Friday, August 31, 2007
It'd be one thing to have the nurse tell you that they've never had to take so many vials of blood at their office. It's a little bit bigger still if they've never had to take so much blood before...and you're at a hospital. I'm guessing they do that a lot. You know...take blood.
Annie is the new Middletown Regional Hospital record setter for most blood samples ever taken.
The old record? 14 vials of blood taken.
Annie? She had 23 vials of blood taken from her - for 25 separate blood tests. On some level you'd have liked for her to do five more so she could have doubled the record...but we've got to leave room for the rest of us to still have a shot at it.
So they still haven't figured out what's going on with her. They tested her for a dozen or so things I've never heard of, and a few I had.
a B-12 deficiency. That doesn't sound so awful to me
lupus - um...that's no good. That's the one George Kastanza kept shouting at the hospital when he thought they were giving him really bad news.
The West Nile Virus.
Seriously? Um....seriously? West Nile? Who gets that?
So basically they're trying to find any prognosis that isn't M.S.
So basically we're praying for Annie - and you can to if you'd like
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Make some eggs.
Head off to work.
Bring sexy back.
Don't forget to write my talk for tomorrow night.
Pick up some milk.
Call me old fashioned, but I think you've got to make a plan and stick to it.
If you aim at nothing, you'll always hit it.
I've got sexy on my target, and I won't be satisfied until it's brought back.
The bigger question is -where the heck has sexy been?
food for thought...
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Then we went through a long period where you had to show that you can relate to the youth (and if you call them “youth” you probably might not really relate to them) and there was a trend towards this kind of look
We went through a long period where the Van Dyke was popular (it’s somehow become known as a goatee…which we know is actually just a beard below your mouth)
I’ve noticed that now – if you work with students, you probably have this kind of thing going…
The soul patch is the current "must have" for youth directors. I’m not saying it’s bad. In fact, several of my good friends are sporting this look - I'm just mentioning it. Maybe they recommend it at the national youth workers convention? Doesn’t really matter. I’m just saying that I’ve noticed the trend.
I’ve also noticed that if you’re a Christian musician – you have to look angry, brooding or disinterested in your pictures. It means your more authentic and haven’t sold out to the cheesy Christian music establishment. Again, this isn't bad - I just think it's interesting. A trend. You know...just something to talk about.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
I just have to think the first time Michael Vick saw two dogs fight, he had to be a little horrified. Maybe he ended up getting caught up in the gambling, or the crowd, maybe he just went back because all of his friends were into it.
Eventually he became a fan.
So I wonder what the things are that I at one time found offensive, but now am ok with. I know they show stuff on tv now that they wouldn't have shown 10 years ago. Words that you didn't hear on tv, you were a little bit shocked to hear in conversation.
There was a time when it was a big scandal to show Mr. and Mrs. Brady on tv in the same bed. I watched a show last night where the star of the show was sleeping with the guy she had met that night, and there wasn't any discussion about that...it was all about what she was going to wear on their next date. It's not even a mentionable plot point that she'd slept with a guy that she didn't know at all.
The things that were shocking are no longer shocking. Las Vegas has a national campaign that says, "you can sleep with hookers and swim in coke and no one will ever know!" and it's just another commercial we see on tv.
So back to my original questions - what are the things that I wouldn't have even thought of doing ten years ago, that are now just part of my routine?
"No one drifts into holy living" I know it's not popular to talk about that. We'd rather talk about the pop cause of the day, or the freedom that goes along with living for yourself....
So I wonder what I'm drifting towards - and how to turn the ship around?
Monday, August 27, 2007
Real school starts today. It's hard for me to look at preschool or kindergarten as real school. I know you learn how to tie shoes and stand in line for fire drills...but the first grade just feels a little more solid to me
For the next 12 years Griffin will identify himself as being a part of a grade. This is the first grade. This is lunchtimes and recess. This is full days. He'll play dodge ball (if they still let them) and take field trips.
I always liked going back to school. As much as I was ready for the summer to come at the end of the year, I looked forward to going back and seeing friends I hadn't seen in months. I liked meeting the new kids. I liked the new pair of tough skins and my new lunchbox. I was into it.
One of my personality assessment tests labeled me as an "activator". That basically boils down to me being impatient. There's a little more to it...but I like to start new projects. I like interesting, creative things. I like challenges. This test has a little more validity to me as I look back to how excited I'd get about a new year in school. I'd be bored with the summer and was impatient having to wait for the new year.
I like new challenges. Having Griffin out of the house for 7+ hours every day will definitely be a challenge. It won't be as fun around the Murphy household, but his school will be that much better for having him around.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Parker had her ears pierced this morning. I never thought we'd be the parents that would get their little girl's pierced without her consent...but it happened at 7:30 this morning at Children's Hospital.
They pierced the ear drum and inserted little one millimeter tubes that will help her to not get ear infections. They're basically a vent that's made so bacteria can't form. These things should pop out sometime in the next year...and then she'll have to decide one day if she wants the other parts of her ears pierced.
Her surgery started at 7:30 and we were home by 8:30. Crazy...
Thursday, August 23, 2007
So we made a few connections in the last couple of weeks with some local companies. We are now getting donations twice a year from a company that will send us 300 chicken patties that we can cook up and give to our friends living on the streets in Cincinnati.
This was good, but it got us thinking...we can probably do better. So we start telling folks about this connection and how that free food will free up some other money to go out and buy clothes or other items that will help these men and women out even more.
Enter City Barbeque. They gave us about 100 lbs. of pulled pork last week...and we're getting more this week. Normally we could make 800 sandwiches with that...but we just made 400 really big ones this time. Next week we're going to make twice as many so they'll have "to go" bags.
Enter Sara Lee. We called them - and turns out the lady we needed to talk to went to a certain local church with cup holders in their seats and a sexy Director of Outreach on their staff...and she was more than happy to put us on their list of folks they now donate food to. We made sure they called the other groups they donate food to because we didn't want to step on their toes...and apparently there's more than enough for everyone.
In fact, they just called with 563 pounds of turkey we can have. Just like that. That should save us enough food to buy battery less flashlights and maybe some shirts that we can give out. We found out just how important flashlights are when we took food downtown to folks living under the bridge. We're just trying to take it the next logical step and to take the "what do they do with them once the batteries run out?"
So now I'm asking everyone. Do you have any connections to a guy that sells clothes that occasionally has overruns, closeouts, misprints or irregulars that he's getting rid of? Do you know a gal that sells deodorant, toothbrushes, or other toiletries and would like to get a tax write off? How about anyone that has a basement full of....you name it...we could probably find someone in our Mercy Work ministry or living downtown who could use it...
couldn't hurt to ask...
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
The third place is an interesting term being thrown around these days.
The first two places for social gatherings of any sort being your home and your work. Starbucks is marketing itself as a third place. It seeks to be more than an overpriced coffee hut with a lot of sugar in their drinks - it seeks to be a gathering spot.
So the question is - should a church be a third place?
We have a book store and a cafe at our church - both do well to break even at the end of the year...so they're not really there to bring in any income, in theory they're there to create an atmosphere where you can hang out with some friends, or pick up a book that might help you on your spiritual journey.
There has been some talk at a couple of churches of putting in frisbee golf courses. I know this doesn't sound very spiritual, but would it be bad to create a third place that gives the community somewhere to go and hang out for free? I guess that would beg the bigger question - is it worth spending the widow's tithe money on a bunch of frisbee golf baskets?
I guess you'd have to ask if creating third places for the people of that community is what Jesus would refer to as, "loving your neighbor".
I'm just not sure...
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
I was given a laptop computer and a cubicle because my job at the Vineyard was to work largely with the community pastors. They all had cubes and were expected to be in their communities, so it stood to reason that I'd have roughly the same routine. It never turned out that way.
For two years I was in this cramped little space trying my best to keep my conversations to a minimum. Now I don't have to shout from the rooftops that I need an office, I can shout it from the comfortable confines of my 10 x 12 office. Sure I'll soon be sharing the office with whomever we hire as an assistant, but for now...I get the run of the place.
It's pretty nice. I just need to figure out where to put the foosball table.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Buck the trend. Fight the power. Bad is good…
I’ve said it before – the easiest way to be labeled a cheesy musician is to be really popular. People like to like something before it’s popular, or even after…but to like something when it’s popular is uncool. You can't possibly have great tastes - or the taste of an artist, if you like what everyone else likes. You're the equivalent of a commoner.
How many people would admit to liking McDonald’s. They’re the world’s most popular restaurant and you can’t get anybody to admit to liking them (except for all of you who are going to leave a comment saying that you’re a card carrying member of the McDonald’s fan club).
It’s cool to like Ralph Nadar. It’s even cooler to like the independent bands that will never be discovered because, “they’re too smart for mainstream listeners”. What you’re doing there is telling people they’re not too smart for you…because you “get them”.
I joked about putting an American flag up on the wall of my office just to see people’s reactions. It was like I was telling them I was putting up a swastika. You’re not allowed to be patriotic, lest you be labeled one of those red necks that hates those (fill in a stereotype here). I have a friend that gets on me about my USA baseball hat. It's one of those faded blue hats where the letters are faded blue with some outline...it's a cheap Old Navy hat that doesn't look like the kind of thing Fuller wears on the 4th of July. It's not bright red, white and blue. It's basically a blue baseball hat. If you wear a Darfur shirt that has 35 cents going to some cause - that's ok...because they rape and murder people over there. Wear a USA hat where they've generally cleaned up most of that craziness? That's just evil. Ask the next person you see wearing a Darfur shirt/sticker/button about what exactly is happening over there and what they're doing about it (besides the shirt/sticker/button) you'll be shocked at their response.
Believe me - I'm not going to go on a USA rant - or even tell you to buy American (I'll head in to work today in a sweet, sweet Honda...although they do make those in Ohio....but I'll be wearing clothes made somewhere far, far away...) I just think it's interesting to see what's popular and not popular.
It feels like when the goth kid down the street is hanging out with 17 other kids who all wear all black and never see the sun...and they do it to be different....all 17 of them dress the same to...be...different.
I look at it that way...it's just sort of silly.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Henry, "Yeah, I'm kind of nervous because I'm meeting with her dad to ask permission to propose today. It's a bigger deal when you're talking to someone that is looking at an FBI background check they did on me just to give me white house clearance to even ask this question....
I sure hope they don't find out about Reno.."
Back to Lisa. First of all - she seems very angry. She's been in some really horrible relationships and in and out of trouble all of her life. I'll just let you make the money doesn't buy you happiness conclusion here. Speaking of money - she has more money than Michael Jackson's lawyers...so we can guess she's not releasing the song to make more money. I'm guessing her managers convinced her that it'd be a beautiful tribute to the man that gave her all that money if she released the song. For them - it's all about the money.
Princeton is the #1 school in the world today - according to the U.S. News and World Report. You still might have better teachers at U.C. - you might have more interesting classes at O.S.U. - might have better social activities at Miami U. - might have tougher classes at P.S.U. - it just depends on what classes you take, who you live with, what you major is in, what profs you get - these are really the things that make a college/university the best.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
I was searching for some good news in the local sections and ran across one possibility. In the article talking about local school's test scores going down, they did mention that some of them are going up...a little.
I know that, "Man not shot while delivering pizzas" isn't really news. I get that people not getting sick or committing horrific crimes doesn't really seem newsworthy...I just fear that some day it might.
I'm not sure that things are getting better. In the news or not, things seem to be slipping...
I know in the faith communities the Christians have rebounded away from the legalistic pharisees and toward Grace so much that they've largely ignored the silly amount of scripture that speaks to holiness, virtue or purity. You can see a pretty solid shift in churches that shun the stodgy graceless faith of so many who aren't authentic. (authenticity = swearing, I've heard)
It's sad how much of a shift I've seen just in the last 10 years. A friend of mine made the point in the late 80's that the religious folks tend to be about 5% ahead of the curve on the morality scale. It's a big scandal when priests are caught with the little ones, or ministers are caught stealing or with the big ones...it's news because it's a little more uncommon.
Well 5% ahead of the curve might very well be 15% behind where the curve was 25 years ago. I know the religious doctrines that these folks follow haven't changed.
I heard about a guy yesterday who wrote a book based on the idea that people should change their lives to revolve around their faith - but instead they've revolved their faith around their lives.
On some level it's certainly easier to fly the banner of what Dietrict Bonhoeffer calls "cheap grace". You can shut up some people in conversations by ignoring the facts and simply saying, "you're a racist" "you hate women" "you obviously grew up rich" "you're a homophobe" or "you're just being legalistic"
A friend of mine in Northern Kentucky lives out a faith on a level of intimacy that I can only hear about at this point. As a result of that faith...as a result of that deep understanding of grace...his life is different. You can say, "set apart" (it's actually in the Bible) You could say he's living a "holy life" (also in there...even though it's not a popular description) I know that it's genuine. I know it's authentic.
I get that faith and grace isn't based on works. It just creates them...
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
"Only 12% of Americans are consistently working in their strengths" He also pointed out that America actually had the highest percentage of all the nations polled.
What he was saying was that most people spend most of their time and energy working to correct their weaknesses. If your child comes home with two A's a C and an F, what do you start working on? Right, you tell Dan to stop making sculptures and start working on his Spanish homework.
It's not just that we spend so much time trying to fix the problems (in my opinion) -I think we spend the vast majority of our time doing things that are not only not our strengths - but aren't necessarily our weaknesses either. We just do the stuff that we do.
We go through the motions. We check the boxes. We clock in and we show up.
So I looked at an "achiever" test that I took two years ago. I compared it to the strength finder test that I took two days ago. I asked the question, "what do you think my strengths are?" of my friends. (it's a little like asking, "why do you think I'm awesome?")
So now I'm trying to figure out:
-what are the things I'm great at?
-what are the things I'm passionate about?
-what is my "highest and best use"?
I took that last one from a smarty that wasn't a very good speaker - but said, "I don't build houses for poor people on the weekends....I don't work at soup kitchens, because that's not my highest and best use" - or something like that.
I see his point. Building houses and working at soup kitchens are great things...but what if you could design soup kitchens so that they were more efficient and ended up being better suited to feed more people? What if you were better at fund-raising and spent your spare time raising money for Habitat?
In the long run you'd have to agree that that's the smarter way to go.
I'm just wondering how to marry the three questions... A friend of mine often quotes (and here I'll screw up the quote) a line about how you spend your life: "your calling is where your deepest passion and the world's great needs collide" - or something like that.
So that's the question of the day...
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
huh? First of all I'm assuming he means singing...and not worship. I think we get in the habit of thinking singing = worship and vice versa...
So I asked him if he was talking about dropping the music from 23 minutes to 20 - they sometimes go 20 and sometimes go 25...but there's always a discussion about what the sweet spot actually is.
He said, "no, I'm talking about dropping it to zero minutes"
That's something that just won't ever happen. Clearly the folks running the show would say that worshipping God through songs is their "pathway" - so that's not just going to disappear any time soon....so I pressed in.
It turns out that he'd heard some scuttlebutt about the possibility of a service with no music!!!
Just to see if they could use the same time to figure out if there are other ways to focus in on God, other than music. Could we do it through art? drama? video?
It was so ingrained in my friend that music HAD to be a part of the service, that the idea of not having music at even one service was the equivalent of taking down the cross from the front of the sanctuary.
I should mention that we have more of an auditorium....and there isn't really a cross in there either.
You could see people debating the -no cross up front thing for hours. The thing is, those people wouldn't go to my church...because there's no cross. Obviously if that was a huge deal - you would go elsewhere, right?
So that's not a hangup, but having one service without music is sacrilege?
I should also mention that the one service without music thing probably won't even happen. It's just part of one of those conversations that start with, "so what are some things we can do that will help people engage with the God of the Universe in a slightly different way?"
well that'll be the last time that happens...
Monday, August 13, 2007
Coming down from the summit…
- 1. Marcus Buckingham – great talk – interesting, informative, funny, engaging, facts, stories, random…it had the whole shabang.
- 2. John Ortberg – great stuff – inspirational – funny at times – poignant – spiritually uplifting - Saget-like
- 3. Bill Hybells second talk – just a well thought out, simple message that made great sense and made me wish our staff would have shown up to see it
- 4. Bill Hybells first talk – the most “on” I’ve ever heard him. He was funny…seriously, he was pretty funny – it was the perfect talk to start the whole thing off. I thought he did a great job.
- 5. Fuller talking about Fergler in the lobby
- 6. Richard Curtis – I’m not a fan of interviews at these things but the video with the girl on the street making her bed killed me. I loved Four Weddings and a Funeral and would love to see more of his work.
- 7. Colin Powel - his was pretty good. It felt like a lot of quick little thoughts – some I agreed with and some I didn’t…but it was pretty good.
- 8. Jimmy Carter – it was interesting to hear some of his “insider” stories. I love what he’s doing with Habitat.
- 9. Carly Fiorina – she came off a little stiff to me – I don’t like interviews and hers was the first – I thought the 60 minutes piece actually made her look bad and I wasn’t sure why they ended it with, “but because your company took such a huge loss in the stock market, that could be a very viable reason for you being fired, right?”
- 10. Michael E. Porter – I’m sure he’s a good professor. I’m not sure he’s a good conference speaker. I thought he made a few good points. I just think he could have made them in 7 minutes. He seemed a little out of place and kept saying, “you do this…” and really isolated himself from the audience (at least in my opinion)
- 11. Floyd Flick – a friend of mine said, “he hasn’t breathed once” about five minutes into his talk…and for the next ten minutes that’s all I could focus on…and then I was a goner.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Thursday, August 09, 2007
I've heard teachers, lecturers, philosophers, poets, singers at concerts that talk to the crowd more than they perform, politicians and preachers.
I've been to classes, comedy clubs, seminars, conferences, debates and churches.
I've heard people go way too long and way too short...and I'd take way too short any day.
I've heard them be stern and demanding and I've heard them be funny and inspirational. You can guess which I prefer.
In general I've found that the speakers that really have a pride/ego thing going - tend to go long. I guess that makes sense. If you really think what you have to say is incredibly insightful...and just go with the assumption that they're hanging on every one of your well timed words....well why wouldn't you just keep going?
I've noticed that the best public speakers tend to be comedians. They have to earn the audiences appreciation on a level that you don't at a church. People have paid money to go see the comedian and they're there only to see them bring the funny. I've seen a few conference speakers get some laughs and then decide that they're funny enough to take it on the road and try out stand up comedy....and they're not. They're just used to an easier crowd. That's why I sort of cringe when I see "Christian comedian". Generally they're used to crowds who are just waiting to laugh...wanting to laugh. They get those Robin Williams/George Carlin crowds (neither of them have been funny in 20 years).
I'm a big fan of a speaker that can be funny throughout, inspirational, make one great point, flesh out truth, and tell stories from their own life that help us to see the reality of where they've gone and how they've lived out some of what they're talking about. Doesn't matter what the subject is....that's just what I like.
So I'm off to a conference to see how these folks do...should be fun.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
I know that once a band gets to a certain level of popularity, their followers divide into two camps:
The incessantly telling you- "I knew them before they were popular" camp
and the - "They sold out" camp
I know it's not popular to like popular bands or artists.
That's another thing - I don't really look at them as artists. I'm sorry, but I don't.
I have a limited view of art. To me it involves paint, clay, maybe some metal...and the occasional random object.
I view the singers and bands as musicians. Doesn't really matter though...that's just how I look at it.
so here, in my not so humble opinion, is what I view as the different levels of:
church song leaders
the person who stands up and sings into the mic while everyone in church follows
0- Not everyone can play an instrument (let's just use the guitar as an example)
1- A bunch of people can play a guitar
2- A pretty big number of people can play well
3- A slightly smaller group of people can play while singing
7- An even smaller number of people can play well while singing well
8- A really small number of people can play well, sing well, and also sing in a key that's very easy for the crowd to follow
10- Only a very small minority of the leaders can play well, sing well, sing in a key that's easy to follow - and also....LEAD the song.
I think it's somewhat of a lost art. We'll pick the person who can sing really well, over the person who can lead really well, every single day.
So if you go to a church that has someone who can do all of those things - well enjoy, because it's a rare thing indeed.
I'm not sure why, but it seems like I should always follow the words "it's a rare thing" with "indeed" They just kind of go together.
but what do I know?
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Here's why - he could beat the crap out of Batman. Let's just start there.
Nobody really doubts Batman's Superhero status. If Bourne would slap him around like a cop who pulls over a Gabor sister.....it stands to reason that he qualifies.
1. "Boy Wonder"
2. a utility belt complete with Shark Repellent
3. a Bat Mobile
4. He's not a playboy millionaire that's never been married (see #1)
5. a cape or a bat pole
Your honor, I rest my case.
Friday, August 03, 2007
He said that there was a bet on Saturday Night Live among a bunch of the cast members.
the bet: How late in the week will it be before Paris asks one of the cast members any question about their life. "how are you?" "where are you from?" "how are things?" "how long have you been in comedy?" it didn't matter what the question was...it just had to be about the person she was talking to.
The reason for the bet was they assumed that she'd only really be concerned about herself and wouldn't just naturally ask someone anything about themself.
The end result was that nobody won the bet. I would have bet on day one because it's just such a natural question to ask, "how are you doing?" without even giving it any thought...or honestly even really caring. It's just another version of "hi".
She never did.
Words are a big deal. Among my most prized possesions were kind or encouraging words that people have spoken to me...and which I've held onto.
I remember things people said to me in grade school, but I don't remember every big Christmas gift I've ever been given. I remember being encouraged in the midst of some pretty crappy times in my life...and that stuff matters.
Stopping to say, "how are you doing?" and then maybe even listening or caring....that's probably not such a bad idea.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
We're having one of the all time great families come and visit this weekend. Sadly, I just found out their eldest won't be visiting...something about hating us.
This throws a wrench in my Levi and Stacy Vs. Griff and Me frisbee golf match up. I was picturing us winning by 4 or 5, even though Levi is twice as big as Griff and Stacy played college ball. My thinking was that Griff is deceptively good with a disc, and baseball mechanics are drastically different than throwing a frisbee. I guess we'll never know...
So what I'm looking for is this - I need some ideas for how to show a family of five...or I guess four....a great time in Cincinnati. The Redlegs are out of town....and awful. The Dayton Dragons game has no available tickets for 9 seats in a row.
so we have four adults and five children...and I'm not taking them to the zoo.
So....where do you think we ought to take them?