I've quoted it before, but it bears repeating:

Communication is a crucial element in any intimate relationship--including a relationship with God. And communication always involves listening.

Jesus understood this. Nowhere do we see the importance of communication with the Father better illustrated than in the life of Christ. In fact, Jesus' time alone with the Father was His ultimate priority. It took priority over ministry, family, friends, even sleep. Jesus refused to allow the tyranny of the urgent or the expectations of others to shape His agenda and schedule. As strange as it may sound, He put His own spiritual welfare ahead of the spiritual and physical welfare of others. He knew He would be of no help to them otherwise.
Jesus came to do the will of the Father. But in order to do the will of the Father, He had to know the will of the Father. That's why Jesus made it a priority to spend time alone with God--to know the One who sent Him. -- Stanley and Hall, The 7 Checkpoints
(emphasis mine)

This past Sunday my roommate, Jason (who is a bit older than me), became an elder at his church (I'm a member of the church that originally planted his church). Pursuant to the rules of the PCA church, he spent a long time in training, preparation, prayer, and examination by the elders / pastors of the church. He told me that there was a common theme to what almost everyone of the people who examined / advised him brought up: when you take a position of great responsibility like that of elder, you invariably find that your temptations increase as Satan begins to fight harder against your spiritual growth and influence over others. Naturally the response to such temptations is to pursue more passionately the critical communication with the Father that we find in prayer.

Christ, more than any other person, realized that this was the response to the most grave of temptations, and pursued time alone to pray as a paramount necessity. He walked away from the needy masses, from the wondering disciples, from the rest of humanity, showing them the ultimate example of a right relationship with the Father. You might say it was the only selfish thing he ever did.

If you claim the name of Christ and are seeking to develop a deeper relationship with him, to change your life in response to the gift of life he gave, there is perhaps no better spiritual thermometer than your prayer life. Do you find yourself actually yearning for more time in prayer? Or do you find yourself struggling to work any time at all for it into a busy life? For myself, at least, these can be very discouraging questions to be asked.

But your prayer life can also be one of the best thermostats to your walk with God. With the smallest movement of that tiny dial, you change the temperature of a whole house. We're no different - great change comes from even the shortest of believing prayers. Its our inability to have faith in this fact that often tempts us to relegate prayer to a non-vital role in our lives.

If your prayer life isn't where it should be, I suggest a simple start: don't even bother praying for the time to pray. An infinite God was never very big on time in the first place, existing without any need of the concept. Instead, just start by praying that God would give you the desire to pray. Its the desire that will help you make the time. This prayer works for those who don't pray at all just as it works for those in regular communication with God - its one that God longs to hear and answer.

Prayer - secret, fervent, believing prayer -– lies at the root of all personal godliness. - William Carey

To pray is to change. Prayer is the central avenue God uses to transform us. If we are unwilling to change, we will abandon prayer as a noticeable characteristic of our lives. The closer we come to the heartbeat of God the more we see our need and the more we desire to be conformed to Christ. -– Richard Foster

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. -– Ephesians 6:18


Look at me, I got published. So to speak. Kind of. Well that's what I'm going to call it, so you just deal with it.

Weird seeing my words being promoted on someone else's site. A good feeling. One I would like to have again, many times over.

If you haven't been reading here long, you may not be aware of some of my driving ambitions. As I said at the outset, "I have pretenses of being a writer someday and thought this might make a good start of it." I write these days to keep the working the writing muscles in hope that I might some day put them into full use. I've been toying with the idea of further education towards this end for more than a few years, and as time goes by I continue to narrow down my focus - at this point I'm fairly certain I'd like to attend seminary in the not-too-distant future, however journalism school is still a strong contender.

Whew fast weekend. Friday was drinks on the roof of the Met which was a pretty cool scene, then home to crash early. Saturday morning helped the crew move most of Rachel and Kirkley's stuff into storage. Got a good run in, first in about 2 weeks thanks to a recent calf injury. I babied it though and thankfully am back up to speed in no time. Sunday was more chilling and then cooking all afternoon for the potluck they had at Redeemer Hoboken to celebrate the church becoming independent of Redeemer NY (where I'm a member), Tony's installation as teaching elder (pastor), and Gary, Peter, Glenn, and Jason (my roommate) all becoming elders. So that was a cool service (Keller spoke, and later gave Tony his charge) and a lot of fun.

Then the weekend was over.

Not just a big day for me, by the way. My sister jumped into the blog world too, check her out and give her some encouragement. She'll do well at this blogging thing, if she finds the time. Please leave her a comment begging her to ditch her crazy xanga blog idea and stick with Blogger, safe in the folds of the almighty Google.


Apologies for the no-post Friday. It was a hectic end to a tiring and somewhat depressing week. To make up for my tardiness, I present you with Saturday evening poetry. From the front of our refrigerator, courtesy of Magnetic Poetry (attributions added wherever I could remember them):


urge me by chanting worship

languid black sheep

sweet bitter

ugly puppy head
(by me, my personal favorite)

my arm
one sausage like water
stormed and
by moon wax

all girls are gifts
(some mother visiting our place wrote this, I swear)

delicate heave

but iron day
floods me

he soars in the winter fluff
(not by me, but I presume about me, author unknown)


smooth white behind
(shame on whoever did that)

(a tribute to my gatorade supply)

like raw frantic death


tongue of drool

(me - I put this one near the bottom of the fridge, underneath the plethora of magnets above it, I think that its poignantly brief)

symphony stare as essential power of will

sordid chocolate apparatus

finger size milk
(I seem to remember this was courtesy of Allyson [Lydic] Gretz)

goddess screams

what is up man

some enormous produce after a spring ache

mother will rock

she could use my dress

may windy diamond petals whisper
a thousand delirious moments

her hair smells like eternity


Thursday means links. These are all I've been able to put together from the few minutes I've had to surf on the home comp this week. There's more stuff on the lappy but I'm too exhausted to start the thing up - its an early bed time for me for a change. Enjoy.

Urban Ninja

This was bound to happen.

Kind of cool if you're big into Jeopardy.

Walken 2008. More cowbell.

Its a tie this week in the "There's a Blog for Everything" category: The Bacon Show
and The Restroom.

I realize that linking to the Homestar Runner Wiki makes me a complete and total doers, but I'm ok with that. Deep down inside, you see, I know I'm a cool guy.

Jackie Chen got nothing on the French. They should stick to this kind of stuff and leave the cycling to us.


Yeah so Google Talk continues to be the talk of the town. The guys over at Skype must be like "Well, it *was* a good idea, right? Anybody? ...". I was just on with one of my coworkers and she was on with another friend of hers in Singapore. For free. And the sound is as clear as a phone.

I'd say its a big day for connectivity, and a bit of death knell for telecommunications. Pretty soon the average desk will have one thing on it - a computer. No more need for the phone.

In other news, site traffic is way up, and August will be by far the most clicks my site has ever seen, thanks in large part to my hosting of Christian Carnival and getting mentioned in a few strategic places. The second biggest month remains May of this year, thanks to Improv Everywhere. I'm currently working on helping them out with their next event, also, by the way, so perhaps more links from them in the future. And hopefully I'll be up on Relevant Magazine sometime soon, so I can link to that for you. That should send some links this way if they tag me. See if you can guess which day I posted the Carnival from the pic above. See if you can guess if I'll be planning to host it again.

And that's all I got for tonight. Thanks to all my new readers who have been checking the blog out regularly - happy to have you around, and I'll continue to endeavor to post material worthy of your time and commenting. (Thanks to my long-timers too, you know who you are.)


We interrupt this normally quiet-blog workday to bring you a special news broadcast.

Google Talk
is live. Their quest for dominance of the planet takes another giant step today, soon it will be the only interface that people communicate over (it should take it all of 20 seconds to dominate the cell/text msg market). I don't think the press release is even out yet, but the site has been up since early this morning, when I downloaded it.

If you don't have it, hop on...I'm still working on getting my GAIM program, which manages all my other IM clients, to accept the Google Talk one, so that I can have both my personal account and my blog account (allkindsoftime at gmail) on at the same time, but once I do you should be able to reach me on GT.

This is so much fun I'm having trouble getting work done.

I posted a brief article yesterday that I read last week in Metro, one of the daily free news publications they hand out to commuters on the street here in the NYC area. You can read it here, it will give you a lot better idea of where I'm going now.

I grew up in California. The rumors are true, if you haven't been there - beauty abounds. Healthy and fit is in, lots of people have great tans and blond hair thanks to the climate, and plastic surgery is a thriving industry. I now live and work in the NYC area, and its no different here. This is a city dominated by a culture that tells us to find our salvation in our figure. Beauty is paramount.

They say money is the root of all evil, but they're wrong - its the inordinate love of money that is the root of evil. Much the same with beauty - its not a bad thing. Its a corrupted lust for beauty that ruins us. The Proverbs talked about it:

Beautiful women obtain wealth, and violent men get rich.

A woman who is beautiful but lacks discretion is like a golden ring in a pig's snout.

-- Proverbs 11:16, 22

The word "wealth" in verse 16 comes from the Hebrew word "kabowd" (pronounced more like kabowth) - its a Hebrew word for "glory" - a term which in the bible means "importance" or "significance" - essentially emotional wealth. This is how women chronically over-value their physical appearance - just as a violent man uses coercion to gain the wealth he wants, they use their looks to gain their gain their value as a person. This is the temptation we see every day in girls who have clearly spent more time on their hair and makeup, shopping for the trendiest clothes, or working out in the gym than they have on their character.

Now, not to excuse ladies who give into such temptations, but the fact remains that our society simply bombards women with images of what they should look like. Take it from a guy - we notice the bombardment just as much (if not more-so) than you gals do. Interesting facts: eating disorders are 3 to 5 times higher among women in industrialized nations than poorer nations, and they're twice as high among college-educated women than they are among the non-educated. And those are the women in this city - some of the highest-educated of the richest country in the world. Here in the heart of western culture, the bombardment isn't just on TVs and billboards - its walking around on the sidewalks and sitting next to you on the train.

There's a different kind of addiction to this beauty, however: the male way to over-value beauty. Verse 22 isn't the slam on women that it was when you first read it. You see the verse is actually speaking to the male reaction to the golden ring in the pig's nose. If a guy gets to the point where he can reach for the beauty of the ring but doesn't notice the filthiness of the pig that's attached to it (ie. a lack of discretion, or character), they have a problem. And that's what men today are doing - objectifying physical beauty to the point that they're evaluating women on that and nothing else. Character and inner beauty never even come into the realm of thought. Men of all sizes and colors, all creeds and beliefs, men everywhere are subject to dealing with this temptation.

And this leads us to a horrible downward spiral. Consider:
At a benefit the other night, I saw Andrea Dworkin, the anti-porn activist most famous in the eighties for her conviction that opening the floodgates of pornography would lead men to see real women in sexually debased ways. If we did not limit pornography, she argued - before Internet technology made that prospect a technical impossibility - —most men would come to objectify women as they objectified porn stars, and treat them accordingly. In a kind of domino theory, she predicted, rape and other kinds of sexual mayhem would surely follow.

The feminist warrior looked gentle and almost frail. The world she had, Cassandra-like, warned us about so passionately was truly here: Porn is, as David Amsden says, the "wallpaper"” of our lives now. So was she right or wrong?

She was right about the warning, wrong about the outcome. As she foretold, pornography did breach the dike that separated a marginal, adult, private pursuit from the mainstream public arena. The whole world, post-Internet, did become pornographized. Young men and women are indeed being taught what sex is, how it looks, what its etiquette and expectations are, by pornographic training - —and this is having a huge effect on how they interact.

But the effect is not making men into raving beasts. On the contrary: The onslaught of porn is responsible for deadening male libido in relation to real women, and leading men to see fewer and fewer women as "porn-worthy."” Far from having to fend off porn-crazed young men, young women are worrying that as mere flesh and blood, they can scarcely get, let alone hold, their attention.

Here is what young women tell me on college campuses when the subject comes up: They can't compete, and they know it. For how can a real woman - —with pores and her own breasts and even sexual needs of her own (let alone with speech that goes beyond "More, more, you big stud!"”) - possibly compete with a cybervision of perfection, downloadable and extinguishable at will, who comes, so to speak, utterly submissive and tailored to the consumer'’s least specification? - Naomi Wolf, The Porn Myth, New Yorker Magazine, Oct. 20th 2003
(article here, another interesting one here)

As men continue to indulge themselves more regularly and basely than ever before in the fantasy that porn provides, women find they have to compete not just with the pictures on the magazine covers in the grocery store or on the nightly sitcoms. They realize they have to go even further in building that perfect appearance to even get the notice of men who have reprogrammed their minds to look at women without bothering to look at their character. And the guys, building constructs of false intimacy - continue to look past 80% of perfectly dateable women for the most-appealing 20%, and everyone ends up lonely at the end of the day.

Psychologists say we're obsessed with either needing to be with beauty (if you're a guy) or being beautiful (if your a gal) because we have an inner shame that we need to cover - knowing that what's on the inside isn't all that pretty. Its simple when you put it that way, but it explains the obsession. Evolutionary biologists would take it even further to say that we lust for youth and beauty because we know we are going to die.

Its a bad state to be in, any way you look at it.

But then one comes with "no beauty in his appearance that we should desire Him." That's how Isaiah spoke of Christ. No Jim Caviezel. God come to man in a deliberately un-beautiful form, to die for our sins. To be rejected and killed by men. But to die for a purpose: to make us beautiful. Again from Isaiah: "The results of his suffering He will see and be satisfied." He came to cleanse us from our sins to make us beautiful to him.

But this is no mere beauty that we are losing day by day. This is the inner beauty that He came with, the inner beauty we know we truly need - one that will never fade. This is the answer to the pathologies, be they male or female, of beauty.

There's a reason men are addicted to pornography and women are addicted to shopping or cosmetics or even food disorders. There's a reason we keep going back to these things and yet they never seem to fill us - we never seem to fill the hole.

But thank God there's a solution to the problem.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. -- Ephesians 5:25-27


Back when dating first began, many eons ago, your family chose your mate based on how many goats they had. Easy peasy, right?

Even in present times, dating in small towns is simple - you go for the person who has all their teeth and no meth problem. But in metropolitan areas, where people spend a lot of money and time to be "the best," things get complicated. Everyone, it seems, is a walking, talking "catch." But with all the problems city people have dating, it begs the question: Are we all just too damn hot?

"I was dating this guy who was perfectly fine," recalls Myrell, 26. "Good looking, steady job, nice family, the works. But I couldn't get it out my head the fact that there is always someone taller, richer, and better looking right around the corner. So I just couldn't stay with him."

Myrell's situation isn't the old case of nice guy or girl finishing last. We are talking hot and nice finishing last. With so many singles out there, the one who is just "pretty," and who would be a hot commodity anywhere else in the world, has a hard time.

"Most of us are in the middle ground where the average guy won't talk to us and the top-notch guy won't talk to us," laments Cassie, 26.

But, as we all know, looks fade. So why is it we choose biceps over knowledge of Baudelaire? Cha-chas over character?

"When you date somewhere that is not in the city," says Dave, 27, "It's a case of ignorance is bliss. If you lived in suburban Michigan and drove your car to work, you just wouldn't see as many people. Here, you see so many good looking people that it starts to affect the way you judge prettiness. You can't help it."

As Lois, 25, puts it, dating in the city is "like survival of the fittest." We're all so attractive that smaller faults must serve to weed out the weak."

But, before everyone maxs out their credit card for a few weeks of some nip and tuck action in Mexico, remember that ugly, average, and super bodacious people all get into relationships. Take the wise words of Kevin, 33, who, when asked if he thought singles were too good looking, answered, "Naw, we just think we are all too good looking."

- Dorothy Robinson, metro, Aug 19th, 2005 - New York City edition
(emphasis mine)

Everyone in the New York City has this disease. Everyone. This girl is so right-on its scary.


I believe in democracy because I believe in the Fall of Man. I think most people believe in democracy for the opposite reason. A great deal of democratic enthusiasm descends from the ideas of people like Rousseau, who believed in democracy because they thought mankind was so wise and good that everyone deserved a share in the government. The real reason for democracy is just the reverse. Mankind is so fallen that no one can be trusted with unchecked power over others. Aristotle said that some people were only fit to be slaves…but I reject slavery because I see no people fit to be masters.

Nevertheless, under the necessary outer covering of legal equality [there is something else.] The one who cannot conceive of a joyful and loyal obedience on the one hand, nor an unembarrassed and noble acceptance of that obedience on the other, the one who has never even wanted to kneel or bow…is one whose tap-root to Eden has been cut. But it would be wicked folly to restore this on the legal or external plane. Its proper place is elsewhere. Where we are forbidden to honor kings, we honor millionaires, athletes or film-stars instead—even famous gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison. – C.S. Lewis


I'm still at work. This sucks. The partner I'm working with on this project is a really cool guy, but he has this tendency to finally get time to sit with me and explain what he wants to see right about the time normal people are leaving to go home for the evening. So we work together from 4 or 5pm until about, say, 7 or 8pm...and I leave with the task of pulling together about 50 power point slides into a realistic presentation by tomorrow morning. So...yeah. Its 10pm and I'm just taking a brain break.

I can't complain, I didn't do anything all summer. I guess I'm just spoiled.

Anyway, even though I've blogged enough this week to last me like a month, I ain't forgetting Thursday links. No sir.

Second time my name's been mentioned on LifeHacker in as many days. I'm not sure that last sentence is grammatically correct but I'm too tired to care. Anyway here's the link to Google Mapki, the link I submitted to them. Don't miss the Map Projects page, lots of fun Google Maps stuff.

It would take roughly 346 bottles of Diet Peach Iced Tea Snapple to kill me.

I'd like to start swing dancing more. Thanks to Dawn I found one way to get started. I need a partner...that's pretty much the only reason I haven't done it more in the last...oh, half a decade?

When Target isn't selling diamonds they're teaching us how to fold fitted sheets. This one is thanks to Hotel Cali.

Amazon's the latest player to throw their hat into the Online Map Tool ring. Theirs is cool because certain city/streets offer actual street level photos of that portion of the block. I got pictures of the building I'm sitting in right now with little trouble. The pic above is of the building right next door to us, where they were filming Law and Order yesterday.

Now I can tell where most of my visitors are viewing my site from, thanks to yet another Google Map hack. So far everyone's been from North America.

Ok its straight up Google goodness this week I guess. Again. Use Google to search the net for unprotected file lists (you know those lists that say /Index/ up top and then have a bunch of free files some moron didn't properly html). It says it'll search media files (ie. music like mp3, wma's, etc.) but I bet you could manipulate it to work on other files too. Tyoogle.

Yeah, New York isn't dirty. Chicago, now Chicago is a dirty city. Let me tell you. How about Cali showing up with all the clean ones. Sacto ranking pretty well on the "cleanest" side. That 4 in air quality was the kicker. Oi.

Get online coupon codes here before you shop. I've been trying to find something like this for a while.

This guy's got a cool idea. I think.

Even better than cliff notes.

Interesting way to find a book that might suit you.

Ok there's other stuff...but I need to get back to work.


Woot its a big day for me. First Christian Carnival hosting and first hat-tip from Lifehacker. Was supposed to be published on RelevantMagazine.com for the first time today as well but it got pushed to later in the month, will blog it when it happens...

Also first comment spam. Hit me like a gale force - I've deleted 5 or 6 today already.

Christian Carnival 83

I'm honored to be hosting the 83rd edition of Christian Carnival. I've read through every post to be mentioned below, and can attest that, as usual, there is a lot of excellent thought put into these posts. There have been a great number of folk who have hosted CC before it made its way to my humble blog, and many of them have categorized the posts they received for their given week in very creative ways. I'm not feeling so creative at this point. I'm big on quotes, and had originally hoped to assign a quote I felt appropriate to each submission, but after the first 15 or so this got a little laborious. So, instead, I'm grouping the submissions into themes, and each theme gets one/some applicable quote(s) assigned to it. Happy reading.

On Suffering:

Jami Leigh at JamiLeigh poetically presents It matters
- a proclamation of faith, standing against an unknown illness!

Lance at Ragged Edges blesses us with Real Following, discussing the virtues of my (now former) church and it's current undertaking to help the suffering in Sudan.

Kim writes over at Sharing Spirit
about Painful Adversity; Joyful Growth Through all our painful adversities, once we let go of the struggle and the outcome into God's plan, purpose and hands, we will eventually experience joyful growth.

Dadmanly blogs on Forgiveness: Wrong, or Wronged: We step forward in faith, we do what He would have us do, we do what we need to do for ourselves, and then turn the hurt, the wrong, the working out of our salvation over to Him.

Robin Lee at Write Thinking: Miscellaneous Musings of a Christian Novelist muses about the potter's hands: Sometimes being shaped and molded by the Potter is uncomfortable for the clay, but it's a necessary process if I'm to become a useful pot.

Cindy Swanson at Notes in the Key of Life presents Carrie McDonnall is a hero.

Donna-Jean at Liberty and Lily writes
of a friend's new journey with a brain tumor. Elyse is determined to live and trust God vibrantly through this, and her inspiring response to this daunting news is written about in I Never Tire of That Joyful Feeling.

John over at Bezahlt(dot)Org tells us about Derek - a guy who's fallen on tough times lately - and asks for our help in supporting him.

Suffering is the very best gift He has to give us. He gives it only to His chosen friends. – Therese of Lisieux


No words can express how much the world owes to sorrow. Most of the Psalms were born in a wilderness. Most of the Epistles were written in a prison. The greatest thoughts of the greatest thinkers have all passed through fire. The greatest poets have ‘learned in suffering what they were taught in song.’ – George MacDonald


Deep in unfathomable mines,
With never failing skill,
He treasures up his bright designs,
And works his sovereign will.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence,
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour:
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.
– William Cowper, 1774

On God and government (and other matters socio-political):

Will at WILLisms.com shows up with an industrious double-submission, sporting dual trivia tidbits: Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 136 -- Religious Denominations In The Senate., and Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 137 -- Religious Denominations In The U.S. House Of Representatives. Nice job Will, but what about the other 2 arms of government?

Jay at Stop The ACLU presents ACLosers and Victory For Free Speech

Diane at Crossroads takes home the Post Title Most Likely to be Mistaken for a Dr. Seuss Book Award, with Dr. Price Pays the Price Like Canada, the United States is coming closer to silencing pastors who teach what the Bible says about marriage...and what it says about homosexuality. We see a recent example in Los Angeles with an action by the city council there.

Byron has a ticking time blog on his hands but instead of trying to deactivate it he's writing about God or country: To what or Whom do evangelical Christians ultimately pledge their allegiance? Byron takes home the Friends with a Professor from my Alma Mater award if in fact he is friends with Throckmorton, as his side-bar indicates.

John Bambenek at Ravings of John C. A. Bambenek presents Morality and Liberty - an article on why morality and a community-minded population is needed to maintain a free society.

Tom, the Thinking Christian, writes on how Religious Leaders Decry Imposition of Faith on Public Life noting that they are upset that faith is impinging on public policy--a matter that is addressed by Nancy Pearcey in Total Truth.

When Phil's not busy eating Another Man's Meat, he writes about stuff like Purple Heart: In the light of Cidny Sheehan I felt compelled to re-state what I believe is the real reason we need to be in Iraq - THE MORAL CASE.

Lennie at Cross Blogging speaks out on Education
, saying I have a letter to the editor from someone proposing parents pay for their child's education. I am asking the following questions because of it:
1. What is responsibility of the Parent in paying for their child’s education?
2. What is responsibility of the Society in paying for all childrens education?
3. Do you believe your perspective is different if you are a Christian?

Julie Anne, a more feminine Fidler On The Roof asks What Are My Politics?

Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged. - Ronald Reagan


Had the people, during the Revolution, had any suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, the Revolution would have been strangled in the cradle. At the time of the adoption of the Constitution and the Amendments, the universal sentiment was that Christianity should be encouraged, not any one sect. In this age there can be no substitute for Christianity. That was the religion of the founders of the republic, and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants. The great vital and conservative element in our system is the doctrines and divine truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. - the House Judiciary Committee Report March 3, 1854, in response to a request that all reference to religion be removed from government


Finally, the ACLU - we talked about this yesterday and I - and, you know, I have to pick on the ACLU because they're the most dangerous organization in the United States of America right now. There's by far. There's nobody even close to that. They're, like, second next to Al Qaeda. - Bill O'Reilly

On the Creation of us:

Dadmanly also posts over at Gladmanly on
Divine Evolution
: In his continuing series of articles on Evolution, Frederick Turner has now hypothesized a synthetic framework (as in “synthesized,” rather than “ersatz”) for reconciling Evolution and Intelligence Design.

Dick at Viewpoint gives us Teaching ID (Pt. II), where he sketches an outline of how ID might be approached in a public school science class without interjecting religion into the discussion.

Kevin at Technogypsy presents Evolution, ID, and some common sense. Kevin's bit is mainly a link to another article.

Scientists have shown that the moon is moving away at a tiny yet measurable distance from the earth every year. If you do the math, you can calculate that 85 million years ago the moon was orbiting the earth at a distance of about 35 feet from the earth's surface. This would explain the death of the dinosaurs. The tallest ones, anyway. -- Unknown


What is required of you is faith and a sincere life, not loftiness of intellect or deep knowledge of the mysteries of God. – Thomas a Kempis

On Sex / Marriage:

The Bloke ...in the outer... presents some
ideas and reflections
on the issue of masturbation, sexual fantasies and Jesus' apparent injunction against committing adultery in one's mind. This post is actually the third in a series on the Matthew 5:27,28 passage in which the bloke attempts to upack what the meaning of the passage beginning in verse 17 is actually trying to say.

Funky Dung at Ales Rarus gives us a review of the Virtual Red Light District. Sayeth the Funk: I really cannot fathom why the Bush administration, the Family Research Council, and other conservative groups are against the implimentation of a .xxx domain. In this post I fisk two press releases from FRC on this matter. [NOTE: There's no naughtiness in the the post. The only "adult" word is pornography itself. No sex acts are mentioned. Also, I can assure you that I'm against porn and this post in no way defends the porn industry.]

Ron at Northern 'burbs blog writes on something I've CC'd about myself in the past: The
purposes of Marriage: Part V - A few More
Its a continuation of my series on marriage, wrapping up the final purposes of the institution.

Hang up philosophy!
Useless philosophy can make a Juliet.
- Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 3


We regard love not as the search for a mate, but as the search for an orgasm more apocalyptic than the last one. [For us] God is located in the senses of the body—not the God of the churches, but the unachievable whisper of mystery within sex—the paradise of limitless energy and perception just beyond the next wave of orgasm. – Norman Mailer, The Beat Generation


A cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But, of course, it is better to be neither. – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

On the internet and fellowship:

(Providentially, the first two posts here are from homeschooling mothers. I'm the oldest of 6 homeschooled, so I'm thankful for moms like you.)

Kim at The Upward Call gives us
Life With the Machine - a piece that reflects on the impact of the internet on Christian thinking and socializing.

DeputyHeadmistress at The Common Room presents Going from House to House.

Louie at The Marshian Chronicles blogs about Blogging For Blogging's Sake - Some thoughts on why believers blog, how and why we should do it, and what it all amounts to anyway. Louie wins the Using the Word Blogging Twice in His Title Award.

What is meant by fellowship in this verse? Gossip? Cups of tea? Tours? No. What is being referred to is something of a quite different order and on a quite different level. "They met constantly to hear the apostles teach, and to share the common life, and break bread and to pray. A sense of awe was everywhere. All whose faith had drawn them together held everything in common. With one mind they kept up their daily attendance at the temple, and, breaking bread in private houses, shared their meals with unaffected joy as they praised God" (Acts 2:42-47, New English Bible). That is fellowship as the new Testament understands it, and there is clearly a world of difference between that and mere social activities.

The Greek word for fellowship comes from a root meaning common or shared. So fellowship means common participation in something either by giving what you have to the other person or receiving what he or she has. Give and take is the essence of fellowship, and give and take must be the way of fellowship in the common life of the body of Christ.

Christian fellowship is two-dimensional, and it has to be vertical before it can be horizontal. We must know the reality of fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ before we can know the reality of fellowship with each other in our common relationship to God (1 John 1:3). The person who is not in fellowship with the Father and the Son is no Christian at all, and so cannot share with Christians the realities of their fellowship. - James Packer, Your Father Loves You

On Faith:

Bill at faithCommons points out that Faith is not a belief or an agreement. Faith is the ardent pursuit of a worthy goal or a commitment to a worthy principle in his post Believing the Unbelievable is Not Faith.

Phil at PhilThreten posts on The Myth of Eden, asking: Is our relationship to God based on works or on faith....you may be surprised what RC Sproul's response is.

Ray Pritchard talks about Harry Bollback’s Advice noting that A wise friend recently gave me some good advice about making decisions. There comes a time when you need to make up your mind. If you sit around forever talking about your options, all you will do is sit around forever.

I’m a pretty calm sort, and I try to make choices in an informed, deliberate way. But from simple decisions at the hardware store to bigger life questions, I’m often reeling from the sheer volume of options I face each day. In fact, many people I know are caught in a similar love/hate relationship with choices—reveling in all the opportunities available, but also feeling downright oppressed by them.

Our choices seem especially fraught with anxiety now as the clothes, schools, jobs, food, homes, and cars we select are more than ever declarations of who we are. You are not just buying shoes or wine or gifts for the kids; with each decision you are constructing an identity for all the world to see and judge you by. This raises the pressure on making the right decision. You may feel increasingly frustrated by how little time you have to sort through all the options. You may continually question whether you’ve made the best decisions. Knowing what you really want can sometimes seem impossible. – Karen Olson, Too Many Choices?, Utne Reader


When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer. - Corrie Ten Boom

On Christ and Him crucified:

Bob at CrosSwords does some Franklin Graham Festival Preparation - Corpus Christi, TX is preparing for the Franklin Graham Festival to be held August 19-21. Some interesting things have been happening that remind all Christians of our need to examine our lives in the midst of Christ's call on our lives.

James at Points of Light talks of the Tree of Life - A tree at sunrise reminds the photographer that Jesus Christ is the bridge between earth and heaven.

Rick at Brutally Honest gives us The Emergent Jesus - New and Improved... Really..., telling us how the post modern Jesus is appealing but it's tough to let go of the Christ of Scripture.

Richard (or "Mr. Anderson" as he would be referred to in The Matrix) at dokeo kago grapho soi kratistos theophilus - dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke writes on Cultus Atonement Metaphors. Sayeth Richard: In my discussion of "The Background and Content of Paul's Cultic Atonement Metaphors," I explained how Paul could "portray an individual as a sacrifice and scapegoat at the same time."

For family devotions, Martin Luther once read the account of Abraham offering Isaac on the altar in Genesis 22. His wife, Katie, said, "I do not believe it. God would not have treated his son like that!" "But, Katie," Luther replied, "He did." -- W. Wiersbe


Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Does his successive journeys run:
His Kingdom stretch from shore to shore
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.
– Issac Watts


Jesus… told people that their sins were forgiven… This makes sense only if He really was the God whose laws are broken and whose love is wounded in every sin. I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would be either a lunatic- on the level of a poached egg- or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. – C.S. Lewis

On the Word:

Reynaldo at The Bible Archive blogs on Wacky Scriptures, just answering a question about some portions of Scripture that have questionable authorship and why they’re still in our Bibles.

Michael over at Tantalizing if
makes the interesting point that You
are not in the Bible
- A theater/religion major presents a novel method of understanding the Bible better.

Brad over at 21st Century Reformation gives us a summary of Jesus' discileship method as outlined in the Sermon on the Mount in his post Discipleship 101 – A Practical Guide to Entering a Truly Heavenly Quality of Life This essay is a helpful guide to entering into the heavenly quality of life Jesus called the kingdom of Heaven. May you be blessed by learning to practice the ways of Jesus.

I have been reading poems, romances, vision literature, legends, myths all my life. I know what they are like. I know none of them are like this. Of this [gospel] text there are only two possible views. Either this is reportage…or else, some unknown ancient writer…without known predecessors or successors, suddenly anticipated the whole technique of modern novelistic, realistic narrative…. The reader who doesn’t see this has simply not learned how to read. – C.S. Lewis


When Jesus says to Simon, “Follow me,” the response is a single act of faith and obedience; there is no gap between a mental action of believing and a bodily action of following. The human person is not a mind attached to a body but a single psychosomatic being. The implication of this, of course, is that the gospel does not become public truth for a society by being propagated as a theory or as a worldview and certainly not as a religion. It can become public truth only insofar as it is embodied in a society (the church) which is both “abiding in” Christ and engaged in the life of the world. – Lesslie Newbigin

On other people's words:

Pastor Ed at Attention Span asks the question, Astronomer Or Astronaut? A quote in a third rate sequel got me thinking, "How does God want me to live?" The two choices are astronomer, exploring exciting places from the comfort of home, or astronaut, risking all to go.

Shaun over at Postscript Posthaste observes On the Legitimacy of Magic in Fantasy Literature, asking: Can Christian's read literature which includes the magical or, by doing so, are they sinfully participating in something condemned by God in the Bible? Responding to Doug Phillip's recent condemnation of Harry Potter, I demonstrate that magic in fantasy literature need not be that which the Bible condemns, but may actually be an act of virtue. As Tolkien put it, "in such "fantasy," as it is called, new form is made; Faerie begins; Man becomes a sub-creator."

Doug at Apprehension writes on Mere Christianity - Right and Wrong - More Than Just Convenience
- C. S. Lewis is distinguishing right and wrong from other human conventions. I've added some detail from Minnesota ecology and American history. Come on, you know you have to visit now.

Tim at Callmeteem a response to the book The Grieving Indian.

Mark Olson at Psuedo-Polymath presents The Reformation: more thoughts - he's been reading more of Diarmaid MacCulloch's history of the Reformation and shares some semi-random observations along the way.

Dawn at DawnXianaMoon.com: Randomness happens to be the only contributor to CC this week that I have had the pleasure of meeting in person. She writes about Popularity at 23: In the last couple of days, more than one friend has told me that I'm popular. And it's a funny thing for me to hear. Dawn was voted "Most Popular" in her high school year book. Ok I made that part up.

I propose to speak about fairy-stories, though I am aware this is a rash adventure. Fairy is a perilous land, and in it are pitfalls for the unwary and dungeons for the overbold. And overbold I may be accounted... – J.R.R. Tolkien


If only there were evil people somewhere, insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? - Alexander Solzhenitsyn


Ad astra per aspera - A rough road leads to the stars.

On living in His will:

Pastor Bill over at Chapelccino is home from vacation, and he's asking the question, "Why Even Come Back?"

WeekendFisher at CADRE Comments talks on a Food Fight at the Banquet of Life. As God tries to feed us, we often manage to make a mess of things.

Irene over at ireneQ • unravelled supplies us with Communication with God: mystery & minefield. Irene finds herself frustrated because she finds communication with God such a dicey thing.

Walking on the water is easy to impulsive pluck, but walking on dry land as a disciple of Jesus Christ is a different thing. Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus, but he followed Him afar off on the land. We do not need the grace of God to stand crises, human nature and pride are sufficient, we can face the strain magnificently; but it does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours in every day as a saint, to go through drudgery as a disciple, to live an ordinary, unobserved, ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is inbred in us that we have to do exceptional things for God; but we have not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things, be holy in mean streets, among mean people, and this is not learned in five minutes. – Oswald Chambers

On doctrinal issues:

Bill at Minas Tirith (didn't realize they had internet service to Middle Earth already) gives us The Tragedy of Eastern Orthodoxy - A passionate plea to evangelicals considering Eastern Orthodoxy.

Tim at Church Voices gives us Just a Virgin Birth.

Jeff at Anti-Itch Meditation gives us The War Department. This post uses the ELCA Conference's argument over their hymnal to raise a larger question about singing in church--why do we do it and why does it cause so much trouble?
Jeff takes home the Blog Name Sounds Most Like a Business Award.

Karen at From the Anchor Hold gives us .... to be happy with Him forever in Heaven. She explains why the pre-reformation Churches celebrate and define as doctrine the Dormition (also known as the Assumption) of the Mother of God.

The Spirit of God first imparts love; he next inspires hope, and then gives liberty and that is about the last thing we have in many of our churches. – D.L. Moody


Sound doctrine is useless if it is not accompanied by a holy life. It is worse than useless; it does positive harm. – John Charles Ryle

On everything else:

Grab your Bibles for the box scores. Paula at Listen In has insight into how life is like baseball after the excitement of the recent All-Star game. She's making her pitch with "Having a Baseball Attitude."

Penitens at A Penitent Blogger provides us with Soak the rich - A somewhat long reflection on material possessions and the things of heaven.

Barbara at Tidbits And Treasures posts on The Last Appointment, about how we need to be ready for The Last Appointment in life, death, which is one appointment we all have to keep, unless the Lord returns first.

From cwv warrior over at Christianity is Jewish we have Lest Ye Be Judged, who points out that Moses was receiving the Law from God while Aaron took over leadership of the people and goes on to compare Aaron's weakness with today's religious leaders' allowing idolatry into the churches. Join the debate!

Wayne at the Better Bibles Blog...well what can I say. Wayne takes the cake, in my book. For those of you not aware, I've been looking for help in making sure I get the trackbacks right for CC, as its something I've never done before. Wayne's post Trackback for Bible users gives us step-by-step directions for installing Trackback on blogs which do not have this feature. Thanks Wayne! (note: I went the Simpletracks way of manual install, so I'll be adding all the trackbacks as soon as I actually post this - apologies if that goofs anyone up)

Materialism is an obsession with material things. Asceticism is the denial of the good gifts of the Creator. Pharisaism is binding ourselves and other people with rules. Instead, we should stick to principles. The principle of simplicity is clear. Simplicity is the first cousin of contentment. Its motto is, “We brought nothing into the world, and we can certainly carry nothing out.” It recognizes that we are pilgrims. It concentrates on what we need, and measures this by what we use. It rejoices in the good things of creation, but hates waste and greed and clutter. It knows how easily the seed of the Word is smothered by the “cares and riches of this life.” It wants to be free of distractions, in order to love and serve God and others. – John R.W. Stott


Someone outside Washington has been shooting men and women without concern for race or age. The attacks have been both methodical and random….

We are always looking to make some sort of sense out of murder in order to keep it safely at bay: I don’t fit that description; I don’t live in that town; I would never have gone to that place, known that person. But what happens when we can’t say that—when there is no description, no place, nobody? Where do we go to get our peace of mind?....

The fact is, staving off our own death is one of our favorite national pastimes. Whether it is exercise, checking cholesterol, or having a mammogram—we are always trying to find out what the profile is—and then make sure we do not fit it. But a sniper taking a single clean shot, not into a crowd but through the sight, reminds us horribly of death itself. Despite our best intentions, it is still, for the most part, random. And it is absolutely coming. – Ann Patchett, New York Times Magazine


What is both surprising and delightful is that spectators are allowed, and even expected, to join in the vocal part of the game.... There is no reason why the field should not try to put the batsman off his stroke at the critical moment by neatly timed disparagements of his wife's fidelity and his mother's respectability. ~George Bernard Shaw

Thanks again to everyone. Next week CC is over at Wallo World.

Update: Late additions

Greg at incarnatus est writes on Real Revival - we do not have to wonder what it is like if Christ was present in our church. In the Lord's Supper, he is bodily present to give us assurance and new life.

Miss O'Hara at Miss O'Hara presents What do you see? How we perceive the Bible - for instance - the words of Jesus and how they are said - makes a world of difference.

Jeremy at Parableman gives us Do Evangelicals Have a Moral Podium? It raises the question of whether evangelicalism has moral clout with the culture to justify evangelicals trying to speak as a group on moral issues, given that we don't appear to be a whole lot different morally speaking from those in the surrounding culture.

(Hi. If you've come here looking for Christian Carnival, its not up yet. But it will be. Skip the first paragraph below and then start reading for a more in-depth explanation.)

I'm not sure which is more full at the moment - my stomach or my brain. After a long day in the office, it was off to Rogo's and then 10th and Willow with 10 of my buddies from church to pit the wings at both locations against each other in a wing death-match of sorts. Two wings enter, one wing leaves. Basically we all had a lot of wings and beer at each place and then voted on the Price/Value, Hotness, and Overall Quality of the wings at the different establishments. Peter and Matt had originally nominated Rogo's, and I was the sole nominee representing 10th and Willow. While neither establishment posted a phenomenal score (on a 1-10 scale, averaged across the 3 categories and 11 guys), the final scores were about as close as can be. 10th and Willow won with a score of 5.091 over Rogo's 5.061. Its because I voted ridiculously in favor of 10th and Willow, and got a last minute "8" in overall quality vote from Peter, who was repping Rogo's. So, anyway, that explains the full stomach.

Full head is because I'm STILL working on the Christian Carnival post I hope to have up by mid-day tomorrow. But NO PROMISES. If you'll note the average time I usually get around to posting on a daily basis (I usually only post Mon-Fri nowadays, btw), you'll see that I usually don't have a chance to blog before the 11pm-1am time frame on any given day. For example, the post you are reading now is my Tuesday evening post, and its about 1am on Wednesday morning (the end of my Tues. evening, so to speak). This is due to the constraints of work, church, social life, sports, wings, or whatever the excuse of the day is.

BUT, I'm going to do my best to get it up by lunch-time-ish tomorrow, because I don't want to keep the masses waiting. Yall wrote a lot of good stuff and far be it from me to keep it from the eyes of the public any longer than that. So I'm working on it as fast as I can. I have every submission so far (11:50pm - deadline is 1:00am this week) built into my post, now I have to go through and read the roughly 66% of posts I haven't read yet, organize, theme, and whatnot. Oh, and I hope to build trackback capability into my blog thanks to Wayne (to be linked to in CC tomorrow) before I actually post it. So yall should have your trackbacks. So have some patience, I beg you.

I didn't think I would be doing client work the week I got back from vacation and therefore planned on having more time to put towards a better and more timely CC. But I guess Murphy and God got together over brewskis and decided to put the kibosh on that plan. Real funny, guys. I especially like the touch of putting me back on the Toys R Us project that I was so sure I'd never have to deal with again. Hysterical.

(hopefully someone gets the picture joke today...also I might point out that it took me like 5 pages of Google Images to find the first non-totally-slutty JS picture that was usable for this post...wasn't she a good girl for like 5 minutes once? sad.)


Whew. I am all blogged out. I've been working for a few hours now on building the first half of my Christian Carnival post for Wednesday, and I'm glad I got a head-start, because its a lot of work. Of course the way I decided to write it contributes to that, so I have myself to blame, in part.

Tomorrow its back to the West Village for more work on the now-revived possibility of a Toys-R-Us project. Hmm. Hope that doesn't keep me too late because I have to get back in time to represent my chosen establishment in our first round of the "Wing and a Prayer" competition - a bunch of guys from church here in Hoboken have decided to pit our respective favorite wing-serving establishments against each other to determine who, in fact, has the best wings in town. So that should be fun.

Then more work on the CC post and hopefully I'll have it up by a decent time on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, I'm going to be published on RelevantMagazine.com - its actually a blog post I wrote quite a while back, which I submitted to them. They waited to publish it until they re-released their updated version of the site, which is now launched. So its a big day for me, of sorts. I'll link to the article once its up there. I hope and plan to write more for them in the future.

I feel like if I don't recap the vacation now, I never will, so you're going to get it fast and furious.

I got a standby seat and in fact it was in the first row bulkhead, which wasn't too bad. So I got home late Friday night near the tail end of my brother's 21st birthday party. Saturday was driving up to Nevada City with my youngest brother Joey to lunch with my grandparents and take a brief trip to the lake near their house. We stopped and checked in on my parent's new real-estate investment in Auburn, about a stone's throw from the building I was born in. That night mom made tacos - one of my favorite home meals. Sunday was church, then lunch and packing the car. We drove to Hanford, the city my sister Robbie is living and studying in, and caught the evening service at the church she works for / studies at. Dinner with the family she stays with, then crashed in a hotel room.

Monday morning we were off for Santa Barbara, where we met up with brother Jonny and his buddy Dillon who were winding up their whirl-wind car tour of the state (they hit Yosemite, San Diego and of course Tijuana for switchblades, LA, and who knows where else before meeting us). We all had lunch with our adopted great-aunt Marge, one of the nicest and most generous people I know. Then we all trekked back up coast an hour or so to Pismo, and set up camp.

Camp was a nice grassy area situated just behind the sand dunes and eucalyptus trees that separated us from the beach. The beach was long, maybe a couple hundred yards of sand from the dunes to the water at points. We were about a quarter mile down from the pier that juts out from downtown Pismo. Lots of boogie boarding, swimming, beaching, eating, shopping, and playing Mafia around the fire at night. I moderated, for the most part, to the chagrin of some. But they kept asking me to do it, so I did. I am a good Mafia moderator. Go to sleep!

Thursday afternoon we got in some last minute boogie boarding and then struck camp and drove home, with a stop at the ever-beefy Harris Ranch for a nice dinner. Sister Margy, the only one not with us for the camping, had flown into Sacto that same day so I got to spend Friday shopping downtown with her, before we returned home to get ready for the wedding we all went to that night. It was the daughter of my parent's church's pastor. Nice gal/dude, nice wedding, really nice reception, I'm talking like swanky-NYC-nice reception. Then I drove the rental car back to the airport and hopped in an exit row seat back to JFK. J-lo picked me up and gave me a ride back to the boken Saturday morning, where we had breakfast. I proceeded to hide in the cold dark comfort of my room for the rest of the day, sleeping a large part of it away.

And then it was back to routine. Went to check out my buddy Peter playing in one of his baseball games on Sunday morning, drove out there with the roomie and his girl, and churched it up last evening.

I think that's about it. Oh yeah, there was a ton of marine life in Pismo - from sea lions / seals coming literally right up to us in the surf as we boogie boarded, to whales flopping about just a couple hundred yards out (freaked out the parents since we were boarding about halfway out to the whales), to pods of dolphins in the morning waves, riding the surf with the boarders. Oh and here's a picture (phone cam) of the fam from the wedding.


I'll get around to recapping my vacation last week sometime soon, like tomorrow soon, but there was one thing that my mom pointed out early in the week that made me stop short.

Just before I came home for my vacation, my sister Robbie had been back at Honey Rock Camp in Wisconsin, a camp operated by Wheaton College, which a long line of my relatives on my mom's side attended. I broke that legacy and began one of my own at Grove City College, much to the chagrin of some of the older folks in mom's family. Robbie spent a lot of time back in Chicago (where Wheaton is) and up at Honey Rock when we were growing up.

My parents had been good friends with the director of Physical Ed. at Wheaton and his wife since before all of us were born (back when they were all our age, or younger, I suppose). So, while we were growing up, they were good family friends that we visited on a fairly regular basis. They had 2 kids, Emily - who was a couple years older than me, and David, who was a bit younger than me. As kids naturally go, I connected well with David while Robbie bonded Emily. David and I were friends after a fashion, but we were never anything like Robbie and Emily. Emily quickly became like the older sister Robbie never had, and their bond was fast and true. They kept in solid contact, whereas David and I were content to go all year never talking then take off for a night of rebuilding a car whenever we were together again. It was under the transmission of a '72 Bronco that David confessed his affections for Robbie to me, and under that same Bronco that I threatened to crush him with said transmission (Dave's married now, not to my sister, but he's a great guy and I'm glad he found the right girl).

I never knew Emily quite as well as I now wish I had. At that age (our mid-teens), I wasn't concerned with the more important things in life, but Emily clearly had already been granted some of that grace, and was selfless enough to share it with my sister. I know that my sister is a better person for who Emily was and the influence she had in her life, and I know we're both thankful for that. She was one of the kindest, gentlest, and sweetest girls you would ever meet. Robbie still has a picture of Emily on her dresser at home and its one of those smiles that literally stops you in your tracks, every time.

Emily died in a rock climbing accident while climbing with her family near Honey Rock, ten years ago last week.

Mom pointed out the anniversary when I got home and told me that's why Robbie had been out there, in part. I got that sick feeling in my stomach that I still get every time I think about the day we first heard the news. I couldn't believe it had been that long since she died, and I knew that Robbie, David, and his parent's conflictions must have far outweighed mine last week.

Emily wasn't just one of those souls that people laud all of their best qualities when they eulogize them. Emily was one of those people who you instantly would have spoken of in the same way while she was still alive. Her qualities all were the best, and I know of nothing bad that could have been said about her. The praises I've made don't begin to recount the amazing person she really was, and I knew her far less well than my sister did. Why she, of all people, had to go at such a young age is a question that I'll take with me to eternity. Sometimes providence just doesn't make any sense.

I'm writing this here because I don't want to forget about it again, and this has become something of a journal for me, at times. Emily's death changed her family's life, and my sister's life, and mine as well, to a lesser extent. But not, I hope, so much as her life changed ours. I'm thankful for that, and that someday I will get to know her all over again.


This coming Wednesday, August 17th, I'll be honored to host the weekly blog consortium known as "Christian Carnival." I've been participating in the Carnival for a while, as you know if you've been reading here for any reasonable length of time.

If you have your own blog and haven't contributed to CC before, I encourage you to consider it. Entry rules/instructions can be found here, and all entries should me emailed to CC (where they'll be forwarded to me) here by 1:00 AM on Weds the 17th.

I'm looking forward to reading through all the good material I expect to see shortly - I've already received quite a few submissions since I sent out the invite to the mailing list earlier today.

(BTW, I've returned safe and sound from vacation, will blog about it, perhaps tomorrow.)


Live blogging from one of THE coolest towns on the planet - Santa Barbara, California. Just driving around for a bit made me remember how much I love it here, and an hour or so has reminded me that I need to take a few days and come chill here sometime soon. We had lunch down on a pier with a family friend, then came back to an area of downtown we used to frequent as my grandparents started a store here with some friends of theirs. They've long since retired and moved up to norcal with us, but I used to spend my summers down here going to tennis camp, the beach, working in the store. Their friend, the wife of the couple still lives here and owns a bit of the real estate here in downtown, including Finestra, a Christian coffee shop / book-store that is super cool - very laid back and relaxed.

Gotta run, we're off to Pismo and a week in the ocean. Joy. Updates when I can, likely not til late in the week. Pictures to come.


I get done with last night’s post and the phone rings. Its Mindi, she needs me to come hang out at their place while she drives over to pick Cregan up at the ferry, because Ti-man was already asleep. Sure, no problem. I can put off packing and cleaning and work and everything else just that much longer.

I get there and Mindi leaves and I decide I’ll check into my flight via the 24-hour-prior online check-in they have now. Except it tells me I have no flights coming up. Which should have been wrong on two counts – I should have had a flight for today (or so I thought), as well as a round-trip home I booked for this Christmas when I was booking this flight. I was, naturally, more immediately concerned with the absence of an itinerary for this week’s trip home. I poke around some and realize that my departure was, in fact, a Thursday evening departure. Now I do remember poking at the idea of leaving on Thursday, but for the life of me, I remember actually booking a Friday flight. Well, it was Thursday. And the Thursday flight had departed about an hour before I logged on. So I wasn’t going home Thursday night.

I decided to watch some X-games and call them on my way home so I wouldn’t have to be on the phone when C&M got back. Dave Mirra was on, after all. He’s riding a 24-karat gold-plated bike this year. He’s earned it, but its still a little pretentious. He went over the bars when he came down a little too far forward on a pretty standard air.

Later, I’m on the phone with Jetblue. Sure, no prob, they’ll move me to Thursday. I just have to pay the $110 fare difference. Greeeeat. Expensive mistake. Then she comes back on and says I can go standby on Friday for free. I decide to gamble it. Its been a pit-of-your-stomach feeling for 24 hours, but I got here about 4 hours ahead of scheduled departure, which got me first standby spot in the system, so I should get one of the 2 open seats that are still available. I’m doubting anyone buys them between now and then, but I still have my fingers gingerly crossed (makes typing kind of difficult).

It will be a relief to finally get my butt in front of that little Direct TV screen. Oh and my flight’s delayed, so I really get to spend about 5 hours at the airport. Oh well. At least they have a free wifi hotspot. Which does not work. Can’t get a strong enough signal but I’ve got a primo spot in the advertised area, so I can’t imagine that moving would find me something better. That, and this place is BONKERS. Standing room only and there’s little of that left by now. People even just sitting and playing cards in the middle of the aisles – which doesn’t matter b/c its almost impossible to walk through them with this many people anyway.

Something happened somewhere today because every single flight is delayed big-time. The gate attendants are on the PA every 20 seconds giving very general late-arrival/departure updates. God bless these noise-cancelling headphones. They’re not the best – Sony’s and they’re not the in-ear buds, but over-ear phones – got an open-box deal at Best Buy a few years ago. Haven’t brought myself to pop for those $300 bad boys that go in like earplugs and apparently block out even the sound of your own breathing. I will some day, though. Right now I’m kind of holding out some vain hope that they might some day make phones that you can adjust the volume for each ear-bud separately, which would cater nicely to my hearing disability.

Did I mention totally freaking bonkers? The state of this airport right now? I just wonder if its like this in the other terminals for other airlines. I’m transferring all the mp3’s I put on my phone this week onto the laptop, so now I’ll have my favorite gig of music on 2 computers and my phone and I will be able to listen virtually anywhere but under water. As soon as the transfer is done and I can use my phone again (can’t use it when its USB’ing stuff), I’m going to call Sonja b/c I happen to know she’s going through Newark to visit her folks this weekend – so if she’s stuck in a similar situation there (I’m at JFK), we’ll officially know that “something” is up, but we’ll likely have no better idea what it is.

That’s all. I’m going to sit here and go crazy some more trying to get on the internet. The Chinese lady sitting next to me isn’t able to connect either, so its not just me. You can get a weak-to-medium signal from the Jetblue network, but for some reason it doesn’t give any real signal. There was a guy sitting here before me a few hours ago who said he got a signal after a while. ANNOYING.

(I’ll post this whenever I actually do get connected, be it here or somewhere in the golden state.)

(Update: I figured out how to get connected here in the airport, hours after I could have first used such knowledge. Its about time to go grovel in front of the desk for my standby seat - safe guess that I won't get an exit row seat on this flight. Sonja's airport was crazy too. So were some others I checked on. Weird. Have a nice weekend.)


A true pro- crastinator is the kind of person that would see a bear lumbering towards their picnic blanket, and not get up and run away, because, hey, you've got the rest of your life. Of course you're not supposed to run from bears, but...whatever. Point is my room is still a pit, I have laundry to do, errands to run, actual work to finish, and packing for my trip - all of which has to happen before tomorrow afternoon. It is NOT going to be a fun night so I'm giving you your links now, you ungrateful readers.

SwitchTextbooks - gotta send this one to my brothers who are starting college this fall.

Target's taking on Tiffany's

Skateboarder 'branded' by manhole cover sues (funny, but kind of cool, in a weird not-really-cool way)

David Hasselhoff is the AntiChrist

Poor? Go here.

Google goodness this week includes:

Great news for crazy stalker types.

Google Moon (zoom in to find out what the moon is really made of)

and The Birth of Google

Get your name in the hat to become president.

Why You Can't Tickle Yourself

If you're gonna be dumb, ya gotta be tough.

Mozilla turns for-profit
. Creating something that millions of people need and depend on every day, giving it to them for free, then turning it into something they have to start paying you for: brilliant. Being one of the hopeless slaves to said product: suck.

Speaking of Firefox, here's how to get rid of the pop-ups that make it past their pop-up blocker.

No idea if I'll get a post up tomorrow in the craziness, and I'm going to be getting home during my brother's 21st birthday party, so I likely won't be writing then either. So I'll check you later.


Things I plan on consuming next week:

Shark steak

A plethora of corn dogs (accompanied by chili fries) - Weinerschnitzel

Avacados by the truckload

Fresh Crab - Santa Barbara Shellfish Co.

A double-double - In-n-Out Burgers

A box of pot stickers - Bel Air's takeout counter

Some ice-cold Grey Goose with my now-legal brother

Carne asada

A famous star (and onion rings) - Carl's Jr. (Dad would prefer if I ate elsewhere because they have some racy TV ads, but I just can't resist)

Asian buffet - Luau Gardens

Taco Bell

Lots of hot dogs cooked on sticks over beach fires

All the leftovers in the home fridge

A frosty mug filled with A&W

Filet at some wedding I have to go to

A salad - Fresh Choice

A brew with dad - Sacramento Brewing Co. or River City Brewery (or both)


French Onion Soup - Red Robin

Water from the home faucet (we have a well that draws from an underground river flowing straight from the snow-melt of the Sierra Nevada's, - I bring home Nalgenes to fill up and bring back to NYC with me)

A sandwich - a real California Togo's

Beer on the beach at sunset

Pizza - Mountain Mike's or Round Table (or both)

Egg Roll on a Stick - the state fair (this one's iffy b/c opening day is the day I'm planning to leave town).

Most of these things can not be obtained (at least not at the same quality levels) on this side of the nation (or at least not in my immediate locale), and having grown up in their bounteous goodness back home, I am looking forward to them. By "looking forward" I mean I have been thinking of them and drooling for days on end. While I'd like to think I can get to all of them in a week, I have to be realistic, especially as we'll be traveling quite a bit. I'm just going to have to make the best of it. A few that I can guarantee (save acts of God) are Weinerschnitzel, Carl's Jr, pot stickers, home water, and a brew with dad. These are all necessary traditions.

I'm taking my running shoes but I think we all know that will be like going to war armed with a feather duster.