August 2005


general22 Aug 2005 04:27 pm

Hey, you’ve reached the voicemail of Flynn, leave a message and I’ll get back to you“…
Hello, this is [Cookbook] and you’ve reached my voicemail. Please leave me your name and number and I’ll return your call as soon as possible and I hope you have a great day. good bye.

yeah, so Friday was interesting… had a tooth out, had a lot of paperwork to put together and file, broken fax, grandboss in town, a ton of work, and two interviews that started out like that… but it’s in the past, correct?… so let’s move on…

as much as i have to write about listed in my notes – there’s four pretty solid topics right there – i just have to get this bit off my chest right quick… first off, half of my church time was spent teaching little boy’s class the story of Esther, or Ester as the coloring pages said… fortunately, my wife, a teacher at one point of her life, was able to field most of the duties and i spent my time as a cowboy, herding the kids into an orderly formation… anyway, we did get to attend our Sunday School class where we discussed the second chapter of the book of Philippians… now, to make things interesting, a grizzled old man walked slowly into the room before we began, leaning heavily on his cane and putting off an air of disgust… he hobbled over to the corner before he was directed to a seat at the table… he complained about how he wanted to “keep an eye on all of us” and sit away from the table but eventually made his way to a seat… i knew immediately that this was the gentleman that others had complained about in the past for coming in an hi-jacking the discussion, injecting his own personal agenda and taking issue with any who disagreed… i was probably far too coy when i thought to myself, “now this is going to be an interesting class”…

fortunately or unfortunately there weren’t any big outbursts during the lesson, though, the old man (keep in mind this is a young to middle-aged couple class where most of the members are somewhere in their thirties and this guy is easily pushing eighty or better) did come out and speak about unity… and the lack of unity in the church… and it was a topic related to the discussion which included the opening section of the chapter about likemindedness…

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
– Philippians 2:1-2

well, the problem with much of the discussion, and on a broader scope, the reason that we lack this unity, is a misinterpretation of this very passage… because of our pride, we assume that our goal should be to become likeminded with each other… (on a side note, i don’t know how anyone who is or has been married could even consider this a reasonable possibility)… in actuality our goal should be becoming likeminded with Christ… i know that’s wild and crazy to think about, but i have my reasons and i belive this to be logical…

the first of these reasons is that likemindedness among men (humans, for the PC) leads to what i call a false sense of unity… i’ll use the marriage example… my wife and i have been married for a number of years now and we have a great relationship… it takes a lot of work to get as close as we are, but we are so close that at times we can finish each others sentences, know what the other is thinking, communicate without words, all that good stuff… but i’ll tell you what, there are still many occasions when i’m just like, “where did THAT come from?”… yeah, and i’m sure that it works both ways, but every now and again, and again, and again, she’ll throw a curve ball of thought, and for a moment or two, i’ll sit there and wonder how it all happened… like, we were completely in sync just an hour ago and now i can’t believe what she just said or did… the point being that there is no possible way that we can be completely of the same mind, because there’s no way we can ever entirely figure out what’s going on up there… much of our minds are uncharted waters (even to ourselves for goodness sakes) and like two boulders tied together, this unity in and of itself will simply sink us both…

the next effect is what i’ll call a false sense of righteousness… we’re so good, especially in these days of political correctness and pluralism, at stroking each others egos when we should rather stoke the fires of each others consciences… what i mean by this is that, as a whole people like to avoid conflict, right? i mean seriously, who really likes to get into an argument?… (you do? well YOU’RE AN IDIOT? HAPPY NOW?)… anyway… we avoid conflict by avoiding confrontation which in turn causes us to ignore what we really need to point out… many times this avoidance leads to either more rules that we can follow to counterbalance our shortcomings (in our own mind) – which is the existence of many religions and was exemplified by the Pharisees in the Bible… a denial of these shortcomings – if i say that it’s not a sin three times, it’s not really a sin… or what some call unity… an attitude that embraces the idea of shortcomings as a part of life that we just live with… this “unity” is actually more of a co-dependency in that say, Jack is addicted to porn and Jill steals, but they both feel better about themselves knowing that “at least i don’t steal” (Jack) and “at least i’m not addicted to porn” (Jill)… Hell, i believe, will be filled with many who people who really aren’t that bad when you consider others…

and the bonus side effect is the false sense of humility… compromise carries with it an illusion of humility though we all really know what’s going on here… here’s a quick example (though, to be fair, i thought the whole entry would be quick)… back when i was growing up and knee-deep in the sports card industry, (that is, i bought, traded and sold sports cards)… the essential piece of making a good trade was that you got what you really wanted… say i’m looking for a Walter Peyton rookie card and i find someone who has one that they’re willing to trade… they look over my lot of cards and decide what they want to ask for from my selection… they decide, make an offer and i accept, trading away a Mike Singletary, a Dan Marino, and a Doug Flutie… we’re both happy and it seems like we compromised fairly… but wait… there was trickery involved… you see, the selction that this other guy chose from wasn’t my entire collection… it was simply a subset of cards that i had already decided that i would be okay without (Sorry Doug)… similarly, when we compromise, we only offer up sacrifices that we’re already willing to make and only in the hopes of attaining something better… for ourselves… a.k.a. what is best in our own interest… which means that we are simply acting out of our own selfish desires, for our own selfish gain… but we feel good about it because on some level it looks like humility… in actuality humility is the polar opposite… we seek the best for others with little regard for our own gain…

So, what then does Paul mean when he asks the Philippians to be “like-minded”?… well, he means that they should be of the same mind as Christ… who, in all humility gave up EVERYTHING, became a man, walked the earth, and died on a cross to redeem us… He didn’t hide any of his “good” cards so that He could keep them afterwards… He gave up EVERYTHING… why do i know that this is what Paul was getting at? because the rest of the chapter talks about Christ’s sacrifice as an example of how we should act… the perfect example actually… so the next question, logically , if that means anything, is simply this: how? Well, besides the rest of that chapter, there are several passages of the Bible that talk about the mind of Jesus and i think it’s quite obvious by his actions how this fleshes out into an actual plan of practice… it’s not easy to do, but it sure isn’t hard to see… Jesus had no hidden agendas, it was all out in the open, His mind was always fixed on His goal and if we study His words and His life, we will then have a clear notion of how to live… and unity? well that will come naturally… Augustine once said that a thousand pianos tuned to the same tuning fork are, by default, in tune with each other… we can only tune ourselves and it should be God that we look to for the right pitch… can i get an amen?

ears

L.A.Symphony – Disappear Here
Kevin Max – The Imposter
L.A.Symphony – Less Than Zero
Robbie Seay Band – Better Days

eyes…

peace… love… bdg…

general19 Aug 2005 03:52 pm

getting through today slowly but surely… here’s some links…

CMCentral

  • Bart Millard – Hymned No 1
  • Bethany Dillon – Imagination
  • Todd Agnew – Reflections of Something
  • Casting Pearls – Casting Pearls
  • Haste the Day – When Everything Falls
  • ears

    L.A.Symphony – (the whole catalog)

    eyes…

    peace… love… bdg…

    general16 Aug 2005 02:34 pm

    that was pretty long… i’m guessing that everyone is absorbing it internally… EDIT:  If you started reading and then lost interest or stopped for whatever reason, can you please let me know how far you got?  that way i can make sure i know how long is too long for future entries… END EDIT…

    anyway… here’s some links to reviews… i’m somewhat swamped right now, so i’ll get back to you later…

    CMCentral

  • Sarah Brendel – Sarah Brendel
  • Tru-Life – The Journal Vol. 1
  • Carried Away – Closer to You

    Renown Magazine

  • Manafest – Epiphany
  • ears

    Bart Millard – Hymned No 1
    Bethany Dillon – Imagination
    Todd Agnew – Reflections of Something
    Casting Pearls – Casting Pearls
    Robbie Seay Band – Better Days
    Change – Tuesday Mournings
    G Force Alliance – Episode 1: The Unification
    Sivion – Mood Enhancement
    Locke and the Chris Wilson Five – Loose Ties

    eyes…

    [broken image]

    peace… love… bdg…

    general09 Aug 2005 04:27 pm

    everytime i sit down to write i get what i call writer’s runs… i’m sure you can take a lot from that term, but let’s just say it’s the opposite of writer’s block, but equally efficient at preventing words from finding their way from my head to the page… i think this is why, when i write album reviews, i write them four, five, or six at a time because i have too many ideas coming out at once to focus entirely on one album… it works fairly well with reviews i think because i don’t have to fully develop my thoughts there, i merely have to introduce them effectively and it works… but when i sit down and try to fully develop my thoughts, i’m bombarded by more and more thoughts, and sometimes they coincide and sometimes not, but more often than not they simply corrupt my focus and fester until i eventually walk away or hit my head on the wall or keyboard or something… this is probably why right now, as i sat down with the intention of writing about something on my mind – which was, by the way, the fourth something on my mind since i initially decided to sit down and write about something on my mind – i am instead writing about how when i try to write, i get what i call writer’s runs, that is, a flood of ideas and things to write about that often times serve only to run interference on my other ideas and squelch my chances of writing anything useful… enough already… i’m going to focus now and get things cleared out of my head in an orderly fashion… or semi-orderly… or something… first up… “The Invitation”….


    Many denominations have a rather structured format for their weekly gatherings which they follow consistently. Some even call this the “order of worship.” What i’ve found is that this order is often similar regardless of the denominational ties. It seems to me that it’s become more of a best practices type of thing for worship services than anything else, but regardless, those of us who have attended church at any given time of our lives have no doubt encountered something like what follows…

    As you walk into the auditorium or sanctuary or whatever your church calls it, there is always the open season segment of time. There’s not enough people to effectively begin the service and yet there’s too many to not do anything, i mean, sitting down in a half empty auditorium is fine with me, but a lot of people feel uncomfortable with that. So what you have here at the beginning, which is usually 5 minutes before the service is supposed to start up until ten minutes after the service was supposed to start, is kind of a social mingling opportunity. All the regulars give each other hugs and chat about the past week and whatnot. i could go into more detail about all the parties involved, but this is intended to be a very top-level look at the order of worship so we’ll move on.

    When mingling runs thin or time runs out, there’s usually an invocation, though hip churches won’t call it that. The invocation is usually one song that the choir/worship team will start singing to get people to realize that it’s time to get to their seats and begin the service. Maybe about halfway through this song the worship leader will turn and actually face the audience and encourage everyone to join in. After this song, there is the “official” mingle which has a measured time limitation. You are strongly encouraged not to travel more than five steps from your seat to extend the right hand of fellowship to anyone at this time. Stay by your seats, because you’ll be sitting down just in time for announcements and or a prayer.

    After announcements comes more singing the length and style of which will vary from church to church as hair styles and lengths tend to vary from head to head. Sometime in the midst of worshiping through music, there will be another prayer, this time more focused towards tithing and then of course, the tithe collection. Passing the plates is usually accompanied by a special musical performance to break the awkward silence and intermittent clanking of the plates as they travel through the aisles. Then there may be a few more songs followed by a prayer and of course, the sermon. Prayer, by the way, a spectacular way to change the scenery of the stage without a curtain because everyone is supposed to close their eyes.

    Anyway, the end of the sermon is where my focus is today. Or where i intended it to be. It seems sometimes as if the entire worship serrvice builds to the climax that is known as the invitation. Regardless of the topic of the message, it always manages to propose one of two questions: Do you want to become a Christian? or Do you need to re-evaluate your faith and actions and as a result, rededicate yourself to God? Both of these decisions seem to involve getting out of the aisle and going up to the altar. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with going forward at the end of the service there’s also nothing inherently holy about it either. There’s nothing magical about the front of the church, nothing supernatural about the altar. Some people are ministered to by going forward and i certainly don’t want to discredit that at all, but i think that a problem exists in front of the pews and that is part of what irked me about yesterday’s service…


    I had been tapped as a backup post service counselor during the musical portion of the worship service, so i had a pretty good idea that something was up with the service – just didn’t know what. Titled something like “looks can be deceiving,” i could guess that the message may end up as a call for rededication pretty easily. You know, “You’re living a lie, folks and you need to get right with the Lord.” That kind of thing. Anyway, the scriptural basis for the teaching was found in Luke somewhere… okay, i’ll find it… (Luke 18:9-14 for reference). Basically, it’s a story of two men, one who was highly esteemed among men and one who was greatly despised among men and i’ll tell it my way.

    Mr. Cool and Mr. Scum both go to the temple to pray. It’s astounding to those around to see Mr. Scum up in the temple, because he is so very scum-like. Mr. Cool, however, didn’t even have to break a sweat getting there, ’cause he’s always at church and moved in down the street. Mr. Cool makes his way up to the front row, his normal pew, dressed in a suit and tie so smooth you can’t help but notice that he’s been pretty successful. Onlookers can’t help but think, hey Mr. Cool must be someone special and important. Playing the part ot a “T” Mr. Cool shakes hands with all the elders and pastors of the church, chuckling at the small talk on his way to his seat. Everyone knows him and he knows everyone. He is, after all, Mr. Cool. The service commences and Mr. Cool really gets into it. Clapping, raising his hands during worship, singing quite loudly, extending the right hand of fellowship many times over, deliberately placing his tithe into the plate, “amening” through the sermon and what have you.

    Meanwhile, sometime midway through the musical portion of the ceremony, Mr. Scum slinks in the back of the church and finds a seat in the darkest corner of the back row. Refusing to make eye contact with anyone as he sits, he goes almost unnoticed as he takes his seat. He may or may not have tithed, nobody took note of it really, no one could really tell he as he just passed the plate without looking up. He must’ve been sleeping or something during the service because he was really quiet and when he wasn’t hanging his head down, his eyes seemed closed. Seriously, if people weren’t looking at him out of shock, they wouldn’t have even known that he was there.

    Somehow the news of Mr. Scum’s presence got down to the front row and Mr. Cool glanced disdainfully over his shoulder and thought about ways to better keep folks like him out. As the service ends, Mr. Scum silently steals away out the back of the church. A few folks mentioned that it looked like he had been crying, but no one knows for sure. Mr. Cool managed to catch up to Mr. Scum in the foyer though and he confronted him.

    “Why did you even come here today sinner? I fasted twice this week and everyone knows that I tithed and worshipped.” He continues, “You aren’t even worthy of sharing company with me.”

    Slowly, Mr. Scum replied. “I am most certainly unworthy. God have mercy on me.” And with that, he left.

    According to the parable, Mr. Scum was justified before God, while Mr. Cool was justified only before himself. It’s a good illustration. Unfortunately, this message was twisted a bit in yesterday’s sermon to forcefully encourage folks to go forward after the service and pray at the altar. The lesson of having an attitude of humility rather than pride turned into a guilt trip about how our pride prevents us from going forward. One example was given of a lawyer who had been asked point-blank whether he would go forward after a church service if he had issues in his life that needed prayer. He said no, and i would’ve too. And i don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Again, there is nothing magical about the front of a church. If i have an issue that needs prayer, i have an accoutability network that i will petition for support. It’s not my pride that keeps me in my pew. That’s an absurd assumption, and yet, that’s how it was presented.

    In fact, this presentation is dangerous and can easily have quite the opposite effect as was originally intended. Humility is most certainly not an action, but rather an attitude. Humility, much like pride, can dictate certain actions, but are not actions in and of themselves. For instance, if i am prideful, i may speak down to others. Speaking down to others isn’t pride, though it’s perhaps the fruits of pride. Similarly, going forward asking for prayer at the end of a service isn’t humility. It may be a revelation of a humble spirit, but it could just as easily reveal pride. Pride? What? Yep. In the same way that Mr. Cool was boastful of his actions, it’s quite possible that going forward at the end of the service could be one of those activities. A “look at me” moment of the service.

    Regardless of the motives, the larger issue as i see it (because other people’s personal motivation is beyond my scope of repair) is that of the pastor and staff surrounding this “encouragement.” I think at this point, i should mention that i really like my pastor and i think he’s very in tune with God’s will and that his motives are pure. This last week, though, i feel his aim was slightly amiss and perhaps he had given into a thorn. Anyway, response is the commonly accepted indication of acceptance or perhaps even success. For instance, if i tell you how absolutely amazing the new Mars ILL album (which by the way is currently available at iTunes for what is probably a limited time) and you don’t go out and buy it, then i feel like i have failed to adequately get my point across. However, if i notice that ten or fifteen went out and bought the album because of my recommendation, i feel like i succeeded. In the same way, it would be easy for a pastor to assume that his preaching is only effective if the altar call, i mean invitation yields a quantifiable result. And now you have a second risk of pride overcoming humility through this experience.

    What’s more than that even is the glorification of the front of the church and perhaps even the folks up there waiting to pray with you. (That would include me, this i know). As one of those folks who has on occassion been up there waiting for you to come forward, i can honestly tell you that there’s not too much magic hidden up my suit sleeves. Sure, i’m willing to pray with you for whatever you need prayer for. I’m more than happy to talk with you about any concerns you have with the church or your personal faith. I’ll gladly help you find Christ. I’ll help you join the church, but really, i’m just another guy. If you need prayer and you have friends that will support you and share your burden with you, they’ll probably be better at it than i. There’s nothing special about me that will gain you a greater audience with God. That’s actually one of the most beautiful things of Christianity. God is as close to any of us as we let Him be. If you seek God out with all of your heart, guess what? You’ll find Him. He’s there. He’s as readily available to you, whoever you are as He is to your pastor or to Billy Graham or to whoever else you may view as a spiritual giant. God is as approachable as the front of your church. And He’s as accessible from your bathroom as He is at the front your church’s sanctuary.

    The bottom line to me is that we are looking for a bottom line in church simply because we trying to prove the legitimacy of our message. Well, wait, that’s opening up too much for a conclusion. The bottom line is that we are looking for a bottom line. Result-based thinking and numbers equating to success has infiltrated our churches and it’s very dangerous. Our success really can’t be measured in that we may never know the results of our work. Our success isn’t measured by the standards of the world, but by how faithful we are to God’s calling in our lives. It’s a personal, intimate, and often silent success. At the end of a sermon, the pastor should feel successful because he is certain that his words supported and didn’t contradict God’s message, not because ten people came forward. It’s a different kind of thinking, but then again, we’re a different kind of people, are we not?


    okay… so there’s one… and that was pretty long… took me over a day to carve out the time to put it all together too… anyway… there are more coming, i have at least three other serious topics warring in my head right now… among several other things… i also am working on nine reviews for this week, though at best only eight will show up online this week because SOMEBODY decided not to update this week… anyway… on a personal note, i’m currently in a slight valley… a bit confused about some things not working out like it seemed they would and/or should… and, while i know that hilltops are ahead, the shadows are still somewhat unsettling… but we press on… and the week is young… by the way, the Che-T-Pringles images from the last entry were an effort at humor… T-Bone copied the pop art poster of Che Guevara for his new album cover and a lot of people are upset about that, so i tried to lighten the mood by comparing them both to the Pringles logo… anyway…

    eerie…

    Haste the Day – When Everything Falls
    Carried Away – Closer to You
    Sarah Brendel – Sarah Brendel
    Tru-Life – The Journal Vol. 1
    Change – Tuesday Mournings
    G Force Alliance – Episode 1: The Unification
    Sivion – Mood Enhancement
    Locke and the Chris Wilson Five – Loose Ties

    blink blink…

    [broken images] 

    peace… love… bdg…

    general05 Aug 2005 04:24 pm

    so, the work week is gone… and i didn’t update this thing at all… why? well, i’m busy… really busy and when something like a tooth crisis arises, i really get so far behind that other things fall away… like this blog… i’m sorry… for your info… i had an absolutely horrendous night Monday… didn’t sleep due to the pain from the tooth and nausea/aggravation caused by genaric vicodin… missed work gave up on sleep around noon… met up with an endodontist at 4ish… had something like a root canal… ended up finding out that my tooth will need extraction later in the month… pain was relieved for a while… Wednesday was a busy short day at work, took off early for a date night with the wife, who holds me together a lot… went bowling (won in spectacular fashion), dinner and rented a movie, rather, watched a movie that i recently bought, The Four Feathers (highly recommended)… Thursday, long day at work… making up for a day and a half of “off time”… realized that my reviews were late, late… so took time and scrounged them together… got home late… today… busy busy busy… in the background of work was Highway to Heaven (1 disc down, 6 to go, Lord help me) Season One… and Brad Stine’s new DVD… you know, for a professional comedian, he’s not that funny… i did laugh a couple times… but i mean, it’s over an hour long… anyway… review linkage below… more important things… another time… again… have a fabulous weekend… i’ll be in and out of strange tooth pains for the next few weeks i imagine…

    CMCentral

  • Jeff Deyo – Surrender
  • Ultimate Music Makeover: Michael W Smith Edition
  • Antonio Neal – Days of My Life
  • Joshua Fest 2005
  • lobes…

    Mayard Ferguson – Chameleon
    Giant Panda – Fly School Reunion
    T-Bone – Bone-a-Fide

    strobes…

    peace… love… bdg…

    general01 Aug 2005 05:09 pm

    so it’s Monday again… and as it turns out, i went to the dentist this morning… and it looks like i’ll get to go at least two more times… oh i can’t wait… here’s the thing… they take me in sit me down poke and prod me like i’m a captive of some aliens and they take an x-ray… from this they decide that yes i need a root canal… SCORE!… but here’s the best part… why do i need a root canal?… well, because a filling that they put in a few months ago has caused an infection, which has flared up and caused swelling, which has put undo pressure on my back molar, which has split… so… i need a root canal and then a crown… but they don’t do root canals at this dentist office… so i have to find a specialist to do this root canal, then come back to this dentist so that they can put in a crown so that my tooth doesn’t break off entirely after the root canal… in the meantime, they’ve done nothing for me… i still have this incdredible pain… i still have to run around figuring out the best course of action and of course they don’t take responsibility for their poor job of filling my tooth to begin with… “they say your life will never dull or your money back… well, i want my money back”… well, i do have some prescriptions to pick up on the way home, one is an antibiotic and one is a painkiller that will hopefully allow me to sleep past 4 AM… we shall see… so yeah… lots of things have happened and i don’t feel like talking about any of them… i have reviews to write about four new albums and i don’t really feel like talking about any of them… we shall make it… tomorrow at 4 is my next d-day…

    thump thump…

    Listener & EQ – Ozark Empire
    Antonio Neal – Days of My Life
    Jeff Deyo – Surrender
    Ultimate Music Makeover: Michael W Smith Edition
    Kierra “Kiki” Sheard – Just Until
    Mr. Del – The Future
    Haste the Day – When Everything Falls

    blink blink…

    [broken images]

    peace… love… bdg…