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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Theology of Alcohol

I have posted an mp3 from the Mars Hills Church in Seattle about a theology of alcohol. It's funny and very good. I always do this when I put up my wine recommendations and then realize I'm sending several of my friends into wild hysteria and despair about my soul.

I have completely lost my taste for beer except for Guinness. Could really care less if I had another beer. I think it's my Nazarene pastor's fault. He's probably been praying for me and ruining the joy of a cold one. I'm going to have to teach him how to cuss.

Guinness is more of a nectar from heaven anyway and not really beer and that's why his prayers have no impact on that. I think God served Guinness with manna when the Israelites were in the wilderness. Guinness should have it's own space in the food pyramid. It's BRILLIANT!

Don Sebastiani & Sons - The Family Division : The Next Generation In Wine

Today's selection is the Pepperwood Grove 2002 Chardonnay. Light color, extremely smooth ... very smooth, smelled a little odd at first but the taste is great ... almost a little spicey. Very smooth. Great! $7.99 + tax.

Also bought a Galllo White Zinf for a whopping $4.29.

I don't think I told you about the Meadow Mist from "Chateau Lafayette Reneau - Award Winning Wines, Charming Winery Estate & Inn, Near Beautiful Seneca Lake in New York". I have 15 empty wine bottles that decorate my kitchen. Meadow Mist is one of two that I didn't/couldn't finish whole bottle. Just didn't work for me at all.

On the other hand ... I don't think you can go wrong with a Francis Ford Copolla wine. I've had 3 different kinds, mostly recently a 2003 Gold Label Chardonnay from the Diamond Collection. Loved it.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Bobo's World: The never-ending chronicle of church-related crime

WARNING! Not for the faint of heart! This blog chronicles the offenses of numerous clergy, church staff, church volunteers, etc., and seemingly the vast majority of which are sexual in nature.

It truly is despicable to see. Not despicable that this blog is despicable but the acts that are listed there.

I wonder if a study of this page itself and the sources that feed it reveal any certain trends about certain kinds of churches, clergy, etc.

You would think that with all the publicity given to abuse scandals, and that certain insurance agencies are getting to the point of not providing insurance to churches that don't do preventioin training, that you would see an end in sight of this evil. I have a hunch that internet porn is just racheting up the number of offenders in society as a whole.

And then you hear about wacko stuff like J. Lee Grady's article in Charisma magazine, "It's Getting Really Weird Out There".

It's true, there really are so many very faithful ministers out there — even within the Roman Catholic traditiion despite what the media says. So many just love God and his people. But when you read articles like Grady's and see lists like Bobo's World it is disheartening.

At a bare minimum it can serve as a reminder to never stop being vigilant in our protection of children in our churches. Never say, "That couldn't happen in our church." As soon as you begin believing that you put your church at risk.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

SeedStories - adventures in church planting

A global church planting community. I love church planting. In fact, I think we should close a lot of the dying established churches and take their resources to plant new ones. I think church turnaround is kind of like Bigfoot or Nessie the Loch Ness Monster — very rare sightings.

Finding faith again… "How to recover your faith once you've lost it."

Keith Drury is an a thought provoking Christian author and educator at Indiana Wesleyan University. I liked this article.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

On The Go Ministries - Keith Cook Evangelistic Association

I love free stuff. This page is full of mp3's and video clips from On The Go Ministries

Proclamation Evangelism Network Home Page

Do you know much about TheProclamation Evangelism Network? It is a network of evangelists that track the progress of proclamation evangelism events all over the US. They desire to saturate every community with a public preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you go to the Strategy page, open the PDF and go to page 14. See the map of New England with stars? Look at New York State and see the star that is the farthest north? That's my star. That was the North Country Encounter with Steve Wingfield that took place in Watertown, NY in June 2005. I had the privilege of serving with some awesome people to make that happen.

The star just below mine is the Luis Palau festival that was in Syracuse in the summer of 2002. I am hoping to see a few more stars in NYS added in the near future. As a matter of fact, I dream being a catalyst to seeing those stars plastered all over NYS.

Two of my esteemed friends, who are Evangelical Covenant ministers, sit on the Exec Committee, Lon Allison & Dallas Anderson, as does my friend Steve Wingfield.

Sacred Space - the prayer site run by the Irish Jesuits

Here is a good place to begin or end your day.

group hug // random confessions

Too embarassed to confess to your priest? Confess to the whole world. And then read all the other confessions, which will put your confession into perspective.

Welcome to Wondir. Please ask a question.

Wondir is like a cross between a search engine, message board and real time communiation. Essentially you can ask a question and get a live response back. I'm about to try it out. I'll give a report later.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

History of the Naked Protest

Church history at it's weirdest.

Yes, Piling on Pat Robertson

Virginia Beach, VA has repeatedly incurred God's wrath because of it's open arms to Pat Robertson. If only they would expel the sinner in their midst, God would heal their land and another hurricane would never visit them again. But as it stands right now, they are time bomb waiting for another 'natural' disaster to visit them. Whoa to Virginia Beach!

They love Jesus (and cute boys)

This is an article about 'Christian chick lit' aka 'Christian literature for young ladies'. I just wonder what 'Christian boy lit' would be about. Is there secular boy lit that could be Christianized?

Christian boy lit. This is where the young hero comes from a broken difficult home life but eventually becomes a Christian, then a missionary. On the mission field with an indigenous peoples, deep in the jungle, he is captured and almost killed until he leads the shaman to Christ, who leads the whole village to Christ, which leads to the tribal chief to give his beautiful daughter to the young man, whom he had secretly been eyeing for months. The village then becomes very sick with a plague and the young man uses his college biology degree to find a cure. All are saved. On top of that, he becomes star of the tribal soccer team. Christian boy lit. Best seller. Can't wait. (end sarcasm here)

Premarital relations & Cohabitating

There is a plethora of Christian books, articles, etc. about the evils of premarital sex and cohabitating. This article draws similar conclusions but gives not hint of any religious bias, only pointing to physiological and sociological reasoning.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Upcoming Events in Watertown

C.C.'s Cafe
C.C.'s Cafe is a Christian coffeehouse at The Watertown Urban Mission, 247 Factory St., hosted by the Christian Care Center
• Friday, November 18th @ 7:00 pm: Brothers of One
• Friday, December 16th @ 7:00 pm: Don Briant and Patty Giles

Grinders Coffee & Bakery
Grinders is a great coffeeshop run by the fabulous Michelle Tulley. I highly recommend a the New Orleans Dark Roast. The espresso and baked goods are great too. She sells ground and whole bean coffee and a growing assortment of coffee paraphenalia such as a French Press, stove top espresso maker, stove top bean roaster, etc.
• Sunday, December 11th, 10 am - 2 pm: Coffee Tasting

Leadership Blog: Out of Ur: Expletive Undeleted: Dropping the F-bomb in Church

Here is a fabulous discussion about using expletives in church on Christmas eve. I suggested that God has said worse in the Scripture as in Ezekial 23, specifically vs.20-21:

Ezekial 23:20 "There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses. 21 So you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when in Egypt your bosom was caressed and your young breasts fondled."

Electronic Publishing - Lulu.com makes hardcover book publishing affordable

I have begun working on my first book. It is going to be a short hymnal for playing an Appalachian Lap Dulcimer. And I am going to self publish through Electronic Publishing - Lulu.com.

Here's the story. When I was living in Ohio, I took a community education course to make an Appalachian Lap Dulcimer. One great thing about living in the Cleveland area are the Metroparks — gorgeous parks that ring the whole city and offer many community education classes and events for adults and kids.

The 3 string dulcimer I made was from a kit where the body is made from a high grade corrugated cardboard and the fret board is made from wood. I had to fold the box, glue it together and glue the fret board onto the body. There were a couple nails hammered into the board for the strings to be attached and gears for tuning keys. Voila! Dulcimer! Rev. Jerry Lange says it's made out of a cereal box.

It came with a few mini-booklets with some basic songs like Happy Birthday, Amazing Grace, some Christmas carols and a bunch of folk music. All of the songs come with numbers over the top of the words so you know which fret to play. One of the first songs I mastered was Away In A Manger, which would look like this:

7 7 6 5 5 4 4 3 2 2 1
A-way in a manger, no crib for a bed.

This felt so good. I was never a musician before. Never was in chorus, didn't take piano, never sung in the choir, never took instrument lessons, never took music lessons. So when I learned to play this dulcimer I was ecstatic. I eventually figured out which notes on which lines of the score corresponded with certain frets on the dulcimer.

And so it would happen, when I was in church on Sunday we would sing a hymn, and I would think, "I can play that." After church was over I would rush home and pluck it out and figure out all the numbers. Evenutally I figured out about 2 dozen songs and now I will publish my own dulcimer hymnal.

The Land of the Ultra Rev will be the official announcement site for sales, so you can be assured dear readers you will be the first to know. I'm sure you can't wait to get one.

Black Friday 2005 @ GottaDeal.com - The Official and Original Black Friday Deals Site

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? Black Friday is 10 days away and this is the site to know about all the good deals. Get those credit cards ready.

Monday, November 14, 2005

A New Rant

Well, my blog has been real quiet lately. Been very, very busy for a mildly employed person. I have spent every last waking minute of any remotely nice day painting my house. I'm about 99% done and it looks awesome. If you go to Home Depot, the color is Awning Red. All I have left is some trim work and a couple of spots to touch up. And I need to put up new gutters.

Beyond that, I was traveling in the burgeoning city of Harrisonburg, VA. And my dad had a serious myocardial infarction. He's recovering fine but it will require some lifestyle adjustments.

A New Rant ...
I really despise writers and people in general that rip megachurches. Especially people who have never attended one for any length of time. Morons. I have heard just a little bit too much of this 'cacca de vacca' lately.

I get even more annoyed when the lump all megachurches into the same category. Joel Osteen, Rob Bell, Rick Warren, TD Jakes, Creflo Dollar, Bob Russell and Bill Hybels are not clones. Neither are their ministries.

They are not all dumbing down the gospel. They are not all producing immature disciples. They are not all just entertainment driven with no substance. Some of those guys are working their asses off to make a huge difference for the kingdom of God. They dream dreams of erradicating poverty. They long for a zealous church full of missionaries. They hope to literally change the culture of a city for God. Some are on TV not just for the ego but they are honestly hoping that someone is watching and becoming a Christian that day. Some recognize that there are boatloads of people sitting home and not setting a foot in church, and these mega-pastors spend thousands, if not millions of dollars hoping to reach just one.

I repeatedly hear about megachurches "dumbing down" the gospel. I attended Willowcreek for over a year. Let's get something clear: Bill Hybels and Lee Strobel (when he was there), were not watering down the gospel. Trust me. I know firsthand.

Do you know ANYONE who has dumbed down the Gospel? Have you dumbed down the Gospel? And if anyone is dumbing down the Gospel, honestly, do megachurches really hold the market on it?

I'm sure that some have gone soft on sin and preach psychobabble sermons instead of using the Scriptures. Some do have huge egos. But to make broad sweeping generalizations about them all having the same faults is unfair and just wrong.

In the words of Golic & Greenie, you who must criticize megachurches without any first hand knowledge, "Just shut-up!"

Friday, November 04, 2005

VirtueOnline: - ENGLAND: Enjoy good sex on a Sunday, Church course recommends

Life Balance is a new course from the Church of England and is recommending Christian married couples have sex on the Sabbath. Now here is my kind of church. What a great idea!

One of the first weeks I attended our current church home, the pastor made a comment in his sermon recommending that married couples get busy a couple of times a week. And immediatley I thought, "You are now the hero of every man in here. God bless you my friend." No doubt many a man went home from church that day, and in their best Barry White voice said, "Let's go babe. The pastor said we should ... at least twice a week."

Peaking at #1 on the charts in September of 1974 was
Barry White's Can't Get Enough of Your Love Babe.

Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe

I’ve heard people say that
Too much of anything is not good for you, baby
But I don’t know about that
As many times as we’ve loved
We’ve shared love and made love
It doesn’t seem to me like it’s enough
There’s just not enough, baby
There’s just not enough
Oh, oh, baby

My darling, I
Can’t get enough of your love, babe
Girl, I don’t know, I don’t know why
I can’t get enough of your love, babe

Oh, some things I can’t get used to
No matter how I try
It’s like the more you give, the more I want
And baby, that’s no lie, oh, no, babe

Tell me, what can I say, what am I gonna do
How should I feel when everything is you
What kind of love is this that you’re givin’ me
Is it in your kiss or just because you’re sweet

Girl, all I know
Is every time you’re here
I feel the change
Somethin’ moves
I scream your name
Look what you got me doin’

Darling, I
Can’t get enough of your love, babe
Girl, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know why
I can’t get enough of your love, babe, oh, no, babe

Girl, if I can only make you see
And make you understand
Girl, your love for me is all I need
And more than I can stand, oh, well, babe

How can I explain all the things I feel
You’ve given me so much, girl, you’re so unreal
Still I keep loving you more and more each time
Girl, what am I gonna do because you’re blowin’ my mind

I get the same old feelin’
Every time you’re here
I feel the change
Somethin’ moves
I scream your name
Look what you got me doin’

Darling, I
Can’t get enough of your love, babe
Girl, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know why
I can’t get enough of your love, babe

Oh, my darling, I
Can’t get enough of your love, babe, oh, babe
Girl, I don’t know, I don’t know why
I can’t get enough of your love, babe

Darling, I
Can’t get enough of your love, babe

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Monday Morning Insight Weblog: Why Young Pastors Leave the Ministry from Naked Religion

My esteemed colleague BJ B is making the big time with his blog Naked Religion. Monday Morning Insight picked up one of his recent posts and I was blown away by the response. He had 20-30 hits on his blog that day but the number of responses to it on the MMI site is staggering.

I remember several years ago, H.B. London from Focus on the Family came to speak at a Great Lakes Conference pastor's retreat. At that time he suggested that 50% of ministers were leaving ministry within 5 years of being ordained. They were stressed out, burned out, disillusioned, frustrated beyond understanding, angry, hurt, abused, lost, under trained and bored.

I've been through some of that and it is unfathomably painful. But I am really glad to have served at Trinity Church most recently. There were some people there who offered a lot of unconditional love that was really healing to me. Things weren't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I encountered some grace bearing people there who treasured the good in me and tolerated some of the bad. I'm thankful I didn't quit after 5 years.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Google: Failure

I'm sure that you've all tried this before and I'm a little behind the times. But today someone forwarded me this:

1- Go to www.google.com
2- Type in "Failure", without the quotes
3- Instead of hitting "Search" hit "I'm Feeling Lucky"
4- See what comes up!
5- Tell your friends before the people at Google fix it

It was almost predictable, but I giggled anyways.