Archive for May, 2008|Monthly archive page

In Uncategorized on May 30, 2008 at 3:02 am

additional thoughts concerning confession
starring: yet another providentially displaced pastor

for additional dispatches in tony’s emergent church road trip click here.


In Uncategorized on May 21, 2008 at 7:19 pm

Truth or Convenience
submitted by: slowfo

The American Church is not really interested in truth as much as they claim. In many respects, the truth is only sought out when it’s convenient and comfortable for everyone – making “The Church” just like everyone else in the world. It’s safe to talk about truth in Church……just don’t start itemizing everything, okay? Because you’ll have Betty confessing she told a fib. Conner saying that he speeds too much. But there’s always Cliff in the joint who confesses his sexual trysts with octogenarians and it just ruins it for everyone.

Although God sees sin as sin, people definitely don’t. But I think it’s truthful confession that could really make Church more of the life-changing journey it was meant to be. Confession. No holds barred confession of sin. At least the Catholic Church continues their confession booths with the priests. But what about Protestants? The best we seem to do is “Honestly……it’s hard for me to say this…..(voice cracking)…I really struggle with pride sometimes at work.” Whoa, that’s an earth-shattering revelation! Did one of your employees just hear that? Because “proud” is probably not what they would call you. It would probably be more like “self-centered, stingy, greedy, ego-maniac who just bought himself a $1.5 million house with cash while the rest of the faithful employees live on below-poverty wages.”

Those sinned against don’t have problems specifically calling out wrong-doing. It’s the perpetrators (which includes all of us) that don’t want to be held accountable by anyone. And for that matter, who does want their personal grossness aired for the public? But it’s a different thing if everyone is candidly sharing the very real sin they’ve done for the week.

Imagine, what would it be like if people came together and could admit that they need help? Together they sought God and the support of other strugglers. They fully confessed ALL of their sin as a matter of cleansing. Everyone was held accountable to take real steps of healing in their broken relationships. And every week they celebrated the growth they took together. Can you imagine how freeing the Church could become? (sigh)…..oh well, I don’t see the Church changing that anytime soon. I guess we’ll just leave that sort of healing to the 12-step groups, huh?

In Uncategorized on May 16, 2008 at 4:14 pm

ablevision goes hollywood

triangle, one of rectangle’s cousin organizations, has an excellent media production wing named ablevision. ablevision recently landed a huge interview with kevin james, late of my favorite sit-com the king of queens, and i thought i’d give them a little free publicity.

feel free to check out ablevision’s additional clips on youtube.

In Uncategorized on May 14, 2008 at 4:34 pm

mid-day time waster

i don’t know about you, but when i listen to political rhetoric i find the frequent snapshot stories the politicians make to ordinary people and their concerns quite patronizing. i don’t, as of yet, hate these stories quite as much as the personal interest pieces that have ruined the olympics, every major american sporting event and dancing with the stars, but i could do without them nonetheless.

for this reason, today’s mid-day time waster assignment is to put your own snapshot story into one of the leading presidential candidate’s mouths. feel free to ridicule the pol all you want, but let’s keep it relatively clean.*

“Speaking to a re-energized crowd in Huntington, West Virginia, Ms. Clinton spoke to her core constituency by sharing the following story. ‘As we celebrate this magnificent victory tonight and recommit ourselves to the goal of winning this nomination, I cannot help but think of Lilly Ann Miller who I met in Clarksburg last week. Lilly Ann is a single mother who served as an administrative assistant at West Virginia Coal Cooperative for twenty years until she was sidelined by type one diabetes and carpal tunnel syndrome. As Lilly Ann and I shared a funnel cake and a Diet Coke she told me that after all her years of hard work she is now uninsured and has no money to pay for the gastrointestinal bypass procedure that will help her lose weight and just might save her life. Under my opponent’s health care plan, hard-working, salt-of-the-earth, regular folk like Lilly Ann would not have access to the gastrointestinal procedure and might have to attempt to crack back into the college educated workforce in order to ensure the procedure that she so clearly deserves. If you love empowered women like Lilly Ann, like I do, and you are committed to ensuring that every American has the opportunity to access optional medical procedures, please visit my web site On that site you’ll have an opportunity not only to make a donation, but also to join other small-town, life-long Americans who are committed to electing the candidate who will be ready on day one!'”

* this is, after all, a family blog.

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2008 at 7:30 pm

for the record

i would be the it’s not that i fail to get anything done when i’m home with a sick preston. rather every time i’m home alone with him i find a way to get nothing done.

there must be a special place in hell for men like me who’ve made fun of stay-at-home moms over the years. i admit it, on a couple of occasions in the past i have been an ignorant, misogynistic bastard when discussing this issue. i am truly sorry and i humbly repent.

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2008 at 2:22 pm

buzz bissinger on blogs

i realize that i’m really late to this story – as well as pretty much every other story that has taken place over the past four weeks – but two weeks ago buzz bissinger, the author of the superb friday night lights, and will leitch, a dedicated cardinal fan and the editor-in-chief of deadspin one of the quirkiest, funniest and most popular sports sites on the net, squared off on costas now.

if you watch the clip* you’ll notice that bissinger prefaces the conversation by defaming leitch for defaming athletes and then proceeds to eviscerate, with costas‘ help, sports blogs for posting pictures of athletes making arses of themselves, providing a forum for commenters to ridicule espn hosts and refusing inside access to press boxes and clubhouses, which are, apparently, the only place that sports writers can ascertain “facts” about athletes and athletic events.**

i think this clip is fascinating not only because of bissinger’s ad hominem attacks as well as he and costas‘ apparent agreement to irrationally conflate blogs such as deadspin with more traditional sports reporting. i am also fascinated by both bissinger’s implicit claim that “objectivity” in sports journalism is both possible only with a press pass and buzz’s apparent ignorance of, or indifference towards, the fact that many mainstream sports journalists are now utilizing the blogosphere as well.

one more thing: in all of the analysis of this conflict that i’ve read thus far, no one has pointed out the fact that, for all his high minded arguments and significant writing ability, bissinger is not above writing a puff piece such as three nights in august which was commissioned by his subject and failed to contribute anything about la russa’s managerial “genius” that could not be gleaned from one chapter of george will’s men at work.

in sum, bissinger appears simply to be a profane, cranky old man bent on fighting irrelevance by shaking his fists at the inevitable. i should also add that although he comes off as a smart-ass know-it-all at times in this clip, i thought leitch fought his way out of this ambush quite well.

* which is not work safe, by any means. for the record: watching a clip in which bob costas utilizes the term “f*ck face,” while strangely rewarding, will almost certainly draw the ire of your boss.
** which, in my opinion, many of us, including myself, take waaay to seriously than we should.

In Uncategorized on May 10, 2008 at 8:48 pm

The Friendly Ghost and You: An Open Discussion Concerning the Holy Spirit

Slowfo: What if someone told you that there were 2.1 billion people in the world who had the literal ghost of Elvis Presley embedded in their body? Do you think you’d notice? And if you would notice, would it be obvious? Would they dance or sing better than most? Would they say “Thankyouverymuch” as all one word? Would they have a strong attraction to both drugs and doughnuts?

My point is that it doesn’t seem to me that people really notice very much that the actual Spirit of the living God of the universe is embedded in the bodies of 2.1 billion Christians around the world. Don’t you think Jesus-followers should stand-out a little more? Shouldn’t there be a more obvious distinction between someone who has God’s Spirit leading them and someone who doesn’t? Or does the Holy Ghost really just have a more laid back personality than the Father and Son? Or is this where the more charismatic influence comes into play? I have few answers but many questions on this.

Gentry: Scott, I have more questions than answers in this arena as well. The fact that we grew up in a church tradition that was terrified of the Pentecostal/Charismatic traditions doesn’t help matters much. For my part, I can’t lay all of the blame for my ignorance at the feet of either our forbears or hucksters such as Kenneth Copeland and Creflo Dollar. Since I worship with a number of Pentecostals I should have more of a perspective.

Anyway…I do think that the Holy Spirit should play a more significant role in the life of the Christian community and the individual believer. However, I suspect that far too often Christians, such as myself, have limited the influence of the Holy Spirit by seeking His presence in ecstatic experiences rather than in the midst of service. I know that for a number of years I expected to find the Holy Spirit in the midst of a rousing rendition of Better Is One Day during the True Devotions service at Soybean Bible. Where I didn’t expect to connect with him was in the midst of cleaning a toilet at L’Arche or pounding the pavement between employers whom I was hoping would give my clients an opportunity to work. I’ll give you three guesses where the Holy Spirit seemed to show up…

In the last year or so, I’ve felt the power and presence of the Holy Spirit at work when I have asked him to empower and guide me as I served the interests of others. More and more, I’m beginning to suspect that God is not as interested in worship wherein he is the sole object so much as he is interested in a form of worship in which he can interact and instrumentally empower us as we serve others. Don’t get me wrong, I still think there are good reasons to intentionally honor and praise God for His blessings. However, I think that our ecstatic experiences of God are more likely to occur in the midst of our attempts to actually be a blessing to the world. Maybe God is less interested in us swaying with our hands outstretched, singing and envisioning Him on the throne than he is interested in meeting us along the way as we pursue – with his absolutely essential help! – the mission of His Kingdom in this world.

I don’t have the time to root all of this in scripture at the moment, but I think that this connection between ecstatic experience/empowering connection with the Holy Spirit and mission is evident in the Acts narratives (see chapter 2, 6 and 9).

One more thing: if we’re to liken the Holy Spirit to Elvis, I suspect that his theme song is A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action.

In Uncategorized on May 8, 2008 at 12:51 am

on the next restorer

ht: junkyard

In Uncategorized on May 7, 2008 at 4:43 pm

personal metrics

over the past eight years i have:

received 2 speeding tickets and 1 citation* for the destruction** of public property
served in a mega-church, a home church and a non-denominational church
had six girlfriends,*** one wife, one son and two dogs****
moved five times*****
fallen out of infatuation with the dave matthews band
fallen into infatuation with the sopranos, the office, fnl****** and the wire
smoked.quit smoking.smoked.quit smoking.smoked.quit smoking.smoked*******
watched******** six different teams win the world series
had seven different jobs at four different companies
owned or partially owned four vehicles
become an npr supporting member
started a blog
alienated old friends and reconciled with old enemies
married three couples
buried, fortunately, no one*********
swam naked in the seminary pool
two conferences
embraced arminian, reformed and idontknowimemergent theologies
baptized********** one close friend
preached 35 pretty awful sermons and 2, 3 or 4 decent ones
been pressed into service as, gulp, a street minister
developed ongoing, life sustaining relationships with the disabled communities in toronto, canada and medford, massachusetts
sustained, and been sustained by, a long-term connection with my spiritual director
obtained*********** a masters in divinity degree from s.h.i.t.

* beat it
** via urine
*** one of whom was dumped in transit
**** one of whom succumbed to sodium pentathol the other to old age
***** and helped j & b move three and, soon to be, a fourth time
****** later retracted
******* see also: drinking
******** but, sadly, only one in person
********* not counting the two dogs
********** and thus, according to the southern baptist friend of my youth, secured my slot in heaven
*********** pending unforeseen objections by the faculty character committee or completely unprovable unfounded charges of plagarism

%d bloggers like this: