Archive for August 2008

What are we voting for again?

This week, Anthony Smith posted up a stirring, challenging blog entry about what he hears when white Christians tell him not to vote.  It’s really very good, and worth the time and contemplation.  I’ve posted in the past about my tension with voting, and how for a time, voting was a right that I set aside. I’ve also posted about the current political process, and how we in the church would do well to temper our enthusiasm for any political candidate.  To summarize, we need to keep in mind that whoever is elected in November is nothing more and nothing less than the figure-head of an empire that competes with the Kingdom of God for our attention, hearts, and allegiance.  It’s a good thing to pray for, hope for, and possibly even work for a candidate who will most closely honor Kingdom values in her or his political work.  But […]



Another book I need to re-read

I’m doing some research and writing today, which has me buried in a book I read about three years ago.  It’ The Cross-Cultural Process in Christian History by Andrew Walls.  I remembered it being good, but now I’m thinking it needs to be on the short list of books I go back to every year or two. A couple of choice quotes for you: No one is saved through Christianity – though it may be possible to be damned through it.  (p. 9) The purpose of theology is to make or clarify Christian decisions.  Theology is about choices; it is the attempt to think in a Christian way.  And the need for choice and decision arises from specific settings in life.  In this sense, the theological agenda is culturally induced; and the cross-cultural diffusion of Christian faith invariably makes creative theological activity a necessity.  (p. 79)



My high tech bathroom

O.k., I said I wasn’t going to talk about the bathroom project anymore.  But I was playing with Microsoft’s new toy, Photosynth, and put a synth together of the new bathroom.  I took 42 pictures, loaded them up, and now you can see a 360 peek into last week’s work.  To view this, you’ll need to download Photosynth, but it’s pretty easy.  Once you’ve done that, you can click here to view my bathroom.  Of course, on the main page of Photosynth, you can also check out the Taj Mahal, which is infinitely more interesting.  But I put my little synth together in about 15 minutes, including the time taking the photos.



Trying to plug back in

Well, yesterday was my first day back after “vacationing” in the master bathroom of our home.  As I mentioned, I was doing an overhaul of the bathroom, prompted in part by the presence of dry rot in the subfloor – conveniently covered by carpet, and prompted in part by the absolute ugliness (both of which are pictured in my previous post). I still have a few small things to finish up – baseboards, towel rods, sealing grout – but it’s pretty much done.  Here’s what we did: gutted the whole room with the exception of the tub and shower tile, replaced rotted subfloor, installed new tile, toilet, vanity, sink top, faucet, light fixture, switches, and put two coats of paint on the walls and ceiling.  Not bad for a total amateur. Once again, the old version: And, the new version: The natural sunlight makes the walls look more yellow than […]



Blogging about nothing

The blog’s been dark for a few days here.  Just thought I’d let both of you that read it exactly why . . . First, I had a couple of days worth of annual staff meetings at the denomination.  Here in the Northwest, we’re in the middle of a major organizational restructuring.  There are parts of it that I really like, and well, some other parts that I’ll not whine about.  Won’t do any good. Second, I’m in the middle of changing this: into this: Things have already progressed since that last picture.  But it’s gonna be a few days.  I’ll try to update the blog as I’m able, but if there’s nothing new when you pay me a visit here, you can just use whatever time you had allotted for reading to pray for my back!



The Generosity of Receiving

I recently spent a large chunk of time with someone I value a lot, and who I’ve always thought of as an extremely generous person.  I admire the giving attitude and sharing I’ve seen demonstrated over the course of many years.  One thing doesn’t quite add up, though – most attempts to give back to this person are met with resistance. “Oh no, don’t do that” or “That’s o.k,, I can do it” or “Let me pay for that.”  This goes well beyond simply courtesy statements, too. It made me ask a question about true generosity – is it possible to be a great giver without being able to also be a gracious receiver? From my perspective, I found it frustrating to want to share myself and my resources with someone who has given vastly more to me, but to not be allowed to.  It was disappointing. Even as I […]



My plea to the publishing industry

I would like to make a humble request to anyone out there who is involved in the publishing industry.  I really need some help on this one, o.k.?  It may seem a bit selfish, and maybe just a little counter-intuitive, but really, I’d appreciate it if you could do whatever you can to help. You see, I’ve been in school for the past couple of years, and even now that I’m done with the coursework phase of my degree, and I don’t have to keep up with my professor’s required reading lists, I am in the middle of a huge research and writing project.  All of that to say that I am simply incapable of keeping up with the massive amounts of new books that you publishers keep churning out.  Granted, I don’t need to read every new title that gets published, but there are a significant number of books […]



A Challenge to Seattle Hipsters

So, a few months ago, everyone in the hip, flavor of the month activist issue club both here in Seattle, and around North America got all up in arms over the violence in Burma/Myanmar.  It did get bad there, no question.  The violence by the government against Buddhist monks got the most airplay in Western media.  It’s good that we see this stuff.  But it’s a far cry better when you can actively do something positive to help. Here’s the deal.  If you are in the Seattle area and were a protest-y type on this issue, I’ve got a prime opportunity for you to get personally involved – a chance to put up or shut up as it were.  Here’s the deal.  There are many refugees from Burma/Myanmar arriving in the Seattle area right now.  In many cases, they’re arriving with literally nothing but the clothes they’re wearing. A local […]



Another Seattle hot spot

I was diving through the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle this afternoon – somewhat enjoying the high 80s heat,  but without the benefit of a functional air conditioner in the 10 year old car.  I was listening to a local chef being interviewed on the public radio station, and he mentioned this new ice cream shop in town called Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream.  This about the fifteenth time I’ve heard about this place, and I’ve driven by it a few times and seen the line of people out the door and down the block. Completely coincidentally (I swear!), as I drove through Wallingford on 45th, there it was – Molly Moon’s . . . but this time, without the line of people.  Some magical combination of the heat, the radio review, and my own recollection of seeing the buzz around this place made me stop. I walked out with a […]



Mid-summer inter::mission Update

While the first week of August means that a lot of  universities are gearing up for students coming back to their campuses, in the University of Washington community, we’ve still got some time.  School doesn’t kick off here until September 24.  So, our days are still a bit slower-paced than normal, which in my case means a couple of things: one, I get to go home and see my wife almost every evening, rather than stay in the U-District  late into the evening; two, I get to work on my doctoral dissertation.  Oi – not so sure that second one is a better alternative to hanging out with college students! Anyway, lately, my days have been filled with the fun of building maintenance projects at The Purple Door.  Plumbing, furnishing, carpeting, window repair, cleaning out the refrigerators and freezers.  This is the stuff nobody tells you about in seminary.  It’s […]