July 2006

This is why I refuse to buy $3.00 gas from Exxon:

Exxon Mobil Corp. said Thursday it earned $10.36 billion in the second quarter, the second largest quarterly profit ever recorded by a publicly traded U.S. company.

Story here.



*Warning – whine alert: proceed with caution and open mind.

I’ve decided that I’m bored. Bored with what I do for a living. You see, I do video production. I video tape something, and then edit it together to tell some kind of story. But I have a problem and the problem is two-fold. First, the “somethings” that I’ve been shooting for the college the last few years are really uncreative, talking head kinds of things. Boring stuff. The kinds of production where I could take my camera, lock it off while it’s taping, and no one would care because it doesn’t matter.

The second problem is that I’ve been doing this work since 1982 and I’m so ready for something different. Something creative. For those of you who are mathically challenged, that’s 24 years – longer than some of you have been alive. There are days, ok months, where it wouldn’t bother me if I never pick up a camera again. And in a way, that makes me sad. I remember the thrill of directing multi-camera live shows, of going out on location, and the planning and the creative work involved. But not any more. Now it’s become just a job that I do. “Hi, I’m the Instructional Television Production Manager.” Even the title sounds boring. I find myself doing something that I said I would never do, and didn’t for a long time hence the lack of money or retirement, and that is working at a job I hate just to make a living and reach retirement.

I also find, I think, that I may have become bored with my Christian journey. I seem to be doing the same things over and over, and that can get tiring. I long for newness, and refreshing rain, and peace unlike the world can give or knows anything about. And I long to do church differently because I’ve done it the same way for so long. Singing the same songs, hearing the same sermons, all of us speaking the same language. I think that is what intrigues me about people like Rob Bell, Erwin McManus, Real Life Preacher, and others who are trying to address the growing boredom of today’s Christianity. I think that is what Jesus really was talking about when He refers to us being salt. We lose our flavor as salt because we have become bored. And boring.

But the first hope of the dry bones living again is the realization that we are dead. That we are boring. That we are bored. And we shall live again.

“Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live.”

Just thinking out loud again.

His peace.


PS – This news story got my attention. I’ve got a friend in Peru and if you would pray for her safety I would appreciate it.

Ok, I swear this isn’t the Rob Bell Fan Club blogsite.  But just read an article about his “Everything is Spiritual” tour.  This was from Houston, the stop before ours.  Check it out if you are interested.


I hate when I get lazy. When I have a lot on my mind but just won’t write any of it down. The cartoon on the right should read, “I have nothing to say; and I say it sometimes.” I don’t want to change a man’s original art so I will just leave it alone.

Update on Rob Bell. We went to see him speak last Thursday and it was, interesting. I really can’t boil down all he said and keep this post short, he spoke for 2 hours. What was most interesting was the venue where he spoke. Like I said, the Ridglea Theater is now a live music venue (mostly local rock and heavy-metal bands) and is run basically like a mom and pop operation. The doors were supposed to open at 7:00, and since it was sold out we got there at 7:00. There was already a large crowd waiting to get in, so we waited, in the 100 degree heat, for probably 30 minutes. People were soaked by the time they finally opened the doors and let us file through, pushing and shoving to get through the two doors they had open. Ok, there wasn’t any pushing and shoving, but it was awkward being that close to so many wet people, I’m not a crowd person (I won’t go to a water park and really not a fan of Six Flags). So we finally get in and a woman older than me with bright red hair gives us a plastic wrist band to show we paid. Her husband (or whatever) is on the other door giving out wrist bands. He has long grey hair and I can just picture these two taking a toke during intermission. There was no intermission so we had nothing to worry about. The man did handle the open bar during the entire two hours, and I’m guessing that’s why they kept the doors closed so long…they sold a LOT of water at $2.00 a pop, and some beer too, but not much more. They were probably disappointed in that. (more…)

I’m going to see Rob Bell in concert. Well, it’s really not a concert; at least I don’t think it is. But Rob Bell, pastor and author (“Velvet Elvis”) is on a nationwide bus tour with his family called “Everything is Spiritual,” and one of their two stops here in Texas is at a theater that has been turned into a live rock music venue. So maybe this will be a concert of sorts. And it’s sold out. He’s speaking in a place where such well-known rock groups such as Deicide, Demonic Domain, No Souls Lost and Necro Faith are going to be playing. I’m sure you can still get tickets to hear them if you so desire.

Anyway, back to Rob Bell. I first heard Rob (I suppose since I’m 20+ years older than him I can call him by his first name) when we watched some videos on Sunday night that he and his church produced, called Nooma Videos. I thought they were very well done – doing something original besides a Sunday morning worship service (yawn). And his book is thought provoking (what would you expect from a book called “Velvet Elvis”?). If you want you can read an excerpt from the book here. He is young and engaging and has quite a grasp of the Old Testament and how it relates to our understanding of the New Testament. There was an article done about him in a Chicago newspaper that called him the “Next Billy Graham.” While I have problems with that title, God definitely has His hand on him.

I’ll post something about the “concert” later. Plus I’m re-reading his book and I want to write down some thoughts. But not right now. Right now I’m going to see if I can start cleaning some mud off my shoes.


PS – All preceeds from this tour goes to WaterAid. If you can’t see him in person, you can still contribute (or get involved) here.

Bar Bar A had a post where she listed the top 20 TV shows from when she graduated high school. I thought that was interesting to look at, so here’s my list:

  1. All in the Family
  2. The Flip Wilson Show
  3. Marcus Welby M.D.
  4. Gunsmoke
  5. ABC Movie of the Week
  6. Sanford and Son
  7. Mannix
  8. Funny Face
  9. Adam 12
  10. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  11. Here’s Lucy
  12. Hawaii Five-O
  13. Medical Center
  14. The NBC Mystery Movie
  15. Ironside
  16. The Partridge Family
  17. The F.B.I.
  18. The New Dick Van Dyke Show
  19. The Wonderful World of Disney
  20. Bonanza

The top 10 songs:

  1. Joy To The World – Three Dog Night
  2. Maggie May – Rod Stewart
  3. One Bad Apple – The Osmonds
  4. Family Affair – Sly And The Family Stone
  5. Knock Three Times – Dawn 6. Gypsys, Tramps And Thieves – Cher
  6. Indian Reservation – Paul Revere/The Raiders
  7. Treat Her Like A Lady – Cornelius Brothers And Sister Rose
  8. Black Magic Woman – Santana
  9. Draggin’ The Line – Tommy James

Some prices:

Cost of a new home: $28,300.00
Median Household Income: $9,028.00
Cost of a first-class stamp: $0.06 ($0.08 as of 5/16/71)
Cost of a gallon of regular gas: $0.36
Cost of a dozen eggs: $0.53
Cost of a gallon of Milk: $1.18

60s Flashback 70s Flashback 80s Flashback 90s Flashback


Henry David Thoreau wrote in the opening chapter of Walden that, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.” I’m assuming here that if he were to write this chapter today he would also include women. “The mass of people…” I’ve never really understood what he was talking about, until now. We lead lives of quiet desperation because we keep our trials, our struggles, and our hardships to ourselves, choosing to bear our burdens alone. We are quiet because we don’t know how to share with others what we are going through, or we are afraid of how they will react to us. This is especially true if you are a Christ follower (or more so because of). We lie in bed late at night, desperately crying out to the only One who can really save us, not realizing that others could also be interceding for us.

Quiet desperation robs us of our peace, our health, our faith. We don’t lose faith in God, we lose faith in ourselves. We doubt our relationship with Him who created us and sustains us. After so long of pleading and begging and crying in the dark we wonder, “is there something in our lives keeping God from pouring out the blessings that is promised us?”

“Hello God? Are you there?”

Quiet desperation. Not knowing where to turn. The Psalmist talks about “muddy clay.” I’ve been in the kind of muddy clay that traps you, sucking you further down until you can’t go anywhere. And the harder you try, the more the mud grabs a hold of you pulling you deeper and deeper, giving you a glimpse of how the Mastodon must have felt in the La Brea Tar Pit.

Quiet desperation. It consumes your prayer life, keeping your focus on yourself and neglecting those who are also leading lives of quiet desperation. They might open up long enough to share, for a brief moment, what their lives are like, but you can’t hear because of the noise your own panic makes. Interestingly, quiet desperation isn’t so quiet.

Psalm 40


1 I waited patiently for the LORD,
and He turned to me and heard my cry for help.

2 He brought me up from a desolate pit,
out of the muddy clay,
and set my feet on a rock,
making my steps secure.

“Pray for me,” I ask in a voice full of quiet desperation.