Friday, January 30, 2009

UFC 94

I've been waiting a long time for this fight. You know where I'll be tomorrow night. ;-)

A couple of great articles

I found an article written by Steve Simpson over on the BWC blog. He is a clinical psychologist and teaches a class at Fuller Seminary’s School of Psychology called “Clinical Issues in Sexual Diversity.” His article was titled "Even Ted Haggard" and you can read it here.

And when reading that article I stumbled across another that he referred to in the BWC post. You can readt that one here.

Here is a brief excerpt from the second article...

I give an assignment in one of my classes that amuses and delights me. I love it for two reasons: (1) it will be one of the best learning experiences the students ever have and (2) I’m an intellectual sadist. I love scaring people into learning something. God’s done it to me plenty, so I figure he doesn’t mind if I spread the love.

I teach a class called Clinical Issues in Sexual Diversity at a Christian graduate school of psychology. I require the students to spend three hours in a “sexually diverse environment” (translation: some place with lots of gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered people). There’s only one requirement: they have to have a conversation with at least one of these sexually diverse folks.

At first, this assignment is anything but popular. Most of my students are straight evangelical Christians. Some of them have never even met anyone who isn’t heterosexual. Some of them believe strongly that homosexuality is a sin. They’re pretty mad at me when I give them this assignment. After they complete it—not so much.

When these budding psychologists sit down and talk with a sexually diverse man or woman, they discover the people behind the “issue.” They make friends. They connect with hearts and minds that get buried under contentious issues such as gay marriage, homosexual ordination, etc. They hear stories—often painful—from people who long for God and community but feel ostracized. One of the most common accounts my students hear is about men or women who lost their relationship with God and their Christian family because of their sexual orientation. Some withdraw in fear, while others get outright excommunicated. Regardless, the cycle of shame that follows is sad and predictable.

Many Christian churches denounce homosexually, claiming (or at least strongly implying) that anyone in a homosexual relationship cannot be a Christian. In response, a lot of homosexuals abandon church and sometimes even their relationship with God. Even if they don’t intellectually believe that God hates them, they often feel this way. They’ve heard for too long their sexual orientation makes them depraved. They shrink away from their relationship with God and His Church. A cycle of shame begins that makes some feel—and sometimes even act—like they aren’t worthy of God’s love.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

God is not threatened by differences. It's we who are.

- Richard Rohr

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Great week so far

Saturday Patty and I went with a group from our church to the State Prison in Florence where we attended a 4 hour orientation to be allowed to minister inside the prison. It was interesting and I look forward to what God has in store for us if we decide to do this on a regular basis. At least we are qualified now and will be given badges to enter the prison.

Sunday after church we went out to lunch with another couple. Someone that we have been trying to get together with for quite sometime. We went to lunch with Wade and Kay and we had a blast. It just so happens that they just got back from Cabo themselves so they were able to tell us a lot about it.

Yesterday I went and visited my site in Casa Grande. After that I met my folks for lunch at a little place called Hot Dog Heaven. Damn good Chicago Dogs man! But when I was walking up to the front door, I saw a sign on the front stating that they are going out of business and their last day will be the 31st. I am very happy that I got to visit this establishment one last time. Visiting with my parents was great too and we were able to catch up on family news. My dad's shoulder is healing up well and he will even be able to go skiing next month so he is excited about that.

Today I got to head out to Mormon Flat Dam for a site visit. As I got up to the gate, I realized that I did not have the gate code with me and there was nobody around at all. My cell phone would not get any reception so I drove about 8 miles until I could get reception. I called my office and got the code then went and did my work. It was an awesome day too.

Tomorrow I will be working operations on the public desk and Thursday I will be heading back up to Globe to look at a new site up there. If it looks good for siting requirements, then I will get to install it next week.

I've been lifting weights and running quite a bit and on a regular basis and am feeling really good. I haven't had a sniffle at all this winter that I can remember. Patty is doing absolutely wonderful on her diet and is really doing great at it and continuing to lose weight.

That's all the news from here.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Prayers for Bobby

I watched this movie last night. It was about a fundamentalist Christian family whose son was gay. They tried to "cure" him and he couldn't be cured. He ended up commiting suicide at the young age of 20. In the end, his mom came to grips with the situation and ended up being and advocate for Parents of Gays and Lesbians. I really wish I could post the entire movie, but this clip shows some of the good scenes and you can get the gist of what the movie was about. I would highly recommend it to anyone that struggles with these issues. This was based on a true story.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance. And as we leave this mountain top, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family.
- Rev. Joseph Lowery,
from his inaugural benediction,
Jan. 20, 2009.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hockey Fights and Fan Brawls

You gotta love hockey and the fans too.

A frightening phone call

Yesterday was going pretty well for me. I had the day off. I went to the gym for about an hour and a half and then I met with Bryant for an hour or so over some Chicago Style Hot Dogs over at Al's.

My daughter Shannon was not feeling well but she went to work anyhow. She had come down with something after her long weekend in Kansas City. When you are on an airplane, you're pretty much exposed to everyone's germs. So I had suggested to her that she go to Urgent Care and get checked out.

She called me at home right when she got off of work at 5 pm telling me that she was heading straight to Urgent Care and would be home afterwards. So I am sitting at home watching the local news and my phone rings at about 5:15 pm. It is Shannon, she is crying and is hysterical, telling me that she was just in a car accident.

The first thing I ask her is "Are you hurt?". She says she is okay, but she is still crying and not making very much sense. So I asked her where she was at and she told me. It was not too far away so I told her that I would be right there. I called her while I was on my way just to check in with her and she says the police, fire dept, and paramedics were all there. Now I am really beginning to worry a bit at this point. As I did not know anything about the other person's well being.

Well it turned out to be a fairly minor accident. She rear-ended another vehicle while it was slowing down to make a right hand turn. She was in a Ford Escape, he was in a Kia-Spectra. It was a rental car too.

Shannon was ticketed for the accident and I reported it to our insurance company last night. They have stated that they will pay the damages since Shannon was at fault. This will make my rates go up.

But the bottom line is, Shannon is okay.

So how was your day yesterday?


Monday, January 19, 2009

The Emerging Church: Being Tribes Without Being Tribal

I would love to go to this conference. Don't know if I'll be able to make it happen, but I'm definitely going to try.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Galatians 6 (The Message)

Galatians 6

Nothing but the Cross

1-3 Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day's out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ's law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.

4-5Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

6Be very sure now, you who have been trained to a self-sufficient maturity, that you enter into a generous common life with those who have trained you, sharing all the good things that you have and experience.

7-8Don't be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he'll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God's Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.

9-10So let's not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don't give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.

God is Moving me

I don't really know what it is at this present time, but I just have a very deep sense of peace and serenity right now. I feel God moving me into a deeper relationship with Him. I really can't wait to see what He has in store for me up the road on this wonderful journey.

Somebody shared something with me today in total confidence. Someone that I would not have expected to do this. It honored me that this person chose me to share this with and I was able to talk to them and pray with them.

I see my relationship with my daughter Shannon growing deeper. The counseling has definitely helped us communicate better. She is in Kansas City right now and flies back home tomorrow. I will pick her up at the airport around 8 pm.

I went to the men's breakfast at church yesterday and made some new friends as well as reconnecting with some others. There are a couple of younger guys that are just stoked about doing the Kingdom Stuff. It is so inspiring to see these young men (by young I mean 16-18 years old) going out and not being afraid to go up to someone and pray for them. Doing what they feel God moving them to do.

I am being challenged at work. I took on the position of Diversity Focal Point and with that position will come some extra work and responsibilities. But I am up for it and I will do well. Being the Union Steward has been a great training ground for this new focal point. My philosophy at work is that everyone should be valued and everyone has something to bring to the table. I hope to be an encourager in my workplace as well as anywhere else.

Patty is losing some weight and feeling great about it. I am proud of her and the effort she has been putting into it. I am really looking forward to our little getaway to Cabo in February. No email, no blogging, no internet, no cell phones (except to check in with Shannon at home and for emergencies). Just an entire week for Patty and I to reconnect, be together, and unwind.

I am at peace about some past relationships that I have tried to mend and have done all that I can do. The rest is in God's hands. I have made one last attempt this past week to get together with someone but the invitation was not accepted unconditionally. I am okay with that as God has released me from this situation now and I can no longer allow it to be a worry for me.

I am getting to know other awesome people and God has told me that these will grow.

I know of some folks that are really struggling right now with different situations. I pray for God's Grace, Peace, and Mercy on each and everyone of you. I pray that He will guide you each and every step of the way as you go through this.


The Cards are in!

I am really not that much of a football fan. But I happen to live in Arizona where the Cardinals just won the NFC championship and are going to the Super Bowl. So GO CARDINALS!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Busy week

It has been a fairly busy week for me. The AMS (American Meteorology Society) conference is in Phoenix all this week and we have had lots of visitors and VIP's in our office this week. Yesterday was an all hands meeting with the Director of the NWS. He was a very personable guy and I actually enjoyed the meeting, although it was way passed my scheduled work day. I liked what he had to say and the direction he is taking us.

Today I am going out in the field to visit a couple of my sites and tonight Shannon and I have a counseling session. After that I am heading straight to the church to help with the drop-in center. Then I'm on evenings Friday thru Sunday.

Saturday morning is the men's breakfast at church and I'll be going to that. Sunday morning Patty and I teach the toddlers again, which we do once a month.

I am really looking forward to our Cabo trip in February. Just Patty and I for an entire week at a beachside resort.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Prayer in Public

I have nothing against prayer in public. As a matter of fact, I have nothing against prayer anywhere. I pray often myself. But its is usually in my head, not spoken words. Unless of course I am praying for someone or with someone.

What prompted this post was a book I am reading titled Amish Grace-How Foregiveness Transcended Tragedy. It is the story of the shooting and murder that occurred at a one room Amish School in Nickel Mines, PA on October 2, 2006. Five Amish schoolgirls died that day and five others were seriously wounded by a lone deranged gunman, who killed himself when the State Troopers stormed the building. The book is really not about the massacre that took place, but the forgiveness that the Amish people gave to the family of the gunman. These people gave loving support to the gunmans widow and family and even attended the gunman's funeral. Could I forgive like that? I can only hope so. the subject of prayer. Chapter one of the book is titled The Nickel Mines Amish and it basically describes their way of life and their religious beliefs. Here is a brief excerpt...

Taking their cues from the Bible, the Amish have long declined the media spotlight, preferring to live quietly and privately. They take seriously Jesus' words, "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do...let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth....And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they may be seen of men" (emphasis added). These verses from Chapter Six of Matthew's Gospel appear right before the Lord's Prayer, the model prayer that Jesus taught his disciples. The instruction is clear: do not practice your religion in public to show off your piety. Practice your faith privately, and your Father in heaven will reward you.

Here is Matthew 6:5-15 in the NIV version

5"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9"This, then, is how you should pray:
" 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10your kingdom come, your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven. 11Give us today our daily bread. 12Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.' 14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

And my favorite version of the Bible-The Message

Pray with Simplicity
5"And when you come before God, don't turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?
6"Here's what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.
7-13"The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They're full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don't fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this: Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what's best— as above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You're in charge! You can do anything you want! You're ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes.
14-15"In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can't get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God's part.

I remember several years ago when my wife and I were Youth Pastors and we were out with the youth group. We had stopped to eat at a fast food joint and one of the youth announced to the entire place to "bow their heads as we pray for our meal". I was very angry after that and brought up this passage in the Bible to this person. I have no problem if this person would have just said this to our group, but I know this person well, and it was done for shock value.

Again, please don't misunderstand me. I have no problem with people praying in public at their own table and with their own group. I've done it myself. But what I do have a problem with is imposing beliefs on others that may not believe the way you do.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Do Not Question Driscoll

I found an interesting article this morning that appeared in the NY Times on January 6th. Now I know why some certain things happened to me the way they did back in February of last year. Read the full article here. The excerpt below I can really relate to.

Nowhere is the connection between Driscoll’s hypermasculinity and his Calvinist theology clearer than in his refusal to tolerate opposition at Mars Hill. The Reformed tradition’s resistance to compromise and emphasis on the purity of the worshipping community has always contained the seeds of authoritarianism: John Calvin had heretics burned at the stake and made a man who casually criticized him at a dinner party march through the streets of Geneva, kneeling at every intersection to beg forgiveness. Mars Hill is not 16th-century Geneva, but Driscoll has little patience for dissent. In 2007, two elders protested a plan to reorganize the church that, according to critics, consolidated power in the hands of Driscoll and his closest aides. Driscoll told the congregation that he asked advice on how to handle stubborn subordinates from a “mixed martial artist and Ultimate Fighter, good guy” who attends Mars Hill. “His answer was brilliant,” Driscoll reported. “He said, ‘I break their nose.’ ” When one of the renegade elders refused to repent, the church leadership ordered members to shun him. One member complained on an online message board and instantly found his membership privileges suspended. “They are sinning through questioning,” Driscoll preached. John Calvin couldn’t have said it better himself.

Friday, January 09, 2009

A brief update

So I won't be running the half marathon in March. But that doesn't mean I will stop running or working out. I just won't be following an official training program for the running.

This morning I had to report for jury duty. I was a bit nervous about it because I need to be home on Monday for the Heating and Cooling folks to install my new heat pump. I was afraid that a judge would not take that as a reason to be excused. So I set my alarm for 6:30 am. This meant that I got to sleep in an extra hour and a half because if I had to go to work I would have gotten up at 5 am. I ate breakfast and then shaved and showered and reported to the San Tan Justice Court in Chandler AZ at the required time of 8 am. It was actually very close to my house and I was glad for the fact that I did not have to commute all the way into downtown Phoenix. I checked in and they showed me a map and asked me if I lived within the boundaries of that map. I did not. So the lady at the window told me that I was excused for the day. I wasn't even in there for 20 minutes. The last time I had jury duty it was downtown and I was there from 8 am until 5 pm and never was selected.

So I took my wife out to lunch and ran a few errands.

Monday the heating and cooling folks will be at my place between 7 and 8 am to take out my old unit and install my new one. All to the tune of about $6500. But at least I will be cool during the summer ;-) and it is a much more efficient unit than the 15 year old unit that is now junk.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. Get out and enjoy something. Encourage somebody who may not be having a good day. A lot of folks are losing their jobs. Try and be a friend to them and encourage them as difficult as it may be for them to be encouraged. Maybe even give them some financial help if you are in a position to do so.

Peace and Godspeed until next time.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

I guess I can stop the "official" training now

So today I went to get the link to the website of the half marathon I was going to run in so I could send it to a friend.

The headline on the website said this...Valley of the Sun Half Marathon Postponed until Next Year, Saturday March 6th 2010

See for yourself. Valley of the Sun Half Marathon

So it looks like my "official" training plan is over. I could do the Lost Dutchman in February, but we will be in Cabo San Lucas at that time, plus I would not be physically ready for one that soon.

I'll still be running and going to the gym. But the extra motivation you have when you are training for a specific event is done now. Til next year!


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Showing His Love

I found a comment today on this post over on Kent's blog. Wouldn't it be nice if we all treated others like this despite what we might disagree on? Here's the comment left by someone named Kirk.

Your timing is great with this post. Our family returned from a few days of camping yesterday and were all out in the driveway unloading our stuff. When down the street comes a strolling a couple of Mormon missionaries. My boys (11 and 8) were with me when I walked out to visit.

Now a few years ago this would have been a great time for the lawman in me to get out my big study bible and man up for a game of pound the Mormon. As a result of the relaxing that Father is helping me to live in the last couple of years, this time it went a little differently.

The missionaries (girls about 19) said they were out sharing about the Book of Mormon with folks and did I know anything about it. I said yes I did and then they wanted to know if I wanted some other missionaries to come over for coffee and share more about it. I said I thought maybe we could try something else. That since they have their beliefs and certainly felt they were right and I have beliefs that might not all be the same, then the basis of our relationship would be our disagreements. Instead why don't we see if we can find something we agree on. I said we both probably believe that we have a Father who loves us and wants to relate to us. They agreed with that. And that this Father wants us to love each other. They agreed with that. I said why don't we just stop there and live in the middle of those two agreements and they seemed genuinely pleased with that. I said that they would be able to report that they had a nice agreeable conversation and I would be able to enjoy a visit with some more of God's kids on the planet.

My wife heard some of this and said she could imagine their conversation as they walked away. So, do you think he is a Christian? I don't know, he sure didn't sound like most of the Christians we meet.

All I know is when they walked away, they were smiling and I was smiling. I really felt close to my Father at that point. Used to, being right was the most important thing to me and a couple of my my more Apologetics minded friends think I did not do my Christian Duty and let a couple get away without warning them of their error, but I have really started to believe that Jesus knows the road they are on too, and can find them the same way he found me.

Sorry this was so long but your thoughts really struck quite a chord today. Blessings to you.

Back to my thoughts now...
I think Kirk did the right thing here. I think God would agree too!


Happy Freakin' New Year

I recently noticed our heat pump making a loud noise. Well we are the original owners of the house and it is 15 years old and was only a 10 SEER rated system. There are much more efficient systems out there now.

Well the noise got very loud to the point where it was disturbing to us and our neighbors. I just had the thing checked last Spring. I'm not too happy because I think they should have found something wrong then. Anyhow, there was tons of stuff wrong. Bad boards that cost upwards of $400 each, a fan motor that was on its last laps, bad capacitors, bad compressor, etc etc etc...

You get the drift right? By the time the cost of repairing my old system was presented to me I had a major decision to make. Even with all of the repairs they still could not tell me how long it would last, especially through the brutal summer heat we experience here in the desert.

So Monday morning I am having a brand new system installed in my home to the tune of about $6500. This one will have a 15 SEER rating. I don't really know the meaning of the SEER in order to explain it, but I do know the higher the number, the more efficient the system.

I'm not happy about having to buy a new one, but I'm sure I'll appreciate it this summer.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free.
- Dalai Lama

Monday, January 05, 2009

Sunday, January 04, 2009

No 5 miler for me

So I missed my 5 miler. Not because I did not want to do it though.

We had the wonderful opportunity of sitting in line at the U.S./Mexico border from 6 pm to 12:45 am and did not get home until 4:15 am. Believe it or not, I had to set my alarm clock for 11 am just so I could be ready for work at 1 pm. And I'm damn glad I did, because I was sound asleep when it went off.

Word to the wise, do not try crossing the border after a long holiday weekend, especially Christmas and New Years.


Friday, January 02, 2009

Training schedule for this upcoming week

Today I lifted weights, tomorrow I'll run 5 miles after we get back from Mexico and Sunday I'm taking a rest day and I also get to go back to work that evening.

Beginning Monday the 5th, this is what my training will look like...

Mon-Lift Weights
Tue- Run 3.5 miles
Wed- Run 2 miles
Thu- Run 3.5 miles
Fri- Lift weights
Sat- 40 minutes of cross-training
Sun- Run 5 miles

So far I am feeling good and the soreness in my left knee is gone. I'm happy about that. 10 weeks to go until the half marathon!


Welcoming in 2009

So 2008 is behind us now. I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe time ringing in 2009. So how did you ring in the New Year?

Patty and I attended two different parties and Shannon went out with her friends.

The first party we went to was over at Jon and Shelly's place. Jon and Shelly are with Amadeo and they invited us over. It was great to see the Amadeo folks again, especially those we had not seen in quite awhile. It was also great to see some of the youth that we used to serve while we were there. They grow up fast.

After we left there we went over to the Gentes Home Group party. This party was well attended and the house was very full. They also had a nice set-up in the back yard where folks could hang out. Did I mention the food yet? What a spread they had.

We actually got home about 11:30 and were at home when the New Year rolled around. The dogs did not like the noise. You could hear fireworks, and most likely gun shots. Folks around here like to shoot their guns straight up in the air when midnight rolls around. Our little dog just barked like crazy and ran around. But the big dog was the sissy. She was literally scared to death and she was shaking so bad and shedding her hair. But the noise did not last long.

New Years Day Patty and I went to see the movie Twilight. Her fifth time, my first. I will have to say this though, I actually enjoyed the movie. Yes, there was a love story involved, but it was not quite the chick flick that I thought it would be. Patty has read the entire book series. But for all you guys out there that are fearful of going to see this, go see it. It was actually quite good.

Later on in the early evening we went to the gym. I had to run 3 and a half miles and it was already dark so I just did it on the treadmill at the gym. What I like about doing the run at the gym is the fact that I can be with Patty as she is on the treadmill next to me. But the best part? The Hot Tub and Steam Room afterwards. Simply relaxing and great for post run soreness. While we were there we also saw Pastor Jack and his wife Brenda and chatted with them briefly.

When we left the gym we went to The Golden Corral Buffet for dinner. Great food, and probably too much food.

Today I will head to the gym for some weight lifting. Tomorrow we are going to the orphanage to try and meet with the Director if he is there. Just pray for us that it all goes well.

When we get back I have to do my long run that evening of 5 miles. Can't do it Sunday as I will have church and then I have to be at work by 1 pm.

I hope your New Year is off to a great start. Stay focused, encourage someone, always be kind to each other.