Monthly Archives: June 2010

Pssst! You’re Mortal!

Supposedly, when a conquering general returned to Rome and was given a triumph to celebrate his victory, a slave would ride with him in the chariot, holding a wreath above his head but whispering in his ear “Remember you are a mortal.” Sometimes I feel that way after a sermon.

A while ago, I went through a period of several weeks where my sermons just didn’t seem to work well. The idea was fine, but I never felt satisfied with my ability to communicate it. And, judging from the faces looking back at me, I think it rubbed off on the congregation. If I communicated much, it seemed to be my vague dissatisfaction with the sermon.

Eventually, my “bad streak” ended. (I say “bad streak” because of my perception of the sermon and its impact, but of course I have very little insight as to how God may have used my words to speak grace to the assembled faithful.)

Finally, after several weeks, I preached a sermon that I liked. More of the faces out there seemed to be following me. Great day.

It was a great day for about 2 minutes, at least. Then this dear saint came up to me after the service to offer a critique of the sermon. She told me she didn’t appreciate it when I’d said Jesus was talking “crazy talk.”

It’s true; I’d said that. I’d been talking about how the things Jesus said didn’t make any sense according to the world’s standards. And the way I said that was that Jesus said a lot of crazy talk.

And I was right. The woman was clearly wrong about Jesus. People who heard him face to face thought he had a demon. They grumbled about his “hard sayings.” They said his disciples were turning the world upside down. If you think everything Jesus said is self-evident and obvious, you either live in a bubble that keeps you isolated from the world — which I doubt — or — more likely — you have completely missed the point.

But that’s not what bugged me about this woman. My real frustration was that I wanted to enjoy my triumph and this woman was whispering in my ear that I was mortal.

Three Things I Like

The first thing is a song called “Turkish Delight,” by the David Crowder Band. It’s a disco song straight out of the 1970s, and you can find it on the record Music Inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia. But you can’t find it on Amazon. It seems to be available only on the iTunes Store.

The second thing is the movie Shakespeare in Love. Joseph Fiennes stars as Shakespeare, and Gwyneth Paltrow won an Academy Award as the love he was in. (Ahem.) There was enough skin and bawdy talk to merit its R rating, I suppose, but only just barely. I’ve never been a great fan of the Bard, but this movie made me wish I was.

The third thing is the book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. I liked it so much, I actually posted my first-ever review of a book on

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Miller’s story about “editing his life.” His sense of humor makes the book delightful to read. (His suggestion to a friend about how to answer the question “What’s a movie with a car chase?” was hysterical.) But the larger point – how to have a life that is a story worth reading – is what makes this book so good. As you read his story, you realize you have the same challenge as he had. I’ve given my copy to a friend, and since I only had one copy, I’ll simply recommend it to everyone else.

New Newsboys CD

I was pleased to see the Newsboys have got a new CD coming out. It’s called Born Again and (“for a limited time”) it’s a bargain at $6.49. It’s actually a better bargain than that, because buying it now gives you a download of a pre-release EP. So go do that.

I’ve been listening to them since 1994 or ’95. I saw them on their Going Public tour in a huge barn at the State Fairgrounds in Salem, Oregon, when they headlined a show that also featured Audio Adrenaline and Tony Vincent. That was the end of the small time for them, though. The very next year, they hit the big time with Take Me to Your Leader and sold out the Rose Garden in Portland. (I went as a “chaperone” (I guess) with a group of youth from my church, and I remember being disgusted that I was exactly double the age of the kids.)

A glance at the cover of the new CD told me there was news about the Newboys that I didn’t know, so I popped over to Wikipedia and caught up with them. There’s all kinds of things I didn’t know. The most obvious thing is that instead of six Australians they now have 4 people, and they aren’t all Australians. The lead singer, for example, is Michael Tait, formerly of dc Talk. The times are a-changin’.

This Blog Used to Be Somewhere Else

This blog used to be at But this is my hobby/personal blog, and that domain is where I keep my professional stuff–like my professional blog (“mess of pottage”). So this one had to come here.

I know. It’s incredibly rude to move a blog. It basically tells the entire world, “Don’t link me because my links vanish.” But since I didn’t have any readers before, what are the odds that they created any links to my content that has now been moved out from under them? And now, I’ve alienated anyone who might have been thinking about doing it in the future. Problem solved!

However, since I was destroying all my permalinks anyway, I took the opportunity to change them to a more readable format, et viola.

Unwaivering Service?

I got new tires the other day, and a wheel alignment too. One of the places I got a quote from was Wal*Mart Tire and Lube Express. Here is the interesting part:


I don’t know how you could beat an unwaivering commitment, so I got my tires there.

Anyone have a Hi-8 camcorder?

Does anyone has a Hi-8 camcorder I could borrow?

I’ve got some old tapes I’d like to convert to DVD. Our Hi-8 camcorder is busted, so there’s no way to play the tapes back, and that’s step one of any conversion.

I don’t want to pay a service to convert them. I’d rather borrow a camcorder and do it myself. I’d even buy one, if the price weren’t too horrible.

If you can help, comment on this posting. (You’ll have to set up an account, but then you can comment on any posting.)

Colorful Car Update

The other day, I pointed out a beautiful chartreuse Dodge Charger/Daytona at the hospital. It turns out there’s something in the water at the hospital that makes the staff pick wild colors for their cars. Here’s that same car again, in the background, and a gorgeous purple twin of it in the foreground.

Purple & Green Chargers

I’m not a real car aficionado, so I don’t know if this car is a “Charger” or a “Daytona.” Back in the day, they were Chargers, though, and between that and Rush’s song “War Paint” (from their Presto album) I’m going to go with “Charger.”