1 comments Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I have setup a new blog. I have automatic forwards setup and I'm transferring my feedburner feed to the other blog. If you are following me on blogger you will want to subscribe to the rss feed. I am working on making the transition as fluid as possible.

I am making this change because my ideas are spreading well beyond my experience as a youth pastor. I have so many other topics and Wordpress offers a much better system for organizing everything into a logical format.

The new blog is at NickGeek.com

Comments

I remember the movie "What about Bob?" If you haven't seen that movie or don't remember it then you might want to watch this clip.


Bob is completely neurotic but is learning to change with "baby steps." Of course he doesn't get it and this leads to some seriously stupid funny.

The thing is, grumbling and complaining doesn't usually start big. I'm betting that they didn't go from "Yeah, God is giving us food from Heaven" to "Manna again!?!?!? I'd rather eat me shoes than eat mana one more time" overnight. No it started small. Someone woke up and said "manna is nice, but I gotta say I'd like some meat to go with it." He said that to himself a few times before he said it to someone else. Now he could have gone to Moses or whoever was setup over him in the system Moses setup but he started talking to someone else. That person was pretty happy to be eating food God setup for him every morning but he politely listened and maybe even tried to offer some words of advice and encouragement. After a few days of hearing the complaints he got tired of it but also started thinking that the manna was starting to taste a bit bland. Suddenly a virus of complaints took over and everyone was infected with dissatisfaction.

That's the problem. We don't see it till it's too late because every step is a baby step. A handful of people are upset that something in the church isn't quite right and a year later there is a church split because they didn't talk to the pastor. They love the pastor and don't want to offend him, or maybe they fear his anger. Whatever they know they can't tell the pastor but they can't keep it in. The grumbling begins to spread until people start to leave. That starts the rip and BAM church split.

Tonight I learned that one of my leaders told someone about something they heard … which has now come back to me. It isn't directly about me, but ultimately it is. Now this apparently had been said a couple times before it got back to me and my problem isn't that this person is wrong. They are right, but why didn't they come to me directly? I've had this happen before with this person and a while back this person complained about the pastor to me. Nothing big but I told them to take it to the pastor.

Jesus and Paul both dealt with this and both said to go to the source first. That is the only way to resolve a situation.

Is there something about your pastor or church you are frustrated about? Have you talked to the people that can make a difference? Have you let idle words infect others? Am I overreacting?

Comments Tuesday, December 1, 2009

black hole of my heartHonestly I don't know that I would choose to write on grief. I try to have fun and keep things light unless I need to vent, but I struggle with depression and feelings of self-doubt. That is one of the reasons I avoid writing on subjects like grief. I did write a post about my deepest grief once. It is also my greatest testimony that I call being taken from the black hole.

This year had brought quite a bit of grief to myself and dear friends and family. My grandmother died on my mother's birthday this year. I don't know if I would survive that. I was asked to speak at the funeral and that was the hardest speaking experience I have ever had.

Grief speaks of loss, but sometimes it is hard to figure out what the loss really is. I grieved my grandma, but I never really knew her. I think I grieved no knowing her and never getting that opportunity more than losing her. I was raised in the military so I might have seen her an average of one week a year. My dad's mother died when he was a boy and my mom's dad died when I was a boy. I met my dad's dad like 3 times in my life for a total of a few hours. He died 3 years ago. When my grandma died I also lost my history. I have friends with great grandparents they knew and spent time with regularly. I felt like my anchor had been pulled up leaving me adrift.

When I think of grief my head spins, because you can't really feel grief unless you are attached. The problem is we tend to be attached by many threads so when those threads are cut the grief is amplified because it comes from too many directions.

I don't like to write about grief because it reminds me of all those severed threads, but it also serves to remind me that when the world is spinning out of control that there is a rock that doesn't move.

Comments Monday, November 30, 2009

OK I imagine there are many things better, but it is amazing for so many reasons.

As a quick food

Peanut butter is a great quick meal. You can eat it with a spoon right out of the jar if you are really pressed for time, but it doesn't take long to have peanut butter and cracker, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or my favorite peanut butter and honey sandwiches. This brings me to my next point.

Tastes great with other foods

We all know about the classic PB&J and also the somewhat different peanut butter and banana. There is also the previously mentioned peanut butter and honey. In my opinion PB&H is the second best combination of all time. The only thing better than honey mixed with peanut butter is peanut butter and chocolate. I imagine that that discovery is responsible for a significant portion of my battle with weight. Preventing these two super powers from entering my house has helped me begin winning that battle.

It is crunchy or creamy

Sort of like "sometimes you feel like a nut sometimes you don't." There are times when you want the smooth, creamy peanut butter but there are also times you want to feel the crunch of bits of unbuttered peanuts.

Highly Entertaining

What's that? Peanut butter can be entertaining? How does that work? Well, if you love animals but also love humor then feed your dog some peanut butter. They love the taste and it is safe, but it gets up on the roof of their mouth resulting in a very entertaining attempt to remove it.

I could go on and on, but trust me on this, if you aren't allergic then you should eat some peanut butter. If you are worried about added sugar and other stuff you can always get all natural. Honestly I prefer the taste myself.

This post has been brought to you as a dare from @VariantVal

Comments Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Yesterday I mostly wrote about a group that I facilitated in an ethics workshop. I was told by someone that they were frightened at how callous the girls were. I will say that this group was a bit harsh but there were a couple that didn't go with the group decision. They just didn't stand up for their opinion very strongly. More importantly there were some really cool opinions from other groups.

One story in particular was a young lady that I noticed right away. She dressed so that people would see here. Not in the slutty way but in the 8 inch tall Mohawk and all the cloths you would expect to go with that hair style. Most of the students were dressed up a bit because they were told to dress nice. I had hoped she would be at my table but I wasn't so fortunate. I know we aren't supposed to judge books by their covers, but I tend to read people. In this case I read correctly and she would have made a great addition to the group. It seems her personality would have pushed the group to think about their decisions more carefully.

On the question about a friend that was on steroids she got up to speak for her group as a whole. After introducing herself as "Anarchy" (later I learned that her name is Anna so the rchy is tagged on ... I guess she spells it Annarchy?), she laid down more strongly than anyone else that it isn't cool to let a friend do something destructive like that. At one point she said "I'd rather lose our friendship than to lose a friend." That is powerful and the kind of person I want to see in my youth group. Maybe that is why they call us the freak show, but they don't know what is inside.

Anyways, I also wanted to say it was cool being there and having so many people there that recognized me. Only two of my students were there but a couple dozen teens walked up and talked to me at some point. There were people I've met through various things I've been involved with. Very cool to see I'm getting to know so many of the students and they are getting to know me.

Back to my original point. Yes, we have a lot of self centered students, but we also have some really amazing ones even if they don't look like we expect.

Comments Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Last week was crazy busy but also lots of fun. I loved almost everything I did including officiating my first wedding. I want to write about the wedding but I'm trying to see if I have some video or at least pictures for post with it. In the mean time let me share about two other things I did. Tuesday I was at a sectional lunch with other ministers. I've really liked what we are doing with the new section. We have been getting together once a month and fellowshipping. Much better than how things were going with the previous section.

Of course this probably sounds pretty boring, and to people on the outside it probably is so I'm going to move on to one of the more interesting things I did last week.

There was a Chamber of Commerce sponsored event last week called the "Ethics Workshop." The seniors from both high schools are required to attend. They are assigned random tables and each table has a facilitator. I was a volunteer facilitator. Last year the table I was at spent a good deal of the off time discussing some really … interesting? … stuff. The kind of stuff that you don't normally talk about in front of other people, much less an adult. They about died at the end of the event when one finally asked what I did. This year I was at a table composed entirely of girls. That is just unreal.

They were faced with 4 ethical dilemmas and had to vote on what their decisions would be. The first was a pretty straight forward choice where they had to decide who would receive a liver based on the available information. They chose the patient that had the largest family and would likely live the longest. Unintentionally they based their decision on the most good for the greatest number of people. This is generally viewed as an excellent mode for making ethical decisions. After that things got generally disturbing. Most of them started voting based on what affected them the least. When presented with the option of narcing on a friend using steroids most choose to say nothing. Another scenario involved a cousin joining a gang and planning an armed robbery of a store that some friends work at. The group felt it was wise to tell their friends but no one else. The friends should just go into work and play along so no one got hurt.

The final scenario was based on a real story. They were going up Everest and near the peak the find a man with no gear sitting near a shear drop of several thousand feet who greats them with "I bet you're surprised to see me here." The group generally decided to leave the guy. Some felt they might try to call for help and even leave some oxygen. One said she would try to help him back down. I offered another solution that they felt was atrocious. I said that leaving him to die slowly was immoral so either help him down or end it quickly with a small push. I find it interesting that they are willing to let the man die but won't go out of their way to help him or end it quickly.

I think this generally represents much of our culture. People don't want others involved and don't want to get involved. We are happy to sit back and let thousands, and even millions die so long as it doesn't affect us directly. I think that is much of what drives "pro choice," and more importantly why we ignore genocides all around the world but push for war when we are attacked only to change our minds once the war lasts longer than our outrage.

By the way, in the real event the man was abandoned for dead by his group because he was ill and threatening the rest of the group. They had reported him dead the previous day. Earlier that day several other groups avoided him including one that passed near and pretended to only speak French. One group abandoned their quest for the peak and helped him back to camp where he received medical attention and survived to tell the tale. Left by his own, ignored and deceived, on the brink of death, and then saved by someone at a price. That's what it means to be a neighbor and what we are called to do. I wonder how many "Christians" passed this guy up?

On an unrelated note, I posted a sermon on my sermon blog. You should check it out. WAKE UP!

Comments Tuesday, November 17, 2009

So this week I am officiating my first wedding. I am really looking forward to this but I'm also very nervous. I really want the couple to work out but there isn't any way for me to ensure that beyond counseling and Godly encouragement and prayer. Having done all of that I think the most important thing is to geek out the rehearsal and revel in the geek wedding that could have been.

First and foremost you must know that I was asked because of who I am and not the title I hold. Any happenings that happen will be done with utmost respect to the sanctity of the union and the couple who will be joined in marriage.

That said, I will be reenacting the wedding scene from the Princess Bride during the rehearsal. This is a must. If you are not familiar with the scene please watch the clip. If you are familiar with it you will want to watch anyways because it is amazing.


Now that is about geek level one. It isn't enough. I'll be meeting with the bride today to discuss the vows and order of service. I'm hoping she'll go with some of my suggestions. Let me know what you think?

Star Wars



DC Comic



 

Gamer



 

Klingon


 

All out Geek


Comments Monday, November 16, 2009


Angel Food Ministries really needs a new name. I'm certainly behind the ministry and the name sounds great in theory but every single time I say it I think about cake. Nice light cake covered in fresh strawberries and a light syrup from the strawberries topped with real whipped cream.

Admit it, you want that cake now. That's what I'm talking about.

Anyways, this weekend I was able to take a small group from our church to the church we are going to be partnering with for the next month or two. We did the pickup and distribution with the church and I learned a lot from what they did. I am excited to be starting our own distribution for next month and the people that went are very excited too.

One of my favorite things is that we are planning on getting the entire church involved and working together. Obviously we need people to pickup and setup, but we also need people to check in, hand out, and check out. We also need people to help carry boxes out and greet as people come in. I've got a good idea on how each part of the church can help including some stuff that we want to do beyond the normal. My wife use to pickup Angel Food when we were in Missouri. They were very busy and people lined up and hour or so before and were more or less processed like cattle. I'm not a huge fan of that and at this location they weren't that busy so it wasn't so bad, but I thought about my wife's experience and decided it would be nice if we would have coffee and warm snacks like fresh biscuits or cookies during the winter and something like that in the summer too.

Wouldn't it be nice to be greeted with a cup of coffee and a cookie, or maybe hot apple cider, when you go to pickup your food? Yeah I think that is way better than being processed like cattle.

Comments Friday, November 13, 2009

Yeah so the following remix is one of the more often searched for posts I've written. The phrase "mullet of the shirt world" is apparently googled more than I ever thought. I hope there isn't some weird fetish I don't want to know about. Also, when did "google" become a verb synonymous with "search?" The speed at which our vocabulary is changing disturbs me a little.

The great thing about being Youth Pastor is you get away with so much. Basically if you bring back all the same kids you left with and all their same appendages people are pretty happy with you. You can generally dress the way you feel comfortable and it's all good. Of course there are dangerous mine fields to navigate, but as long as you understand a few basic rules you will be fine.

Tees:

You will likely wear more tees than anything else. The great part is that graphic tees are super popular as well as 80s references. Now some of you are too old or too young to appreciate Thundercats and the real Transformers, but for the rest of you enjoy this while it lasts.

Tank tops:

Friends don't let friends wear muscle shirts, enough said.

Polos:

Hey these are great if you are into them. I'm not thanks but good for you.

Button down/up shirts:

I actually own several long sleeve button ups. I really hate short sleeve versions, they look strange to me, like it was trying to be professional but couldn't quite make it. The short sleeve button up is the mullet of the shirt world. Business in the front party on the sleeves. So back to long sleeve button ups. I really love the fact that rolled up sleeves is the new style. It is nice, but don't make the mistake of rolling your cuffs super tight. For my height 3 rolls is perfect. It leaves the cuffs plenty wide and also past my elbows. I will wear these shirts with jeans most of the time I wear them but if I need to look particularly dressed up I put on one of my slacks, and possibly even my jacket.

There are also a lot of options with embellishments, embroidery, and screen printing. I own a few but my rule is pretty simple. Less is more. They have shirts now with gold covering half the back and really intricate designs. The front is only half as bad but still, as a youth pastor you probably have ADOS (Attention deficit ... oh shiny) and you don't need to get distracted by your shirt. Less is more.

Jackets

Speaking of jackets you really need to buy at least one. You can find some pretty cool stuff with all kinds of embellished stuff on it, and that is awesome but you need at least one jacket that is fit for a wedding or funeral. Trust me you don't want to be that guy wearing the rhinestone encrusted blazer at the funeral of a 104 year old saint survived by her 86 year old daughter 64 year old grand daughter 47 year old grandson 25 year old great grandson and 10 month old great great grand daughter (and all the other relatives) all of which attend the church. Not cool dude not cool at all.

Remember these simple rules and you will be well on your way to the cool bus.

I have had people argue with my statement that the short sleeve dress shirt is the mullet of the shirt world.

I rest my point.

Comments Wednesday, November 11, 2009

So it has been raining all day and I don't like days like this. I mean I really hate days like this. For some reason, these kind of days seem to attract problems on top of the "it's cold and dark and I want to just stay under the covers" feeling. In fact, I think the body's natural defense against the bad things that come on rainy nasty days is to try and convince you to stay in bed.

First thing I found out when I got to the church was that one of my students avoided a fatal accident last night when her mom wouldn't let her go with her friends. Four of her friends were in a car crash that left one dead, and one still in the hospital. Later I found that the student in the hospital is related to some of our church members. I made it to the hospital to pray with him and his family.

At Youth service we had 52 students. I am really loving the sign in chart by the way. Not only do I know exactly how many students we have, but the skipping church bit is really nonexistent. Of course there were some problems. Basically cold and rainy means 52 teens cooped up in about 3000 sq' of building instead of much more open land like they are use to. Plus they were wound up by being cooped up all day in general. This was compounded because 3 of my leaders weren't there tonight. Family stuff but wow it was out of control but mostly in a fun way.

After service I had to drive a bunch of students home in the van. One of my leaders that wasn't there normally does this. One of the students just plain drives me nuts. Constant complaining, insults, and downright stupid "look at me" behavior all night and for the entire drive is enough to drive anyone crazy. After I got back I had to take one more student home. The van was full and this student lived closish to me so I had him come last. We had a nice conversation for the first time since he has been coming. His mother has lupus and he is really trying to step up for his family. He is the oldest and is carry a huge burden for a young man. I am very burdened for him now and really feel frustrated at not being able to really help, but I'm also very glad that he is finding what he wants and needs in the church.

I guess everything really worked out despite not wanting to get out of bed. I couldn't be happier with how things are going in service. We are making the transition into the kind of Bible study/preaching atmosphere I am pushing for and most of the students are really getting excited about it. I'm also getting to know some of the new students better so I'm very happy I didn't stay in bed all day.

Comments

So a few weeks back I had a young man visit the church for the first time. He was wearing a shirt that was probably intended to get a reaction. I did react to the shirt but not likely the way he thought I might. I agreed with it and encouraged the notion.


Sorry if the language offends you but I didn't design the shirt. With my students I try to be very frank and real with them. They are likely to say these kind of words so I guess I just don't get offended by them. I don't bother with them myself but I figure there are worse things in the world, and complacency is one of them.

Something is wrong when we get more offended that the short has a "bad word" on it than at the idea of complacency that allows us to complain about our situation without doing anything about it. I am personally ready to see a revolution in the church and in our culture. I am preaching word of Life from what Christ said and these teens are really getting onboard. I think they are ready for a revolution. I am tired of talking about change. I'm ready to make waves and ride them to a new place.

On a side note, Monday I saw a bumper sticker that proclaimed "Question Authority." Actually the car was covered in bumper stickers to that effect but was a really nice $50k SUV … seemed ironic but whatever. It occurred to me that I am basically holding to that idea and even preaching it to some degree and yet I am now part of the authority. Anyone else think that is ironic?

Comments Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A couple weeks ago I bore witness to a dream of geek culture in a merger of science and art in one t-shirt.

A couple years back the guys at Think Geek created a prank product for April Fool's day (a day I truly love) called the "Personal Sound Track" shirt. This prank gained a huge fan base and so they made this shirt a reality. Thus the interactive sound shirts were born. From this came the "Electronic Drum Kit" shirt. Certainly everyone who has ever sat in church beating out mad drum rolls on the seat in front of them would desire this shirt, but some of us need more. Fortunately Think Geek has come through. Witness the guitar shirt.


Comments Friday, November 6, 2009

A bit over a year ago almost nobody was reading what I wrote. Now a few people are reading so I want to get a couple of my posts out that I wrote.

OK, so you have shoes, and possibly socks that are cool but not something that will scare your parents, now you need to figure out the whole pants situation. Sure you can just slap on any old pair of jeans or work the white slacks that were oh so popular with preachers in the 80s, but if you want to impress your youth enough to be allowed on the cool van then you will need to think about what you wear.

Shorts:

One of the most dangerous pitfalls any person can face is choosing the wrong shorts. You need to know your body type before you can wear shorts. If you have chicken legs then don't wear anything shorter than your knees or overly baggy since it will just emphasize those stilts you call legs. If your legs reflect and amplify all light in the room then please do us all a favor and skip this step. If you have something worth showing off remember this, we still don't want to see it. Cover your legs man.

Slacks:

OK this is a clothing item that will be required for certain situations. I have 3 basic fall back slacks. Khaki for your everyday have to dress up a bit clothing; if I am attending a wedding but not officiating I might go with those, or maybe I am going to a meeting with a particularly picky parent. I might mix it up with flip flops if I want to say, hey I'm casual and fun but still dressed up so parents don't freak too much. OK I probably wouldn't do that but you can if you want. I also have pressed grey and pressed black slacks for needing to dress up a bit more. Color is dependent on what else I'm wearing. Both are intentionally bland so I don't draw too much attention to myself. These are for special occasions like official parts of weddings and funerals as well as other fun events that I might be expected to dress up for. I have nice shoes, shirts, and jackets to go with these.

Jeans:

Now this is the huge decision. Seriously you will probably wear denim more than anything else. Again your body type will define the basic styles of what you will wear. Don't try and pull off the skinny jeans if you are quite large, it will look like you are walking on tightly packed sausage, and it doesn't matter how expensive the jeans are that won't impress your youth. The other big danger is the artificially deteriorated look. You can spend big money on something that was damaged before you bought it or pick up something from Salvation Army and do it yourself. In all honesty the brand will say a lot to your Youth, but if you sell yourself on that then you will have to keep buying the new hot brand. The important part isn't how much you pay but how many holes we are talking, and the location. Holes in the knees are cool, holes in the seat and crotch are not. General rule of thumb, if anyone can tell if you are wearing boxers or briefs then you need new jeans, the corollary to this rule is that if the answer is briefs you will lose significant cool points. I'm not saying you can't wear briefs, but if your Youth see them it will super gross them out more than if they see boxers. Another good rule of thumb is to limit the tears and holes to 5 per pair. This isn't as much for the Youth as it is for the parents. You don't want some helpful mother going out and buying you new pants because she thinks you can't afford un-holified jeans.

Of course there are many embroidery options and to that end I would ask you, "are you trying out for worship leader?" Come on, look cool without looking desperate.

Comments Thursday, November 5, 2009

Youth is really coming along. The one young lady that I was really frustrated with that might be leaving the church came and talked with my after service. She went somewhere else but came to our service to talk and I think it really helped. I'm not 100% sure what is going to happen but I'm feeling that she really needs to be plugged in with a woman in the church for mentoring and I have the perfect person in mind if this person will say yes. Anyways, it seems to be working out and I'm feeling much better about it all.

For specific numbers, we had like 4 visitors tonight plus a few of our semi regulars showing up for a grand total of 52. The sign in sheet makes it easy to know how many people are there since I never think to count. I'm a really bad pastor as far as that sort of thing goes. I'm also bad at over estimating how many people are there. Everyone that signed in stayed, but the one that skipped out last time didn't come tonight. The whole thing is working pretty well right now.

I felt a little overwhelmed though because we were down a few leaders. The main outside leader was out of town on business and two other leaders weren't there, one for work and I'm not sure what happened to the other. Also last week was the last week for one of my leaders. This means we had about as many students as we've ever had with 4 fewer leaders than we have had in the past 3 months. Despite that things went really well.

I also started the first phase of getting my students more involved tonight by having one of the students doing announcements instead of me. It was nice to not be the only one talking and I'm expecting to get more involved. I asked the girl that I was really impressed with over the weekend and she did a great job. I'd like to try and have some of the students put together stupid little skits and stuff for some of the announcements. That would be great.

Tonight was also phase 2 of the transition to a stronger Bible study type environment. The end goal will look like this; I'll read a Bible passage and give some explanation of what it means. Then small groups will get together and discuss questions related to the subject then we'll meet together again for my review of the questions and a sermon of sorts. I did this before and I think it works really well. The big change for tonight was I had a series of questions that I asked and get input from the students as a whole. It worked well and I was very happy with the responses the students gave.

Of course the most fun I had all night was early on in the evening. The grumpy old man that threatened a student a couple months back and who hasn't been coming to church on Sundays since was there. He is still teaching the Rangers and I am concerned about that on many levels but I have bigger things to deal with right now. He is basically ignoring me though, which amuses me. Any time I see him I try to be nice and say hi and ask how he is. I'm a southerner. We can show courtesy to our worst enemy. He tends to pretend he didn't hear me though. Sure he is old and hard of hearing, but in the past he would ask what I said if he didn't hear, now he just walks the other way. Now I could let it go but I much prefer another approach. Loud kindness. It drives him crazy I think. Not exactly why I do it, I want to show that I live what I preach. Still, I enjoy the look of frustration on his face when I ask again "have you had a good day?" as loud and joyful as I can possibly be. If you want to really mess with people that are angry with you then pour on the kindness. Grumpy people can't stand when they are doused with joy.

Comments Wednesday, November 4, 2009

This week has been interesting. Over the weekend I went on a trip with some of the members of the Youth that said they want to be leaders. I learned that 2 of 6 are ready to start down that path and one that I have done a lot for lately, I mean a LOT for, is terribly ungrateful and is now planning on attending another church. I'm not too worried about it though. I'm not about fighting to keep, God will take care of that. I was very frustrated Sunday because I gave up my weekend with my family and missed my kids dressed up for Halloween and felt very unappreciated, but God is faithful so I put my trust in Him.

Monday I was still trying to get over it and didn't really want to work but had responsibilities. One of those was teaching the NOT (Not on Tobacco) class. After the class one of the student's step mom came in to talk to me. Apparently the student has talked about me quite a bit and I've made a serious impression on him. More than that she expressed an interest in going back to church and might be attending our Sunday service this week. It really confirmed to me that I'm doing the right thing by getting out of the church.

Today I learned that we will be hosting Angel Food Ministries much sooner than I was expecting. I sent an email asking questions and then called because I wasn't patient enough to wait for the response. After getting my questions answered I applied but was told it would take 10 weeks to process the application. The thing is, the email went through channels and the VA area leader lives pretty close. She called and found out we had already applied so she is pushing to get us setup as a partner site with a church about half an hour away because she really wants to get a distribution site in our town right away. We will become a host site once the application runs its course, but God is in control and the way I went about it resulted in us being contacted sooner than the normal application process allows. We should be able to do our first distribution before Christmas. I'm really excited.

Tonight was Young Adults class and it went very well. A couple of the group that have really started opening up the past couple of weeks.

In general I'm over the frustration because God goes before me. I don't like when things don't go well, but I do like hen God reminds me He is with me even in the middle of great grumpitude on my part.

Comments Monday, November 2, 2009

If you don't know about the blog carnival then check it out. Peter Pollock, an amazing person and gifted writer, is hosting this round so go visit his blog to see everyone else's posts.. It was great last time even though I twisted my understanding of the rules for my own amusement. This time I am sticking a bit more on a literal translation, but letting my geek out.

I remember a great many things. I'm especially good at remembering random, often useless facts. One of those bits of information is the scene when Spock is about to sacrifice himself in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Until the latest reboot of the original Star Trek it was easily my favorite Trek anything. It is a really close call still because it is pure frigintasticalness. One of the most memorable scenes is the sacrifice of Spock. At face value it is very sad, but events in a not nearly as good of a movie bring him back and setup Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home, which features whales in space.

Spock gives Bones his memories, essentially his mind with the phrase "Remember." Watch this clip, it happens about 00:01:50.


The Bible says we are to have the mind of Christ.  

"For who has known the mind of the Lord
      that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16)

It seems that we need to remember if we are to have such a mind. We are commanded to have communion in remembrance of Him. What is it we are to remember? Simply this, all that He has commanded. I think many times Christians forget this. They don't remember and so don't have the mind of Christ, much less the Spirit of God.

Today as you read about remembering, think about this, what happens when we remember Christ in such a way as to have His mind? I think that is the kind of revolutionary thought that changed the world and can change it again.

Comments Friday, October 30, 2009

So last week I decided to start reposting a series I wrote before anyone was really reading this blog. It is kind of funny and needed to be updated slightly. In the comments someone (It's always Candy who asks/says weird and inappropriate sounding without actually being inappropriate things) suggested that I should write about underwear. I put a poll up and as of today most people want to know where I stand … er sit on the subject.

I firmly believe that a youth pastor must wear underwear at all times they are in public. Commando is not an option. This is because of the distinct possibility of pranks that might involve pantsing. Trust me, no one want to see that happen.

Beyond that there are some options to think about. First is the age versus wearability of the underwear. As a guy I can assure you that the older and more worn a pair of underwear are the more comfortable they are. Threadbare is just another way of saying favorite pair. The curve established by this causal relationship will show that new underwear can never be as comfortable as well worn underwear, and when you follow the pattern out underwear that have worn into non existence are actually the most comfortable underwear a person can ever wear. This presents a bit of a paradox and conflicts with rule number one so as an addendum to rule number one I would say that when a pair had become so worn that there is more holes than fabric they are not to be worn in public.

Next one must consider the boxers v. brief argument. Generally I would say that a YP must wear boxers because ain't nobody wanna see you in your whity tighties. (See reasoning for rule number one).

Finally, having decided on boxers please remember that if you are on an event where you might be seen in your underwear by guys in the same room as you, then do not pack anything you do not want to be teased about. If you are comfortable with comments about the design of your lipstick or heart underwear then go for it, but don't be surprised when the guys steal them from your suitcase and hand them on the church van antenna. Also don't be surprised if I am the one that encouraged them to do that. It's my spiritual gift.

Comments Thursday, October 29, 2009

I've posted a couple of times about problems we have had with students coming in and checking out. Tonight was the first run of a new system intended to limit that and also inform parents when it occurs. I spoke with a follow youth minister and asked for input online. I even talked to some of my students. The solution isn't perfect but we are moving the right direction. My YP friend has a better budget than I do (read he has a budget) so he is working on buying a system that will digitally sign his students in with IDs. I would love to just have the software but $500 isn't happening. I'm working on setting up a SQL local host server and either building a sign in system or finding an open source version that can be modified to that end.

For now, though, I have started a paper where they write what time they arrived, their name, a cell number if they got it, their parent's name, and a number they can be reached at. To make sure we get everyone we are marking their hands, so if someone is marked we know they have signed it and if not they haven't. Simple. Of course there is a learning curve to this all. I think I want to take the pages from tonight and put those names on so it will go faster. I also want to get a stamp made instead of the ghetto mark we are doing now. Tonight I put a purple x with a washable marker.

We did have a few students head out early. Most of them checked with me before heading out and I knew where they were heading and why. I had one student who has been coming and leaving with his friends almost every service for a while skip out. I had him sign in and he admitted he was going to leave. I told him to sign in if he as on the property. I also asked if his mom thought he was there. He said yes, but claimed she knew he was leaving. When he left without checking out I had his mom get a call. I was busy so I don't know exactly what happened but I did talk to her later. The boy knew the rule was that if he left he was gone for the evening. I explained it to him the previous week and this week but after service he came back. I intercepted him and explained that he was gone but he came in anyways. (yes Candy I say anyways all the time, I speak exactly like I write) A couple students were asking me various things so I didn't get to him immediately. When I did I tried to patiently explain not only what the rules were, but also why we have the rules. He kept insisting that I never told him, when I know I've told him many times. I also told him his mother was told. He insisted that she knew he left and not to call her again because "it's not cool." I explained that I would call her until she told me that she knew he was leaving and arranged to pick him up elsewhere.

Two friends came back with him. The girl was wearing a jacket with a pentagram that had a goat's head in it pinned on. OK, so I'm not one to judge a book by it's cover, but at some point you got to think "satanist?" Seriously it was an upside down pentagram with a freakin' goat head. I told the friends they didn't have to leave but the boy who left did (not to be confused with the boy who lived, Harry can stay). They all left though, but the boy came back again and I heard him asking if I had left because he apparently didn't see me. His other friends had disappeared. I went over but he just glared at me. I figured his mom was about to pick him up so I waited right there and a few minutes later his mom pulled up. When she did I walked over to talk to her. I explained the rules and told her that if he was there he would have a mark on his hand. I also explained she would get a call. She told me she thought he was there, which annoyed me a bit because I've called in the past to let her know he walked off. Either way she knows and will be called every time now.

The other advantage is I got an exact count on students because they signed in.

Comments Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I think life would be more interesting if giant monsters occasionally walk through town. It seems to work out for Tokyo. Sure a bunch of people die but generally things are better, plus if you didn't see the giant mecha lizard fighting the real giant lizard thing and giant moth and think, "*hmmm, maybe I should go the other direction till the all clear is sounded*" (translated from Japanese) then you probably deserve a Darwin award. It's not like Godzilla is a freaking ninja or something. Each step has got to be heard for miles. Just head to the country for a couple days and come back so you can collect your insurance check. Great way to spend the holiday.

It would be a convenient way to deal with some annoying people too. Hey I was just thinking, "did I leave the oven on back at the apartment, could you please go check for me. I'd hate for the place to burn down with a giant mole creature digging about." See how easy that would be? Yeah I thought so too.

Anyways, last night we had out "fun" activity. I'm a bit frustrated because we have to limit what we can do because one person says she can't afford anything that costs money. In the summer that isn't so hard but when it is getting cold out I'd like to do some stuff inside that might cost $5-10. I don't think that is unreasonable for a once a month expense. Bowling is cheep and fun for a small group but I pretty well have to either cut this person out or have her come along but sit there looking bored thus making us all miserable. I've offered to pay but if we don't pay for everyone she refuses. Irritating.

Anyways, last night we did a b (or would it be a z) monster movie. This is a classic that has already been riffed by Mystery Science Theater. Attack of the Gila Monster. All things considered it is actually a better movie than most movies they show on SciFi (I don't like calling it SyFy because it seems to lame). The point of watching it isn't for the entertainment value of the movie as much as the audience participation. If you have a 2-3 people that can really rip a movie then you are set for a great evening. We had it on a giant movie screen with 8 of us and a monster sound system so that made it ever more fun. After I showed a short segment of a film done in Pathécolor just so everyone could appreciate technocolor. Seriouslt, blacka nd white is better than Pathécolor.

Now if you are curious about The Attack of the Gila Monster, then here it is from Hulu.



If you would rather watch the Mystery Science Theater 3k version I can help you out as well.



All the parts are on YouTube. Funny Stuff.

Comments Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Yeah so I am just all over the place right now. Fridays I was trying to bring a little more geek, but sadly I started a new series last week instead of the geek because I'm feeling lazy. So now I bring you the geek update on Tuesday. Getchergeekon. (seems like there is probably a convention out there with this name. If not I call dibs because there needs to be one)

I recently, as in last night, found out about a really frigintacular music resource called Groove Shark. Basically it is a music database much like what you might have in the form of your personal music collection. The difference is this system has way more songs than I do and can find new music based on what I am listening to. I've used a few other resources like this but generally they start making recommendations that are nothing like what I want to listen to.

So far this has been a much better engine for finding new songs than other resources I've used in the past. As you add more songs to your listening queue and rate them gets smarter with the "you might like" songs it plays.

It also has some other nice features. There is an online community where you can find and follow other users and shape your listening based on their choices too. It also integrates with various other social networks. You can share what you are listening to via twitter, for example.

The best thing is it is free. They have a small ad banner but whatever. You can also pay $3/month or $30/year for VIP status which gets some extra benefits and removes the ads. This is a really good price if you can't stand even a small add banner and want some of the extra features like first selection of new songs and extra themes.

I'd like to see a few other options, but right now it is clean and works well so I'm not sure if it is a good idea to try and make many changes. One of the things I really think that someone needs to figure out is a mood based play list. I can do it manually but I want to have something a little more intuitive. Basically a way of saying what kind of mood I'm in and then the system noting what songs I start selecting and then making recommends based on that. Next time I select the same mood it should know what I'm interested in listening too and make it happen.

I'd also like a preview of some of the VIP features to see if it is worth my money, but over all I'm really happy with the service, so check it out.

Comments Monday, October 26, 2009

Just a note for birthday well wishers. Thanks for the visit, you will find that I do not have a birthday pos tup. Yeah I didn't feel like writting about birthdays. It's not that I feel old or anything. I am 31. I just don't have anything to write about. If anything interesting happens today I might post it tomorrow. Anyways, thanks for dropping by, enjoy what I did write about, and leave a comment. I am one to respond to all comments

Sure, it might be easier to just go with the flow, and I have to admit there have been many times in my life I've tried to just be like everyone else, but I'm just not the kind of person that feels comfortable doing whatever the crowd is doing. Actually I'm not all that into crowds for that matter. They make me nervous. Crowds form a herd mentality. This is a proven thing. If one person starts to panic everyone starts to panic. In fact, you can make a whole group of people think they are sick to the point of exhibiting symptoms and everything. Want to mess with a crowd? Next time you are in a large crowd just start looking up. Soon enough everyone will be looking at whatever you are looking at.

The thing about crowds, though, is there is the outlier. The ones at the edge of the pack that don't really fit in. There are two basic places these people fit in. They are either the villains or heroes when you get right down to it. Look at the fringe of society, you have on the one hand the people who go to extremes to help others when the crowd is afraid to act or you have those that work against the crowd.

In both places you find variety. Some heroes are political figures, while some are villains. Regardless, though, the ones at the real fringe are leaders. They inspire the more corporate minded to follow them to whatever end they are working towards. They are the freaks that either bring or stop change.

I think that is why Jesus spent so much time with the fringe of society. The ones who work so hard to fit in and run things are afraid of change, but without change we can't move forward. He calls the freaks of society, the ones who are ready to bring the revolution. He is calling us today. Too long we have sat and watched our country go to hell in a hand basket. Too long we have focused on our legalistic judgment. Too long we have allowed Hollywood tell us what it means to be a Christian.

I have been hearing for years about a countercultural revolution that is growing underground. People who think like me. People who are sick of the status quo, but it is time to act. We must stand tall and let the crowd either follow us or get out of the way. If we just sit back and talk about change without bringing change then we are no different. If we are going to bring a revolution to the church, then it is going to be costly and painful. I am willing to pay the price.

What do you think? What can we do to make change? Are you willing to pay the price?

Comments Saturday, October 24, 2009

In the last installment of Super Youth Pastor SYP made some poor time choices and found himself collapsed on the ground.

As he shakily stood to his feet SYP was overcome with dizziness and had to sit before buckling again. Already he was surrounded. He tried to get his bearings as the shadows closed in on him. If only he could focus. He couldn't remember where he was or what happened. All he knew was something was wrong. He hadn't had so much as a cold since he became a super but this felt worse than any flu ever. He could feel the heat coming off his eyes and waves of nausea were breaking over him like the surf rolling in before a hurricane.

The closest shadow reached to him and he feebly swatted it away. It seemed his weak push was more than the shade could endure and the rest pulled back warily. SYP didn't know how long he had before they built up the courage to come back. He tried to remember where he was but the last clear memory he had was months ago at one of the many summer concerts. As the summer dragged on more and more things were happening and it all merged into one big blur, as if everything was happening at once not in any order. The more he tried to focus on any one thing the less clear it became. He remembered dealing with the Bored of Elders. At that encounter focus impaired him as well so he tried letting the chaos overwhelm him but suddenly it was so much that he became violently ill.

As the heaving subsided he saw the shadows quickly moving in again but he didn't have the strength to push them back. Something was pulled off of his face and light came streaming in. It was much too bright and made his head throb. The shadows seemed more solid but he could barely keep his eyes open as they laid him back down. The waves of disjointed memories ebbed and flowed all about him now. In weird moments of clarity he saw medics lifting him and heard the wail of sirens. He saw the panic on Super Wife's beautiful face and smelled the pungent antiseptic smell of the hospital. As each fragment of clarity the anguish of losing his mind brought with it anger and depression before falling back into the sea of disjointed memories.

He heard a strange chuckle that brought about a powerful feeling of déjà vu. The lights were low but he should have been able to see someone in the room with him. A recent memory came into focus. The laugh he had heard the in the night as he left the church last night, or was it weeks ago? How long had he been in this hospital anyway?

"Are you alert this time?" SYP jumped and heard the machines quicken as his heart raced. "Calm yourself, you might bring the nurses to check on you, and you wouldn't want them to get hurt would you?"

Was he hearing voices now? Had he completely lost his mind? Strange, he felt more sane than he had since he first awoke into the raging storm of memories.

"Don't worry, your mind is not completely lost … yet." The voice was both calm and menacing, but it seemed to echo around the room. "I am not one to be seen. A shadow. I work behind the scenes planning everything. When I am involved none know I exist. I am the best at what I do."

"Who are you? What do you do?"

"I am the Planner. I have worked hard this summer to keep you busy. So busy that your own body could not save your mind. I struck only after you were much too distracted to notice. I was surprised to see that you have been recovering from my toxin. It seems your mind is suited to the mind breaking affects. I have been well paid to … shall we say remove you from the picture."

"Wh…"

"Sorry to interrupt, but don't bother asking who hired me. You must understand that I couldn't reveal that even though you are about to perish. I would have finished you off earlier but I prefer to work from the shadows, it is what I do best after all. Such a forward move is usually beneath me so I waited to see if your mind really would recover before I moved. This is a first for me so you will have to excuse my curiosity. Could you please refrain from attracting attention while I study you for a bit? Some of the tests are bound to hurt, but you will need to be alert so I cannot allow anesthetic. If you attract attention others are bound to be hurt."

"Huh?"

"Oh of course, you will need some time to think about it, but I'll start some of the less invasive tests while you think. It really is important for me to know why you recovered so that this won't happen again."

With that the shadows seemed to coalesce in front of him and pull a series of instruments from the darkest part of the corner.

What is the Planner going to do? Will our hero recover enough to stop this shadow? Has SYP actually lost his mind? Find out this and more next week, same SYP time, same SYP blog.

Comments Friday, October 23, 2009

So about a year ago I had all of 3 readers and wrote a series on how a Youth Pastor should dress. I am updating it because the times have changed and I'm feeling lazy.

There are a lot of different YPs out there with their own unique style. That is cool and all. This is for the guy or girl that isn't sure how to dress as a YP. This is a very important choice and needs to be well thought out. There are some very treacherous pitfalls to avoid along the path. You want to look cool, but not like you are just adopting the same style your students wear. You don't ever want to get confused for the metrosexual worship leader. I mean think about it you go up to give an announcement and the band start playing because they got confused by your Puma's and paper denim ... ouch how embarrassing. You also have to look mature enough that parents don't freak when you drive off with their only child for the overnight convention trip. This is why I've come up with a few rules.

I know that last sentence just scared you. Sure your Bible College had tons of rules about what to wear but the good news is, if your Bible college was like mine then these rules will break almost every rule from your Alma Mater.

Shoes

OK this is a great place to start. You need to have a few different shoes but they can be pretty pricey so don't go too crazy here. Own at least one pair of flip flops. Not the $2 super el cheapo ones though. Spend at least $10. Still affordable and they will actually last the year.

Now you will want a pair of tennis shoes also. You can go with Puma if your style leans toward metro, but be careful about leaning to far this way, next thing you know your are going to be pawning your wife's jewelry so you can buy a pair of Diesel's and that ain't cool. Personally I like to go with Nike. They are a solid name brand so you won't embarrass yourself or your Youth. They can be affordable and will last you more than a year. Of course, at the end of the year it is time to retire your old work shoes and let this pair become work shoes. Frugality impresses parents by the way.

OK, now you are wondering about dressier shoes. Now this is your call. I own one pair of dress shoes. They are cheap and only make appearances for weddings and funerals. You have to be careful here because you can get caught up in a shoe craze buying various loafers and the like to match this that and the other only to realize your bank account cannot support buying the this that and the other.

Finally let's consider some other shoes options and styles. I personally own some monster work boots for those hard core work days. These are left over from my days as a carpenter. I also own motorcycle boots for when I ride (cool factor plus 100 if your spouse will let you). I do have a couple of other sneaker style shoes so I am not wearing the exact same thing all the time as well. Specifically I am rocking Chucks more than my Nikes.

Cowboy boots are the hardest look to pull off unless you live in Texas. I'm not saying it can't be done, but think it through. For the same price you can buy quite a few other shoes ... or entire outfits including accessories when you count the counseling bills you will inure from the severe mocking if you don't pull the look off.

Next week I'll be writing about pants and just keep working my way up all week long.

Comments Thursday, October 22, 2009


Not me, I'm totally ninja. I'm referring to some of my students.

I will say that things are really starting to change in the Youth group on Wednesday nights. They are becoming more and more respectful, hearing more and more of the Word and attendance is holding steady. I've been praying about having some of the guys step up and say they want to be involved in leadership and I have had 4 step up in the past couple weeks. All in all I couldn't be happier with how things are going.

There are a few problems yet. There has been an ongoing problem with students wandering off on youth nights. Some of them have left to run to 7-11 and come back, others have gone over to the hospital to skate, a few run to friend's houses to pick them up or something, but a few come and hang out till church starts and then disappear only to be back right after service ends so their parents are none the wiser. We have tried several thins to curtail the disappearing student problem and some things have worked.

We have a great snack shop so students don't have to run to 7-11. We sell Monster for $2 which is less than anywhere. Everything we sell is cheaper than 7-11. I was running students down as they walked off time and time again, but it seems the most effective thing to reigning in the wanderer was being right. Ok I was right the whole time but a couple weeks ago they learned just how right I was. I warned them many times about the dangers of wandering off but 2 weeks ago a student left with a group 3 times. I brought them back 2 times but didn't see the third time. That last time someone pulled a knife on the student and stole his iPod touch and skateboard. Everything worked out fine but the most of the students have learned an important lesson.

One group has been an ongoing problem though. They leave do who knows what (ok I know much of what they do) and then come back so parents can pick them up. I have hinted to the parents by calling and saying "I really missed … this week." And even flat out said, "you know your child leaves when you think they are here right," but the parents in question refuse to believe me. I'm not sure what else to do. I told them when they leave they have left for the evening but they come back and wait off property. I'm really at a loss as to what I can do about them.

I had another group head off tonight. I talked with them later and explained why they couldn't do that and it lead to a great conversation with a student that doesn't really know what to believe. At first he was saying he was an atheist, but then it came out that he was more agnostic than anything. I didn't brow beat him or anything, more than that I wanted to make him feel that he could come without being judged. It did lead to talking about what I believe and why. I got to share parts of my testimony and he admitted he liked to hear why I believe. That it isn't just blindly accepting what others have told me but based on studying and real experiences. He said, "I feel like I might be able to believe in something like that someday."

Like I said, I'm generally happy. I could use some prayer with regards to the ones that leave. I don't want them to come for the numbers. They are there part of the night and I could count them if that was what it was about. No, I'm really worried for them.

Comments Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I am afraid that I might be suffering from Post Traumatic Church Experience Syndrome, PTCES, as well as a great many people I know. PTCES sufferers might notice the following symptoms:

  • Irritability, especially Sunday or Monday morning.
  • Fear of new friends, old friends, strangers, answering the phone …
  • Overeating
  • Under eating
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Bitterness
  • Backsliding

PTCES can be caused by many different circumstances but once set in it is not easily remedied. Years of counseling may yield little to no results and "going it own your own" rarely ever works.

Fortunately a new breakthrough in spiritual care science has allowed for a cure. If you or a loved one suffers from PTCES talk to God about Forgiveness.

Forgiveness allows for healing of PTCES injuries. When using Forgiveness you will need to apply liberally to yourself and all who caused PTCES. Allowing God to apply Forgiveness during initial consultations is key to the healing process.

PTCES is a serious disease of the body, mind, and spirit. Start healing today.

(Fine print) Forgiveness is right for everyone. While using Forgiveness you might experience the following side-effects:

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self-control

Comments Monday, October 19, 2009

I like the idea of the blog carnival, but I'm so bad at playing by the rules. Rather I like to play by the rules as stated, not so much by the intent. If the rule says, "wear a tie" I am certain to wear a tie. I wouldn't want to break the rules after all. The problem is the rule doesn't specify what kind of tie to wear, or where/how it should be worn. In case you were wondering, ties make great belts.

To that end I would like to point out that there is no definition given for "Trust" the theme of this blog carnival. I have a feeling that they are going for a definition along the lines of trusting other people or God, but there are other definitions that might be considered. Personally I like the idea of trust as in a Trust Fund.

I don't have a trust fund, nor do I have any friends with such things. I've heard them mentioned in many books and movies, and they generally seem like a great thing, but people seem to look down on individuals with trust funds. Seriously, think about it. Can you think of a movie where the guy or girl is mentioned to have a trust fund in a positive light? That is so weird. You have two perfectly good words, "trust" and "fund," but when you combine them it makes people cranky. Oh sure, to a person's face they are very nice, but when they leave the room, "Mr. trust fund thinks he's so special."

The crazy part is that the individual in question is often a really great person. I think it is because people are inherently jealous and so they wish their future could be secured. I do wish I had a trust fund, but then again I know better than to trust in funds. Maybe that is why people seem put off. They misunderstand what the phrase means. Of course I seriously doubt that. I think it goes back to jealousy.

Anyways, that is my take on Trust for the blog carnival.


You should go visit Bridget Chumbley's blog to see how everyone else played by the rules.

Comments

If you haven't heard about balloon boy then you need to get out from under a rock. Also, how are you reading this if you haven't heard of that? Just in case let me give you the quick update, everyone got freaked out because some parents claimed their 6 year old boy climbed into a helium balloon they constructed as a science experiment. Pretty much all day Friday it was the news story everyone talked about. Then the balloon finally set down and the boy wasn't around. Suddenly the parents thought, hmmm maybe he went in the attic instead and presto boy is found safe and sound. The latest news on the matter seems to indicate that the agencies in charge of the rescue are looking into pressing charges on the parents because it was a planned hoax. The family was involved with a reality show, Wife Swap, and was trying to cash in with the balloon fame.

This isn't new. Many families have tried to get fame and money from these kind of things including the octomom and the garbage that is going on with Jon and Kate. We seem happy to point fingers at the families but are completely missing the real problem.

We are screwed up people.

There I said it. We are all part of the problem. The news has to become more and more sensational. They are one of the single biggest factors in the recession. Sensational reporting on the state of the economy took a bad situation and made it much much worse. I would love to blame the news but it sells because that is what we want. Recently I have been through Swine Flu, rather I am going through it, with my family. It isn't fun but I've had much worse. Seriously, I can think of many times in my life I've been more ill and my kids have been more ill. Rota Virus was one of the worst we've ever been through. Shudder. Despite the reality of the illness the news has blown it so far out of proportion that people have cancelled trips and gone Howard Hughes to try and avoid the perils of H1N1.


My son at the farm last weekend



Once again I cannot blame the news. They are a symptom of a bigger problem. We are seriously messed up people.

What do you think? Am I right about us being messed up? If so how do we go about fixing the problem?

Comments Saturday, October 17, 2009

"And so it is settled, we will keep him so busy he won't know anything is wrong until it is too late."

SYP sat bolt upright in bed. His sleep deprived brain was trying to remember what startled him. Something dark and sinister in his dreams still haunted him. As he tried to think he began to realize he didn't even remember coming home. He has been so tired when he left the church that he just came home on autopilot. He doubted a car crash could have done much to him, but the worry that he might have hit someone in his overworked stupor scared him more than anything in his dreams.

A few restless hours later his phone rang.

"Don't answer it. It is supposed to be your day off."

SYP ignored Super Wife as he picked up the phone. It might be one of the students and they need him to be there all the time.

"'S'up, Sup?" Came the voice of one of his students. SYP was right and felt justified in taking the call, "Did I wake you?"

"No, I've been up for hours," SYP honestly replied.

"Good a bunch of us were getting together for some paintball and wanted to know if you would like to come?"

SYP considered for a moment and then agreed. Super Wife was not happy. They argued the whole time SYP was getting ready. He explained over and over that he knew it was his day off, but that playing paintball couldn't be considered working even if it was with some of the teens. He even invited her to come along, be she adamantly refused. SYP didn't understand why Super Wife didn't want to come. She had been several times in the past and was a great player. They could use the time together. Heck the two of them alone could probably take on everyone else and still have time to themselves. Super Wife didn't buy into that argument though.

SYP fumed the entire trip to the Paintball venue. As he pulled in he saw the students waiting and put on a smile. They had already broken into teams and were fighting over who would get SYP. He agreed to take turns and got two arm bands with his air and paint. They played a dozen games or so and were pretty well covered in paint when the day was done. SYP had walked into an ambush as the end of the day. He knew it was there but felt bad that the only marks on him were from the old paint that coated the courses. He sent a scout back around to capture the flag as he stormed the breach. He had to fight the impulse to dodge the flying balls and shoot his attackers. He had always been able to see the balls as they flew, they weren't nearly as fast as a bullet, but now his reflexes were so quick it seemed like the projectiles were thrown by small children, not high pressure gas. As the wave came in he noticed that both teams were in on the assault, even the player he had sent to capture the flag. He reached out and caught the first round being careful not to break it and then flicked it at the one who failed to follow orders. He smiled as the paint spread across the student's goggles. He laughed as the barrage completely covered him from all sides. Death by a thousand cuts indeed. SYP felt so alive, so awake so … confused.

He looked up at a group of panicked faces. What happened?

What did happen? How did SYP end up on the ground? Who is plotting against him? Is it already too late? Will Super Wife ever forgive him? Join us next time, same SYP time, same SYP blog.

Comments Friday, October 16, 2009

Hey, if I'm going to be talking about all things geek then I need to make a few things clear right up front. Geek culture is vast. I am generally a techno-geek but I'm also a language geek, a comic geek, a film geek, and several other categories of geek. Generally you can be a geek in almost every niche of culture by fully investing in that niche. However, for the purpose of this blog I will be using a more mainstream version of the term, so geekiness is measured by the technology invested or referenced as well as the potential for science. Science Fiction would fit in this category as well even if there is no basis in real science because I am not so concerned about real science, just potential for science.

Now that we are all on the same page, how does a geek cook? There are the old standby geek meals, which include pizza (frozen or delivered), microwave burritos, ramen noodles, and energy drinks, but many geeks want more. I, for one, believe that geek food can be good food. To that end I am gracious for Good Eats with Alton Brown. He brings geek chique to the Food Network. You can tell the difference between standard cooking and geek cooking because of the science and the tools used. In most episodes processes are described in science terms as well as anthropology and other useless information for actually making the meal. Useless to any non-geek but for the geek elite it is as precious as the food that nourishes us. Beyond that the tools used are impressive and diverse. It is nice enough that there are plenty of standard tools, but the geek code holds that if you can make something better to do a job then don't buy something to do the job. Alton often builds pretty amazing devices to do his cooking and also finds ways to incorporate power tools, which is a win.

Of course, geek cooking doesn't end with a single show. There are a multitude of gadgets out there for the geek in us all. There are fridges with tvs in the door and amazing new technology like the anti-griddle. These might be a bit out of the budget for your average geek, but that doesn't mean we have to go without. The nice thing about being a geek is the sheer volume of useful but no longer used gadgetry in the world. For example, I have a dead laptop with a perfectly good LCD screen. A little bit of dremel work, soldering, and hacking can result in a refrigerator with a TV in the door. If I have a serious need for an anti-griddle I could rig of something pretty quickly with an aluminum plate, and a modified window air conditioner.

Geek cooking is about the technology but also about making things happen and that is why I'm proud to be a geek. I'm feeling inspired to turn my fridge into a tv right now, I wonder if my wife will let me?

8 comments Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tonight was a cold and rainy night. So far I have referenced a movie I never watched and the worst noir opening ever. I'm off to a great start.

Anyways, it really was cold and rainy so attendance was down a little. Not much though, which really surprises me based on the fact that I am switching to a much more bible study type presentation. We have spent the past three weeks on Matthew 5. During this I start by reading the passage we are covering and then explaining that section within the culture and how it relates to us. Then I preach on a specific point. I really thought that several would stop coming Wednesday when I started the Bible study transition but I was wrong. Now for those that know me you can pick your jaw up off the floor. I've often said that I can be wrong and if it happens I'm happy to admit it. Here is proof. I'll even say it again. I was wrong about losing students when I started teaching without the fun times.

Of course, I still need to explain picking up cars with boys. When one of the parents was dropping off her student tonight her car broke. It was right in the entrance and wouldn't pull forward. The rear passenger tire was leaning, which is generally a bad thing. I got the car jacked up and pulled the tire to see if it might be some kind of simple fix to at least move the car, but it was bad. This vehicle has a rear ball joint which had completely separated. Very bad. We had to get a bunch of guys together and pick up the rear of the car as we pushed it forward into a parking space. All of this in the cold rain. Fortunately I was wearing my motorcycle jacket, which is somewhat water proof.

Comments Wednesday, October 14, 2009

So a couple weeks ago we had the free yard sale (aka unsale). I was very happy with how it went for our first time. We had 26 people come by representing 69 people in their households. We gave away donated items estimated at nearly $400 in value. Mind you these are yard sale values so this was a good amount of stuff. We also sold nearly $200 in items which will be donated to the local men's and women's shelters. All in all things went great and more than that we learned a lot for next time.

The items left over are being donated to the Salvation Army except the baby clothes, which we are saving for next time, and the jackets/sweaters which we will be giving away in another month for a coat and blanket drive. Tonight for Young Adults we did our first outreach project. It was very simple, but a good start. We loaded up all the items going to the Salvation Army. Afterward we went for dessert and played cards.

I have changed things up a little with the class. We are now having a regular class 2xs a month and every other week we will have either a fun activity or an outreach event. I'm pretty excited about the change and I hope it gets out there.

I've also made some changes to the Saturday night Youth gathering. We will be watching movies 1 night a month and game night 1 night. The rest of the nights are going to be unplanned hangout time. We did the first no plans event last week and it was a big hit.

Well that is all the changes for now.

3 comments Tuesday, October 13, 2009

So I got lazy and didn't get a post up on Monday. That's ok though because I'm getting my Tuesday post up so we'll just agree to forget about that missed day, after all it is Monday and we collectively agree that we hate the day so much we would like to just forget it. I'm just giving you one less thing to remember about the day that shall remain nameless. I'm a real giver like that.

Of course, that brings us to Tuesday on which I once made topical posts based on a monthly theme. This month is October, which brings a great many things to mind. I could talk about getting older. If you can't figure that out then I'm afraid I can't help you. I could talk about the changing seasons, or I could even talk about retarded government officials that moved the daylight savings dates instead of more pressing legislation. I won't be talking about any of that because there is a much more universal and obvious choice. Halloween is coming and so it bears talking about.

Today I would like to tackle the name. More accurately I would like to repost what I wrote on this subject last year.

So if you are not aware, it is October and that means Halloween is near. Of course, not knowing this in America means you must be living in a cave and therefore must not be reading anything on the internet so I'm guess you aren't reading this right now which means I'm talking to myself … kinda worries me a bit but that's ok.

Anyways, Christians have a love to hate relationship with Halloween. A lot of churches, though, want to provide a safe place for their children and make an outreach for the neighborhood kids. I think that is great, but let's consider the names for these parties. Typically you get something along the lines of "Fall Festival" or "Harvest Party." We also like to take similar sounding words and call it a "Hallelujah Party." It starts off the same but then we hit you with church halfway through the word.

This is because we've been told all these horror stories about how evil Halloween is. Now I'd like to try and find out what is really going on with the holiday. Way back in time various cultures celebrated the fall harvest by worshiping the spirits or gods associated with the harvest. These harvest festivals (sound familiar) typically involved fruits and vegetables that symbolize the fall harvest. Wheat, pumpkins, apples, and other like items were used in these varied pagan holidays. October 31st, specifically, was a Celtic tradition that revolved around the Celtic calendar which ended on the last day of fall and began with the first day of winter. Because many cultures, even ours, associate winter with death this became a day of spirits. As the Romans took over their fall feasts became incorporated into Samhain's day.

Then the Roman Catholic Church came on the scene. Starting with Constantine the church began to incorporate various pagan holidays into Christian traditions. This was typically done to appease various cultures that had long celebrated a particular feast. I can understand the thinking on this. After all, let's say I was use to getting the 4th of July off from work. If the president and congress suddenly decided that we didn't need to celebrate a day that marked bloodshed and so cancelled the holiday I would get pretty upset. In fact, huge portions of the country would get upset.

The RCC didn't want to leave the full traditions in place, because they were pagan after all, but they didn't want to change too much. They kept the date, but changed the purpose from keeping the dead in the realm of the spirit to celebrating the saints. Perhaps you have heard the phrase "All Saints Day?" Many saints in the RCC have a day dedicated to them, but this day is dedicated to all saints. The name "Halloween" then was introduced by the Church as "All Saints Evening" or more commonly "All Hallows Eve."

Fast forward to last century when it was decided that Halloween was a pagan holiday. Never mind that we celebrate plenty of other pagan holidays as Christian holidays, this one must be particularly bad. Of course we can't do away with the entire holiday. After all, our kids want to dress up and get candy just like everyone else. We let them keep many of the traditions of this evil holiday, but not the name. After all Halloween is a name of pure evil, so instead we give it a name like "Harvest Festival." In other words, we go back to celebrating the harvest and dedicate the party to the Lord of the harvest just like the pagans did. In fact we reject a Christian name given to a pagan Holiday in favor of an even more pagan tradition.

Does anyone else see the irony here? Christmas has extremely similar roots, but we get totally offended when people try to give it a different name even though it was assigned by the RCC as well. Why do we have such a double standard on these two holidays? Why do we have to make things so confusing with our names that have gone back to their original forms? Do we really want to reach our community when we give them trick names like "Hallelujah Party?"

I say either celebrate Halloween in a safe Christian place so your kids can have fun and the neighbor kids will actually know what they are being invited to, or just turn out your lights and huddle in the dark afraid of all the evil spirits running around … oh wait that is exactly what the Celts were dealing with on Samhain's day. My bad.

Comments Saturday, October 10, 2009

When last we saw the pastoral protagonist he had just stopped the church split engine once again saving the day. Over the summer a routine set in devouring all of his time. The church needed mending and the youth needed things to do. The Janitor seemed leery of the events at the church, what with having to clean up after SYP on so many other occasions, and the voluminous fissure rent in the church by the bored of directors through their church split engine was more than he was ready to fix.

The youth group got larger with every event and so SYP's time was spent at or planning the next big thing. All seemed well until the end of the summer led to the confluence of performances that nearly destroyed our hero.

This is where we find him, alone and exhausted.

The darkness was closing in again as another late night beckoned. SYP had been working over 12 hours each day for the past 3 weeks. He was excited that the planned concert had already sold 500 tickets through his youth, but even with the new help he felt the weight of it all on his shoulders. It was hard to believe that less than a year ago they would have been lucky to sell 50 tickets, but word spread fast after the nearly disastrous lock-in.

SYP walked through the dark halls of the church and shuddered as he passed by the repaired cleft from the near church split. Time would heal that wound if he ever had any. He checked the last door and turned off the last light before heading home to Super Wife. She would still be waiting for him at this late hour, supporting him but clearly sad for all the time he spent at the church. SYP sighed as he started the car.

He could remember his excitement when he first discovered the powers bestowed upon him from Super Pastor in order to save him from a terrible accident brought on by his own bravado. He loved the feeling of conquering powerful foes in the church world, but none had surfaced all summer long. It is fortunate they did not for SYP wouldn't have had time to do everything that needed doing.

SYP remembered to turn his lights on as he pulled out of the parking lot. His super vision didn't require the assistance but the local police might not appreciate his abilities in lieu of the mandatory beams. There was a momentary sparkle of a reflection in a deep shadow but no movement caught his eye so SYP thought nothing of it. In the back of his mind he thought he heard a light chuckle over the din of the engine, but dismissed it as a manifestation of his daydreams about fighting real villains, not just the monotony of business.

What will Super Wife say when Super Youth Pastor gets home? Did our champion really hear something or is he losing his mind? Tune in next week, same SYP time same SYP blog to find out.