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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Thank You ...

Thank you to all my friends, enemies and strangers who post on my blog. I like it.

Done with Sex

Not really. I'm just done preaching about it for the time being. I did two sermons this week. The first was about Biblical prohibitions, which is certainly an odd topic in the Episcopal Church. The second was about purity and grace.

I love that verse from the prophet Isaiah, "Come, let us reason together," says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." (1:18)

That verse has always meant so much to me as my sins, including, even especially sexually related ones, have always been so obvious to me. As the Psalmist, King David, has said, "For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me."

But as I preached this past Sunday, I began to think about how painful those words might be for those who were sinned against. Those words were grace and comfort to me. Yet for those who have been raped, molested or had an adulterous spouse, those words absolve something that may permanently alter their world.

Not that they wouldn't forgive, but even if they do, the pain and ramifications still linger.

It's always a strange thing to start thinking about other things in the middle of preaching a sermon. Where's the ritalin ....


"Everybody is put on this earth for something, even if it is just to be a poor example."

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I need my space ...

I was a hostess at Friendly's last night. They have a nice fundraiser program for non-profits, where some people come in and serve as host/esses and their organization gets 10% food purchased and .50¢ on a half gallon of ice cream. So I went with another youth leader and 3 of our kids.

I came home and wanted to crawl under the couch. I just need some quiet.

In times past when I took the Myers/Briggs Typology Indicator, I was always an ENTJ, while if I took the short version of the test, the Keirsy/Bates, I was always an INTJ. E's get their energy from people, while I's gain it from solitude (that's an over generalization).

Whenever I scored an I, I always thought I was just an E having a bad day. Not anymore. Nights like last night just tire me right out. Not from the physical work but from the constant people interaction.

I had always heard that people's MBTI scores change and develop over time. For example, I also score at F instead of T now ... Feeling instead of Thinking. I could see that coming.

As a youngster I loved art and my memories indicate that I was an F type kid, but that went away for a long time. Now its back with a vengeance. I have always been an E for as long as I can remember, but now I feel like an I. I sometimes wonder if these are just natural changes or are they the result of some damage or perceived damage in our live's ... or both.

Human behavior is certainly complex. I sure hope God understands this messy life I live and knows the way.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Couch Surfing

Looking for a cheap way to go on vacation? Try out couch surfing. Not to be confused with America's favorite past time of promiscuity, this is simply borrowing a strangers couch for a place to stay. Nice idea. Our global community keeps getting friendlier.

More Sex Questions ...

Well, I got some more questions from the youth group this week in regards to sexuality.

How do you make love to someone?
Why are so many people down on homosexuals?
What is master bashun?
(not a typo)

I'm not sure I'm going to even touch that first question. I hate to say, "Go ask you parents kid." but I'm not so sure it's such a good idea for a youth pastor to be answering that question to a young girl.

This past week's sermon was about Designer Sex. God designed sexuality and has given it to his people to be treasured and enjoyed. I advocate for the position that since God has given us this gift, and He has given us this drive within us so strongly, that we His people should be experts on sexuality both in theory and practice.

If St. Paul is going to direct us not to withhold ourselves from each other, I suggest that Christians should be the best lovers in the world. A Christian spouse ought to be among the most sexually satisfied persons in the world.

Now certainly that does have selfish motives behind it, but I think there is a bit of Biblical truth behind it.

I want to give God's people a new vision for their sexuality. Instead of just encouraging teens, and adults too, towards purity and hope they win the battle, I want to give them a vision of something greater. I want to encourage all of God's people towards 'greatness in bed.'

Now you might think that is whacked, and that I deserve a late night TV show on the EWTN station with Mother Angelica. But read the text below. Regular marital relations are meant to be a safeguard for a couple. In some ways the text suggests that a lack thereof is dangerous! If so, I think all of God's married people should be such great lovers that their spouses feel privileged to be married to them.

1 Corinthians 7:2 But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Sex and the Youth Group

Well, I gave my first of three sermons on sexuality tonight. It went very well. It's always amazing who shows up on a particular Sunday. Had six teens there tonight. For youth group following the service, we had 12 teens. I gave them each a card to submit questions for me to answer in next week's sermon or youth group. Here they are ...

"What happens to a man and women if caught doing something naughty before marriage?"
"Why is it wrong to have sex before marriage? Why is lust wrong?"
"It it wrong to think someone is attractive? What's the difference between that and lust?"
"Is masturbation wrong?"
"What do you do if you already lost your virginity?"
"Is sex before marriage a sin?"
"Is having sex with someone before marriage a sin?"

Some of these answers are very obvious, such as "Is masturbation wrong?" The most appropriate answer is, "Only with sandpaper." Most of these question are very straightforward. Notice the one kid asks "Why?". I would love to hear your answers or the best answers you have ever heard for these type questions.

I took a human sexuality class in college. My favorite proverb from that class was by Dr. Bassett: "Masturbation and orgasm go hand in hand." I still giggle when I hear it. I doubt I'll find a way to build that into next week's sermon.

I told a joke tonight, that was told to me by a very proper woman in her late sixties in my last church. There once was an older couple, who were both widowed, and they decided to get married. They had their wedding as part of the morning service that day. After the vows were over, everyone clapped as they sat down. The pastor asked everyone to stand for the closing hymn which was, "Are Ye Able".

Absolutely no one laughed tonight when I first told it. They didn't get that I was telling a joke, which led me to have to explain that it was a joke, which actually made it a little funnier.

Next week's sermon will be aimed toward married people about Nike Sex: Just Do It!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The Blog is acting funky today


Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Or I could fly!

I could fly from Watertown to Modesto. Apparently Turlock does not have an airport, or so says Expedia.

Brad & Karl, I'm bringing the whole family for Christmas and leaving New Year's Eve. Hope you have space for all of us: Me, Alyx, Katelyn, Carter, Benjamin and Nicholas. Here is my itinerary ....

$691 Roundtrip avg/person (from $3458 total)
6:30 am Depart Watertown (ART)
Arrive Modesto (MOD) 4:33 pm
Fri 24-Dec
Duration: 13hr 3mn

US Airways 4650  / 1
United Airlines 864  / 6220
Connect in Pittsburgh (PIT), Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO)

And you know us Episcopal guys can afford it. We get paid well, mostly to pay for our bar tab.

But I'm guessing it's just going to be a little easier to go back to Manhattan for a good cappy.

Black River to Turlock. I'll be right over.

Thanks for the invite to Turlock. I'll be right over. I found directions on Mapquest. Not far at all.

28514 State Route 342
Black River, NY
13612-2129 US

Cornerstone Covenant Church  209-667-6768
4105 Crowell Rd
Turlock, CA
95382 US

Distance: 2874.18 miles Total Estimated Time: 43 hours, 10 minutes

Directions / Distance

1. Start out going South on NY-342 toward NY-3. / 0.2 miles

2. Turn RIGHT onto NY-3 S. / 7.9 miles

3. Merge onto I-81 S. / 64.4 miles

4. Merge onto I-90 W via exit number 25A toward BUFFALO (Portions toll). / 332.6 miles

5. Take I-71 S toward COLUMBUS. / 8.5 miles

6. Take the exit- exit number 239- on the left toward OH-237 S/AIRPORT/BEREA/I-480 W/TOLEDO. / 0.3 miles

7. Merge onto BEREA FRWY. / 0.1 miles

8. Merge onto I-480 W via exit number 238 toward TOLEDO. / 8.9 miles

9. Merge onto I-80 W toward TOLEDO (Portions toll). / 1698.2 miles

10. Take the I-215 exit- exit number 130- toward LAS VEGAS/RENO/S.L.C. INT'L AIRPORT. / 0.6 miles

11. Merge onto I-215 N toward SALT LAKE. / 1.3 miles

12. I-215 N becomes I-80 W. / 3.7 miles

13. Merge onto I-15 N via the exit- on the left- toward RENO/SALT LAKE/2100 SO/1300 SO/900 SO. / 3.5 miles

14. Merge onto I-80 W via exit number 311 toward RENO/S.L. INT'L AIRPORT. / 647.9 miles

15. Merge onto I-5 S toward SACRAMENTO/LOS ANGELES. / 62.4 miles

16. Merge onto CA-120 E toward MANTECA/SONORA. / 6.4 miles

17. Merge onto CA-99 S toward MODESTO/FRESNO/LOS ANGELES. / 24.0 miles

18. Take the TAYLOR ROAD exit. / 0.2 miles

19. Turn LEFT onto W TAYLOR RD. / 0.1 miles

20. Turn SLIGHT RIGHT onto CA-99 BR S/N GOLDEN STATE BLVD. / 0.6 miles

21. Turn LEFT onto W CHRISTOFFERSON PKWY. / 1.2 miles

22. Turn LEFT onto CROWELL RD. / 0.1 miles

End at Cornerstone Covenant Church  209-667-6768
4105 Crowell Rd, Turlock, CA 95382 US


So my beloved friend JJ, who is also our church sexton, is going to Korea to hang out with a beautiful lady that he met online. I asked today about Korean coffee, hoping that they might have something exotic and he could score me some. He said it was terrible and that this woman wanted him to bring her some good coffee. She used to live in NYC and misses her cappuccino's. JJ said, he saw a box of packets up at Sam's he was going to pick up for her.

[heavy sigh]

That's what I'm dealing with here in the North Country a.k.a Coffee Hell! There is no legitimate honest to goodness coffeeshop here. Nothing. Nada. Nunc. A good cappy here is going to Sam's and getting a packet. Oi!

Let me tell you about Coffee Heaven: Via Quadronno. It's in Manhattan. I went there one time last summer on my trip to NYC to visit my friend SangTang and to go to MacWorld at the Javitz Center. Lorenzo, a coffee god, made our cappys. On the second sip, it was clear that I had never, ever tasted a cappy this good. EVER. Oh my!

To this day, just moments ago, while in the kitchen with JJ, it still sends shivers down my spine as I think about that cappy. The foam was as smooth as a gel. Often times people burn their expresso, which is not good considering expresso coffee is already burnt. Lorenzo's was a perfect blend, brewed to a perfect strength.

Sure I could go down to Syracuse. SangTang scores me some incredible import: Moka di Oro, Kimbo, Essse and LaVazza which I make in the afternoons, but every now and then I just want to sit down to a cappy and biscotti in a nice coffeeshop.

I wonder if Lorenzo could FedEx me a cappy?

Friday, September 03, 2004

Boomer & Xer differences

i've been asking this question lately and getting 2 different answers depending upon the age of the person: "Is it alright to sacrifice your time and presence with your family (wife & kids) for the sake of the gospel?"

Boomers are telling me "Absolutely!" If God is calling you to do it, he will take care of your family. Therefore you are not sacrificing your family but entrusting them to God and being obedient to his calling. They point to their own examples of colleagues who worked very hard, whose wives were fully supportive and their kids grew up healthy and following Christ.

My generation, GenX, is telling me that is a conundrum. If you have sacrificed your family, you have therefore compromised the gospel. They point to the examples of the troubles Billy Graham had with Franklin, or the marital troubles the Hybels or other similar examples.

How might one legitimately make a case for procreating, and then because of one's work with the gospel, delegate one's parental responsibilities to another parent or person? Let alone, how to make a case for marrying and then not being present because of one's work for the gospel?

Wednesday, September 01, 2004


Alpha has been heralded as a great evangelism tool across denominational lines. Many churches use it, apparently, successfully. It's a big committment for people to go weekly for 10 or 11 weeks and one weekend.

Programs come and go. Eventually, if not already, Alpha will be passè.

What do you think the future of Alpha is?