Monday, February 27, 2006

Outlet for Church Frustration

For those days when church ministry is leaving you a little batty...

(Thanks to Tony for shooting this link my direction.)

Monday, February 20, 2006

Who are you in bed with?

You may have heard talk in years past of the proposed gambling acts in Alabama. In an effort to stop these proposals from being passed, Ralph Reed (involved with the Christian Coalition and current candidate for Lt. Governor of Georgia) enlisted the help of James Dobson to record radio ads against a particular Alabama gambling proposal. Reed has been adamantly opposed to gambling, calling it “a cancer on the American body politic.”

So far so good, right?

What Ralph Reed did not tell James Dobson, however, was that he was being funded by the Choctaw tribe who owns two casinos in Mississippi. This tribe has been actively opposing gaming in Alabama out of fear of having to compete with new casinos. Reed’s connection with the Choctaw tribe came through Jack Abramoff, a Washington Lobbyist.

(By the way, Reed is currently finding himself in hot water; Reed has been denying knowledge of the Choctaw’s involvement. A U.S. Senate committee recently released a swarm of e-mails showing the opposite—that in fact, Reed has known who his backers were since 1999. This doesn’t look good for a candidate of the Lt. Gov. who has been defining his campaign by referring to his personal values.)

It has been established that Focus on the Family had absolutely no knowledge of the tribal connection. Dobson has publicly stated that he would not have lent his name to the effort had he known the source of the funding.

I fear there are many Christians (myself included) who are so quick to jump on the bandwagon against immorality that we are not stopping to see with whom we are hopping into bed. And in the process we compromise our integrity. I’m feeling a little used, but I have no one to blame but myself.

Anyway, Ralph Reed certainly seems to have the “shrewd as serpents” part down.

Friday, February 10, 2006

These are a few of my favorite things...

I'm a little tired this week. I don't feel like putting out the energy to write a thoughtful post. Instead, I'm going to tell you about some of my favorite things.

Things I like:

Magic Eraser--This is my current all-time favorite thing. I have my sister Abby to thank for this one. I have absolutely no idea how they work...I really think they are magic. I don't care what kind of stain you have on your wall/hard floor/counter/etc. this little eraser will take care of it. I recently removed red permanent marker off my countertop. If that's not impressive I don't know what is.

Susan Howatch's Novels--I am particularly addicted to the Glittering Images series. I finished this 7 book series last spring and liked it so much that I've begun again. This series could be described as Karl Barth meets Danielle Steel (Rob Bell refers to her books in Velvet Elvis). Just read the first 20 pages. If you are not instantly hooked, just put the book down and walk hard feelings. Plus you can get it on Amazon for a penny. A stinkin' penny.

Disposable Make-up Remover Wipes--I always hated getting ready for bed...taking out contacts, washing my face, brushing my teeth--it all drove me crazy--especially since John could simply hop into bed. Disposable Make-Up Remover Wipes cost a bit more than regular soap, but I'm willing to buy this extra little slice of happiness.

Settlers of Catan--The best game ever. I love it. We don't own it and are at the mercy of the Edwards or the Hinlicky-Wilsons to invite us over to play. (Hint, hint, this would be a massively appreciated Christmas gift).

Yoohoo--It's not chocolate milk. It's a chocolate drink.

Old English movies that come in long series: BBC's Pride and Prejudice, Middlemarch, The Forsgyte Saga...I love 'em.

Staple guns--They can fix anything and are oh so easy to use. I just reupholstered a chair.

PIM's cookies--I like the chocolate and raspberry kind. I feel European when I eat them.

Saline Spray--Just as Sam was flabbergasted that he didn't know about the "Search Inside This Book" offer at Amazon, I too am flabbergasted that I could have lived through a quarter of a century without anyone ever telling me how useful Saline Spray could be. Like wise, a cool mist humidifier.

"Alias"--I don't know where I've been the past five years, but I've only recently caught on. I've Netflixed the first 4 seasons and am just waiting for season 5 to come out (do not, I repeat, DO NOT tell me ANYTHING about season 5...don't even joke about it...If I even see the words "Sydney," "Alias," or "Michael" on your comment I will immediately close my eyes and ask one of my students to delete it.) I'm not even linking this paragraph to the Alias website for fear of spoilers.

Starbuck's Rice Crispy Treats
--at $1.65 they are one of the cheapest items Starbucks offers. Plus they're tasty and quite filling. I now eat them with a knife and fork--mostly because my jaw hurts if I try to put the whole thing in my mouth.

Chloraseptic Dissolvable Strips--Istead of using that disgusting spray to numb my sore throats, now I can simply let a disgusting strip dissolve in my mouth...the strips allow for better control of placement.

Clarke Shoes--They are really comfortable and last a long time...I've been wearing the same pair for the past seven years. Although I have to do quite a bit of hunting around until I can find an un-grandma-ish pair.

Gap Tall--Gap just introduced a new line of tall clothing. (Here again the imagination could be sparked for much appreciated Christmas gifts...if you're wondering what size I am, scroll down to my July postings and you can read about the time I led my first parent's meeing at church with the tag to my new pants still attached...not one of my favorite things).

Houlihan's 'Shrooms

My brother's Xanga--
what can I say? He's a funny guy. I read his post when I want to smile. If you check it out soon, you may be able to weigh in on the discussion of whether he should go by "Paul" or "Paul Matthew." I made some alternative nickname suggestions.

Pilot G-2 Gel Ink Pens--
My secretary caught me swiping one from her desk so she gave me two whole boxes. I've learned a good lesson--if I like something, take it.

So there you have it. Things I like. Thanks for reading this titilating post. You don't have to leave a comment. There's really not much to say. Unless, of course, you'd like to share something that you are fond of. I'm always looking for things to add to my list of favorites.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

My New Favorite Dentist

Two weeks ago I woke up with a toothache. My gum was extremely swollen and I could not chew without shooting pain. Hoping it would go away on it's own, I ignored the throbbing all weekend while I oversaw a Lock-in, preached three Sunday morning sermons, and led youth group Sunday evening. In between these events I spent much time in front the mirror brushing and flossing. John gently encouraged/chided me to take better care of my teeth in the future.

I had not been to the dentist in over a year and a half and was dreading the inevitable visit. The one cavity I experienced in my lifetime turned into my one root canal.

I set up an emergency dental appointment the following Monday. After x-raying the troublesome tooth, the dentist made the following declaration:

"Stop flossing."

"What?" I asked, utterly perplexed.

He continued, "I don't normally tell my patients this, but don't floss for a few days. Your teeth are absolutely fine, you've just managed to really irritate the gum."

I went home and smugly reported the findings to John. I also quoted my new favorite dentist who said I had very nice teeth...his exact phrase was that I had "virgin teeth."

This story has been ruminating in my brain for the past few weeks. I'm certain it has all the makings of a good sermon illustration...I just don't know how.

So five points to the person who comes up with the best sermon illustration for this story. I'll take the winning illustration, scour scripture to find a text that is remotely connected and preach away! jk