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  • Jeune Fille se Defendant Contre L'amour
    by William Bouguereau

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    by William Bouguereau

  • Flagellation de Notre Seigneur Jésus Christ
    by William Bouguereau
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Location: Liverpool, NY

"In my house, I'm a big deal. That's all that matters."


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Saturday, July 30, 2005

World Magazine - Weekly News | Christian Views | Interview with Bono

Bono counters, "It's a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the Universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma."

Friday, July 29, 2005

Indians & Covenant Pastors

Here's an old picture I scanned in. Me and the Revinator getting autographs from a couple of Cleveland Indians. They were signing at a computer store in our neighborhood and the Rev had foul ball by Jim Thome. Nice guys.

From left to right: Jim Thome, Jolbert Cabrera, theultrarev, The Revinator

Indidently ...
Rev is a fabulous pastor and the best preacher I know.
Jim Thome is on my fantasy team this year and stinks! He's killing me. I'm last in HR's and it's primarily his fault..
Jolbert Cabrera got shot in the butt in his native land of Colombia and his baseball career hasn't amounted to much.

A True Story

I live in a military community. Ft. Drum Army Base is my neighbor. Literally. One of the gates is less than a mile down the road. My friend Corey flies Blackhawks on patrol around the perimeter of the base and my house, all the time. I'm not sure if I'm more protected or more of a target because of my location. The upside is that my taxes are less because the government gives subsidies to the local school district based on the amount military kids in the school.

Anyways ... the story ...

My wife has a friend who lives in one of the army neighborhoods off the base. It's a little tract development with condos. The children in this neighborhood participate in the government subsidized free lunch and breakfast program at the school. In the summer the school still has the free lunches for any kids in the school district. I didn't know it but they need this program to survive.

So my wife's friend has been going over to the school for lunch all summer, and she started taking some of the other kids in the neighborhood. Word got out and others wanted to go to -- more than she could handle. Upon investigating the problem a little farther, most of these families could afford only one car, which the soldier spouse takes to work each day. The family is left at home with no way to get the kids to school for lunch. So in many cases, THEY HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO FEED THEIR KIDS LUNCH! Yes, that is correct: in some cases a soldier is unable to afford to feed his kids lunch.

God bless this friend of my wife, who called a local agency and now lunch and an afternoon snack is being delivered to the community room in this neighborhood for 30-40 kids.

Poverty knows no bounds.

NAMI: National Alliance for the Mentally Ill -The Nation's Voice on Mental Illness

Here is a resource for you to be aware of: NAMI: National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. Covenant pastor & journalist Stan Friedman recently mentioned this resource on a listserv I am on. Stan also mentioned his own story and journey with mental illness. Thank God for people like Stan Friedman with the courage to be vulnerable and let their lives speak of hope to others.

Mental illness touches nearly everyone's life. I've lost 2 parishioners to mental illness related deaths within the past year. They were both schizophrenic and residents at a halfway house the next block over.

I know an army psychiatrist, who is stationed here at Ft. Drum and comes to my church. Just a beautiful, gentle, young man, with 2 young daughters and a lovely wife. They had us to their home for a wonderful brunch recently.

He's not a long time church goer. In fact his wife said to mine that he didn't seem to have a lot of interest in church until they came to ¡alive@5!, and now they are there faithfully. He recently asked me what I thought of how God deals with people who have a mental illness.

I said, "Compassionately." In the Scriptures, God appears to me as one who has tender heart to the oppressed, the poor, the fatherless and He expects his people to do the same. The Gerasene demoniac in Mark 5, has many of the DSM IV traits for schizophrenia. Jesus healed him without the man even asking.

Now certainly in this case, the man was demon possessed, not just schizophrenic. Regardless, Jesus was compassionate and grace bearing. He didn't make the man repent of his sin first, didn't make the man ask for help or demonstrateenoughh faith to be helped, didn't make him clean up his life to be helped. He just healed the man without the man doing anything to earn or deserve it.

It would seem to me that this would demonstrate God's heart to those with mental illness: grace bearing & compassionate.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Hey, watch this ....

In theory, you see a little stick figure guy dancing. I copied the image link from a post at virtueonline.org. I dunno from whence it came but it's kewl -- kinda "hyperactive-ish".

Here's the link ...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Bmwfilms : Home

I love to find new archives of films to watch. Here is a series of shorts.

Moment Factory

A whole lot of "moments" on video. Psychedelic!

Bible Humor

This is so funny I almost wet. It is slightly crass, and you gotta have a little sense of humor. You'll need Windows Media Player

Baby Got Book


Is pride ever really OK? I wonder.

I read this statement at Wall Watchers regarding a certain organization: "If it is theologically justifiable for a donor to ever feel proud for the type of organization that they give to, this is it." Can it ever be theologically justifiable?

I just finished coordinating a large scale evangelistic event in my community, with dozens of churches, several hundred volunteers and budget of $125k. Most events like this generate about 10% from churches and the rest of the business community. In our case we generated 42% from churches. That's an unheard of number. Is it OK for us to feel proud of that? I wonder.

Now certainly, on one level it is not. The only reason that this parachurch organization that our community partnered with to do this event, or any parachurch organization for that matter, even exists is because of the failure of the church. So, "No." we shouldn't really feel proud in that respect.

What about the unity of the church? There was a lot of love going on across denominational lines. Many pastors and church members made new friends in other churches. They were genuinely excited about working together. The unity we had here in the church community was truly at a magnificent level. Should we feel proud about that?

On the one hand we accomplished something very extraordinary, but on the other had the extraordinary is supposed to be the norm. But its not. Should we, could we feel proud about this? I wonder.

John Shelby Spong en route to Hell

David Virture posts this news story: VirtueOnline-News: NEW JERSEY: Bishop Spong steps up fight against evangelism.

John Spong is going to hell. Unequivocally. What standard do you want to judge him by? Certainly by evangelical standards he is. He rejects the divinity and salvific work of Christ. But even by common person standards of goodness I think he fails. He endlessly attacks his "enemies" and is constantly fighting. When will Spong love his enemies like Jerry Falwell or James Dobson? Jesus had something to say about that. He's been a destructive force within the church, sending his own diocese in spiral downward. Did he make disciples as Jesus suggested? Where do you see him love, other than homosexuals? He's filled with as much hatred as he accuses conservatives of having.

He is certainly a hypocrite to an extraordinary degree. He took vows to be a priest and bishop which he has flagrantly violated.

I very rarely say anyone is going to hell. Really, what do I know? Even as an evangelical I want to give people the benefit of the doubt -- perhaps say they haven't heard the gospel or heard a misrepresentation of it, maybe they'll convert on their deathbed. Not Spong. I think he is undeniably destined to perish in eternity unless there is a change of heart somewhere, and I don't think that change is coming.

On a related topic ...

Do you know are really the biggest hypocrites of all? The Episcopal House of Bishops. If you an anglo-catholic or evangelical bishop and not actively working to censor Spong or bring him up charges of heresy and abandoning the faith once delivered, you are delinquent! Even if you are a moderate or liberal bishop, clearly you can see that he has stepped outside of Anglicanism and ought to be politely asked to move on. Make your own religion John! Oh wait, I guess you did. It's called the Episcopal Church.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute

I was in Utica, NY yesterday, the city of my birth and first 12 years of my life. While I was there I stopped in on The Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute. I was with a friend wanted to show me some famous paintings by Thomas Cole. I don't frequent art museums, I really do enjoy myself whenever I am in one and wish I did it more often.

My favorite artist remains William Bouguereau. Below is some of the marvelous eye-candy he has created. L'admiration (The Admiration) is a celebration of love. The women are enthralled with the irresistible Cupid. Original sketches by the artist showed that he sketched it several times with one showing the woman clipping the Cupid's wings to attempt to hinder him doing his work, and another with Cupid on a pedestal (Wissman, Fronia E. Bouguereau. Pomegranate Books: San Francisco. 1996.)

L'admiration. 1897. By William Bouguereau.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

JA Gamache a delight.

Following up a post from yesterday, I've got to hear JA speak and gotten to know him personally. What a delightful person! JA is Roman Catholic and a person of deep faith. He approaches his Toastmaster speeches as if they were sermons, even though he doesn't overtly refer to God in them.

He told an amazing true story about his life. He is also a DJ and got called to a psychiatric institution to play music for a dance. It wasn't until he was inside that he found out it was a psychiatric prison. Many prisoners in this place were extraordinary violent and pled insanity.

As he walked with the guard through the prison to the gym, the guard mentioned that they move prisoners in groups of 15 through the halls and plan it so that the groups never pass each other. This was a precautionary measure to prevent fighting and violence. JA asked how many would be in the gym. The guard said, "150"!

In the gym he set up his equipment and the guard placed orange construction cones around him as "protective" boundaries. The cones were to keep the 150 violent, insane prisoners away from the DJ. Talk about crazy.

JA was there to teach them to line dance and it wasn't working. He decided to venture out beyond the cones and engage them. As he moved away from his equipment, he saw them smirk. He quickly changed his mind and went back behind the cones.

JA told this story during his speech yesterday and then said these powerful words, "I was too afraid to leave an illusion of security. ... I was the only free person there glad to be in a prison" (made of cones). Those words haunted me all day.

My security can only ever be in Jesus Christ. Nothing else. But how often am I deceived by an illusion, sometimes self-deceived by: the illusion, or false belief, that I provide for me and my family, or the illusion that I need a certain income to maintain a certain lifestyle to be happy, or the illusion that by cutting myself off from certain people emotionally that I am protecting myself, or the illusion that certain sins aren't dangerous, or the illusion that I don't need others or don't need the church, or the illusion that my wisdom is enough for my life and my family's ... the illusion list could go on and on.

Sometimes what we consider a shelter is really a prison. Sometimes we protect ourselves by not risking, and our failure to risk is more dangerous than the risk itself.

We are meant to live free in Jesus Christ -- to walk out beyond the cones. What are your "illusions of security" that you need leave behind?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

VirtueOnline-News - As Eye See It - "Ain't never seen a truck wreck like this before" - Rev. Clay Knapp

This sermon is in light of the CT Bishop who forced his way into a church this week while the rector was on sabbatical, changed the locks, hacked into the computer and installed a new priest.

I thought this was funny little sermon intro ...


This has been a week not to be believed: something I have never seen before or want to see ever again. It reminds me of the story of the instructor at a tractor-trailer driving school. 'Here's the scenario,' the instructor announced to his class of novice truck drivers. 'You're in an 18-wheeler with a heavy load, barreling down a mountainous two-lane highway. Ed, your co-driver, is asleep. There are six trucks behind you, and as you come over the top of a hill, they pull out beside you to pass. Suddenly, you see several trucks coming in the opposite direction, pulling into your lane to pass. What do you do?' 'That's simple,' a student called out. 'I'd wake up Ed.' 'Why would you do that?' asked the instructor. 'Because,' replied the student, 'Ed ain't never seen a truck wreck like this before!'"

JA Gamache.com: Thank You Toastmasters

Today I get to hear JA Gamache speak at a Rotary Luncheon. JA is preparing for the World Championship of Public Speaking. Last month he won his regional contest and now is one of the top seven speakers in the world. He's giving his message several places in Watertown and getting some feedback to prepare for the Championship. I'm offering him some evaluation.

I met JA last night and spoke with him this morning. He's from Montreal. I love Canadian pronunciations. This morning he said the word, "ego", which we say "ee - go". He said, "egg - oh". Yesterday my neighbor said, "produce", which we say, "pro - duce" but he says, "prah - duce" -- as in, go to the doctors office and say "ah". Very funny eh?

My neighbor, John, is the local Toastmasters leader. He's originally from Toronto. He was competing also but I think he is only one of the top 13,000 speakers in the world. It's a long road to the top.

John tells me that I give excellent evaluations and that I am a very good speaker. He came and heard me at ¡alive@5! a couple of times and gave me a lot of nice compliments on my sermon.

Wouldn't it be fun to have a pastor's version of Toastmasters and see who the best preacher is? We would organize local preaching clubs and hold contests, and then have statewide and regionwide contests.

I'd put my money on The Revinator, Pastor Stacey Littlefield, even if his blog does suck. I'm ashamed to admit that I skipped chapel a lot in seminary, but never when Stacey was preaching. Best preacher I've heard - hands down.

John & JA stopped by the church this morning to borrow my lavalliere mic for the luncheon. The church is old and beautiful so they wanted to go on a little tour. JA wanted to know about my public speaking training. He mentioned his background is Roman Catholic and he thinks they don't get enough training in public speaking and aren't very good. I concur.

HOWEVER .... let me jump to the defense of our Roman Catholic priest friends. These guys work their ass off! I think I would not be very good either if I had 2-3 weddings, 3+ funerals and 5 weekend masses to preach at EACH WEEK, with possibly weekday masses on top of that! Your local Catholic priest preaches more in a week than most of us do in a month! Give 'em a break.

I'll give a report later on JA.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

VirtueOnline News

VirtueOnline-News: Bishop's canon calls for the excommunication of prominent layman

Now typically I defend my Bishop -- see my blog entry dated Wed., June 22. He generally reasonable, caring and a very likeable person. I consider him my friend. But this article has me worried about him. I had heard about this story from another priest. I'll have a tough time defending him on this one.

I know he's under a lot of stress right now and I wonder if that is contributing to this strange behavior. He has a vision for every parish being a mission outpost and has hired staff for his office accordingly. Because of a major budget shortfall, he'll instead have to cut some of the staff he just hired.

We've also had a priest in our diocese misuse church finances and falsely accuse someone else of wrongdoing. Then within the same parish there is an accusation of misconduct of a priest that happened 30 years ago but has come to light now.

If that wasn't enough, the diocese is dying. It seems that the healthiest churches are evangelical and they're mad at him and don't want anything to do with him. Some have stopped sending funds. There are about 100 churches but the majority can't afford a priest and are dying. (See David Virtue's article.)

It's just not a good time to be an Episcopal Bishop.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Major League Baseball : Events : 2005 All-Star Game

I'm letting the kids stay up late tonight to watch the All Star game. It will be a family event in our house. I let them stay up late to watch the World Series and they fell asleep in the 8th inning. They are very excited because it likely means they can stay up to midnight, which is a big deal when you are 9, 7 and 4. I'm an NL fan and will be rooting for them tonight. I used to keep score of the All Star games when I was kid but it gets messy with all the substitutions. Maybe I'll do it some tonight to teach the kids.

MARITAL AIDS V: Welcome to The Marriage Bed

The Marriage Bed updated their site yesterday and it really looks great. Important note: right in the middle of their first page there is a link to the Interactive Message Forums. When I read the posts and replies, it had a real feel of community and support. If you have an honest question about sexuality and don't know where to ask it, I'll be you can get a response there.

I like this color red. I use it whenever I talk about Marital Aids. It's kind of a sultry color ... a little shaggadellic ... kind of like the content of The Marriage Bed site.

In all seriousness, if you are married or planning to get married, I hope you will browse The Marriage Bed. It can be a great encouragement to your marriage. Hope you get lucky tonight! Be a Generous Husband and Generous Wife.

MARITAL AIDS VI: Welcome to Married for Life

Married for Life is another Marital Aid I recently stumbled across. It's part of Dave Ramsey's ministry.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Watertown Daily Times | Welcome

Just in case you were interested to the news of the North Country, here is The Watertown Daily Times.

NNYblogs.com :: Newzjunky.com

I found this yesterday at Newzjunky: a collection of blogs from people in Northern NY.

Newzjunky rocks! Every community should have an online news source like this. Best thing is it's free. Now I have some good friends -- people I love and admire -- who work at the Watertown Daily Times. I would never in a million years want to malign them or the fine establishment where they are employed. But people, get a clue: Newzjunky = free. WDT ≠ free. Hmmmm. Where do people go for on-line news in the North Country? Free is good.

If you goto thiss nnyblogs site you visit the audioblog of my friend Tim LaBouf, pastor of First Baptist Church and a City of Watertown Councilman. It's an American Baptist Church. Tim's church has mushroomed from about 30 to well over 100 in a few short months under his leadership. God bless him.

Covenant Blogs

Now here's a kewl thing ... Covenanters who blog can all post on one page. It's kind of a managed anarchy. Very nice. I think I'll link this in the side column where such infamouse bloggers such as Xorpus and The Revinator tease us with a blog and very little content.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Today's Lectionary Texts

I really dislike predestinarian Reformed theology. But today's lectionary gospel lesson demonstrates God's sovereignty and is hard to argue. Here's the text from Matthew 11:25-30:
Matthew 11:25-30
25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
God has "hidden these things" from some and them "revealed them" to others for his "good pleasure." Certainly that appears unfair, it is not. Here is what one commentator said:
"Yet we must not think that God’s concealing and revealing are symmetrical activities arbitrarily exercised toward neutral human beings who are both innocent and helpless in the face of the divine decree. God is dealing with a race of sinners (cf. 1:21; 7:11) whom he owes nothing. Thus to conceal “these things” is not an act of injustice but of judgment . . ." (D.A. Carson. Expositors Bible Commentary, ed. by Frank Gaebelein)

Saturday, July 02, 2005


I love this camera ... simple to use ... takes great pictures ... easy connection to my computer with no extra software necessary ... excellent view finder / screen ... takes great pictures in the dark or very low light. Can't say enough good things about it.

Public Folder

Go to my Public Folder to watch some of my new movie clips -- mostly stuff only my parents would be interested in but you can see Jaci Velasquez and Michael Tait. You'll need QuickTime.

I took most of these clips with my digital camera, which is a Konica-Minolta Dimage Z2, 4.0 megapixels, 10x optical zoom, 4x digital zoom. It takes really great pictures, which you can see elsewhere on my site but lately I've enjoyed taking short movie clips.

BTW, it's worth it to upgrade to QuickTime Pro. The Export feature allow you to save you movie to a myriad of different sizes and qualities. Even better the Share feature will publish your movie in a compressed format directly to your .Mac site or give you a choice of 3 different sizes for email and open an email message for you with the movie as an attachment.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Rummage Sale find!

I got the Rummage Sale find of the summer: A Coleman stove with attachments for propane or Coleman fuel. Ready for this? $2.00!!! Let's go camping!