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Archive for June, 2008|Monthly archive page

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2008 at 2:04 am

overheard: slowfo shares this man’s insecurities

pipe down, beantown
by: mark bechtel

SARTRE WROTE that “hell is other people,” but if he had spent less time eating croissants in Paris cafes and more time downing wings in sports bars, he probably would have written that “hell is other fans.” All fans are insufferable to those who don’t have an affinity for the same team; being forced to listen to, say, a Kansas City Royals buff regale you with the exploits of rookie shortstop Mike Aviles is no better than listening to a grandmother go on and on about her little darling’s toilet training.

That said, there’s one group of “other fans” that stands out in its tediousness. Think Matt and Ben. Think Sweet Caroline. Think Sartre pronounced without the r’s.

Yes, we’re talking about Boston fans.

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In Uncategorized on June 23, 2008 at 4:31 pm

don’t you know it’s hard?

yesterday, after i invested an extra hour and a half in the game, basically ignoring my wife and child in the process, the cardinals were finally vanquished by a youkilis homer in the bottom of the thirteenth. when the cardinals survived inning opening doubles by the sox in the tenth, eleventh and twelfth, i feared that losing would be a tough blow. however, although i might have uttered an unholy word when youk’s ball cleared the centerfield fence, i was able to let go of the game surprisingly quickly and rest in the fact that we won the series and took the sox to the limit.

now that we are almost three full months in, i am ready to admit that this is one of my favorite cardinals teams of all-time. these boys aren’t as talented as the brewers, don’t have hear the budget of the, admittedly impressive, scrubs and their pitching staff couldn’t be worse off if they had spent the first quarter of the season in abu graib instead of extended spring training. yet, these boys have scrapped and clawed their way eleven games over .500 and they are currently sitting in the wildcard catbird seat. much like the yankees of the mid-90s, yet with far, far less talent, these boys have shown they know how to grind.it.out. i think tony la russa, dave duncan and all the rounders such as ludwick, schumaker and molina should all be issued wallets that read – _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ – if you know what i mean. these guys know the game is hard and they play it hard. if they were pilots, i’d say they were flying “ice cold with no mistakes.”

i, on the other hand, am a candy ass who utilizes doubt, cynicism and resignation as a screen to filter the hard realities of life and hold out hope that life is going to become easier. just this weekend i read an interview with tim keller at christianity today, in which he states that Christ followers should not water down the demands and complications of the gospel lest we fail to let people know that “to be a Christian is going be very, very hard.” for some reason, that odd little sentence attributed to keller really sliced me open.

to live a prayerful life is hard. to chose to serve instead of seeking to be served is hard. to believe that the poor are the rightful inheritors of the Kingdom is hard. to bind my desires for relevance and influence and lead them up to mount moriah is hard.

so today i’m trying to mind keller’s wisdom and follow in the footsteps of aaron miles and my beloved boys of summer. it’s far past time to set the user-friendly faith i’ve been trying to forge aside in order to follow in the hard footsteps of Jesus.

In Uncategorized on June 16, 2008 at 4:34 pm

straight truth from a southern baptist mouth

i ran across the following quote by jimmy draper, former president of the southern baptist convention, on the missio dei blog.

“We have reached a place that our spiritual forefathers feared. We need to admit that the problem with America today is not the government or the politicians. It is not Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama or John McCain. It’s not the senators or representatives. The problem is not the educational system or the economy. It’s not the liberals or the abortionists. The problem lies with us.

We conservatives claim to have the truth and we think we are rich in spiritual position and power, but yet we are cold, complacent, impotent and unattractive, and irrelevant to the world.

I hate to say it, but we are not plateaued. We’re not even just declining. We’re in a free fall. You know why we don’t win the lost? Because we don’t like them. They are different from us. We don’t care for them. We have no real love for them.

People just don’t touch eternity when they are around us. We’re too self-absorbed.”

i don’t know about you, but when i read this my mis-formed jaw about hit the floor. i expect this kind of commentary from the will campbells and agent bs of the world. not from a former sbc president.

ht: missio dei and steve k’s google recommendations.

In Uncategorized on June 15, 2008 at 4:50 pm

the ebb and flow of God’s grace
submitted by: slowfo


You’re probably not as heartless as I can be at times. But I’ve caught myself over the past several weeks not paying much attention to that earthquake over in China. Ya know, the one that killed at least 55,000 and left 80,000 missing. I haven’t read one full article about it. Honest. You’ve probably read all about it and already sent money over to help but I haven’t yet. Maybe it’s because it’s a natural disaster and there’s no one to blame…….or because it’s just so far away. It is, however, a horror that has left lives and families in tatters.


To put it in perspective, let’s imagine the worst – that all 80,000 missing are also dead. That would result in as many deaths as Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. Or let’s hit closer to home – that’s the equivalent of the Twin Towers bombing occurring in over 38 United States cities all at the same time. Read that again. Thirty-eight Twin Tower bombings. Where was God’s grace? Why didn’t He rescue these people? Or did He act and keep it from being hundreds of thousands of deaths?

I felt the anger over the Twin Towers incident. I had someone(s) to blame. But I haven’t been angry about the earthquake. Should I have been? As our insurance companies would classify it, an earthquake is an act of God. You mean like the Twin Towers was an act of Osama Bin Laden??

I’ve always grown up with a foundation of gratitude to God for all good things in my life and on earth. To this day, “Thank you” are the first words out of my mouth when I pray. But the tragedies on earth, whether personal or global, lead me to a question I wrestle with at times. If we give God thanks for the good things that happen, do we also blame Him for the bad?

Whoa, wait a minute! God didn’t create this world to be bad like it is…man did that part. But, since sin entered the world, if God has occasionally intervened in order to avert disaster in the life of a person, city, country, etc., then there have also been many times when He has chosen not to intervened and has appeared to withhold his grace. And if He didn’t act, then why not? It’s not because He’s too weak to act or is too busy. And in the same way, Jesus didn’t heal every single illness or disease when He walked the earth. Of course, Jesus was gracious with His healing but confined somewhat by His humanity.

Grace means receiving the good things we don’t deserve. Is God’s grace ceaseless and never-ending? Is it as reliable as the rising of the sun each morning? In His mind, yes. I believe it is. In the minds of humanity, not so much.

In Uncategorized on June 13, 2008 at 4:13 am

talking about p

this morning preston was in the best of moods. so why we were sharing a bagel i started plying him with questions.

“does your daddy love you?”
“yeah!”

“do you love thomas?*”
“yeah!!”

“do you love the cardinals?”
“ummmmmmmm…”

the little man best watch his step or we’ll be resettling in saint charles before he knows it. much as i respect the homers, i am not raising a red sox fan.

* the train engine. the object of p’s first fetish.

In Uncategorized on June 11, 2008 at 1:15 pm

confirmation


a couple of weeks ago i found myself sitting by the snack bar of a wal-mart pitching a job shadowing proposal to mr. sampson, the store’s elderly and kind community involvement coordinator. as i spoke mr. sampson occasionally took a note with an old fashioned fountain pen and he sometimes parried by sharing stories of teens who have job shadowed in the past.

after i doubled down on my pitch by soliciting mr. sampson’s support for a significant grant proposal i had submitted some weeks hence, mr. sampson set down his pen, looked me in the eye and said: “i hope you’ll forgive me if i’m speaking out of turn, but it seems to me that you are in ministry.” i was a little taken aback by his statement, since i rarely, if ever, have reason or occasion to discuss my faith in the context of a cold call. however, since mr. sampson brought the subject up i confessed to him that i am also a minister at a local church and i consider my work with rectangle to be an expression of my personal commitment to build all things up into the head who is Christ. after outting myself i asked mr. sampson what inspired his observation and he said that he had a son who is a minister in lynn and “i can just tell.”

it is just as likely that our conversation was inspired more by coincidence than by the Source. but, in my life anyway, it is often coincidences like this, when combined with faith, that shed the light required to continue upon this way.

In Uncategorized on June 10, 2008 at 4:25 pm

mid-day time waster

last week gm reported that due to slumping sales of trucks and suvs it will be shutting 3 assembly plants in the near future. some reports indicate that these plant closures may herald the beginning of the end for the hummer brand.

as we eagerly await the eradication of one of the most striking symbols of conspicuous consumption in this great land of ours, i think we should help gm generate generate some spin concerning the upcoming liquidation of their h2s and h3s. thus, if you could help me complete the following pithy, proleptic press release, i’m sure that the execs at gm would appreciate it.

“today, gm announced plans to disburse its remaining inventory of hummer vehicles by:

a) filling them with sand and strategically placing them on levees throughout the upper midwest.”
b) shipping them to sunni sheiks throughout iraq in order to ensure the success of the military surge.”
c) sinking them off the coast of new jersey in yet another attempt to create a productive artificial reef.”
d) donating them to high schools throughout the country so that they can continue the grand homecoming tradition of smashing a car for charity.”
e) your disbursement idea here: “

In Uncategorized on June 7, 2008 at 4:37 pm

grrr

as i settled into the library this morning i promised myself that if i worked really hard i could take a half-hour off to watch hillary’s long awaited concession speech that was scheduled for noon e.s.t.

in order to earn my incentive, i worked hard until 11:55 pm, quickly gathered my stuff and mall-walked home…only to sit in front of my computer and stare at an empty podium for 37 minutes.

it’s now 12:38 pm and she still has not taken the stage. after experiencing her remarkable ability to delay* the inevitable over the past month i guess i shouldn’t be surprised.

so long, loser. you might want to keep a closer eye on those caucuses next time.

* that will probably be financed by obama’s contributors.

In Uncategorized on June 7, 2008 at 1:21 am

do unto others…

the kid who pulled this lamentable, yet laughable stunt was planning to walk onto the team at gordon college.* however, on account of this one simple lapse of judgment, coach travis mcclanahan and president lawrence weill and the gordon college staff have decided to keep the kid from his humble, yet heartfelt dream.

i don’t mean to be presumptuous, coach and president weill, but don’t y’all have better things to do with your time than creating barriers for walk-on athletes? the kid is already going to be paying 10k more a year than an undergrad liberal arts education is worth. i humbly recommend that you return to your administrative duties, have a heart and “LET HIM PLAY! LET HIM PLAY!”

* which, for those of you who don’t know, is an evangelical liberal arts school that employs a couple of my friends and is located about 7 minutes from the house.

ht: deadspin

In Uncategorized on June 6, 2008 at 5:36 pm

mid-day time waster: edit those lyrics

earlier this week, in the most emphatic tones, mrs. clinton suggested, “i know what people are wondering, WHAT DOES HILLARY WANT?” although i don’t know everything hillary might want, i suspect that she would love for us to pen a celebratory ode that marks the end of her campaign.

for that reason, i’ve been working feverishly to produce a piece that is worthy of hillary’s epic defeat. right now i’ve got some of the lyrics down, but i need your help editing and suggesting revisions. the song’s title is bridesmaid and it will be sung to the tune of wilco’s muzzle of bees. thanks in advance for your help!

there’s a failed democratic candidate
desperate for vp
she’s always a bridesmaid
if you know what i mean

her furies shriek, some say they’re barking
denver! or at least vp
some fems so frightened
of so-called misogyny

the scepter slips ‘tween pantsuit knees
silently and suitably
whispering racial entendre
from the heights of glass ceiling
she cries misogyny

i’m assuming you got the message
produced by machine
the crackers dig her chili
if you know what that means

scepter slips ‘tween pantsuit knees
silently and suitably
whispering racial entendre
she cries misogyny

red bill blows through
sweat hand upon knee
half of it’s you, half is me
half of it’s you, half is me

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