Thursday, May 25, 2006

Nathan's birthday

My where had the year gone.
When it starts at eight months, it moves quickly.
My son Nathan turns one.
Last day of school for Samuel and Nathan's birthday big day.
Luckily he is one, so nothing big is expected and he is clueless that today is special.

The weekend will involve a Tol celebration, a traditional Korean celebration.
He will choose his destiny in life will he be a scholar, a cook, wealthy, or such.
Don't put much stock in it, but it is a traditional celebration that is fun.

pictures of ceremony done by two dopey Texans Sunday.

fearless joy,

The Chicks, part deux

I have heard a couple of folks talk about how this album is change for the Chicks. No, not really.
They are marketing this album heavily.
They are working on the blue state folks who make up 50% of the country.
They are being anti-country, because there are two folks in the world. The anti-country crowd and the country crowd.
They have worked out, got their hair done, and look better than they ever have. Gone is Natalie's mullet. They are selling sex appeal, something they have always done. They are selling it harder than ever.

If they were looking for a smaller audience....they would not play major venues.
They would wear sweat pants on the album cover
They would be on an indie label.
They would not be on Time.

No, they are just moving on after spending a couple of years calculating when to relaunch their careers.

This is a soap opera and the album plays into the soap opera a bit. So it is a bit plastic, but even plastic things have moments of grace.

It is still a good album, because they had to be absolutely precise in what they were doing. They did well.

fearless joy,

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Chicks

I have been a fan of the Dixie Chicks before Natalie Maines arrived on the scene. I have 'Thank Heavens for Dale Evans." I go back 12 plus years. I like the old sound, because it was Texas Swing. However, I did not player hate the new sound and moved along with it.

I really enjoyed the last album, but after the fiasco in London I did not pick up any of the Natalie albums and play them. I am not sure why, but I just did not.

The last few Sundays, I have been preaching a sermon series on "Mending Fences, fixing broken relationships." I finished up the series last Sunday and I did not compute the Chicks album coming out. However, in the midst of mending fences, i decided to pick up the album. Not that I have anything against them other than they were fairly foolish.

Have I been foolish? yes.
In a spirit of being a person who has said the wrong thing at the wrong time and wanted to make amends...I bought the album. Having been a person who was not forgiven when I asked to be forgiven...I bought the album.

It is the best Chicks album so far. It is painful, poignant, and lacks some of the fun of 'Earl.' I liked the Earl song, it was humorous. It is clean musically and well produced. The words of the songs have a purpose.

so, if you have needed forgiveness in your life and your friends have you let down...this album will speak to you.

Fearless Joy,

Thursday, May 18, 2006

running, why i do it?

I am not a natural runner.Running is not something that really was a part of my life. I used to run and I would four blocks dying of exhaustion and come home feeling very dejected and worse than when I left. So, I began strolling for fun with my dog.

Then I decided that I would run in a 4 mile run when I was 29 or 30. I found out 6000 people were there and thought if 6000 people were there then I would probably not be the slowest person there. So, I ran with a couple of friends and had a blast. Over the next year, I ran on the treadmill at the gym and worked out. Just to maintain life. I then got a flyer for running a marathon in Dublin, Ireland for the Arthritis foundation. My wife has had Arthritis since she was 6 years old. So, I raised money and trained to run this marathon.

In the midst of the training, I ran with folks and began developing these relationships. There is something about running in the heat of August for 18 miles that I began sharing part of my life. I still have friendships with a couple of those guys. There was something about rising at 6:00 AM running for 2 hours and coming home to say, "i just ran 12 miles." I impressed myself.

That was 2001 and five years later, I run because I enjoy the people. I enjoy that part of my week where I get up and run around the lake in the cool of the morning. I enjoy the hills and I enjoy the people I run alongside. They are good people and there are stories of life that are shared. In fact, the marathons are not equal to the training. The marathon are joyful, but I rise at 4:45 AM on Saturday to see people who I have learned to love.

in a couple of weeks, I am going to run a grueling 1/2 marathon in Kansas City. I am not prepared physically, but I will run because for two hours I will get to hang out with friends. They will make an unpleasant experience, awesome.

fearless joy,

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Moussaoui and McVeigh

I was on the treadmill yesterday afternoon when I saw the screen flash the news that Moussaoui was going to get life imprisonment.

There will be much debate on whether or not this was the right decision and some will complain to the jury about it. However, that is the system.

I have been thinking about this for a long while. I recall when Timothy McVeigh was sentenced the death penalty for the OKC bombing. My thought at that time was that McVeigh needed to die to heal the wounds of the country. An American killing Americans as an act of terrorism as horrible as it felt, he needed to die. I remember when he was executed. The sun rose the next morning and there was nothing different with the world. The anger, the hatred, the violence, the grief all still hung in the air. His death did not heal the country, it did not restore life, and it seemed to me from my point of view to do nothing. I felt no great joy nor great sadness over his death. He was just dead.

As Moussaoui was denied the death penalty and the chance to be a martyr, I really had been thinking about McVeigh a lot. Killiing Moussaoui was going to do nothing to end terrorism in this world. Killing Moussaoui was not going to ressurect towers or people. His death would not change the world for better or worse, it would mean nothing.

His life in imprisoned, perhaps he will feel the power of a country who has given him a life that is really no life at all. All bars, hard concrete, and a sliver of light. Also some of the worst food in the world. I am not sure on all of this, but I know from last experience of death penalty and national justice...the world did not change when a terrorist was executed. If it did, the world changed for the worst.

Fearless Joy,

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Aliens and the Spirit

I called into a talk show today to speak from the point of view of faith. I know that there is no such thing as dialogue. There is only a monologue with callers either being cheering fans or straw figures. I was a straw figure today. I am upset, I called. I am upset I am not more eloquent in my faith. I took the bait and was made a fool. Should have left the talking of the faith to Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo. I do better in my corner of the world. However, for my own therapy this is my response what I wished I would have said.

From Dr. King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail"
"You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, it is rather starnage and paradoxical to find us consciously breaking laws. One may well ask, "how can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others.?" The answer is found in the fact that there are two types of laws: there are just and there are unjst laws. I would agrewith Saint Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."
Now what is the difference between the two? How does one determine when a law is just or unjust? A just law is man-made code that squares with moral law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with moral law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust."

Now, the debate is whether or not the law is just or unjust. I think they are not just. They might be right and correct, but not just. The issue of poverty means I must stand with the poor. Sort of like the statue of liberty, (tongue in cheek, but also half true)

The problem is that Jesus who was an alien in Egypt, Matt 2:13-15. He fled Israel to find safety in Egypt. He was a 'wetback.'

Leviticus 19:33 When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourslev, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord you God."

Jesus says in the great commandment, "Whenever you do it to the least of these, you do it to me." The least of these in this society are illegals who are being exploited. Jesus has concern for them.

As I look at the scriptures which are a higher authority than the Constitution, I see that my role as a Christian is to care for those who are here. They could be drawn here by the very will of God. I am not sure, but I care for those who are in need.

There is a difference between a murderer and an alien. The scriptures are very clear on that.
What i recommend is that you ask your pastor friends to open up the Bible and study with you. I know you disagree and you and I will talk until we are blue in the face. I hold scripture as the ultimate authority, you hold something else. That is alright. You have your right to your opinion, it is not just on the side that God is on. That is OK, God will win. He always does.

This is a very complex issue and it would be good if you let your faith worked it out. I am just one of those red letter Christians that believes in Jesus more than America. Sorry, but my Lord is Jesus. I love you Mike, but you need to go deeper in your faith.

Finally, in 1890's my great grandfather came to Galveston from Denmark. My other great grandfather hated my grandfather, because he was a "Danish Speaker." The issue today is not new, it is old. I stand with the folks who brought people into this great country and welcomed them. Those folks were the heroes, not John Birchers, the Know-Nothings, and the other bigots, like my great grandfather, who were wrong. This country is better now with folks like my family than without them.

I am not an American Christian, I am a global Christian. I am united with my pentecostal, conservative, and liberal brothers and sisters by the power of Jesus Christ that transcends borders or biases. I believe this and it shapes the way I view the world.

Fearless Joy,