Saturday, February 27, 2010

Adventures in the Scion

Brittany and I got a new car last month. Unfortunately, the Honda is leaking everything but gas and the transmission is on its last legs. Anyway, we like the Scion xD a lot. Its funky, has all the options we wanted, and gets great gas mileage. On top of all of that, it seems to be a magnet for interesting events.

Last Monday night, Brittany and I went with Rod and Ben to hear Desmond Tutu speak at Murray State University. We were having lots of fun until we got rear-ended leaving the parking lot. It didn't hurt the car much and, thankfully, the lady who hit us (when her "foot slipped off the break while texting," according the the police report) had good insurance. We all had sore backs/necks and I have a chiropractor working that stuff out.

So then Rod and I set out on a 3 day road trip. Halfway between Nashville and Memphis, we stopped and picked up a hitchhiker--"Ed the Hitchhiker." He was an interesting guy (as most hitchhikers are). We talked a lot. Got lunch together. Then decided to drop Ed back off after a couple of hours as he decided to keep adding tequila to his orange juice in the car. At this point, "Ed the Hitchhiker" became "Ed the Drunk Hitchhiker." After we woke him up and dropped him back off on the side of I-40, we noticed a strong pee smell in the car. This was probably due to the large pee stain in the back seat. So "Ed the Drunk Hitchhiker" became "Drunk Ed the Pants Peeing Hitchhiker."

A couple of bucks at the car wash took care of the stain and smell with the upholstery shampooer and vacuum. It provided lots of giggles all night long. I could never tell when/if he was being honest with us, but Rod determined he was definitely lying every time he said: "That's a true story."

There are times when laughing is the best thing to do.

There are times when I need to be reminded that my troubles aren't that bad compared to other's troubles locally and worldwide.

There are times when I need to remember that stuff is just stuff and people are far more important.

And there are times when you should go over some ground rules with people you pick up on the side of the road (ie, no peeing on the car seats).

Friday, February 26, 2010

And coming soon...

I have three upcoming posts in the works:

1-on the adventures of a Scion owner

2-on the books I've read recently

3-on why I like the term "Christian humanist"

Stay tuned.

PS-Sorry Sheffield. I know you hate teaser posts.

I'm okay with saying it...

I am utterly convinced that when I stand before God one day, I will not be held accountable for what I believed. I will be held accountable for what I did with my life.

This shift in thinking has changed everything about who I am. This is, at the core, the single biggest theological and philosophical shift in my life.

I just wanted to put that out there. I'm okay with saying it. (Its taken me a while.)

More thoughts on this to come.

Monday, February 22, 2010

it IS real!

The Undertaker proves that wrestling IS real. Jason Brown would be proud.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Free will...

I have long been a believer in libertarian free will. I think the notion of predestination is incompatible with the teachings of Jesus of the New Testament. I remember being a freshman at WKU and an older student told me she "used to believe in free will. But Dr. _______ told her she'd eventually come around to understand why our salvation is predestined by God. She said that happened over the course of a couple of years, and it would happen to me, too, as I matured."

That never happened. In fact, I'm much more opposed to any theological notions that deny free will now than I was then.

However, Chuck Palahniuk is changing my life. (I've been reading a lot lately. I mean, a lot. I'll probably do another post soon about all the fiction I've read in the past few weeks.) In his book "Lullaby," he does what he does in most his books: criticizes American culture.

Palahniuk is certainly one of my favorite writers. Every sentence moves at 100 miles per hour. They hit you like a sledgehammer. He'll introduce an idea or phrase early in a book or a chapter then bring it back later in a way that slaps you on the forehead. Every book shocks you. Every story line is incredible. The insight into the human brain is always eye-opening.

In "Lullaby," one of the reoccurring themes is how advertising and marketing affects us. We're not happy with what we have and who we are because we're told we're not happy with those things. We can't believe what we want because we're told to believe something else. We can't be who we want to be because we're told that who we are isn't good enough. We need to buy something. We need to change something. We need this. We need that.

And our economy fails.

And CEO's are still getting huge bonuses.

And anti-depressants are one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in America.

And marriages fall apart.

And people don't maintain solid relationships.

And we go further into debt.

And still no one is happy.

Perhaps we don't have free will anymore. Perhaps our capitalist society has taken it away. Perhaps we are too willing to believe what we're told. Perhaps advertising companies and marketing gurus have foreordained the life of the typical American. Perhaps we can't choose anything on our own. Perhaps freedom is "just some people talking." (HT: The Eagles) Perhaps freedom doesn't really exist in this society.

Maybe the Amish are the only free people I know.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Oh boy, oh boy...

I cannot wait to see Pixar's "Toy Story 3." Watch the newest trailer. Its incredible. Then check out this article. The guys at Pixar are geniuses--they put so much thought into everything they do. I mean, the depth they put in a simple trailer is off the charts.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

She said it all...

The Daily News finally published my latest "letter to the editor." (Took them long enough.) You can read my letter here. But a lady commented on it on their website. I think her remarks said it all:

erma5673 wrote on Feb 11, 2010 2:15 PM:

" Mr. Herrin and his presumptions are much of the problem in this country that is run by people who think they are smarter and better than the average working adult. Mr. Herrin, I do not smoke or drink. I have not one single tattoo. I do not partake of any illegal drugs. I do not go to the movie theater or attend music concerts. My husband and I do not drive new cars nor live in an extravegant home. And, yet, health care is unattainable for us. Rising health care costs forced our employers to drop health coverage. Then, the double-edged sword of health care swung down on us as we were denied coverage due to pre-existing condition clauses. So, thank you for assuming that we have no health care coverage because we spend our money on things you deem frivilous rather than assuming that the health care system is BROKEN and in need of repair. "

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Light thinking for a Tuesday night...

I've been thinking about the word "evangelism" a lot.

I'm not sure what that means anymore. I've been trying to get past dualistic notions of "spiritual" vs "physical" and other garbage that doesn't have anything to do with the teachings of Jesus. But even when adhering to a holistic gospel, its difficult to define things like evangelism.

I believe I'm part of God's story. I don't think that ended with the canonization of the New Testament. Its perhaps one of the best things Rod has ever taught me--that our stories are just as important as those that were recorded in the Bible. The story hasn't stopped. The story is ongoing. And if I'm part of it, and I tell my story, is that evangelism?

I just don't think any of the definitions of evangelism I was taught growing up making any sense when I read the New Testament. I don't think I can condense the story of God into a tract, read it to someone, expect them to make some telepathic deal with God, and that make a difference. I just don't. I think that talking through the "Romans Road" with someone doesn't do any good but to convince them that you're out of touch with a postmodern society. I think it was probably one of the weirdest, most awkward things I've ever attempted to do in my life. It made no sense. And then I was made to feel guilty if I didn't "evangelize." Like that's what's gonna make the difference in the end of someone's life--whether or not I tried to convince them in an uncomfortable conversation to agree with my statement on belief and God.

I don't know. I think we have a lot of definitions all jacked up. I saw a video the other day where a well known pastor was trying to explain the term "missional." I think he missed it. He missed it by a mile. But a lot of people were talking about how it was such a great explanation.

Perhaps some people just want to co-opt buzzwords. Who knows? Maybe evangelicals will be calling themselves Emergent so as to be cool in ten years. Or perhaps I get too hung up on definitions. Maybe the living and being is more important than the explaining. Or maybe watching LOST tonight has got me thinking too much.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Puppy Up!

For those of you who know my wife and me, you know we aren't afraid to open our house up to travelers. No--not just randoms from the side of the road. But people we hear stories of, people we meet through CouchSurfing, friends of friends, etc.

In December of 2007, Luke Robinson and his dogs stayed with us. Luke is walking from Austin, TX to Boston, MA to raise awareness for canine cancer research. His journey is called "2 Dogs, 2000 Miles." You can find his website here and his blog here. Though Capo didn't like having large male dogs in "his" house, we liked having them around. Luke's a great guy (as well as a great cook) and we enjoyed their company.

My step-mom gave me a call this morning asking if I watched the Today Show on MSNBC. When I told her I hadn't, she said there was a guy on there who's walking across the country with his dogs. She wondered if it was the same guy--he had long hair and two big white dogs. Indeed it was the same guy! I was thrilled.

You can read more of the story and watch the video here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


The LOST season premiere is tonight. Am I pumped? Heck yes I am! Its the greatest show that's ever been on television. To enjoy it, you need to be dedicated and imaginative. Also, you should be good at dealing with frustration as there are never enough questions being answered.

I have it on good authority that if you are only going to watch one scene from any of the previous seasons, this is it:

Christopher Hitchens, Part 2

I posted an interview that Hitchens did a while back. He's a surly dude, but can typically do a good job in a debate. He has a popular book called "God is Not Great," if you've never heard of him.

The following is an article from the Portland Monthly. I think the interviewer does a poor job articulating anything concerning the Christian faith, but what I liked reading was Hitchens' responses.

Worth your time. Read here.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The truth is...

I can't stand listening to the radio. Most of the music sucks. I can't stand most of the contrived, unimaginative junk that's out there anymore. There's so little feeling and so much production. More emphasis on rhyming than on artistic integrity.

Point in case: Taylor Swift.

Can I get an "amen," Meece?

Listen, I don't have a great voice. I'm not a fantastic songwriter. Both my brother-in-laws (re: Tim and Collin) can run circles around me when it comes to playing guitar. I'll probably never land a major record deal. But I'm proud of the music I make. Its real. Its not something that a studio or a producer or a label makes. When the guys in eventhesky and I put a song together, its a little bit of us. People like the Jonas Brothers or Taylor Swift or Miley Cyrus or Nickelback or Ciara or Three Doors Down make me sick. These people are making millions of dollars in the music industry because of good studios, good managers, good marketing, and lots of digital auto-pitch correction.

Listen to whatever you want. I have strong opinions about music--I know. But what happened to music with soul? I don't expect everyone to love Death Cab for Cutie or Ryan Adams or Band of Horses or Lucero or Kristian Matsson or Bright Eyes or Neil Young or even the music I make. I just don't expect everyone to love the fake, over-produced, plastic pop out there.

All resentment aside: how in the world does Taylor Swift pull in a million dollars a week?!?!?!!? I mean... come on!