Dluxe's World

Tuesday, January 31

It's beginning to look a lot like Birthday

Since I've been waxing philosophic lately, I thought a little does of good, ol' fashioned materialism might be appropriate. My birthday is coming up and this year's theme (I hope) is M&M - Money and Music.

As is always the case, I genuinely prefer cash donations to the Dellinger cause. This allows us to put your $$s to use wherever they are most needed. Occasionally, this means you get to buy things like heating oil. What an awesome gift!

On the other hand, I've seriously gotten back into music recently... This can be blamed, if that's the right word, on a combination of exciting music stuff at church and the mad music production skills of Mix-Master Mike. I've started songwriting, and would love to be able to do some basic home-recording stuff.

So, here's my list in rough priority order... Please note, these are not cheapies. Recognizing this, perhaps you wanna chip in a few bucks and 'earmark' it towards something.

1) A guitar... Every good songwriter or studio has a guitar. For that matter, all the crappy ones do too! I've heard great things about A&L and Seagull. 2nd hand is great (I can think of a large bodied Ibanez, currently strung left-handed, I'd play happily).

2) Presonus Firebox/Cubase LE... This little widget, which comes bundled with some software, allows you to record audio and MIDI to your computer. I know - totally sweet.

3) Firewire Card - The Firebox interface connects to a PC via firewire. Since my PC is old, a firewire card would be needed.

4) MIDI Controller - You use a keyboard like this to 'play in' the MIDI information to the computer. Though we have a keyboard, it's not velocity sensitive which means it would suck.

Please note: I am not shilling for Musician's Friend. There are prolly better deals online.

And that's the way it goes... I know this is an ambitious list for once. If anything gets checked off, I'll be tickled.

Monday, January 30

Free with words... Too free, perhaps.

So, this little lunchtime post has been re-written about 15 times so far. It was completed last night, but seemed a little too intimate for the intarweb in the light of a new morning.

Therefore, I will post this re-re-redacted version of what I initially wrote: Briefly, it's a sobering thing to really stop and think about all the people God has placed in your life to influence. Many of us wince at thinking of ourselves as evangelists... Probably this is due to our own recognition of how short we fall of God's standard.

But, as Tim put it, we have a ever expanding sphere of people (like the wake of a boat) who are aware of our lives. When we struggle, when we fail, and when we succeed, there more people taking note than we ever really think about.

The thing that really rocked me is that so many of them probably only note the falls. I have a college buddy who's up to marriage #3 right now, and freely admits that there will likely be a #4. In his little world, he probably doesn't consider the times I rightly demonstrate a God-glorifying love for and service to my family. He couldn't care less about the times I resist temptation or the positive things I do in the spiritual lives of friends.

But if I slipped or really blew it, he'd see. And it would give him grounds to wrongly malign 'religion', 'faith', or (at worst) Christ. I've chosen to be indentified as a Christian - and that choice is not without a cost.

While we shouldn't be striving to please men, I think we do well to really recognize all the ways God has surrounded us with people. We are salt and light - but how salty and how bright, I wonder? With influence comes responsibility... I re-read 2 Timothy last night (it's short), having cited it in an earlier post. This jumped out at me, again: Clicky Here.

Coming soon... Something lighter and more materialistic!

Thursday, January 26

To post, or not to post? That's the dealio.

In the Christian blogging community (which I'm discovering is both avid and highly interconnected), there is a discussion regarding the role blogs should rightly play in our personal walk with Christ.

Part of the issue was outlined by Mark Dever in a post called on the Unbearable Lightness of Blogs in which he makes some excellent points. Without getting into another long post full of quotes, I'd recommend you read his article.

So, the question is why do I (or should I) keep making posts here? Sounds like something worth answering.

For one thing, I think best when I think 'out loud'. Talking, typing, or writing always has helped me focus and work through things better. My mind wanders easily when I'm praying silently, for example.

The other reason is that I like to learn from others. By posting my ramblings here, I at least give 3 or 4 people in the world a chance to respond to me. A little debate is healthy, and the corrections I receive when I'm wrong are invaluable. It's hard to find time to chat these things through face-to-face anymore.

In truth, this is a chronicle of who I am becoming in Christ. I'm posting reactions here that are coming out of my study of God's Word and other "substantial things ... from the saints who've gone before", as noted by Mr. Dever. Occasionally, there's something amusing, off-beat, or non-sensical thrown in. That's just who I am.

If you're along for the ride, I'm glad. I hope this self-focused little tool has something for you once in a while. But, through whatever means you need, I would urge you to engage in the same self-inspection.

Though, knowing you all, I would keep my inspections to myself (if I were you)...**

**This is meant to be funny, rather than implying anything about the people with whom I associate.

Wednesday, January 25

Well, that's a novel approach...

As Tim would tell you, I've been doing some reading regarding the so-called "Emerging Church" phenomenon. I was initially intrigued by them because I came across Brian McLaren's interesting open letter to songwriters. Having taken a shot at some songwriting lately, I was interested.

McLaren states that:
Let me make this specific: Too many of our lyrics are embarrassingly personalistic, about Jesus and me... A popular worship song I've heard in many venues in the last few years (and which we sing at Cedar Ridge, where I pastor) says that worship is "all about You, Jesus," but apart from that line, it really feels like worship, and Christianity in general, has become all about me, me, me... Isn’t our God, our mission, our community worthy of more lyrical quality than we are offering so far?

I agree. Matt Redman made a similar push in WorshipLeader magazine as well. For my part, the little ditties we've worked on are grounded in Scripture lyrically and try to be more than just 'love song' offerings. (And, no. You can't hear them, yet.)

So, I was intrigued and tried to find out a little more about this 'Emerging Church' thing. What I discovered was that they "slippery", to borrow the phrase from Tim. The basic gist seems to be they are trying to break out of traditional molds to bring the church into the modern (and even postmodern) age.

I can resonate with that, to some extent. We should be able to adopt appropriate, culturally-relevent forms into our worship and expressions of Christ's work in our lives. At the same time, it's dangerous to let our (sinful) modern perspectives have too great a sway on our doctrines. Just because it's new doesn't make it right/better. Note: 'Old' isn't always better either, but that's another post.

Then I read this gem by McLaren on ChristianityToday discussing homosexuality:
I hesitate in answering "the homosexual question" not because I'm a cowardly flip-flopper who wants to tickle ears, but because I am a pastor, and pastors have learned from Jesus that there is more to answering a question than being right or even honest: we must also be … pastoral. That means understanding the question beneath the question, the need or fear or hope or assumption that motivates the question...

Frankly, many of us don't know what we should think about homosexuality. We've heard all sides, but no position has yet won our confidence so that we can say "it seems good to the Holy Spirit and us." ... Even if we are convinced that all homosexual behavior is always sinful, we still want to treat gay and lesbian people with more dignity, gentleness, and respect than our colleagues do. If we think that there may actually be a legitimate context for some homosexual relationships, we know that the biblical arguments are nuanced and multilayered, and the pastoral ramifications are staggeringly complex. We aren't sure if or where lines are to be drawn, nor do we know how to enforce with fairness whatever lines are drawn.

Perhaps we need a five-year moratorium on making pronouncements.

Certainly, much damage has been done to the cause of Christ because of confrontational, over-zealous, self-righteous Christians. When we confront sin as if we are judge, jury, and the injured party in all this, the usual result is not positive for the Gospel. I think comments should be "seasoned with salt", revealing our humility and sinfulness as well as Christ's overwhelming grace. We've all fallen short of God's glory, right? We're not so different...

While grace absolutely needs to be present in our conversations, Truth needs to be present as well.

Here's what disturbs me most about McLaren's comments. While I am no gifted exegete, I do think that the Biblical prohibitions against homosexuality are clear and striking. Failing to tell a congregant of their open rebellion against God is a terrible thing for a pastor to do. If, as McLaren implies, there "is no position [that] has yet won [his] confidence" the right thing to do (IMNSHO) would be to dive into the Word and figure it out.

By failing to state a conclusion, McLaren commits a fault I think is almost worse than taking the wrong position. He has chosen to characterize God's divine law as a cosmic shrug... Instead of bringing the church into postmodernism, he's done nothing more than bring postmodernism into the church. "I dunno, I could go either way, I guess. What is truth?"

I am reminded of our pastors/elders who decided to clearly define the church's position on the Biblical role of men and women. Obviously, this is another charged issue to tackle and has reasoned advocates on both sides. Uninviting as it might've been, our church leaders recognized that taking no stance was analogous to a punt. So, they dove into Scriptures, read books, prayed and reasoned together to reach a conclusion.

If church leaders are called to 'give an account' for leading the flock, I would think that they'd at least want to plumb the depths of the issue, understand it, formulate a conclusion, and be able to sustain your conclusion philosophically (in this life). Will we be right all the time? Probably not, thanks to sin.

But simply leaving it up to everyone else... Or not speaking of it until you're 100% positive...? That's a road to nowhere. Paul exhorted Timothy:
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5, ESV, emphasis mine)

I can't help but feel that "preaching the word", at least as it pertains to sound teaching, means that there will be some difficult, black 'n white statements to be made. We should carefully examine the issues in light of the truths revealed in the Bible to form our opinions.

Failing to form an opinion, however, is not modern wisdom. At best it's an affirmation of ignorance. And, at worst, it's simply failure.

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Monday, January 23

The reality behind the film...

With all this talk about the 'End of the Spear' movie, I thought it was fitting that I got an email from a missionary family we know. Other issues aside, I hope that believers do use the hullabaloo around this movie to reflect on the sacrifices missionaries make for the Gospel and commit to supporting them with our prayers/finances.

It's hard to really imagine... Even in today's world, there are places where the Gospel isn't known. There are places where missionaries still can find themselves, literally, at the end of a spear for their faith. They have left friends and family to go, reaching people for Christ. Meanwhile, I sit in a warm, wired office and figure out how many hours it's going to take us (assuming the effort of 3 people) to build a new widget.

Though we're all called to different roles, I hope that we think of these people serving around the world regularly. They are helping to build the choir that will worship in Heaven one day - a high calling indeed... Whether it's in the US, Europe, Africa, or anywhere else, their obedience to God's call should drive us to pray for the harvest and energize our own outreach to those around us.

And if that message has greater resonance as a result of this movie, I think that's a mark of success...

Friday, January 20

Follow-up: End of the Spear

I thought this was an appropriate follow-up... On Wednesday, I posted my initial thoughts re: the hullabaloo surrounding the casting of Chad Allen in the movie "End of the Spear". The majority of that article alludes to a Larry King Live show featuring Chad Allen and Al Mohler.

Pastor Mohler has posted a follow-up article. Again, thought-provoking stuff which I commend to your reading...

Thursday, January 19

Amused musings...

Bringing the lighter tone tonight. Gotta represent my artistic flexibility.

First off, it's a shame we don't discover our gifts earlier in life. I've been trying to write something that resembles song lyrics. I've (re)discovered that I am genuinely gifted at pulling together some very sophomoric lyrical schemes. For a single, frat-boy in college this is a true gift. For a 30ish dad o' two who works in IT, it just seems patheti-sad.

Item 2: My dad sent one of those "Have you ever thought about..." emails this evening. I normally don't even glance at these (no offense, Pops), but tonight I was feeling a little punchy so I crafted a witty reply. I'm posting my best retorts for your enjoyment.

Why does a round pizza come in a square box?

So it doesn't spin off the passenger seat as you're driving it home... or while the delivery boy is racing to your house.

How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?

It has to do with the nuclear arms race and the fact that the US military would be a laughing stock if our soldiers 'wheeled' their packs along behind them...

Why do doctors leave the room while you change? They're going to see you naked anyway.

It's so they can watch you try to put on/make sense outta that little, open-backed gown via some hidden camera. And laugh. A lot. After all, they step out for a lot longer than it takes to get that thing on... Takes a while to get their composure back.

Why do people point to their wrist when asking for the time, but don't point to their crotch when they ask where the bathroom is?

Wait. You don't??

Why do toasters always have a setting that burns the toast to a horrible
crisp, which no decent human being would eat?

What about the indecent people, you intolerant twit?

If the professor on Gilligan's Island can make a radio out of a coconut, why
can't he fix a hole in a boat?

I hypothesize that the Prof never *wanted* to get off the island. I think he was trying to outlive Gilligan/Skipper (no hard test there), off Thurston Howell (the rich guy), marry his widow, outlive her (thus claiming her estate), and then buy the island to live in decadence with Ginger and Mary-Ann.

If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?

Bah! Everyone knows it comes from morans.

Do the Alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?

No. They have the same harmonic structure and melodic sense of tension and release. However, the melodies are unique (though admittedly similar).

Why did you just try singing the two songs above?

I didn't. I did think about the royalties that someone would be able to claim if only they had copywritten those tunes.

Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you,
but when you take him for a car ride; he sticks his head out the window?

Did you ever consider that your breath prolly stinks? That would explain both phenomena.

Wednesday, January 18

End of the Spear (?)

How come things are never easy?

A while ago, Eva had mentioned that she saw a preview for a movie retelling the story of the Saint family (click here, if'n you don't know). At first, I had more CloudTen images running through my head... But, I saw an ad for the new movie a couple nights later and it looked really good.

The film, called End of the Spear, is set to debut this coming weekend. Though I hadn't watched anything beside the trailer on TV I was excited. Now a controversy has erupted online surrounding the casting of Chad Allen in the role of both Nate and Steve Saint. It seems that Chad Allen is an 'openly gay' actor and some Christians are disappointed that he was chosen to play such a pivotal role.

The question is this: Do you go out and support the film? Obviously the film has a strong message... Others have noted, however, that the film's casting sends a mixed message and gives Chad Allen publicity to present his agenda.

Interestingly, Allen did something like that on Larry King last night. More interestingly, his comments moved into elements of faith, as much as anything:

"My parents, they had a hard time. We're friends again, we have a wonderful family relationship. But I have to say, if [your other guests] going to speak about absolute transcendent truth, I need to tell you, I know absolute transcendent truth...

I have a deep relationship with God and my understanding. It's very powerful, and it's taken its own shape and form. And I am very much at peace in the knowledge that in my heart God created this beautiful expression of my love...

These days I judge all of my actions by my relationship with God of my understanding. It is a deep-founded, faith-based belief in God based upon the work that I've done growing up as a Catholic boy and then reaching out to Buddhism philosophy, to Hindu philosophy, to Native American beliefs and finally as I got through my course with addiction and alcoholism and finding a higher power that worked for me." [emphasis mine, full transcript here]

So... What do people think? Do you go and see a movie that seems to support what you value, but gives tacet approval or provides a potential outlet for some views with which you strongly disagree?

My gut reaction is: It's a shame the casting decision was made. In fact, Allen alludes to this tension in his remarks on LKL... We can't turn our eyes to the fact that mass-media is propagandizing certain 'lifestyle choices' already (*cough* "Brokeback Mountain"). At least this film forces people to frame any conversation in the light of the Truth.

Similarly, the LKL discussion included Al Mohler who's a solid Reformed theology dude. He managed to politely present the Gospel and a just, Christian perspective on sin that at least tempered the discussion.

It's a personal choice (between you and the Lord) as to whether or not to see the movie. I think I definitely will. I will hold off buying tickets to see how 'rebuked' I am, though.

Tuesday, January 17

Making people cry....

So, The J-Man (r) (C) told me last night that my blog makes him sad. I think my posts lack a certain blithe attitude that he's looking for on the 'net. If you're reading this, Dr. Berman, you might wanna go check out something else... This will not be to your taste.

So, anyway... I employ many strategies to make myself seem smarter than I am. My usual default approach is to say nothing while intelligent people speak, but nod thoughtfully every once in a while. While this has worked, I'm now prepared to employ a new strategy! Enter "The Patsy".

I've been reading a book that makes your head hurt called "Debating Calvinism". I bought it because it appeared to present an intelligent, stimulating debate - one person for, one against - around the TULIP points of Calvinism.

The Pro-Calvinist viewpoint, articulately provided by James White, reads something like a complicated theology journal article. White's presentation is very solid, well justified/reasoned, but terribly cold and 'academic' feeling. Moreover, there is a smugness in his writing that reeks of "HA HA! I'm intellectually superior!" Christianity. Still, all his points are all valid so I want to be sure not to detract from the argument by lancing the person arguing.

Since I am really curious about this stuff, I was excited to turn the page and read David Hunt's response. Sadly, I was sorely disappointed. It seems that Mr. Hunt is 'The Patsy'.

In stark contrast to the academic, reasoned presentation of Calvinism by Mr. White, Hunt's counterpoints go a little something like this (paraphrasing):

Whoa! Did you see that?!? I can't believe he said that! That's just crazy... I mean, God is love! I just think that's silly. Here's a verse that says God is love... SEE?!!?!

It is obvious that Calvinism gets Hunt's bile flowing in a major way... And certainly passionate arguments have their place. Here, however, it comes across very, very poorly. Instead of decimating the Calvinist viewpoint, Hunt comes across as lacking any real bullets to fire at his opponent. The result is something more akin to a conniption.

The reader's left wondering: Is Calvinsim really so 'right' that no thoughtful argument can be made against it? Or, as I suspect, is 'The Patsy' attack to blame for the extreme one-sidedness I see in these pages? I personally think that TULIP stands up well to challenges - it just didn't get one here.

In the book's introduction, Hunt is quoted as having said, "I'm very ignorant of the Reformers..." during a phone debate. It's a shame he didn't study a little prior to walking into the ring.

*As an aside, let me reccommend R.C. Sproul's "What Is Reformed Theology?" as an excellent presentation of the Reformed position.


Tuesday, January 10

Set "Rant" switch to ON

Alright folks, settle in for a l-o-n-g one. Hope your chairs are comfy.

I like Joel Olsteen.

You'll need to read this full post to understand what I mean by that, because it is a qualified statement. For those of you who've been too busy working or something, Joel is the pastor of the mega-huge Lakewood Church in Houston and author of a popular 'christian' book, Your Best Life Now.

I came across ol' Pastor Joel one night when I was up too late. TBN was broadcasting the opening service of Lakewood's new sanctua-staduim and Israel Houghton was leading worship. I happen to be a big musical admirer of Israel, so I watched... Having never seen or heard of Olsteen before then, I had no preconceptions. I discovered that he is a charming, personable guy who is (according to the tagline he was given on Larry King Live) possibly the next Billy Graham.

Joel starts out every message with a funny little joke or story. If I notice it's coming on, I usually tune into the first couple minutes of the show to catch his little joke... Always good to have another witty thing in your pocket, right?

Then, I turn the channel. No more P-Joel for me 'til next week.

Why? I'll tell you why.

I happen to think that, while Pastor Olsteen is a nice guy and a successful businessman, he's not much of a Pastor. To me, the image of a pastor calls to mind a shepherd who is watching the sheep: guarding them, challenging them, and building them up for the future. With all due respect, I personally have issues with how well Joel is really pulling this off.

This blog entry is being prompted by a friend, with whom I've been emailing for some time. She stated that she recently started attending church again after having gotten 'fed with up with Christianity' in the past (objections to Xtian 'exclusivity claims'). While I was excited to hear this, I wasn't as thrilled when she started to liken her Pastor to smilin' Joel.

Personally, I have an intellectual bent and perhaps that motivates me towards a headier-type of faith than your average American. I've been accused of such, and I'm willing to admit it's possible. However, I would say that a huge danger in the church today centers around 'jazzing up' the Gospel to make it more palatable for people. A while ago, BusinessWeek ran an article about the mega-church phenomenon which included this telling quote:

"To make newcomers feel at home, some do away with standard religious symbolism -- even basics like crosses and pews -- and design churches to look more like modern entertainment halls than traditional places of worship... The reason? Market research suggested that such traditional symbols would scare away non-churchgoers."

While I personally am not a big fan of pews (not fat-man friendly) or stained glass, I think taking the cross out of a church is a big deal. What is the Gospel a church is preaching if it isn't centered on who Jesus is and what He did on the cross?

Monergism.com to the rescue - I knew this little web resource (permanently linked to the right) would have something... Check out this excellent article, "The Mega Church and the Mini Gospel". The author, Dan Storms, puts it better than I ever could. He says:

"On the one hand, let’s not forget that the preaching of the cross scared, scandalized, and offended virtually everyone in the first century, both Jews and Gentiles. The market research conducted by these churches is right on target. But they could have saved themselves a lot of money by simply reading 1 Corinthians 1:18-25. Yet Paul loudly and unashamedly and boldly proclaimed the gospel of a crucified Messiah! Indeed, when in Corinth he resolved not to know “anything among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). That message did more than scare people away, it led to persecution and stoning and imprisonment for those who dared preach it." [as an aside, the Gospel of John has an interesting v 18-25 passage of its own]

One of the coolest things is when you find other smart ppl who agree with you... Makes you think you might actually be right for once.

I love all kinds of music, though I tend towards the modern. I like the ol' fashioned, country church feel, though I gravitate towards the idea of something a little more 'hip' and culturally appropriate. I think we *should* be encouraging people that God loves them and wants the best for them.

However, all of those things need to be in the proper context. The modern music should seek to express the same truths and depths of worship that the hymn-writers set out so well. The schweet building (with optional Starbucks) should always be seen as the gathering place rather than part of, or all of, the message. After all, the actual temples of God are those people walking in and out every Sunday.

And while God does love us, we need to understand that love and how it stands in contrast to our complete sinfulness and rejection of God. As Christians we live under grace, secured for us by and in Christ, that ensures God has our best in mind even when times are hard (which they will inevitably be).

I took a long pause from writing to finish reading Dr. Storms' article... To give him propers, here's a great finisher:

"So, no, I’m not overly concerned that you leave church feeling good about yourself... I would rather know how you feel about God. Are you fascinated and enthralled with him, or with the state of your own psyche? Are you captivated and consumed with his beauty, or yours? ... Do what is absolutely and infinitely and incomparably the greatest, most loving, most fulfilling thing you can do for your soul: fixate and rivet your heart on the all-satisfying splendor and glory of God as revealed in the face of Jesus Christ." [!!!]

One of the things I am most thankful for is the church that Eva and I stumbled into over 4 years ago. I am thankful that, in an area that is rather spiritually dark, we found such a vibrant Body into which we could knit ourselves. Interestingly, we're growing and building a new facility to accommodate that growth. As a musician and congregant, I'm thrilled that we'll have a better place to worship... I'm most thankful, however, that our Pastors and Elders would rather flatten the curve and stay in 'our frumpy building' than compromise on the message the world needs.

So, I won't be buying Smilin' Joel's book. And I won't be attending Lakewood anytime soon...

And to my friend - I certainly think that you can 'be saved' in a pop-culture mega church... No doubt about it. What worries me is if you're getting fed something Sunday in and Sunday out that will really help you weather life... Will it really help you understand the depth of who Christ is and what He did for you/me?

When asked by Larry King, (paraphrasing) 'Are people who don't believe your way wrong?', PJ Olsteen responded:

"Well, yes. Well, I don't know if I look at it like that. I would present my way, but I'm just going to let God be the judge of that. I don't know. I don't know." [emphasis mine - transcript here]

As a pastor of a church, he *should* know. And the world he is called to, and the Gospel he serves, deserves a better presentation of truth than that.

But he *did* tell me a good joke one week...


Monday, January 9

Just what I wanted...

Happy Monday, everyone. I hope that you're back to getting your weekly grooves on.

So, what is missing in my blogging life? Why do I sometimes post and feel so unfulfilled. Why do I *nag*, as MLF said, for people to comment in my blog?

It occurred to me last night: I'm looking less for a diary and more for conversation. This is probably obvious to y'all since your ears have been chewed off by me many occasions (figuratively speaking, of course).

So, I have addressed this problem. In a brilliant stroke - thanks, in part, to Hearn's aborted attempt at this - I've started a message/discussion board! I *know*!!! Ain't it cool?

Here's the goal that I've concocted for all this internet mayhem.
  1. You'll read my blog.
  2. Enticed by the insightful wit, you'll wish to interface and debate me
  3. You'll visit the board, log in, and say what's on your mind.
  4. A lively discussion/debate of all things theological, musical, or otherwise absurd will take place.
So, peep the new board and raise the ante on this whole intarweb community that we're fostering! The first point for thought, ripped largely from ABF yesterday, is up and awaiting insights.

For now, I'm the smartest person on the board. That will change in 3... 2... 1... *drat*

Friday, January 6

Sing it with me... "Getting to know you"

Alright... Well, PatL asked nicely that I fill this out. I guess the right thing is to do so... It's worth noting that I'll probably be a lot more verbose than she was. What can I say? That's my steelo.

Four Jobs You've Had in Your Life: From recent to past - Project Gopher, Geek, Music Salesguy, and Musician.

Four Movies You Could Watch Over and Over: *ponders* This is hard. The LOTR movies would rank up there. I'm not sure to count that as one or three. Just to stretch things out, let's call that one. The original Matrix has to be included. Two other faves would probably be Good Will Hunting and Dead Poets Society. Though I certainly couldn't watch any of them 'Over and Over'.

Four Places You've Lived: Again, from recent to past - Windsor and White River Junction, VT; Scenic and bustling Royersford, PA; and Newark, Delaware (the home of the Hens and the center of my world during the fall).

Four Websites You Visit Daily: Like Pat, I'm on gmail constantly. I'll avoid listing the sites from work since they are probably not what you're looking for ("Gee! Who know MSProject was so fascinating?")... I check most of the links that I have on this page, honestly. Go to them (see right sidebar) and know my mind.

Four TV Shows You Love To Watch: Ummm... Could care less? If I had to pick, I'd list TVU's Ten Most Wanted and Good Eats. I personally think Good Eats is the best show on television.

Four of Your Favorite Foods: Easy. Ribeye Steak cooked on the rare side of medium-rare with fresh cracked salt and pepper. Second place goes to any other realtively tender cut of the cow.

At this point, it's important to note that red meat has to be served with some type of potato. To separate them has caused bloodshed in some cultures. I'll take mine any way but mashed, thanks.

Third would be bread - hot from the oven, with butter (and perhaps a little honey, too). Fourth would be grilled sausages on a sub roll, with mustard, peppers, and onions.

Yes, I know this is the picture of health... Any mother looking at this is aghast at the lack of green veggies. If it makes you feel any better, I'll use parsley to garnish the plate that my steak 'rests' on. To me, anything I excluded from this list (that isn't somehow considered barbecue) is not worthy of being called food.

Four Albums You Can't Live Without (at least for the moment): Yipes. That's hard. To provide a framework to process this in, I'm going to treat this as a "desert island"-type question. So, I would have to say:
John Coltrane "Giant Steps"
Ken Dixon "Phanta Morgana"
Berstein conducting Mahler 5 & 9
Any assortment of Bach Cantatas

There are some who will think that mentioning Ken's album is a total shill since I was on it... But I seriously think it's one of the best albums I've ever heard - musically. So, if you're reading this go check it out.

Four Places You'd Rather Be: Sitting in section C or D (row B), as the Hens are crushing anyone - and, after this season, I literally mean anyone; Hanging out Eva and 4 friends (that seems to be a good number)... Between those, I'm happy.

Four People Who Are Now Obligated To Do This to Their Blog: Not a chance that I name someone. If anyone else who reads this is up for it, then I take that as a sign of 'higher purpose'.

Pssst.... Do I smell bad?

One quickie here: How come MLF's random thoughts and quips have already generated more comments on the first day of posting then my entire blog?

I guess since I account for fully 40% of the comments on his site, I should be blaming myself... The other person to blame is my own wife for pete's sake. Where's the love for the Dluxe?

Thursday, January 5

Oh, to be 'deep'

Well, today I've been nagged to post by two different people. Since this accounts for at least 50% of the readers out there I must respond. By the way, the 50% is probably assuming a pretty generous denominator for my division. But it's all about the spin!

Since I had nothing particular to say, I'll share another quote I came across that I really like. Those of you who get emails from me or have viewed my profile know that I like G.K. Chesterton. I read his books "Orthodoxy" and "Everlasting Man" in 11th grade on the recommendation of a pastor... And I would, in turn, recommend them to anyone who wants a thought-provoking read. I haven't read the source book for this quote - "What I Saw In America" - but came across it in a Ravi book and liked it:

"The Declaration of Independence dogmatically bases all rights on the fact that God created all men equal; and it is right; for if they were not created equal, they were certainly evolved unequal. There is no basis for democracy except in a dogma about the divine origin of man." [emphasis mine]

I certainly don't want to revisit the whole "Founding Fathers: Deist, Atheist, or Christian?" thing... I did think it was interesting, however, that Chesterton essentially uses the defining characteristic of evolution - variation being selected over time - to deliver a philosophical 'gut-punch'. Without some inherent, externally validated worth, how could we ever claim any reasonable measure of equality exists?

Perhaps there's some terse response to this that completely disarms the argument. I don't really care. I just wish I could have a brain that would think of things like this in the first place.

Oh to have been a philosophy major... Surprisingly, that wouldn't have diminished my earning power at all!

Sunday, January 1

Gary Busey?!!?!?!?!??

Ok... I am flummoxed.

So, I'm wrapping up my quasi-weekly ritual of watching TVU's little music video block last night (Saturday). With church Sunday morning approaching quickly, I was getting ready to head to bed. As I was trying to turn the TV off, I accidentally switched the channel to TBN. Yep, The Big-hair (Christian) Network.

Imagine my surprise when I'm greeted by the tear-stained mug of Gary Busey.... Wait! Gary Busey???

Yep, it was him... The movie, with mad props to Google, appears to have been "Tribulation"... This obviously high-quality, eschatological thrill ride appears to have been released in 2000, though I swear to you that I would've dated it circa 1983. The J-Man (r)(c) has repeatedly told me that "there was nothing bad that came out in the 80s". I should've known.

Feel free to read the summary of the plot if you'd like... I can give you my review by saying that nothing sells the dire circumstances of the end times like Busey's dead pan oddness. The worst part is that, like some cosmic train wreck, I wasn't able to tear my eyes off the screen. It seemed this movie was playing tricks with me. "Wait, that looks like Howie Mandel... No way. Geez, way. Is that Margot Kidder?? This is just strange."

Who I was talking to, out loud, at nearly 2:45am is unclear... Most interestingly, as the movie wrapped up they played several other CloudTen trailers. I wonder how Nick Mancuso must like having been cast as the antichrist/Satan in 4 films? That's gotta be a fun talking point on your resume.

I'm not trying to make light of the tribulation or end times at all... But, I'm sleeping better knowing that when it gets here a complete nutjob will thwart the powers of darkness and save the world for another day.

I don't think that's the way it ends in the book, but that's why we have Hollywood!