17 days of silence

I make a habit of only posting when something grips me. Literally, if the voice in my head says, "I've got to blog this!" it gets posted.

The over the last seventeen days that voice has been screaming. Yet, no blogs. I've tried to store some of these thoughts, but I doubt they will resurface.
Here's a quick list of what should have blossomed into posts:

8/16: I'm going on a cruise.

8/17 morning: The Willifords sang in the 8:15 and 10:30 traditional services. They say they were embracing one another so they didn't fall over. I know it's because they love one another.
8/17 noon: My interns, Adrienne and Scott, had thier last day. Youth ministry internships are about much more than helping out the youth guy.

8/17 evening: My family and I had dinner with my sister and brother-in-law. I love them both dearly. They are amazing people. I'm pretty much a bad brother. We had great Indian food.

8/18: Boarded our cruise. Is it wrong to to want to sleep and not find Isaac and Capt. Stubbing?

8/19: Read Robert B. Parker's "School Days". I love Spenser novels. I hate Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall novels. I refuse to even link to them.

8/19 dinner: Doug's preoccupation with knives has gone too far.

8/20: Arrived in Progresso, Mexico. Rode ATVs on a sisal plantation. American and Mexican standards of industrial safety are different (to be diplomatic).

8/20: Katie shopped with grandparents. I think he's not really a mariachi.
8/21: Arrived in Cozumel. Swam with a dolphin named Ashin. Dolphins are easier to train than humans.

8/22: Read "Hundred-Dollar Baby" by Robert B. Parker. Realized Robert Urich played Spenser in the first tv adaptations of Spenser, Spenser: for hire, and Captain Jim Kennedy on Love Boat: the Next Wave (don't waste you time googling it).

8/22 dinner: Baked Alaska should not me made with neapolitan. I'm not a fan of neapolitan ice cream. Read what Todd and Artie think about neapolitan.
8/22 after dinner: Pictures with the family and Karen. I love this woman.
8/23: Cruises are, for the money, an amazing trip. As I ate, I kept thinking of Cory's vacation blogs. There would have been no way to blog every great meal I had. But there is another side of cruising that disturbed me. First, on a cruise you don't really see a place. You see the characterization of a place and it's people. I'm pretty sure they just see a characterization of visitors also. Although, I can justify how our tourist dollars support the people and the ports of call, it's not just. Our cruise had 100,000 lbs of refuse food at the end of the cruise. Our need to get away and be entertained fuels whole economies. I'm thinking about my next cruise being with Mercy Ships.

8/24: I declare the word "cool" dead in my vocabulary.

8/25: Should have posted ten things I should do before leaving for vacation so I'm not slammed when I get back. School starts. Is she really starting high school?

8/26: I appreciate a well organized meeting. Running one must be harder than I think it should be.

8/27: Wakey Wakey. I love Wakey Wakey. I love youth. I love Chick-fil-A. I love prayer. Wakey Wakey is the perfect combination.

8/28: I hate boxes now. My house is livable but we have no less that 1,652 left to unpack or garage sale.

8/29: Football. Panthers love their football. Panthers beat Robert E. Lee. Katie marched in her first game.

8/30: Jeff Johnson in concert at the church. We are activated as an emergency shelter.

8/31: Todd's last day at the church. I'll miss him. I am proud of him and for him.

9/1: Worked a the shelter. Thanks Ashley, Luiza, Cole and Hunter! Took a great, blog worthy nap.

9/2: Gustav watered my lawn. I drafted the world's crappiest fantasy football team ever. Adrienne started as children's guru and barista to God. I'm excited for her and the church. She'll be amazing (she pretty much already is amazing).

9/3: I'm never amazed at the need for people to be listened to and heard. I'm constantly amazed people's inability to listen.

Anyone know of a worship leader feeling called to a new ministry? I've got one.


"The Faith of Barack Obama"

Stephen Mansfield has written, “The Faith of Barack Obama” with a broad brush. Not only in regards to Obama’s faith, but also the changing political landscape. The picture Mansfield paints: no matter what the outcome of the election Obama will continue to shape politics for some time to come.
Mansfield carries the reader through the formational forces in Obama’s life, connecting the influences and themes that have shaped Obama’s “own deep personal faith”. Personalities and stories that are readily recognized in Obama’s rhetoric are revisited in a softer light, as to understand their influence rather than draw criticism.
Mansfield adeptly handles Obama’s impact. He picks up his broad bush and applies it to many; Rev. Jeremiah Wright, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, Howard Dean and others each time adding to the mosaic.
The strength of “The Faith of Barack Obama” is in Mansfield’s perceptive eye. Mansfield lays Obama’s faith side by side along the cultural and political trends of the day. Each chapter encourages the reader to look outside the talking points and spin and appreciate the faith of a man.
Art serves to open discussion, provide commentary and often acts as a catalyst. Art does not offer the whole picture. In this way, Mansfield paints a portrait of Obama.
Mansfield taps into our need for genuineness and authenticity in the way he frames the book by offering us the types of stories of faith that we crave to hear from our leaders. Mansfield illustrates time and again the importance of faith in private and public life.
Taking a step back looking at the canvas Mansfield paints, it is less a portrait of Obama and more a real life scene.

If you have interest in reading more, I encourage you to pick up a copy f the book or e-mail me for the first two chapters. Publisher, Thomas Nelson, is generously allowing me to share the first two chapters electronically.


Cookie Monster Batman video

Sorry, no actual video of Cookie Monster and Batman here. But wouldn't that be great!
I'm still waiting for the soul who has the time and demented mind to take clips from the Dark Knight and overdub them with the voice of Cookie Monster.
There's been lots of talk in the blogosphere about the "Cookie Monster" voice Bale dons for the movie. Why not go all the way?
Maybe some footage of Batman driving around singing "C is for cookie". Use Cookie Monster appearances on Martha Stewart or NPR to create something truly entertaining. This idea is ripe and ready to be picked!
Who's ready to take the challenge?


Additional thoughts on John...

I was blessed with the opportunity to "bring the Word" Sunday. I love that phrase "bring the Word". It makes me want to say, "Can I get a what-what? Holla."
I had a few more thoughts to get out of my head about John the Baptist. I dumped them here.


Free Music...

I loved Phil Wickham's "Cannons".

You can get some Phil for free (legally).

Phil's giving away a live recording on his blog.

Check it out. Pass it along.


An open letter to Steve Jobs...

Mr. Jobs:

You've done some amazing things.
You computerized my home with the Apple IIc.
You got me through college with my Macintosh SE (that works to this day).

After college I found myself in a PC world. I accepted the PC given to me by the not-for-profits and religious institutions for which I worked.

Now, I own an iPhone. I did not stand in line. I did not track my direct fulfillment package daily. I did believe that with the iPhone 3G, I could have form and function.

I'm well pleased with the form. Apple as always given me something that appealed to my sense of design and simplicity.

Mr. Jobs, respectfully, the function of the phone has me confused. I'm willing to concede that Apple isn't going to emulate Windows Mobile. I accept that I need to adjust to the new phone.
My confusion is fostered by the expectations you have set from the beginning. If Apple can't do it better, it doesn't do it. When Apple does do it, it will be revolutionized. You have set these expectations. When these expectations collide with the realities of how my iPhone functions, I am left confused.

Yesterday, I needed to find a name on my contact list. More accurately, I needed to match up a a known phone number with a unknown name on my contact list. But, I can't do this with my iPhone. I can scroll through names. I can search a name through the maps application. My iPhone will not assist me beyond that. When sending an e-mail or text, the iPhone gladly makes suggestions based on what I have entered.

Later in the day, I decided to send an e-mail out to one of my distribution lists. Confusion fell over me again. I can not send e-mail or texts to distribution lists. I panicked, I couldn't even remember everyone on the list.

Please understand, I like my new phone. I researched. I was certain I knew the major limitations. I knew I would encounter features or functions that I would not expect.

I ask just one thing. As you thoughtfully plan updates for the iPhone 3G, please remember me:
A guy who needs to know who prank called a young girl who does not deserve to receive vulgar texts
A guy that needs to keep parents and youth updated with texts and e-mail
A guy that would like to say that his iPhone is as amazing as his Apple IIc or the Macintosh SE.