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).


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.


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) 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.


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. . . . .,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)


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!!!! :)


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.


"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.,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.


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.


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!


Wednesday, August 6, 2008


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.