Monday, November 24, 2003

Getting ready to head to Tenny in 24 hours to see moi famille for T-giving. Like most of yours, our families are so splattered about that, within the twenty four hours that is toikey day, we will have had to go to four different locations for four of the same dinners. Shew!

Oh, and, we're freaks down there too, although our friends and fam are a bit polite about it and just accept us as we are (we think). But we know they don't understand why we are up here doing this crazy church planting stuff way up "north" and why we aren't pumpin' out the yung-unz and settling in down in Big Orange country. Sometimes with where God has brought us, it's pretty hard to share about the inner healing, the maturational growth and the God-stuff going on all around us because there's no frame of reference for them to understand. And I'm not being narrow on this or's just that we're at different places and callings, I would suppose.

As you know, going back to your family system of origin is no easy thing. In fact, you come back just plain stressed out sometimes. I think that when God effects some healing in your life and you go back into the same stagnant, cyclical system of familial woundedness, you only stir them up and GET stirred up in return because you want to fix them. You want them to experience the same freedom you are in the process of receiving. But sometimes they only look at you like you got a third eye in your noggin. And you come back......and they stay, literally and figuratively, in the same habitual patterns of defeat.

Makes me wonder how- after seminary, etc.,- those in ministry are "called" back to where they grew up, to where mom and pop still abide. I'm not saying it's a bad thing or God doesn't call us back home, I just know Cathy and I have struggled in the past with the family "thing" and that every longing to go back home may not be a calling. We've had to sever some unhealthy family dependency issues at the bud. Had we not, we would have missed our calling and our present place. We just simply need to be willing to look at some of the unhealthy emotional bondage issues that we assign a more noble significance when they might be a sign of our instability. Seems Jesus had some stuff to say about family ties too, so I defer to Him.

We only harbor love for our family (or what's left of them). I don't know if it's that we're without honor in our own "country" (and it really is country), but I know we can't stay there for long. Here is where we live, move and have our being.

It's 1:52 a.m., and I know most of you-uns are snoozing, but I don't go to bed 'till 3 a.m. (cuz I don't work until 1pm).

Rain is starting to ping and patter the gutters, my wife sleeps after we've snuggled and prayed together and my dog is on MY side of the bed rattling the timbers with her snoring.

I love this time of the night.

Welcome to da Freakshow!

Good times on Hester tonight.......wildly unpredictable........consistently scrumptuous blackberry cobbler by friend to Hester house (Kelly) unbelievable amount of distractions tonight (even for Hester), but we are learning how to let Jesus show up and we took our rest in that.........Holy Spirit coming, ministering, refueling.

The freakiness freaks on, but the Christ knows our name.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

You know, when I get zapped physically, emotionally and spiritually, God seems to come through in a nifty way to alleviate and bring some levity into my existence. Granted, I don't often take note, but I did early on Friday morning.

I just take myself too seriously sometimes. I bog down and spazz out over fringe technicalities of my self-important agenda and lose touch. A little after midnight on Friday I step out under inky, moon-less darkness with a star-sprinkled canopy of the heavens overhead. The night was warm, the sky was clear and the seeing was good. In the northern sky were the aurora borealis, indeed a surprise and a rarity for mid-latituders, especially given that we are a couple of years past the solar maximum (when such activity is more common). Blue-green shafts of light and shimmering curtains would form, undulate and reform on the horizon. This is my fourth encounter with the northern lights.....all since moving here to Oxford. The Leonidmeteor shower was still managing to hurl a few slow-movers toward the auroral light show as if to compete for my attention. For the first time in months, I set up my 6-inch reflector to take in the beauty of the universe around me and for the first time in months, I am immediately reconnected to the Creator of it all through the celsetial handiwork before me.

My infinitely wee place in the scheme of things became a reality washing over me as beautifully radiant as the aurora. Who can paint a night sky like the Almighty? Come over one night and let me show you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

I'm just tired, bored and feeling minimized and marginalized.......I don't know how much to tell the cyber-spaced-out blog-world about it because it all really kind of reeks of emotional voyeurism. And who really has the energy to care beyond a comment click? I don't know if many can understand the wasteland this is. (And this ain't about end-of-the-rope stuff , etc......I'm fine).

Right now, I'm tired of reading/talking emerging church paradigms and how good it's gonna look. When can we get past the ecclesial one-upsmanship and bartering for recognition and start talking about the hell of people's lives we have belly flopped into? Or are we just overlooking it? Isn't it about people after all? Screw my credentials, screw who knows me or who I wished knew about me- what is this really about?

Thursday, November 13, 2003

The rapidity with which Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was dispensed this Thursday by that state's Court of the Judiciary only hints at a more troublesome current, if we are cognizant enough to see it.

The outrage should not issue forth as a result of the obvious removal of the stone monument of the aforementioned 10 commandments. Nor should we be enraged by the apparency of the higher rulers to be removing God from courtrooms (and schools, incidentally) and debasing the law codes founded on the higher moral standards of the God of the Old Testament and ancient Israel.

Instead, we should be inflamed that we are being fooled into believing "they" are relieving us from something that we have never had. In truth, what has only been crumbling away is not the Christian foundation of this country, but only its facade, erected long ago, having rendered its now no-longer needed service to the true pagan underpinnings of at least some of our founders and current rulers.

In fact, many would decry these legal goings-on of the last 50 years as a slouching away from our Christian roots as a nation.

For that persuasion to hold presupposes the truth of the claim that this country was founded as or has been a "Christian" nation. Such a claim is arguable at best, though one cannot deny references and cursory inclusions in our documents, bills, etc. to "God." If, as "nation," we are referring to the populace at large as opposed to the governmental bodies assigned to represent us, then the common people have fared better historically at times in tenaciously adhering to the tenets of Christianity. Perhaps, to our demise, we have implicitly or directily imposed these same values/worldviews upon our own government. And, what if, perchance, elements of this governing body harbors an agenda diametrically opposed to the core constructs of Christianity according to Jesus?

Should we boldly dispense with the notion just as well? How is it that a nation "under God" could find Roy Moore guilty of "acknowledging God?" This is precisely what- (according to his recounting of his interaction with the courts)- Moore claims is principally at stake. (We should expect much more to be revealed that can elucidate the case given that the proceedings were private). How is it that Attorney General Bill Pryor can term Moore's defiance "utterly unrepentant behavior?" Isn't the AG conceding to a higher code of morality or prime source of truth when he uses the word, "unrepentant?" ANSWER: To whom Moore is expected to repent is certainly not to his God, according to the Court of the Judiciary. Law itself has become god.

One does not have to fall into the foray of the political siding and the one-upsmanship game. It's not about conservative/liberal, party lines, etc., though one is welcome to circumnavigate the dead-end loopholes in trying to logically define the behavior of some therein. The admirable thing about Moore- despite what you think of him and those who support him- is that he stood up to the system, stood only on his principles and in the end lost his livelihood. His refusal to acquiesce stands hardy enough as a testament to the fact that one's faith and God cannot be taken away, no matter how imposing or potentially tyrannical a state may be.

Suffice it to say that the Kingdom has not lost out. It just grows stronger, unimpeded even by the officialdom of the system of this world whose ruler posits a thin veneer of God-by products where needed.

I love my country (it's people), pray for my rulers (in obedience to God)..... but I am a citizen of the coming Kingdom of God which garners my total allegiance.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Hearings began in the case against Alabama Judge Roy Moore over the 10 Commandments monument.

Rant Alert in 3...............2..............1.................

Really, what point is there in displaying an icon that represents what most have already functionally and practically abandoned in their hearts to begin with (i.e., God's law)? Do we assume by proxy a kind of righteousness just because the monument is present, thereby making us feel a bit less guilty about our waywardness- without ever really doing anything about it? Notwithstanding our need to protest something, what are Christians really sacrificing by losing this monument? I doubt society gets any more evil than it already is. In fact, I presume things continue along the lines of the same incremental debauchery and decadence and the presence of a stone monument never had, nor will have had, the power to make a man or woman do something they do not want to do in the first place (like be a genuine Christ follower). I guess we need our Christian idols too.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Yeah.....Saturday was dandy......hanging out with some rokkin' fowlkes at CMarsh's.

I love going over there and huddling around that little concrete yard-hookah that incessantly spits out bullet-coals and emits floating, cellulose orbs of fiery death. All of this while watching a lunar eclipse wane in the frigid, crystal clear night. (Still can't feel my behind-o, Paul). And what a setting to try to fathom the richness of Mr. Canipe's knowledge of the feminine fashion world against the backdrop of, "I used to work in a department store." Let me see your references again, Chadwick.

I love all of these guys/gals and their kids. You see we are the only ones without kidlets. And being around all of that makes Cathy and I

............see MORE of our friends' kids! They rok too. Kev and Tracy, how dare you take Zoe out of the house without her froggie galoshes on!

Friday, November 07, 2003


It was a good movie.

Now let me qualify that.

Regardless of what "professional" movie critics have to say about any particular film, one can find a masterpiece underneath all the rotten 'maters hurled by the naysayers. Coming into the film's opening night, I was readily aware of the buzz of negative reviews concerning Revolutions. In my estimation on that night (as with previous movies), I was relatively open and unswayed by the ill press, somewhat captivated by Rave Theater's 50 foot screen (I still can't believe Laurence Fishburne's head was that big) and the recliner seats (no wonder Rains snoozed.....I think he took his seat home with him).

For me, what hurt Revolutions was not that it didn't deliver on the goods we have come to expect from the 'ski Bros. The fact that any sequel is judged by it's own predecessors may not be any fault of the movie's own either. It's just that the sheer, radicalized scope of the first installment is etched indellibly into our motion-picture connoisseurship, perhaps to be forever unrivaled, even by its successors. The four-year eager anticipation for Reloaded was a phenomenal leap in most respects, whetting the appetite for untried effects and furthering the intriguing storyline. And waiting that long paid dividends in the long run whereas waiting five months for Revolutions left something to be desired. It sure felt a lot different sitting in the theater after four years of Matrix DT's and to be infused with the bliss of the green-hued opening credits. After only five months, it felt a wee bit revisited. But still, it got me in the theater.

Sure enough, the effects were dazzling, but I was left wondering if there was to be any progression in the magnitude.....any new ground to be broken. Admittedly, my imagination was not as apprehended as it was in Reloaded, which may be my own issues. I was satisfied with the effects (mainly the battle for Zion) but left with wanting more than the conclusive fist fight. Perhaps on a second viewing, I might think differently as it's hard to take in a Matrix film in on one showing.

Some of the characters teetered on a bland predictability, often coming across as flat. Morpheus waned into the background, but perhaps out of necessity due to Neo's transformation. The Oracle wasn't as provocative as in Reloaded, fading into a tired reiteration of the primacy of "love" and choice- arguments we were well convinced of in number 2. Some of the emerging and somewhat more tantalizing characters (the Merovingian and Persephone) were left dangling and unresolved. Sometiimes the characters appeared somewhat self-absorbed, almost self-aware that they were "actors" in the Matrix film phenomenon (which was a trait in Reloaded, i.e., the way the camera would painstakingly catch the characters glancing knowingly at each other as if to compel us to go, "hmmm," -chin in hand).

I was half expecting the Oracle and the Freud-esque Architect to snuggle at the end, given the waxing propensity of the film toward lovey-doveyness (a sentiment shared by a few males in the theater that night as I heard a mumbled, "get a room!" during one of the many smooch-embraces in the film). Maybe this direction was in default to the feminine principle given attention here as opposed to the masculine, overt visual stimulation afforded the male movie-goer in number 2 (concurrent to a definite yin/yang-ness applied to the Oracle and subtly throughout the movie.........if you're not convinced, listen to the content of her conversation with Neo in the kitchen and then take note of her earrings).

Many good film genres employ type-scenes to tell their story. For instance, in Western stories, we all know the meaning of high noon, town square, blowing tumbleweed and ten-paces-then-shoot. That is the Western's way of resolving the protagonist/antagonist conflict. The Matrices offer us many new type-scenes that will be employed for generations to come even as they are being copycatted as we speak. The curious variable is that any and all type-scenes can occur simultaneously or detached, in layers and in multiple sequences on corresponding or unrelated planes/dimensions. That is the grandest contribution herein. The linear progression of the Western shootout by comparison is over-and-done-with....the viewer walks away with the finality of what has just transpired. In the Matrix, one walks away not with finality but with contradicting multiplicities that only converge paths, not resolve them. Fuel for the mystery and a wanton invitation to another sequel. Or not.

Now for my sappiness.............the best part of the whole evening was that I got to hang with my buds! That trumps any movie.

The film overall was an acheivement on many levels and it will garner its accolades from its most ardent supporters while lacking major critical acclaim. We can begin to fathom what an interesting ride this was, now that it's over. Or is it?

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Lest we get too uppity on bad selves......