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I have a beautiful wife, an infant son & a schnauzer. viva la tex-mex. Words that describe or excite: Missional, Glocal, Lead, Innovate, Initiate, Create, Risk, Community

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Remembering Spain

Slideshow of Madrid & Paris last Summer (Redux)
Current mood: freezing in my own house
Category: Podcast

Last summer I went to Madrid, Spain (with a sweet layover in Paris on the return flight home.) I took these pics (and others). The reason for the trip was to do some M work for the man upstairs. We have to talk in code hear because of the followers of a phalse prophet known to inspire acts of suicide and aggression among his phollowers. Any way we passed out videos to his followers discussing the son of the man upstairs and his life on this earth. We also passed out bottled water because Madrid was in the worst drought in many years and water was a valuable and appreciated commodity. J, the son of the man upstairs, was able to open up some conversation avenues amongst these people through our sharing of water and the boigraphical dvd we hand out all week.

I loved riding on the metro. I wish everywhere in America had such good public transpo. I loved trying new things, eating new phoods, and meeting new phriends. Most of all I loved seeing the Truth, Himselph, take hold of peoples hearts and minds. Especially among people that we might generally write off as having no hope of that ever happening. I want to go back right now. Since that is not going to happen I wanted to repost these pics and and remember the experience and share it with some who maybe were not around last summer to hear about it.


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Currently listening :
Into the West
By Pilot Speed
Release date: By 28 November, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Here Are Some Christmas Thoughts Spanky!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

RE:SOUNDING (i am resounding the joy i previously blogged of previously)
Current mood: LONGING FOR WASSLE & FIGGY PUDDING!!!
Category: MySpace

Earlier this morning I composed a blog entitled Repeat the Sounding Joy. Now I wanted to take some time to mention somethings that bring me joy not just during this holiday season but throughout the year.

My beautiful wife and awesome sweetheart Becky! Becky brings me joy.

My awesomely cool firstborn son Aidan Elijah Landry McMinn, Eli daddy loves you! Eli brings me joy.

The creator and sustainer of all things, including my crazy, off-kilter, warrior-wannabe, counter-culture life and lifestyle, YHWH. The LORD brings me great joy everlasting.

YHWH's son, Yeshua, for saving my sorry arse-life out of the muck and mire of an existence bent towards rebellion, creator-hatred, self-destruction, and mind-pollution. Emmanuel, God with us, provided for my joy to be made complete and for me to experience it in the first place.

The great ghost, the spirit of the living God, for putting in me power and boldness and authority replacing the fear and timidity and cowardice towards righteousness, justice and huminity that exists within me, in and of myself when seperated from I AM. Spirit, you make my joy continuous and everpresent.

Did I mention my hot wife and champion-warrior son, they bring joy. in countless ways but one way each is: Becky every Monday when you pan-fry me up some of my favorite chicken dinners and Eli when you look me in the eyes and then get a grin on your face that spreads into a full blown smile. Or when we put you on the changing table and you begin to laugh and smile, and giggle, and gurgle, and even grunt at us. Man that makes my heart feel like it will burst it cannot singularly contain the joy that wells within my heart during those moments.

Music, brings me great joy. I can not count the countless (hence the reason I can not count them) times music has lifted my soul out of the pits of deep or even just lifted it out of the drabness of a hum-drum day. All types of music, the hardcore of Focused or Unashamed or the Blamed that lifts to pump my fists and remember to be angry at the injustice and social-spiritual-political-economic unrest of the world.

The bouncy punk of MxPx or Value Pak or Squad 5-0 that reminds me to stay young and have fun and care about relationships.

Or the emo of Dear Ephesus, The Promise Ring, and Sunny Day Real Estate that reminds me that I can be sensative and share my emotions rather than bottling them up inside so that they might explode in my left ventrical or burst a blood vessel in my grey matter as I sit mid sentence discussing the day over dinner with my family.

What about opera and classical like the Pirates of Penzance or Vivaldi and TChaikovsky that reminds me that God created a masterpiece that is as large as the complex and incalcuable universe and also in the granduer and majesty of a single atom, at which humanity is the pinnacle of that creative endevour and He endowed us with His complex and creative sensibility.

The country of Cash, Straight, Jennings, Nelson, Jones, Lynn, and Yoakum that reminds me to never forget my roots, my home town Cowtown and my home state of Texas, to enjoy the twang in my talk and not hide it, to revel in my rugged ancestors who labored harder so that I could labor easier. That beer, boots, and belt buckles are not evil. To appreciate the feel of dancing on a well worn hardwood floor with a pretty lady. And never ever forget to treat people with respect and treat the ladies right and to feed the dog. New country has lost this heart but real country gives joy even to the discerning music aficionado.

The crooning, bleeting or stammering of jazz masters as varied as Basie, Connick, Gillespie, Blues Eyes, Coltrane, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, and even contemporaries, my favorites Medeski, Martin and Wood. Life is not confined to a formula or box, no simple 3 step plan and 7 stage system can solve every problem or answer every question. Jazz is the complexity and mystery of life put to music and you can't right it down or always predict where its going.

The joy of writing. I can say what I feel and mean what I say and share it with whomever. And tomorrow I can jot down the opposite because that is what the experience of the moment has lent itself to. Yet whether I say one thing or another it is a joy to communicate. To express, to share, to dialogue and to converse. The joy of writing is simply one form of the greater opportunity to communicate and be heard and to be heard and listened to is to be known. To be known is be accepted and/or rejected, to pre-judged or mis-judged, to be understood or ignored. Communication allows for connectivity to the community.

To be apart of a community is a pure joy because in community we are best known, best understood, and best ourselves. It is a joy to be in community where connection makes communication the most valuable. If I blog and some one out there misreads or misinterprets my words or intentions then so be it. But in community I can be given an opportunity to clarify, or codify, what I wish to communicate. I may even be corrected in my communication if it is false or misguided or misinformed but in community context that two leads to a deeper joy.

Joy, is it in you? Find it in the Christmas story and live in it all the year 'round.

Currently reading :
Righteous: Dispatches from the Evangelical Youth Movement
By Lauren Sandler
Release date: By 07 September, 2006

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Repeat the Sounding Joy! Repeeeeeat the Sounding Joy!
Current mood: cheerful
Category: Quiz/Survey

As I prepare for Christmas with a few last minute shopping trips and face long lines and puzzlingly mean spirited people willingly to run you over to get a parking space 3 cars closer then me I can't help but ask the question "How did we let it go this far and get this bad." The crass commercialism and materialistic gluttony of the Christmas season is antithetical to the whole origin of Christmas.

While I could dwell and rant about all that is wrong with Christmas I rather choose instead to take time to pause and remind first myself and then you about the true meaning behind Christmas. We celebrate Christmas not simply to celebrate a child born in humble manger but the whole of the life of Christ. The gift was not merely a baby rather the entire life and culmination of that life and accomplishments of Christ in total.

Jesus Christ was humbly born in a manger, but the must humbling fact was that He was God come in the flesh. He humbled himself to the utmost by not just becoming human, but coming into and entering humanity the same way you and I did: naked and bloody and hollerin for our mama. He came not into a royal family of privilege but into a blue collar, working class family. As a young man he learned a trade. He lived a sinless life of perfection and extended the most valuable of gifts to us all: His very lifes blood and breathe.

We celebrate Christmas not just to remember the fact that He was born and live. We celebrate Christmas because Jesus lived, did not sin, worked miracles, and then suffered and bled and died for OUR SIN and was buried, and was 3 days dead before Resurrecting. This substitutionary atoning death secured for us mercy, God on longer must punish OUR SIN by calling for our blood. This Resurrection secured for us grace, not only is our sin covered, our salvation has been secured for eternity, our destiny has been altered to include eternal community with God and his people. Christmas is the beginning and is inextricably linked with Easter as complimentary bookends of our own spiritual journeys.

Without Christmas, Easter would be meaningless because if God had not entered into human history, and merged with us in the space-time continium then we would not have had a sinless human representative to secure for us a life worthy of being sacrificed as a spotless Lamb of atonement. But without Easter and the actual sacrificial blood being spilled we would have no covering of sin and without the resurrected life of Christ we would have no hope of eternal life ourselves and could only look forward to death as an end to everything, rather than a portal into a resurrected state that John the Revelator tells us is to a place to indesribably beautiful and awesome for human comprehension.

So Merry Christmas. It is only because of Jesus that we understand the true nature of sacrificial gift giving. Give joyously but more than that remember what you were truly given and why. The one gift that we most desperately need is the same gift that we most assuredly cannot recieve on our own. No amount of money, no amount of giving on our part, no amount of goodness in attempt to make Santa's list nor earn salvation can secure this gift in our own power or of our own strength, wealth, or merit. God, gave to us, in the birth, life, cruxifixion, burial, and resurrection the one gift we all need.

So you can have your precious parking space and your cut in the check out line. But I hope ultimately you find true joy and happiness in the gift of salvation through the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ. A relationship with God awaits you. Will you unwrap it this year? I truly hope so.

Currently listening :
Songs for Christmas
By Sufjan Stevens
Release date: By 28 November, 2006

On Being a Fighting Irishman: 03.30.1974

On Being a Fighting Irishman: 03.30.1974

Current mood: Fiesty, Firey, and Fine
Category: Fiesty, Firey, and Fine Parties and Nightlife

Stephen the Irishman in Braveheart: "In order to find his equal, an Irishman is forced to talk to God."

Currently listening :
Live on St. Patrick's Day from Boston, MA at the Avalon Ballroom
By Dropkick Murphys
Release date: By 10 September, 2002

Saturday, December 23, 2006

WHEN ELI WAS BORN... I POSTED THESE

When Eli was born I posted these daily blogs on myspace but never got around to adding them here and I wanted to share them with you now.


Monday, August 21, 2006

On Being a Dad: 08.21.06
Current mood: Expectant
Category: School, College, Greek

Word for the Day: Expectant!

Monday was a day of expectancy and hope. It turned into just a long day at the hospital. Little Eli would not come until the next day. It was tough on Becky going through the process of getting her body ready for labor using a drug called Cervadil (don't quote on the spelling--I am not a doctor, I just play one on TV).

Our day was supposed to start at 3:30 AM when our alarm was set to go off so we could get up, and ready, and to the hospital by 5AM. GAW! Anyhoo, Sammey our 2 year old Schnauzer decided to wake us up at 3 AM sharp instead. Robbing us of a precious 30 minutes that would be all the more needed once the baby arrives.

So we got to the hospital at 5AM and began a long 12 hour process of that would take all the way into Tuesday morning at 4:45 AM when they finally began to give Bec Patosin (again I am no doc) which is the drug that actually induces labor. But that is Tuesday.

Currently reading :
Pooh and the Philosophers : In Which It Is Shown That All of Western Philosophy Is Merely a Preamble to Winnie-The-Pooh
By John A. Williams
Release date: By 01 August, 1996

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

On Being a Dad: 08.22.06
Current mood: Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy.
Category: Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy. Friends

Word for the Day: Elated!

Joy!

Aidan Elijah Landry McMinn

He goes by 'Eli'

Born Tuesday August 22, 2006, at 9:32 AM.

Weight: 7lbs 14oz

Length: 20"

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

On Being a Dad: 08.23.06
Current mood: sleepy tiredyness
Category: sleepy tiredyness Quiz/Survey

Word for the Day: Tired!


Tired. With entering the labor and delivery room at 5AM on Monday and not actually delivering the little guy until 9:32

AM the next day it made for a long, drawn out yet wonderful ordeal. Becky is literally completely exhausted by the time Eli got here. Now with the addition of a feeding schedule bringing the little guy in every three hours or so we are both 'beyond' exhaustion. I don't know what you call this. Sleep deprivation just doesn't seem strong enough of a term.

Currently listening :
Awake Is the New Sleep
By Ben Lee
Release date: By 22 February, 2005












Thursday, August 24, 2006

On Being a Dad: 08.24.06
Current mood: flashy
Category: flashy Automotive

Word for the Day: Kodak

As a new father one question I have pondered is: How many sleeping baby pictures does one need?

The answer: infinitesimal. or is it infantesimal?


Anyway with a digital camera with a 2 gig memory stick I can hold approximately 1800 pix. He is 3 days old and the stick is half full.

I think that spells proud papa!

Currently listening :
Underachievers Please Try Harder
By Camera Obscura
Release date: By 20 January, 2004


He is a hairy little sucker isn't he?

Friday, August 25, 2006

On Being a Dad: 08:25.06
Current mood: Overwhelmed & Underprepared
Category: News and Politics

Word for the Day: HOME

We got home from the hospital Thursday night around 7:30 PM after arriving at the hospital 4 days earlier at 5AM. Man it feels good to be home. To bring this little guy home with us is so overwhelming and awesome. We love him so much it is amazing to think he is 3 days old and he has captured my heart like no one else. I just stare at him, kiss him, stroke his thick head of hair, touch his soft skin.

He is a gift from God along time in coming but he is so perfect. I can not, after knowing him only 3 days, describe the depth of my love for him. Yet something strikes me as more amazing than his little awesome presence in my life. God loves him more than I do. On top of that, God sent His very own, only son, to knowingly die for me, to knowingly die for Aidan. Simply to restore a broken relationship. A relationship I broke and a relationship (even as perfect and peaceful as he is at 3 days old) that Aidan will soon break in the coming years.

Aidan even now I want you to know that God loves you and stronger than our relationship, the Creator of the Universe has a desire to have a relationship with you one day. Since before you were born your mom and I have been praying that you will one day come to renew this relationship with God through Jesus. Isaiah 43:1 say "Aidan I have called you by name and you are mine."

Currently reading :
The Radical Reformission: Reaching Out without Selling Out
By Mark Driscoll
Release date: By 01 October, 2004



Saturday, August 26, 2006

On Being a Dad: 08:26.06
Current mood: What IS eating Gilbert Grape?
Category: Life

Word for the Day: Hero

Seriously what I am about to say is not sentimentality or sappy romantic pandering. After seeing what my wife went through in the delivery room to bring our son into the world she is now and will always be my biggest hero. You always hear what labor is like and even accidentally catch a glimpse of it on NOVA on PBS when flipping channels late at night--at which point you quickly avert your eyes and think out loud "Oh my God, what was that? Why would they show that on TV?"

Until you are there, present in that room, with personal knowledge of the woman going through it, you have no earthly idea what it is like. Even now nearly 4 days after the delivery her body is still paying the price in so many ways. I will spare you the detials but exhaustion, pain, soarness, inflammation, and the added effects of beginning the process of breastfeeding seems excrutiating beyond what you already know of childbirth itself. I want a dose or two of morphine just thinking about it right now. And everytime she agonizes over an ache or pain I am that much more grateful, fall that much more deeply and madly in love with her for her huge role in bringing Eli here after carrying him for 9 monthes on top of everything else.

Becky you really are my hero.

Currently reading :
Church Marketing 101: Preparing Your Church for Greater Growth
By Richard L. Reising
Release date: By 01 January, 2006


Sunday, August 27, 2006

On Being a Dad: 08.27.06

What's in A Name?

Well many of you have noticed that our little sport has a big name to carry for such a small bundle. And you may (or may not) be curious as to what the heck led us to such a protracted appellative (long name--for those with a FWISD education such as myself).

Well names have always been important to me. Beginning with my own. McMinn the family name has always been a source of pride and a name that I have wanted to honor. I have tried to live my life so as not to make the name McMinn infamous or bring disrespect to those who have carried before me. Not that the name denotes nobility or a long noteworthy heritage. In fact part of my fathers goal (unspoken) and now my own goal is to in fact bring some redemption to the family name that has, maybe, not in the last few generations been estimable in the eyes of many, especially God.

They say that an ungodly heritage will bring judgment on the generations of a family for upwards of 10 generations. You can see this evident today as you look at so many families, sons and daughters, who as much as they hate the way their family raised them and swear never to repeat the same patterns inevitably end up doing that very thing. It is also said that a godly family heritage, especially coming from the leadership of the father, can bring Gods blessing on the following 10 generations. That is how much more powerful a godly legacy is and I think also shows God's grace to allow us to see that an ungodly heritage can be quickly reversed and set right while a Godly heritage is not so easily undone. Thus for the name McMinn I hold the responsibility seriously to create a long-lasting legacy for the preceeding generations of McMinn's. [No added pressure since I am the only son on my fathers side of the family right?]

McMinn is Irish. I am proud of that heritage and legacy as well, as seen in my avid support of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football, the music of U2, the potato, and Irish Spring soap (Lucky Charms, not so much). Seriously, watch Braveheart again and pay close attention to the character Stephen, the wild Irishman and tell me he doesn't steal the show. Remember his great line, "The Almighty says this must be a fashionable fight. It's drawn the finest people." More on the Irish in a later blog perhaps.

As for my first name, Michael, maybe I am just a bit anal but I have always been offended a skosh when I introduce myself as Michael and people automatically call me Mike from then on out. Now, that being said many of my closest and dearest friends call me Mike and it does not bother me in the least. However, they have earned the right to reference me more casually and as with friends we all have nicknames and less formal ways of referencing each other. Maybe I am just cranky but even as a kid I remember often thinking "My parents named me Michael for a reason and I don't think it was so you could call me Mike, you bozo." Are you really just too lazy to pronounce that extra sylabil?

My middle name Lee is the same as my dad's middle name. Just a personal attachment linking me to my father in more than the formal aspect of the last name. For whatever reason I take this name business fairly serious as you can see. Perhaps you find yourself thinking I just wanted to know what the kids name means 'Mike'! I did not expect to read a disertaion on the subject of monikers. And to you my good friends I say wait for part two which will be shorter and should follow this afternoon after a quick bite and a nap. Those who have had the pleasure of a newborn in the house will relate best and appreciate this allowance of time.

Currently watching :
Dog the Bounty Hunter - The Best of Season 1 and Season 2
Release date: By 28 March, 2006

On Being a Dad: 08.27.06 (b)
Current mood: Name Dropper
Category: Blogging

What's in A Name? (part duex)

Aidan is Irish for fire or fiery. (Some say we may be asking for it by naming a kid fiery!)

Elijah means The Lord is My God. He was an old testmant prophet that saw God reign down fire from heaven to destroy the prophets of Baal. And one of two mean in scripture to never die. God took him to heaven in fiery chariot drawn by equally as fiery horses. His protege Elisha is just left standing there holding Elijah's coat. (More with the fiery!)

Landry is for Coach Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys. Becky and I are huge fans on the Cowboys since childhood. Through thick and thin, win or loose, we support the Blue and Silver. However, the name Landry is important for its sports connotation but we chose it because of Tom Landry's strong Christian character. He served God faithfully and was a devoted follower of Christ and his faith showed up in the character and intergrity of his whole life. That is the legacy that we want for our son. And if he plays sports all the better! Imagine hearing that name called out on draft day and then draft analysts pointing out "Ya know he was named after Hall of Fame coach of the Dallas Cowboys Tom Landry."

So that is what's in a name. Oh and by the way we call him Eli for short. That is short for Elijah for those of you that work at Dunder-Mifflin.

Currently listening :
The Archive Series, Vol. 1
By Don Walser
Release date: By 14 July, 1998




Becky back in the hospital, so we celebrated Eli's one week birthday at WNJ. Becky spent about 2 full weeks in the hospital when it was all said and done. Eli is healthy as can be and if one of them had to get the worst of it Becky was happy it as her and not him. I am just glad to have them both home now and share all this with you now!

And as an added bonus it is great to have friends, family, and even kids from our student ministry be there for support.

Here are some of our students that stopped by expecting to meet Eli but he had not arrived yet.

My Theory on Wal-Mart


MY THEORY ON WAL-MART
Current mood: Persnickety

Category: Politics and Government

Ok, Becky and I hate Wal-Mart. We think Target is wonderful. We absolutely loathe Wally-World. Everytime we must go to WM for any reason its always the same. We even have terms for our experiences at WM. Whenever you go to WM there are 'Vests' everywhere. However, once you get to the point where you find yourself needing assistance all 800 of the aforementioned 'Vests' that were crawling all over the store's ailses, shelves, back alleys, and registars suddenly have diappeared.

And don't get me started on what we call the 'Wal-mart Mom.' You know the lady that seems to have 4-6 kids none of which she has ever thought enough of them to bathe them or even give them a name. Seemly her only method of discipline is to yank them by the arm socket or scream obsenities at them. I am know you are not supposed to hit women but I just want to yank them around by their wrist and tell them to 'shut up stupid' and see how they like it. I get so pissed. I know parenting is going to be hard and at times frustrating beyond belief but come on! If I was 2 years old, sitting in an uncomfortable metal basket, having some lady with a cigarette hovering a few inches over the top of my head, dragging me all over tarnation, I would be pissed and tired and cranky and screaming and blowing snot bubbles TOO!!! Sorry I get worked up about 'Wal-Mart' moms. Let us move forward.

A bigger question is why do you never run into these ladies at Target? The prices I think are just as reasonable. The products are more dependable and well made (in my humble opinion). And for the most part you can find everything except the whole array of groceries at Target (unless God smiles upon your locale and blesses you with a Super Target.) When it comes to items they do share in common you can definitely find them easier at Target. Target is always cleaner, friendlier, faster, more well organized and it lacks that smell. What is the WM smell anyway, its universal to all WM. From Orlanda to El Paso, from Pipestone, MN to Pagosa Springs, CO, they all have that smell. Color me: filled with consternation.

Anyhoo, Becky and I have a theory. We believe it starts with the employees. WM makes their employees where those wacky vests. Who can have pride and confidence in their work when they wear one of those things? Its like an AWANA vest for grown ups. (If you aren't trackin' with me on that then I am not gonna unpack it for you here.) Target employees get to wear nice Khakis and the red polo. Target's attire is very causual and comfortable, yet classy and dignified enough for business. Their workers take a sense of pride in their job. Wal-Mart employees get a cheap vest which translates into little hope for pride in their work.

So next time you wonder why WM is dirty, stinky, and in disarray just look no further than the beat-down, begiled, vest wearing greeter. Stop right there and head over to Target. (I do want to pause here to give a shout out to one super cool, albeit vest wearing, greeter at our local WM, Herb, but he is by far the exception. Herb my man you are cool, but I bet Target is hiring.)

Next time maybe I will answer the question, "Why are there little school age kids here, on a school night at 2am. I am a youth pastor that explains why I am there, don't try and turn it around on me. Seriously, lady shouldn't your kids be at home in bed right now!?!?" -- on the next installment of My Theory on Walmart.

(editors note: Target did not pay me or have any overt influence on the writing of this blog. However, if after reading it they feel so inclined I would prefer target gift cards in increments of $25 and $50. Thank you and good night.)

Currently listening :
White Light, White Heat, White Trash
By Social Distortion
Release date: By 17 September, 1996

Monday, August 14, 2006

Madrid: Volume 4: Cultural Oddities


Current mood: I found myself soiled, sullen, and silly

Category: Movies, TV, Celebrities

Ok so of course going to Europe things will no doubt be different. You can prepare yourself with the knowledge and learn to expect the unexpected. You can work extra hard to be aware of your surroundings and study the culture you find yourself immersed in. But somethings are still just gonna strike you as odd or different.

One such phenomenon that I was not prepared for was the popularity of the Euro-Mullet. Yes it seemed that everywhere I turned in Madrid the dudes and you know who the dudes are, don't you. The trendy, fashion conscious 20 something males. The dudes were wearing mullets like it was Jeff Foxworthy convention. Now they weren't quite like the American Redneck Classifacation of Mullet. They seemed to be more well groomed, have much more of a definate shape, and more hair care product per square inch than the less civilized U.S. mullet. But rest assured they were still Mullets, short in the front and long in the back.

More on cultural oddities later. For now ask yourself, "Self, do the French carry around French bread as they walk the streets?" The answer is just around the corner in a future blog in the continued series covering my travels of Spain and France.

Currently listening :
Age of Reptiles
By Showbread
Release date: By 01 August, 2006

Monday, August 07, 2006

On Being a Dad: 08.07.06

Current mood: calm, cool, collected
Category: Goals, Plans, Hopes

I have not been good about blogging about my thoughts on becoming a dad for the first time. I realized this and it began to make me doubt whether I will be a good dad. If I can't even be attentive to blog about my kid how can I be attentive to my kid for real. That comes from deep with in the would of a man. All men have this wound. I chose to blog about it, impending fatherhood, and all that comes with it but I also choose not to listen to it.

That question "will I be a good father?". Will I be a good daddy? Am I good enough? Do I have what it takes? All those questions strike fear and uncertainty into the heart of a man. However, I know the answer and it is a positive one. No I don't have what it takes. Not on my own anyway. First and foremost, I have a heavenly father that I have been praying to ever since I first found out. I have been asking for wisdom and patience and know-how since day one. I am good to go.

I have a great dad though we had rough times in our relationship and I carried baggage for awhile all that is gone. He is a man of integrity and father I am proud of. At 32 years old I still call him Daddy sometimes, and though some would find that embarrassing that is who he is. I call him dad more and more now but I still can't help but call him daddy too sometimes.
I have an awesome wife that knows how to bring balance when I am out of whack. She is going to make a wonderful mom and mommy. We can handle anything together. I can not wait to see her in action; changing diapers, feeding, keeping the puppy at bay, cleaning, and with the other hand....doing everything else.

I have a community of friends and believers around me that will help, and encourage and lift up. Ones older and wiser to show the way, ones on the journey together in a similar place to come along side of, and even those who are younger and have more energy who will help when needed.

It is the 8th and the due date is the 15th. Soon a little boy will be living in my house. He will be pooping, and peeing, and spitting up, crying, and cooing, and waking the dead. The house is mostly ready. The nursery is painted, the clothes are hung, the furniture assemble (except for the glider and ottoman -- hurry up UPS!), the stockings are hung by the chimney with...oh wrong story. But more importantly my heart is ready.

It is a frightful thought to realize this little life, this little guy will be coming in for a landing on my watch. I will be responsible for his life, his every breathe of life, waking and sleeping. For 18 or more years. But I can do it. Not because I read some book or have watched enough episodes of The Cosby Show but because God has entrusted me to do so. And this little boy is in God's hands more than he will be in mine.

Currently reading :
Searching for God Knows WhatSearching for God Knows What By Donald Miller
Release date: By 13 October, 2004

Quote of the Day

Current mood: Got the jitters!

What doesn't kill you only makes you fearfull and edgy.

Currently listening :
Horsedrawn Wishes By Rollerskate Skinny
Release date: By 27 February, 1996

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Madrid: Volume 3: Part 2: The Muslim Incident



Madrid: Volume 3: Part 2: The Muslim Incident
Current mood: Squirrelly & Headachey & Whiney yet Bragadocious
Category: Sports

Once back in Lava Pies lugging our backpacks filled with digital video good news. We bought out the cases of water at the local Champion grocery ajacent to the triangular plaza where we were stationed. Thus began our M work. We would approach complete strangers with the majority of our group knowing 'pequino espanol.' Roughly meaning we knew how to order off the Taco Bell menu and use words not meant to be used in polite conversation. Other than that the M couple and one or two of the rest of the group could hold a conversation with anyone.

We would say 'regalo' which meant gift and attempt to hand the passer-by's a Day-Uhvay-Day and agua. On this particular day people seemed less receptive than they did the rest of the week. One factor could have been our pronunciation got better with repition, another could have been our confindence and comfort levels increased. Another factor may have been that word got around that some loco gringos were passing our free water and movies.

This first day say not only lower receptivity but our only day of true confrontation. Almost immediately upon our arrival we encounter a man ranting and raving in German, saluting Hitler and Franco (the Spanish dictator who firebombed his own people during WWII), and spitting in our general direction. Some believed him to be demon possessed, some believed him to be schizophrenic, some believed him to be drunk, others chose a combination. He wore an army surplus jacket, natty dreads, and a cologne named after a King James passage in the Bible, "pisseth against the wall."

G works in mysterious ways and so we had to do little to engage him in his odd attempt at polite conversation. One of his drinking buddies whom he shared a park bench with took it upon himself to gently ask him to leave. His friend pushed him nearly a block down the street until he finally turned and walked to the next block before I lost sight of him.

The next way G worked was just as odd. After about an hour of passing out the films and water bottles. I had a muslim man decide I was not being forceful enough with my delivery of the word 'regalo' and thus he grabbed me, grabbed the DVD in my hand, and proceeded to show me how it was done. He would step right in front of the person walking by minding their own business and say 'regalo' much in the same way your mother would demand "Eat your vegetables." Without concerning himself with their desire to accept or reject said gift he would thrust it into their chest forcing them to up their hands to take it. While unothodox in his approach and some what in mockery of my politeness he did have a better rate of success. He gave away about 10-12 videos in about a third of the time it took me to give out that many.

And the last way I saw G work mysteriously was when he used my sense of humor to captivate an audience of about 8 young arabic speaking men into a serious discussion about the nature of religion, grace, forgiveness, heaven, JC, his dad, and our differences of opinion. A palestinian man who need a tooth brush almost as much as he needed JC told me he didn't need a DVD but what he could use was some money for cigarettes. I in turn told him he could take the free gift I was offering him and turn around and sale it to his muslim buddies hanging out with him right there on the corner. Sarcasms doesn't seem to translate across religious and linguistic lines as much as I would have hoped. As you can see it was a truly funny, if not ridiculous and flawed, plan. If only they had really gotten the joke.

The one guy who did spoke the best english and thus began the dialogue. First we talked of Bush and the war, and his peoples hatred for all things American and all things JC related. In there mind all Americans represent JC. From their perspective Tom Cruise and Gwen Stefani are just as much followers of JC as Billy Graham.
We discussed the fact that we can talk to G any time we want and in fact that we do all day. We communicate without ceasing as Paul described it to a group from Thessalonica. They think that you can only do that at 5 specific times throughout the day. They simply had no idea that you could have constant and total access, regardless of time or place.

They could not understand that we have assurance of our final destination. There is no security in their system. There is no grace, nor forgiveness, and for that matter no way to resist tempation. That is why they believe and adhere so stringently to a suffocating moral code. The only way to avoid temptation is to remove it completely from society. Thus you don't have to resist it because it is not present. It was just cool to see how G used an odd array of methods to get the message out that day. And coolest of all was that I got to see it and be apart of it first hand.

Currently listening:
B Collision By David Crowder Band
Release date: By 27 June, 2006

Madrid: Volume 3: Part 1: The Moroccan Tea Incident



Madrid: Volume 3: The Moroccan Tea Incident
Current mood: Oldish and Sore-like
Category: Food and Restaurants

Saturday was our first full day in Madrid. We got up walked to the neighborhood dog park a few blocks from Hotel Gran Legazpi and has a time of singing and talking (about spiritual things). See the things we take forgranted over here like attending a house of worth ship (the original meaning of the word) can literally put peoples lives in danger even in a western civilized 'so-called' nation.
There is a large Muslim population and even Al Queda cells active within Lava Pies. That being said I never felt scared or in danger the entire trip; I have feared for my life on the downtown streets of Dallas, the rougher neighborshoods of Fort Worth, and even the late-night-redneck-infested parking lot of a Grand Prairie Whataburger. I was never nervous or concerned in Madrid.
However, to live there and work there and be a Christ follower there can be dangerous over time, if you are not wise with your safety and aware of your surroundings. That is quite a sobering thought to realize what we went and did for a week has to take into account protecting the safety of those who remain.
Madrid is a city of roughly 6 million people. It is the metropolis of Spain. The area where we did 'M' work is known as Lava Pies (meaning Washed Feet). It is the cheapest place to find housing in Madrid thus the first place immigrants move to when they come to start a new life.
Each morning after breakfast at the hotel, in the smoke filled cafe, we would head to the dog park. Speaking of breakfast Spanish coffee was excellent, just rich, strong espresso with about 3 times as much milk. It wakes me up just thinking about it.
Then we headed to Lava Pies via the 148 bus. We walked up and down this incredibly steep street visiting a store operated by the friend of one of our guides. Our guides were a husband and wife M team who had formerly live in Madrid. After getting a feel for the area we headed to a Moroccan resturaunt, called Al Alahambra, filled with Muslim men watching soccer. Curiously enough I forget what I ate but I do remember I liked it.
After lunch I was instructed to order some Moroccan tea which I assured I would love. I was skeptical but the tea proved to be worthy of its recommendation. It was a small (maybe 6oz.) glass of hot tea. It was the bomb! I have been craving some ever since. If I can find where to score some back here in the states I may just become a Moroccan tea junkie. In which case I will end up in the gutter on some back alley sleeping on cardboard and harassing people on street corners as I try to wash their windshields with spit and some old wadded up news print. Just hoping to get enough money to get one more sip. Yes, it was that good. I don't even know what made it so, but believe me it was so. Just a small glass, hot tea, a few perfect mint leaves and what I suspect was heap of suger.
This was a great start to the day. Even though we had been up for hours, at the dog park, riding the bus, and walking around Lava Pies it seems lunch was when the day began. Everytime we ate at a resturaunt we tended to stay for about 2 hours. This is the Spanish way. We were never rushed to leave, or empty our table so the resteraunt could rush customers in and out as quickly as possible. Lunch and dinner is a social occasion, time for talking, relaxing, truly enjoying your food and your company.
We returned via a walk and a bus ride back to the hotel. Here we grabbed our backpacks and loaded them up with DVD's. I don't advise you wearing backpacks around over seas as it is the number one sure sign to everyone else that you are a tourist and a dork. This makes you are target for pick pockets. The only real danger in Madrid is pick pockets and crossing the street. Pedestrians do not have the right of way and if you cross on red, you better be prayed up and have all your funeral arrangements prepared. On several occassions I witnessed drivers speeding up just to remind a straggler of their place on the food chain.

Currently listening:
Midi 20
By Grand Corps Malade

Madrid: Volume 2: The Steak Incident



Madrid: Volume 2: The Steak Incident
Current mood: Foppish
Category: Pets and Animals

In Madrid we walked a lot. Everyday we walked a lot. All this walking took place after riding the 148 bus to whatever stop we wanted and then walking the rest of the way. Somehow no matter where we were going it seems that the bus only went half way and then we had to walk the other half of the distance. I could never understand why the bus did not let us off right where we wanted to end up. This caused me great consternation and after a couple of counseling sessions, I have determined between me and God not to hold this against the Spainards.

The first evening after arriving in Spain, taking the metro train and subway to our hotel, riding up the tiny elevator to our tiny room, showering and changing, we then went to Plaza Mayor. Of course we rode the 148 to Plaza Mayor for what seemed to be about 8-10 miles, which is probably 3 meters or something. I don't have my ruler with the inches on one side and centimeters on the other so I can't do the exact conversion right now. Then we walked another trillion centimeters or so to the Plaza for dinner.

We ate a resturant that shall remain nameless. This is not for security purposes or to protect the anoniminity of the restaurant because of a scathing food review. It is simply because I don't remember the name and if I did I am pretty sure it was in Spanish anyway. And I am fairly certian that I do not speak Spanish so what good is a name anyway if I can't communicate its full meaning and cultural nuances. It is like telling someone here in the states that we ate at El Chico, which--I have been told by well intentioned yet boring people--means The Boy. Swell we ate at The Boy. Am I the only one that finds this odd?

The restaurant was pricey - I paid about 22.50 Euro for a steak. 22.50 Euro is about 31.50 US Dollars. The steak was delicious but I can buy a steak here at Texas RoadHouse for about 1/3 the price, not to mention the $1100 I would save on airfare. The thing with Texas Road House is that I can park my car about 10 feet from the entrance and walk right in. I can completely avoid the whole bus ride and urban hiking experience and just go right in a eat peanuts and throw the shells on the floor while I wait to eat my steak.

The steak was great. I asked for medium and I got medium. Great flavor, a nice sear on the outside, and blood and juices squirting out with every poke of the knife. I know for some of you pasty skinned vegans and sappy animal lovers out there that is totally mortifing imagery but get over it. I was describing a cow not your favorite childhood puppy.

Then after we ate the steak my good friend Carl (who's name has been changed not so much for security reasons as for the fact that I can't remember his name) took us out into the beautiful Plaza Mayor and proceeded to tell us the history. The Plaza Mayor is this enchantingly beautiful inner courtyard surrounded by gorgeous ancient architecure where the Catholic church used to torture and kill protestants.

The bricks where we stood used to be soaked in the warm, red blood of the forefathers of my faith. These "protestors" stood against the indulgences and the hypocrisies of the church that had taken the vibrant first century Christian faith and turned into a wooden religious institution. Somehow I found myself wondering whether we have almost come full circle since that time. Would the church today kill these men and women all over again? Would I be one of the murders or one of the martyrs? What have I institutionalized and what should I be protesting or revising in my faith journey that needs to die on the bricks in order for my faith to be true to one who called me to the Truth?


Currently listening:
Define the Great Line (CD & DVD) By Underoath
Release date: By 20 June, 2006

Madrid: Volume 1: The Arrival Incident



Madrid: Volume 1: The Arrival Incident
Current mood: In Need of a Siesta
Category: Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

OK - for security reasons I can only tell you that I went to Madrid. However, I can not tell you what country this was. If you want a hint I can do that though. It begins with an S and ends with pain.

We arrived all the way from Dallas after flying out of DFW to George Bush International Airport in Houston where we flew to Charles de Gaulle in gay Paris and onto Madrid. They were actually fabulous at Charles de Gaulle with Air France; they met our group at the arrival gate and had escorts and shuttles to take us to our departure terminal for Madrid because our plane was behind schedule. Just a note from those who seem to know, try to avoid flying Iberia for international flights. They seem to have not gotten the memo on customer service, and on top of that are notorious for losing luggage.

On the flight from Houston to Paris I watched a quaint little french flick called La Doublure or 'The Valet'. Where Fran├žois Pignon is played by, Gad Elmaleh, a Moroccon born actor. In the movie a valet (Elmaleh) and a top-model have to pretend to be a couple in order to salvage a CEO's marriage. But enough about French cinema.

The food on Air France was distincly French as well, good but French. I had smoked Salmon salad and Veal cutlets with an odd mixture of beans and veggies. Then I got to wash it all down with mineral water and the tiniest, most slender little can of Coca-Cola.

Once we arrived in the Madrid airport in an unnamed country we took an hour long Metro ride to Legazpi where we got checked into Hotel Gran Legazpi. Gran Legazpi had the tiniest of rooms and the world's smallest elevator (until we got to Paris) and was a pleasant place to stay, extremely nice for European standards. There was a continential breakfast that cost 5E a day, a tad much for coffee (cafe), oj and various pastries and breads. Mostly I could have done with out having to endure the all the smokers at breakfast. We have gotten used to non-smoking facilities here in the states.

Roughly 50% of Mardridians smoke and I think they were all on holiday at Gran Legazpi. At one point I met the matriach of tabacco in all of Madrid when I went to a cigarette stand to try and purchase an international calling card. The clerk at this cigarette stand was probably in her 50's but looked as though she were in her 80's and she could easily serve as a Spanish voice over artist for James Earl Jones. She was not just the president of the cigarette stand, she was definetly a client. When she dies they can use her skin to make leather wallets and book covers to sell at the Rostro. (I never did find a calling card or a pay as you go phone the whole time I was there.) I will tell more about the Rostro when I get to Sunday.


Currently listening:
Wolfmother By Wolfmother
Release date: By 14 February, 2006

Thursday, May 18, 2006

An Actual Email I Sent Today

Broadman & Holman is offering a free leatherbound Holman Christian Standard Bible (NT/Psalms-Proverbs edition) while supplies last.
http://www.broadmanholman.com/hcsb_giveaway.asp

BELOW IS MY SUBMISSION IN THE SECTION WHERE THEY ASKED:
"If you could design or build your own Bible, what would it be? (features, size, notes, etc.)"


To the Generous People at Broadman-Holman Publishing or to Whomever It May or May Not Concern,

I would design and build a Bible that combines application notes with Greek and Hebrew language notes while avoiding the errors of crappy Pre-Millennial Dispensationalist theology. It would include specific sections or articles on Jewish customs and historical background for original context clues. The historical background and context clues would be a great addition to a study Bible that I have thus far not seen in any Bible out; plus the usual maps, charts, indices, etc. ALL THAT FITS IN PALM OF YOUR HAND (i.e. Pocket PC and Palm OS capable) FOR UNDER $50.

Here is an Idea, sell the leatherbound editions and hardback editions of this Bible packaged together with a disc(s) that contains MP3 of the entire bible being read aloud by Sean Connery for your computer, car stereo or Ipod; along with the best features of all the pastors libraries out right now; packaged with a version for both Windows based Pocket PCs and Palm OS.

And one final suggestion, although I know you will be tempted to call it The Michael L. McMinn Study Bible, I advise a more popular name such as The Rich Mullins Hold Me Jesus Life Change Holy Ghost Fire Baptized Study Bible to End All Study Bibles.

Thanks for asking, I expect you will get right on that and I also expect to hear from you very, very soon.

Michael McMinn, MDivBL
903.***.****

P.S.
Seeing as we are Baptist you might consider removing the Holy Ghost Fire Baptized section of the title completely. Another option would be developing a special edition including the phrase to be sold in stores outside of Lifeway and SBC circles, including but not limited to Mardel Christian Stores, Family Christian Stores, Berean Stores, Parable Stores, Amazon.com, etc., to name a few.

Monday, May 08, 2006

An Uprising

I want to start a revolution! Don't you?

Are you tired of the status quo? Want to shake things up a bit? Or alot? Are you tired of chasing the elusive "American Dream" and the gerneral materialism, consumerism, commercialism, and business in life that this pursuit leads people on.

Do you feel like there is more to life then just serving your own needs and ignoring the social injustice and needs of the entire rest of the world? Does life feel hollow and empty? Do you know first-hand life is nothing like sitcoms or The OC? Do you long for deeper, more meaningful aspects to life?

Do you believe there is a God out there but He is much bigger and better than the caricatures of gods the religious people represent? Do you feel God doesn't want people to starve, sleep on the streets,, die from cureable diseases, or suffer alone and lonely? Deep down inside do you sense God not only wants to end suffering but that He wants you to join Him in doing something about it?

Religion is shallow and feeble and narrow-minded and I want nothing to do with it. What I do want is so much bigger than religion or politics or mascots. What my heart aches for is nothing that has ever come from the a religious organization or a political platform. Where it comes from is deep within me yet I know I can't do it alone. Will YOU join me? Will you seek to start a revolution? RISE UP with me against social injustice, poverty, familial devastation, famine, AIDS and disease, child abuse, immorality, and ego-centric leadership.

Arise! The Uprising must begin with you and me. Don't become a leader, become a follower. Follow your heart that says God cares about everyone and answer the call that tells you God wants you to put hands and feet to what your heart believes.

I want to start a Revolutoin, a Movement, an Uprising! I want to do it with people that care about others more than themselves. I want to live in community and connectedness with people that are willing to live beyond themselves. Serve others and connect with God to care for those less fortunate than me.

Are you with me?


Currently listening:
The Mission Bell
By Delirious?
Release date: By 27 December, 2005

Current mood: Full of Hope
Category: Dreams and the Supernatural

Friday, May 05, 2006

Living on the Outside of the Underground

I work with students! I get to work with students! As a youth pastor I work with teenagers and my life revolves around seeming them connect with God through knowing Jesus. And it is the most rewarding thing I can think of. It is such an honor and a blessing to live among teenagers and occassionally be invited into their world. They live underground and while most adults think we know them or have them "figured out." Really we only see what they allow us to see. Sometimes this concerns me, sometimes it breaks my heart, sometimes it frustrates me. Really all I try to do is sit at the steps that lead into their world and try to get to know them as much and as best as they will let me.

As an "adult" I am an outsider to their world and the only key to unlock that world and receive and invitation in is love and acceptence. I do love students. They keep my young and I used to think they helped me stay "cool" too. But I have realized that I am not "cool" nor do I really aspire to be. In their world cool is a facade and used to create a class structure more brutal and harsh than the caste system of India.

It sucks to realize to them, even those that I am closest too, in some ways I will always be an outsider. I don't know what that magic age is (I think it is different for everyone), nor do I even know if I am aware of when I became an adult in their eyes but at 32 I definately know I am there. But here is the kicker. That is what they want from me and that is what I can give them. They would never "let me in" and accept me if I tried to "fit in" and pose as one of them. Have you seen these adults? They are a joke to the kids and they are the ones that laugh with the kids not knowing they are the ones being laughed at. Teenagers are tough. They are brutally honest. They are willing to get real with you when they see that your motives are pure, your love is deep, and your patience and acceptance real.

I love students and am so glad God has put me on this path to get to be there for their joys and tragedies of life. I love to see those moments when they "get it." When they realize God is real; when they understand grace and mercy and forgiveness and unconditional love truly exists and God offers to them freely; when they have an "a-ha" moment; when they reach their full potential, or even just come to the understanding and belief that they have potential; when they realize God has a purpose and a plan for their lives, and that their lives are full of meaning; when I get to be there and see that--that is a reward far greater than any downside.

I have been yelled at, cussed out, hit, mocked, betrayed, let down, egged, wrapped, lied about, lied to, stolen from and ignored. None of that compares to a single instance of joy derived from students live being changed by the love and forgiveness found in Jesus Christ. One moment of seeing a student forgive a parent that has hurt them deeply, step up to leadership, memorize a passage of scripture and apply it, step outside themselves to love and serve others, realize their are others less fortunate then they are, repeat back to me something I taught them when I thought they never listened, anyone of these moments can overshadow a monthes worth of set-backs, heart-breaks, and beat-downs.

God is the reason I get up in the morning. Students are the reason I can go to bed at night, tired but with the knowledge and satisfaction of knowing that I am making a difference even when the acknowledgment is often short lived or seldom seldom expressed beyond a quick head nod or smile.

Thanks Jesus and thanks to all my students past and present that "let me in," "got it," and "live it."

Current mood: moxie-ish
Category: Automotive
Currently listening: A Burn Or a ShiverBy Edison Glass
Release date: By 04 April, 2006

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The little dock that stood.

Week before last we got alot of rain in a short amount of time. And on the way to work there is a little farm with a barn with the Texas flag pointed on the roof of the barn. It sounds to quaint to be true but it is. And they have slowly been "spiffing" the place up. Cleaning out the fence row. Putting in a new gate. Digging up an old crumbling storm cellar. Building a new barn. Digging out some stock ponds and doing some general landscaping and drainage work with a back hoe.

Well this one little pond has been sitting all through the summer and most of the winter with just a little pool of water at the bottom. The pond is right up close to the western fence and right on the otherside of the fence are the railroad tracks. I look at this pond often because I get caught alot by the train. To be specific I get caught by the train everytime I am late to work or in a rush to get home. So I sit and look at this pond. For the last year or so the North Texas area has been drought sticken and fire prone. This little pond, with a shallow puddle of a few inches of water about the size and depth of a one of those plastic kiddie pools that you get at walmart, has a nice new dock built out over where the water should be but isn't.

Or I should say wasn't. After the torrent of rains we say about a week and a half ago that is ancient history. Now you can only see the top railing of the dock. The whole thing save the top arm railing is submerged. This is so funny and heart breaking at the same time. Here we have had this drought going and I thought the pond would never fill up. For monthes it seemed like such a waste and a sad reminder of the drought that plagued the whole area. Now the opposite is true. There is such and over abundance of water that it has found a completely new way to render the dock completely useless.

Either way the dock looked absurd. There it stood way to big for the little pond yet at the same time still not far enough out to reach the water. Now it stands hardly even recognizable submerged in water about 3 feet to deep to be useful. I just have to laugh. I think this is such an accurate picture of how God works in our lives sometimes.

Don't get me wrong. I don't mean to say that God is cruel or that He has a mean spirited sense of humor. What I mean is that we make our plans, we structure our lives, to fit a certain perspective, ours. And then God comes along and does what He does and we find ourselves completely missing the point--as in the case of the dock when it didn't even reach out over the tiny pool of water that exist in the shallow basin of the empty pond. Or God comes along after we have been praying, even crying, begging, pleading, or wrestling with Him to bless us and when it happens we are so overwhelmed and overtaken by it that we are no longer recognizable as our former selves.

I hope God will use this in my life to remind me daily and constanly to stop trying to build my dock based on where I want the water to be or hope it to be--I do this most days I think.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

a quote for it.



"Why blame the dark for being dark? It's far more helpful to ask why the light isn't as bright as it should be." -Rob Bell

Thursday, March 02, 2006

DBL STNDRD

Do things sometimes not go your way? Do you sometimes think LIFE isn't going your way? I know I do. For the most part I am a pretty laid back guy when it comes to the difficulties and hardships that life can throw at us. But sometimes it just gets to be too much to handle. I have been crying out to God all day. I have been sitting a church office with other 'pastors' and 'church staff' and been on the verge of tears all day. I just can't handle 'one more' thing sometimes. It is scary because today noone seemed to notice. Is that because I am a good liar? Am I good at not being real? Is anybody good at being real?

I don't like to share that "I can't handle it." In ministry sometimes we are lead to believe that we put others needs before our own and sometimes I think we take that to mean that our needs are not important at all. They are but I don't want to share my needs and thus expose myself to the possibility of being labeled "needy." What a catch-22? I think that is Satan rather than God. If you are reading this and you are a "lay person" realize that pastors are people too. We have feelings and hurts and needs and -gasp- even wants too.

God in His word makes it very clear that we are ultimately accountable to Him and that He holds us to a higher standard. But from one human to another: we are just human. Don't put us on a pedastal or hold us to a higher standard than you would hold for yourself and your own family. That is hypocrisy. And more importantly it sets you and me, both of us, up for failure. I fail when I don't live up because I am human and you fail because you focus on false standards for others while ignoring the high standards God calls all believers to equally. Requardless of rank or title or position God says "Be holy for I am holy." There is no pay scale of holiness. I am to have intergrity in what I do however you are not held to a seperate lower level of integrity.

Pastors have wives and families that are real, ordinary, normal people that have needs and desires and feelings like everyone else. I hope you realize that if you expect something out of others that you don't expect out of yourself then that is hypocrisy. I do think that Jesus was not just good at being real but that He is "the most real." He hung out with sinners never judged them harshly and was chastised for loving them. He accepted people for who they were and found ways to extend grace to them so that they would realize who they could become.

I am trying, sometimes miserably, sometimes well, to become more like Jesus. He is my standard, not anyone else. I hope He is your standard too. Not for me or for others, but for yourself first. Remember the only time He dealt harshly with people was when they were using a double standard to judge people and using God's name to condone their own hypocrisy. Let us both look at Jesus as our standard rather than each other and we will realize we are more like brothers than enemies.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Are we known for the wrong things?

I am increasingly bothered by the fact, maybe even disturbed by it, that we as Southern Baptists specifically, and Christians in general seem to really be good at expressing what we are against. We are known for what we are NOT about. We are AGAINST abortion, homosexuality, gambling, speaking in tongues, alcohol. What message are we sending? Is it the message Christ gave us or our own?

We have the single most powerful, life-changing, life-giving, life-affirming message in the world and most people out there can not articulate it. Even if they are not Christians it seems like we have the power to get our message out to people. They know all these things we are against yet we can't get out the message of what we are for. One simple, solitary, singular message of salvation, hope, forgiveness, mercy, love, and grace and we can't share that.

It's the media's fault. They report what they want, right? Not if we don't spew all over the place about the wrong things. If I was a gay gambler with a drinking problem seeking to have an abortion I would never ever think to turn to the church. I would think hey those people are the ones that hate me and don't want me there. They are against me.

Why don't we get it? We play right into the enemies hands. And if when I said enemy, you thought of people or 'the media' then ask God's forgiveness. Our enemy is Satan and he has deceived us into thinking that moralistic rules and telling people what not to do is the answer. Many in our ranks even believe political influence and power is what we need. Have we not learned from history. Everytime we attempt to couple the Kingdom of God with a political party of anykind we 'screw the pooch.' Remember Constantine, the Inquisition, the Crusades, and on and on?

Yes, the full gospel includes mans sin and need for repentence, forgiveness, and a savior. That is the offense of the gospel. Let us, His people, present the message and let it be the offense, and let us stop making up new ways to offend, let us stop creating stumbling blocks. We most often present ourselves as standing with arms folded, or fingers wagging, or hands raised grasping a picket sign. How about for once we stand with our arms wide open lovingly embracing those God has sent us to? I never read the part where Jesus said "Go into the world and stand across the street from them with megaphones and t-shirts and placards"

I am not soft on sin, especially the sins of the religious. And I count myself as among those I am talking too. I am often blinded by self-righteousness, I am all too often caught up in the rants of the 'chosen,' and more times than I want to admit I find myself at the place where I have to turn to Jesus and ask Him to forgive me for my pride and my jugdmental attitude. I just hope that today I can live out love to those that need it rather than listing off the kinds of people I won't accept. I believe there are countless things I could concern myself with, a few things to even worry about, but only one thing that matters enough to share with the world. And when we share that one thing with the world, that can not be taken away.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

this is an audio post - click to play

SBC.Trustee.IMB.RE:baptize.Pharisees?

I would like to blog some thoughts tonight. This has been bothering me for a few days to weeks now. Who cares? I do and I don't. I was going to say something but now I wont, maybe.

I do not want to jepordize my life long dream of becoming a trusted Trustee of the SBC. I must not speak out against them or attempt to engage in frivolous dialogue. Don't bring Scripture into it. Build a hedge around the law with new laws just to be safe. Jesus never opposed anyone for doing that. I want to be a trustee so I agree with everything wholeheartedly and never have a different opinion in my brain. Sick.

I hope I didn't make any mistakes, errors, typo's, or misspellings in this blog. That could be construed as speaking in tongues somewhere in my past. Did I mention I am so glad that I already KNEW EVERYTHING AND AGREED WITH EVERYTHING they taught me at seminary? Otherwise I might have had to have been rebaptized.

Isn't that exactly what Jesus commanded? "Go into the world and make disciples baptizing them in the three-fold name: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Teaching them all I have commanded. And as you teach them, everytime they come to a new realization about me; everytime their theology is transformed by a new insight into scripture; everytime they learn something new; everytime they are convinced of something they formerly doubted; everytime; everytime; everytime, REbaptize them!"

Jesus just threw up a little in his mouth!

I wonder how He would feel when they rejected Him as a suitable candidate for Trustee? Or how shocking it would be to realize that the IMB sets extra-biblical standards that would even disallow Jesus to be sent as an international missionary. After all Jesus intercedes on our behalf with groans and utterings beyond what we ourselves can communicate. None of the Apostles present at Pentecost would be allowed to go as IMB missionaries either. The IMB has succesfully come up with a hedge of protection are the Law that works so well Jesus and the best missionaries and church planters He personally mentored would not have qualified to be sent. I am so proud. This is such a great moment in history. I am thinking Jesus didn't need them then maybe they are pointing out they are obsolete now too.