Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Out of laziness I decided not to pack my lunch this morning. Today is the last day of the month and I had some money left from my allowance, so I thought a trip for Eastern NC BBQ at Clyde Cooper's was just the thing. I emailed my friend Byron who is similarly disillusioned with his job at a rival bank and we agreed to meet.

This lunch reminded me of just how badly I need to have more close male friends. It's great that Amanda and I talk a lot. I really appreciate my small group as well. However, I think it's hard for me to get quite as deep in my small group because I'm a leader there. It was great to meet with a like-minded friend and talk about work, family, and what we're doing for the kingdom.

I need to figure out a way to make this happen more often. It doesn't necessarily have to be with Byron every time, but I do need to make time for deep fellowship.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Avoiding the Highway

I remember how tentative I was when I first started driving. This stuck with me pretty much until we moved to California. I found that driving around San Francisco forced me to learn how to handle traffic and now I am pretty much nonplussed when I am in traffic. Now that I live near Raleigh I hear how locals bemoan the heavy traffic we have and I just chuckle a little bit. Yes, it gets heavy in the afternoons near RTP, but it's nothing like the snarl that is the highway system around a city like San Francisco.

However, I had some experiences on Wednesday and Thursday that are starting to make me a little more tentative about the highway. I was exhausted Wednesday morning and just driving along in a near trance. I was thinking about how glad I was that my morning commute is so easy and uneventful. A few minutes later I noticed a truck starting to get closer to me and it seemed like it was going to come into my lane. I don't mind getting cut off so much, but I don't like it when someone tries to share space with me. I hit the brakes and actually used the horn. I almost never use the horn, but it seemed appropriate this time. That gave me a little jolt of adrenaline that helped me stay awake :)

That afternoon I was on the highway for only a few minutes when I noticed a disc of some sort coming at me. It was the top of some kind of Rubbermaid container and it hit the windshield right in front of my face. I closed my eyes as it hit. I'm not sure why I didn't turn away or duck as I still would have been cut up if it broke the windshield, but fortunately nothing happened.

Then yesterday morning I as I drove to work I noticed traffic in front of me slowing down. I also noticed a cloud of small red and blue things on the road. Turns out that a truck carrying garbage bags full of aluminum cans lost one of the bags out the back. I had to slow down to go through them, but I don't think that my car was damaged at all.

I guess I should just be thankful that none of these events was more serious. It was just strange to have so many things happen to me on what is otherwise a normally uneventful commute. Then again, the day that someone crosses the yellow line and hits someone head-on is no different, is it? These things happen and it is only by God's grace that I get to keep drawing breath.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Potter OD

I feel like I've been mainlining Harry Potter lately. I spent Sunday-Tuesday finishing Book 7 and we saw the movie for book 5 last night. Plus, one of the blogs I frequent has had a discussion about the merits of Harry Potter for Christians. I couldn't help but throw my hat into the ring there.

I can see the appeal to Harry Potter. The writing is good and the characters are engaging. I actually felt myself tearing up near the end of Book 7. Warning -- SPOLIER

Spoiler alert. Read on only if you have finished Book 7 or don't care about learning the outcome
This may sound crazy, but the engagement I had with the characters in Harry Potter has given me a keener understanding of what Christ suffered on the cross. Reading Harry's thoughts as he voluntarily submitted to death was very poignant. Obviously the analogy breaks down because Harry did not have to suffer the sins of the world. The redemption metaphor is incomplete.

I think that this was poignant because I know more about Harry's past than I do about Jesus'. I know that Jesus was born on Christmas and I know the circumstances around it. I know that He was pretty precocious based on his teaching at age 12. I know a lot about the 3 years of his ministry. However, I don't know much about Him as a person. What was his favorite food? His favorite color? Did He prefer the mountains or the beach? What games did He like to play as a child? Did he ever have any pets? How did He deal with being the oldest in the family? How did He deal with the resentment that must have come from not only being the oldest, but also from being perfect?

Obviously some of these things can be answered from what we know of Him through Scripture. My point is that Harry Potter is someone that we got to watch grow up for 7 years until he made the decision to freely sacrifice himself for the sake of the world. We got to know what makes him tick. Reading his story makes me think more about Christ's humanity and the awful weight that was on His shoulders. And, through it all, He freely gave Himself for me.

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Harry Potter

So I finished the book today. I probably should have got more work done than I did, but it was good to finish it. I am very pleased with how the whole thing turned out.

Anyone who tries to say that Harry Potter and Narnia are different obviously has not read this book. I won't spoil anything as this says enough.

I'll admit to getting pretty teary at the end for a variety of reasons. It's tough to see the whole thing end.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Career Transitions

I'm in a training class this week to learn more about Sharepoint 2007. I see how this will benefit the Bank if I can get anyone to buy into it. I hope that we use it for more than just document management.

Our instructor is from Boston and it shows through every fiber of his being. He has the stereotypical Yankee edginess about him. He also has a very thick accent. What's interesting is that he went to OSU as well and he attended some of the same football games I did.

As a class we got into a conversation during a lab about how we ended up in IT. I was asked the inevitable question of how one gets from a degree in Chemical Engineering to IT work. I told my story and then made the statement that I'm trying very hard to get out of it. I also added that I'm trying to cut my salary in half. That of course got a reaction and I could explain that I wanted to go into ministry.

The cool part was that a guy behind me made the comment that he would like to do the same thing. The instructor was really surprised that two of us wanted to do this. Then he asked if anyone else wanted to and a lady near the back raised her hand. It's kind of cool to see that so many of us want to break out of this to do something more meaningful.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Where is the Authority

One of my favorite movies is Bull Durham. I love the raw humor of the baseball scenes and there are some good bits outside of those as well. There is a scene where Crash and Annie argue about how to treat Nuke and at some point Annie says some quote which she attributes to William Blake. Crash asks her, "William Blake?" and she responds with authority, "William Blake!"

I used to really wrestle with this scene. Annie's implication is that there are some authors who have authority to settle arguments if you can think of a witty and pertinent quote. A lot of people use Mark Twain that way, for example. The thing is that I don't think any author should be able to settle an argument. Scripture should settle arguments, but authors are just people like us.

To be sure, we can use authors to illustrate points. We can use them as the basis of a story to expound something. However, I think we get on a very slippery slope when we let people settle philosophical debates. Obviously, statements of fact will be settled by some authorities. I trust an historian like Jules Tygiel over Ken Burns when it comes to baseball, for example. The point is that we need to make sure that we know Scripture well enough to use it as the basis for our opinions.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Fighting Materialism

Amanda and I are pretty good with our money. In fact, we often take a form of pride in how frugal we are. We sometimes sort of look down our noses at all the SUVs in the church parking lot and chuckle about how our cars are paid for. When our pastor preaches on materialism I think about how I don't struggle with that.

But as I look a little deeper I still see the signs of materialism in my life. I enjoy buying video games that I think will make me happy. I have all kinds of resources that I thought would make me a better guitar player, but I don't put the time into them. I just ordered my textbooks for school and was maybe a little too anxious to get more books in the house.

No, I am not immune to materialism. Nor, obviously, to pride.

This Amazes Me

I saw a headline that "Henderson" was joining the Mets' coaching staff. I figured that it had to be Dave Henderson. This article says otherwise.

I'm trying to imagine how much coaching Rickey Henderson can do. I always envisioned him as one of those athletes that just did what he did without really knowing how he did it. The article does state that he helped Jose Reyes with his OBP, so perhaps he can indeed coach. I'm just very surprised.

Perhaps "baby" has more between the ears than I think.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Worldview Consistency

When I took The Secret Message of Jesus back to my pastor I had a good chat with him about postmodernity. We agreed that postmoderns are here and that we need to find a workable apologetic for them because the stuff we learned in seminary doesn't work with postmoderns. They just don't care. He gave a great example to illustrate this.

He heard a radio show with a hardcore relativist defending his views. As the conversation progressed, the host challenged him with the fact that he had an inconsistent worldview since he could not say that anything was definitely right or wrong. He illustrated this by making the point that he could not say that Hitler's final solution was definitely wrong.

The guy thought about it for a few moments and then agreed. He decided that it was OK if he thought it was wrong, but no one else had to think that it was.

My pastor said that when he heard this he was practically shaking because this person should have had the foundations of his world rocked. However, he was find with the inconsistency. I remember explaining to a friend that all world religions are not the same and she said, "But that's what works for me." It's the same thing.

William Lane Craig's tactics aren't going to work with these people. Norm Geisler's aren't either. I'm not saying that McLaren has the solution, but what can you do if someone just doesn't care about reason? Does God give someone an appreciation for logical consistency as part of His supernatural work of election?

I'm not sure if Scripture addresses postmodernity directly other than to warn us that there will come a time when people will not stand for sound doctrine. It's good to have the warning, but what do we do then? It seems to me that we need an apologetic that will appeal to postmoderns. From what I understand, they care more about our stories than our doctrine. It's so hard for us moderns to wrap our minds around, but it's something we've got to deal with if we're going to evangelize to these people.

Monday, July 09, 2007

A Postmodern Apologetic

I had a great chat with one of my pastors today. I told him my conclusions after doing the research for my paper. Basically, I see the need for a postmodern apologetic, but I also think that at some point there needs to be a presentation of truth. I don't think he disagrees. We'll see what my professor thinks.

As I left his office and drove home I started wondering what that would look like. If we see the Emerging Church as being a place for postmoderns, but not necessarily staffed by postmoderns, then perhaps it isn't such a bad thing. I wonder if we're missing the point through all of the noise. No one doubts that Greg Laurie crusades are fine things for modern thinkers. However, I think we need to recognize that something different must be done for postmoderns. Is it possible to minister to postmoderns without becoming postmodern ourself? I think Hope tries to do that.

It's an interesting question to roll around in my head for a while. I really think I could do a thesis on this as I'm that interested in it.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Cleaning the Cave

I'm not sure what pushed me over the edge, but I finally got around to doing some cleaning here in the man cave. I guess a person can only stand to be surrounded by stacks of papers for so long. Who knows? I may even get crazy and vacuum up all the sunflower seed shells that have made their way into the basement. We have a bird feeder stuck with suction cups on one of the windows above the walkout door from the basement. Bird poop has not been a problem, but old shells have been. I tend to track them in when I come back from running.

It feels kind of liberating to throw out what had to be close to a ream of printouts from research for old papers. I just wonder what makes me think that I'll ever need all that stuff. Not only are Chamberlain men known for big ears and cleft chins (as well as bad hairlines until me), but we are also packrats. My grandfather would save ridiculous things in his basement that I'm sure were older than me. My dad isn't quite as bad. I'm married to "The Eradicator" when it comes to clutter, so hopefully this generational curse won't get passed on to Noah.

It always feels good to get things clean. Why can't I keep them this way? Oh yeah, it's because I don't have any discipline.

Friday, July 06, 2007


I realize that I am married to one of the world's champion readers. Amanda just devours books. There was a time when I decided to read War and Peace as kind of a lark. I read it on my Handspring PDA that I used at the time. It turns out it is a fascinating book and totally engaging -- sort of a Tom Clancy meets Jane Austen. I got Amanda to read it and I think she probably could have read it more than twice in the time it took me to read it once. Then again, once she is hooked on a book she is as bad as I am with a video game. She hates to put it down.

I admit to being a tad envious of her. There are so many books out there that are worth reading. Many are books that I would fundamentally agree with, but I'd also like to read more from authors with whom I disagree. For example, I've really enjoyed reading McLaren as I learn more about the emerging church. A great thing about reading the other viewpoint is that I get a better understanding of why they believe what they believe. That helps me to relate to them better as men and as Christians.

I just wish that I had more hours in the day sometimes. At least I'm doing well on the first few days of my new Bible reading plan. And I'm stoked that I was able to get a very small copy of the ESV (mine is burgundy) for $10 at a local Christian bookstore. I've wanted something smaller than my massive study Bible for a while now. It's always fun to get a new Bible. Try as I might, I just can't get into doing all my reading on my PDA anymore. It is awfully convenient, but I like seeing the pages better.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


I've noticed a few posts around the God blog about Independence Day. First of all, I think that it is something we should think about as Christians. There are people in some countries who have no access to the bible in their native tongues. There are others who can be killed for owning a bible. We need to remember just how precious our freedom is. Why waste it on trivial pursuits?

I find that I am often torn about the state of the country. There are some who think that it is almost sacrilegious to be anything but jingoistic. However, it is clear that there are some major warts, even with our current Christian President. I do believe that he is indeed a sincere follower of Christ and he would probably like to be even more bold about it. It's a shame that he is in such a mess now, but it's partly his bed that he made.

I also think of what "independence" means. As a Americans I think we tend to chafe at the idea of being a "bondservant of Christ" as Paul called himself. However, that is what we are. I could stand to have a lot more dependence on Him than I do.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Time to Restart

I'm at the end of my month of Proverbs reading and, frankly, I very much miss the practice of regular reading through the Bible. I've printed out the Discipleship Journal reading plan and intend to use that. I was going to try reading through the whole Bible in two months, but I'm not sure that is the best way to spend my reading time.

I was excited that perhaps I could start using Palm Bible+ to do my regular reading. I was disappointed to discover that it doesn't do paragraph formatting for any Bibles. As Dr. Meadors explained, when you go purely verse-by-verse you effectively butcher the Bible since it is not meant to be read that way. However, I am stoked that I can put the Westcott-Hort Greek translation on my Palm with Strong's numbers. There is a freeware program that I can use for the Strong's dictionary. This means that I can follow along in church using the Greek bible. What's best is that I don't have to carry my Greek New Testament to church. I think that looks a bit gauche when all I want is to practice my Greek.

The thing that gets me is just how awful it is not to take advantage of all the resources I have. I've written this before. As I was trimming bushes this morning it occurred to me that this is a sin that I can't really deal with. It was easier for me to deal with sexual sin than it is for me to deal with how little time I spend in God's Word. Pretty ridiculous.