Wednesday, September 28, 2005

My hero?

he's a plumber by trade (no wise "cracks" please)
his family is active in his church. after a sermon that mentioned parents who have had kids that have died, he told me once he had a daughter die when she was 9. (turns out she was a was a one-night-stand.)

of course, i was shocked, i asked, "How?" "AIDS", was the answer.

the mom and the son (his, by birth, now in his teens) are healthy. are both HIV+
(gotta love them cocktails)

dad has almost left's been a rocky road, to say the least...but they have held it together. his parents have never really accepted the mom, her parents are, well, we'll say the family is dysfunctional, to say the least.

my friend would be the last to say hes doing anything herioc. he's just doing what God calls him to do. love and provide for his family.

strange...did ya ever notice? true heros....don't look like heroes. they don't look like guys and women wearing capes in the comic books......or larger than life on a screen....
or in a music video......

just look'll find 'em.

sometimes they look like that guy in the plumbing truck next to you in traffic.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I was walking out of an electronics store in town, after purchasing a
soldering iron (broke my old one at work)...and noticed a REALLY bright
yellow scion xb(?)...the boxy little station wagon thingy. kinda hard to miss!

the bright chrome license plate frame said in big letters (engraved in black—on the top) 1 Peter 3:15

the lower area said "APOLOGETICS" (wish i had gotten a picture.)


one little a non-christian (or even to a christian)...what
the____does that mean?? (FYI, I went to bible school...I think i know..."The branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines", according to people might consider it "witnessing".)

what kinda 'apologetic' is that? license frame theology...only
slightly more entertaining than bumper-sticker theology! did that defend or define the faith? (please, please, pulllleeezzzeeee...make this person a good driver!)

as i said, i went to bible school...a southern baptist one at that. studied apologetics...alot.

knew the answers. the right ones. strange...the answers didnt make me
love Jesus or his people any more. in fact, they made me rather
haughty, proud...even aarogant. i was real good at using my big black
leatherbound (genuine leather, no bonded leather for me!) bible (king james, with large margins for notes) as a weapon. 'tis a double-edged sword, ya know. judges the thoughts and intents of the heart. especially mine. they weren't all good. (hell, they still aren't.) i was real good at cutting people with the sword. only i was wielding it enthusiastically at others ...i was
cutting myself—not outwardly, but inwardly. i was becoming calloused to
suffering. of all people. hardly a good representation of the one i
claimed to serve. some 'apologetic'.

strange thing about cuts. when they heal, they build up scar tissue. harder, less
penetrable than they were that enough...and you can't be
touched or affected by...anything.....or anyone. even the one who
can heal the scars.

that way we can be isolated. safe. untouchable?

wouldn't want to
invite Him into those places, after all...they're ugly...
maybe he'd do a little work!
(is that why He's known as 'the great physician'?)


i was sitting in a coffeehouse one day...and ended up talking with
another coffeehouse inhabitant, when we were joined by a young man in
his later 20's or early 30's. he went on a long diatribe about what he
did. (i saw the business card from a semi-locally based internationally known
apologetic organization.)

strange, for someone trained to "always be ready to give an answer
for the hope that was in him", it sure didnt seem he was. he would
never give us a direct, straight answer on what he did. he wouldn't say that he
was lecturing on apologetics (there's that word again) to christian kids on campuses. said he was "teaching students to contend for the pro life position when put
to the test." good stuff...

but again, will arguments win hearts? our deep theological conversation
(or dance around the issue) caused my brother the buddhist to excuse himself from the table after a few minutes. never saw an argument in 20+ years of ministry win a heart. arguments are good for the already convinced. and they make those of us "in the faith" feel safe. they put our God in a nice comfortable "us" shaped box, where God acts and reacts...just like us.
Could it be that the only way to win hearts is just that. win the hearts...
the minds will follow.

forget the apologetics. live the life. it'll say more than your lectures and pamphlets ever will.

help a single parent. go help with hurricane relief. befriend
someone ya don't know. go to Mexico on a mission.
spend time with an HIV+ kid. take a lonely person ya know out to coffee.
walk with a person whose going through a tough spot.

ya dont even have to tell them youre doing it 'cause of Jesus. He'll show.

He's good like that. he might even kinda look a little like you.

now that's a living apologetic.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Wise navigators dont feel God's presence, they look for it.

—Tom Hughes

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Image hosted by


I worked there from 1983-2004. I basically grew up there. The
owner/founder was like my 2nd dad. The Christian dad I never had. He
had been active in the local Episcopal church for years. Then his wife
went nuts. A couple affairs and way-out anger things. She ran him into
huge debt. Her father paid his debt off, and their divorce. He was then
kicked out of the Episcopal church due to the divorce. He was a driven
man. Started the magazine in his 20’s, on a 500 dollar loan from his
mother in law, built it up to the number one magazine in the field over
25-30 years. All the while he was devoted to his work, and his family,
in that order. (by his own admission) there were lots of wild parties
and such there (it was the 60’s, after all!—yes, I am old. Hah!) but
work got done, the company grew on a shoestring, people were employed,
and life went along. They started another magazine, one about fish,
in the late 70’s. I became a Christian in 1978 while a senior in high
school (yes, again, I am old. And HAH! Again, for no particular reason,
I just felt like writing it.) the person who led me to Christ was a
pastor in town. He later ran for city council (lost big time.) but
while canvassing neighborhoods, he knocked on my boss’s door .
(unbeknownst to my friend the pastor, my boss had within the past
month, flipped past Jim Bakker’s PTL Club on TV late one night, and God
did what God will do, and my boss prayed to receive Christ. In front of
his TV set with a rather strong adult beverage in his hand.) God even
uses the boss was an agoraphobic by this time and
never would have left the house! Anyway, when he answered the door, he
remembered the pastor from his Episcopal church days (the now pastor
was an acolyte when my boss was serving in the church as an elder or
something) and volunteered to be his campaign manager. Within months,
the boss’ 20-year–old son was killed in a motorcycle accident. A huge
trial for a new Christian, but he made it through, as did his wife (boy
was that interesting with her already being bi-polar!) My friend the
pastor introduced us, and he asked me to help install a ceiling fan in
his kitchen. Within 2 weeks he hired me full-time. I would be at work,
then stay over for prayer meetings. I saw a lot of incredible spiritual
things happen there. The time we had communion (his wife & I went
into the kitchen to prepare communion and the wine bottle cork popped
REAL loud. We couldn’t stop laughing for 5 minutes.) yes, we did serve
communion with a straight face...barely! I re-wired his entire family
room, (yes, for 110v power!) and the phone system in the entire
house...several different lines. Cable TV also. (if he only knew I was
learning-by-doing! The house still stands, BTW.) I continued there at
his house working running errands, maintaining the fish tanks, etc. for
10 years or so. After that I went to work at the office. There were
various personnel changes, but mostly the same people were there for
those years (I’ve seen a lot of the other family that worked at the
office grow up 2 generations!)
I worked for the other
magazine (the "fishy" one) mostly, but still did some stuff at the main
magazine. (RCM) Funny…about a year before I left, they finally put my
name in the masthead. I ran errands, fixed cars, did little bits of
computer work, and lots of incredibly boring office work. I also got to
rub shoulders with some of the most earthy spiritual roman catholics
ive ever seen.. the ones who (imperfectly) really live it…
not just talk it.

I was at Costco one Sunday afternoon with a student, when I
got a page from the boss’ house line. I knew that couldn’t be good
news. The boss had passed away from congestive heart failure that
morning. I got to be the one to call his partner and tell her from the
house. We found a picture fhat his daughter had taken of him walking
down the street with his grand daughter. We borrowed that and scanned
it into the magazine for his memorial picture.

It was a sad time, but we all got through it. Never over it, but through it.
Things got a little sticky with the family at the office (some personnel
changes), but it all worked out. About the time it was getting real
sticky at work, I got a call from a friend who worked at the church I
do now. He wanted to have me help with some AV stuff. I went to the
church, did some wiring…and found HOME. I didn’t know this could be
church. The music was (is) great, the pastor preached in shorts and a
polo. Still does. they asked me to take over the sound and media for
them when my friend left, in december. i then quit my sound position at
my old church, to do sound on the weekends at my current church. The
new place also said they were trying to find a full-time position for
me. I got a call from Hawaii (they were on a leadership
retreat—really!) asking me to come to work facilities and sound for
them full-time. I prayed over it for a couple weeks, and gave the
magazine my two weeks notice.

This last may, I stopped by town to check in at the dentist I have gone to
for 20 years, and walked up to the office. I was told that the magazine
I had worked for had been sold, but was continuing to be published.
(the link is above) That was one of those “moments” where you feel
God’s hand in your life. I was offered the job at the church, then
within a year, the job I had evaporated.

They may have kept me on at
RCM, but, that would have been temporary at best. Last night I talked
to a friend who works for a hobby chain store, that carried the
magazine, who told me that RCM had gone under.
apparently, they were unable to even keep RCM afloat.
Unfortunately, RCM fell victim to declining readership…
due to an aging population involved in the hobby.
Sad indeed.

And, once again, I feel the hand of God….