boon-dog-gle: (noun) work of little or no value done merely to keep or look busy.
free: (adjective) provided without, or not subject to, a charge or payment.


Surprise random link of the week...

Here's this week's link: Have fun!


I will follow you into the dark...

A few weeks ago, I got the new CD of Death Cab for Cutie, "Plans". It's pretty good, not great overall, but some songs that I love. One that I've been particularly drawn to is called, "I Will Follow You into the Dark". I haven't yet cracked what I think it means completely, nor why I'm so drawn to it. But here are the lyrics:

Love of mine some day you will die
But I'll be close behind
I'll follow you into the dark

No blinding light or tunnels to gates of white
Just our hands clasped so tight
Waiting for the hint of a spark
If heaven and hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the no's on their vacancy signs

If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark

In Catholic school as vicious as Roman rule
I got my knuckles brusied by a lady in black
And I held my toungue as she told me
"Son fear is the heart of love"
So I never went back

If heaven and hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the no's on their vacancy signs

If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark

You and me have seen everything to see
From Bangcock to Calgary
And the soles of your shoes are all worn down
The time for sleep is now
It's nothing to cry about
Cause we'll hold each other soon
The blackest of rooms

If heaven and hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the no's on their vacancy signs

If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark
Then I'll follow you into the dark

p.s. I'm doing some work at the Bread Co. and there was a baby that looked EXACTLY like that freaky talking baby from the Quizno's commercials. It was very surreal.


good preaching...

Greg Johnson, one of my pastors at Memorial Presbyterian Church, preached a great sermon on Sunday from Acts 8:4-25. He looked at the contrast of how the the Bible says that when the true Gospel was introduced to a Samaritan city "there was great joy in that city", but when a man named Simon tried to manipulate religion (and therefore manipulate God) for his own purposes he was "full of bitterness and captive to sin". Greg pointed out that "religious conservatives" often try to manipulate religion for their own purposes--whether that be for public esteem, economic prosperity, or political power (among other things). But a real application of the Gospel will bring spiritual and tangible healing, and thus will bring joy. This joy is intended not only for individuals, but also (maybe primarily?) for whole communities, for cities, for cultures. And this joy comes from the Gospel breaking through the effects of the fall: sin, spiritual oppression, false religion, sexism, racism, greed--all of which are addressed in the passage. And interestingly, in the passage, the Gospel is not summarized by a list of do's and don'ts (which it never should be), nor is it a set of theological bullet points (which can sometimes be almost legitimate), but it is simply "the Christ". In other words, the Gospel is a person; it is a connection to Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God.

Well anyway...Greg said it well. I should note: my ideas above are inspired by his sermon, based upon my recollection of it, which could be faulty, and therefore anything good in it I'll credit to Greg and anything bad I'll take the blame for.

Speaking of a good sermon, here is a link to the text of one by Dr. C. John Collins of Covenant Theological Seminary, which he preached on the same day as Greg (thanks to Anthony Bradley for the link). Dr. Collins is not the best preacher at Covenant (though, he's certainly in the top 5 or 8), but he's arguably the best exegete, or interpreter of the Bible (in that category, he's probably in the top 5 or 8 in the world today). The sermon is pretty dense with ideas, but it gives a vision for what "the Gospel" means that is a little different from what is often in mind. To tip his hand: it is not sufficient to think of the Gospel as primarily interested in what happens to my soul; it is much bigger than that. This is why the critique of Christianity as an emotional crutch for a guilty conscience doesn't hold water against a true articulation or comprehension of the Gospel.


under construction...

Excuse the mess...I'm fiddling with some things again.


Surprise random link of the week...

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Top 5...

Top 5 famous people I would like to be friends with:

  1. Conan O'Brien (no contest for 1st position)
  2. Jack White
  3. Jack Black (#2 & 3 are interchangeable)
  4. Tiger Woods
  5. Regis Philbin
The problem with this list, of course, which I fully recognize, is that I don't really know these people in a way that could give me a reasonable sense about whether I actually would like to be friends with them. I know their personae, but I don't know them as persons. It would speak better of me if the five people I most wanted to be friends with were the five people around me that I was most aware needed friends, for then I would really be seeking to have friendships. As it is, wanting to be friends with famous people is not really about wanting to be friends with them, but about wanting what their friendships would do for me. And really (sadly), many of my actual friendships and relationships are surely based more upon that motive than I would like to admit. It will be nice when the Lord returns and finally burns away ALL the corruption in this heart of mine. I bet I will have some nice friendships with completely unexpected people. But as it is, this is the way I am, so there you go.

I was going to end my post there ( there you go) when I realized that it was a very inadequate perspective. For a Christian, there can never be the resignation "this is the way I am". For the reality is that Christ's Spirit is ever working in me (in us) to make us more like Christ--in this case Christ who is the ultimate friend. I ought not simply wait for the last day for my heart and motives to be changed, although on that day the final blow will be levied against my sin, for He is at work now. And it is my calling to respond to His work by striving to live ever more as is befitting one who is being remade in His image. Thus it is now my responsibility to seek to be a better friend to those I have and to be one at all to those I don't yet. I guess my last comment in the previous paragraph was intended to convey the sentiment that although I would like to be different, I have no interest in hiding who I really am. Thankfully, God has promised to change who I really am.

All that said, let me say that if any of the five mentioned above happen to read this, I'm free to meet at Kayak's Coffee pretty much any time.


Surprise random link of the week...

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A Dream Deferred...

by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?


Top 5...

Top 5 annoying celebrities:

  1. David Blaine
  2. Paris Hilton
  3. Paula Abdul
  4. Tom Cruise
  5. Jay Leno
This list was inspired by the recent re-entry into the American consciousness of David Blaine. I think he once billed himself as an illusionist. Now I've read him referred to as a "stunt-performer". It is not so much that I object to his existence, or even to his chosen profession, but rather that he imposes these two upon the rest of us through media-hyped "events" like his current one of remaining immersed in a tub of water for a number of days and tonight trying to break the record for holding his breath underwater the longest. While I long for him to just go away, when he does I'll still be left with the depressing awareness that he will be back in a few months with something even more annoying to metaphorically poop into our proverbial cultural toilet.

G.K. Chesterton...

"The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people."