Friday, December 31, 2004

I think we're gonna go buy a reefijjrayter. Scary stuff.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Having a love jones for a bucket of soapy water, a hose, and my mange-ey tail in front of the Helement with intent to wash its caked and salted surface. But the frikkin temps ain't gonna let me.

Looking forward to getting back to O-town actually. I wanna see the remnants after the historic pounding we took. I haven't seen things since we left Wednesday at about 7 inches of snow. Can't wait till I can post a pic of the 18-wheeler that almost hit us while we were bout stuck on Ice-Eventy-Five in Cincy. Grace again to the Brownhouse.

One more celebration to go tonight at thee ol'ladee's house with her pipples. More fuud, none of which contain needed nutrients so I gess a return to a more structured eating plan soon. Yeah right.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Well, after an icy adventure in Cincinnati that included a life-saving excursion to the very godly and hospitable folks at the Brownhouse (who graciously took us in), we are finally in Tennessee for the holy days.

Having come through this storm, I do not want a Tender Tennessee Christmas (not that that was ever possible). Now, I prefer my Xmases rather gruff and meteorologically unruly, thank you.

I'll post about our journey with pics soon after the whirlwind ride down south.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Highlights From This Week...

Pokkit-Tankin' the heck outta the Jaylord (1.5-year win-loss record is: Glennda=148 and the Insanitor=115......I even spotted him about 10 games)

YMCA promotional literature in places where they should not be (like my home)

Fite-Klubbin with Marsh and the
Felter of Kline

Thursday dinner with the Android, the Doc, thee ladee and eventually the Lord of All Jays

Watching Spen defeat cloppers, monster frogs and other various and sundry nasties in Serious Sam

Having tha Doc in-house this weekend

Having the Doc with me stripping floors

A 35 minute power failure delay with 4:03 left in the Anderson vs. Walnut Hills blowout girls varsity basketball game

Coaxing Dave-O, Spen-Doc, and Senior Fok to assist in cleanup duties

Xmas break

The arrival of true arctic air

Saturday, December 11, 2004

From the "Say Whutt?" Department

Today I received a message from an Information Security Specialist in Atlanta, Georgia claiming that he had been receiving automated phone messages from a Veritas Church in his area that was starting a new church and was soliciting potential members. He did a web search and found my name as a registrant on Veritas' web site and subsequently called to leave the message, voicing his disapproval, albeit in a civil manner. He was well-spoken, polite yet obviously perturbed at receiving 4 calls in the last two days. I would be as well. He also alerted me to the possible FCC violations for such solicitation.

I called him after returning home from work and explained to him my befuddlement at such goings-on. I explained our situation and that we were in Ohio and we have never engaged in mass-promotional outreaches. We both agreed to further contact to amend the situation after a helpful conversation.

1) A new church is starting in the Atlanta area and they have chosen a sweet name, but a nefarious way of contacting people......


2) The Jaylord has gone high-tech in his hucksterage and one-upsmanship (least likely).....


3) Some bandit has hijacked our information/name, etc. in hopes of duping someone into giving up their own sensitive information in a scamming attempt(not as likely either)......

4) Or, someone who knows us knows what they are doing and they are very unfunny and God will deal with them accordingly I'm sure.......

Friday, December 10, 2004

Something I Bet You Don't Know About Me

I cry more than my wife when watching movies.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Not much here.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Just read in the House To House (H2H)newsletter that Neil Cole and Tony Dale will be part of a 50-person think tank in December at Campus Crusade's HQ in Orlando. The focus is to be upon how the church can/should function to reach those currently unchurched.

It sounds as if Cole and Dale will be the voices for the simple/organic church way. I don't surmise that they'll be the lone voices, but they are amongst "very well
known leaders of denominations or para-church ministries."
I'm not sure what that means really, namely in terms of what Crusade (or anyone else for that matter) expects from this gathering.

Props to Cole and Dale......but why are we still calling think tanks together as if we need to discuss how the church can/should function to reach those currently unchurched?

Okay........I essentially and formally understand why, but what are the implications for simplicity and organicity in disciple-making for monolithic structures that already function well within a framework deeply entrenched and well esteemed? Are we just talking/comparing paradigmatic preferences here, seeing which can fit or not? Simplicity and organicity are not easy paths nor are they mere options to include for the sake of pragmatism. What we should be talking about are to form, nurture and keep them. And then we should talk about the cost for befriending lost people in the currency of our time, energy and creativity investitures and the impact on revered structures. Maybe then we can talk structure. Perhaps that will happen.

Yes, Cole and Dale are practitioners, but they are also invitees (with a required reading list with 3/4 of the books simple-church-friendly). Based on the Who's Who list, it would seem Crusade wants their think tank to have implications
far beyond the campus, but then again, what will the implications for the campus- Crusade or otherwise? Are lost people going to be any less lost once we settle on a structure? Are they going to really care whether we are for simplicity or hierarchical organization?

I don't know if we still think the biggest hurdle is pulling off the think tank or actually just getting out there and doing it.

Perhaps I can be blamed for being envious that some can toot their shofar and summon the influential and BANG!......we have a think tank. Still yet, I remain unimpressed.

There is something greater at stake that exceeds whether or not we are Neil Cole, Tony Dale, Campus Crusade or a pastor at Veritas. I'm not dissing the think tank per se and I believe God can bless such a thing. Nevetheless, a tank is and always has been something that keeps that which is inside from getting out (and vice-versa.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Had a somewhat refreshing time in the Ssee of Tenne for the Giving of Thanks......various and sundry friends, know the deal.

Got back in record time (4:45 duration) but that may be cuz of where we live and not having to drive across the metropolitan stronghold of Oxford anymore. This was mainly due to the fact that I had a basketball game to referee at 430, but we got back with time to spare, which was good since my directions to the gym were right but they had built another school elsewhere and no one told me. But I got there after a grand tour of north Middletown.

Now, back to the rooteens and the daily grindz. For starters, Dana Drive is being served a big ol' helping of Jared Southard here in about 5 minutes.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

"In America"

Does It Bite?

A Munkebite Review

I have eyed this film on the shelf at my local video store for some time. There are only two copies of it. I have often wondered whether video stores were trying to tell us something about the movie by the number of copies available to customers. One would tend to conclude the poor ones were poorly stocked. But, then, I noticed 867,332 copies of "Elf."

I picked "In America."

There's not too terribly much that is novel or original here. An Irish family comes to America escaping personal tragedy and searching for a new start in Manhattan (see, nothing new). Against obvious semi-insurmountable odds, the family rumbles into the Big Apple in a beat up station wagon, scrapes around for a drug-ridden apartment complex and tries to find their collective soul and joie de vivre in a place poised to steal it all away. Themes of loss, illness, hope, life vs. death, a father finding his heart again.....all in a pot of poverty.... ooze forth, sublty begging the question of when and how this movie is going to make you cry.

Movies often blow it, blurting out and flaunting their ability to jerk out the tears. Some movies can revere these moments of sentiment rather well. I think this one did well for the most part. I found myself rooting for the family and their response to adversity didn't disappoint with the tired cliches and soliloquy. The most refreshing aspect was the telling of the story through the eyes of the eldest daughter, cleverly depicting her perspective and commentary through the lens of a video camera. At times though, she seems a wee bit too ripe/wise for her age as the plot seems to impose upon her. And her younger (real life) sister- ever seeming ready to explode in cute hystrionics- provides the keenest insight into her emotionally stubbed father. However, this sister-team of Irish child-actresses- Sarah and Emma Bolger- absorb these fleeting idiosyncresies.

There is a frankly stunning sequence which made me wonder if the scene was even scripted where the girls are in their father's cab talking on the CB to the central station. There is something in this that was totally natural and you could feel the interplay between the sisters as they wrestled back and forth with the microphone to explain where their daddy was. You felt like you were watching two sisters being sisters and not two sisters acting. While not crucial to the plot/character development, it did assuage fears that the movie was brave enough to go with the strong performances and enegies of these sisters. Kudos for keeping the cameras rolling.

The movie is based partly on the real life experiences of director Jim Sheridan, who managed his cinematic catharsis quite successfully by employing the two girls as his storytellers. Quite possibly any other story-telling vehicle would have made this whole exercise difficult.

Samantha Morton (you know, the "precog" on Minority Report?) does deposit a worthy performance which garnered her 3 Academy Award nominations. Djimon Hounsou's character was an anchor plot-wise, but lacked resolution. But the stars were the girls and their exuberance and free-spirited excursion worked.

There is much to reflect on theologically here too....the question of God, the goodness of God, pain, evil, love, afterlife, family, providence, etc. While the movie may not come out theologically sound enough across the board, it is salient enough in the sheer human drama to stimulate deepening conversation and personal exploration.

4 Out Of 5 Bites

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Okay....said mother-in-law did leave a while back. A big mia culpa for the blogging laxity. No real excuses.

Back hurts and basketball is starting up. House stuff still floating......trying to find my center in the melee.....

Friday, October 29, 2004

Got a mother-in-law+boyfriend coming up this weekend.....sure to be full of house-showing and various improvement tasks to be undertaken. They'll be here for our house church gathering too, which will be a first for them and quite possible an eye-opening experience since we are doing some different things since All Hallow's Eve falls on Sunday. Not that we're celebrating tha Divil's day or anything, just intentionally serving the masses since they'll be banging on the door anyway.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Hopefully I just got through with virus/malware/adware/trojan hell tour #2.....this sucks. I'd probably just as soon be hung by my toenails than to watch 50+ Internet Explorer windows pop up in the space of 10 seconds. There would have been more had my rocket-fast fingers not "x-ed" them out. I am learning a hunk of a lot about these things though.

On second thought with that toenail bit, lemme get back to you on that one......

Friday, October 22, 2004

See if this doesn't make you twinge a bit....

Thursday, October 21, 2004

I am a man beset in a funky haze of beleaguerment.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Okay....I'm back.....we are in the house and I bet some of you are tired of seeing that doctored pic of the J'Lard. I have more.

One project after another rears its head and we've been in the house for two weeks and it doesn't seem like we've been able to just enjoy it yet. But that's part of it, I know. I'm either working or working on the house. My tail needs a break. Think I'll take ye olde ladee out for something this weekend.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

I just had a vision......a vision of the Jaylord many years from now far removed from his weaselly abilities to gloss over his back troubles and sessile lifestyle. And it wasn't purty either........

Monday, September 27, 2004

Great weekend.....after punking Roy Jones, Jr. in the ninth round, I had time to get it together at 700 in the ante meridiem and trudge southward toward Bengal land for my very first NFL game and tailgating party! What a great time! When you go with the right fellas, it is a blast. Something I'll definitely do again, given the chance. Thanks Cmarsh....woulda never been able to do it without you.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Dang.....I guess I better loosen up.....wish someone woulda told me.....

Sunday, September 19, 2004



That was for you ,CMarsh, since you have inspired me in your latest post.

I may be battling spectres here, but here goes...

'Twas when I was a wee tot when I would get so pumped up and angry as an infant that veins would raise all around my head. So spake my mother to me.....and there are indeed pics to prove it.

Well, how about this? What if I am/have been angry? Is there no room in this fallible existence for the legitimate experience of anger so long as I do not sin in the sunset? As long as I don't sin against another, am I to value another's insecurity with my anger as better when they have merely "outted" me for being angry- as if I am hopelessly doomed in my anger? Why am I "less-than" when observed in a season of anger? Can a total stranger to my progressional emotional healing dictate what I have done, who I am and where I can go?

Did my wife and I leave every iota of security and potential we knew in central Kentucky when we decided in late summer 1999 to go to the foreign land of Oxford because we were ape-snot, hogtied and fuming-angry? Did we jump ship out into economic/social/ministerial uncertainty because of the golden allure of all that my untapped anger would afford us? But sometimes disaffection with an ineffective status-quo has been mistaken for anger. And I have known and journeyed for short periods with planter-types who bailed out, first from the old ship into the sea of church planting and then into the sea of nothingness. Some washed up on their own one-man island of anger, totally fed up with ministry altogether. There was real, unfathomable anger in these. Their downfall was that they planted a flag of self-justification there and never moved.

I have learned that of my compatriots in my church planting Basic Training in Atlanta in 2000- of which there were more than 60 appointees at the time- less than 20 are still in church planting situations. Some have even left the ministry. I wonder where anger was when the dream died.

I will go ahead and be presumptuous..... anger is more epidemic amongst male church planter types than we would care to imagine. Sometimes I surprise myself at how angry I am. Sometimes I am fleetingly blinded with an out-of-nowhere, primordial rage. But only occasionally. And usually it is self-directed.

I am indeed a 34 year-old man. I have thus far learnt to step outside of myself in such moments, and in assessing my condition, seek the help of the Spirit of Truth in leading me to its source. Do I do this 100% of the time? Get real. Baby steps, baby steps.

Can I not take responsibility for the causation of MY anger while at the same time experience it and be on the path to dealing with it? And hasn't anger been the impetus for needed change in times past? Yes I have been angry. Yes, I still have anger issues I am discovering and confronting for which I am on the road to finding healing. (Just ask my wife). I am not the same person I used to be nor am I the person I am becoming.

I no longer choose to fallaciously "manage" my anger....I am in a "free-trade" agreement with God when it comes to that. I used to try to barter with him but he seems to only move when I surrender. I have to feel/acknowledge it and then choose to release it to God. And he always likes to give something in return for my true peace. His opposing polarities to my nuisance instablilities never cease to amaze me.

I am really not angry as I write this. See with what grand a smile I hold as I type!

Saturday, September 18, 2004


……but I haven’t lost my sense of awe.

(I just drove a bus for 11 hours, so I've either had time to think or I've lost a few beans).

I am not the first to voice weariness with the limitation of language in attempting to define the deeper realities of what we think God is doing. It is not inconceivable that most terminologies that have stuck probably haven’t been levied by those quietly and solemnly pushing and forging ahead in what others have called the “emerging church” (a term I shall use for lack of a better one….AND on that note, why that name stuck is beyond me……arguably, the only ones who could have had a legitimate conversation about an “emerging church” was Jesus’ disciples and maybe their disciples…..oh yeah, and maybe that Paul guy).

Perhaps most of these on the front lines of obscurity are not afforded the luxury of time in that endeavor of label-making. Usually, by the time most of us enter into the conversation, someone has already defined the terms. Sometimes having a voice means learning the language. But more to the point, most people actually living and doing this kind of church have entered into peoples lives in ways that the establishment have neglected or scoffed- and this not always out of intention. The relational requirements of church on this periphery leave no room for ulterior agendas and self-aggrandizement. Sticking with this is not due to the promise of glorious returns (for most of us). The reality of being underestimated and being underwhelming is ever persistent and is no respecter of persons. Too much of this is thankless, penniless and frankly exhausting due to the socio-economic choices and vocations we have intentionally made to de-position ourselves in this mode of ministry.

There is a much neglected spatial element to this issue as well. Someone’s fantastically-fascinating “simple/orgainic/missional/emerging church” is someone else’s Purpose Driven Church, etc. The “aha” experience of these new forms are at once intoxicating but in time are wanting. But I don’t think the problem lies solely in our undying quest for novelty. Some of us are just trying to get some of the first few things we learned right, and it is taking this lifetime.

I am longing for more signs of entrenchment and stability mingled with the same visionary capacities I have seen in this way of Kingdom-living. I love the conversations- I think they are necessary because doing church simply doesn’t mean you have to be a mental simpleton to do it. They are helping to shape our reality and enable our perspective.

Strange though….. it’s really hard to count on something that you value in this because it soon changes form. This is true in our organizational structures and in our relationships. In due time and with maturity, we may arrive at more of what we dream of- not because of its novelty but because we will have come full circle to true tradition and not mere traditionalism. Maybe the journey- with all of it’s inconsistencies, all of its perturbations and all of its incompetencies (real or imagined)- is a necessity.

Maybe I am not too foolhardy in believing that this thing…this (ugh) movement…..if it still moves……needs no name. In our attempt to name something we seek control over that thing. Those who have done the naming are those who have written the first books, and that was a while ago. How is it that so much of our cyberlosophizing about this “church emergency” is apologetic in nature? Before whom do we have to defend our calling? Before who’s flesh do we have to establish the legitimacy of our parish and our inclinations to do what we do in the way we’re wired to do it? Those whose parishes still reap from denominational coffers (such as mine) may answer quite differently from those who do not (but you already see my “answer”). From the blessings of financial support to the ball-and-chain of monthly reports, someone else’s money most always has the imbedded virus of a foreign agenda.

Yet I contend....where are our stories? Where are our narratives of impacted lives? What of the raw evidence of changed lives and lives being changed and even the lives that walked away from the possibilities of God? Why aren’t our blogs pouring forth with these stories from the fields? Why has every comfortable place and perch in the Blogdom of God become a launch pad for digital salvos on brothers and sisters? Have we taken ourselves too seriously to include the simplicity of story? What we need isn’t an emerging church. We need emerging stories.

All of our conceptualizations boil down to the faces of real people with real names and real problems that tend to bleed all over you the closer you get to them. Whether we succeed in linguistically taming this ecclesial beast with a two-edged sword for a tongue is one thing, but there is really nothing to which we can aspire other than being God’s person in God’s time and place with God’s people.

Monday, September 13, 2004

98% done with ridding myself of these pesky adwares/trojans, etc.....a lil more to do yet......just got back from Tenny and got to see some family and a really cool thing was that I got to see my dad play in his college band at a reunion concert in Knoxville.....more about that later.....I'm just too tired right now

Thursday, September 02, 2004

My precious oglers and wayfaring cyber-gazers......I am battling a nasty invasion of trojan horses, spywares and other various and sundry infiltrating malwares at this time. Therefore, my posting will be scant in the interim until I can resolve and cleanse my system from these digital demons from the yawning throat of hell burning with brimstone and sulfur. Pray to God, y'all. I ain't kiddin'.

Monday, August 30, 2004

What a luscious time was had at the Brownhouse with Rains, Creech, Marshall, Palmer, the Beanius, Klinefelter and some other brand new fellas I was glad enough to meet, but wanting in remembering names.

The air was filled with laughter, pipe smoke and did not move an iota. And to top it off was a gift of books from BeanBooks straight from the man, hisbadself. Thanks muchly, Bill.

A highlight.....hearing Palmer and Marshall recount their escapades in Europe, 'speshully the images of Palmer not only buying man-panties in England, but wearing them and shrieking to Marshall upon his beholding of the spectacle, "Don't look at me, I'm hideous!!"

Friday, August 27, 2004

Am not looking forward to driving with today's temps pushing 90 and heat indeces pushing 100+ and with ambient on-board bus temps (near the engine compartment) aided by a 180-220 degree heat flow.

But I get to sandwich that in with a lunch with the incomparable Jaylord and an evening with the boyz in Cincy. Definitely, a quality day.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Should it cross your mind to pray for me, I long for the depth and wisdom of a more inwardly/outwardly disciplined life....the likes into which I have been too fearful to delve.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

I've discovered a new sport.

After a refreshing dinner and foray through the CD section of Barnes and Noble with the Abbot of the Westernmost Chester, Msr. Christophe Marshalle, I ambled to the coffee spigot- but not before perusing various and sundry books on real estate and starting your own business, a section I had to walk through on my way.

In the four minutes and 67 seconds it took me to secure my diversions, order my coffee drink and sit down, I was approached by not one....not two- but THREE dress-casually-attired young business-looking characters horribly pregnant with a sales pitch waiting to burst forth like an adolescent pimple. (These were not store employees, mind you).

With "How To Make Millions In Real Estate" in my hands, I hear, "SOOOOOO, you're into investing huh? Me too." Taken aback by the invasion, I assess what sort of greeting this was, visually qualify the perp and politely correct him while burying my nose in my book. There are a couple more attempts to hook me with casual conversation, but I politely keep reading and mumble, "Yeah....rmellsll."

Sauntering to the next aisle, I thumb through "101 Top Businesses To Start" and immediately hear, "Ya got yer own business? That's the best thing to do." Incredulously surmising my lot, I am keen to the come on and answer with the most astoundingly boring response I can muster. "Nah." Some more attempts and I just nod with a half smile and break for coffee as he departs, books in hand.

As soon as I sit down with my books and coffee, hoping for further relaxation, enter clean-cut-dress-casual-guy-preying-on-unsuspecting-potential-client-in-the-bookstore number three.

"Ya know, with today's economy, starting your own business is the way to go."

I could not escape immediately- he plopped right down beside me and asked me what I did for a living. Was he going to love this......

Well, really, I spared him. Those are the hardest questions to answer sometimes. There was nothing about my appearance tonight that suggested that I had any business savvy about me. I glanced at my grease-caked fingers and nails recalling my stint this afternoon as grease monkey to my ill-begotten alternator. I saw my kneecap through the tear in my shorts as my right foot suddenly and simultaneously cramped up in a ball of pain. Through my grimace and foot massaging with pseudo-mechanic's hands, I triumphantly inform him of my church planting habit and the three jobs that support it.

He apparently feigned interest for as long as possible, talking about how it was good how "evangelical" Southern Baptists are, n'shiznit (my editorial redaction on that last part). As I sucked on my frappucino, he upped and got himself thither, bidding me luck.

Apparently, the salesmen stalk the bookshelves. That's the first time I can ever remember being hustled in the bookstore. Prally won't be the last and I prally ain't the first. I've been Barnobled.

Monday, August 16, 2004

The rapidity with which this summer has passed has left me bumfuddled and musing on the passage of time, aging, etc.

In a few months, I'll be 35....that's freekin' half of 70! Internally, I am not feeling older.....strangely, I feel as if I'm still 22. But my carcass tells me otherwise.

The years are starting to be marked by too many annual rites of passage.....move-in days, driver's meetings, June vacations to North Carolina. These only serve to remind me how quickly life happens and how stupendously foolish it is to fail to live it, speed be damned.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Perseids: 213
Sporadics/Minor Shower Meteors: 13
Observation Window: 310am - 530am
Highest Hourly Maximum: 120 at 400-430am
Limiting Magnitude: 5.5
Conditions: Clear, 53 Degrees
Remarks: One bright fireball, with a persistent train that lasted 30 seconds and bent in the upper atmospheric winds

Not bad....right on my forecast (of course), the cloud deck departed at 3 am and revealed pristine dark skies, stars shimmering like so many diamonds in black velvet.

Kim and Ian came, making it a total of 4 pipples for the party. It was a great show with sometimes 2-3 meteors shooting at the same time.

Next shower will be the Orionids on October 21st. Not as active but still adequate enough at about 20 meteors per hour at the maximum. Comet Halley is the parent comet for this meteoroid stream.

I desperately need a digital camera with a manual shutter speed control. Donations accepted through the Glenn Johnson Fund For Ministerial Excellence.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

So, we just went in, signed 954,344,532 and one-half documents......extruded some platelets......convinced whoever that we weren't terrorists.....lopped off a couple of vestigial digits.......and completed mapping the human genome.

Then we got a house.


Twasn't THAT bad. Took bout thirty minutes and we were signing stuff left and right but it went smooth. Even got some money back. Not bad at all.

An interesting escrow agent's daughter is singing the anthem tonight at the Reds home game vs. the Codgers.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Early this Thursday morning- anywhere betwixt 2am and dawn- be sure and catch the Perseid meteor shower for a fine celestial show. If skies are clear enough, expect about 60 meteors per hour toward dawn.

And if you're really feeling frisky, try catching some earthgrazers (forgive the 2 year old link). Go out and observe right after dark and see if you can spot any meteors that streak all the way across the sky. They're pretty rare.

Enjoy the creation why don't you?

Monday, August 09, 2004

Saturday, I finally got to get back underground where I belong. I, along with 2 other Veritasians, made it to Wells Cave in Pulaski County, Kentucky....a 11.5+ mile-long gem of a cave (55th longest in the US). We didn't get through all 11.5 miles by any stretch.

Highlights: exploring side leads off of one of the main passages for 2.5 hours that only turned out to circle back into said main passage.....the 50-60 foot pit.....the shower room.......finding more cave under the entrance room breakdown after exploring for 5.5 hours.......crawling through ridiculous 6-12 inch deep mud in a crawlway about 3 feet high for about 40 yards and coming out in monster walking passage......the "river"........the hodags.......but the coolest thing was doing it with two buds, two brothers in Christ, two people with whom I journey in Kingdom like-mindedness. Heaven in a cave.

What's all this got to do with church planting/emerging-church stuff? I could say that the church could learn a lot from the caving community about "community," but I won't.

Lowlights: come on, it's caving!

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Gag me with a.....well, you know what.......
News from the Department-Of-News-You-Don't-Want-To-Hear-About.

I know Google thinks it's doing me a service by: 1) pulling out certain words from my posts; 2) and advertising things in the Google ads bar on top of my page that it thinks I'm interested based on those words. Does it HAVE to stay on "Hindustani Music In Chicago" and that infernal (blankety-blank) "Hindu Statue On Sale" ad forever? I ain't even interested in that fluff! Am I gonna have to post about tornadoes a hundred times?

Sunday, August 01, 2004

There's circus tent in my backyard right now. First time for that to be sure, though the clowns have been here long before it arrived.

Weeeellll.....this was the site of the wedding feast for Jason and Andrea, who were married with their respective families and the Hester community in attendance....right in our own living room.......

....again, another first for us.

This has to have been one of the holiest moments I can remember in a while. Weddings are like this for me....especially when there is such high relational investment in the people who are being wed. It began just a few weeks before when I officiated Eric and Christi Osterday's wedding (Veritas' very first wedding), when upon seeing Christi appear adorned in white to walk down the aisle, I was just swept away by the purity, the beauty and the holy mystery of it all.

And here in our living room, I was taken again by the presence of the Christ who so obviously takes delight in holy matrimony. Suffice it to say, I didn't even make it halfway through my reflection before I was teetering on the brink of blubbering outright for joy and for the immensity of the depth of our relationships that were being clarified in that kairotic moment. The beauty of it all was it's simplicity....everyone officiated in some way. Everyone contributed either in worship leadership, prayer, encouragement, laying on of hands, blessings or just merely being there. If we weren't all at some point a blubbering mess, we were pretty close. Especially when we surrounded Jason and Andrea in a circle of affirmation. That was simply powerful. What a wonderful community I have....I love my church.

Two weeks, two weddings....two beautiful couples whom I love and adore.....two wondrous outpourings of the Spirit.

Godspeed, Jason and Andrea......I shall not ever forget this day.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Jason Birchfield and Andrea Sinders be gettin' the Hester House this Saturday!

I am magnificently stoked for this celebration. I can say that in 14 years of ministry, I have never been a part of something as uniquely sacramental and communal as this. Right here, in our house, in our living room and backyard, a young man and woman will matrimonially take one another in the presence of God, their families and their community of faith. Two families and one church will come together and pretty much spend the entirety of the evening as participants in what isn't really a "service," but in the continuity of serving one another. For the respective families involved, such goings-on will seem rather peculiar and foreign and we are taking that into consideration. Our number one aim is to minister to and show hospitality to the respective extended families of the bride and groom-to-be and it has been fun to sift through all of the angles we will work to acheive this as a house church.

The simplicity that will mark this celebration this Saturday perfectly represents who Jason and Andrea are and hope to become. As some of my readers know, Jason did an internship with us last year and he and Andrea facilitate another house church here in Oxford. The potential of this couple is astounding and they are so far ahead of the curve now that it ain't even funny (especially when I look at where Cathy and I were 12 years ago). They haven't seen anything yet.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Okay- so I'm in my chartered bus today, along with 14 other buses and we're on Miami University's campus loading up hundreds of mid-to-upper teen Indian girls and boys for a trip to King's Island. Very well behaved and mannered soon-to-be young adults boarded my bus and I thought of how pleasant this was going to easy 15-hour work day.

And it really was. No glitches. Just a massive culture clash is all. For one thing, insert into the equation first and foremost a university catering to this Indian subculture by going all out to host this national youth gathering in an obvious (to me) attempt to garner their parents' funds for their education AND hoist their image to the loftier heights of "diversity."

It was obviously a Hindu youth gathering based on Hindustani (Classical?) music cuz their tee shirts said something about "taal....many beats- one rhythm". Taal is a fundamental element of Hindustani classical music. It was apparently obscure, the intricacies of their religious devotion and their current tasks at they interacted (or didn't). None of the girls/women could ride the bus with the boys/men. They took time to pray (to whom, I know not) after they rode The Beast.

What got me was everytime they got on the bus....any group on ANY bus....they ALL broke out in a Hindi song, a capella. I sensed it was a prayer song, although I do not know to whom it was directed. The seemingly impromptu song lasted about 1 minute and then it was as over and normalized as a green shiny fly on cow dung. Except I and 13 other drivers were simultaneously wondering, "what were they singing?" Mine were undoubtedly singing something like, "Look-at-the-bald-headed-cod-ger, won-der-ing-what-we're-say-ing......ha-hah-ha-hah-hah."

And then I got to drive in circles around Oxford in the rain as 3 different Indian men instructed me in authoritative and very broken English to go to 3 different places to drop off my girls.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Well, while we're talking about it, you starting to get a wee bit miffed whenever officials come out to "warn" us of impending terrorist attacks?

Whatever you do REMAIN CALM, because this site's for you....

Thursday, July 15, 2004

"Fahrenheit 911"

Does It Bite?

A Munkebite Review

1 Out Of 5 Bites

Suffice it to say, if what you are expecting from “Fahrenheit 911” is a scathing expose based on all new, startling facts and information with (perchance) a prescription for genuine change, then go back to sleep.

If, on the other hand, you anticipate a self-important almost two hour long infomercial for the Democratic party, then it’s money well-spent. In classic Moore-ish “look-how-much- I-care” tactics as he preys and panders on people in real pain whilst bashing Republicans in man-on-the-street surprise confrontations, this could have easily been “Bowling For 911.” In this vein, he does succeed in making emotional drivel out of their world of hurts.

Moore is quickly establishing himself as the pseudo-independent voice of “reason” for the Democratic regime (at least by default) and is making quite a stash from it. The partisanship is so blatantly obvious that the only negative attention that Moore, a registered Democrat, gives to the Democrats are a few passing video shots of Sen. Tom Daschle voicing support for the war in Iraq. That’s really about it. Moore’s vitriolic and blinding bent toward Bush are revealed as he exposes Bush’s buffoonery, not the motivations (more than simple greed) behind his policy and the more meaty reasons for why Bush may be the “puppet” that he is. The movie relies more upon caricaturing Bush and his ilk to severe comic-book proportions that any substantive critiques beyond that are lost. This is simply because when he does approach substance, it is nothing new.

Perhaps some may find his presentation revolutionary if they are new to the "they-let-it-happen-on-purpose" tack that Moore approximates. If Moore were to fully and honestly account for all the available resources regarding 9-11, he would have to stumble across the evidentiary conclusion that “they-MADE-it-happen-on-purpose”.

Michael Moore is a rip-off artist here. Even the New York Post’s Richard Johnson in his Page Six column points it out. In fact, Alex Jones has been “out there” detailing the collusion between the Saudis and the Bush’s et al, and government foreknowledge regarding 9-11- albeit with much greater accuracy and for a lot longer time period. Jones indeed predicted the likes of 9-11 on-air in July of 2001. Moore makes big time dough on his flick while Jones practically gives away his documentary, “The Road To Tyranny,” allowing people to copy it and give it away in an attempt to educate the public.

Over two years ago, Jones interviewed David Schippers on his radio show who told the story of his interactions with Jayna Davis, an investigative reporter for an NBC affiliate in Oklahoma City (you might remember that Schippers, a prosecuting attorney from Chicago, was the Senate’s lead prosecutor in the impeachment case against William Jefferson Clinton). Davis had uncovered solid evidence of a Middle Eastern/Iraqi connection with the Oklahoma bombing case in 1995 and she has at least 12 signed affidavits to back her claims. Her discoveries led to her losing her position at the NBC affiliate there. She was coming across FBI field agents who were investigating leads into several Middle Eastern subjects who were admitting that there was a large attack being planned somewhere for Manhattan island, perhaps in 2001. However, these agents were turned off of their cases routinely by their supervisors anytime there was a chance to probe deeper. In essence, as she ran into barrier after barrier, she finally contacted Schippers and offered the mountain of evidence to him that pointed to the fact that if there would have been a thorough enough investigation into OK City then that would have pointed us toward the WTC calamity. Even as Schippers began to take up her cause- going all the way to Attorney General Ashcroft's office in July of 2001 and getting the runaround- his cries about the impending attack on Manhattan would also fall strangely upon deaf ears. But you can find this out on your own. Incidentally, Davis' book has been released this year.

Why didn’t Moore indicate any of this?

Because he would have us to think that this is all a war between the Democrats and Republicans….between the principled and the unprincipled. Between the politically supported haves and the oppressed have-nots. And he bases his premises off the fact that we’ll sink our teeth into the falsehood that there are real differences between these two parties. Any perceived differences are ultimately fiction and a necessary cog in the wheel of the Establishment, who are essentially funding and distributing this blather, ready for consumption by their useful vidiots.

So what possible alternatives does Moore offer in light of his bashing critique of the limp and dim-witted Bush and his handlers? What truly novel ideas does he lay before his audiences that will serve to eradicate the excesses portrayed? None. He speaks of none but to oust the present king. And the subtle alternative is a false one. The alternative Kerry/Edwards ticket is no less untouchably rich, no less concoctions of their big corporate sponsors who have them in their pockets. Is Moore to have us believe that they are no less beholden to the secret interests of these multi-national corporate conglomerations?

In fact, for the first time in our history, we have two presidential hopefuls who will square off who are both members of the elitist, occultic Skull and Bones from Yale. (For more info on Skull and Bones, check into Sutton, Milligan and others’ book Fleshing Out Skull and Bones). Their allegiances to Bones is so secretive that none can comment on it. Even Edwards’ performance at the secretive June Bilderburg meeting was touted by the NY Times as propelling him to the fore as the VP selection for Kerry. And if you’ve got a wild enough hair, dig around and ask why are some of our world leaders going to meet in secret from July 16th through August 1st in California at Bohemian Grove and why they do so yearly. It wasn’t until after the Grove meeting in 2000 that Cheney emerged as Bush’s VP. Why aren’t we privy to the goings on of these groups, if indeed policy decisions are being dreamt and made there? Why doesn’t Moore point these things out? Is secrecy and elitism germane only to the Republican party? Why doesn’t Moore continue to ask “why?” Why doesn’t he or won’t he go deep enough? Either he’s ignorant of the angles or he’s in collusion with the Establishment by negation or willful intent.

Moore’s film is a distraction from a truth that dangles right before our eyes. To say that we are given “sanctioned” forms of half-truths would be to intimate a deeper, darker more sinister causal relationship at work here. Are we, in our skepticism and laughable familiarity with conspiracy-theory kookism, hindered from going deeper because of the fear associated with being branded as such? Why is it so hard to accede to the fact the people/groups do indeed conspire against one another? Why is it a sham to point that out? Why can’t we sustain inquiry long enough to arrive at a freeing truth?

Michael Moore is not the one to point us in that way.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Sunset illuminating the underbelly of the blown-off top of a mesoscale convective complex (which was in southern Indiana at the time).

Ha ha! Storm damage and we weren't in the storm! Had a 44mph gust here at the house tho. Pretty good for the outflow of a system hundreds of miles away.

Friday, July 09, 2004

There's gonna be a new outpost for at least one of the Veritas home communities.

This will be our (and many other people's) "new" home come October 1, 2004. The sellers accepted our 2nd offer at about noon today. So, in effect, it's the first home we will own outright. It's hard to believe we have gone 8 years renting and 3 years in a parsonage (in Kentucky). There is more than twice the room we have now and a full basement we will soon finish. There is also at present room enough for a guest bedroom and for an intern or two (not counting what we will finish in the basement). Included is a party deck in back in a secluded-like, tree-covered backyard which we will put to good use. We are in a suburb- not quite as close to the main Mile Square as we would have wished. However, there were no run-down, fixer-upper, assumable houses in said area for under 300,000.

There are some nice duplexes nearby that are rented to families. While some might frown upon the presence of duplexes for resale of one's own home, we are somewhat excited about the ministry potential to that demographic.

There is a queer mix of excitement, emptiness, fright, remorse, euphoria and the general curiosity (and look) of a calf at a new gate. Now comes the gritty detail and paperwork. I would rather lop off a digit and say we're done, but banks aren't into that (yet). What the heck have we done?

And you know what the cool thing is? It's almost like we're starting over....jumping into an uncharted sea of permanency. Yet we get to bring our people.....our community of Christ-followers. That definitely eases the gnawy newness.

Have any of you types that lead simple communities in homes ever make a move to a new location and bring your people with you? Any commentary on the dynamics of such a transition would be welcome.


When I get nervous, I stick my hands under my arms and I smell them. It's gross because they smell so bad. It's dirty and bad.

....and for the Forty-Footed, Lord of All Jays who will inevitably NOT "get it," you can go here O' Dull One.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Just looked at 4 new houses on the market. One was ratty, and the other three were distinct possibilities with great ministry potential. Leaning less and less toward building cuz the doggone market is just a-whoring after blood platelets, arms, legs and your firstborn. If you are so inclined, please pray that we do the thing God wants us to.

Monday, July 05, 2004

If anyone ever again asks me how Veritas is "going," I may never ever be able to say so better than this.

I am rapt with joy.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Glenn Falls.

I know. I know.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Kind of the way all the evenings were that week....foggy and rainy- but still beautiful.

This shot is of a dead and lonely pine holding its own in a clearing on the Glenn Falls trail at dusk.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Now comes the barrage of unsolicited, unwanted vacation pics. Hopefully, if you can stomach it, stories of some interest may emerge. I know it'll prally just pump me up more than anyone else. Hoop-tee-dooh!

On our way down to North Carolina, we ran into some severe weather just north of Knoxville, Tennessee. The top pic shows a nice shelf cloud, which forms at the leading edge of rain-cooled, cold air spreading outward as it hits the ground.

The middle pic is one of two funnel clouds that were produced by this severe thunderstorm. However, the funnels each only lasted five seconds. They were not part of any organized rotation in the parent thunderstorm either, having formed on the gust front (an area where cold air is being pushed ahead near the surface....the funnels formed along this region where the cold air collides with the warm, moist air. Small vortices can form in this region. These vortices are non-tornadic, short in life and almost never touch down. If they do, they are known as gustnadoes, which are really cousins to actual tornadoes. Though not as powerful as supercell tornadoes, they can kill and do damage as well).

The bottom pic shows some nice contrast....the other (non-tornadic) funnel (not photographed) formed in the region above the Shell sign.

I knew this was going to be a goooooood vacation with a start like this.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Yep sir.....we be back. Was a good time...might blog about it with pictoral helps as well. I must say it is good to be back. Missed my peeps. Got back, unpacked and proceeded to catch a flare-up of the June Bootids and the Lyrid meteor showers with the Lord Of All Jays and the Spen Dr. Way cool.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Photo: Hutchison

About to head to the "Land of the Noonday Sun." Nantahala National Forest that is. Camping. Native ruby mining. Campfires. Cool mountain air. All with the ladee. Not far from Canaan land I 'spose.

Saturday, June 05, 2004


Sometimes, I feel like the little kid who barges in on the big people's conversation. Sometimes, I have so much to say, but of such insignificance. Sometimes, there's nothing like a sock of inadequacy into the belly of self-importance. Sometimes, when you've been doubled-over for so long you never stop to even ask why everyone else seems to be standing straighter. Sometimes I ask, 'Or are they?' Sometimes, I have too little to do and more than enough care with which to do it. Sometimes, from afar off, I can see the bigger picture, but those are often on my detours to nowhere. Sometimes, I become aware of how conscious I have been of the terminal frailty of my living moments when I know I'm really alive. Sometimes, the inner spaces hurt with the same aliveness. Sometimes, I argue with the silences. Sometimes, I feel I am wonderfully braided together, enmeshed with the fabric of true friends. Sometimes, I amaze myself and no one else. Sometimes, I can't believe I didn't die when I was fourteen. Sometimes the inward journey is simultaneously invigorating and imperiling. Sometimes, I feel the desire of life in the smallest of creatures. Sometimes, I feel I need to get away from myself. Sometimes, I like calm better than storm. Sometimes, I miss my family of origin. Sometimes, I realize I've been missing them since the beginning. Sometimes, it's best that no one knows that the heavens have a song for me- the echoes of which I hear faintly. Sometimes, I don't even realize that people don't care about tornadogenesis. Sometimes, I can't believe how much life I've been given so far. Sometimes, I relish the fool I am becoming. Sometimes, I wonder who's REALLY left home for the Kingdom. Sometimes, I'm mad because some get to plow for the Kingdom in the proximity of or right on the family plantation. Sometimes, I wish I was the child again lying with my dad that night watching that bright-orange fireball meteor blaze across the sky. Sometimes, I can't believe I'm actually going to be thirty-five, while still being filled with the wonder of an eleven-year-old. Sometimes, I think I'll look back at this time in my life and be at a loss for words. Sometimes, I wonder how I'll ever get there.

Friday, June 04, 2004

My common, voyeuristic tendencies as a bloglophile inclines tempts me into meager attempts to pump out the next mind-altering, never-before-touched-upon commentary on the current ecclesiological zeitgeist at hand. So I shan't do so.

Appropriate self-portraiture shall suffice, if not trump all my other banterings.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

"The Day After Tomorrow"

Does It Bite?

A Munkebite Review

Not much to spit at here. But I am an avid disaster movie buff and as disaster movies go, The Day After Tomorrow. wasn't really all that bad...... as a disaster movie. Yeah, they took creative license to accomplish in an hour-and-a-half what could climatologically only take place in five years, if even that quickly. And who wants to sit in the theater for five years?

Has some cheese in it and some far-fetched meteorology (which was why I went), but what the hey. It's post 9/11 and NYC can now be destroyed again. It did come close to OD'ing on the cringe meter tho. The angst-slapped Gyllenhaal juxtaposed to the cuddly-cute, big-eyed Emmy Rossum and their mutual love attentions weren't even superficially believable. The dramatic close-angles of an emoting Dennis Quaid and the soap-opera-ish croc-tears of Sela Ward were almost as strained as the super-cold tropospheric cold pouring over what's left of Manhattan.

The real star was the special FX. (Repeat that to yourself over and over when you go see it). After suffering through some tawdry tarnada anomalies (even for Hollywood) with Twister in '92 and having viewed the real thing on several dozen personal videos, (other people's, not mine, Spen)- several dozen times-, it was refreshing to see the FX wizardry as gargantuan funnels plunder Hollywood. And I was watching it closely....I know how these things churn and burn. They were the closest I have seen yet to the real thing (excepting size and number in proximity). At least on first viewing.

The cheese contained was the tired political slant woven throughout concerning global warming. Heard it before....been there, done that.....and before the syrupy sap of the environmentalism hardened irrevocably, we were doused with another dose of disaster FX, (thank you, movie). The CG animated wolves left a bit to be desired however. Apart from the V.P. Cheney-look-alike dopey Vice President; the heroic Al Gore-ish-looking Prez who seems to "get it;" the shameless plugs for Fox News and the Weather Channel (but you HAVE to have TWC).......the rest of the movie is stomach-able, with a mildly humorous irony regarding Mexico from the German-born Emmerich, who brought us The Patriot and Independence Day.

Stunningly, the movie is just an hour-and-a-half long, and that in the age of blockbuster 2 hour plus action flicks. There were numerous sub-plots, almost too numerous to satifactorily do justice.

This ought to be the first year that a tornado gets an Oscar nod.

2 Out Of 5 Bites

Sunday, May 23, 2004

....oh....and here were our compadres for the picnic.....Jasunke and Andrea, keenly betrothed to be married. And for kicks, they will be doing so in the Hester House come the end of July. New thing for totally rocks in my book. Gonna be awesome.

This beastly monstrosity stealthily made it's way to my leg with apparent horror in store by the looks of its demonically-infused rage-eyes. Immediately, the other three people I was picnic-ing with flung into action with the other male wrestling the marauder to the ground whilst the lady-folk fell prostrate in prayer. After a lengthy battle, we did emerge victorious over said villain.

The STOOPID Bloggerbot/Picasa/Hello pichosting service Blogspot sponsors absolutely SUX! The useless thing won't EVER let me sign in with my name and pass....I have to change it repeatedly. And that's when the STOOPID sign-in screen doesn't post its STOOPID message, "Re-Log In After 5 Seconds..." Sure thing. Am I the only one having probs with this thing?

It's a good idea in theory, Blogspot,


And by the way, you are reading this b/c no one answers email at Hello! support. This is not a is a fumarole.

Hello? Hah.


Friday, May 21, 2004

How would you like yer punk-tail pegged in the nugget with this monster?

It fell a few weeks ago in the Attica, Kansas tornadic event.

Oh, and here's the day's Infinitely Imbecilic Aspiration of the Year.........

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Well, here's all our bad sefs this past Saturday just yards away from the entrance to Laurel Cave and mere minutes away from the downpour that ensued AS SOON as we hit the entrance. Giant waterfall entrances, white marble "tube" caving, bats, wading and crawling in water and interconnecting passageways made for great times. What a great trip this was and what a great group of people to be underground with. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

This is my new favorite show. PBS' latest installment in "experiential history" is quite captivating. All you church planting types with a penchant for this stuff will be struck by the juxtaposition of a small 1628 community bonding around simple survival to the pettiness of our 21st century struggles in "community." Many useful analogous references to building Kingdom communities for our day and time.
 Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Looking out the entrance of Laurel Cave in Carter Caves State Park, KY. Posted by Hello

Getting ready for Laurel and Horn Hollow Caves in KY.....this is looking into the entrance of Laurel. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

These guys are Veritas' FIRST ever couple to be wed. And this is Christi and Eric at their recent wedding shower we threw for them. Can't wait to experience this with them come July 17th. Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Is the pursuit of simplicity ever anything more than a retreat from a more unnecessarily complex existence to a decidedly more simple one? If we have to "focus/concentrate" on it, do the simple complexities of that expended effort defy the goal of simplicity itself?

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

I love it when Veritasians make it big......literally.

My man, David Dotson done made the Tempo section of today's Cincy Enquirer. This guy's a fantastic artist and an even better friend.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

I surrender. Comet Bradfield got my goat and I got nothing. I fear it is fading to favor the Southern Hemisphere observers. But I did get up earlier than I have in aeons. There is something I just love about mornings when I can muster the intestinal fortitude to get up for one. But, alas- my schedule doth not permit such an anomaly. I am a second-shifter and do most of my work while most of you are schnoozing. But I love that too.

How about doing something different this week? Seek the Creator's presence in his creation around you. When was the last time you allowed yourself to be absorbed into the created order and just basked in the spectacle? When did the sheer magnitude of the night sky take your heart hostage to a concert of God and self? When last did the joy of the immensity of the cosmos supplant all your earthly cares with Wonder? There is profound disciplined solitude in the mysteries of the realms above (well, there really is no "above" away from earth). God fashioned this (and all potential other) universe(s). God's "out there" too.

"Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?"
Psalm 139:7

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Courtesy: Sho Endo

Done been outside twice this week to hunt this baby out. Clouds on Monday.........too much twilight on Tuesday.......needed sleep on Wednesday. So I'll try yet again this a.m., weather permitting. For more about Comet Bradfield, this season's cometary show-stopper, go here.

Felt good to get back to observing. It's been awhile since I had taken my scope out or even gazed the constellations. In fact, it's really been awhile since I've gotten out and taken time to invest into some of my hobbies. Been chatting with Jason's bro, Spenabout finding one's way around the north circumpolar constellations. I think I've got a budding amateur astronomer on my hands. It's rekindled some of the wonder again in me just larnin' the lil' bro. I've been washed out of so many meteor showers lately that I kinda got bummed. Craning my neck heaven-ward does wonders to connect me to my Creator. I love what God did for me in the night sky.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

I've Never Had Seats THIS Good......EVER! Thanks Marsh!

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Just this past Saturday, two women- who spew forth with vitality, power, grace and anointed femininity- blessed our Veritasian ladies with the God-life that flows through them. So many stories......I don't know what all happened, prally won't ever know, but it was for them and it must have been pretty awesome cuz God showed up. So, Sandie Brock and Kendra Barrow, thank you for being willing to be available to us. So many of our ladies have connected on a heart level in ways they haven't known before. For some it was a continuation of what God was already doing. And for some, there was the beginning of realizing that God's been there, poking around in their hearts. It has definitely been a milestone for us and the impact will continue to unfurl.

God seemed content to invite them to dance with him. He seemed to want to do that via a journey through a garden. These themes are in no way unfamiliar to Christ or the Father. And they are consistent and divine invitational themes in my life and in the lives of those around me. I just really seemed to become aware of how prevalent these themes are. What is it about God and dancing? What is it about the necessity of entering a garden in order to see the steps?

It was a monumental night as well at Hester the next day. We went deeper as we were invited to partake in some intimate stories of what God showed them and did within their hearts. Their stories continue to upend me out of my place and drive me to the place of reverence for Christ. We ate, sang some, prayed some, and then

In honor of what God is doing for them and in them, we listened to music across genres and time spans that dealt with the dancing metaphor. We also had a rose-flower worship station inviting everyone to literally stop and smell (seemed to make sense with what God was telling our community). At the end, the men surrounded the ladies and had them each take a rose from the station. We entered into a time of blessing, confession, intercession and read a simple affirmation over them, which is contained below:

An Affirmation

(Men, Together) We are your brothers in Christ. We are and have been blessed because of who you are and who you are becoming as women of God.

We recognize that without you, we could not be who we are.

We surround you physically as a symbol of our surrounding you spiritually in your times of need and in our co-laboring together in the Kingdom.

We commit to your building up and to give as much as we receive from you.

We pledge to you, the freedom to be, the freedom to explore, the freedom to fall and the freedom to know and be known.

We seek to be led as much as to lead; to serve not so much to be served and in mutual submission as Christ would have us do.

We choose on earth to dance this dance with you in the rhythm of our lives together and to the music from God’s heaven.

(Men, Together) "Many women have done wonderful things, but you've outclassed them all!" Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. Give her everything she deserves! Festoon her life with praises!
Proverbs 31:29-31

Monday, April 19, 2004

Awwwritey's a test I'm up an runnin

A pic of da gang at Hester House

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Jason Birchfield did an internship with Veritas last summer. He done went and got that dang Kingdom virus we been talking about cause he ain't stopped since. For a night in the life of a Veritasian Kingdom emissary check out his latest post. It does my heart warm.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Have I longed for the illusion for so long that I don't even know how much I've been formed by it? I am seeing now that as a child, I longed for something that would never be. Now as a child in this makeshift adult constume I look back and wonder what was real. There were things in my family that were rotten. And there were few times when it was good....really good. I know those times were few in comparison but my immature mind and ill-forming identity encapsulated those life snapshots into a falsely positive light because I longed for them in the darkness, interpreting them into it. And that is all that I focus on now, (i.e., the "good times") and it clouds those past bleaker realities of hoping/wishing/pretending for something that I could never have and was never going to happen.

I feel pitifully disjointed because of this. I have daily reminders.....the gnawing emptiness as the illusion erodes away........a growing awareness of personal limitations, pride and selfishness in my own present family.........a mother whose whereabouts I do not know..........too little contact with my known immediate family own recalcitrance and "past-be-damned" attitude. I am a product of my past, like it or not. Therefore, I can never be ignorant of the divine pregnancy of the fleeting present.

I used to wonder in more halcyon, infantile days of what kind of life I would have. Now that I have nowhere near the life that I could never have hoped to imagine, I wonder what kind of life I really had. Who am I in between?

I am convinced that by the time we are 18, we are almost as completely scarred and wounded as we could ever hope to be. And this from our families of origin (even if such a concept is a contrivance or a theorem). Continuing into adulthood with these wounds does not multiply them but only convolutes them, with our sin of choice heaping in over and under to assuage the pain. Strange how in so many ways- despite being surrounded by so many who love me- I still feel like the vagabond, searching for the family that was never mine. Just a passing fragrance wafting out of the way to what might have been.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Collegiate Christian Consumerism

Part 3


We're still propelled by the big event. The massive buildup to a main-themed, on campus penetration into the larger campus community comes in the form of various outreaches, public films, forums, concerts, etc. On-campus "big-eventism" is the evangelical currency of choice, mainly because that is what is still esteemed by the campus ministry fathers who came before these young adults. I do not contend that the big event does not produce fruit at does. Yet, as far as relational investment and consistency, it is the cheapest fare. Come up with a week and an emphasis and you have it. With the big event, you get to do what is most immediately and visibly gratifying, where evangelistic action is concerned. Dangle the carrot, gather the masses, proclaim the message and hopefully gather the harvest.

Herein is the problem with our approach to evangelism.....we major on proclamation and harvesting but neglect cultivation. Our idea of cultivation is to invite pre-Christians to a few events and then drop the Jesus bomb on them. Cultivating is the dirty, unglamorous, ugly red-headed step-child of evangelism. There is much relational investment with pre-Christians that MUST be devoid of a "what-can-I-or-my-church/campus-ministry-get-out-of-it?" mentality. Granted, this mentality is not as spoken as it is behaviorally implied. We still value a "come-see" approach and pagans are not coming to the big shows, no matter how many ultra-cool, rocking and glitzy post-modern sci-fi films after which we can name our campus ministry. They still wonder if we Christians actually care enough about them to not pander our shtick to them. So they hurl their complaints and we say they aren't ready for Jesus yet. Maybe we're just giving Jesus-by-products. Why can't we stage a production that never ends that is neither staged nor that blossoms behind-the-scenes and one that won't "get at" people? What about something with no stars and no big names who neither know us nor stay around long enough to want to? What about something truly mundane, simple and reeking of "common?" Where are our homegrown theologians, missionaries and our next generations' great thinkers? I'll tell you where they are.....they're not even Christ followers yet.


Mission is still seen as "out there" in Meh-hee-koh or Botswana or Uzbekistan or Panama City. I know they need Jesus too. I know they need sewers dug and church houses built.

I know too that in the last 50 years of the 20th century, evangelicals in USA failed to gain even 2% of the American population. In other words, we're not even reaching our children. Only India and China have more lost people. In fact, China now boasts more Christian believers than the USA. I know that my lost young adult friends are living together with their boyfriends and girlfriends, go to the bars and Steak and Shake for ultimate meaning and purpose with their like-minded network of friends. They ask the tough questions, enjoy being lost and flaunt it at times. They are brutally honest and tell you what they think. They are not even as presumptuous as many Christians I know. And they will listen to us if we go to them. Not just once, mind you. But to stay, listen and love.

You don't have to go overseas to find this. This is in our own backyard. In Oxford, Ohio......the stepping stone and preparatory place for the leaders of the world's tomorrows. So why one week mission trips? Why the resource hungry buildup to honor these monoliths when the need here is so great? What about 52-week missional living in the garden where we are planted, whether 1,2,3,4 or 10 years? Why is mission "out there," miles away from our here-ness? I suspect one-week mission-mindedness is attractive because we can return to the obscurity of whatever it was we were doing before. And it's sexier to have the exotic one-week mission for a conversation piece. And there are no long term investments to bind. Besides, if you're always on your way to something better, somewhere else, then you can't ever have too much asked of you. There are also the promises of an enticing tourist attraction in the "foreign" mission, as if the calling to go and serve selflessly weren't enough. Why the "fun" hook to missions? Why weren't we taught that joy in serving was enough? Perhaps we just don't know what to do with a wandering people we see, know and shun on a weekly basis. Maybe our familiarity has bred a barrier of contempt amongst our own people in our own community.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't have fun. We should. I'm not implying that all who participate in the typical- (if there are such)- campus ministry one-week mission trips are thusly shallow-minded and have hidden agendas. I'm not saying they should be abandoned. I am saying the philosophical approach to mission is skewed long before we hit the road or the plane. And I am saying that we need to seriously revisit Kingdom-living on our campuses with a second naivete, if that's even possible. And do we really have time for that?

I don't know if I want to even see a "movement" (whatever that means). It seems on the front end if you start out with that in mind you end up running it and expending too much energy to maintain something altogether different. I don't think we need anything to "emerge" either. For that which God has intended (the establishment of his Kingdom), the resources are already at our disposal. Isn't it really the Gospel plus NOTHING- no gimmicks, no catches, no agendas? But when you only have some people maybe for four years at the most, you are hard-pressed to come up with something unique and memorable.

So with that, do we teeter, tending toward being anti-thetical to a grounded, Kingdom-minded community? And what does that really look like- devoid of the agendized, hypo-relational machine wherein the cogs are immovable and fixed?Where are the young adults who will claim their present and former campuses as their own parishes, effectively loving them into the Kingdom of God and pastoring and persisting with them for the duration? Where is our burden to live amongst a wayward and transient people as a prophetic roadblock to the slave syndrome under which our nowherely mobile peers live?

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Collegiate Christian Consumerism

Part 2

The university system treats the student like hybrid adults on a mule team driven by a force unseen, much larger and imposing its will from the outside. That's why I love these young adults. I am called to them. You see, I abide in the glamorous transportation industry as a mass transit professional (read, bus driver) to these 16,000 Miami University students. I deliberately chose this job so that I could be around them in a unique way. I see them throw up their alcohol on my bus, after a night of having paid homage to Budweiser, the patron god of Oxford/Miami. I hear their conversations about their one-night stands. They race me half-naked on the street, ON FOOT. I have them arrested when they pass out on my bus for 2 ½ rounds and they won’t respond to me. I watch as their BMW’s and Hummers cut me off at the corner when I have the right of way and I get the finger. I watch the sorority girls’ dads try to pick up their girlfriends in local bars on parent’s weekend. I shudder at the skimpiness of the girls’ clothing choices in 50 degree weather when there have been over a dozen reported sexual assaults so far this year. I see and hear them cry alone in their cars, hunkered down in their seats in the back of the bus, hoping I don’t see. But I do. I see them fall on the ice and bust their tails. I see them rain-soaked to the bone waiting for my 36,000 pound behemoth of warmth. They love me then but hate me when I am pulling away from a stop hoping for a space in front of them.

I revel in the incredible politeness of their “thank-you’s” and “have a good day's.” They are bright, eager, motivated, energetic and just trying to find their place in the grand scheme of things. Their identities are relatively unformed, their experiences limited and their potential unleavened. They are who they are and that’s why I love them.
But as I look in their eyes, there is a vacuous hollow there. It seems to me that few of them are really “here.” In other words, they are on the way to something else, somewhere else. I wonder how many are towing the line of gaining the collegiate experience and the sheepskin it’s wrapped in and then off to the next experience. These moments in their lives seem like so many stones in a creek as they skip across them just to get to the other side, avoiding the stream of life altogether. We are told to acquire, amass, to “get” and we don’t know how to just “be” because no one is in any one place for very long. They are on their way to the next big stage. This by-product is betrayed by how we talk about this life stage.

“Just wait till you get in the ‘real world,’” we joke. What is it about this world at any point for these young adults that IS NOT real?

Unfortunately, this philosophy is reinforced by some churches and campus ministries. As a whole, we aren’t making disciples who are qualitatively and scandalously (Rom. 9:33; Gal. 5:11; 1 Pet. 2:8) counter-cultural enough, communally-connected enough and peculiarly-approachable enough. We’re just too peculiar to approach for all the wrong reasons (from a lost person’s perspective). We’ve become bottom-line feeding, marketing savvy Gospel-pushers on the ready to close the deal. We are sensation-seeking connoisseurs in the collegiate religious experience economy. Relationally, we are spread too thin, vagabonds floating from faith community to faith community in the name of seeing what’s right “for me” while masking a relational insecurity and a self-imposed, tenuous Kingdom-mindedness that ultimately benefits no one.

Some of us have become junkies on the campus ministry circuit without a tribe to truly call our own. Some would hail our tendency toward multiple communities as a truly postmodern goodness, allowing one to partake in all the best the people of God have to offer and even in the name of Christian unity. I think it’s heresy. Churches (“mine” included) are partly to blame because of implicit jealousy at the overt numerical success of some campus ministries. Campus ministries are partly to blame because they essentially function as churches but they're more inclined to deny it. Nevertheless, campus ministries/parachurch organizations have obviously stepped in to fill the void that the mainline church has ignored. But I feel we’re still amiss.

Okay…..over the next few days, and being that I live amongst and share life and home with collegiate young adults, I shall offer a treatise on the weaknesses of campus Christianity as it relates to community building and missional penetration into the lives of pagans. If I had publishing prowess and the wherewithal, this would be a pamphlet. I’ve always wanted my progeny to say of me that I wrote several important pamphlets.

Anyway, what I have to say is much so it is broken down for your digestion should you swaller.

Collegiate Christian Consumerism

Part 1

I was once a college student. I remember campus ministry at East Tennessee State University. I remember being invited and going to an event and not really connecting to the scene as a first timer. Maybe it was one of my more anti-social nights.

After almost four years in and amongst the Christian scene at Miami University here in Oxford, I faintly detect the same taste in my mouth.

I have had these sentiments for some time now and in some form or another. They have never been haughty and intent on battering or attacking specific campus ministries or the people in them. I just have questions fueled by a perspective that could be totally off base. They are questions nonetheless.

What I want to say could be taken offensively by those involved in various campus ministries (granted, 99.99999999999998 % of these won’t read this post). This is not my intent. There are those in my faith community who participate in them and whom I love and respect very deeply and I would never seek to hurt them. I am not blindly railing against campus ministries per se. Many effectively carry out good works and I applaud that. I am not saying those within them are bad or misled or less of a person. In general, there is an unstated or accidental philosophical approach undergirding many of the campus ministries I’ve seen that run counterproductive to what they purport to be about.

In qualifying that last statement, I should say I am not intimately aware of all the inner workings of every individual within every campus ministry that falls under one vision or another. Some of my questions stem from what I see on the large scale of things, or rather, on events carried out publicly in the name of one campus ministry or another. I also see the disconnect in the masses. Perhaps my musings err in trying to understand and ultimately siding with these on the peripheral fringes…...those in whom the campus ministry organizations are failing to reach.


There was a time a few years back when I was seriously considering and being considered to serve as the campus minister for our local denominational association on the campus of Miami University. Turns out, the direction of Veritas would have been in danger of being absorbed by the campus ministry if I had assumed the position. Additionally, I was more of a pariah amongst the established pastors around our association than me or my director of missions EVER dreamed I could have been. Simply put, I am told some of my pastoral “brothers” in Christ detest me and they have never even met me. There is a camp that is adamantly opposed to our presence here and they have been from day one. Even if I had wanted to go that direction, it would have never happened in such an environment. These misgivings I have stand irrespective to my views that I will continue to outline regarding campus ministry philosophies.


The Western version of the university education has been hijacked by free-market consumerism, breeding such a consumerist approach from the onset of the college experience. The promising and alluring equation is: a degree= worth+maturity+success. The university itself no longer caters to the formation of the soul -(as opposed to the university’s prime directive of the acquisition of information/experience, as it is now)- but it reluctantly contracts it out to a hodge-podge of suitors of every type. The public demands the choice and the university must be all things to all people. The student and his/her family are expertly sized up and marketed an academic, social, cultural and religious experience- the best their money will buy (or so they’re told). One need only choose the brand and the experience involved and pay up.

Eventually, we herd the new masses like calves before a new gate and parade them before our information tables with table-top ministry commercials. The spectacle may not be as subtly lost on the percipients as we might suspect…..perhaps they intuitively sense the pressure we rarely admit to being operative behind such a scene…..namely, the burden to prove why “we’re” so much better to be a part of than the campus ministry two tables down. Maybe the incoming frosh aren’t cognizant of as much and in as many words, but for the campus ministry, it’s all in the name of recruitment, which you have to do to stay afloat on the sea of significance. (More Tomorrow)

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Uhmmm.......prally didn't see this one coming, huh?

Monday, March 29, 2004

Just some pics of my recent Fite Klubb campout.......

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Here's a worthy manifesto for a X follower.........checkitout, namely the Wednesday, March 24 entry........(thanks to CMarsh!)

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Now that I got my Fotopages site up, you can go and actually verify that we are doing church stuff here in Oxford.

Matter of fact, go there now and partake in a few pics of our community on Hester Road.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

So I'm back from Tenny, and my NCAA brax sukk. Badly. Everyone I chose to win lost. Everyone that lost, I chose to win. This is freekin' luscious.

Good thing I chose Talawanda High School to take it all baybeeee!!!

Friday, March 19, 2004

In the See of Tenny as I key these characters.........anxiously awaiting the routing that the East Tennessee State Buccaneers- my alma tomater- will unleash upon the wee Sincinnasty KittenCubs.

Now, in the spyuhrt of St. Alantious Creechosporous, the Lexingtonian, I shall offer one thing I'd bet you don't know about me:

While at ETSU in a pickup basketball game, I blocked the shot (actually slung it in the parking lot) of a future guard for the Golden State Warriors.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

As a fellow servant, my heart aches for/with my brothers and sisters at the demonically-infused man's inhumanity to man.

Aha!!! The Kimsterino be bloggin' now.........(you couldn't hide from me forever) we gots 3/4's of the Birchfield clan bloggin' more to go.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004


"Someone" is having fun with numbers. In what has been called "the worst attack in western Europe since WWII," and Spain's "September 11th," close to 200 people have died and around 1500 were injured last Thursday when bombs gutted passenger trains in Spain. According to the above article, apparently someone knew something before it went down, not unlike our government's prior knowledge of the carnage of September 11, 2001.

It has been reported that 3/11 happened 911 days after 9/11. Clearly, 11 was a signature of sorts for "someone" on that fateful day in 2001. Consider this for your numerological curiosities:

-Attacks took place on September 11th.....or 9/11.....where 9+1+1=11.

-Number of days left in the year 2001 AFTER September 11th: 111.

-September 11th was the 254th day of the year in 2001......2+5+4=11.

-The first plane to hit WTC 1 was American Airlines Flight 11.

-Flight 11 had 11 crew on board.

-Take the flight numbers of each of the fated planes.......Flight 11 remains the base, numerologically.........Flight 93 becomes 12 (9+3=12)......Flight 175 becomes 13 (1+7+5=13).....Flight 77 becomes 14 (7+7=14).

-On September 11th, 1609, Henry Hudson sails into NY harber and "discovers" Manhattan Island

-"New York City" has 11 letters.

-New York was the 11th state of the union.

-The 1972 Munich Olympic games ended on September 11th in a terrorist attack where 11 Israeli athletes were killed. There were 121 (11x11) countries participating. Exactly 29 (2+9=11) years later came the horrors of 9/11/01.

-The American Airlines flight had 92 people on board.....9+2=11.

-"Trade Center" has 11 letters.

-The WTC standing side by side visually formed the number 11.

-Both WTC towers were 110 stories high.

-The North WTC collapsed at 10:28 a.m.......1+0+2+8=11.

-The first group of NYC firefighters to reach the area was Unit 1. They lost 11 of their men.

-When both towers collapsed, a height of 11 stories remained.

-After 99 days of fires in and around "Ground Zero," NYC declares all fires extinguished (9x11=99).

-On the British documentary "How the Twin Towers Collapsed," a fire expert was interviewed on the fires and explosions in the structures......a small demonstration was formed depicting fire burning up different kinds of materials inside a special warehouse.....the building had a sign on it by the door reading "11."

-"The Pentagon" has 11 letters.

-Ground was broken for construction on the Pentagon on September 11th, 1941.

-Flight 77, which supposedly hit the Pentagon (no plane wreckage has been produced from the site)- had 65 people on board......6+5=11......77 is also achieved by 11x7.

-Revenge attacks begin in Afghanistan to fight terrorism. "Afghanistan"=11 letters

-56 (5+6=11)minutes after WTC 2 collapsed, WTC 1 collapsed.

-"[The war in Iraq] is a rare opportunity to move toward an historic period of cooperation. Out of these troubled times.....a new world order can emerge...."- George H.W. Bush, in a dramatic speech before a joint session to Congress about the Kuwait crisis on September 11th, 1990, exactly 11 years ago to the day from September 11th, 2001.

-During the crisis on Tuesday, kids in the area of the Twin Towers were moved to a "safe school" on 11th Street.

-The only operating ferry was Number 11, on 33rd street (11x3)

-President Bush, on September 11th orders US flags to be flown at half-staff until September 22nd (11x2). This is a total for 11 days.

-In March 2002, there were twin beams of light lit at "Ground Zero." These were kept on for exactly 11 days.

In the greatest terror attack since 9/11, it turns out that, due to this being a leap year, 3/11 happened not 911 days after but 912. But hey, if you do 9/11 one better, then what do you have?

Can you say, "Tater Gun?" I knew you could.

Yeah, it was definitely a dude show, replete with requisite goofiness and remarkably delectable victuals served up by Chef Boy-Al-Creech. Times were fun, deep and consummately suspended in a time of rare fellowship. From raucous irreverence to humble ventures into our stories to a trek up a mountain beholding impeccable geography- it was a slice of life served in the stock of a generous helping of "one-another." It's really amazing how getting away to do not much of anything elucidates every past endeavor and every present aspiration. And now, I again bask in a glow of radiant Kingdom brotherhood, surrounded by this cloud of witnesses. Not only do I know their names, but I have come to know and grow to love them even more.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Well, we offered on one of the houses we looked at and now we are handling the counter-offer, which we are going to counter the counter-offer. Or something like that.

Really learning as we go here. But I like new things. I would prefer things that didn't deal with so many Benjamins.

The sellers didn't really come down much from their price......I think they are anticipating their open-house this weekend and tabling us with some other possible offers so as to get the best one. Don't they know we're trying to get a good deal? What are they trying to do......make money?

Maybe they aren't letting on yet how much they're willing to go down. We will counter again today by 12 noon and see where that goes.

I like doing things that are both scary and fun at the same time. Makes you feel alive. Or very poor (to be felt soon).

Friday, March 05, 2004

Most of you know we're plunking around for our first home to buy. Most of you know too that we are incorporating and envisioning as a priority what we feel God is calling us to do in ministry into our search for a house. We have looked. And, later on this day, we may offer. Pray to God for a deepened sense of calling and guidance.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004


No new aim....just a thought from this week's Aidan readings which birthed a spark.

And so I opine......with so much of my identity tethered to "doing," how free am I to realize the unbearable lightness of my being in Him? I'm not when in "get-it-done" mode. Where did I miss that He calls me first to be His son, His "man of God?"

This issuance of fruit from that existential realm promises both danger and opportunity heretofore unseen.