Old Testament Card Store


Mollie recently wrote another great poem. Here it is:

by Mollie Myers
Annoyed is green.
It sounds like someone singing when I'm
listening to music.
It smells like burnt pizza.
It tastes like cold pasta.
It looks like my brother messing with my stuff.
Annoyed feels like being poked.


Thoughts on Some Unfortunate News

I got some horrible news a few days ago and I've been having a hard time with it. A friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer the other day. She's really young - still in her 20s. I'm assuming that the cancer is pretty agressive, because the doctors have outlined a pretty agressive treatment plan.

My first reaction was shock - probably because she's so young. But my next reaction was "What the crap, God?!" Now I know that cancer isn't necessarily the threat that it was 20 years ago. The success rate from treatment is much, much higher. I have full confidence that my friend will make it through all of this just fine. But still. This is a young lady with a great husband and great kids who's more than willing to go to the ends of the earth to serve God. So seriously, what the crap? My anger and confusion over the whole thing has just built and built. But last night I was thinking about it and I had to ask myself some questions.

This sort of thing isn't unique to my friend. Young people get cancer every day. What does it say about us as humans (and as Christians) that we only start questioning God's wisdom when the situation directly affects us? People have been getting sick from cancer all year long and I haven't cared one iota. But now that it's my friend, all of the sudden I'm outraged. Is it because I'm emotionally closer to the situation? Is it because she tries to be a true disciple of Jesus and so I think she deserves better? If that's true, what does it say about my capacity for compassion, that I only care about Christians who are close to me?

I don't know what point I'm trying to make through all of this. I just know these things:
  • It doesn't seem right.
  • God is good.

I believe both of those statements, and just like everyone else, I'll probably spend the rest of my life trying to make sense of using those statements together.


Unexcused Absence

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted. We've been extremely busy lately. We started a 2nd worship service at the church. Now we have a traditional worship service and a modern worship service. I've taken on extra responsibility in the modern service and my free time is shrinking. The new service is working great though. The music is fun and the feel is exciting. We had been averaging around 140-150 and last week we had 202. It's the first time our church has ever had over 200 on a non-holiday.

Jamie is doing great. She's enormous! She's due June 2nd, but by the looks of things she might deliver earlier. The kids are doing well in soccer. They love it and are playing well.

More to come soon!


Most Influential

I want to get a thread going here. I was thinking of things that have had the most influence on my life in terms of books, movies, and albums. Respond back in the comments link below and let me know what your list looks like. Top three of each category. And yes, it's very hard to narrow them down to top three.

Most Influential Books
- The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning - Gave me a greater understanding of grace.
- The Purpose-Driven Church, Rick Warren - Made me want to be a pastor.
- To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee - Made me want to be a better Dad.

Most Influential Movies
- On the Waterfront
- The Godfather
- Dead Poets Society

Most Influential Albums
- A Liturgy, a Legacy, and a Ragamuffin Band - Rich Mullins
- August and Everything After - Counting Crows
- Caedmon's Call - Caedmon's Call


Monday is for Sabbath (and Sick)

I felt like I was almost getting sick all last week and I kept praying that it would hold off until after Easter. Well, my prayer was answered and I woke up the Monday after Easter quite ill. God gave me a forced Sabbath and another one to boot today. Wish I could say it was somehow spiritually enlightening, but it was just laying around, resting, blowing my nose and viewing life through a Nyquil haze.

Easter update: we had a great weekend. About 600 at out Saturday egg hunt and 274 in attendance Easter Sunday (we normally average about 150). Thanks, Jesus!


Easter Wingnut

I just had to share a letter to the editor that showed up in today's Lebanon Daily Record on this beautiful Easter morn. Saturday we held our annual Easter Egg Hunt and it was a tremendous success. The weather was bitter cold (about 20 degrees) but we still had around 600 in attendance. I ran an ad in the paper a few times this week that featured the above cartoon. I chose the cartoon because I thought it was eye-catching and because we have a large population of hunters in Lebanon that I thought would get a kick out of it. Anyway, some wingnut was offended and wrote this letter to the editor. It will hold a place of honor framed on my wall.

True Meaning of Easter Lost in Advertisement for Event

I am writing from a deep sense of indignation and sorrow for this community of Lebanon which I have come to love and to call home. I am referring to the display ad for the "community egg hunt" that appeared in the paper on Monday, April 2.

Please understand: I am not at all opposed to "egg hunts" (which by
implication are Easter egg hunts). They are great fun. What I am
objecting to is the use of a picture of a hunter with a gun, and an egg cowering behind a tree.

Eggs are symbols of new life. For Christians especially, Easter eggs
symbolize the new life given to the world by the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The picture, rather than conveying new life, seems to be a cartoonish
mockery of Jesus in the Garden, being "hunted down" by his betrayer and the soldiers. Is this the image of Easter a "Christian community" wants its children to understand? Is it the image that this community wants to convey to visitors - that Easter is a day to be mocked?

I am appalled and saddened that, even by the implication, a symbol of death would be used to convey what is the greatest symbol of life. Easter is the holiest day of the year for Christians; and even in the "fun" aspects, should be recognized as such.

The Rev. Christine Gilson
Vicar, Trinity Episcopal Church




Well, tonight was one of those rare nights that I look forward to for months - the release of a new Tarantino film. But this one was extra special because it was also the release of a Rodriguez film. The two legendary directors teamed up to make Grindhouse - a double feature of Planet Terror (Rodriguez) and Death Proof (Tarantino), complete with 3 spoof movie trailers. It was excellent. Over three hours of gore, violence, horror, car chases, bullets, and much more. Great guy flick, but not for the faint of heart. Grindhouse was right up there with Snakes on a Plane. Tons of movie fun!


CNN on Science and God

This is an interesting article from CNN.com today entitled Why This Scientist Believes in God by Francis Collins (http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/04/03/collins.commentary/index.html). I don't agree with all of his conclusions, but it's still interesting.

New Potter Cover

I can't wait. It's releasing this July.


All is Well in the Universe

When we returned from our trip, I noticed that Spring had arrived before us. I love this time of year! Small budding flowers on trees and bushes - even the weeds look kind of pretty. The sky and trees are full of bird music. Critters start appearing that you haven't seen in a while. I spotted a fat racoon in my yard as I pulled up to my house last night. The air feels crisp and clean in your lungs. Your skin seems to wince a bit at that first touch of warm, direct sunlight. I feel more alive because the world around me seems more alive.

Which brings me to my favorite thing about this time of year - baseball season. I love baseball so much. It just feels right that at this time of year when the planet seems to be waking up, baseball is being played. My Oakland A's lost their season opener last night, but I didn't even mind so much. I'm just happy to see the boys out there playing again. It's a new season, new players, new coaching staff, talks of a new stadium. But ultimately it's the same old game and I love it.

Just about the time the planet will start settling in for it's winter sleep, baseball will wind down and sleep as well. It's fitting. The season is six months long (seven if you're lucky) and I'm usually ready for it to be done when it finishes. But this time is the time when anything can happen. Maybe we'll go all the way, maybe we'll break records, maybe...


To Kill a Mockingbird

In addition to not talking about church on my vacation, I decided not to read about church either. One of my all-time favorite movies is To Kill a Mockingbird. It truly is a classic. I've found that kids are even mesmorized by this movie. Of course, it's based upon the novel by Harper Lee. I bought this book a couple of years ago and just haven't taken the time to read it. I read it this last week. It might be the best novel I've ever read.

Mockingbird is such a powerful book. It deals with small town Southern life in the 30s and racism and faith and what it means to be a Christian and a lot of other great themes. It's all written from the point of view of a 7 or 8 yr-old girl. It's funny and moving and intense all at once.

It's not uncommon for me to be moved to tears by a movie (especially movies about sports or dogs) but I've only been moved to tears two or three times by a book. I get misty every time Aslan shows up in the Narnia books. I had a little something in my eye reading a Harry Potter book once. I teared up a bit in Brennan Manning's Ragamuffin Gospel. But I was all-out crying/tears running down my face/snotty nose/weeping as I read Mockingbird in the airport the other day. This is one of those books that should be required reading for the human race. Read it if you haven't.


If It's Not Scottish...It's CRAP!!!

Hey everybody. We returned from Scotland last night and we had an excellent time. It was genuinely a great vacation for Jamie and me. When we started, we vowed to really focus on each other for a week. In fact, we did not talk about church even one time for a full 8 days! Here's what I took away:
  • Driving on the "wrong" side of the road is difficult.

  • Scots love meat & potatoes.

  • Haggis, Neeps, & Tatties is not that bad.

  • Stay away from the Black Pudding.

  • If you don't see a parking meter next to your parking spot, check up the block for one that everyone's supposed to pay at. (Thank you, City of Glasgow, for my parking ticket.)

  • The pound is awesome - the dollar sucks.

  • If you order a lemonade, you'll get a Sprite.

  • Scots love meat & potatoes.

  • I love my wife.

  • The highlands of Scotland look like Middle Earth (all you LOTR nerds will know what I'm talking about.)

  • Scotland has hundreds of beautiful old churches (most of which have been turned into pubs, community centers, or are just sitting empty.)

  • Fish & Chips is much better when the haddock was pulled out of the ocean just a few hours before you eat it.

  • The only thing harder to understand than a Scot, is a stuttering Scot.

  • The BBC is full of shows about fat Americans.
  • Scots love meat & potatoes.

Here are some of my favorite pictures:

Edinburgh Castle

A flock of pink sheep we spotted. We don't know...?

Small town church

Highland cows

Castle Stalker (a.k.a. Castle Aaaargh from Monty Python)

A couple of pics from the Scottish countryside.

Me after a short hike up one of the peaks at Nevis Range.

Monument to Bonnie Prince Charles at Glenfinnan.

A loch that was so still it became like a mirror.

Jamie and I at Glencoe.

Doune Castle (also featured in Monty Python in the Trojan Rabbit scene.) That's Jamie standing in the lower right corner.

Roslyn Chapel