April 2008 - Posts
For those of you still miffed about the pioneer dress post, I offer this until I can find time to respond ... again: [link].
My boss has this saying that seriously grates on my nerves. It gets so bad sometimes that I fear that I have been hypnotized and programmed with the saying as a trigger for very bad stuff. How else can I explain the sudden urge to choke him when he says it?
My boss called me today to remind me of my very heavy workload (Thank goodness he micromanages. Otherwise, how would stuff get done around here, huh?). I told him that number five on my priority probably wouldn't be completed until tomorrow afternoon. And then he said it -- the trigger words. He said, "Joe, by all means get that done or we'll lose credibility."
Now, I started to think. I've never heard him say that doing something would gain credibility, so I can only assume that this credibility that he speaks of either has an unlimited source or the value on the credibility is worthless. According to many, many emails from bossman, we are constantly "loosing" [sic] credibility, yet there are never consequences. And if there are no consequences, then the credibility budget is very, very high because I don't believe we've ever gone negative. But, if I'm wrong and the credibility account has gone negative and continues to go farther and farther into the red, then the credibility value has been worthless all along (Remember the Italian lira?) and I had artificially inflated it's worth.
But there is a third option and it's this: He has over-promised a project on which I'm working and, if it's not completed on his accelerated schedule, then he'll lose credibility. So, for me to put some credibility in my account, I need to go tell the president that, because of the heavy workload, I won't be able to complete the insane amount of work that I was signed up for until tomorrow afternoon. I think I'll do that.
Hey, Oney! Oney! Ha ha ha ha!
Update: New email from boss at 5:50 PM to one of our suppliers: "Now it appears this is in jeopardy again & we will loose [sic, very sic] a tremendous amount
I saw the funniest thing this past weekend that completely engaged the boys on our scout trip. They call it "leech wars." All of the boys cram into the largest tent. Two boys wiggle their way into their sleeping bag head first and start on opposite sides of the tent while the other boys circle them. On the command of "Go!" the two boys in the sleeping bags begin inching toward each other, feeling for the other one. The object is for one of the boys to pin the other for eleven seconds ... or until one of the boys announces that he can't breathe. All of this takes place while the other scouts are whooping and hollering and diving on top of the two sleeping bags.
The first time I saw it I belly-laughed for minutes with tears in my eyes. Watching two sleeping bags wiggle inch-worm-style across the floor of the tent looking for another sleeping bag to pounce on is good entertainment. Try it. You know you wanna.
In math and science, a student learns that problems that arise in these fields are often multi-dimensional. Some problems can be as complex as six or seven dimensions. The student’s task is to reduce this complex problem to two or three dimensions. Of course, fine details are lost in such a reduction. However, the general trends and outcomes of the simplified problem are assumed to resemble the trends of the solution to the more complex problem.
I believe Christianity can be studied in some aspects like a math problem. Mark Driscoll does an excellent job of simplifying a complex issue to a simplified issue. Just as math has x, y, and z, Christianity has gospel, culture, and church. While x, y, and z are just symbols that can stand for nearly anything and need to be defined, in this analogy, so do gospel, culture, and church. Jesus has called us to (1) the gospel (loving our Lord), (2) the culture (loving our neighbor), and (3) the church (loving our fellow brother). Often Christian traditions are true to only one or two of these dimensions.
Christians who hold up the gospel and the culture but neglect the church are commonly referred to as the Parachurch. They often participate with ministries such as Young Life and Campus Crusade for Christ. They are involved in the culture and loving people; however, they fail to connect with any local church and are often theologically immature. In the first centuries, this group might be best seen in the Zealots.
However, Christians who adhere to the culture and the church yet neglect the gospel are often labeled as Liberal. These Christians are so concerned with being culturally relevant that, though they are deeply involved in the culture, they neglect the gospel. Institutional sin is often preached, but personal sin is neglected. In the Bible, the Sadducees might best fit this category.
Finally, Christians who long for the church and the gospel but abhor the culture are often titled Fundamentalists. History, tradition, and politics of the church are more important to this group. Over time, these Christians become so inwardly focused that the gospel is replaced with rules, legalism, and morality supported with mere prooftexts from the Bible. The Pharisees are a perfect example of this group.
All of this analysis (and more) can be found in Driscoll’s book The Radical Reformission.
Now let us look at the issue by showing a little more complexity. This analysis comes from Albert Mohler’s article in the "Pulpit Helps." The last two groups—liberalism and fundamentalism—share in common the church dimension. Connected with this dimension is the topic of theology (recall the Parachurch is often lacking in this area). Mohler points out that theological doctrine can be ranked as first, second, and third level.
First-level doctrines include the Trinity, justification by faith, and the authority of Scripture. In the first centuries after Christ, these were the doctrines that were most attacked. These doctrines actually define genuine Christianity.
Second-level doctrines include infant baptism, women’s roles, etc. The differences of these doctrines are usually drawn from denomination to denomination.
Finally, the third-level doctrines include eschatology and Bible translations. The differences in opinions on these doctrines might be found even within the same local church.
Combining Mohler’s analysis with Driscoll’s analysis, we see that Liberalism often lowers first and second level doctrines to the third level. However, Fundamentalism tends toward the opposite error and elevates second and third level doctrines to the first level. The explanation of why this occurs goes back to the missing dimensions of each group.
A true and strong Biblical Church loves the Lord, loves their neighbors, and loves the Word.
1. I'm camping with Boy Scouts. My wife is camping with Cub Scouts. I kissed my wife goodbye this morning and won't see her until Sunday afternoon.
2. At church, we sing songs of praise and thanksgiving. Isn't that interesting? I mean, we don't sing anywhere else. I'd be weirded out if my boss passed around song books at the next staff meeting and led us in a few tunes of "9 to 5" and "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere."
3. Pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon, pan-seared and grilled to perfection is a piece of art. We had that last night along with steamed broccoli and grilled eggplant marinated in Italian dressing. I've been reliving that meal all day. Yum.
4. What this blog needs is a face lift. Maybe I'll take some time from blogging and change the look a bit. I'll retain the picture and add a few with a new contemporary look. Or I'll just inject some cortisone and keep on truckin'.
5. Did I mention that I'm camping this weekend? Yes, I did. Did I mention that thunderstorms will be moving through this evening? No, I didn't and, yes, they will.
6. Watching the Democratic presidential campaign go on this long is like watching a really crappy Minor League game go into extra innings. Sure, you're getting free baseball, but who cares?
7. If gas prices go any higher, I may have to start charging a fuel surcharge on all blog posts.
8. That's it for the week. I have a funny joke about a koala smoking pot with a lizard, but I'll keep that one to myself. Have a good weekend and I'll see you on Monday if the good Lord sees fit.
Nothing too deep today. Just this: [link
]. Now I gotta have 'em. That's all. Carry on.
It appears [link] that after 10 years, the Italian wall lizard that was introduced to a little island off the coast of Croatia has adapted to its environment. Some are calling it evolution. I say its adaptation, but I guess it all depends on what the definition of "is" is, huh?
20 years from now, if that thing is walking around on its hind legs, talking about fish and chips and selling car insurance, I'll be convinced. Until then, this goes in the same drawer as that Al Gore movie and the hysteria that it created.
I'm always amused by the different names given to "bible verse" ministries. What I mean is this: There are Proverbs 31 Ministries for women [e.g., link], a Matthew 28 Ministry [link], an Acts 29 church planting network [link] and so on and so on.
And, since it appears to be the hip thing to do, I want to start my own ministry. I'll call it Psalm 137:9 Ministry: Smashing Infants Against the Rocks. I haven't exactly come up with a mission statement, yet. And I haven't quite considered how the name will affect fundraising. But I planted a flag, staked my claim and now I own it.
I post this not really for your reading enjoyment or your contemplation. I write this post for me. This will be archived and some time later, I'll run across it and think, "Wow! Thank God I ran across this!"
And, if I were to die before I could read the archive, some future archaeologist will stumble across the Steeple servers and think, "Wow! This Joe Napalm guy had it together, was before 'his time' and understood life's complexities." So, for the sake of our future, I post this quote found at Chuck Swindoll's Insight.org [link]:
Passive men, wild women. Those words aren’t
original with me. They came from a shrink living in Marin County,
California—Pierre Mornell, who wrote a book that bears that title. The
issue that concerned Dr. Mornell is found in Christian marriages just
as often as in non-Christian ones.
It’s the problem of the husband who is “inactive,
inarticulate, lethargic, and withdrawn at home. In his relationship to
his wife he is passive. And his passivity drives her crazy.” He’s not
necessarily incompetent and dull. At work he may be extremely
successful and articulate. And she’s not necessarily rebellious and
overactive. She may be a good mother, talented, and well-respected by
At home, however, the husband says, in a dozen
different ways, “I’m tired . . . just leave me alone.” She makes
requests; he ignores them. She gets louder; he retreats further. She
adds pressure; he lapses into sullen silence. Ultimately he withdraws;
she goes “wild.”
Numerous, often complex, reasons lie behind such standoffs, but a couple of extremely important factors stand out.
First, men and women are different, and these
differences don’t decrease or disappear once people get married. (I’ve
discovered that they gain momentum!) It helps immensely to try to put
oneself in the partner’s shoes (albeit an extremely tough thing to do)
and to realize the other’s needs and viewpoints. If you fail to do
that, you wind up on the sofa.
Second, harmonious partnerships are the result of hard work; they never
“just happen.” I don’t know of anything that helps this process more
than deep, honest, regular communication. Read those last four words
again, please. That’s not just talking; it’s also listening. And not
just listening, but also hearing. Not just hearing, but also
responding, calmly and kindly.
This will go a long way toward keeping you off a counselor’s couch . . . or, for that matter, off your own sofa. (Taken from Charles R. Swindoll, Day by Day with Charles Swindoll (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2000). Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc.)
You'll thank me later for finding this.
You parents out there won't be terribly surprised by the following. In fact, in may sound humdrum.
On Sunday, while playing with my niece in the front yard of my parents' house, I found a dead mole. It was a big, little bugger. I scooped it up and put it in the carport for the family to see. My older son, taking a hint from his Grandad, placed the mole in a Ziploc baggie and put it in the freezer. At church that evening, he asked a friend of ours if he could taxidermy it. The friend said that he'd check if it was legal to do so and, if so, attempt it.
Yesterday, Bubba asked me if I had heard the good news. Apparently, it is legal to stuff a mole and our friend is going to attempt it. Whether he's going to stuff the whole mole or just mount the head on a tiny plaque, I don't know. That's not really important, though. The important item now is convincing momma to allow the stuffed mole in the house.
Ah, boys. If you don't have them, see what you're missing? We'll lease them out if you're interested.
Thank you. Thank you so very much.
It all started when I was a child. I got my first real six-string, bought it at the five-and-dime, played it 'til my fingers bled. It was the summer of '69. I can't really remember the rest, but I do remember that I tried real hard, someone moved away and someone got married. It's all very vague, but it defined who I am today.
Ah, it's coming back to me now. As I recall it was a sort of malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical. Summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring we'd make meat helmets. If I was insolent, I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds. Pretty standard, really.
I was a good girl, loved my mama, loved Jesus and America, too.
I just wanted to be a big rockstar and livin' in hilltop mansions drivin' fifteen cars. And it appears I have arrived.
Again, thank you. Thank you very much.
On the tails of typing "fart" in a previous post and having the endure the "look" from my mother, this'll certainly put her in the "home":
A woman goes into Bass Pro Shop to
buy a rod and reel for her grandson's birthday. She doesn't know which one
to get so she just grabs one and goes over to the counter. A Bass Pro Shop
associate is standing there wearing dark shades.
She says, 'Excuse
me, sir. Can you tell me anything about this rod and reel?'
says, 'Ma'am, I'm completely blind; but if you'll drop it on the counter, I
can tell you everything from the sound it makes.'
She doesn't believe
him but drops it on the counter anyway.
He says, 'That's a six-foot
Shakespeare graphite rod with a Zebco® 404 reel and 10-pound test line. It's
a good all around combination; and it's on sale this week for only $20.'
She says, 'It's amazing that you can tell all that just by the
sound of it dropping on the counter. I'll take it!'
As she opens
her purse, her credit card drops on the floor. 'Oh, that sounds like a
Master Card,' he says.
She bends down to pick it up and accidentally
breaks wind. At first she is really embarrassed, but then realizes there is
no way the blind clerk could tell it was she who tooted. Being blind, he
wouldn't know that she was the only person around.
The man rings up
the sale and says, 'That'll be $34.50 please.'
The woman is to totally
confused by this and asks, 'Didn't you tell me the rod and reel were on sale
for $20? How did you get $34.50?'
He replies, ' Yes, Ma'am. The rod
and reel is $20.00, but the duck call is $11.00 and the catfish bait is
I received an email yesterday from two very close friends in West Virginia. And they had wonderful news. Good news from good friends is a great thing -- it's like a exponentially multiplied sort of rule ... let's call it the Good Friend News Theorem. The results of the sum of good news from good friends is exponentially greater than the friends and the news. And in this case, they had two items of good news which is, like, totally awesome. But, I digress.
First, they're quitting their missions work in West Virginia and continuing it by moving back to Knoxville to start a church. God has been working on their hearts and minds for some time and they are answering His call. For that, I ask for prayer for them. We should pray that God will continue to provide and begin working in the hearts and lives of people in Northeast Knoxville.
Second, and this is just so great, they are pregnant. Well, actually, she's pregnant and he is the father. Don't women just love to say "we're pregnant"? Again, I digress.
They're moving to Knoxville and they're pregnant. How cool is that?
Oh, and that theorem thing? Use it however you see fit.
Next page »
This is getting to the point of becoming a nasty habit. I write a blog post and then follow it with a defense shortly afterwards when the crowds are trying their hardest to take the high road and are on the front lawn with torches and pitchforks.
So, the other day I allowed you a glimpse into my sock and underwear drawer. Many of you thought you were looking at my dirty clothes hamper. Alas, it wasn't so. You just saw the inner workings of my mind. In hindsight, I wish I had typed a post about promiscuity and how we don't care for it when it's dressed up in 17th-Century garb but enjoy it when it's on our televisions packaged in modern-day synthetics (see "Sex and the City" or any other primetime drama for that matter). Yes, I could've won a Pulitzer, but, no, I had to write that other stuff.
What I found funny and even brought up in a tongue-in-cheek way was how strawberries weren't defended. Here's why I found it amusing. If I had waxed on and on about kids' clothes today and the stereotypes, many of you would be in agreement. Be honest and admit that you feel uncomfortable when you walk into the mall and, in order to get to the Gap or J. Crew or wherever you're going, you have to walk through a large crowd of Goth kids or kids with their pants down so low that you can see whether or not the "barn door" is open on their boxers. Why do you feel uncomfortable? Has anything ever happened in the past to cause the feelings of insecurity? Probably not. But now you're beginning to understand why I find pioneer dress creepy and approach it with a tad bit of anxiety.
Nothing in particular has ever happened to me that I can point to and say that is the very reason that associate pioneer dress with cult activity. No Amish guy has ever mugged me or sucked my blood for owning a refrigerator. No "Little House on the Prairie" episode has ever haunted my dreams. And none of the Salem witches of 1692 have grabbed my feet while I sleep (Although, that is the reason that I tuck the sheets in at night; but that's another post). However, there was this one time on a family vacation to Amish-country in Ohio when an Amish dude wouldn't let us take pictures of him. And I did have a Mormon friend once that creeped me out because their whole religion is so secretive and ... creepy? What's with the holy underwear? And then there is "Children of the Corn," "The Village" and a movie that I walked out of called "Warlock" [link].
As I watched the busloads of women and children being hauled away from their compound the other day, I was saddened and angered. Admittedly, my anger and sadness are on hair-triggers in such circumstances. But, in cases like these, I believe it's righteous anger and sadness.
I witnessed a few things over the past few days in the news reports. First, all of the women and girls in the YFZ Ranch were dressed the same. They wore long, braided hair and wore handmade pioneer-style dresses with long underwear underneath because the group had strict modesty codes. Second, the women and children had the fathers, husbands and their leader, Warren Jeffs, as their sole authority. They were deprived of newspapers, magazines and televisions. They were completely disconnected from the people around them because they see their neighbors as enemies who will be destroyed by their sin.
To sum it up -- and pay attention here because this is the crux of this defense -- I witnessed a burdensome and heavy yoke. And there are some fundamental Christians that aren't very far removed.
It's tough words. And maybe I could've developed the idea a little better without the biting humor. But my paragraph stands. There'll be no modern-day politicians' words of apology here.