment, human trafficking, human rights, pandemic diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and the fundamental issues of war and peace are also "religious" and "moral" issues and now a part of a much wider and deeper agenda. That new evangelical agenda is a deep threat to Dobson and the power wielded by the Religious Right for so long. It puts many evangelical votes in play this election year, especially among a new generation who are no longer captive to the Religious Right. Perhaps that is the real reason for Dobson's attack on Barack Obama.

Obama responds to Dobson

Obama dismisses Dobson criticism about Bible


LOS ANGELES (AP) - Barack Obama said Tuesday evangelical leader James Dobson was "making stuff up" when he accused the presumed Democratic presidential nominee of distorting the Bible.

Dobson used his Focus on the Family radio program to highlight excerpts of a speech Obama gave in June 2006 to the liberal Christian group Call to Renewal.

Speaking to reporters on his campaign plane before landing in Los Angeles, Obama said the speech made the argument that people of faith, like himself, "try to translate some of our concerns in a universal language so that we can have an open and vigorous debate rather than having religion divide us."

Obama added, "I think you'll see that he was just making stuff up, maybe for his own purposes."
In his program, Dobson focused on examples Obama cited in asking which Biblical passages should guide public policy. For instance, Obama said Leviticus suggests slavery is OK and eating shellfish is an abomination. Obama also cited Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, "a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application."

"Folks haven't been reading their Bibles," Obama said in that speech two years ago.
"I think he's deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology," Dobson said.

Asked about Dobson's assessment, Obama said "somebody would be pretty hard-pressed to make that argument" that he was distorting the Bible.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dobson is at it again

Dobson is in the news again throwing his morality out at others as usual...

Dobson took aim at examples Obama cited in asking which Biblical passages should guide public policy - chapters like Leviticus, which Obama said suggests slavery is OK and eating shellfish is an abomination, or Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, "a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application."

"Folks haven't been reading their Bibles," Obama said.

Dobson and Minnery accused Obama of wrongly equating Old Testament texts and dietary codes that no longer apply to Jesus' teachings in the New Testament.

"I think he's deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology," Dobson said.

"... He is dragging biblical understanding through the gutter."

But I'll bet he still teaches "tithing" which is also an Old Testament law that does not apply under the new covenant.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Obama and the ukelele

My buddy Todd over at Rag Tags Hope is a HUGE fan of the Ukelele and he sent me this photo this morning. So in honor of my good buddy Todd and the hope that Obama will be our next it is!

Peace and thanks again for sending me this photo Todd.

George Carlin The Hippy Dippy Weatherman

George Carlin 1937-2008 R.I.P.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hotter than Hot's been unbelievably hot here in the desert southwest lately. Yes, it is a "dry heat" is how the saying goes. But hot is hot. Days on end of 110+ degrees. Yesterday was 115. But today, a nice chilly 111. This week it will stay hot all the way into next weekend. Soon, the monsoon season should kick in and hopefully we will have an active thunderstorm season this year.

Patty's Air Conditioner in her car crapped out today. Un-freaking-believable I say. It's still almost new and only has 12K miles on it. So she will no doubt be taking it back in to the Mazda dealership because it is under warranty.

My parents are out in New Mexico for the summer but will be returning to Tucson for a week or so the first week in July to check on their house. I am off that week and plan on driving down to take my mom out for lunch. I'll get there the evening of the 2nd and take her to lunch the next day. Then on Saturday the 5th my dad and I will go see the Sprint Cars on the Manzanita Speedway Half-mile track. Then they will probably go to church with us on Sunday.

I'm going to the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival July 18th with a friend from work. All day long at Cricket Pavilion on July 18th. Why do they have outdoor concerts in Phoenix during the summer? Anyhow, this tour will definitely not be for the mellow types. Slipknot, Disturbed, Five Finger Death Punch and many more. Oh yeah, Underoath too. Awesome that there are some Christian guys that play heavy music and even tour with these guys.

What I really cannot wait for is the first week in August. Patty and I celebrate 21 years of marriage and we will be staying at Carlsbad by the Sea. I'm already sick and tired of the heat so by that time I'll be ready to get outta here for awhile.


Friday, June 20, 2008

But much of the religion that bears his name in the cultural context I’m imbedded in–21st Century America–is misrepresenting him. The most powerful influence of the last thirty years or so has been the Religious Right. I like conservative thinkers: David Brooks, George Will is worth a listen for sure, William F. Buckley in his day. But some of the main voices in the Religious Right I have a bone to pick with. This blind marriage between one particular political philosophy–right now it’s conservatism, at an earlier time is was a Marxist liberalism–this marriage between that and the name of Jesus, has at times, bordered on the blasphemous. Crossed the line sometimes. It’s been an exercise in using the Lord’s name in vain. You say that, and people call you a liberal, but I’m of the opinion that liberal-conservative, when applied to matters of faith is a category error and I don’t buy it. So I’ve got this feisty thing going. And some of my best friends are conservative and some are liberal and if you had to characterize me as a political animal, I’d probably want to pick and choose the best of both those categories, the ones that when cobbled together would most closely resemble in some hodge-podge fashion the One I really trust, Jesus of Nazareth. - Ken Wilson Senior Pastor of Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor in his post on June 20th

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The disease of conceit is the occupational hazard of the spiritual life as much as addiction to prescription pain killers is the occupational hazard of medicine or failure to keep one’s wick dry (as my father so charmingly put it) is the occupational hazard of pastoral ministry. The more people drink from the potent nectar of the Spirit, the more prone they are to the disorder. Every pastor blessed with a cadre of the spiritually earnest has been lathered with a face pie from time to time–opinions pronounced as absolutes, a kind of karma bounce back from the pulpiteering we engage in ourselves too often, perhaps? -Ken Wilson, Senior Pastor of Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor from his blog post of 6/16/2008

QUOTE: “I wonder if God ever looks at all of His churches, all the Christian churches all over the world, and asks, ‘Why can’t you guys come together? Why are you so divided when my Son Jesus prayed “Father, make them one”’?” —Craig Groeschel, senior pastor of, during his segment of a monthlong series called “One Prayer.” Groeschel launched the series this month in collaboration with more than 1,400 churches around the world, all of which are broadcasting various leaders’ sermons to a combined audience of more than 800,000 believers. [, 6/15/08]

QUOTE: “Why don’t we love the homosexual and hate our sin?” —newly elected Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) President Johnny Hunt, signifying a new face of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. As pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., Hunt has long been known for his emphasis on evangelism, discipleship and missions, and already in his first week since being elected, he has stressed the denomination’s need to become known more for its Christ-like love than for what it opposes. Hunt also faces the daunting challenge of revitalizing a group that, while 16 million strong, is declining in number and failing to attract younger leaders. [, 6/16/08;, 6/12/08]

Monday, June 16, 2008

A beautiful weekend

We had a wonderful weekend. We got to see Hannah and also the beautiful folks at Casa Timoteo. Bob and Joy brought their family over to Hannahs house and we met them. We also toured the orphanage there. Beautiful people doing great things for the less fortunate. We will definitely be back to see them again soon.

People can talk about others all they want. But in the end, truth wins, and it is beautiful.

I just got done reading a great book called Jim and Casper go to church. It was a very eye opening read, but really not much of a surprise to me. You see, Jim is a Christ Follower and Casper is an atheist. Jim hired Casper to attend several different churches with him across the country and they would take notes and write a book about the experience.

The church that did the best was Imago Dei in Portland Oregon. This is the church that Donald Miller (one of my favorite authors) attends. Mars Hill in Seattle got very low marks. Out of the twelve thay visited, Imago Dei and a small Presbytarian Church in Illinois received the positive comments. All the others that included some very big megachurches such as Willow Creek, Saddleback, Potters House and Mars Hill, received low marks.

Casper the atheist did a great job describing his experiences in each church. It's a very good read and one that I would recommend to anyone.

It is so freaking hot here in Phoenix now. 110+ everyday, yesterday and today were 112. And it's not even officially summer yet until Friday at 4:59 pm when it is the Summer Solstice.

Thank God for AC...otherwise I'd be miserable.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

A Father's Love. WOW!!!!


A son asked his father, 'Dad, will you take part in a marathon with me?'. The father who, despite having a heart condition, says 'Yes'. They went on to complete the marathon together. Father and son went onto join other marathons, the father always saying 'Yes' to his son's request of going through the race together. One day, the son asked his father, 'Dad, let's join the Ironman together.' To which, his father said 'Yes' too.

For those who don't know, Ironman is the toughest triathlon ever. The race encompasses three endurance events of a 2.4 mile (3.86kilometer) ocean swim, followed by a 112 mile (180.2 kilometer) bike ride, and ending with a 26.2 mile (42.195 kilometer) marathon along the coast of the Big Island. Father and son went on to complete the race together.


This will bring tears to your eyes. It did mine. Happy Father's day to all of the Dads out there.

Friday, June 13, 2008


One of my favorite bloggers pastors a Vineyard Church in Rothesay, New Brunswick, Canada. His name is David Hayward. I see a lot of similarities in him and myself on our thoughts about the institution of church and religion. He did a post today that really hit home for me. The analogy he used was very good. Here's his post and also the link to it on his site...


Many don’t understand my difficulty with the church. My struggle with the church is often perceived as hatred for the it. Many wonder why, if I experience such a profound discontent, why I stay. My critique of the church is deemed as a disdain and a dismissal of it altogether. I had lunch with a photographer friend of mine yesterday who asked me questions along the same line, trying to understand where I was coming from. Here’s an analogy I gave that I hope might help:

What if there was a Maritime Photographers Association that every photographer had to be a member of in order to publish his or her photographs? Let’s carry it further. What if you couldn’t even buy a camera without a license to do so, and that the only way you could take photographs publicly was if you had the proper documentation? You could only display your photographs after they had passed a panel review of adjudicators who alone could give the authorization for them to be displayed. In fact, the Association took it upon itself to regulate what was considered acceptable to the public and to even dictate to the public what it should appreciate as admissible photography. You love photography, but there’s something oppressive about being a photographer in this milieu. You experiment with unauthorized photographic exhibitions on telephone poles and walls of buildings and in clandestine events, but it is all considered seditious. Some interpret this as a disdain for photography because your actions seem to be a self-defeating struggle against The Photographers. The repercussions are serious. But you persist because there is a small band of artists who feel the same way you do and subversively continue to work within the system while at the same time sabotaging it because they feel that photography should be liberated from the Association’s categories. As I write this I’m reminded of a movie (I can’t remember the title and don’t have time to search for it) about a photographer in Eastern Europe who’s job is to take photos of ceramic tiles for a company. His life is lonely, boring and depressing. His full-of-life cousin comes to visit. Long story short, on a drive to take his cousin somewhere, they come across a beautiful scene of cattle grazing on a hillside with the sun setting in the background. His cousin says, “What a beautiful photograph that would take!” The photographer stops the car, considers it for a moment, then says, “Fuck it!” and starts driving again, much to his cousin’s amazement. This gifted photographer had regulated his own creativity to fit the constraints of his employer. (Just a note: after I gave this analogy, my friend said that there is such a Photographers Union and laughed at just how accurately I described its dynamics.)

This is how I feel within the church. I’m in it but not of it. And I am a pastor of a small community of people that, for the most part I think, are on the same page. This is why I continue. Somehow, I feel it is my duty to be a subversive among subversives, to liberate people from the constraints of systems and ideologies that oppress, restrict, regulate and bind us.

Going South of the Border

Patty and I are heading down to Imuris, Sonora, Mexico today after work. We'll be visiting Hannah, Manuel at Casa De Elizabeth Orphanage, and hopefully the child we sponsor and would like to adopt, Jesus Guadalupe.

We will also be meeting the folks that run another orphanage in Imuris, Bob & Joy. The orphanage is called Timothy House, or Casa Timoteo. They have a pretty cool website. Casa Timoteo.

We will be back either late Saturday night or sometime Sunday evening. So I hope you all have a wonderful, blessed weekend and Happy Father's Day to all the dad's out there.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

No thanks Billy Graham—that’s the message John McCain had for the renowned evangelist, who had requested to meet with the presidential candidate. A letter to Graham from the McCain campaign read: “I must pass along our regrets and do not foresee an opportunity to add this event to the calendar. I know you will understand that with the tremendous demands on his time and the large volume of similar requests, events such as this are extremely difficult to schedule even though each one is important.” The exchange comes only weeks after McCain severed ties with pastors John Hagee and Rod Parsley over controversy that erupted when the media highlighted controversial segments of the preachers’ past sermons. [, 6/8/08] I think this is a HUGE mistake on McCain's part here. Billy Graham has never been controversial in the media and has always been highly respected by believers and non-believers.

The November presidential election is Barack Obama’s to lose, according to the latest Barna poll. The survey found that even with John McCain’s existing strong support from evangelicals—which the study found stands at 78 percent, compared to 9 percent support for Obama—would still not be enough to win McCain the White House. Barna’s study shows six factors that favor Obama, including the fact that Obama holds a 50 percent to 35 percent lead over McCain among registered voters and that Obama’s supporters are more committed than McCain’s. [, 6/9/08] I hope this holds true :-)

A group of Baptist missionaries and pastors is calling for the Southern Baptist Convention International Mission Board (IMB) to reverse its controversial guidelines for missionaries enacted in 2005. The guidelines prohibit the appointment of any missionary candidate who acknowledges using a “private prayer language.” They also require candidates to be baptized in a Southern Baptist church, even if a candidate has been baptized by immersion in another evangelical church. The group opposing the guidelines released a statement that read: “Our conviction is that these guidelines stray far beyond the parameters set forth by our denominational confession of faith, the Baptist Faith and Message.” The statement—which initially had 37 signatories—also claimed the restrictions of the IMB were tantamount to “intrusive scrutiny into the sanctity of the personal prayer closet” and “dictating to local churches what constitutes a legitimate Christian baptism.” [, 6/5/08] If you are baptized in a different church "by immersion" then what's the problem? Again, this is a classic example of church politics, legalism and authoritarian leadership.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sara Miles (who I posted about a few posts ago) being interviewed by The San Francisco Chronicle...

You are married to a woman who you've been with for almost 14 years. How do you reconcile Christian teachings that oppose same-sex relationships with your own beliefs as a Christian?

Which Christian teachings? I think it's kind of simple to say that the Bible says this or that thing is good or bad. The Bible is a collection of documents that is remade every time somebody reads it. And Christianity is a religion that over the centuries has adapted to incredibly different cultures, so people reinterpret and reinterpret and reinterpret [the Bible]. I also don't feel like once the last pages of the King James Bible were assembled that God stopped talking to Christians. The conversation between God and the church is not finished.

That said, as a practical matter you've got the Anglican Church this week saying that gay marriage is a sin for Episcopalians in this country. Presumably that includes those at St. Gregory's Church.I think that there is a powerful tendency in Christianity, as in all religions, to scapegoat people and define yourself by who you are not. The people who are trying to get rid of gay unions are the same people who were enraged over the idea that women could be ordained. They are the people who are enraged that if you are divorced you can be remarried in the church. Once you start to exclude people because they are the bad ones, you are doing the kind of scapegoating that in my view Jesus exists to overthrow. And I think it's sad. And I also think it won't stand.

She makes a great point!

Rose Marie Berger writes What I did with My Stimulus Check

Mr. Philip A. Belisle
United States Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Kansas City, MO 64999-0025

Dear Sir:
On May 9, 2008, I received an “economic stimulus payment” from you for the amount of $600.00. I’m concerned that I received this check in error. As I understand it, you are $9 trillion in debt. You have outstanding bills with:

a) 47 million people in the United States without health insurance
b) 27 million Iraqis
c) 35.5 million Americans living without adequate food
d) 744,000 people in the U.S. without a place to live
e) 2.9 million disabled U.S. veterans
f) at least one polar bear

According to Psalm 37:21, “The wicked borrow, and don’t pay back, but the righteous give generously.” The money you gave to me was borrowed against your debt. As I see it, this is neither wise nor just.

I’m also concerned that your attempt to “stimulate” your way out of what you owe directly panders to covetousness and human greed (“The Splurge Urge”). Jesus specifically cautions, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).

If I have received this check in error, please let me know and I will return it to you immediately. Otherwise, I will assume that you are continuing a bad habit of “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

If I do not hear from you within 10 days, then - on your behalf - I will remit the $600 to Mary’s House Catholic Worker in Birmingham, Alabama. There they care for the sick, work against war, feed the hungry, and take in homeless families. I don’t know if they assist polar bears, but as they are Franciscan in spirit, I expect they are amenable in this way.

I recognize that sending your money to Mary’s House Catholic Worker is only a small gesture of overcoming the unsustainable debt you are carrying. But it is a human gesture - done in love - nonetheless.

Sincerely Yours,

Taxpayer XXX-XX-1234
Rose M. Berger
Washington, D.C.

Survey: Obama in Strong Position to Win '08 Election

From the Christian Post...

Read all about it here

Monday, June 09, 2008

A very good read

I just finished another good book. The title is take this bread The spiritual memoir of a twenty-first-century Christian. The authors name is Sara Miles. This is what was written on the back-cover of the book...
Early one morning, for no earthly reason, Sara Miles, raised an atheist, wandered into a church, received communion, and found herself transformed - embracing a faith she'd once scorned. A lesbian left-wing journalist who'd covered revolutions around the world, Miles didn't discover a religion that was about angels or good behavior or piety; her faith centered on real hunger, real food, and real bodies. Before long, she turned the bread she ate at communion into tons of groceries, piled on the church's altar to be given away. Within a few years, she and the people she served had started nearly a dozen food pantries in the poorest parts of their city.
Take This Bread is rich with real-life Dickensian characters - church ladies, millionaires, schizophrenics, bishops, and thieves - all blown into Mile's life by the relentless force of her newfound calling. Here, in this achingly beautiful, passionate book, is the living communion of Christ.

The city she was in is San Francisco. Yes she is a lesbian. Yes she is a Christian. Think about this for a second...what would have happened if the church she wandered into did not allow her to serve? These food pantries would have never been started. You have to read the book to hear her story. I could not do it justice. If you would like to know more about her here is a link to her website.

Here is an excerpt I would like to share from chapter 20...

"The thing about modern fundamentalists is that they think they can control God like a piece of technology and that they're the only ones who have the secret code."

It was a huge relief to me to have a friend who could get beyond conventional discussions about religion. So many of the arguments between left- and right-wing Christians, fundamentalists and Episcopalians, Roman Catholics and Pentecostals, seemed to hinge on the idea that their own sect had the correct practice, "the secret code," that would save the followers and make God reward them. That was idolatry, as I saw it: magical thinking, pagan religion. I didn't think God needed humans to practice religion at all: God didn't need to be appeased by sacrifices or offerings or perfectly memorized quotations from the Bible spoken in the right order. God was not manageable.

Human beings might want rituals, but it was dangerous to confuse the rituals with an ultimately unknowable God. That led to crusades, sectarian killings, the casting-out of heretics--in fact, to the murder of Jesus, who dared to challenge the religious authorities with raw truth. "The message of Jesus," Paul told me, mixing a black bean salad, "is the only sure cure for religion."

This was a different way to learn theology: not the solitary reading I'd stumbled through, not the instruction I'd received through sermons. There in the kitchen was the physicality at the heart of the story of Jesus. Listening and sauteing, talking and tasting, feeding friends and eating together: It was a stew of words and acts and food.

And through it, I could sometimes grasp the backward, upside-down reality I'd sensed at Christianty's core: the frightening promise that, as the prayer said, echoing Mary's words, "Things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which have grown old are being made new." This was where I found my faith: a faith expressed in the wild conceit that a help-less, low-caste baby could be God. That ugly, contaminated, and unimportant people embodied holiness. That my own neediness and misfitting, not my goodness or piety, were what God intended to use.

And here, at the pantry, just like Mercedes, like Paul, like Lauren, I was finding a message from God. It said the hunger that had drawn us here was so that we could see what the kingdom of heaven looked like.

Some Christians thought the kingdom was about an afterlife, but I believed it was this world, just as my parents had, in their secular way, insisted so long ago. The kingdom was the same old earth, populated by the same clueless humans, transformed wherever you could glimpse God shining through it.

Some thought it was about judgement, but I believed that in the kingdom, there was no separation of sinners from saved, righteous from damned. The pantry looked like the kingdom to me precisely because we were all thrown in together--a makeshift community so much bigger and more contradictory than any of us would have chosen. But each of us had come just as we were to this Table, drawn, without planning, to the shores of some lake where we'd heard miracles might happen. And we found the kind of abundance described in parables: food for five thousand, money multiplying like manna; oil pouring out profligately and the lamps burning wildly all night long, blazing through the darkness of our lives.

Wow! This book gave me goosebumps. Check it out if you have a chance to.


Dog Survives Toto Impression During Tornado

RICHTON PARK, Ill. (CBS) ― Chase certainly doesn't look like Toto from "The Wizard of Oz." He's a big rottweiler, not a little cairn terrier. But he certainly does a wonderful impression.

On Saturday, when a tornado swept through Richton Park, Chase was hanging out the backyard of Sandra Holmes' house. That is, until the tornado picked him up and took him on the ride of his life."

People started coming up and saying 'we saw your dog in flight,'" said Holmes, Chase's owner.

Neighbor Tatyiana Smith saw it. "The dog was in the air, he was going around like he was pulled out of the ground," Smith said.

Luckily, Chase didn't get whisked away to the magical land of Oz. Instead, residents found him more than a block away in the woods, dazed and shocked, but alive.

"It's a miracle," Holmes said. "It's a blessing from God."

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Republicans switching to Obama

I was reading this article today by Frank Schaeffer. I myself was a lifelong Republican who has switched sides. Although I now consider myself an Independent. Here is a brief excerpt...

This is a great day for those of us who have been fighting for Senator Obama! I'm a good example of why he'll win in November. I'm the least typical Obama supporter. And there are many more like me.

I cut my political teeth in the seventies through the early eighties as an organizer in the antiabortion religious right. I'm a fifty-five year old white man who has been a conservative most of my life. I've been a Republican activist who campaigned for McCain in 2000. I'm a big fan of the military. My son served in the Marines. If Obama can reach me he can reach anyone.

The next president will inherit the mess George W. Bush created with a big assist from Senator McCain. Above all we need a completely fresh start. And of only Senator Obama can provide that.

McCain has taken his lack of judgment about Iraq to the next level. McCain won't do do what is good for America, or even good for our military men and women. For instance, he is against the new GI Bill that would give fair educational benefits to our men and women. McCain doesn't want to give them anything that might entice them to do anything but go to war, again and again and again. McCain serves the warrior god of his warrior ancestors, not America's best interests.
As I see it our choice is between a heroic old man whose time has long past and who will perpetuate failed policy, and a brilliant, openhearted new founding father of the new post-racial, post-divided America the likes of which we have not seen.

How do my old pro-life views square with Obama's pro-choice beliefs? Very well. Today when I listen to Obama speak (and to his remarkable wife, Michelle) what I hear is a world view that nurtures life. Obama is trying to lead this country to a place where the intrinsic worth of each individual is celebrated. He is a leader who believes in hope, the future, trying to save our planet and providing a just and good life for everyone. This makes him someone who is actually pro-life as opposed to Bush who paid lip service to right wing religion but did the opposite of nurturing life at every turn, including senselessly killing our soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis.

You can read the full article by clicking here


Saturday, June 07, 2008

Redneck Review of Pentecostals

WARNING! This may offend some with language and statements. If you are easily offended, do not click play.

Young Soldiers

I forgot to mention something that happened to me at the Kansas City Airport yesterday as I waited for my flight back home. I arrived at the airport a little early so I could grab a bite to eat before my flight. So I popped into a Quiznos at the Airport. I placed my order and sat down waiting for it to be prepared. As I got my food I observed two very young soldiers ordering. They were MP's (Military Police) in the Army.

Quiznos was very crowded and there were not many seats left so I invited the two to sit with me. They were on their way home from Iraq. These guys were kids. Well not really kids, but I would bet they were not even of the legal drinking age of 21. They both had their duffel bags with them and were waiting for their families to pick them up. I spent about 15 minutes chatting with them. One of them said he was still jittery from his experience there. While I am very adamant about my stance on this war, I have a tremendous respect for our troops over there. While we were there, the guy that said he was still jittery from his experience was surprised by his family. I didn't see a father, but I observed what I presume to be his mother and two younger sisters walk up behind him and it almost brought me to tears watching their reunion.

I thanked both of the soldiers for their service to our country and told them to be safe. I had to share this with you because I speak a lot of bad stuff about this war, but I have nothing against our troops that are doing service for us and protecting us. I am just glad that these two guys were home safe.


Friday, June 06, 2008

Some random stuff for thought

Outgoing Southern Baptist Convention President Frank Page had a sobering message for his fellow Southern Baptists: change or die. Page said that unless the church changes its methodology more than half of the Southern Baptist churches will disappear in the near future. “If we don't start paying attention to the realities … by the year 2030, we will be proud to have 20,000 rather than 44,000 Southern Baptist churches.” In order to avoid a decline Page recommends that the church reach out to ethnic minorities and young people. Page described the convention as consisting largely of “older white people holding on till they die.” [Tennessean, 6/1/08]

QUOTE: “We find little ways of making people's evening better—even if it's just having a chat. When there is a fracas, we don't intervene, but we stand back and pray or call the police if it is really serious. Then we help calm the fears of the people around us who are frightened by the fight.”—Nick Boddy, “street pastor” describing his ministry approach. Boddy is part of a movement of concerned Christians who wait outside London bars and clubs to take care of drunken revelers and guide them home safely. London Mayor Boris Johnson has called the movement “extraordinary and inspiring.” [, 6/1/08] How cool is this ministry? I could see myself doing this. :-)

The world is overcome not through destruction, but through reconciliation. Not ideals, nor programs, nor conscience, nor duty, nor responsibility, nor virtue, but only God's perfect love can encounter reality and overcome it. Nor is it some universal idea of love, but rather the love of God in Jesus Christ, a love genuinely lived, that does this.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Meditations on the Cross

Power understood as the ability to accomplish desired ends is present in human relationships no matter how particular communities or societies are organized. Nevertheless, Christian communities recognize that the source of power in their life is the love of Christ which inspires and directs them. This is a style of power not of coercion but of empowerment of others.... It also connects to those at the margins of society who search for word of God’s love and justice.
- Letty M. Russell
Church in the Round

I sense that a new spirituality is being born in the church today, flowing from the wounded hearts of the weak and broken who are crying out for friendship. This friendship is also a source of healing for those who answer their cry.
- Jean Vanier
Spiritual Journeys

Back home again

I arrived in Kansas City Monday evening about 7:45 pm. There was a nice breeze blowing but it was pretty humid. Caught the shuttle to the hotel and talked to my brother on the phone. We arranged for him to pick me up at 5 pm. Tuesday after I got out of class. I watched the very long 3 overtime hockey game that night that ended after midnight. Went to class at 8 am Tuesday. This class was so boring, I won't even talk about it. But I did have fun catching up with my old Air Force buddy Mark.

Tuesday evening my brother Carl came and got me at 5 pm. We headed to see my youngest nephew Jaxon play baseball. He was the catcher and I got to see him throw two people out at 2nd base and I think he got a hit too but I was at the snack bar and missed it. After the second inning, the storms hit. It was looking threatening even before the game started. But it got wild and wooly with the very strong storms. They called the game and we headed to my brothers house to hang out for a bit. The storms continued and it was very enjoyable to me to see some good ole midwest thinderstorms again. We then went out to eat and I got to visit with my brother Carl, his wife Jackie, my nephew Seth and his girlfriend Amber, my niece Andie and her boyfriend Garret, and my youngest nephew Jaxon. It was great to see them all again and I had a ball. Carl took me back to the hotel about 10 pm.

Wednesday night I went out to dinner with my Air Force buddy Mark. We caught up on what has been happening in both of our lives. The last time we saw each other was in 1997 at a class in Kansas City. We partied pretty hard at that time. But we have both mellowed out these days. We talked about our families, what we have been doing and talked about our Air Force days. We then talked about our faith. It turns out that he has become a Christ Follower too. It was just awesome to sit and shoot the breeze with each other and talk about our familes.

Last night a line of very strong thunderstorms came through the Kansas City area about 11 pm and lasted until about 2:30 in the morning. There were a few Tornado and Severe Thunderstorm warnings out but nothing real bad right where I was at.

One thing that struck me as very funny though about my stay at The Homewood Suites in Kansas City though. The NWS Training Center is right behind the hotel. When I checked in Monday night, my room was on the second floor so I got on the elevator. Posted in the elevator was the forecast for the next few days. Guess who the forecast was from? You'd think it was from the National Weather Service right? N-O-T! The forecast was by Accuweather.