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."


"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."


"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.


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.


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.

12 comments Friday, October 9, 2009

At some point in the past I was posting 6 days a week and had a nice theme going for each day. Then the summer happened. Now I'm trying to recover a bit and start my regular posting again. I could go back and see what Friday is all about but I decided that I'd rather start something new. I have claimed to be a geek, even using it in my name, but I spend so little time showing off my geek. Ok sure the Fellowship of the Travelling Smarty Pants crew knows of my geek-fu as I have handled many fixes for them, but it is time to let the geek make regular appearances. In that vein I will be trying to highlight some specific piece of geekdom each and every Friday.

Instead of picking a specific gadget or software today I think it would be great to point to one of the best sources of geekitude on the internet, Think Geek. This website has some of the best geek apparel and gadgets. I have a few items and a wish list a mile long. Some of the offerings can be enjoyed by anyone regardless of their geek-belt degree, but many of the items couldn't be understood without fairly advanced geek-fu. A great example is a shirt I love which reads "There are 10 kinds of people in the world, those that understand binary and those that don't." Now if you have a sufficient geekabulary then you will get the shirt. If you are my mother-in-law you will laugh because you think you get it, but the joke is not, "only 10 people in the world understand binary." Since I am in the category that understands binary I get the shirt and I also get the binary clock that is sitting on my entertainment center.

I hope you will find this merchant of geekery as enjoyable as I do.

7 comments Thursday, October 8, 2009

Wow, I really need to figure out my schedule and make time for this blog again. September was murder. In one week I had the See You At the Pole rally, SYATP at 4 places plus an interview for substitute teaching in one morning, and Awakening Fest/Revolve Tour in the same weekend.

I took 19 teens with me to Awakening Fest, which is a day long Christian music festival. It was cold and raining all day but we had tons of fun anyways. Well, it was tons of fun till I sat down for a few minutes, then the cold set in and I thought about rounding everyone up and leaving, but we all wanted to stay for Skillet so we stayed shivering till after their show ended. Fortunately I met a really cool guy named Joe Baker from Live Offensively at the merchandise table. I bought a shirt from them and he gave me a shirt. Then he let us run around with light swords and fight. It was absurdly fun and I ended up getting down right hot after 10 minutes so I was doing much better when Skillet came on.

Revolve Tour was the same weekend so my wife went up with 9 to that event. It is a girls only youth convention. I heard they had fun but I can't say much except to say I never want to do two events in the same weekend again even if I'm not attending both. Logistics and planning are bad enough one at a time.

The following weekend we had our "Unsale" which was a free yard sale for our community. It went really well for our first up. We had 26 people come by for free stuff representing 69 in their households and we gave away almost $400 in stuff at "yard sale" prices, so that is quite a bit of stuff. We also sold nearly $200 worth which will be split between the men's and women's homeless shelter in town. I learned a lot about what people are needing based on what people bought and asked for. I want to host this event semiannually so it is time to start planning for the spring. I'd like to see this more than double by then.

I also installed cameras for our daycare/preschool last week and had a few student "emergencies" to deal with so it was the busiest week I think I've ever had.

This is the first week I've been able to take much time off. I have actually worked everyday and won't be getting time off but I've taken afternoons off all week except Monday when I took the morning off. The previous 4 weeks I put in 80+ hours each week and this week I'll have a little over 40 hours so it is practically a vacation.

Anyways, in Youth I've been having a problem with some of the students running off before and after service to the hospital parking lot. Last night I went over 2 times to ask them to come back over and explained both times that their parents expect them to be at the church and that I cannot provide any measure of security for them if they aren't on our property. I think they didn't believe anything could happen because a third time they slipped off and went up where I couldn't see them. That is when they got robbed at knife point. I didn't tell them "I told you so" because they were more than a little shaken. The one that got robbed wouldn't let em call the cops. I was going to go talk to the guys that robbed them if they were there but they stopped me, so I pulled out my phone and dialed 911 and they begged me to hang up so I did and found out the kid was afraid that they knew who he was. The mom did file a report despite his pleading and the muggers stole a car shortly after the incident and got in a high speed chase which ended in a crash. The police recovered the property the same night amazingly. Hopefully the students will understand when I ask them to stay on the property from now on.

So that is the last few weeks in a nutshell. It has all been a bit of a blur. I'll try to make some more regular posts now that the evil month is over.