Thursday, May 29, 2008

It does a body bad.

I hate milk. I’ve never been a fan. I don’t like the taste. Its wretched. I don’t like yogurt or cottage cheese—they’re gross, too. Call me a hypocrite, but I like cheese and ice cream in small amounts. But milk… milk is the debil (along with foos-ball).

People don’t know much about milk. They drink it and assume what the commercials say is true.

Ever read Hoard’s Dairyman? Me neither. It’s the leading dairy industry magazine. They report typical business news for the average dairy farmer. They had a real interesting article a little while back on the pus content of average milk in America. The average liter of milk has about 323 million pus cells in it (liter, not gallon mind you). The government does not allow milk with more than 750 million pus cells per liter to be shipped--thank God, right? Because 323 million pus cells isn’t a big deal at all.

I used to work for Orkin. I killed a lot of bugs. But pesticides were some crazy stuff. As a general rule of thumb, there wasn’t a pesticide or insecticide that was okay to work with. They ALL caused terrible side effects when humans ingest them or get them on their skin. I had to be super careful all the time—I constantly told Brittany how much I hated using them. In the process of just spraying some of them, my eyes would burn and skin would itch. It’s interesting that in FDA surveys of milk pulled from grocery store shelves, nearly 75% contained pesticides of some kind.

My favorite milk fact has to be the one pertaining to calcium. Did you know that there’s relatively low levels of magnesium in milk? You might be asking: “How does that pertain to calcium?” For us to absorb calcium, we need magnesium. Milk doesn’t have enough magnesium in it for us to get the benefits of calcium. We can get some negative side effects—like our bodies using calcium to line our artery walls. But none of that healthy bones crap the commercials feed you.

Humans drink another animal's milk. We're the only species that drinks milk post-babyhood. There’s all kinds of fun stuff to talk about: growth hormones, high protein diets causing calcium loss, mucus, lactose, etc etc… But I’ll end with this: I hate milk. I try to avoid it whenever possible. You should, too. Milk is the debil.

Not Milk!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tony, Trucker Frank and Me...

I like these videos a lot. You can visit Tony's website to view them all and you can log onto YouTube to see the full interviews unedited. Well worth a few minutes of your time...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Tuesday=Kentucky Primaries

Here's my assumptions of what you want based on who you'll vote for:

John McCain
-I'm assuming you are pro-life, fond of war and don't mind an economic recession. Or perhaps you are Republican and you like single issue politics and droopy jaws. Or perhaps you like the way things have gone the past eight years and want another four.

Hillary Clinton
-I'm assuming you desire a president who knows how the system works, advocates drastic change and is cold as steel. You don't care about unity in our government necessarily, but you want someone in there who knows how to get things done.

Barack Obama
-I'm assuming you strongly desire both unity and change and are willing to take a gamble on a candidate to accomplish those things. You are probably a very positive person and are easily swayed by media hype. You also like people who know how to wear a suit.

Ron Paul
-I'm assuming you really don't like the government and want someone in there to begin tearing it down. You desire the federal government to be greatly reduced in size and for power to be handed over to the states. You also tend to forget that people don't live forever.

Ralph Nader
-I'm assuming you think everyone in politics is evil and every major corporation has someone in power in their back pocket. You also don't spend a lot of time investigating candidates to see if they're possibly a major hypocrite because you like how loud they yell about issues that everyone else is ignoring. Or perhaps you think all the other candidates are crooked and can't remember what you're registered as anyway.

I hope you laughed at some point. Don't take yourselves too seriously.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The word from Don... (I wish I knew him well enough to call him Don)

I heard Donald Miller talk about this at Orange Conference. Very exciting to hear about more and more people bringing awareness to such an important issue.

Be crazy: love your neighbor.

Friday, May 9, 2008

My better half...

Brittany graduates from Western today. To say that I am proud of her would be a vast understatement. She is a brilliant woman. This is a huge day in her life, and she deserves every bit of "congratulations" that can be given.

She has worked hard and studied hard and accomplished in 8 semesters what many people don't in 8 years. She has been through a terrible break-up, two jobs, a 14 month engagement, a great wedding and her parents moving--all while maintaining above average grades. (She has earned the honor of graduating Cum Laude.) She works in the mornings, goes to school, goes back to work, heads to then gym, and still comes home to cook dinner and spend time with me.

She can write a compare and contrast essay on two Jane Austen novels, work eight hours, do her spinning/toning class at the gym and cook a creative, gourmet meal all on an ordinary Monday.

You all know these things. Its the things that only I know about her that make her that much more special to me. How she steals the covers constantly but always blames me (in actuality, I'm merely trying to get them back and tend to over-do it). How deep down inside she's way too urban, glamorous and fashion-forward for this town and our budget but doesn't complain. How she still maintains an incredible amount of modesty, even when its just the two of us in this tiny apartment. How she hides her clothes instead of putting them up. How she can't fall asleep without multiple appliances (ie: TV, air purifier, etc) making noise. How she watches TV, plays games on her cell phone, and uses the Mac all at once. How she refuses to do anything on Thursday nights because "Grey's Anatomy" and "LOST" are on and that's two hours guaranteed together. How she sleeps in pants nightly (socks, too, in the winter).

How her hugs make every day better. How coming home to her always gives me something to look forward to. How waking up next to her makes every day worth while.

I married up. There's no doubt about it. But I don't question it. I thank God for it. (Hey, I'm not stupid.)

This is my Brittany Marie. Other men's wives pale in comparison. She is all that I ever hoped for and way more. 

You are amazing, sweet pea. Congratulations.

We can drive it home, with Juan Head Lice...

So I've done quite a bit of traveling over the past couple of weeks. Its been a lot of fun and very tiring. More than anything, both conferences have helped me to process a lot of things that have been bouncing around in my chest lately. I wrote last week on my viewpoints on the Gospel.

One of the more interesting things I heard talked about was the elements of story. Donald Miller has spent a lot of time over the past year developing and discussing how Scripture uses the different aspects of story. I heard him discuss it on Mars Hill's podcast in the fall. But in this breakout session, he was talking about the element of love.

In story, as with real life, there is always a way out of love. In a true, loving relationship, each individual has the option of leaving. If they don't, then its not love. If one person doesn't allow the other a way out, then they are both controlling and manipulative. I wouldn't call it love if there's not a way out.

Its interesting that in Genesis, the story tells of God allowing Adam and Eve a way out. He loved Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve loved God. I don't think there's any question about that. But since they chose to love God, he didn't force them to stay in said situation. He told them about the tree and the repercussions thereof. Essentially, the story reveals that God told them they could chose to be in the relationship or they could chose to leave.

I was really intrigued by the thought. I know you Reformed thinkers won't appreciate it, but to hear a writer discuss how Scripture (specifically the Torah) develops the different elements of story was incredible. I really loved the thought that true love doesn't control--it involves an inherent freedom that makes it so much more beautiful.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

This week, its Mile High for me...

We are spending the night in Hendersonville with Brit's parents. I fly out super early in the morning.

Chris has been raving about this little place in Hendersonville called Shane's Rib Shack. Its ribs and BBQ and potato salad and a little slice of heaven. It was a-maz-ing. I'd much rather eat BBQ from a joint like that Smokey Bones, ya know? It fits. Not super classy. Not over the top. Just simple, really good food. Loved it.

That's not the point though.

The point is, Ricky Skaggs was there. Bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs.

If you wanted to sum this post up in one sentence, it would be this: Tonight, I ate dinner with Ricky Skaggs.

PS-Joe and Jason: "We never landed on the moon. God bless."

Thursday, May 1, 2008

I'm jet lagged and I didn't fly...

I'm still tired. We didn't get home uber late last night or anything. I just am still tired. The Orange Conference was amazing. I was thrilled that Joe Pa let me tag along.

I had been telling people for weeks how excited I was to hang out with Donald Miller. Unfortunately, he's apparently very popular and was quite busy so I never got the chance to talk to him one-on-one. I did however get to hear him speak twice--once in a small breakout and the other in a main session. He's a writer, not a speaker. But the way he tells a story, the way he communicates, is amazing. You don't have much of a clue of where he's going for the first little bit, but when he gets there in the end, it knocks your socks off.

Francis Chan was great, too. He's really challenging. He talked about the church in Acts 2-4 and talked about it being the only model we should pursue as leaders in the church. He pretty much said that if you choose to call it idealistic then you're ignoring the way of Jesus and the early church. He set the bar high...

The surprise of the conference, for me, was Gabe Lyons. He started a few groups like Catalyst and the Fermi Project. He and David Kinnaman recently wrote a book title "unChristian" that talks about how 16-29 year olds perceive the church. Brittany's parents gave it to me for Christmas and its a brilliant book. I would say its a necessary read for anyone who is part of any type of Christian leadership.

He held a breakout session called "Cultured" that discussed church/gospel/future/culture. Basically, the premise was that culture has dramatically shifted in America and people's perception of the church has dramatically shifted. We need to be aware of what's changing to be relevant to the world around us. He made some very thought-provoking statements.

If you've had a discussion with me lately concerning theology, then you know I've really been wrestling with things like the gospel, salvation, being "saved," evangelism, prosetlyzing, etc etc... I haven't been willing to blog about my feelings for lots of reasons--but the main being that I haven't known how to articulate it well. (I haven't wanted to put a poor explanation of my thoughts up here and be misunderstood. It happens often enough even when I'm lucid in my writing...) Then Gabe Lyons puts this diagram up on the screen that sums up what's been bouncing around in my chest.

Basically, he talked about the fact that the American church has been proclaiming a Half Gospel for fifty years--that we start with the Fall and end with Redemption. Sadly, its true. We start with the fact that we're all screwed up (ie, "sinners") and that Jesus offers "salvation" if we would believe in him... and we leave it there. But that's only half of it!

The Gospel begins with creation. It begins with the fact that we are ALL created in the image of God. We all have the potential to do good. We are all a beloved creation. This is our starting point--not that we're "all sinners doomed for hell."

Our ending point isn't with Jesus' redemption either. It ends with restoration. If our final point in the Gospel is Jesus' death and resurrection, then we've totally left our purpose on the shelf. Everyone's all about quoting Ephesians 2:8-9 but tend to forget that the section ends with verse 10. We have a purpose for being here. Jesus offers new life because he wants us to take part in the reconciliation of the world--of all of creation. Taking part in helping fix this broken world IS taking part in the restoration process that God wants here... now.

This is my problem with most people's approach to evangelism--the use of overarching metanarratives that are inadequate to explain what they're talking about. I'm still working through lots of things--don't get me wrong. I am in a time of transition with lots of ideas in life. But this I know: the Half Gospel we've tried to push for so long doesn't stand up against competing world-views. It pales in comparison to many. But this Full story, this better understanding of the gospel of Jesus, changes everything... This Full story really is good news.