Showing posts from May, 2008

3:39 a.m.

This morning I was thinking about digital music and some of the novel uses that, perhaps, have not been uncovered as of yet. I often see music as expression that is rendered in sound. I also work with the written word and see expression there as well. Obviously there are words that are set to music, but what about the music that are the words themselves? There is no question that there is a rhythm and rhyme to words and we raise and lower our voices (both in volume and pitch) when we read words...even if only in our minds. But what about words that are directly rendered to notes? In other words, what does a love letter sound like when compared to an eviction notice? And then I was wondering if we could tell what a document was after it had been rendered to music? Could I listen to a piece of music and say "that sounds like a blog post" or "that sounds like a recipe"? What does the "collision" of words and music sound like? What is the "proper" wa

Buzz Lightyear ready for launch

At least one of my sons is going to be extremely excited when I tell him that one of his heroes, Buzz Lightyear, is a "go" for the next space shuttle launch on May 31, 2008. This is an initiative from NASA aimed at introducing school children to space exploration and I think it is very well-placed. I will have to show him the picture of Buzz posing next to the space shuttle and find some way to share the launch with him on that day. Good thing it is on Saturday so, if we have to, we can watch it online.

Digital music

I am a big fan of digital music. One would not have to read this blog long to know that I own a second-generation iPod Nano (silver, 4GB) and have 730 songs on it. I have about 400 MB left and a bunch of CDs that I would like to rip and store on the device. I have been meaning to do this for a while and have not had the chance. The genesis of this post came from the fact that I am able to play 19 different Vangelis pieces from three different albums (Chariots of Fire, Opera Sauvage, and Soil Festivities) without having to reload a CD or endure the shuffling of one CD to another in a multi-changer. Thus, it almost feels like the pieces are united into a whole when they are played in the specified sequence. There are new avenues and vistas of creativity that are opened, even to a hack like me, through the digitizing and playback of music. I am not sure if this sits well with the artist that composed the music, but maybe the art of composition will embrace this "new" medium to b

How far can (should) I push it?

I am teaching an adult bible class on a biblical approach to peacemaking and have wanted to push the envelope a bit, but have been reluctant to do it. In an earlier blog post I scribed some lyrics from The Smiths that were particularly relevant to the longing we humans were created with for relationships. I wanted to communicate those lyrics to my class but thought "better" of it. I did get to talk about the trinitarian economy a bit (one of my favorite topics) but felt like there was an honesty that was missing in the way I was going about the class. One of the approaches I long to take with any class I teach is to allow my humanity to escape. I hate it when I seem more professorial than real and know that no one who knows me thinks that I have it all together. That was my motive for sharing the song and talking to the loneliness we sometimes feel even when the "bodies are everywhere and even when they talk so loud you have to shout" (thanks 77's ). I know that

More about relationships

I am the son and the heir Of a shyness that is criminally vulgar I am the son and heir Of nothing in particular You shut your mouth How can you say I go about things the wrong way I am human and I need to be loved Just like everybody else does - How Soon is Now? - The Smiths True relationships are hard to come by especially in Christian circles. True, loving friends experiencing life together are rare and this is something that the church is in need of more and more. If our relationship with someone can be defined in terms of a meal brought to them or a time when we had them over to our house that is something much different than one I feel compelled to call when I get a raise or when a tree falls on my neighbor's house. These are the relationships that God intends for me and the one He wants with me. I remember tough days in our sons' infancies that were halved because my wife was by my side. A lot of times just her presence made the crying and fussing more bearable. She didn&

Last night

Last night I dreamed that I met Joe Jackson. He was quite a bit older than he is now although still as hip as I have imagined that he would be. He cried when I told him my story and the role his music played in it and he signed the front of my shirt. I couldn't quite make out what he had written (I was reading it upside down after all) but I figured it was both personal and profound. The opening song on Joe Jackson's Blaze of Glory album is called Tomorrow's World and it is so fresh and real that it feels like he is in the room with me when I listen to it. I think one of the main reasons I like it is because of the beginning where the music seems to emerge. It doesn't begin but it is revealed to the listener. I have always been enamored with the idea of coming into something in the middle. For example, I love thinking that the music I listen to (currently Opera Sauvage by Vangelis) is always playing and I just happen to come across it as the various pieces start and sto

Steve Taylor's musical "salvation"

I was reading the wikipedia entry for Steve Taylor and found that when he found The Clash's London Calling album he recognized that it saved his life musically. Having heard the album I can see it as a real eye opener and I have been influenced by it as well (albeit not as much as him). I count the influence of Invisible Connections by Vangelis as the album that not only had the largest influence on me musically, but opening my mind to a mode of inquiry and perspective that I never had before. I remember receiving it as a gift from my parents along with a CD player at Christmas of my Junior year in high school. After the first of what would be dozens of listens I was led down paths that have profoundly shaped who I am.

God is a community

It is hard to even articulate this, but as I study God I become more and more enamored with the concept the He is a community. He is intimately involved with Himself and perfectly complete in the relationship He has with Himself. The Father, Son, and Spirit show a unity in purpose and an almost pursuit of each other's company. I am floored by the conversations they have with each other in Genesis chapters 1, 3, and 11 and all throughout the Gospels and want to meditate on why He chose to reveal His conversation between the members of the Trinity. I love the interdependence that the universe has within itself (the ecosystem, food chain, the body's pursuit of homeostasis) and what that reveals about God, His church, and us. The Trinity is such a precious truth that it cannot be overstated. God can merely point to Himself as the standard of community irrespective of the love that He receives from the men and women He created. That, in no small measure, is shrouded in mystery and

Mouth opened wide in wonder

Hey I’m getting dizzy now Falling to the ground Hey I’m getting teary eyed Mouth is open wide in wonder - Wonder, Run the Earth Watch the Sky, Chris Rice I see an increasing understanding of the intricacies of the universe enhancing rather than detracting from wonder. The stuff of wonder is not necessarily confined to a tree house that transports first-grade minds to places they'll likely never visit or a wardrobe that transports Penvensie children to a snow-laden land. For me it is found in the order of the universe and the involvement of its Sustainer. Moving along the expressway and looking at all that green creating energy from the light of the sun I take a step back and realize (or maybe just recognize) that God is doing that. The silent steps of the spider that I can't bring myself to eliminate is His doing as well. He moved his (or her) legs so that it would carve a path to me and I am the richer for it. From the feeding of the robin to the decomposition of the corpse -

Something I admire about Bill Gates

I know I shouldn't be exposing myself to admitting admiration for Bill Gates as much as I read Slashdot and drool all over my Ubuntu installation, but the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation impresses me to no end. The fact that Gates is using his substantial fortune not to just enrich himself, but enrich the world, is a model for billionaires. It has the potential to be the single largest philanthropic force the world has ever seen thanks to key contributions from other rich people. Managing all of that money and measuring the impact that it has as it funds causes around the world is no small task. It is as if the time he spent at Microsoft was a honing of his skills so that he could hit the ground running in his new foundation endeavor. Obviously he'll be involved in the foundation to a great degree but he'll have to hand the reins to key individuals to manage the day to day activities. I don't think I am alone in saying that Bill Gates is doing well by

A vehicle for hope

I apologize for the impersonal nature of this post, but this is something that I have been thinking about lately. I am currently in the middle of teaching a twelve-week adult bible class on Sunday mornings using the excellent Peacemaker material from Peacemaker ministries . In the sixth session, where the principle that was taught was that confession brings freedom, Ken Sande mentioned that a true, God-honoring confession is often something that can spark hope where there is a temptation toward hopelessness. Being the "hope junkie" that I am I became instantly enamored with this and it has led me down a path of meditation and exploration as to why this is the case. At least in my initial thoughts about it I think one of the reasons why confession is a vehicle for hope is that it shows the person that is confessing and the one who is receiving the confession the power of God at work in a vivid and real way. Obviously, hoping for change that never happens can wear on an indivi


I find it so very hard to find balance. If there is something that I want to do I tend to do it too much. If there is something that I do not want to do even the motivation to get it over with so that I can do what I really want to do is not enough for me at times. And then there is my list of things that I want to do and the time/resources/health to actually do them. And then there are the things that I am running away from that catch up to me when my life is not exactly the way I have planned it to be. The fluidity of life, my mutability, is a stressor for me. The satisfaction of pure, unadulterated, homeostasis was spoiled a long time ago and is not my lot nor the lot of any other this side of the New Jerusalem. The dearth of the balance that I crave leaves me longing for it and wondering what it feels like. What bliss will there be when I am mature and the good work is complete? How amazing and otherworldly is this God I serve (albeit feebly) of whom there is no shifting shadow! Th


I am not as concerned about evolution as a scientific theory than I am about it being used as a philosophy or as an "answer to everything". The reason that I say that is an embracing of the "philosophy" of evolution, and the godlessness it purports, will land someone in Hell while embracing evolution as the mechanics of how God moved species into their present form is less damning of an issue. There are people that believe that creation can be explained through the mechanics of evolution that are in heaven today - we can be assured of that. However, the application of evolution into areas where it was never intended to be (i.e. philosophy, theology) has given rise to all manner of godless systems and has led people into destruction. I think the main issue that I have with evolution is that the Bible clearly says that sin entered the world through one man, Adam, and that by this the world was cursed right along with him. Of course, the extent of the curse is outlined

The magic of the mundane

I was thumbing through a book by John Piper called "Don't Waste Your Life" and I stopped on a couple of pages that talked about his college days. I was surprised to find that he came under the influence of Francis Schaeffer and C.S. Lewis much like I did during that time. I was also struck by the effect that Lewis had on him to celebrate life. Everything was a celebration to him right down to the sound of a ticking clock. I guess that he had found the magic of the mundane. I would like to sense that more often. I put the youngest son in bed last night and told him that he needed to get to sleep because he had Beach Day at preschool the next day. I could tell he was excited about that and couldn't wait to experience it. He is not one to want to miss anything. He constantly asks questions about this or that and asks what we mean when we say something. Sometimes it is just to talk (like I do a lot), but a lot of the time it is because he loves life. He drinks it in more

Stripping paint from baseboard moldings

OK, so after a little frustration it looks like I am starting to make some progress with stripping the paint off of the baseboards that were (needlessly I may add) painted in the house before we moved it. I have five long runs of the baseboards stripped and have found it not to be as easy as I thought it was going to be. I used a chemical stripper (StripEaze gel) and, initially, a plastic scraper to get most of the paint off. Of course, these moldings have been painted numerous times so I needed multiple coats of the stuff to make any dent in the paint. I then used some coarse steel wool and odorless mineral spirits to scrub out the paint that the stripper left behind. It is a pain, and I will have to stain the baseboards when I am done, but I think I am finally down to bare wood. Let me just say that the odorless mineral spirits are the nuts. After having worked with the stinky stuff exclusively I think I will be spending the extra $2 to get the low-odor kind from now on. It is almost

Summers past

I never will forget those nights I wonder if it was a dream Remember how you made me crazy? Remember how I made you scream Now I don't understand what happened to our love But babe, I'm gonna get you back I'm gonna show you what I'm made of I can see you- Your brown skin shinin' in the sun I see you walkin' real slow and you're smilin' at everyone I can tell you my love for you will still be strong After the boys of summer have gone - Boys of Summer, Don Henley For some reason today, in my mind, I received a glimpse of Summers past. I am quite sure that I, in the midst of my high school Summers, didn't realize how magical it truly was. The noontime's heavy air and the heady nights that I would spend either working or out with friends...what vision! I had no idea what the future held, but I knew what I was pursuing. I was chasing this good time, that girl, those 18 holes...not a care in the world beyond the moment it seemed. The walks, and eventu

An interesting night

We had our second annual scavenger hunt last night at the Champions club and I think it went well. We had some complaints last year about the noise the kids were making as they ran through the halls looking for their items (I am so proud of this it brings a tear to my eye) so I decided to have all of the screaming and yelling relegated to the outside this year. It seemed to work out well as the weather wasn't too cool and everything was dry as a bone. Well worth doing and we'll see if the hunt continues next year in our absence. On a completely unrelated note: I remember lamenting to my supervisor one Summer that I needed to take vacation so that I could get some home improvements done. Obviously, I wasn't too keen on that whole idea, but the bathroom needed to be tiled and we needed a chunk of time to get it done. Well, it got done and turned out great. I just caught myself fantasizing taking some time off to get the home fix-up/improvement jobs that are on the list comple