Saturday, November 22, 2008

G.K. Chesterton on Humility in the Wrong Place

I think this is what made the election season so hard for me:


"What we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert--himself. The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt - the Divine Reason. . . . The new skeptic is so humble that he doubts if he can even learn. . . . There is a real humility typical of our time; but it so happens that it's practically a more poisonous humility than the wildest prostrations of the ascetic. . . . The old humility made a man doubtful about his efforts, which might make him work harder. But the new humility makes a man doubtful about his aims, which makes him stop working altogether. . . . We are on the road to producing a race of man too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table."


HT: Josh Harris

Friday, November 21, 2008

Travel round up part 3

Things that weren't obvious to me, but might be to you:


Free wireless is very hard to find internationally. . . . . Especially at European airports :) It's like 6 euros an hour (around 10 dollars). So, be ready for that, with a credit card.


Have trident chewing gum on you at all times while you're en route. It helps with a) bad breath after breathing airplane air for 12 hours. b) lack of ear pain for takeoffs/landings c) able to kiss your wife most of the time, even if you've woken up from a 3 hour "nap" on an airplane. Always a good idea.

Either have a fanny pack (hopelessly lame) or one of these new "neckstrap pouch/holder things" for passport/boarding pass/a little cash/etc. . .. . It's good to just have those things on your person, they can fall out of your carry-on sometimes. :) I wish I had a picture of ours. . but it's like a large wallet attached to a long neckstrap (so it goes under your shirt). Very handy.

Don't eat fresh food/drinks anywhere in a 3rd world country. By fresh I mean. . . . vegetables/unbottled water/tea/fruits/salad. If it's not water. . .it's washed in water and not cooked. (vegetables have alot of local water in them)

I'm often ridiculed for my diet. . . . some of it is warranted. :) But, I ate chicken and bread for 5 days in Ethiopia and never even felt sick. hate the game, don't hate the player. . . . . .


Figure out when you should sleep/stay awake based on where you are headed. Try to sleep on planes/layovers/etc. . . . .to keep yourself on a schedule. The first day you arrive at a destination, try to just power through until normal sleeping hours, local time. The next day you'll be good to go (even though that first night will probably not be your best night of sleep). I've been bitten by this in the past as I've flown to Europe all the way to Australia. . . .it's important to think through this.

You can't pay for advice like this . . . . .

Crazy Aaron.
Crazy Aaron. . .

Travel round up part 2

Here's some of the things we bought for the trip. . . . . .



Rocketfish portable power source: B



This is a nice little gadget. It's like a mini-generator for small electronics. It gives 40 hours to an I-Pod, 4 hours to a DVD player, and 2 hours to a laptop.

It worked really well, and because of this little gadget, Jody and I were able to watch the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy on my laptop during our trip. It has US power and USB hookups.

The only problem, is it doesn't work really well in small intervals You have to charge it all night. . and it works great. If you use it a bit, turn it off and then come back. . etc. . . . it seemed to not have alot of juice left.


Sony Extended Life Battery: A -


This battery gives you about 3 1/2 hours of power on your laptop. If you're a non-Mac user (and not an elitist :) ) It's the best thing for your PC. As stated earlier, we watched some pretty long movies via Windows Media Center (not wmplayer. . . it's way nicer).

It does get pretty hot. . .thus the A -


Canon PowerShot A 590: A +

This is a ridiculous camera. We bought it with an 8 gig memory card and it takes video up to like 5 or 6 minutes at a time, has a vast array of photo presets, and the batteries seem to last a long time.

I actually like shorter videos better than going the traditional camcorder/dad/annoying birthday party route :). It's good accountability to have to limit your video length :)

I obviously can't take a picture of the camera or memory card. . .but check it out, it's great!


Monster Headphone splitter: A ++



If you're like me, you've tried to jerry-rig headphone inputs for years. . stereo to mono, pulling the plug half way out, 1/8-1/4 adapters, shorting out cables. . . .etc

This does all the work for you, there's independent volume control for both sides. Both sides are in stereo, and Monster connections are the best in the business. ( I have them for all my guitar stuff).

It's great if you're traveling with someone else because of the different volume controls and flexibility of the cable.

Xilisoft Video Converter Ultimate: A -

This is a little free trial video compressor/converter. It makes putting videos on facebook/blogger/wordpress/youtube, etc. . . very easy by compressing your videos for you. It works very fast, and you set the quality and size perameters before it converts. It literally takes 5 minutes to upload a video all the way to blogger from your camera.

The only bummer is that your free trial version cuts every video in half. But, if you have a nice camera you can just film what you want and then point the camera towards the floor until you've doubled the length of your video. . . then it cuts the video perfectly! (I'm all about rednecking the video compression :) )



Ok, enough of my evaluations. . I'll stop boring all of you. . . here's a video of Malachi (and Eden) working on the quads. Enjoy!


video

Crazy Aaron's Travel Round-Up

Hi everyone.

So, we've been back for two weeks now. Things are going really well; I wish I wasn't coming back to an insanely busy work season, finishing off the new album, and the madness of the Holidays. . . . but that's ok. We're adjusting well to Malachi, and he's doing really well with us. I'm learning that it's harder to wake up for the early morning feedings when you're in your 30's as opposed to your 20's. :)

When I used to wake up and feed Providence, I was 22. . . .yikes, the years go fast.

Anyway, Malachi is a blessing, and he's brought alot of joy to our house.

I thought I could be of service to some of you by offering my opinions on all things related to world travel.

Perhaps not. . . . .but here goes anyway. . .

CRAZY AARON'S TRAVEL ROUND UP!!!!!

(I think I'll get my own show on PBS, I'll get you, Rick Stevens!!)

Airports:

We flew into 5 different airports and stopped for gas in The Sudan and Syria. .

(apparently the only places to get gas in the eastern hemisphere are really dangerous countries. . .but it was the middle of the night both times. And, they didn't print that on our tickets :) (for obvious reasons)
Here's the rundown:

Denver: B. Still looks like new, and operates pretty swiftly as airports go. Downgraded because of over eager security/immigration/agricultural personnel. But, I guess that's for the best . . . .

Calgary: B+. Very nice airport. Nice little mall area for the international terminal. Jody and I got massages before our overnight trip to London. Downgraded for lack of good restaurants, distance from the city, and lack of power outlets for my laptop. (much more on this in the next post)

London Heathrow: A -. This airport is bigger than my hometown. It's a small city and you have to take buses to get around to the different terminals. But, it's kind of cool because you feel like you're in London with the cool buses and all. The international terminal is great because there's a pretty large mall with a few restaurant choices. The only bad part was the smell of fresh fish and calamari next to the coffee shop at 6 a.m. Small downgrade for the power outlets in the wall not working.

Addis Ababa (Bole international airport, Ethiopia): A -. Big international area. There were a multitude of restaurants. . but none seemed to be stellar. Big upgrades for many Islamic and Orthodox Christian clerics walking around in full dress (with posse in tow).

Frankfurt: D Very few restaurants (I remember 1). . . . long "death star-esque" terminal walkways. . .some rude German people.

Airlines:

United: C Still just the worst airline to work with. They have good planes and they own the Denver airport. . . but that doesn't mean that they can be unhelpful, terse, and pompous. (ok, I'm done, sorry)

BMI, Air Canada: B They have some cool media centers on the back of the seat in front of you. British Midland even has video games with a controller.

Lufthansa: A++++. This is the most ridiculously nice airline I've ever worked with. Their planes are huge, their staff is helpful and friendly, they have hi-end media centers on the seats in front of you. . where you pick movies, tv shows, music, etc. . . I got to watch a documentary on Leonard Bernstein and then "30 Rock". Who knew?
A Lufthansa phone operator upgraded me to a bulkhead/basinet(crib) seat with no extra charge and no hassle. And, the steward (is that what the man-stewardesses are called???) kept warming up cold water for Malachi's bottle. Very helpful. . .
The planes have a downstairs bathroom area with 7 (roomy) bathrooms, two of which had changing tables for the baby. The whole company is a class act. If you're flying to Europe (especially from Denver), you gotta fly Lufthansa. By the 2nd flight, I was actually looking forward to getting on the plane. Well, I guess i was coming out of the Frankfurt airport :) but still. . . .


My next post will evaluate some of the travel gadgets that Jody and I came across. . . .

Crazy Aaron

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Bittersweet

We started to get a little sad for Malachi that he was leaving his country, perhaps forever, . . but at least for a long time. Here's some of his last moments in the Ethiopian airport with his amazing mother. . . . .


video

Friday, November 7, 2008

Play time

So, besides governmental appointments and eating. . . this is what we did alot in Ethiopia. We got to know Malachi a bit. He wanted to do this by plaing with us. . .so we did! Here's a video of he and Jody from the hotel room.

Aaron


video

Starting early

Here's a video of me and Malachi learning the basics of sports. . . . good times.

Aaron
video

Hello Germany!

Ok, so we'll commence with the media. . . . . here is one of my favorite pictures from the trip. . . . most of the kids from our group at the Ethiopian Airport. I'll start figuring out video while this loads.


Aaron

Malach is staring off into space, 2nd from the right.

Mein Name ist Malachi, Ich bekam mein Visum, und Ich werde zum deutschen Flughafen angef├╝hrt!!!!

(My name is Malachi, I got my visa, and I'm headed to the German airport!!!!!)   

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The lines for me have fallen in pleasant places (one of my favorite psalms)

Hi all,

Well, we finally got some photos up, (as you can see on my wife's
blog; brittonadoptionjourney.blogspot.com)

The key there was to resize the photos very, very tiny in Snapfire,
and then to kick everyone else off the computers at the hotel , and
email at 9 pm when the phones aren't busy in Addis :) We went 3 for
3 (although the other computers weren't functioning at the time, so
no one was "kicked off" but the dial up lanes were clear :) )

I'm readying a bunch of pictures and video for the German airport
tomorrow night to upload all at once. It should happen around
Midnight Denver time-ish. But, at any rate all can partake in the
goodness when you wake up on Saturday.

God is really, really good. We have a stunningly handsome boy that
sleeps well and likes to play! As of now, he doesn't like getting
put down or transferring between people, he's still a little scared
there. But, when we saw the orphanage and transition home, that was
understandable :).
speaking of the orphanage, that was a very tough trip. . . roughly 70
kids, 30 babies all together. They are well taken care of, but some
of the babies were sick, had IV's, and they all needed a home. :(
The older kids were in school and sang us a wonderful song. Jody
tucked in some of the babies with new, warm blankets from Omaha
(thanks Aunt Lynette). We saw the room where Malachi lived for a few
months. Very sad there, very emotional. . . .

We can't wait to get home. The German embassy was much more "all
business" than the US embassy. We were all wanded, and they had me
remove everything from the diaper bag to check. After a few
questions, they told us to come back at noon tomorrow for the visa for
Malachi.

Apparently 1 year old orphans are very dangerous in German airports
(sheesh). Seriously, American citizens don't need a visa, but 1 year
old Ethiopians do. . . . . oh well. . .they won't understand my
complaints anyway, so I'll keep them to myself.

So, if that happens we're good to go at 10pm tomorrow night to
Germany. (noon Colorado time). If that doesn't happen, I'm off
to the Ethiopian airport to buy a ticket for NYC (via dubai). I feel
good about Germany happening. . our agency helped us alot there.

All of the Ethiopians (except the one's employed by the German
embassy :) ) are ecstatic over the Obama victory. I couldn't sleep
well last night, so I saw the whole thing, and there was much
rejoicing in this country. They really see this as a triumph for
their people, and in an in-direct way, it really is. Very historic
moment.

I miss home, miss diatonic music (outside of some great old school Bon
Jovi at the hotel, and George Benson in the vans) , and miss the kids.
Guys, dad is coming home soon, and he can't wait to see you. We'll
wrestle for a bit at the airport and make Malachi laugh (he has a
great laugh).

See everyone soon,

Aaron

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Good first day

Well, we brought Malachi home tonight. . gave him some food. .a bath,
and put him to bed. We'll see how he sleeps, but he ate alot and he
likes to play, especially with basketballs (there was much
rejoicing).

There is a rumor that an internet cafe exists close by that actually
gets wi-fi. So, after we go to the US embassy tomorrow for Malachi's
visa, we'll see if we can't sneak down there so I can upload some
media. Sorry for the delay. I hope it doesn't have to wait until
friday night at the German airport (worst case scenario). So,
anyway, . . no promises, but hope springs eternal. :)

Thanks for everyone's comments. . . The nuggets trade is crazy ( but I
like it :) ). . . and I feel for everyone who's waiting for a
picture. I've been waiting through alot of status wheels, the last
few days :)

He has a shaved head now, and looks pretty slick if I do say so
myself. . .Sam, we need to keep up appearances, as he is currently the
best looking man in the family :)

God bless everyone,
Aaron

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hello Malachi!

Hi all,

Well, yesterday was an amazing day. We got to meet our son, hang out
with him, and watch him sleep for 2 hours. :).

Jody covered our first meeting over on her blog
(brittonadoptionjourney.blogspot.com), so I'll let you read it there.

I commenced to try and send off a slew of videos and pictures, but
alas, we are on dial-up here in Ethiopia. During free time today and
tomorrow, I'm going to try and find an internet cafe, so that all of
you can share in our experience, until then, you'll have to "settle"
for my wife's wonderful writing. She does a great job. . . her
technical director stinks and currently has failed in his tasks :)

Also, they don't have blogger in Ethiopia, so we must use the
gmail/blogger email interface, which via dialup. . . . doesn't work
for any kind of media :).

But, I press on. . . . . .

There's a bunch of funny stories that I'll start to blog about once I
except defeat from the dial-up internet (hasn't happened yet :) )

Here's one quick one: The election is all over the news here (we
only get CNN and the BBC). So, I was down watching my computer's
status wheel turn and the receptionist asks me if I've voted. I told
her I voted before I left, and she said "McCain, yes?". I said
"yes". She said "Obama is a Muslim, yes? I have heard this." In
Ethiopia this would be a very bad thing for 1/2 the country, it's very
divided along religious lines. Some lies can travel across the world
:)

I told her that it was a rumor, and not true, but that I just agreed
with McCain's policies more. Sigh. . . . .

More to come,
Aaron

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Hello Ethiopia!

Hi all,


We've landed. . we're doing well. . no shots were fired when we were in Syria  (except, apparently on their border with Iraq).   The coffee is really good here, and needed since I've slept about 3 hours since Saturday.  It should hit me in about 3 hours.  But, I'll have copious amounts of Ethiopian coffee coarsing through my veins at that point. 

Jody's being a champ, she's even sharing our 1 water glass with me in our room.  (she hates doing this :)  )   Our room is very nice, and Malachi will have a pretty kickin' crib for a few days.  We'll get some pictures up later today. 

We get to meet Malachi after lunch today,. . that's exciting.  Then we'll leave him at the transition home tonight, and pick him up for good tomorrow.  

Oh yeah, . .and the guy who runs the desk at our hotel rocks old school Bon Jovi at 7:30 in the morning!  (now).   All is right in the world.

 I have alot of thoughts to post about the middle east and the muslim culture in London.  . . . later  :)  



God bless,

Aaron
videoSo, this is the first of what will hopefully be many enthralling videos.  I've (obviously) never honored the rule:  "if you don't have anything interesting to say, don't say anything at all".  So, here goes.  I promise they'll get better.

The trip run down so far:

conversations with my wife :  good

canadian food:   bad

free wi fi:  nowhere

Get smart, the movie:  good

London:   foggy

Thai airlines plane:   humoncreous 

The smell of fresh fish and espresso side by side:   interesting

Monday, October 27, 2008

kids message to Malachi

videoHere's a message from all the kids to Malachi. . . .

Friday, October 24, 2008

Dreaming of gorilla greatness

If you're a drummer (and I used to be) you've always dreamed of playing this drum fill in front of thousands of screaming fans. (or to your mirror)

And, let me just say, that this says nothing of my affinity/lack of affinity for the work of Phil Collins.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Election prediction

Hi all,

Well, it's been a while since I posted. But, after last night, I thought I would go ahead and make a prediction on this presidential campaign. The campaign is actually one of the reasons I haven't posted very often recently. I'm finding this year's race to be especially divisive, passionate, and contrasted. I find myself at odds with alot of people I feel close to, and thus have decided just to keep quiet instead of causing strife in various relationships.

So, when I've felt passionately about something over the last few weeks, I've usually just not said anything because it seems like folks really don't want to give any ground or credit to the party they disagree with. This is hard for me, (I have kind of a "devil's advocate" personality) because I like to show how both sides have a point, and I don't think we're being honest if we can't find something we dislike in our candidate or like in another. . . . . I think Barack Obama has tried to bring this ethic into the campaign at times, but, as a country, unfortunately we're not ready for nuanced debate like that, yet. Actually, forget Obama's nuanced debate. . . we're not ready for honesty in this country like that, because we feel such a need to deify our candidate and be right in our views that we ignore the good and bad that is at work in both parties, and both candidates. God help us.

There are fields where a healthy dose of certainty, and even dogmatism is appropriate and healthy,. . .theology comes to mind. . . . . but, let's be honest in saying that politics is not such an arena, if for no other reason than the party you passionately agree with has actually changed their views, operations, and platform based on focus groups, polling, and "how can we get as many votes and as much power as possible". They're not looking out for you in any kind of a "pure" way, they're searching for power. Ironically enough, this kind of dogmatism and pompous arrogance characterizes the majority of all politics in America today and the very attitude that isn't appropriate for this arena.. . . . . dominates it.

But, I digress. . . . . . .


I find myself, this year, agreeing with John McCain on almost all substantive policy decisions. My wife and I are a little concerned about his health care plan,. . . . but again, let's be honest. . . we have not had a president in the last 20 years actually inact a comprehensive health care plan. They've all tried :) the health care lobby is powerful in Washington, and any reform that is passed will be a compromise of some sort. So, we shouldn't get too hung up on the nuance of a proposal like that, which will undoubtedly be changed and tweaked, should it come up for debate in the next 4 years.

But, on fiscal issues, moral issues, leadership issues, etc. . . I find myself aligning with McCain this year. I'll vote based on that.

I don't think, however, that McCain will win. One of the commentators last night, after the debate, said rhetorically "Do Americans really want to see this man on their t.v.'s for the next 4 years?" (speaking of McCain). This is a powerful question, and one that I think many Americans will vote "no" on. :)

John McCain is just not very likeable on camera, and in his zeal to show his plans to the American people, he looks stiff, eager, and at times, desperate.

Barack Obama is the coolest customer we've seen in a while. In fact, I'm interested to see him flustered. His method of dealing with awkwardness, or attack/disagreements is to interrupt the attacker and talk long enough that the room settles down and everyone knows that he's got it under control. I've seen him do this many times before last night,. . . but last night was classic as well. It's genius really, and I'm sure many Americans are ready, again, for an eloquent president. I think he'll win.

I find Barack Obama to be an earnest man, with high ideals. I think he is well intentioned, well though out, and well-spoken.

So, there's the prediction. I'll be in prayer and hope that if Obama wins, all of our good work as Christians on the abortion issue will not be undone by passing a barbaric law, such as the Freedom of Choice Act. (it is a misnomer, and a complete lie that nothing has been done on Abortion in the last 8 years). That's probably my largest concern about a potential Obama presidency.

I hope we can still be friends, and I look forward to talking about other things, like the NBA, or music, or theology. . . . . . . . :)

Nov. 4th, come quickly,

Aaron

Friday, October 3, 2008

Staind

I must admit, I've been taking alot of humorous satisfaction from the band, "Staind".

If you don't remember them, they had a really slow, hit song a few years ago. . . .something about "I"m on the outside, . . . . see your true colors", etc. . . Fred Durst "sang" guest vocals.

Anyway, they were always really heavy, thoughtful, depressed, etc. . . With a first album, you assume that the marketing is authentic (maybe I shouldn't , but I do).


But, now that they have a new album out, its really just too funny. :) Their new video has the lead singer walking along the beach. . . . in slow motion (really slow motion). I would challenge anyone to name me a "staind" song that is faster than 88 bpm. (if you're not a musician. . that's kind of slow for a rock band :) )

To cap off my enjoyment, the new record is named "The illusion of progress" (ha ha, I laugh as I type). This follows releases like "Break the cycle" and "disturbed".

talk about the marketing of sadness. . . . . .


It's like "Come buy my album, I'M UNBELIEVABLY DEPRESSED!!". "You have no idea how depressed I am!!"

I don't know why, but I find all of this very funny.

Somehow, I knew this was coming. . . .



If you go to www.xanga.com/emprise34 you can read the story of how they learned this song during the sermon at their church. . . . .awesome.












Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Funny sad

So, I feel sorry for this woman. . .and I also think this is one of the funniest articles I've read in a while.

wow

two big questions:

1) how did they not think she was older than high school and check her birth certificate or something?

2) Does anyone think this would work for me at GHS for basketball? I shaved today! I'm ready coach, put me in!!!!!


(HT: Relevant magazine)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Future Grace

This is a book, and concept that changed my life about 10 years ago. John Piper explains, in a nutshell, what the book is about, and how Future Grace affects us today.

Aaron

New paradigm

I highly recommend reading this series of posts by Dr. David Powlison. He confronts the current, popular understanding of psychology, and gives biblical perspective to our therapeutic times.

There are about 5 posts in all. . . I say, take some time and read all of them.


here is part 1

Part 2 and 3 can be found at the bottom of part 1.

And here is a clarification regarding some questions from readers.

Here are some new posts called "The therapeutic gospel"

(HT: Justin Taylor)


Aaron

Ready for it to be over

I am officially ready for the election to be over.

We are at the phase of the campaign where every word spoken by a candidate in the last 10 years is analyzed and shredded beyond repair.

We're at the phase where the campaign gives the press the "heads up" that a speech will contain a juicy line. . . . so the press shows up and acts like it was all spontaneous.

We're at the phase where not only are the opinions of the candidates on trial, . . .but the reactions to opinions or news stories are also analyzed.


Basically, if you're running for president or VP, and you plan on talking, eating, moving, or breathing over the next two months. . . prepare to see it on t.v. soon.

waiting patiently for the debates,
Aaron

Friday, September 5, 2008

Let the randomness commence!

Sorry for the blog silence. . . . I was in a glass case of my own emotion for 2 weeks. . . . . .or just really busy.

Here we go:


--Politics got a little interesting, no? Obama's speech was epic, and he even had the chance to outline some specific policies. That was a great moment at Invesco Field, for him and for all of us.

Palin's speech was comparable (and nearly equally watched) and gave some much needed juice to John McCain's campaign.

For me, this decision comes down to a few simple things:

1) one of those things is NOT the war. Chances are, we will have a pull-out agreement signed before the new president is sworn into office. Neither Obama nor McCain will pull us out any sooner or later than the other.

2) Do you think John McCain will make the same LEADERSHIP mistakes of GWB? Most of GWB's policy mistakes are actually leadership mistakes (i.e. not building consensus, spinning the truth for popularity, caving to other interests). If you think McCain will do those same things (or Obama, for that matter) than you won't vote for that person. GWB, in my opinion, is a good person, well intentioned, and a "great hang" even for democrats.

I think he was poor leader, and his victories in lowering taxes (not a policy mistake) were almost negated by his caving to other interests to raise spending. Can the next president avoid this kind of thing?

3) Do you think Obama has enough experience?

I know it gets lost in the paranoia and hyperbole of campaigning (on both sides), but the fact is, he's only been a senator for 2 years, which most of the time was spend forming his presidential campaign. This should not lead to gotcha campaigning by conservatives, or lies by democrats,. . .it's a real issue that should be dealt with soberly.

Some think his lack of direction is a good idea. . . . . freshness/new direction/etc. . . . . So that's a big decision in this campaign.

4) Is McCain too old?

Again, fair question. . . and one that probably won't get asked because of political correctness.

That's some food for thought, for now. . . . I'm sure I'll have more to say as the time gets closer.


-------------------------------------------

--It was nice to watch some football again last week. There's something about fall, school back in, weather, football, etc. . . that makes me really nostialgic.

--I'm really enjoying continuing production on our next album in 519. We're telling the story of the gospel on this one, . . . . all the way from our need, to His arrival, to His death and ressurection, to the songs of Heaven,. . . . .and then to the reality of "tomorrow morning". I'm excited, good sounds are coming out.

--The new Chris Tomlin album is epic! I love it how folks bash him for "more of the same", "not breaking new ground", etc. . . .

Chris Tomlin is a worship leader, not a career building musician, or even an "artist" in the sense of trying to make new and interesting things for the sake of making them new and interesting.

He's concerned about "the people" singing and folks encountering God by singing his songs. That being said, there are some new textures on this album, . . .some more orchestration/epic soundtrack kind of stuff. It's really good, check it out, the album is called "Hello Love".

--USA basketball won, but did not dominate in every game. Are the days of USA blowouts over? Well, as long as the best players from the other countries are in the NBA, I say yes. I'll stop writing about this now, but basically the reason why there is a more level playing field is because all of the other countries are coming here to learn how to play.

--That being said, there is some hype/lies/misinformation about certain "all-stars" on the US team. I won't name names now, but some of the international players who are bench warmers in the NBA are actually comparable talent-wise with some of our "stars". Basically, just don't believe everything you read, or every sports-center highlight.

Happy Fall everyone!
Aaron

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Clothing is nice

So, I went to the mall with the fam on Saturday and was taken aback/bamboozled/caught unawares by the lack of clothing on many of the ladies.

Luckily, a) my son, Sam, was more interested in his frappucino and b) Providence was not there, but at a friend's party.


HEY LADIES!!! Cover thyself,. . to not do so is not only questionable. . . .its also out of style, which is obviously, most important.

Don't believe me?


(HT: Josh Harris)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Gloves off

Well, we've officially reached the point in the presidential campaign where the gloves have come off.

John McCain compared Barack Obama to Paris Hilton, as if that somehow makes him unfit for President. And, today, Obama put out an add condemning McCain for owning 7 houses. . . as if that somehow makes him unfit for President.

whatever. . . . . . .

I love it how every 4 years we hear that "this will be a different campaign!!!!", etc. . . .

Maybe we'll move on one day. At least there will be a bit of a reprieve during the conventions (at least in the way of t.v. ads).

Aaron

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

From the mouth of Babes...

It's been too long!!!!!!!!
But, alas the people want their toddler-wisdom. I aim to please.


Sam: Did Jericho have chimney sweeps?



Good question, Sam,. . . I"ll take it up with Dick Van Dyke, Mary Poppins, and Rahab!

Get anything out of it?

Alot of us interact with "sermons" or bible reading with the over-arching question "Did I/you get anything out of it?". This is not an evil question, but I think it is a question that is used by the evil one that causes us to: 1) dismiss certain parts of scripture 2) dismiss the teaching of the pastor God has put in your life at this present time 3) put ourselves on the throne of accepting/rejecting the truth of scripture (i.e. we judge the bible's effectiveness)

There are a few things to help us here:

1) All scripture was not written TO you. There is an immediate context of scripture that may not be your context. But, all scripture was written FOR you. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that all scripture is "useful" and much more importantly, all scripture is "God-breathed".

2) The "getting anything out of it" mindset is a consumeristic mindset that doesn't view God's word as always practical, the teaching of it as helpful, and ourselves as always sinful.

We don't know what we "need to get out" of any text or sermon. God knows that. We're not always aware of what we "need" spiritually. So, perhaps we "need" what God is placing before us, right now.

3) Many times we are pushing out all God-sent messages except the one we want to hear. We keep our minds, hearts, and worst of all, joy from God until he answers "THIS question!". Perhaps God does not want to address that issue right now. Perhaps there is a deeper heart issue that God is after that is underneath your question.

Perhaps that heart issue is what this particular bible passage or sermon is about. . . . . . . .

---------------------------------

I'm not saying we don't read the bible with personal application in view. We should. There are bible passages that speak to specific situations that we might happen to be in.

This might even happen often for us in a certain season. . . . absolutely.

But, let's not take a season of "in-direct-ness" in our bible reading or church life as God being silent, or our preacher stinks, or church is boring, etc. . . . . . . .

Perhaps it is us who has put the wall up ("God you must speak to me in THIS way") and us who are blind and deaf to what God is saying to us as we sit there, bored. I'm not trying to be harsh, I've been there, (I am there right now, . . .as we all are in certain areas,. . . .no one has zero blind spots).

God is working/speaking/using things with the goal of making us more like Christ.

Aaron

Monday, August 18, 2008

Abortion facts

So, I know most people don't want to talk about abortion these days. But, unfortunately there is some mis-information out there. So, I thought I'd bring some facts into the conversation.

There is an assumption being made that GWB has done "nothing" for the right-to-life issues over the last 8 years. Although perhaps not huge headlines, G-dub has been a part of some great decisions in that regard. . .here are some examples:

(HT: Joe Carter)

PROMISE: Prohibit federal funds for international family-planning groups that provide abortion-related services. (YES. By a directive issued Jan. 22, 2001.)
PROMISE: Sign legislation banning a late-term procedure opponents call "partial-birth" abortion. (YES. Nov. 5, 2003.)

Also, the "Born Alive Act" went through both houses of Congress. This act states that you cannot "finish off" an abortion if the child is fully outside the womb (conceivably because some mistake was made during the abortion).

As well, it should be noted, that abortions have gone down under President Bush. I'm not sure he deserves most of the credit for that, but with the "Freedom of Choice" act on the table right now, its important to note that a Pro-life president does have some influence over public policy/judicial decisions on this issue. By the way, if the "Freedom of Choice Act" gets passed in the future, I would have to think that abortions would undoubtedly rise.

-----------------------------------------------------

(HT: Theologica)

USNews.com has an article on research from the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit group that focuses on reproductive issues. These findings were published in the March 2008 issue of the Institute's journal, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.

The actual number of abortions dropped to a new low, with 1.2 million abortions in 2005, compared to a high of 1.6 million abortions in 1990.

The report does not include an analysis of why the levels have continued to decline. "We don't regard [the findings] as good or bad," Jones said. "It's a descriptive study."

The abortion rate for 2005 was 19.4 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44. In comparison, the rate was 29.3 abortions per 1,000 women in 1981, 21.3 abortions per 1,000 women in 2000, and 19.7 abortions per 1,000 women in 2004.

[HT: Alex Chediak]


------------------------------------------------------

Those numbers may seem a bit numbing. But, basically there were 400,000 less abortions in 2005 than there were in 1990 (and a decline from 2004 to 2005).

It's still reprehensible, . . but that's 400,000 lives.


Here's hoping and praying these numbers continue to decline until this is an unthinkable procedure.


Aaron

Saddleback Forum

Did anyone get to watch the Saddleback faith forum on Saturday night?


I thought it was 1) a great idea 2) executed well and 3) they should do it again. . . perhaps every 6 months :) (during the president's term in office) .


I must say that I came out of it liking John McCain more than I did before.

I still think that Obama is the superior orator, politician, and perhaps, thinker. . . . . But, I thought McCain got out of "robot mode" for a few minutes and shared his heart, and his beliefs in a clear and distinct way. I still think he needs to lose the "my friends" thing. But, I think he took a good step at this forum.

Anyone else have thoughts?

Nice. . . . .

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,405187,00.html

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Two links. . . and some randomness

Let's commence with the randomness:

--I threw a 6 a.m., USA basketball party for myself this morning. It was fun,. . the US got revenge on Greece, and Sam learned how to kill a spider. It was a good morning.

--I'm really hooked on the Olympics. Jody is hopelessly bored with it, so I've cut back. But, Michael Phelps is compelling television. We both non-enjoyed the men's synchronized diving. That's all I have to say about that.

--I successfully avoided a blog-fight this week. It was a step of maturity to not succumb to "keyboard-rage" simply because I fundamentally disagree with someone. I felt good about that. I'm happier when I don't blog-fight.

--On that note. . . . .art is subjective. . . deal with it.

--I think we have found the athlete in the family (no, it wasn't me :) but you knew that). Eden ran a mile and a half yesterday without sweating, and then proceeded to ride her bike the same course the next day. She enjoys it!

------------------------
And off to the links. . . .

This is a really encouraging story about a former Hamas leader that has converted to Christianity. . some great quotes in here.. . . ."for 22 years Islam was my father, and the Father of Christianity told me "No, I am your father".

Be encouraged!


Here is a good post about praying with your kids and some ways to help your kids memorize important statements of faith. I thought it was really good because alot of the new, reformed, parenting stuff is rather legalistic (in my opinion) and I struggle with guilt when I read it. But, this is a grace-filled, helpful post,. . . read on parents!
(HT: Justin Taylor)

Aaron

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Read my lips

So, it was reported today that the little girl who sang during the Olympic Opening Ceremonies was lip synching. There has been alot of angst and hurt feelings over this. . . .and my response is. . really?? you didn't know??

The fact is that most large stadium/t.v. performances are lip synched. There are a few reasons for this.

1) when you perform at a large stadium, the slapback from the house sound system is so disorienting, that you get confused and can't stay with the music. . . if you were singing live.

2) There would, most likely, not be enough time to set up mics/bands/equip/ for so many performers and put that all through 1 sound system. Its not impossible,. . but just completely unwieldy to get together for a half-time show, for instance.

3) The sound quality of most "live" recordings that are completely live. . . . is not good. From time to time, folks shell out the money for a live recording and they bring extra equipment and it sounds acceptable. (folks still usually go into the studio later and overdub vocals and fix certain parts, etc. . . )

4) Mixing for t.v. is hard. . . . notice how most bands sound terrible on Jay Leno or Letterman.

Also, when you sing. . .you have to breathe occasionally,. . . you can't jump up and down and run a marathon while singing (hello Britney spears). . . .and for men , your adam's apple will move, and the muscles in your neck will flex.

So, when you watch people sing on t.v.. . just watch, listen and see if it matches up. Just because someone has a mic, does not mean you are hearing them. :)

Also, when you move around in front of a mic,. . your sound changes. So, listen and see if their volume is going up and down as they move around, turn their head, etc. . . . .

The girl from Beijing sounded like she was in the middle of the best recording studio in the world, and was 100% on pitch on every note. :)

-------------------

The Super Bowl is interesting, because they've done both. Tom Petty was obviously lip-synching last year (his vocals were note perfect, with a certain amount of reverb, and inflection. . . . and oh yeah. . . he backed away from the mic while his note was still ringing :) )

But, a few years ago. . . Sting was completely live. . .and I'm pretty sure Paul McCartney was too (unless his pre-recorded vocals were off on a few notes :) )

So, in the case of a super-huge, international event. . . the artist will sometimes get to do it live.

If you see some dude singing at the Citrus Bowl half-time show,. . . . I doubt it. And, I've never seen a Thanksgiving Day half-time show (or parade) that was not completely lip-synched.

Sometimes, they will setup a smaller sound system within a stadium, and then its alot easier to pull off. Its actually just like having a concert at a regular venue. This is what they do at Colorado Rockies games, for instance.

So, buyer beware.

I'm just here to help, everyone!!!! :)

Aaron

Thursday, August 7, 2008

You don't want to know

So, I was reading the story from Genesis 3 to my kids tonight. We read "The Jesus Storybook Bible" which I highly recommend,. . . it tells the story of Jesus throughout the scriptures, which is a good, reformed way of understanding the meta-narrative of scripture. . . but I digress.

The way they paraphrased the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" was like this: ". . .if you eat from this tree, you'll think you know everything. You'll stop trusting Me, and death and pain will come."

I thought that was a pretty amazing paraphrase, and one that hits home for me with a number of things going on in my life right now.

When things aren't going the way that we would like, we so quickly jump to the "why God" questions as if we know what is best for us. Its not wrong to question God, in the right spirit; David obviously had huge questions throughout his life, recorded in the Psalms.

But, really, we don't want to know the intricacy and the entirety of God's plan that he's working through our lives at any given moment. We couldn't handle it,. . .and as Adam and Eve so tragically showed, . . .we would undoubtedly screw it up. Its not like we handle our "limited knowledge" life flawlessly anyway. :)

To wrap up the evening, I played a little NCAA Football 2007 whilst listening to Matt Chandler's latest sermon. Its one of my favorite things to do while listening to a sermon :)

You've heard me recommend Chandler before on this blog,. . . . .but let me just be so bold to say, that you need to take 30 minutes and listen to this. Yes, you. . . you there. . . you need to hear this.

The sermon is entitled "Perplexing" and he honestly and forthrightly (as he does so well) deals with the fact that God is often concealing his plans from us. Not deceiving. . . . . God does not lie. . . .but concealing.

Do your soul a favor and check it out.

Aaron

"What if it were true that all of history was not about your life?"

Olympic Politics

One of my desires for US involvement in the games has come true. . . President Bush did come out against China's human rights record.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,399163,00.html


The Chinese responded with a quick "butt out", which was nice. :(

Also, the Chinese did not let an athlete from the "nation of Darfur" into the country. He was an American citizen and was denied his visa upon entering the country. He is part of a group trying to bring attention to the international stage about the plight of Darfur, Sudan.

http://www.denverpost.com/sports/ci_10120477

-------------------------------

The truth is this. . . . . . . China has a TERRIBLE human rights record, and just because they've "improved" since gaining the Olympic Games does not mean that they should be embraced with open arms.

They squash dissent in tChina. . . . from the Tibetan protesters, all the way to an athlete wishing to stand up for Darfur (there have been allegations that the Chinese are in cahoots with the oppressors in Darfur).

So, I'm not a fan of the Chinese government,. . .and I don't see why we're all walking on eggshells around them. Financial superiority does not mean moral superiority, and we should call a spade a spade.

I'll be watching the games, and I'll be rooting for the USA. But, I do hope that some form of protest and/or non-violent issue disrupts the games so that the world can see what is going on.


Aaron



ps. pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in China who secretly practice their faith under this oppresive regime. They are true heroes of the faith.

USA basketball

This is the aforementioned, promised blog about the current state of the USA basketball team at the Olympics. And, the first of two blogs about the Olympics. . .if you don't care about basketball, skip to the next one, it's about politics :)

---------------------------------------------------------

The Olympics begin tomorrow, and some of the athletes with the most pressure on them are the members of the USA men's basketball team. The reason for the pressure is that we haven't won a major international competition since 2000.

There are many reasons for this, but most of them are mis-reported, in my opinion. Here's my analysis of the recent history, and my prediction for the Olympics.


1) The US team did not fall from prominence because American players are "ball hogs" or "individualists".

If you look at the 2004 Olympic team, or even the disasterous 2002 World Championship team, you don't see guys going one-on-one all the time,. . . or one guy having 38 points, etc. . . . . Our teams knew they could not win with one-on-one basketball.

2) The World is not "catching up" to the US in the sense of "we're getting worse and they have better athletes/players now".

The world has improved a great deal since the global explosion of basketball in 1992. The way they've improved: coming to America :)

The best international players are 1) Manu Ginobli (2004 gold medalist) 2) Dirk Nowitzki (regularly scores over 30 in international play 3) Pau Gasol (2006 world champion)

All of these guys are NBA players and drastically improved their game AFTER PLAYING IN THE NBA. So, I prefer to say that the NBA talent/grade has not dropped off, . .but we've trained other countries here,. . . very well I might add.

3) The US has not lost because we haven't sent good enough players.

This is a hard one for me to swallow because even in 2004 I felt like we could've sent a better team (this was the team of AI, Tim Duncan, and Shawn Marion). But, alas, it doesn't matter anymore. There are too many NBA-level international players, and its our own fault if we can't put the best 5 guys out there for our country. So, we can't blame it on that.


---------------------------------


The two biggest reasons that the US has been unsuccesful lately are:
1) lack of continuity in the national team
2) lack of a game plan or system.

Before 2002 we did not need a "system" to win in international basketball. Our talent was so high above anyone else's that we didn't need a specific system. Once the world started to come here and learn, and we weren't sending our best guys. . . . . . we were defeated.

Also, other countries have had the same core in their international teams for years. The Argentinian team is essentially the same team from 6 years ago. There are 0 players on the US roster that played in the 2002 World Championship.

Some argue that the other countries aren't playing together year round either, so we can't make that excuse. But, when you reconvene with your nation's team. . . and its the same guys every time. . . .that makes a HUGE difference.


---------------------------------
Why I think we win the Gold this year

1) We have a system


Coach K has had these guys for 3 years now, running the same stuff and putting his philosophy on the floor. This is huge.

We have an undeniable talent advantage over every team. But, now we have a TEAM who is on the same page with one another after 3 years of experience doing the same things.

2) We have relatively the same team as we did in 2006

So, these guys have won together, lost together, and learned together. That's what went wrong in 2004, we had just dominated everyone at the Tournament of the Americas in 2003, defeating Argentina easily, and all the other teams. Then, before the Olympics, half of our team went away. TD, and Iverson were the two "core" players who were left and Coach Larry Brown didn't feel comfortable playing LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, or Carmelo Anthony.

So, in the 2004 games, we may not even have had the talent advantage over some international teams. . it was that bad. I mean, Stephon Marbury was on that team :)


Will we win? Watch two games closely. . . in the preliminaries, we play Spain and Greece. Both of those teams have beaten the USA lately. I actually think it would be good for us to lose one of these games to help our focus. (you can lose some games in the round robin and still advance to the medal round).

There has definitely been an arrogance problem for team USA in the last few years. That's what happened in 2006 when Greece defeated us at the WC's. The arrogance was partly on Coach K's shoulders for not changing up the lineup at crucial moments.

But, all of that has been good for us, as our arrogance has given way to focus (as you can see in the Olympic tune-ups), and I think we win this year.

Go Team USA!

Aaron

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Heartwarming

This little gem is for my two good buddies, Danny Debelius and Brian Dunn, who happen to work in the Lower Downtown section of Denver.

Have a great convention fellas!!! :)


Kicking the Bucket

The Denver City Council has unanimously passed an ordinance barring protesters from carrying buckets of feces during the convention. But some groups are calling the ruling excessive and insulting, because they say they have already signed an agreement promising not to toss, smear or spray feces.

The ruling also bars protesters from possessing chains, locks or other materials that could be used to create human barricades.

Friday, July 25, 2008

what key are we in?

Best blog from this week:


If anyone went to music school, this David Crowder post is hilarious.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Faith like a criminal

Luke 23:39-43

39
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"

40 But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."

42 Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."

43 Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."


So, I was reading this passage today and was struck by the crazy faith of the second thief. Remember that this conversation is happening as Jesus is hanging on the cross, humiliated, beaten, and almost dead. If there was ever a time for someone to doubt who Jesus was and what power He had, this would be the time.

Some probably see Faith in what the first thief said. But, by the reaction of the second thief we learn that those comments ("save yourself and us") were not out of a heart that feared God. It was an anxious heart (understandably) looking for a quick answer.

I wonder how many times my faith is like the first thief who wants God to do a certain thing, and wants it now.

I'm amazed at the quiet confidence of the second thief, who could see through the madness and chaos and put his only hope and faith in Jesus. Its crazy! How did the thief even see and know that Jesus would have a "kingdom"? The King was on the cross next to him!

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.

Lord, help us to develop a quiet confidence in You and in the ultimate outcome of your plans, which will always be for our good.

Aaron

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I'll be bahhhhck (or: Bad Day for Wasps at 1772 Gordon)

(this post is all in good fun, and should be read accordingly :) )

So, last night a hoard of angry wasps attacked my daughter, Eden, and son, Sam around 7:30 at night. In the wasps defense, Sam and Eden ruthlessly barged into their territory and invaded their personal, wasp space.

But, it was crazy, Sam was stung 4 times under one arm, and Eden, 3 times on the hand. There were a few hours of screaming and wailing at the Britton house.

Hello? This is why I moved to the suburbs! What's with the aggressive, Africanized devil-wasps? (disclaimer, those last two sentences were jokes)

Needless to say, this kind of animal aggression will not stand at the Britton house. There is a food chain, there is a life cycle, there is dominion, and it must be respected. (apologies, Ellen Stokes)

So, Jody went to Wal-Mart and bought some "liquid wasp death" to do the job right. (I still smell it on my shoes. . . I think there's some illegal stuff in there. . . . I don't care)

I went out this morning, early, as the wasps slept and executed a perfect sneak attack with "liquid wasp death".

Oh, the glory of it all. Wasps were falling out of their hives on the ground. One, in its "not yet dead" state tried to use its remaining energy to "fly" to me and attack. The wasp made it about 3 feet and fell harmlessly out of the sky.

One wasp was still struggling from the 1/16 bottle of "liquid wasp death" that was poured into its home last night. I felt bad about that. Then I sprayed him some more.

I killed roughly 14 wasps (aaron did not realize we had such a wasp problem until today, he won't be caught unprepared again).

"Liquid wasp death" has an 8 foot spray range (roughly) and so you actually get some kick and some power in your spray as you attack. Needless to say, I felt like this:


Good times, (not for the wasps)
Aaron

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Marriage of Inconvenience

". . . to love honor and cherish
in sickness and in health
for richer or for poorer
for better or worse
in sadness and joy
forsaking all others
keeping yourself only
unto her as long as you both shall live. . . "

Those are the traditional marriage vows that are spoken thousands of times across our country every summer. Some folks change them a bit, some read them verbatim, but all vows are fairly close to this in theme, tone, and content.

I wonder, sometimes, as I interact with couples at many places along the road of dating/engagement/marriage/separation/divorce; how many of us mean these vows with no qualifications and no strings attached.

I wouldn't want to make weddings a somber affair with no joy, and stern-faced seriousness (although some pre-marital meetings should look like that :) ) . I also don't mean to scare some to the point where they delay marriage unnecessarily and are afraid of commitment. But, I'm not sure that many of us understand those vows, and marriage, correctly.

When you get married, you are giving yourself to the other person with no qualifications. Its not "I promise you all of these things. . . . . .if you hold down a good job" or "I promise you all of these things. . . . if we get to live in a certain place" or even "I promise you these things as long as you don't do ______"

No, marriage is a covenant that we are promising "as long as we both shall live".

I think many today are involved in a "marriage of convenience" where they never really gave themselves totally to the other person. Their marriage is coasting along, because their life circumstances are coasting along. And so all seems well, as long as all keeps going well in their place in life.

As soon as something happens, something like this is probably said "you promised that after 5 years we would be ______________" or "you knew from when we were dating that what I wanted was _____________".

These statements, and others like them, show a heart that isn't totally committed to another person. Its a qualified commitment,. . . . . a "50/50" commitment (oh, how I wish we could eliminate that statement from marriage resource materials).

So, "what are you saying Aaron. . .are you saying someone just has to shut up and take it and be quietly miserable for their whole life if things are going in a different direction than they thought??"

Well, No, hopefully not. Here's a nutshell of what I'm saying:

1) Before marriage, expectations need to be made known on a) where you want to live b) when and how many kids you want to have c) who wants/needs to work and for how long d) how do we do our finances. . .etc. .

2) All "plans" are subject to change and you aren't making a commitment to the person based on a-d above. You are making a commitment based on your love for that person and your mutual commitment to Christ.

3) During marriage, if things "change" and someone quits following the "plan". There needs to be open dialogue and perhaps outside help through counseling and friendships to help figure out if/why/when the plan is changing.

You see, when we married someone, we said "this is my life". . . ."this person is my spouse". . ."this is what I'm committing to". God honors a commitment like that, and gives us a pattern to follow in His Word, in pursuit/forgiveness/faithfulness to our covenant. Read Hosea. . . his wife was a prostitute and God continually told Hosea to take her back.

If only more of us would be patient with our spouse until we get somewhere close to a "Hosea level" of faithfulness and commitment.

So, if you're dating or engaged to someone. Make sure that your "love" for them is not based on anything circumstantial. Make sure they would look just as good with no money, no job, and both of you living in the Sudan (God could call you there, read Isaiah 6). Make sure that your commitments are based on your faith in God (none of us can keep marriage vows by ourself) and on your love for that person, not who you wish they would be or on things they have promised you.

If you are married, it might be time to renew the vows (I really like this). If you started down a path of convenience that has turned upside down,. . . and your love has turned with it. . . . . than perhaps its time to hit the "reset" button on this whole thing and renew your commitment to that person.

If you're the person who is changing the plans and jerking around your spouse. Remember, that the best thing for you and for your joy is to stay married. If you are doing things to endanger that reality, cut it out. Love your wife/husband by being considerate to them and putting your own new plans on hold and bringing them along slowly. It has been said, "A leader with no followers is just a guy taking a walk". Amen. . .

For both spouses. . . if you are so concerned about your joy and about "getting what you want", remember that what will bring you the most joy is a happy/adventurous/committed/loving marriage, and not some "wilderness man" or "white picket fence home" fantasy. Cut it out, love your wife/husband and move from there.

Let's all pursue what Christ has for us, pursue our joy in the joy of our spouse and have a loving, awesome Marriage of Inconvenience.

(after all, it wasn't very convenient of Jesus to die on the cross for us. . . He did that to secure His covenant)

Aaron

Monday, July 21, 2008

Good stuff

HT: Doug Wilson

"To be sure, food keeps us alive, but that is only its smallest and most temporary work. Its eternal purpose is to furnish our sensibilities against the day when we shall sit down at the heavenly banquet and see how gracious the Lord is. Nourishment is necessary only for a while; what we shall need forever is taste" (Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb, p. 40).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Political shocker!

While speaking in front of the NAACP today, John McCain called Barack Obama "an impressive fellow". That's right. . while speaking in front of the NAACP (the nation's largest African American advocacy group). McCain said "he's an impressive fellow".

sheesh

In other news. . the sun rose this morning and taxes are due on April 15th.


Politics are awesome.

Aaron

(not that Mr. Obama isn't impressive. . . . or a fellow. . . . .(he is both) .its just so predictable)

Encouragement for moms

Here are some great words I've come across the last few days. I want to lift up motherhood and not ridicule it (like our culture often does).

So, enjoy these articles if you're a mom or pass them on to a mom that you know!

God bless,
Aaron

http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/AskPastorJohn/ByTopic/104/2988_How_can_eternity_influence_a_mothers_daily_tasks/

http://girltalk.blogs.com/girltalk/2008/07/not-her-best.html

Thursday, July 10, 2008

cleanin' up and marryin' up

Sorry for the lite posting lately. It's been a doozy of a week. Here's my random thoughts:

--This is dumb. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,379842,00.html


-- I was shocked by the revelation today that the Ramsey's have been officially cleared of all possible charges in the death of their daughter, Jon Benet. Its really interesting, they used DNA evidence to officially exonerate every member of the Ramsey family. The perpetrator was an unknown male, who's time is getting short. . . as they say. I must say, that until yesterday, I always thought it was Patsy Ramsey in the back of my head. But, it just proves that you never know, and it was a tragedy that she lived under this cloud until her death in 2006 from cancer. Good job, Boulder P.D.. . I've been critical in the past.

-- Jesse Jackson is irrelevant. Barack Obama actually proves that.

--I must say, I'd love to go to Invesco to hear Obama's acceptance speech. What a brilliant move on the part of Obama's campaign. He'll be delivering his acceptance speech on the anniversary of MLK's "I have a dream" speech. This is like a 1,000 on the hype/momentum scale.

Barack Obama has the distinction of being one of the few candidates, ever, for whom people WANT to win, even if they won't vote for him and disagree with his policies. His candidacy stands for so much, and he's a brilliant public speaker. That's a pretty tall mountain to climb for McCain. Even some of McCain's supporters would celebrate an Obama win because of all that it stands for.

--I'm excited about Team USA basketball. I think we're finally going to get the gold medal back this year. That's a whole 'nother blog, which will come during the Olympics.

--The new cd is going well. It has a much more raw, real, emotive vibe than our last album. We're three songs in. We're shooting for a Christmas release.

--Heavenfest is July 26th. 519 is playing, and we're very excited. We're on the worship stage (there are 7 stages) at 1 pm. Come check it out! www.heavenfest.com


--Most importantly. . . today is Jody's and my 9th wedding anniversary. It has, without question been and amazing and unbelievable 9 years. I really have trouble remembering what life was like, pre-Jody. At the same time, it seems like we got married last week. . . I remember the day very well. So, when folks ask, "does it seem that long?" I say, "no, . . longer, and shorter". I'm weird that way.

But, I wouldn't be the person I am today without her. . .she's helped me through so much, and she makes me a better man than I would be without her, that's for sure. Plus, life was really boring before I met her.

I was really good at a) random sports knowledge b) getting traffic tickets c) thinking I was a good basketball player d) eating fast food e) saying stupid things (still working on that one) f)filing everything on the floor and under my bed g) listening to bad Christian music h) being a triva nerd (yes, I was on quiz bowl team). . . the terrible list goes on. Needless to say, life has become much, much better.


So, happy anniversary Jody!
Thanks for letting me be your husband!
Aaron

Monday, July 7, 2008

This guy is a stud.

The second visitor to the exhibit! I love it.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Huh?

Does anyone else wonder why President Bush "announced" that he's going to attend the Olympic opening ceremonies in Beijing?

I guess I'm the only one who cares. But, China should not be given a free pass on their human rights/religious abuses (among many others). Even the Dalai Lama (you know, the leader of Tibet, who must lead in exile because of the communist Chinese goverment) says that he wants to attend as well.

Huh?

I know that boycotting the Opening ceremonies and other presentational methods of dissent are rarely effective. But, in this case, the world's eyes are concentrated on Beijing for two weeks, so why not make a statement? Why not at least express your displeasure with the government and yet support your athletes?
I'm sure that we can find some video of human rights abuses by the Chinese Government that we could "release" at the appropriate time.

Beyond being wimps and pandering for financial advantage, someone needs to tell me why no one is standing up and calling a spade a spade in this case. President Bush is supposed to be the uber-conservative, christian, against the grain president, right??

We need a little of that right now.


Aaron

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Friend of God

ok, so I don't really even like this song. But, this is a ridiculous version of "Friend of God" by Chris Tomlin and Israel Houghton.

Israel wrote this song, and he gets to guest with the Passion worship band. It is epic!

For those of you who would like to know how to sing. . . . just listen to Israel. He's my favorite male vocalist (sorry, Bono), and brings the rock on this one!

Enjoy,
Aaron

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-U0fdcIhXzw&feature=related

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Hating the children

So, I was flipping channels a bit tonight, en route to a Patrick Swayze movie marathon on AMC (awesome). And, I ran across "Baby Borrowers" on NBC. This show was absolutely disgusting.

To me, this show and others like it demean children and advance harmful attitudes towards them. There's a cottage industry of shows like this now. . . ."Nanny 911, Super Nanny, Wife Swap, etc. . . " While the individual shows have different angles and points to make; they almost always have a warped and negative view of children.

The Nanny shows are designed to help parents with their "out of control" children. Parental help and strategic assistance are good things, and the shows work when you can see parents actually beginning to care for their children. (although, it appears it sometimes takes the work of a "professional" to help achieve this :) )

Those shows rub me the wrong way a bit, though, because they're systematizing the children and "processing" them through behavior modification. Again, some of these things are helpful, but there's a real sense, at times, that they are trying to get the children controlled and sedated so that the parents can get on with their personal interests.

"Baby Borrowers" actually has the tagline "its Birth control!" in the commercials. Like "after seeing all the struggles these teenagers have with a newborn, hopefully you'll think twice about having a baby!" Now, teenage pregnancy is a big problem, and parenting of any kind should be entered into soberly. But, do these "warnings" have to come at the expense of our view of children?

My problems are these:
1) Children are not a problem to be solved.
2) The early childhood years are not to be "survived".
3) The reason that teenagers shouldn't have children out of wedlock has nothing to do with the color of vomit at 4 a.m. or how a dirty diaper smells.

There are bigger problems in life than lack of sleep, barf, crying babies, and busyness

Have I had days where parenting wears me out? Do I become exasperated at my kids? Is it hard looking after little ones? Would I do it all again, and 10 thousand more times if God blesses us?
The answer to all of these questions is "YES" and we are (see the wife's adoption blog).

BUT. . .
Children are a gift from the Lord and are to be celebrated, enjoyed, disciplined, nurtured, and cherished. Teenagers, if they're married, supported, and able,. . . . should be celebrated if they are blessed with a child. There's some famous successful teenage mothers. . like. . .umm oh yeah MARY.

Out of control children need parents that will correct, discipline and nurture them. . . not a set of "techniques" to keep them under control.

I know that this is "unspoken and assumed" in all of these shows, but let's go ahead and "speak" it sometimes. . . . . . .

Psalm 127
3 Sons are a heritage from the LORD,
children a reward from him.

4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one's youth.

5 Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their enemies in the gate.



off of my soapbox,
Aaron

Monday, June 30, 2008

Crazy Crowder

This is David Crowder's blog. The most recent post is such a funny story, and one that has probably happened to all of us who work with various teams of people that we don't know, . . . (and who don't know us :) )


Aaron

Things you didn't know about John McCain

Just for your information. . . .

enjoy

Listings and prosperity

Sorry for the lack of posting the last couple of weeks. There were two reasons for this. 1) I was preaching at church last week (which still takes me like 300 hours to get some coherent thoughts together. . . .but as a reader of this blog, you knew that :) ) 2) We're putting our house on the market to sell. So, that's taken alot of cleaning and organization.

But, there are no excuses. . I'll post more. :)


Putting the house on the market is an interesting thing for us to do. . .theologically speaking. We've really felt like it would glorify God more, financially, if we would downsize a bit on the mortgage payment/housing expenses/etc. . . . and give ourselves more freedom to give to God's work, help others, and serve the poor. We also don't want to always be the people who are asking for financial help, but we'd like to be the "helpers" at times. Basically, we're paying our bills fine,. . but its just not healthy to always be at the end of things each week, and not being able to save to healthy degree.


So, we feel like we have some good reasons and promptings from God that we should sell the house. So, naturally, you start to feel like the house WILL sell because we have good reasons to sell it, and because we feel like God wants us to sell it.

This veers over into "prosperity theology" thinking if we're not careful. Like "If God really loves us, or if we really have faith, the house will sell" and "If the house doesn't sell, than we're doing something wrong." Basically we make God our genie, and we confine Him into acting in certain ways.

Well, I've got a pretty low tolerance for confining God in ways like this.
(we all, even un-knowingly, confine God at times in our life. So, at risk of being a hypocrite, I will continue under the banner of "ways like this" :) )

So, we have to watch our hearts during this time. God could have lessons for us to learn that have nothing to do with the house actually selling. He may actually want us to "fail" in that regard so that we learn other things and rely on him in different ways.

Far from the "God wants me to be successful" theology. God actually wants us to be "holy" and so he will do whatever it takes to that end. Sometimes, he will bless our plans for his Glory, other times he will allow us to fail or be unsuccessful as well so that we go a different direction, or we seek Him. Remember, in Psalm 23 God "makes us lie down in green pastures". Sometimes, we'll need a rest, and he'll make sure we get it :)

That doesn't mean we don't pray for our desires or seek God on things. But, we do all of that under the banner of Daniel 4:35 that "God does what pleases Him".


So, you can pray with us for the sale of our house, for God's Glory. And, if it doesn't sell, you can pray for some good plan "B's" for us financially as we seek to be better stewards in that area.

Thanks!
Aaron

This is a really good article

http://faith-theology.blogspot.com/2008/06/pornographers-dream.html

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

From the mouth of Babes...

Sam was on fire today:

Sam: Knock knock!

me: who's there?

Sam: Underpants!


me: Underpants who?


Sam: STINK!


comic genius.

more kid's music

Here's another suggestion for the "non-lame music for kids" department.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5R8gSgedh4


:)

Martha Stewarts and Musicians

So, a good friend of mine was pointing out that in church. . . . .the majority of women who are help up as examples are either "Martha Stewarts or Musicians".

This, unfortunately, caused her to feel a bit out of place and left out. She also doesn't feel comfortable sitting in a church at times, because of some past pain on this issue. I have a few thoughts, but I'd love to hear from some women on this one . . .
(we have yet to have a female commentor on this blog, besides my lovely wife. . . who coincidently, is a martha stewart and a musician :) )

1) Home making and artistry are two things that we naturally associate with femininity. So, the holding of those things in high regard is understandable and natural.

2) It is unfortunate, though, that we don't celebrate, more often. . women who are great administrators, financiers, philanthropists, etc. . . . Even if it that a woman is "generous" or "kind and soft spoken". . .those would be great things to point out and celebrate as well.

3) The same thing happens with men as certain types of masculinity are held in higher regard than others e.g. Man's man. . . . .engineer. . . . . rich. . . . .physically strong (I can testify, as I am none of these :) )

The bottom line, is that we all want to feel as though we are significant and contributing to the life of the church with our various gifts. So, we should do a better job of pointing those out and celebrating them IN EVERY PERSON in their varied gifts, talents, and personalities.

Anyone felt "left out" in the church?