Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Fell off the planet...

While it may have seemed like did, I assure you I am here. I believe I caught a case of the non-blogging-itis. I hear it's going around.

This was a tough week as the footballing world was shaken to its core by the confirmation of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's retirement. Apparently those knee injuries finally caught up to him.

The "baby face assassin" who was also known as Manchester United's "supersub" is probably best known for scoring the winning goal in the May 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich.

While I'm the first to admit that I'm still a relatively new United fan I will say that Solskjaer became one of my personal favorites on the team. In fact, my wife surprised me last year with this little gem, which will always be worn with great pride.

Friday, August 24, 2007


I have some great friends. And today I would like to acknowledge one of those friends. After a recent video of me surfaced on his blog I became aware of just how much his friendship means to me. And so I would just like to ask all my regular readers to pay tribute to my friend, Bryce.

Not only have I had the privilege to work alongside this man, but I have also had the pleasure to play in a band with him, watch movies with him, and even sleep in his yard. He has given me many wise words of advice over the year and I have enjoyed our conversations. I also believe him to be one of the more creative people I know.

So, I'd like to introduce you to my friend. This was the only photo I had:

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I've been having trouble with my blog template lately and it doesn't seem to want to update my reading/listening lists properly, so I've instead opted for a post dedicated entirely to what's been playing on the car stereo lately.

The Cobalt Season
"In Search of a Unified Theory"
I've loved the honest lyrics but I'll admit that at times the songs are a bit depressing. It's kind of a folksy-acoustic-guitar-with-some-piano type of sound that definitely puts me in a pondering type of mood. Depressing yet peaceful...does that even go together?
Notable: Unified Theory, Begin Again

Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds
"Live at Radio City"
You probably know of my unashamed love for all things Dave Matthews, but this collaboration with Tim Reynolds is a great follow up to their last release "Live at Luther College". Two acoustics and some very experimental Reynolds-ish sounds combined with Dave's typical style gives you some very cool guitar moments. The only bummer is that Dave talks a bit too much and he's not the most eloquent speaker. But if you love acoustic guitar, you'll enjoy listening to this one.
Notable: Save Me, #41

Dustin Kensrue
"Please Come Home"
He's the lead singer of Thrice, but don't expect a rocking album. Lots of acoustic and great lyrics and some Johnny Cash-ish type moments. This album has definitely been the most played lately for me.
Notable: Please Come Home, Consider the Ravens, I Believe

Relient K
"Five Score and Seven Years Ago"
I wasn't a big fan of these guys until I saw them live last year. They are by far one of the most entertaining shows I've seen. Catchy tunes, deeper lyrics, and just plain old fun. Good driving tunes.
Notable: Up and Up, Devastation and Reborn, Come Right Out and Say It

Erik Mongrain
This guy is an absolutely amazing musician. There's no lyrics, so I find this is great background music when I'm in the office.
Notable: Air Tap!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

In the Margins...

I picked up Jesus In the Margins after I had read Rick McKinley's second book This Beautiful Mess. This book identifies with me based on this phrase alone that is found on the cover:

"Welcome to the crowded margins of life. It's a place where normal people don't feel normal."

This book is for those who have felt like an outsider; for those who feel like they don't fit or won't fit; for those who don't connect or can't connect; for those who know they don't have it all together; for those who feel like they are the only one.

It's an easy read. It's not overly profound. If you've grown up "in the church" you've probably heard most of this before. But it's an encouraging reminder to meet Jesus as we are rather than hiding in the margins until we get our life together.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The official word...

As of 3:23 this afternoon my brain has crapped out on me.

I just thought you'd like to know.

Listening to the Beliefs...

Back in June I attended a mini-conference (or should we call it a "conversation"?) called Emergence that brought together 4 emerging leaders and gave them an opportunity to interact with one another (and with the audience in attendance). The basis for the conference/conversation was a book called"Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches". I got the book as a freebie for attending Emergence and I am proud to say that I finally got around to finishing it.

Isn't it a good day when you finish a book?

The book basically takes 5 different emerging leaders and gives them each an entire chapter to write about their theology. After an author has given their summarization, the other 4 authors each take an opportunity to respond to what has been presented.

This leads to lots of "I know this person" and "I like this person, but...". It's obvious that most of these people genuinely like each other but it's also quite apparent that they all have different opinions about different aspects of faith and theology.

My only advise is that you don't go into this expecting a handbook of "This is What the Emerging Church Believes". It's a good read to get a little bit more of the picture, but I don't believe it's the whole picture. It would probably not be "emerging" if it was the whole picture.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Days in review...

I worked on a few blog posts this past week about a variety of experiences that have taken place lately. And while I usually operate on the belief that I should "think it, write it, post it", this time I have apparently decided to add the phrase "sit on it".

In lieu of that, here's some randomness:
  • Celebrated 9 years of marriage to this lovely, not the blog, but the woman who writes the blog
  • This is the coolest looking Joker pic ever...but it's a fake
  • Watched my first live MLB game...don't tell anyone, but I actually enjoyed watching a ballgame
  • Got cussed out by a homeless man because I wouldn't just give him a coupon for the grocery store and instead offered to get him some food...there's a blog post simmering on this one
  • Found out I get a free month of Setanta via my satellite provider...but after that I'm out $15 a month to keep it
  • I'm on night 2 of a three night marathon of youth events
  • Stumbled on this site about NHL logos which keeps track of all the changes teams are making this year...go here to design your own jersey
  • My team hasn't won a game...but the Manchester derby is tomorrow
  • Took part Thursday in my first official soccer practice in over 2 years...too bad there were only 5 guys

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Death by Minsitry (still continued)...

Ok, here's some more from Mark Driscoll about burnout in ministry. You can see the rest of the list here and here. I'm not all the way through this series, but I've found some of the info very fascinating. It's a great heads up as to how stress works in our lives and the impact it can have on our ministry and our families.

And if you think you're above burnout and that it could never happen to you, so you have no need to know this're an idiot and it's likely you'll be the next poster child for burnout. (Wow...maybe that was too harsh. But at least you can sense the severity of the topic, right?)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Who's Afraid...

My SP gave me this book (Who's Afraid of Postmodernism?: Taking Derrida, Lyotard and Foucault to Church) a few months ago to read and I've been slowly plugging away at it over that time. It's all about post-modernism and the connections with some of the recent trends within the church that have hints of some "old school" philosophical lines of thought (and even practice).

James KA Smith uses a few films to describe links between some thinkers like
Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault and then compares them with the church. At times the comparisons are intriguing, yet at other times they are simply mind-boggling. There are so many uses of various "isms" that I usually needed to have a dictionary open while I read.

It's definitely one of the more challenging (intellectually) books that I've read in a while, but I hesitate when it comes to practicality. If you're at all familiar with the names associated with the book or with concepts like deconstructionism or metanarratives, this will probably be an good read for you. If not...make sure you have a dictionary and be patient as you read. You'll feel smarter when you're done...or at least that's what I keep trying to tell myself.

Footballing again...

This weekend was the beginning of a new footballing season in more ways than one. On the one hand the English premier League kicked off, and while I'm a little disappointed that my beloved team was unable to get on the score sheet at home against Reading, it is only the first game of a long season. We'll have to see what May 2008 has in store.

Sunday also brought about the re-beginning/continuation/revival of my somewhat non-existent footballing "career". Most of you are well aware of my knee problems over the past few years. Knee problems that have seen me under the knife on 3 separate occasions, 2 of which were for major ACL reconstruction. (You can read more about all of these here.)

I'll admit that I've had days when I wondered if I would ever be able to play again. After the first ACL surgery I worked hard to get fit and back into the game only to tear the ACL again in the opening 30 minutes of my first competitive game back. Now it's been almost a year since my last ACL surgery and the mental preparation for this return has been even harder. Will this ACL hold? Can I handle another major knee injury? Will I keep my sanity if I never play soccer again?

Well, on Sunday I made it out to play an 90+ minute scrimmage. Wow, I missed playing. I think this return is good for me, not only physically but mentally and emotionally. I'll be the first to admit that I was only playing at about 70%, but it felt good. A little sore and a little tentative, but it was somewhat familiar territory as I made my way around the pitch.

And lest I feel like I've lost any ability to play the game I received an invite from one of the players to join their team for the upcoming season. This came after only playing about 30 minutes of soccer. I'm leaning towards giving it a go. Some connections outside the church will be nice and an outlet like soccer is a necessity for me. The question will be whether or not I can stay fit and keep the ACL intact.

I'm sure if you keep wandering back here from time to time you'll find out whether the second ACL reconstruction will hold up. Come to think of it, someone could make a reality show out of this.

Friday, August 10, 2007

To the Summit...

Around this time every year a pile of people plop down in a church sanctuary with a pile of other people who call themselves leaders in order to listen to famous people who are called leaders talk about what it means to be a leader. It's Willow Creek's Leadership Summit.

I'm not knocking it, because you can definitely get some good stuff out of it. And I have gotten some stuff out of it...none of which I'm actually going to blog about. I think it's for my head and my journal right now and for our staff round table discussions, but it's not ready for consumption by the blogging world. It's too much to handle.

I think I just laughed at myself...

Anyway, I will share with you the high point of the Summit so far (punny, eh?): Erik Mongrain. I blogged about this guy before (see here) and I nearly jumped out of my seat when they introduced him. He played 2 songs and it was cooler than watching him on YouTube. If you haven't seen him or listened, do me a favor and watch a video. Your mind will be blown. If it isn't I will refund your money.

I do believe I may be one of the only Summit bloggers to not write a single blog post about anything any of the speakers said.

Somebody give me an award.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I'm bored...

My wife is out with some of our youth girls. I'm home with my kids. I'm currently eating a freezie and watching Ultimate Fighting. I also spent some time with the guitars. But I can't seem to focus long enough to write anything.

I'm not a great song writer. I try, but I can't ever seem to finish anything. I'm in awe of people who have a way with words and music that seems to come so simply. I'm impressed by the variety of sounds that some people can come up with. I feel like all my songs sound the same.

I've only ever played 2 of my own songs in public. One was a Christmas song I played at my last church and the other was a song based on part of Job's life for a sermon my friend Bryce preached. That was also in my last church.

A group of my current students and I have come up with a little song during our worship practice, but I hesitate to call it a song because I don't know if anyone actually likes it.

Well...there you have some completely random thoughts from a Wednesday night.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

More guitarisms...

Is that even a word?

Saw this video on another blog this week and I think it ranks up there with some of the other guitarists I've included on this blog from time to time (like this guy, this guy and this guy). I just can't believe people can play the guitar this way. I am in awe.

(h/t to Mark Brewer)

Monday, August 06, 2007

Finished vacating...

The van pulled into the driveway last night after almost 25 hours of driving, and now it feels like we're trying to settle into normal life. Come to think of it, I think I'm going to refuse normal life. Yeah, that sounds like a better plan...

Anyways, I know that you all missed my randomness and profound blogabilities, so I won't taunt you anymore. Here's the long-weekend-Monday haps:
  • Read too many blogs today...and I'm still nowhere close to caught up.
  • Watched Manchester United defeat Chelsea in PKs to take the FA Community bring on the regular season with next weekend's kick-off against Redding.
  • I bought a shirt that my wife doesn't like.
  • I was introduced to a new band called The Cobalt Season (review shall be forthcoming).
  • We are currently behind in our regular summer TV viewing of Big Brother.
  • I have to go back to work tomorrow?