Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Does this shock you?
The congregation of University Baptist Church in Waco continues to mourn the loss of Kyle Lake as a result of an accidental electrocution at services on Sunday, October 30, 2005. He received a shock while adjusting a microphone before baptizing a woman. He was pronounced dead at 11:30 a.m. after being taken to the hospital.
Kyle was the husband of Jen, the father of Avery (3 yrs old) and twin boys Sutton and Jude (1 yr old), the author of two books, Understanding God's Will and [Re]understanding Prayer, and a rising leader in new church movements such as Emergent. He pastored the church founded by Chris Seay and musician David Crowder in 1995.
Kyle was almost exactly my age (16 days older to be precise) and went to college with one of my ex-girlfriends (at Baylor University... a donut to the first person to post a comment with her name...) It has been widely reported that in his final prayer he petitioned, "Surprise Me, God" And his notes for his final sermon have been broadly published:
Live. And live well.
BREATHE. Breathe in and breathe deeply. Be PRESENT. Do not be past. Do not be future. Be now.
On a crystal clear, breezy 70 degree day, roll down the windows and FEEL the wind against your skin. Feel the warmth of the sun.
If you run, then allow those first few breaths on a cool autumn day to FREEZE your lungs and do not just be alarmed, be ALIVE.
Get knee-deep in a novel and LOSE track of time.
If you bike, pedal HARD… and if you crash then crash well.
Feel the SATISFACTION of a job well done—a paper well-written, a project thoroughly completed, a play well-performed.
If you must wipe the snot from your 3-year olds nose, don’t be disgusted if the Kleenex didn’t catch it all… because soon he’ll be wiping his own.
If you’ve recently experienced loss, then GRIEVE. And grieve well.
At the table with friends and family, LAUGH. If you’re eating and laughing at the same time, then might as well laugh until you puke.
And if you eat, then SMELL. The aromas are not impediments to your day. Steak on the grill, coffee beans freshly ground, cookies in the oven.
And TASTE. Taste every ounce of flavor. Taste every ounce of friendship. Taste every ounce of Life.
Because it is most definitely a Gift.
So what's the good news?
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
To ebay, or not to ebay:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to offer
For profit the spoils of childhood mirth,
Or to save them up for the next generation,
And by cherishing waste them? To sell: to hawk;
No more; and by an auction we end
The memories of a thousand youthful moments
That could be passed on, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To sell, to market;
To auction: perchance to win big: ay, there's the rub;
For in that auction what profits may come
When we have sluffed off our worldly goods,
To unsuspecting fools: there's the respect
Of playthings that have gathered dust so long;
For who will really appreciate after all this time,
The baseball cards, the stamp collection,
The Star Wars figures, the G.I. Joes,
The vintage Fisher Price Little People
That patient bidders will undoubtedly take,
When he himself might available make
With a mere keystroke? who would hesitate,
To post and sweat waiting the final call,
But that the dread they might not sell,
And he discover his treasures naught.
No surfer returns from Froogling
To make an offer, or worse one does
And our goods fly to others that we know not of?
Thus reminiscences make cowards of us all;
And thus the stockpile of latent fortune
Is passed o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great wealth and riches
With memories their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action. - Soft you now!
The fair Yoda! Jedi, in thy inverted grammar
Be all my things remember'd.
Monday, November 21, 2005
Here's an example that really gets under my skin. The original lyrics of the second verse of "To God Be The Glory" as written by Fanny Crosby in the 19th century:
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.
Has been changed in some modern hymnals to read, "And every offender, who truly believes..." Why? Is it merely that we don't like to consider ourselves a vile offender? Is it the same reason that the last line in the opening verse of Isaac Watt's 18th century hymn "Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed?" was changed from "For such a worm as I?" to "For sinners such as I?" It seems to me that these two renderings strip the power from the cross.I will agree that there are some changes that are helpful. There are times when the theology of a song is a bit muddled and needs help, or the poetry is painfully forced and we can improve. But if all we are doing is getting rid of big or scary words, I think we do a disservice. I don't even mind updating some of the archaisms, particularly if it makes it easier to sing. However, if a word is merely obscure, I'd rather see a footnote explaining it than dumbing down the lyrics.
It will be a sad day when we lose these wonderful and powerful words:
Crown Him the Lord of years, the Potentate of time,
Creator of the rolling spheres, ineffably(1) sublime(2).
All hail, Redeemer, hail! For Thou has died for me;
Thy praise and glory shall not fail throughout eternity.
- Crown Him With Many Crowns (Matthew Bridges, 1852)
(1) ineffable: defying expression or description, too sacred to be uttered
(2) sublime: worthy of adoration or reverence, the quality of transcendent greatness
Friday, November 18, 2005
Let me axe you...
...does it bug you that the grammatical and pronunciation patterns of the vernacular used by people groups representing a significant sub-culture of Americans are classified as a legitimate dialect rather than mere slang and sheer laziness?
...does it bug you when the ATM (short for Automated Teller Machine) knows your name and how much money is in your bank account, but is somehow unable to identify you as a native English speaker and asks you every time which language you prefer?
I'm just axing.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Saving Grace and Private Ryan
What struck me most about this film (after I got over the extremely graphic opening scene depicting the June 6, 1944 assault on Omaha Beach) was the incredible sense of dissatisfaction and lostness in trying to pay back grace. It seems to me that the characters had no understanding of that idea. What Private Ryan was given he did not deserve. In fact, he even alludes to that fact in his refusal to abandon his unit. Captain Miller gave an impossible order, since there is no way to earn what he had already been granted. The viewer is left with the impression that Ryan lives the rest of his life in a vain attempt to somehow pay back the free gift of his "salvation," when in reality, it appears he is totally lost.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
you say "to-MAY-to"
Question #2 - why do we pronounce the "p" in the word helicopter? It is actually made up of two Greek words, the first being heliko (meaning spiral) and the second being pteron (meaning feather or wing, as in "pterodactyl" - dactyl being the Greek root for a finger or toe). The "p" is traditionally silent in this Greek consonent cluster (consider "Ptolemy"), yet we consistently belie the etymology of this word by pronouncing it.
Question #2 (and the real reason for this post) - how the heck am I supposed to pronounce the word data? Consider this excerpt from a poem published in Science Editor:
Many of us say ta
Pronounce the word as DAY-tuh.
Others think it ought ta
Be pronounced as DAH-tuh.
To others, that don’t matta,
They pronounce it as DAT-uh.
Of course we all know that the word is actually the plural form of the Latin datum, which is literally a "given", and is used as points of information accepted as they stand. This classical connection might lead us to a short vowel sound. However, if we are to believe the writers of Star Trek, it is correctly pronounced with a long vowel sound, and rhymes with feta and beta (assuming I am saying those correctly).
I'm not sure if I really care which is the more correct version... I just really wish I could decide for myself how I'm going to say it and stick with it every time. It's annoying to me that I have to pause in a conversation and consider how to pronounce such a mundane little word. I'll say it two different ways in the same sentence: "Yeah, so um, I went ahead and entered that dat-uh into the day-tuh base." Don't even get me started on coupons and routes.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
diagonally parked in a parallel universe
1. the alleged subconscious belief by pastors that:
- they are first among equals
- the vocations their flock pursue don't matter
- the vast majority of lay people are lazy
2. the supposed reality that pastors:
- have absolutely no idea what the real world is like
- brag about how overworked they
- don't really need seminary training
Monday, November 14, 2005
for example, that is, and other things
At any rate, I thought I would take the opportunity to comment on some common errors that I see when people try to use Latin abbreviations in English writing. The first has to do with the distinction between i.e. and e.g. The most frequent mistake is thinking that i.e. means "for example," when it actually is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase id est, or "that is." The Latin equivalent to "for example" is exempli gratia. Here is the proper usage:
"I love donuts, i.e., deep-fried batter commonly found as a
torus-shaped ring or a flattened sphere, often covered with
confectionary or injected with a sweet filling."
"I love donuts, e.g., Krispy Kreme hot glazed
and Dunkin Donuts French crullers."
My second beef is about the redundant use of the word "and" before the Latin abbreviation etc. The prase et cetera is translated "and the rest," not to be confused with et al., which is an abbreviation of several forms of a Latin phrase meaning "and others," used to stand for a list of names or "and elsewhere," used to stand for a list of places. In all cases, the English word "and" is understood as part of the Latin abbreviation, and should not be added. It's worse than using your PIN number at the ATM machine (you know, the new kind with the LCD display) on your way to pick up some KFC chicken. People who do that probably scored poorly on their SAT test and might be more likely to get the HIV virus.
Friday, November 11, 2005
Indulge me with another?
Check Your Head
The Guess Who
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Preaching without Compromise
- Get away from false and empty religion, which amounts to hypocrisy. (12:1-3)
- Fear the God who has the knowledge and power to judge you. (12:4-7)
- Confess Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. (12:8-9)
- Honor the regenerating and revealing ministry of the Holy Spirit. (12:10-12)
- Abandon the world and its material things. (12:13-21)
- Seek the Kingdom of God. (12:22-34)
- Expect the return of Christ in judgement. (12:35-48)
- Be willing to sacrifice human relationships. (12:49-53)
- Make an effort to settle with God while you can. (12:54-59)
- Realize that physical death is imminent and certain. (13:1-9)
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
No blog is complete without...
Here are ten CDs from my collection that if you don't own 'em you should:
The Unforgettable Fire
Toad the Wet Sprocket
The Dream of the Blue Turtles
They Might Be Giants
Yourself or Someone Like You
No Name Face
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
In 1997, the line was again redesigned to their current shape, with faces that resemble people more than beach balls and actual arms and legs. In this new era, there are five main characters that keep getting reproduced and repackaged in the various playsets. A red-headed and bespectacled girl named Maggie, two blondes named Eddie and Sarah Lynn, a boy of African descent named Michael, and this little cutie named Sonya Lee. There are other multi-ethnic characters that pop up now and again, such as a Latino bus driver (whom my daughter has named Mr. Noodles) and what looks to me like a girl of native American descent in the construction crew.
My kids love the Little People. Who wouldn't? They are absolutely adorable just to look at and offer hours of imaginative play. Among the dozen or so sets we've got are the Noah's Ark (with both expansion sets), the playground, the tea party, the musical circus train (no longer available), and of course, the farm. Someone needs to remind me to post about the Fisher Price farm with the door that goes "moo" on a plane bound for Manila. Anyway, I love the Little People, too. Let's hear some love for the Little People.
Monday, November 07, 2005
What did you bring this subject which I'm not interested in up for?
Come to find out, not only was I dreadfully annoying, I was also dead wrong. The preponderance of evidence stands against me to say that this "rule" was spawned by an attempt by 18th century Church of England Bishop and Oxford University poetry professor Robert Lowth to critique the English language by applying Latin grammar to it. Misguided as he may have been, he stopped short of any dogmatic ruling on the issue, merely suggesting that the "...placing of the Preposition before the Relative is more graceful, as well as more perspicuous; and agrees much better with the solemn and elevated Style."
So now, I repent in dust and ashes. No longer will the (dubiously attributed) words of Winston Churchill ring in my head, "this is the type of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put." Just please don't ask me, "where's the bathroom at?"
Friday, November 04, 2005
The art of the Wawa latte
Still not necessarily a convert, I did branch out into the espresso drinks in the year that followed. I took my second road trip in the winter of 2004 with Bob to the Shepherd's Conference in California. They had a coffee trailer on campus that served up complementary lattes. I became skilled in the ways of ordering drinks through that experience.
Meanwhile, back at the local Starbucks, my budget was shrinking but my cravings for the Caramel Macchiato was rapidly expanding. This was unfortunate for both my wallet and my waistline. When my staff position at the church ended in January, I went on yet another road trip to the CBInternational conference and enjoyed this luscious concocation during a heart-to-heart with their president, Hans Finzel.
Enter the new job with Forthright Consulting, and I am again a mere minutes walk from the local Dunkin Donuts. Somehow I had staved off the temptation at Bethel often enough to keep from pushing to 300 pound mark, but then along comes the Turtle Nut Latte. At more than three bucks a pop, I feel very constrained on my consumption of this sinfully delicious beverage. That is, until the new Wawa opens up at the corner of Philadelphia Pike and Harvey Road. This is where I discover the self-serve latte machine.
Here's how it works (in ten easy steps):
- Acquire one 20 oz cup
- Apply a cardboard cozy (this drink comes out pretty hot)
- Insert into latte & steamer machine; position immediately below nozzle (duh)
- Press and hold the "caramel" button on the right (latte) side until 1/4 full
*Beverage will continue to dispense for a second or two
- Press and hold the "mocha" button on the right (latte) side until 2/3 full
*Beverage will continue to dispense for a second or two
- Remove from latte & steamer machine; proceed to coffee bar
- Top off cup from pot labeled "vanilla cream"; proceed to fixin's bar
- Add one packet of sugar and one of "pink" artificial sweetener
- Stir vigorously and add black dome lid
- Pay $1.19 at register
I will be anxious to hear if anyone comes up with a better recipe for bliss.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
A Footnote of Sorts
- 1993 - Russell discovers the internet, is awestruck at the ability to order flowers from a computer lab on campus.
- 1994 - Russell adopts the moniker "Theo" for his online persona and enters the world of electronic bulletin boards.
- 1995 - Russell launches his first website (www.theoslogic.net) mainly as a repository for praise and worship chord charts, but with some theological content.
- 1996 - Russell's first solo album rockets to number one in its first week. Concert tour of the greater Scranton/Wilkesbarre metropolitan area is a phenomenal success.
- 1997 - Russell gets married and gets in trouble for frequently making totally unsubstantiated fanciful claims with no basis in reality.
- 1998 - Russell receives his first legal notice about posting copyrighted material and adjusts his website to be a mere library of links, with a couple of random songs that were difficult to pin down source information.
- 1999 - Russell allows the site to languish and eventually removes all content as it is hopelessly outdated and too much effort to think about.
- 2000 - Russell agrees to relinquish the use of the "theoslogic" name to his brother-in-law, who hopes to relaunch the site with a whole new focus.
- 2001 - Russell takes over as "interim" youth director and tries to push the internet as the primary communication tool for parents, teens and workers.
- 2002 - Russell begins blogging on the early developments of preemie daughter Rose. (quits after a couple months)
- 2003 - Russell launches first public blog as a journalling exercise for the "Discipleship Experiment" with the youth leadership team. (quits after twelve weeks)
- 2004 - Russell enters grad school and reformats the blog as a place to take notes on various issues in classes and such.
- 2005 - Russell has to release the contents of the blog to a professor for a grade and decides to clean up the entries and start over on a new blog.
That brings us to right now. I won't make any promises about how often or how well I will be posting, nor will I make any predictions about what the topics will be. Here are some hot things on my mind right now:
- Annoying grammatical and English usage mistakes
- Fisher-Price Little People
- Virginia Tech Hokies (though I can't imagine they will be #3 for long...)
- The theology of church government and church discipline (hmmm... wonder why?)
- Wawa lattes
We'll see what happens. Join the fun as it emerges.