Saturday, December 30, 2006

Riding down the greasy slide toward the end of Christmas break. Haven't caved yet, but getting there; well into the yearly floor refinishing at the church; much recollecting about life and relationships and the richness I have within them all.

Family time at home was good, bad and just plain bonkers. Things change, but when you don't even know the how's, when's and why's of the changes that affect you and have no way to get to the bottom of them, then I surmise you're just plain out of luck. I don't know how to even be thankful at times for the impermanence of things in life I'd really like to be able to count on.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

'Twas quite the birthday this year for this ol' codger- especially being able to share it with my people, since it fell on our gathering day.

They hit me up right too....pecan pies, roasts, biskits, korn, mooshed taters and various other sundries and delights. The Birchfield boys and girl utterly SURPRISED me with a wetsuit, enabling me now to push the river entrance to Wells Cave in Kaintuckee. I am modeling for you (and the Dana Community) in all my XXL glory below.

The best part was the kind and encouraging words and stories each of them shared with me....ways that I had impacted them, things I had said, done or even not done that built into their lives. It was a truly rich time and fed some starving places in my soul, especially in light of the history with some of these people for about seven years now. They spoke of Kingdom things, the sort of stuff over which I have really had no control, except in terms of making myself available, both to God and to these people I love and serve.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A big, fat mea culpa for the sedentary blog of late. There are bunches of things to do that are finding me not minding this discipline. My laziness, therein, is shameful, especially to those of you who had been checking in and out only to find the same collection of pixels. It would have been better if I had prefaced it with an "I'm-taking-a-break-from-blogging" caveat, but even in that, I'm not even sophisticated enough (which is still something maybe on the horizon). In fact, the more I think on it, the more I feel inclined to revamp this whole, whoa-whoah, sweet blog- o'mine, from the ground on up.

Trips a-plenty on the horizon too. After having been in Hotlanta (home of the Braves) and Orlando in October, I'll be in Dallas at the end of January; in the Dakotas to share with the Dakota Baptist Convention about our experiences in ministry amongst students here in Oxford in January or February and Salt Lake City in April to finish out our lay church planting task force gatherings.

So as things brew, and as I plod onward in search of a greater depth and discipline, I will continue on with things here.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Of House Guests and Lawn Moles...

Jen Leonard was with us at Dana Drive this weekend. In March, I was blown away by her story when she arose to speak at Palmer's memorial service. Hers is one that prods me to think about what it is that I have really sacrificed on this journey in our corner of the Kingdom here. I am moved to the conclusion that the only satisfactory answer to that was/is, not much. Or, at least, not enough.

Her story and the questions she is currently posing in regards to this way of life are resonating with me and Cathy, especially the "all or nothing" issue. For us, I think our path to this point has been inconsistently puctuated with only fleeting instances being completely "sold out," or, being "all in" (choose your analogous phrase here).

But I think there is worth in the tension of "not knowing." The core values of the Kingdom are at once tenously thin as spider webs in my white-knuckled grip as they are urging me deeper with a contingent fervor from beyond that Veil. The Father can be found in the not knowing of what's next, what I'll look like, how I'll be and what I'll do. He is just as much the God of my dim, dullness as he is of my (scarce) moments of X-ray clarity, is he not?

Im tired of complaining about what isn't right with my commitment level and others' for that matter. I'm tired of being disgusted with things and not doing something about it. I'm tired of pettiness in myself and others. I'm tired of a lifestyle of laxity and coziness with the way things "are." But it is me that's the problem- I'm the limitation. I can't be preoccupied with my observational discontent when I'm too sessile of a Kingdom co-laborer. I've got to lead by stepping out and risking something greater, something bolder.

I stand firm with the knowledge that I want to be with the people I am journeying with and the foundational, common denominator is living and loving in simple communities. From that, there is no retreat. But noticeably absent is the level of missional-mindedness that we find ourselves in. You know- the kind infused with passion, dreaming and Kingdom-originated envisioning. On the other hand, it might not be that there's such an absence of that mind. The challenge of connecting it to heart and behavior is more appropriate.

And I don't think that I'm brandishing a legalistic hot-iron here and I'm certainly not about imposing my perspective on others either. It's been months (years) in the making, but this is just a slice in my current stage of life and if I am game for it, there are widespread and wholesale implications for life and ministry. I am tilling this garden of transformation as feverishly as I've been hunting that dreaded, little lawn mole that's expertly converting my back yard to a tunneled spongework. Just today I was reminded of how both excursions are messy, dirty, lead in circles and sometimes involve getting a little doo on your shoe when you aren't watching where you walk.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I think I am on the verge of coughing up my gizzard.

I loathe colds.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I'm home now, having returned from the first leg of the North American Mission Board's Task Force on Lay Church Planting, which I was invited to serve on. We're a combination of a group of 18 planters, practitioners and denominational equippers from all over North America with a passion to see millions of ordinary people begin to realize they can do simple, Kingdom-minded community-building and church starting. John Bailey, our former Director of Missions here and now a church planting enlistment director with NAMB, convened us together to pick our brains so that several months/meetings from now, there might be a book on the findings. There were representatives of all types of styles of church...traditional, multi-housing, house church, student house church, cell name it.

I was eager to be a part of this, because being invited meant that it might have been possible that my denominational brothers would be open to hearing our story. I felt like I had something worthwhile to contribute too. But even more so, to learn.

Some of you know that there have been instances of painful ostracization from within my own Southern Baptist fold over the last 6.5 years here. Not everyone was closed off to us, but those who were provided enough to last. It cut me because I have been Southern Baptist from the was a Southern Baptist church in Rogersville, Tennessee and who took me in and befriended me as a wayward, vagabond 15 year-old and they simply loved me as I was. They invested in me all the way, even when I sensed God urging me vocationally to something beyond my dreams- even at 15. They became the family I longed to have.

That's why it hurt to have experienced the rejection I have had. I knew back before I came to Oxford that it would come. I just didn't know how it would impact me. Though Christ has touched these painful places with healing, I wasn't sure what to expect this week. I had hopes nonetheless.

I was blown away. I hadn't quite expected to encounter God quite the way I did this week. I thought we were just going to be a task force, a think tank. I wasn't quite prepared to be overcome with the sense that God is laying upon us something potentially momentous and that he was going to unite us together like he had. I wasn't expecting (but I was hoping) to find such friendship and kinship and warmth and genuine open-heartedness in these men like I did. They heard my heart, my/our story, saw pictures of us feasting, laughing, baptizing, crying, worshiping and just living and doing church.

On the first day we convened and halfway through our morning session, we were dialoguing about barriers before us that we had to identify. One of the men just became weighted with a heart-heaviness, stating that whatever was going to become of our efforts it needed to be in line with God's heart. That's really when we hit our knees and faces and literally fell prostrate for the next half hour. I was almost sure that if I lifted my nose from the floor that I'd glimpse His face. There was just a rush of brokenness, humility and recognition of the Presence of Holiness in that hotel meeting room coupled with the sense that God wants to give us something fragile, something close to his heart, something other-worldly, imbued with immaculate and immense worth. I don't really know why or what all happened or what becomes of this.

I do know that afterward, it was my turn to do my presentation, which was me telling the story through pictures of God bringing us to Oxford, about Veritas and about what God's been doing. As I saw my fellow Veritasians, it stirred my heart to such fascination and love for the people with whom I journey (and have journeyed).

I shared my struggles and John shared with them some of the war stories from clashes with those in our own association who were in opposition to us and that's when the man above acknowledged the difficulty I had personally experienced and asked what they could do to come alongside me/us. They didn't even know, at that point, (and I said so) that just hearing my heart and our story and receiving me was more than they knew. Being there and hearing me was enough for that moment. You see, right before me, God had those men impart to me the affirmation the enemy had stolen from me early on. They all came around me- all but two were strangers before the previous day- and they laid their hands upon me, affirmed and encouraged me. It's not a question of deserving, because I didn't deserve that grace. But God saw fit, and that, six years later. I just wanted you to know how huge that was for me.

I hope to unpack some more of this a bit later.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Heading out Orlando, Flarduh, for the first meeting of NAMB's Lay Church Planting Summit. This includes taking in the one day Simple Church Conference with Alex McManus. It's a freebie, too, so t'ain't no thang, and I am kinda interested.

The rest of the week will be story-telling among the practitioning summiteers and digesting some points from the conference no doubt. I'll keep ya posted.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Going down today to Looseyville to my alma tamater to visit our young seminarians- Christi and Eric Osterday- already in their first semester.

I would have never thought, when I was there, that I would be back someday visiting a couple from a church we planted whom we would support in their edumacation.

That's a right bit warming to the heart.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Me at 225 lbs of blubb, with my grandfather the last summer he was alive....., 4 months later and 45 lbs lighter, all circa 2001. Gadzooks!!!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Andrew Jones quotes Roland Allen, a missionary circa 1930's, whose response to his sponsors requesting big stories from him was:

"I do not trust spectacular things. Give me the seed growing secretly every time."

There you have it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I'm just a wee bit frazzled. By the end of this month, I will have been gone every weekend and will have flown out of state twice. And that's not to mention a smattering of meetings/conferences in between almost weekly.

I am swelling in preparation of a heaving a great sigh of relief, but I may have to hold my breath for more of what's to come. Just kind of feels that way.

By the way, my one day conference in Atlanta with my good friend John Bailey (and Church Planting Enlistment director for the North American Mission Board) was a good one. He's in the process of writing a book on what it means to be a missional church and, last week, he collected together myself, another house church network planter from Texas, two church planting profs from two of our seminaries and another planter- an Atlantan- who's doing a large group/cell church model (and doing it really well). We sat through some presentations of some information on current trends in population and culture in America and compared that to the sobering fact of our failure to reach the unbelieving populace.

We were all from different backgrounds and contexts but were enveloped by the same grow into more of what it means to be biblically missional across the board. Each of these guys were profoundly sharp and plugged in. It was refreshing to hear some other stories on different fronts and I gleaned a lot from the discussion.

Monday, October 09, 2006




"...big-ol'-shed-of -lino"



"...Big-ole-jet-had-a-light-on.....don't carry me too far awa-ay....Who-oah"

Whatever Steve Miller sang in Jet Airliner, I'm getting on one later today and heading to Hotlanta to take part in a discussion on missional churches with theNorth American Mission Board of the SBC.

Did I say this is the first time I've flown since April 2000?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Emerging church = deeper, more substantial, quality relationship?

I'm not so sure anymore right now. Despite a few holdouts, people are still people, no matter what tag you pin to's just the same ole donky sometimes.

We talk a great game relationally, but we inevitably get pulled elsewhere. By the time we are called to investigate how serious we were back when, are we finding we were really as serious as we thought we were? So much time is lost contemplating...wavering...we don't quite ascertain what we do to flounder our contingent faithful.

Are we being inwardly changed/transformed in all of this ourselves, or are we still flailing in our strength, pounding away on things, trying to issue a massive pump-knot on the noggin of our circumstances?

It starts off good and all....moving from one stage of loneliness and longing and finding others in comparable boats. And some of the vessels were welcome sights....appearing as mighty, tall-masted ships on the horizon bringing comrades-in-arms. So you tie off to one another and continue the voyage, floating to who really knows where, but it's okay, because you're all together, believing the Captain has formed the armada.

But the sea roils, boils and upends, testing our seaworthiness. Some are tragically inundated. Some of us have walked and are perched on planks of our own handiwork, daring the next swell to do its thing. Nicer ships entice to mutinous proportions as well. Some of have cut rope and drift along. Some have to have unbelieveably long tethers and can barely see the fleet.

All around me, my ministry peers that I treasure more than anything....the people I've journeyed with and for whom I'd die to bring up in this way of life....effort has tended to be less than half-and-half (myself included). But I KNOW....this is life. And I KNOW I can't see/know everything. And I KNOW I'm weak, wounded and need sharpened and this vainly skews my perspective. But maybe I just don't really know HOW yet.

The loss-to-gain ratio is puzzling because you can never get a grasp on how things currently "are" with ministry, with your leadership, your people, your friends. Most of the time the encumbrances are daunting and feel mightier than the advances, and the damnedest thing is that I might be the problem most of the time. If I were better than- more than- what I am now, how much more so would those around me be?

I am a relational mutt and I err in holding on too tightly because the pervasive feeling that I've lost so liberally. Early in my life, the security of relational boundaries were muddied profusely and often and when I came to the One Who'll never leave nor forsake, well, I tumbled headlong. So I thrive on the security apparent and possible (but not always manifested) within brothers and sisters in Christ when they say, "here am I." So I guess I just don't do well when these relationships are tenously unclear. It's risk, risk, risk...pure risk, and my weaknesses are not as safe as they once were.

Neither being the spokesman nor the paragon of healthy, consistent relational modeling, suffice it to say, this is why this is hard sometimes. For me at least.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

What Do You Do With This?

After a refreshing conversation with CMarsh Thursday at our usual haunt, Barnes and Noble, I received a phone call from my mother. It was one I could have never even dreamed up myself in a million years.

She informed me that my Aunt Pam (her sister) had been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and has about 47% lung capacity at present. I just buried my Great Aunt Juanita back in July from this disease.

"The doctor said hopefully about 5-8 years left....."

My mother's voice trailed off in my head a bit. Then I heard the word, "Germany."

My cousin is a supply sergeant and had been in the Iraqi theater recently and isstationed in Germany. Mom said Aunt Pam was going to move there to be with her daughter. She didn't say so, but she's probably going there to live the rest of her life.

"Glenn.....I'm going too."

I'm still wondering what to feel about all of it. Frustration, futility in the face of age/demise/impending death, abandonment, bewildered.....calm and assurance. I sort of childishly and selfishly thought, ...for the first time in my life, I won't have physical access to my mother.... I just can't "up" and go see her. But even more, will I see my Aunt Pam again on this side? I just wasn't prepared for the dynamics of such an adjustment....and so quickly. My aunt is flying out next Thursday and my mother to follow not long after. I'm sure we'll try to unite before the move, and that I'm missing the finer points and all, but it sure is a gnarly situation to sift through.

I talked to my Aunt Pam last night. She's by no means on her deathbed and is full of much more life. We talked about now how she has the blessing of knowing that she can choose to really, REALLY live each day in its fulness. To me, that was somewhat of a blessing, in the truest sense of the word.

It seems to be the right thing to do, given the circumstances. In that way, I'm okay with it. They have each other now and they don't want to take anything for granted, to miss out on what they HAD taken for granted. None of their family remains in Knoxville anymore. Grandparents, parents, brothers, aunts, uncles...either passed away or moved. And that is a foreign thing to grasp because so much of my formative years were there.

So they should go. I bless it to be. I don't want it...with all of my heart I don't want any part of what this situation is all about. And I remember my own sense of abandonment I lugged around. But Jesus touched that a few years ago. He covered that part of me and that healing spreads over even now, so that I can say, "" and know that it isn't about me. There's calm and peace there. Besides, I love my mother and Aunt Pam and my cousin too much.

I just long for the lost years sometimes.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

In the earlier days of my faith (ca., 1985-ish), I used to be offended by this bumper sticker ("Jesus Caves") sold by Bob&Bob, a caving equipment supplier.

Now, there is something different about it that registers amusing....with the high-falootin' font and all.

But it's true now. Jesus, in effect, does go caving with me. He is present with my brothers and sisters in Christ when we are underground. He is present in the beauty of his unique, physical handiwork there too.

So, yeah, kinda having a hankerin' for the underground right now.

GOOFY, KIDDISH THING TO BE THANKFUL FOR TODAY: Jesus made the earth the way it was so that caves were possible. He's made is so I can go in them too.

Friday, September 08, 2006

CELLCHOSIS: The Oblivious Plight of the Typical Miami Student

I am a hero. Everyday, I rise to that status. Everyday.

Okay, in my heart, I'm a hero.

But everyday, I bring my bus to a stop somewhere just safely short of a completely oblivious student in the middle of the street, hanging onto some conversation being mediated through a cell phone on the other side of their head.

I watch them try and converse while just trying to get home or get to class or get across the street. Their attention retreats (you can see it in their eyes); their gait becomes slowed, if not cumbersome and zombie-like. They miss their stops on the bus because of the cell phone and they want to blame me for their having missed it.

-Sorry- I don't stop at every stop unless someone wants it.

-Well, you were on the phone when we passed it....

And so on....

Cell phone firmly placed to the ear, they forget the concept of right-of-way at a four way stop, yet I/we lurch to a stop to keep them from hitting us. They keep talking.

There is something a tidbit mind-altering when you are on the phone, engaged in conversation. There is a slight mesmerization and an affectation of the faculties necessary for survival in an urban environment. I call this induced state of mind, cellchosis. Cellchosis is the state of dulled perception and motor function enveloping the user while in the midst of a cell phone conversation. A person is said to be cellchotic when they are standing out in the middle of the street talking on the phone with a 40-foot long 36,000 lb bus only feet away from them- that after having screeched to a halt, preserving their lives and their conversations. Then they glare at you and complete their jaywalk. That is cellchotic.

It's a willful condition by virtue of the fact no one is being coerced to hold the device to their head. The prevalence of these devices are going to collude with some calamitous events one day, I'm afraid, resulting in something bad, like a pedestrian vs. a car, or a bus. We've had those, but I am flabbergasted that it hasn't happened more, or that more serious injury hasn't occurred.

We need to outfit collegiate cell phone consumers with GPS monitoring systems that communicate with a vehicle's speed, distance and approach rate so that it would trip a pre-recorded, deafening message to the phone holder to retreat in no uncertain terms. Perhaps, once cellular devices become seamlessly implanted into our tympanic membranes, I'll have my wish. I'll probably be out of a job by that point in our technological prowess though.

Till then, I'll just be a hero.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Installment 2
Not a novel idea, but I have my own visual sensibilities about the poor souls, who for some reason or another, were split asunder at birth. Perhaps their progenitors, beholding their monstronsities, couldn't fathom a world without my filial matchmaking acumen, which I am always on ready to do.

How about a Derren Brown caricature of quintessentially astute actor-for-the-ages Sir Anthony Hopkins......and, Gollum, quintessentially destitute sad sack of Lord of the Rings fame?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A Rather Kairotic Weekend

Well, they be back. The stoodints, that is.

Upon our docile, little town they descended and took over like so many leaves upon an October lawn and I'm back to scooping them up on my forty-foot long, six-wheeled diesel-beastie. Nice thing is, we (my new transit employer, that is) secured 14 brand-new International buses, replete with AC, 200-watt Pioneer CD players, individual, bucket and clothed seats (to make it fun for them to puke on during drunk runs), and, best of all, new bus smell (which, incidentally, should be taken care of by the reference in the last parenthetical inclusion) .

After spending most every night this past week prepping for our biggest outreach project of the year, I attended yet another funeral of a pastor-friend of mine in our association this past Saturday. He was found dead in his backyard from a massive myocardial infarction. He was a basketball buddy and a supporter of Veritas in our association among a handful of pastors in a time when such were hard to come by.

This whole weekend was a set-up, and a divine one at that. Friday, we were on campus helping families move their freshman children into their dorms with our dollies and handing out water. I love to watch our people dig into some hot, rigorous manual labor for people they don't even know or won't see again and be filled with joy while doing it, knowing they aren't going to get anything out of it. That stokes me just right. And I love to see the confounding look when these families see that you're there to help them. Sjogren was right. God does show up in these times of simple hospitality.

And Saturday, we had obtained a booth Uptown for the Chamber of Commerce's Annual New Student Day, when all the merchants and organizations in the area get to set up booths and pimp their free stuff to the new students who are given meal vouchers for the Uptown restaurants as a starter. As usual, we had made some hemp necklaces, gave away more water and gum. But this year, Veritas' resident aromatherapist made some soap for us to give away, and that was a fantastic hit.

After that, Cathy and I headed down to LaRue County, Kaintukky for a 205th anniversary celebration at Rolling Fork Baptist Church, our very first pastorate in seminary and verifiably out in the middle of the sticks, so to speak. For three years there, we were loved by the most gracious and patient of people, especially to take on a newlywed pastor-wanna-be who thought he knew more than he actually did. They chucked us full of the most inconceiveably delectable meals and taught us the basics of godly hospitality, preparing us for the work we are currently in now here in Oxford. We just didn't know that at the time. But that was today- Sunday.

For Saturday night, we had planned on staying at the Jailer's Inn, a quaint little bed and breakfast in Bardstown. We found out that the Travel Channel had rated the place one of the 10 most haunted places in America. It used to be a jail and was built in 1819 and was in service until 1987. If you look closely, you can see Cathy haunting the lower right hand side of the picture.

At breakfast this morning, the Innkeeper pulls me aside, apparently knowing from a conversation with Cathy that I was a minister, and asks if I would say a blessing over the meal before 14 other people I didn't know. I knew I was back in Kentucky then. It wasn't that I didn't know them that made me a bit intrepid, but that I didn't know if these strangers wanted some dude in earrings praying to a God that some of them obviously didn't acknowledge. Part of the group were New-Agey ghost hunters, with electromagnetic wave sensors and stories of some kind of activity in their room last night. There were some other "normal" guests (sans meters and such) who had some experience last night, too, it seemed. I kept hearing foot steps upstairs go from one end of the ceiling to the other, but then a toilet would flush, so...

But when the Innkeeper pulled me aside to ask me to pray, she told me she had seated Cathy and I with a young couple. Sure enough, as we ambled to the courtyard, there were our seats with them. They seemed quite young (early twenties) and we immediately began some small talk and they briefly began talking about the fact they were newlyweds (one year) and that their log cabin they were building had just burned completely to the ground. After about a three minute intro into that, Cathy looked at the husband and interjected, ", what about your first born?"

This couple frowned and then looked at each other. The twenty year old lady said, "how did you know about that?". I looked at Cathy. I knew for a fact the guy said NOTHING about a first born. He didn't say anything that remotely rhymed with it in the conversation to this point.

Cathy said she thought she heard him say that.

The guy, looking into his bride's eyes with shared pain, said he didn't say anything resembling that. The young woman looked at Cathy and said, "We just lost our baby boy in January. He was born with a knot in his umbilical." Incredulous, I looked at Cathy thinking, how in the world did you hear that?? But I knew. God sat us there. He spoke that. I don't think they were Christ followers, but they immediately invited us onto their sacred ground.

From there on, this couple poured out their pain and their hearts to us, filling us with their stories of incredible loss. Their brand new house burned to the ground; the insurance company shorting them 100,000 bucks and the loss of a child. We were there to receive their hurt, for God's purposes I suppose, to side with them by divine proxy.

All through breakfast, I watched as my wife listened intently to the young lady, touching her occasionally on the arm in delicate, non-verbal reassurances that I'm sure carried the greater assurances of God's Spirit. It was an amazing thing to watch. I was just glad to be there. I am just ever more convinced that my wife has "it" infinitely more than I do.

Do you ever notice that when God lets people "unload" on you, you become a receptacle for their pain, bearing it in some way? What do you do with it? Well, we still had to drive thirty more minutes to get to the church for the anniversary celebration, which was full (well about 50 people full) of my former parishioners, county judges, state representatives and people I'd never seen before. And I learned that, even after a 10 year absence and after having moved on, you are still a pastor to people. One by one, I took in stories of death, sickness, new life, new hopes and new aspirations as if I had never left.

One couple we were particularly close to caught us on the way out and were distraught and broke down in tears on the front porch of the church sharing about their wayward son and other anxieties. For fifteen more minutes we were God's receivers of hurt. We slung it on our backs, ministered to and encouraged them and prayed with them while a long-winded southern gospel group carried on inside.

Yet, now I sit here staring at arranged pixels on a screen, and I am in touch with a pain that is not mine. God often calls us to take on pain in some supernatural way, I believe, as he imparts grace/healing/respite to those dishing it out. But it is not meant for us to keep. We've got to find a way to give it back to Jesus. The picture they showed us of their still-born infant boy is emblazoned in my mind. It was a picture that was simultaneously both a birth and death record of a life never lived on this earth. Those pictures are ones for which we'll have no need in the coming Kingdom.

I reckon that the pain I feel (though in no way equal to theirs) is sufficient enough to prod me into meaningful prayer for them. And after such a period of time as God sees fit, we'll submit a pain belonging to someone we'll probably never see again back to Jesus. I hope we were faithful today. I know I was blindsided.

Another interesting tidbit about my first pastorate...

"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan - to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."

The above quote was from, arguably, one of the most quoted men in American history, Abraham Lincoln. His father, Thomas Lincoln, was a member at Rolling Fork. Makes you wonder if some of the godliness passed on to ole' Abe was instilled into his daddy there.

Good Country Folk

When this building was built in the 1850's, the men and women entered and sat in separate sides of the church, which is why there are two front doors.

My first mega-church, from afar.

Another way to tell you are in the sticks of good ol' Kentucke; the presence of gargantuan winged scavenger in the roadway.

And, for the Creecher, Extraordinaire...I bet you know where this is.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

I Mean, What Gives?

So I'm finishing up blowing leaves, grass clippings, etc., after I mowed the lawn today, as I usually do, and, as I have been for two years. I have a small pile blown together at the end of the driveway to be swept later. I am in the road blowing some more toward it when I notice the 75-80 year-old man from 3-4 houses down the street.

Next, I notice him standing straight as a pin, dressed up like old man, knickers on, Mr. Rogers sweater, old cabbie hat and staring me down. I look away.

But he keeps on. So I cut the blower, and asked if I could help him. I could tell it wasn't going to be good, but as to why, I could only wait.

All of a sudden, as I'm standing in the gutter on my side of the street in front of my house, this old guy comes over and lays into me about grass clippings and if I was going to clean them up. Befuddled as to why the sight of me CLEANING THEM UP wasn't good enough for him, I interject, "That's what I'm doing right now, sir."

His tirade continued.

"I SAID I'D CLEAN THEM UP!!!" That still wasn't good enough, so I raised my voice to him to ensure he got my drift. "IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE I CAN HELP YOU WITH SIR?" He snarled, swirled around in a tizzy and rolled his eyes while pointing and circling his finger to his temple doing a "cuckoo" to me.

I've never met the dude. I'll be the first to respect my elders, but sometimes you just can't win. Lord willing, if I make 80, I hope to be seeking other activities outside of the pasttime of Grass Nazi.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Everything that can be said has been said.

The question then, is, what shall we deny?

Monday, July 31, 2006


It's not the kind of move a mega-church pastor makes during a $7 million fund raising effort, especially when you're short $3 million.

Unless, of course, you are the founding pastor and you can preach a series called the "Cross and the Sword," urging the church to keep away from politics, avoid moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming that the US is a "Christian nation" and stop glorifying US military campaigns.

Dr. Gregory A. Boyd, founding pastor of Woodland Hills Church (WHC) in Maplewood, Minnesota, began tiring of requests to rally around, endorse, condone and introduce various issues, politicians, pamphlets and guides from the pulpit. And why not hang an American flag from the platform, since the country was engaged in battle?

Essentially, Boyd has concluded that, among other things: "When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses. When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross."

In this day and age, such commentary stands in opposition to the current of present-day evangelicalism, at least as popularized by major media. Yes, you know the ones......those aligning themselves with and known primarily by the Republican party.

The interesting thing is that this is news now. Boyd delivered the sermons shortly before the last presidential election. In the time transpiring, it seems WHC has lost around 1000 of its 5000 members. Perhaps the knowledge of such may help to percolate sales for his newest book, The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power is Destroying the Nation, which was released on May 1 of this year. The book is based on the aforementioned sermons he delivered at the time. It is one of a only a handfull on the subject from other authors.

From his Letters From A Skeptic to Satan and the Problem of Evil to God of the Possible, I have appeciated Boyd's writing style and ideas. Most of his material in what I've read is carefully and painstakenly presented.

Boyd balks at the premise that this makes him a "liberal," who was educated at Yale's divinity school and Princeton Theological Seminary. In fact, Boyd's book, God of the Possible roused an unsuccessful attempt to shoo him from the Baptist General Conference.

While not hinting at his political preference, he maintained that the sermons were not mounted attacks at the Religious Right or the Republican party. He was decrying the sad state of how both sides of the right and left had become steeped into a political idolatry.

And what of Boyd's first sense of dis-ease? While at another megachurch's Fourth of July service some years ago, the service concluded with a choral rendition of "God Bless America" and a video of fighter jets (for Jesus I presume) flying over a hill silhouetted with crosses: "I thought to myself, 'What just happened? Fighter jets mixed up with the cross?'"

Boyd's assertion is primarily this: the role of Christians was not to seek "power over" others with controlling governments, legislation and waging wars. On the contrary, Christians should seek to have "power under" others by winning people's hearts through self-sacrifice for those in need. His contention is that this was the model of Jesus.

Boyd also argues that America is not a "Christian nation" and was not founded as a theocracy.

It is true that a certain very vocal, powerful segment of Christian so-called, "evangelical" elitists are jockeying for position in ways and realms that don't belong to them. It remains to be seen how much of their authentic Christianity must be laid at the door once given access to the coffers of wealth, prestige and influence. The closer you get to the hot core of the machine, the more you are melded into the likeness of its cause and effect. It is never the other way around and by the time this is known, the tiny compromises add up.

It is no simple thing to ascertain just what role Christians should play in the political machinery of nation-states whose ruling elite are led by avowed occultists and pawns for multi-national, corporate conglomerations. While only God truly knows the hearts of men, I do know that our "Christian" president has never issued a letter of remit to the occult Skull and Bones, perhaps one of America's most powerful secret societies (to whom he still adheres). I don't guess it isn't enough either that Jesus never said anything in secret. Anyone honestly willing to sustain inquiry long enough into the matter will find in evidence that light and darkness cannot co-exist. It isn't a matter of siding with either of a two-party, hijacked political system either.

Can conscientious Christians vote or be involved in some level of the governmental process? I reservedly say we can at present, but we just better know who the gatekeepers are, and this is not an easy task in the flux of all that we have at stake. Anyone trying to act for decency and justice even on the local levels of our governing seats know this. Most people know too, that not all involved are demons from Hades bent on thwarting all things Christian. But the resolve to be willing to call some things for what they are is being lost in the fracas over three-dollar-a-gallon gasoline and the endless war on terror.

We know that we are children of God and that the whole world is under control of the evil one. 1 John 5:19.

see the full article on Boyd here.

Friday, July 28, 2006


If I ain't a right-proud pastor-dude by now......this is some pretty hot stuff, coming from our young lady, Shirley Wang, a former Veritasian who graduated from Miami University this past spring. This young lady is going to do much good in this world.

Shirley is going to investigate sexual violence across the globe, gaining cross-cultural perspectives.

As a winner of a $26,000 scholarship, she's going to observe at the World Health Organization and the International Labor Organization in Switzerland, Victoria University in Australia, the International Center for Research on Women in Washington, D.C., the Taiwan Ministry of the Interior and Taiwan National Cheng Kung University Medical Center. She'll plan on incorporating narratives with statistics for a series of journal articles, a guidebook, a resource list, and other publications in conjunction with UN agencies (from the Summer 2006 Miamian).

Did I say I was proud?

Click here for the whole article.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I am a pastor. I have been for sixteen years. I can't help it. For the non-pastor-types out there, I am a junkie for the Kingdom of God, for people and I try to be instrumental in helping seekers find their way with the express, written consent of God (you have the same, incidentally). It's just that I've determined to center my life around what to me is a calling.

It's hard to be a pastor when you have no one around to pastor. God has seen fit through these years to surround me with people with whom I'm entrusted to love and serve. In some sense, that has been affirmation enough.

One of the most precious commodities for a pastor is time. This is better translated availability from the perspective of the parishioner. A pastor may want/need more time for one thing or another, but who doesn't want their pastor to be available to them? So that is the one thing, in my estimation, that any pastor must be known for.

There was a time (prior to Veritas) when I received remuneration for my availability as a pastor (among other things pertaining to the "traditional" ministry description). This meant that office hours had to be kept; appointments had to be made and observed. Visits were paramount from home to home and the pastor's house often was seen as an extension of the church because that was where the pastor and his wife lived. For right or wrong, it came with the territory and we accepted it, but we weren't wishy-washy with needed boundaries central to our own health and sanity.

There was a time in one stage of my journey while preparing to come to Oxford when I envisioned a church we would start that would, at some point in its development, financially support my family so I could do that ministry. It wasn't a hard-set goal, like I was wanting to get it big enough to do that- it was just the model and structure I was used to. I hadn't seen anything but that in my experience. I didn't come to Oxford wanting to start house churches, simple churches, organic communities and the like. Those things were not even on my radar. There was no relational frame of reference whereby to posit those values into any meaningful ministry picture of what could be.

There was a time when, as an appointed church planting missionary with the North American Mission Board of the SBC, I shared a funded 2 year position with another planter and his family to come start this church. That was the last time I was paid as a pastor. Even then, on the new field of church planting, I could afford to meet people, to hang out and to offer my availability.

Then came the mix of people into our lives who were instrumental in finally embodying for us what it was God was planting in our hearts insofar as what kind of church we were to be. The choices we were given to make at that juncture called me to fathom the right kind of choices that would be consistent with the values with which we were aligning. They had so much to say about personal financial position and possibility in ways that some people may never know.

The timing of gravitating toward the community we were becoming, compounded with the fact we weren't a self-supporting church at the time, compelled me to creatively weigh my income options in order to maintain this value of availability. My support was ending and I was scrambling to secure my main income outside of the church for the first time in my ministry. And I think God, in due time, opened up the unique opportunity whereby I could be around college students, have a relatively predictable job and have my summers free to devote to ministry. The job also afforded me time during the workweek too. I also have a group of co-workers who often look to me as their minister.

The pitfall has been the pay, of course, due to my schedule coinciding with the school year. Essentially, I'm laid off during the summer and holidays. We aren't where we want to be financially as a family and this hinders us in other ways. We aren't suffering by any means and we make do and we have joy in our place. Could I be a better pastor if I were paid to do so, or is that an illusion?

I truly think that I have the best kind of schedule that a pastor can have in doing this kind of ministry, even though I have to work two other jobs, which are flexible as well. In all of the jobs I looked for, not to mention what was available (and maybe those options that God closed), this set up allows me the most flexibility in terms of the availability I offer to my people. I don't know how else I can do it.

So, my time is what I have to offer you. This is what I can give to you. It is given in joy and service but it is borne from sacrifice and toil. It isn't a luxury I commandeered from laxity or slothfulness. It is my gift on the table. Please do not err in the assumption it is for anything else. This is my choice, and nothing but that. I have half a dozen things I could do outside of the will of God. But WOE is me and WOE unto me if I do not do this thing that I do (in other words, I think I'd be miserable if I weren't doing this).

I do not for any moment regret where I am and what I'm doing. I can't see myself anywhere else but with the people I have around me to pastor. EVERY single day, their faces and their well-being weigh in on my heart. Every day my thoughts and joys are trained on them. I don't do what I do to garner recognition; there's none to be had. I won't be a sought-after conference speaker, touting ideologies and methodologies. The work here may not be glamorous enough. I just want to be known that I loved my family, my fellow Veritasians and my compatriots in ministry and to hopefully see God do such a magnificent work that no one but him could take the glory.

.....and boy, do I have a way to go yet.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Just got back from a whirlwind trip to Tennessee. My great Aunt Juanita passed away and had to do the funeral. As always, getting to see my sister, my mom, my Aunt Pam and Uncle Joe was the cream on this cup. You know age is creeping up when the majority of time of what's left of your family of origin's get togethers are for funerals.

Additionally, today we say goodbye to Eric and Christi Osterday. Tough as that will be to do, it helps to know we are sending them off to alma mater no less! So tonight, we'll celebrate their years with us sharing stories and commissioning them to their new journey in ministry. We love you guys! And get ready for us in Loosyville for Thunder too!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

This is the most annoying game of all time.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


Not a novel idea, but I have my own visual sensibilities about the poor souls, who for some reason or another, were split asunder at birth. Perhaps their progenitors, beholding their monstronsities, couldn't fathom a world without my filial matchmaking acumen, which I am always on ready to do.

For starters...dashing, lust-puppy George "Syriana" Clooney...and lust-for-terror Hamas leader, Khamed Meshaal?

Saturday, July 01, 2006


One More Sure Sign Of The Apocalypse

Monday, June 26, 2006

Yeah, we're back, and it was good. Seemed too quick and felt like we were gone forever.

That's somewhere in SW Virginia on our drive down.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Getting ready for the Land of the Noonday Sun. I am needing a good, healthy dose of this right now.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Just had da Beans (Billicious, Mollie and Lil Bean) with us for a night here this past weekend at Dana. I absolutely love this family and yearn for more Bean-time.

Monday, May 29, 2006

She still does.

Who cares?

I've just spent a few hours trying to answer that one.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Wild And Wooly Weather Day In SW Ohio

It was pretty sweet....the best chasing day I've had in a while. Of course, the opportunities are few and far between here in these parts but the do happen once in a while. It isn't that we don't have our share of severe weather, it's just that I rarely get to be in the vicinity when it happens. Today was a bit different.

Started out with Paul giving me a heads up when the Storm Prediction Center issued Tornado Watch 395 for the rows of individual supercells lining up in Indiana.
Spen and I got home, made a quick forecast and did a quick plan of attack, trying to plot a path on these storms as they approached- one that would get us on the SW side of the storms that were warned. Luckily (for the chase, not people or property), there were Severe Thunderstorm warnings up for the adjacent counties in Indiana, so we didn't have to "chase" much at all....just get in position as you monitor the speed and course of the cells and wait to see what it did.

We managed to intercept a forming mesocyclone in Franklin County, Indiana from our position in Western Butler County, Ohio. The sequence of pictures that follow depict a small, low precipitation-type supercellular thunderstorm covering a span over about 20 minutes. We are about 8-10 miles away from the storm,which was in the beginning stages of trying to wind up into a fully rotating storm. It never really got there, but several organized structures appeared briefly in the life span of this storm, most of which are photographed.

This picture was taken looking due west toward Indiana at about 3:55 p.m. and had a severe thunderstorm warning with it at the time.

This was taken at 3:57 p.m., with zoom enabled.

Same storm, 4:00 p.m. Notice a better developed lower base and an inflow "tail" of warm air feeding into the updraft section all the way to the left.

You are looking at the SW portion of the storm from facing west. At A is the area called the rear flank downdraft (RFD) , which is a cold, dry shaft of air that plummets straight out the back end of the storm. These are believed to help the tornado actually get it's "spin." At B, is the actual wall cloud at it's most developed stage with this storm. This is the area that would produce the tornado. The arrow to the right of B is where the air flow into the storm is going vertically up. C along with the arrow, denotes low-level moist air flowing into the storm, indicated by the "beaver tail" cloud appendage at C. At D is the parent thunderstorm. F indicates the mesocyclone's connection to the parent thunderstorm, which would be rotating counterclockwise in a fully developed mesocyclone (which this is not). The area at G shows a flattened, almost block-shaped appearance to the meso. This is due in part to the effect of downward flowing dry air, possibly as a result of a meager RFD. H shows the mid level air flow coming in at a different direction and different speed than the flow at the lower level. This is called wind shear and helps the whole thunderstorm rotate. In the presence of wind shear, the appearance of pre-tornadic and tornadic thunderstorms appear to tilt with the direction of the prevailing mid-level winds.

This shot, taken at 4:05 p.m., shows the storm from a wider angle. The lowered base of the storm with a remnant, non-tornadic wall cloud is present at A. Notice the tilted orientation of the storm on its axis to the right as indicated by the arrow. At B is the fledgling meso. C shows the main precipitation core with the storm. D is the parent thunderstorm. At the upper left at E and portions above it is the underside of the anvil with mammatocumulus clouds (after the Latin, mamma for their udder-like shape). These clouds typically form on the underside of the crystallized moisture that is spreading out on the upper reaches of the troposphere, like smoke would flatten out as it floats up to and along the ceiling. They indicate the struggle between cold air on top with warm air trying to incur upward. These tops can sometimes reach up to 60,000 feet. G indicates where the RFD would be.

This shot was at 4:06. Note some of the structures previously described are rapidly fading.

The storm at 4:15 p.m. beginning to weaken, although there appears to be a small funnel cloud in the center, it was actually just a scud cloud (a detached, disorganized usually free-floating cloud in the vicinity of thunderstorms).

This thunderstorm was photographed about 2 miles east of Oxford, Ohio on state route 73, looking southeast. This thunderstorm had a tornado warning with it 12 minutes earlier for Franklin County, Indiana. There was some minor damage and trees down in that area but no confirmed tornado. There is still the remnant of a lowered base in the left center of the picture.

Not a bad day for SW Ohio, given that the SpenDoc got to see his first meso.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Matt Blinn and Kelli Shearron from the Landing Place spent this past Friday evening and Saturday with us here in Oxford at Dana Drive. I am desirous of much more hang-out time with these two. I am convinced of really great things to emerge from them both.

I am convinced also that they need to show us a great time in the Short North real soon! Heh, heh.

Monday, May 22, 2006


We sent off a fantastic guy from our community and one of the best friends a man could have in David Dotson for a six-week art residency in Germany. He'll return to us, but dang it's hard to see him go. He just completed his MFA here at Miami and has definitely a quintessentially unique artistic vision. Go here to see his work.

Remember the cicadas a couple of years ago here in the Ohio Valley?

Here is a picture from a feature article on one of his pieces the Cincinnati Enquirer from May of 2004 of a cicada Dave made. There was a big contest for area children to name the cicada in honor of the insects' arrival.

I've been getting together with Dave on some level practically every week for the last 3 years either hanging out, caving, playing tennis, meeting with Spen and Jason or having some deep conversations. I guess I'm just in reflective mode and just ascertaining how much I appreciate him and what he contributes to all of our lives. I am not looking forward to the absence but it's a fantastic opportunity for him and we're behind him.

I'm so throroughly proud of my friend that I don't know what to do with myself.

May the road rise to meet you, David,
may the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face
and the rain fall softly on your fields.
Until we meet again, may God hold you
in the hollow of His hand.

Would it not be a beautiful thing now,
if you were just coming instead of going?

-from Celtic Daily Prayer

Godspeed, my friend.

Monday, May 15, 2006

How 'Bout This?

Vega Obviously Has A New Best Friend

Chillin' On The Couch

Jason Gettin' What He Has Comin' To Him, Much To His Wife's Delight

Bowling, Micah-Style: Excellent Form On The Approach and Release

Bowling, Micah-Style: The End of the Follow-Through

It was a splendid time with Amy and Micah. Just a terrific lil' feller and one sharp, courageous and solid mom to boot. Some good food, deep conversation and perfect company shared with other Veritasians.

And, yes, I did fall to m'laydee in bowling Saturday night. I am not shaken because there is a first time for everything, for sure.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

In just a few short minutes, I will be off for my regular seasonal time to meet Cathy's students, which is always pretty cool to see her do her thing. It's also humorous to see their eyes get really big and wide when they see me walk in. As most of you know, I'm nothing spectacular to look at, but the kids hear her talk about me and their reaction is like, "It's true!! He does exist!!"

One time, I took Jason with me to meet them a few years ago and they were absolutely smitten. They had their year books with them and it wasn't enough to sign them....we were signing books and clothing. We were doggone celebrities.

I think I was the last one to leave the classroom that day.

It's hard to get it much better in SW Ohio than when Amy and little Micah pay your home and community a visit, as they shall this weekend, deo volente.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Well, A Job Update...

We had some Laidlaw corporation honchos (VP, HR Director and Regional Director) come and do their song and dance before us, telling us how good it's gonna be working for their company. We got questions....they ain't got all the answers- yet.

Like: Will we get paid the same? Will we keep our seniority? Will you hire the same dispatcher we had (she had a separate interview with them later)? Will we be on the same shift? Will you support us? Is there any flexibility with the schedule? Blah, blahblahblah, blah-blah and blahblah, and so on and so forth.

We gotta fill out a 12 page application and have another meeting with the VP the first week in June for the first part of a ten-hour training session. We are 'sposed to have the details we need with which to make our decision by then at some point as well.

Apparently, they are trying to keep as many of us drivers as they can, and they should. It's just way too much trouble trying to hire and train new drivers.

I imagine I'll go through the process in order to ensure some sort of employment by the fall, but my antennae are perked for something else. I am not consigning myself to driving a bus, new company or not. I have heard less than favorable comments about the company from different sources, but I have to give them a fresh leg to start on regardless of what I've heard. I think they are trying and I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

This post will be helpful to none and news to the same, but I just had to. I'm sure you've seen it...sans the cow perhaps. But the verbiage on a billboard or most likely a church sign. I passed a church tonight, a church I know, a church I'm familiar with, composed of some people I care about and there it was on the marquis, in lights.

That's why emerging generations are suspicious of the Jesus by-products we dangle as meat before the masses. They intuitively sense the kitschy sloganism of our reductionist faith. Jesus is a commodity. Something to possess, consume....attain.

Got Jesus? Nope. He can't be "had." If we are in a battle the hearts, minds and souls of such and if this is our hook of choice, it only underscores the schism between establishment churchianity and the seeking populace- pagans and especially Christ-thirsty followers who'll not be quenched by posterized Jesuses.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

To be as forthright as possible, I've never resolved the struggle of the educational/personal/developmental investment that I sometimes feel I've traded away for this way of life- of which, I don't think I've fully delved into yet. And there are times wherein I feel nothing has been bartered (those places absent of the feeling is the realm of faith).

I don't suppose I'm supposed to resolve this thorniness. Additionally, I can't have seen it all thus far. Let's face it....this way of life is unglamorous, unkempt and almost no one recognizes what it took and takes to have arrived at the meager place in which you are. The vantage point is no pedestal and garners no accolades. And, no, this is not a call for lauds, honors and the like. This is more of an outward sloughing off of bindings, I guess.

Unemployment has a way of catching you in the netherworld of the "what-could/should-be's." This current situation only exacerbates the issue. Like computer software on the glitch with grayed-out clickable options that you need, the right window just doens't seem to want to pop up. I tinker with feeling like an absconder extraordinaire in that there is something I have to offer of myself (and not just for myself) that is not yet existent. I don't seek public recognition, just the inner recognition of what it is I am to be doing in concert with an infectious outpouring of a real move of God as the central thread weaving every facet of my life together.

In many ways I have no doubt I am on that track and in the right place. This is not a question of physical location as it is one of emotional/maturational.

There are money questions inherent in this, but they are not bourne out of greed. Is it a sin to get paid for something you'd love to do and something about which you are passionate and with which you are skilled? Isn't that what most of us are after? But is it what we should be after? IF I were a real Christian, I'd abandon these things and vow away my relatively "affluent" lifestyle (compared to some) for one more simplistic and truly sacrificial with its attending poverties of self and stuff.....selling what I have, checking my ambitions/motivations 24/7 at the door of "Do You Really Love Jesus Or Not".....Right?

Part of my past that haunts with prickly barbs is the fact that I have this reality of having afforded myself the opportunity to become educated. I went through having two degrees conferred upon me. However, I am not convinced that that segment of my life is being fully utilized by cleaning up baby doo, food scraps and saddling a thirty-six foot-long, 36,000 lb. diesel donkey with a love-jones for twenty, ten-to-fifteen mile-per-hour circles for seven hours.

But I determined to go to college and then to seminary to better prepare myself for something into which I was called long before the actuality of college/seminary was before me (well, a few years at least).

The simplest way I can conceive of it is that God crashed my spiraling self-destruct course and invited me at the burly old age of 15 into his Kingdom and I accepted. In that place, I found Home. Rather, it found me and propelled me outward so that I was immediately thinking about what my life would mean thenceforth. I would vow, by myself- beside a juniper bush on the campus of a youth discipleship camp on the side of English Mountain in Tennessee- that whatever I would do with my life, I would do out of gratitude for what He did for me. I would avail myself of whatever I could to make that happen. It might have been easy for me to do so because I entered the Kingdom SOOOOO profoundly "lost" that I have never, to this day, forgotten what that lostness was existentially like.

In short, my educational pursuit was not one emanating from the bounds of some boomer parents' ideation of the American Scream that they felt they had lost out on (and one they could live through me vicariously). My educational route of choice was not just one of the acquisition of information, but also the formation of self and soul. My way was not one enforced and I had no predecessors to influence me. I chose that for myself and made it happen with the gifts and abilities and talents that I knew I had, most of which paid my way through.

Having my education has allowed me to get "here." Here is better than the "thereness" of my way back when, or even yesterday. I was intuitive enough to separate out real life from the foibles of academia that could breed a mule mentality and a slave syndrome. In that sense, I met more invitations of God the further I went along.

My wife told me today that I've just been kicked in the butt. I didn't think so upon hearing it. But maybe I have. I just hope God didn't lose his shoe in the accumulative lard of sloth he was sure to have found on my posterior.

CURRENT MUSIC: "Prismatic" by Oxana

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bye-Bye Bus Boy?

This spring, the small busing transportation company I work for had their contract up for bid with the university amongst several other companies. At stake was almost 15 years working alongside Miami University as the sole company to cart stoodints around this campus and town.

We found out this week that we did not get the contract. Another national company came in and sold the university on a different vision, one perhaps coinciding with the university's vision that includes a slew of physical and philosophical upgrades. Might as well wipe the slate clean with a new prez coming in and all, and the busing service was no exception.

Now, I'm sure as of this Friday, I am no longer employed by Hamilton Tours as I have been for the past three and one-half years. What I'm not sure is if the new company is going to do regarding current HT employees. Rumors abound and short of our last driver's meeting next week, there's nothing to bank on. I'll include my job in that as well.

Of course I work three jobs (well, one- refereeing- is more like an avocation, but it's moolah nonetheless), but the bus gig was my primary source of income. It was the best kind of fit for my church planting bent....extremely flexible schedule, good bosses, good people, summers off, open access to the town and the students. I don't know if you could say I've been passionate about driving a bus, but it was a God-send in time and has allowed venues into ministering to people that I would have never had. I've liked it and I've not liked it. I've practiced contentment with it and have gained it I think. Am I called to be a bus driver? Has my life prepared me for such? Am I to be one for the rest of my days? Is it an open avenue for my own actualization, talent, creativity, dream and passion? I don't think so. Have I been and am I thankful for this experience? You bet.

I had been recently mulling and musing over the issue of vocation and whether or not I've been arising to the point of actualizing myself, my calling, creativity, etc. into something gainful for the Kingdom of God and my physical and spiritually extended family. But that should be another post because, as you read THIS line, it is because I have written enough to fill dozens of papyrii on the subject and I need to downsize for later posts, not to mention thine own sanity.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Olden Daze...

One of a series of "interest" gatherings Veritas had in 2001 before our official "launch."

We were on campus doing a servant evangelism project...this picture was taken while the World Trade Center was collapsing on September 11th 2001. We were still going about our business, having just learned of the crashes, and not really aware of the gravity of the situation.

Back when we were whuppin' up the weekly worship thingy.

Friday, April 21, 2006

May I suggest, for your edification, a regular reading of the Landing Place's blogroll (found here). Each of these are refreshingly sharp, dug in and deep to the core.

Of particular note was reading David Fessehazion's latest post, where he referenced his new fiancee, Amanda Taylor. You must read her April 6th post, if you are interested in just a part of the seeded legacy Mark Palmer has left in his wake. After reading, you will be moved to pray for a Kigndom insurgency in David and Mandy's corner of life with one another and their Lord in C-bus.


This Friday through Sunday shall see a handful of us camping in Hyoostun Wuuds. Blessed be I because it is a mere 10 minutes from my hoose. The Beanius and CeeMarsh and a host of Landing Place folks should be there. I am really, really looking forward not only to the usual Beanistics and the standard, hobbling Chris "One Shoe" Marshall (to whom I insisted that he bring his baseball glove, which was a dastardly thing to do, because he's just out of his air cast and will probably think he can rock around like he's used to doing. I will suggest he catch and let me least he can sit for that).

I am also eager to spend some more in-depth time with some of these people from the LP. I've been watching them, reading about them and conversing with them will be stupendously enriching.

Yes, of course, I know it will rain ridiculously hard. You had to ask.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

I feel like I'm on the verge of something. What kind of "verge" may remain yet to be seen. The inevitability of the collusion between multiplied, simultaneous convergencies and divergencies (both generative and degenerative) are currently warranted.

There are things I need to let go of and things I need to center around. Simplicities beckon. The eventualities of the March of 2006 still crowd and confound me. Imbecilic questions of worth gnaw like pestilent rats at my feet, so walking through this may seem facetious to onlookers and friends alike; I just hope not so self-indulgent.

I am merely 36 and I am not longing any more for a sports car now than I will be at that heralded, big 4-0 (note to self: should I perchance become independently and instantaneously wealthy, a one-off, Chrysler ME-Four-Twelve could ease such an hankering). I don't think it's a mid-life thingy because I don't know where the end of my life is enough to ascertain a mid-point. Such calculative luxuries may not be mine after all.

But I think, spiritually, physically and emotionally, there are developmental advancements and regressions that beg the above ballyhooed question. Are we talking of mere disatisfaction? Are we talking about legacy, impact, significance and influence?

I know there are creativities within that aren't being tapped into. There are disciplined excursions into the familiar wonders of the creation around me that I've been avoiding.

And you know what? It's 4:14 a.m., and this is waxing toward cyber-vomitus. I'll leave it, nonetheless, for your enjoyment.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

One sign that the world around us is getting better.....another Veritasian, Andrea Birchfield, has taken the blogospheric plunge.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Keck, sharing his poultric bounty with lesser scavenging mongrels.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The march back to respective locales of service is on; some have returned, some are on their way. Now the reality sets in and the onslaught of time on this side of the funerals and memorials these past few weeks promise some gut-wrenching evaluation and processing. Friends disperse, but are not gone. In fact we are present now before one another in ways we could have never dreamed possible.

I know I am a changed man on the inside. I dare not speak much to it this early because the corpus of this regeneration is nebulous and needs formation. Intentionality and time will ensure its shape. It needs to be honed by the wisdom of fellow travelers and the abiding mercies of revered confidantes.

Ever taken a fresh flat sheet for the bed and snap it out in the air just above the surface of the mattress and watch it gently descend and alight upon the bed? That's the kind of release I felt descend Thursday from our commemoration of Palmer, in that some measure of fulness from the finished earthly life of Mark was being commuted to us, to feel that covering and to be warmed by it.

But I suspect that Mark knew that gentle heat is a consuming fire at its can and shall find its way forward in the type of living that exudes a magnetic and approachable, reckless abandon for Kingdom things. That was the way of Christ in Mark's life that is still pouring itself out.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I'm just really numb and surprisingly, a tid-bit angry right now. I'm grated when someone whines on the bus. So I bark at them. I'm huffy when someone calls. I'm non-plussed when someone doesn't. I'm started because I have so much left. I'm flustered because I am wondering why I don't have enough. I'm pissed that I'm pissed and edgy and cantankerous right now, and in the grand scheme of things, I can't find any corner in this known universe that grants me the right to be. I feel a bit of sickliness coming on again. At night time I've been dreaming of climbing mountains and wrecking in cars, flipping several times and walking away, lamenting and weeping over the fact that I survived the un-survivable.

I am brooding over the realm of death, not as one frightened, but as one curious to know what my friends' existences are like now. What are they thinking? What are they looking at just this moment? What are they planning to do? Who are they talking to? What are the parameters of their consciousness? What was the transition like from this abode to that next one? How deep was that valley?

I am also taken in by the sustaining graces beautifully displayed by Amy, the LP community, Renee and her family and am grateful to be in the vicinity of these examples treading the path we may all take one day.

So I ride around in circles for a meager wage and this is the life? Funny how we all go about living as if we won't ever die. Myriad are all the ways we laugh, joke, assume this or that, without fathoming our impending demise. I just hope I am not found living my life as if I'm on death-avoidance. That kind of living just ignores the important this moment, right now, like connecting with my wife on a deeper level than I have tonight, like bearing some hurts out to a friend and finding he feels the same. There must be a solidarity and unity of purpose to this semblance of a life I have and it must be spent soberly and wisely, fully cherishing my path and the trouble (both real and perceived) entertained. And I get to do this with the people I have now and the Lord I woefully don't fully appreciate as the connecting thread of meaning and vitality through it all.

But the compulsion of the Christ directs me to live not headlong toward debilitating death-mindedness. That is hogwash too.

It was said (I think by Heidegger) that until we have contemplated the fact of our own deaths, only then can we truly know how to live. Well, on second thought, here is what he actually said, and even though he is considered atheistic, the following applies with one caveat (below the quote):

“If I take death into my life, acknowledge it, and face it squarely, I will free myself from the anxiety of death and the pettiness of life - and only then will I be free to become myself.”

The first part is our responsibility. The anxiety and freedom part....well, that belongs ultimately to God insofar as we bear our anxiety and pettiness to him. That must be the realm of freedom from ourselves and our circumstances.

If it is possible to sift a bit of the tilled soil of people's lives Mark has touched by viewing the 149 comments from Amy's last 2 posts....her first two since Mark's death.....Kingdom seeds are literally germinating from all over the world.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

And on it pours......

Mark Palmer passed today. As crumpled as I feel, I know it does not approximate those who have truly and more intimately lost in this day.

I guess we got the Fight Club going on the other side. Looking forward to ambling up to the circle and joining my friends already at the feet of the Master.

We cry out to you, God.......where the heck else are we going to go?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Since It's Spring Break....

Go play Mad Shark. It's pretty freekin' luscious. Makes you long for Shark Week on the Discovery Channel this summer.


Tha Kimster, ca. 2004

Whilst Kim is trekking on the Appy Trail, Jared has informed me that he will be giving us updates on Kim's blog as he corresponds with her by mail. This, as common sense would rule it, is a pretty sweet thing.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

No Better Way To Put It...

The weekend Chad died....the same weekend Palmer also took a turn for the worse....was the very same weekend our regional/national collective of communities were to covenant with one another our mutual support in this journey of following Christ. In so many ways, we were expecting an infusion of the Spirit to flood over into our local places once we returned from the experience. No one planned on death. Not one of us. That weekend was to be about Life. God was unequivocally faithful to our expectations, but in his own inimitable way.

That weekend was more about Life than we might ever know on this side.

While I am only able to begin to put words to it, Kelli from The Landing Place eloquently peels back- well, nails back, actually- the veil a bit and helps focus my gaze upon the calm Christ at the center of this whirlwind. Go, and see for yourself.

I Can Mobily Post.... that a word? Methinks not.

But Ill have to contend with the pissy Yahoo footers
for now, since thats where I am posting from...

Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around

Saturday, March 18, 2006


I had been fairly deflated since Jacobstone broke up, but lead singer Andrew Jonathan and keyboardist Tony Olla have coalesced a bevy of music-dudes to form Northern Room, a quintessentially Jacobstone-y sounding band that is by all means, quite pleasing. It does have the ambience of some of Jacobstone's earlier recordings (i.e., Glass Top Ships and Chambers and Volumes), though it's not as ethereal as Regions, Jacobstone's last LP.

Jacobstone had a song featured on Dawson's Creek a few years back and ascended to the "A" list on for one of the best songs of the last five years and also had two songs in the top twenty on

Northern Room recently won the "Have A Nice Gig" contest on a local Milwaukee radio station and opened for Bon Jovi at the Milwaukee Bradley Center. You gotta "start" somewhere, I 'spose. The Bon Jovi part of this equation would have been enough to infuse my wife with pubescent giddiness.

This past February, Northern Room released their EP, Last Embrace and I am giving it a listen-through after ordering it from Northern Room's promo site.

I was a fan of Jacobstone's ambient gleanings with 2001's Chambers and Volumes and with all lyrics written by Jonathan on the current project- with wistful and reflective longing- Jonathan pines away again.

At only twenty-eight minutes long, the tracks are smooth, carefully produced and crafty soundscapes that can be listened to again and again. The catchiest tune- "Dutch Radio," (the first on the EP)- seems to recollect a jilted lover's search for patience amidst a relationship with someone whose grand aspirations rose above those inherent in that relationship. It might seem wickedly ludicrous to assume a musician writing a song about his relationship with another musician with similar(?) ambitions is exactly what this song is simply about. Or is it? While most of the songs are umambigiously about relationships, conflict, patience, stardom, failure and just trying to make sense of it all, you are left with a longing for some liner notes detailing a bit more about the motivation for some of the lyrics. But it generates interest.

If you are into ambient rock a la the Verve, Radiohead and Violet Burning, then give these guys a try.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Tonight, it really solidified in me that Chad was gone. I didn't get to see him in the hospital and the whole thing transitioned from "conceptual" to "real."

What a fantastic family it is that surrounded Chad on all sides; those by blood, by law and by Spirit. I am supposing the life I/we have remaining will be spent recollecting, resonating with and applying the ways we have been etched by Chad's time with us. I can't help but think so after hearing the stories and assessing the finished work of his physical life here on this planet.

Much is churning inside.....lots of speculation, evaluation and concrete resolutions. Uncanny how, in my feeblest inattentiveness, I require tragedy to center me and train me on what our "being" is all about.

Directly to your right you will see the button linking to the Chad Canipe Memorial page. Please go there if you feel inclined to learn about making a donation to support Renee, Colin and Aidan. Moreover, peruse Chad's blog to learn about how solid and inimitable a man he was.

You are profoundly missed, my Fight Club friend.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Freekin' sweet dust devil on Thanksgiving Day, Washington County, Tennessee, 2005.
Not feeling too loquacious the past few weeks, so I'll further dull you with pictures.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Me, myself, I, my family, my church, my life, my friends, compadres, my financial status, my dog (she keeps nipping at a festering wound on her hip)......are ALL due for some intentional, focused change. Or redirection. Rejuvenation, perhaps?

Now I know change occurs anyway and just because I notice the need to say the above does it mean it hasn't. One of THE MOST difficult changes for me to handle are the relational ones imposed upon me.....the ones outside of my control. And what am I really in control of?

If the grotesque, feral, hairy bitch of divorce marked its territory on the watering hydrant of my childhood, it was surely the one of relational vulnerability. And it doesn't leave me alone with my woundedness there, being in a college town, having the calling we have, with upward mobilopathy running rampant and the general socio-economic-relational transience leading us along.

I wax this way in the face of impending changes on our own relational front. In short time, we will have people moving on to one thing or another, almost coinciding in season. This is the life we have settled into and the one through which we will trudge. Seems to be a good time to take account.

We are no exceptional case wherein people come and go, whether for pronounced reasons or ones more elusive. It's the abrupt removal of oneself from one's place/people (or,relational ground of being) to the nebulous diffusion of undefined hope for continuation. Selective Relatectomies, I like to call them. Now you see 'em, now you don't. Causes are legion, I suppose, as are the justifications. Economic needs. Social needs. Emotional needs. Educational needs. Entertainment needs. Novelty needs. Stimulatory needs. Escapist needs. Avoidance needs. Needs we don't know we have. Needs we know we should not have.

These are the surprise, "I'm outta here's" and even the anticipated moves of people you've grown really, really close to over several years' time. It's these with the most time capital invested that ache the most. I pine with the noted philosopher Bruce Hornsby in saying, "that's just the way it is."

Is there anybody? Are we just damned to illusion? Has God forsaken this geographic locale, causing us to seek greater, better, over and away? When is our sense of Godforsakenness our own stuff to own and not the Oxford city council's...not Miami President James Garland.....not the crappy lot we have dealt and feel doomed to here? Are we to consigned to ask too, "Will you also go away?"

But we're here. We are seeking to create PLACE for wanderers to find their people and to carry seed if they have to move on. But we need fellow homesteaders in our staked plot here. And we are ever surrounded by wanderers. There is an abundance of Christian wanderers, but often these are weighted down by issues of self-absorbency or shackled by the parroted Christian faddism that easily besets campus Christian expressions, maybe even us included (this is not judgmentalism, just an observation). Most of these tire of the likes of us and move on. That's okay though.

I know it seems like I'm wont to put these issues on the post as my favorite whuppin' boy, so I don't really know if your heart hears me on this or not. It's no big thing if you don't. I'll be alright and maybe even God will transform me into something better and more productive than my current self as a result.

I know that deep, relational investments with those who will let me/us in are worthwhile for whatever duration I/we are blessed with. But for me and my fleshly house, I am thinking there is another investment I have branded as "outlaw" and that is increasingly the one with myself and me with God.

I need revolution. I need upending. I need castigation for the subtle syncretizing of self and comfort. I need to step up in an atmospheric kind of way. My 6 year old nephew got these jumpy, little "Moon Boots" for Christmas that go on your feet. Maybe I'll start there.