another saturday post

I have decided that getting up early on saturday mornings is becoming very enjoyable to me. The house is quiet, with everyone else sleeping, so it is one of the few opportunities I have to get several consecutive hours of Bible study, blogging, catching up on the news or NFL draft (why do a lot of people seem to be down on Vince Young's future now?), and drinking lots of coffee. Especially on days like today - it has been a light rain for about 12 hours now, and probably will for another 12. I love these kind of days, we never had them in Colorado. Although once the kids get up and at 'em it has a way of making them into caged animals. And not the tame kind.

Things are extremely busy these days at work. We always seem to be landing more work than we can support, which is supposed to be a good thing, but it seems to keep stress levels high. Anyway, what business isn't these days? However, in contemplating our existence lately I have become more and more aware of what counts in life and what doesn't. There is this innate difficulty in that we can reach out and see and touch what counts, but it is hard to legitimize them in terms of time and effort, and a good part of life is spent on things that don't. And so I have also become more enamored with the stories of the truly great and faithful both past and current.

Leyla's birthday is Tuesday, and she has been looking forward to this for a long time. Hmmm...still no good ideas on how to make it special. I will probably do a daddy daughter date at some point this week. She wants to get her ears pierced - Hmmm - I suppose thats fine, but geez, she is only 4.

I recently ordered another book from Amazon, "Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel", and it looks to be very good. I am amazed at the amount of scholarly writings on the gospel of John, and in my studies I am beginning to feel very inadequate. Obviously some of it you have to sift through as not all of it is good, but by and large it is very helpful. Think about this in relation to the birth of the internet - there is so much information available at the stroke of a few keys. Whatever the subject, there is a lot available. My friend Micah blogged about this a while ago so I won't here.

We had a friend, Melissa Ortez, stop by thursday night on her travels back west. She has spent the last couple of years ministering in the country of Jordan, and we had a fantastic time being encouraged by her in hearing of her work of the gospel there. We knew her from Colorado, and it has been fun to get her emails but finally to see the pictures and hear the stories first hand.

One last comment - I posted a link a while ago on an article regarding the german churches in the time of Hitler. Since I was sick this last weekend, I spent some time on the couch and in doing so watched a public television documentary on the subject of Auschwitz, which was a "death factory" for Jews at the hands of the Nazi's. Absolutely fascinating and horrible. However, in that documentary they backed up alot of what was in the article I posted. They did a special section on Dietrich Bonhoffer, which I thought was very good. They were very true to the message of his work and showing his love for Christ and his steadfast faith in persecution. What a time in the history of man.


lazy saturday morning

We've been hit with our share of the nasties this week. Jenica and the kids all had some kind of stomach bug and I have developed a nasty cold /allergies thing. It seems as though several people in our church were sick as well, so I suppose as they say it is going around.

Wednesday night at church we bought some home made bread from a girl at church that makes it. The kids had it with them in the back seat, and when we got home they had devoured almost half of two loaves. Chloe had torn through the middle of the sack, so they ate out the middle of two loaves of bread. What is they say, "when the kids are quiet - beware"?

I had to fly out and back to Columbus, OH on thursday. On the way there I was able to fly on our clients plane, but on the way back it was too full so I got bumped at the last minute and had to take commercial. Which was fine except it took an additional 3 hours to get back to Des Moines. It connected in Milwaukee, and the flight from Milwaukee to Des Moines was something else. It was the smallest commercial plane I have ever seen, and of course I had the worst seat on it. When I was walking towards the stairs to get on the pilot turned and looked out - she looked pretty young, maybe a bit older than Leyla. The funniest thing though was when they turned on the cabin air, the air was coming out so hard it felt like someone was blowing compressed air in your face. I think maybe the air conditioning system is where the plane got its propulsion. Anyway, there was a man about 4 seats in front of me who had one of those bald spot comb over doos - and when the air came on, it was blasting on him such that his hair lid flapped with the wind. Reminded me of thoses exhaust caps on diesel equipment.

It looks like I am going to have to pull out the lawn mower for the first time this year. Not a pleasant thought. Since my neighbor's husband died last year right before Christmas, I will be mowing their yard too. Its fun to be able to help her, and fortunately our yards are pretty small so it is pretty easy. Her husband had a riding lawnmower which I can use, but in my mind the yards are too small to make it worth it.

Jenica and the girls are going to a baby shower today for the new Crim baby, so I suppose I will do something manly like go to Home Depot with Caden and look at riding lawnmowers.


Contemplating blogosphere

Think about this. Why is it that people seem to feel a greater degree of freedom regarding what they write/blog about than what they would say in person to or about people or their own views? Has anyone else noticed that?

It reminds me of when Jen and I went to Boston last fall, and rode the commuter train out to a neighboring town called Gloucester, and the way back include an hour long delay in the town of Salem, MA. Now, this also happened to be Halloween night. For those you who don't remember your US history like we didn't that evening, 10/31 in Salem, MA happens to be probably the biggest Halloween party on the planet. Regardless, I made this observation as we watched hordes of people on the train and at the train stop: people put on a costume, and they immediately lose a degree of shame. We observed that under costume people felt unnaturally free to act, say, and carry on in manners that aren't normal for uncostumed people. And for the most part, these people seemed sober as the evening was still young so they didn't appear to be under the influence so to speak.

I wonder if blogging is a costume to some that offers a false sense of shielding that gives a sense of freedom that otherwise does not exist in person to person conversation. People will write, for instance, anonymous letters to the editor and say things they would never say should their name be identified. Or a person may call a talk show and say things under a false name because they don't want their identity known. Some how these things seem to be related. Or consider for instance MySpace. I have visited a few spaces of Christian friends only to find myself very dissapointed, perhaps discouraged at the material they say and post. Although not anonymous, apparently behind the veil of false obscurity the true colors of many individuals comes out.

Behind this veil I think people are also more open with their thoughts than otherwise. Which is not necessarily all bad. In face to face conversation we humans are good at disguising what is really on our minds. It is interesting to observe what things are important to people by what blogg about.

So, why the freedom of pen that is not found in the spoken conversation?




Fascinating post. I'm sure this has the potential to be an arguement (discussion) starter. I honestly don't know much about church history, so I don't know enough to gauge the accuracy. But I was unaware of the anti-semitism of the reformation. The article seemed well documented. Any church history scholars out there?


ah yes, family vacation to the zoo

Well we decided to take a last minute vacation this last thursday night / friday. Ryan Companies US Inc, being a catholic family company, observes good friday as a holiday. Good for them, even better for me. So Jen and I decided to take the kids to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha.

We pricelined the Hilton in downtown Omaha, and got there around 6pm Thursday. We went down to the old market district for dinner, and seeing how it was 75F we ate outside at the "Upstream Brewery Co." The kids loved eating the sugar packs and watching people being strange. Caden especially had a fond interest in a loud motorcycle which parked by us. The bike came with a lone male, left with an accompanying female. Hm, wonder where she came from? The Old market reminded me a bit of brick town in Oklahoma City, but not as nice.

And of course as dutiful parents we took the kids swimming when we got back to the hotel (making sure we waited an hour). What is it about kids that they hate the water at first and want to be done? But since we went to all the trouble to suit everybody up we have to stay at least long enough to make it worth it. And then, of course, after 15 minutes when mom and dad have had plenty and feel the trouble of suiting everybody up has been satisfied, they are in the "zone" and could play for another couple of days. What a great time though.

The kids slept great in the room, which is always a concern when we travel, although they do make strange noises in the night. The Hilton, which we pricelined for $60, was a fantastic find. Here is my criteria for ranking hotels: bed comfort, pillow comfort, shower head and pressure, quietness, and general ambiance/design/architecture. This Hilton hit a homerun on all five. The two negatives were that you have to walk through the lobby to get to the pool and you have to pay for the wireless connection. Oh well, still a great stay. We closed up every nook and cranny that light could get through so we all slept long and hard.

Picture of the kids eating breakfast at the hotel:

Now for the zoo. What turned out to be a fantastic day had two dramatic low points. The hour long (no exageration) line to get in the gate that was no more that 75' or so (just very slow) and the 20' line at the concession stand that took 45 minutes. Now understand here that it is my genetic disposition to hate waiting in lines. Waiting in line accomplishes nothing. Its impossible to meditate, or to pray for anything other than wisdom to find the fastest line, and conversation has a way of being unfortunately negative. If we had watched Pollyanna at the beginning of our trip instead of the end maybe we would have tried the glad game.

Complaining aside we had a blast. The kids loved it, and we found a lot of enjoyment seeing them have a good time. Caden would yell "Moo! Moo!" at every animal he saw, and of course visiting our supposed primal ancestors is always a hit. Do you know why apes have such big nostrils? Because they have big fingers! Yes, that is correct. Insert finger in nose, lick with tongue. Now I know where kids get that. Leyla wanted to see the penguins all day, and when we did there was no dissapointment. We got there right at feeding time, so it was fun to watch them swallow fish whole and dive for them in the pool. Kind of makes you wish you were a penguin.

Here are some pics:

Well, after the 2hr trip back home we topped it off with raisin bran for dinner and had a family movie night and watched Pollyanna. The twins ended up going to bed about 3/4 through the movie, but not until they had most of the popcorn well ground into the carpet. What a great movie.

I tell ya, this family stuff is addicting.


Current readings

I recently picked up a book by Malcom Muggeridge entitled "Christ in the Media". It is a fascinating, although to me somewhat difficult, read as he packs a lot of thought into a few words throughout. His basic premise is that media, specifically television, is a fantasy world that creates false expectations and delusions people from the truth. He links some results from this that in many cases I would have to agree with. I will report some thoughts at a later time. Has anyone else read much of Muggeridge?


and some more

Some relatively recent pics...

Its birthday time for grandma and the twins...(back in March)


current study...

Well since I've just started this blog I'm sure not too many people are checking it....but oh well. I have been studying John 2 and I am a bit stumped right now - so if anyone has some thoughts, let me know.

In this passage, the first miracle of Jesus' ministry occurs here. I have some thoughts in no particular order which need some sorting.

First, lets think about Mary, Jesus' mother. Why did she tell Jesus about the problem? Did she expect a miracle? Or perhaps through the years Jesus had shown an amazing ability to obey and/or serve so completely that his industrious nature had become something Mary depended on. When the family had a need, one could imagine that Jesus would prove a reliable source, not necessarily because of miraculous power, but because of his perfect nature he could be depended on. So maybe Mary did not expect a miracle, but she did know she could tell the problem to Jesus and he would work until he found a solution. But perhaps she did expect a miracle. With the advent of Jesus ministry the chapter before, and mary's apparently apt spiritual perception, maybe she knew a different era had begun and thought it appropriate to ask for such a miracle. However, judging by Jesus reply, maybe she wasn't asking anything! He says "...what does your concern have to do with me?" maybe Mary didn't expect anything, she was just merily commenting to Jesus. It would seem unlikely that she would make mention of it to him unless she thought he could and/or would do anything about it. Anyone have any thoughts?

Noting Jesus address to Mary as woman, from what I can tell of my study, this is a similar address as to what we might say today, "Ma'am". Today, to address a lady as "woman" may sound derogatory, but not then. The important fact is that it was not "mother" or any such term indicating their relationship. This seems clear that it was a deliberate distinction that Christ was making that he "must be about His Fathers business" and now the focus was on being the revealed the Son of God and Son of Man more than he was the son of mary.

So then the statements of Jesus, basically two after addressing Mary as woman. 1) what does your concern have to do with me, and 2) my hour has not yet come. I will address the latter first.

The phrase hour is a significant one in the gospel of John. In fact, it is one of the many groups of seven that appear in this gospel. Note that hour is used more than seven times, but specifically to Christ's hour it is found no more or less than seven times in subject: 2:4, 7:6-8, 7:30, 8:20, 12:23,27, 13:1, and 17:1. It is made very clear that the appointed time or hour Jesus spoke of was that of his death on the cross in 12:27, 13:1, and 17:1. Therefore, based on this, I suggest that the hour Jesus speaks of in 2:4 is not referring to his hour of advent or even his hour to work a miracle, but rather his death. One catholic commentary I read went so far to suggest that Jesus did not know his hour had come at this wedding in cana, but Mary did, and thus helped bring about this first miracle. Nonsense. In addition, it would make no sense that Jesus would say his hour had not yet come (if the hour referred to working a miracle) and then go ahead and work the miracle. Based on these two lines of thought, the first being the consistent use of hour in the gospel, the second being there is seemingly no plausible alternative, I am confident that the hour refers to his ascent to calvary.

So one question is, why did Jesus refer to this hour of his suffering at this time? and what connection did this have to the wedding and / or Mary's concern? For a second lets isolate Jesus comment and think about what it implies. To say, "what it is your concern to me, my hour has not yet come", implies first that somehow Mary's request is linked to this hour, and secondly that the whole scene, or at least an emphasis of it, is related to this hour as well - whether symbolically in the wine, something of the wedding, or in the statement "they have no wine", etc. So why the reference to His hour???? Any thoughts?


I have no idea what I am doing

So blogging here I come...what am I doing? I have no idea. but I'll figure it out along the way I suppose.