Institutionalized Education

I watched a thought provoking video on education over at Jason's blog this morning. Jason asked us this question:
My question, as you watch, is how does this apply to the church? Does it have relevance to the way we should do things at all? Now or in the future, how do you transition? If schools teach from a 19th century paradigm in the 21st century, what about the church?
Here is the way that I sort-of answered:
I have believed for a very long time that our school system is targeted at a small minority.. most of the folks who are successful in school have a style of learning that is very compatible with the manner of teaching in "institutionalized education" ... hey, I liked saying that ... usually it is someone who is unhappy with church that says "institutionalized church" :)

Seriously, the problems in US education far outshadow that of church in America.. I wonder why we never hear about this? Maybe it is because the "institutionalized church" has bought into "institutionalized education" ... hmmm ... I wonder how many of us in church like to be "taught" by Doctor Jones or Reverend Smith instead of being ministered to by brother Joe ... hmmm ... some interesting thoughts.
I think that US education has impacted the evangelical church much more that we want to admit. In our search for acceptance we have gravitated to unhealthy desires to be led by "educated" people.. we seem to now want teachers rather than shepherds.. we seem to want people who are brain-smart rather than heart-smart.. I have to wonder where this journey will end. What do you think? Is the church being overly influenced by academia?

45 Unasked Questions

Susan over at Penless Writer posted this one today and I thought that would follow suit.

1. WHO WERE YOU NAMED AFTER? - An uncle or aunt (Bobbie) on my father's side.. I think?

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? - Yesterday, when I read Julie's blog post

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? - Yes but not as much as I used to


5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? - 2 grown children


7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? - Some, unfortunately I'm still a New Yorker at heart

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS - Nope, gone for over 50 years

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? - No, you had to ask?

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE CEREAL? - Frosted Flakes.. I only eat it on the road


12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? - Yes depending on how you define it



15. RED OR PINK? - Red


17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? - My wife.. in the hospital 4 weeks now

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO RESPOND? - Sure.. I want to know you all a bit better

19. WHAT COLOUR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? - Blue sweats and brownish moccasin slippers








27. HAIR COLOUR? - Did you have to ask?

28. EYE COLOUR? - Blue

29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? - No, I wear glasses


31. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? - Bridge on the River Kwai on AMC


33. SUMMER OR WINTER? - Summer

34. HUGS OR KISSES? - Hugs

35. FAVOURITE DESSERT? - Lemon Cream Pie

36. MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? - Bloggers and people who don't like to comment

37. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? - People who don't blog or like to comment

38. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? - No currently reading a book

39. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? - Don't use one


41. FAVORITE SOUND? - Worship



44. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? - speaking from my heart.. if that is a talent

45. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? New York - where else :)

Goodbye Jared

Four years ago this week, Jared Allen was an unknown defensive lineman at Division I-AA Idaho State projected to be little more than a long snapper in the NFL. On Wednesday, the former fourth-round draft pick became the richest defensive player in the league. Allen, the All-Pro defensive end who led the league in sacks last season with 15 1/2, was traded from Kansas City to Minnesota in a blockbuster deal, making the Chiefs one of the major players in this weekend's NFL draft.

God Plates

The Florida legislature is considering a specialty license plate design that would include a cross, a stained glass window and the words 'I Believe'.

If approved it would be the first state to have a license plate featuring a religious symbol that it is not part of a college logo.

What do you think? Would you buy one of these if your state offered it?

The Phantom Finale

Watching David Cook's performance from Phantom of the Opera reminded me of this final scene from the movie -you can find the previous scene here. In this scene the heroine, Christine, is demanded by the Phantom to choose a life with him so that she can save her fiance. Her response is a moving one.. as is the response of the Phantom.

If you have never seen the movie I recommend renting it sometime.

Best of Idol: David Cook

Kansas City area native David Cook this week showcased his amazing voice when he sang Music of the Night from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera. He is my pick to win it all.

Moyers Interviews Wright

This is just one of the many clips on YouTube that are promoting tonight's interview of Jeremiah Wright by Bill Moyers on PBS. I have scheduled my DVR to record it (I need more than sound bites) and may report back on it in the days to come.. hmmm.. do I first watch my recorded version of CSI or Pastor Wright - such a difficult decision.

My Beautiful Mommy

This picture is from a new picture book coming out on April 28 aimed at helping kids understand plastic surgery - it’s titled “My Beautiful Mommy.”

Regardless of how you feel about plastic surgery, what do you think about this idea? Do young kids really need to know about a tummy tuck? How would you explain a nose job to a young child? Questions you never thought you'd need to ask :)

Quitting Church

Count me in with the 41%. I know it seems like a lot of people are quitting traditional church venues these days but this poll seems to indicate that the majority have stayed and not left. How would you have voted?

Satchel Paige

Leroy Robert "Satchel" Paige (1906–1982) was an American baseball player whose pitching in several different Negro Leagues and in Major League Baseball made him a legend in his own lifetime. Here are a few things that he said:

Don't pray when it rains if you don't pray when the sun shines.

Never let the odds keep you from pursuing what you know in your heart you were meant to do.

Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it don't matter.

Ain't no man can avoid being born average, but there ain't no man got to be common.

Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you.

I never threw an illegal pitch. The trouble is, once in a while I toss one that ain't never been seen by this generation.

I've said it once and I'll say it a a hundred times, I'm forty-four years old.

If a man can beat you, walk him.

It's funny what a few no-hitters do for a body.

Just take the ball and throw it where you want to. Throw strikes. Home plate don't move.

Money and women. They're two of the strongest things in the world. The things you do for a woman you wouldn't do for anything else. Same with money.

My pitching philosophy is simple - keep the ball way from the bat.

Not to be cheered by praise, not to be grieved by blame, but to know thoroughly one's own virtues or powers are the characteristics of an excellent man.

Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching.

The Gun Show Loophole

The "Gun show loophole" is a term coined to describe the legal sale of firearms between private individuals at gun shows in states where this is legal. When these sales take place at a gun show, some perceive a "loophole" in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), although these laws have never applied to individual-to-individual sales of personal firearms. Mayors in this video advocate legislation that will close this loophole. I believe that somehow these gun shows need to be able to use the NICS to insure that guns are not sold to criminals. What do you think?

FDR Quote

Without looking it up can you tell me who said:

"When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on."

Feel free to guess!

..and the answer is - US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Hyper-Ball-Fetching Weiner Dog

Amazing! HT to Salguod!

300,000 Troubled US Troops

Accordng to this Reuters article:
About 300,000 U.S. troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or depression, but about half receive no care, an independent study said on Thursday. The study by the RAND Corp. also estimated that another 320,000 troops have sustained a possible traumatic brain injury during deployment. But researchers could not say how many of those cases were serious or required treatment.
Anyone out there still feel that this Iraqi War is worth the cost - both in American lives and dollars?

The Audacity of Obama

In her review of The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama's book, Stephanie makes the following observations:

Obama thinks that a literal reading of the Bible is folly.

He is not a creationist (which is implied by the above fact.)

He believes faith and reason operate in different domains and involve different paths to discerning truth

(This isn't exactly a "fact... just an interpretation) It's implied he does not believe in the inerrancy of Scripture

This guy knows his scripture. He quotes some obscure verses, using them in a sentences that aren't really about faith or church or the bible. (And he doesn't site them, so unless you are pretty familiar with scripture, you might not no he was quoting the bible. It's almost like they are second nature to him, typical in his vocab, but they are not common scriptures you hear quoted.

I encourage you to read Stephanie's whole post.. it is balanced and well thought out.

Cubicle or Office?

One of my jobs in a past life invovled being responsible for who got an office and who didn't. It was very eye opening. My next job after that experience was more technical in nature.. as an independent contractor.. and I found myself enjoying cubicle life. Offices usually have some fairly stressful strings attached to them. What have been your experiences in your work life? Which environments have you been in and which do you prefer? Telecommuters need not respond :)

Lucas Shatnered

This is funny!

Candidates' Religious Talk

I voted with the 34% on this one. I am also interested in whether they practice their religion.. which would.. I guess.. have an impact on their policy positions. You can still vote here. Let me know how you voted and what your voting rationale is.

Movies and TV on the Net

This is a very cool site. I watched an episode of New Amsterdam.. that I missed this week.. on hulu using my laptop in Ann's hospital room while she was taking a nap. Here is the pitch from

Hulu's ambitious and never-ending mission is to help you find and enjoy the world's premium content when, where and how you want it. We hope to provide you with the web's most comprehensive selection from more than 50 content providers including FOX, NBC, MGM, Sony Pictures Television, Warner Bros., Lionsgate, and more to deliver premium programming across all genres and formats, television shows, feature films, and clips. Watch full-length episodes of current primetime TV shows such as The Simpsons and The Office the morning after they air, classics like Miami Vice and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and clips from Saturday Night Live, Nip/Tuck, and others. Hulu also offers full-length feature films like The Usual Suspects, Ice Age, Three Amigos!, and The Big Lebowski as well as clips from films such as Napoleon Dynamite, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Devil Wears Prada and many more. Hulu is free and ad-supported — available anytime in the U.S.

Presidential Bowling

Circa 1984 - Guess these folks are all kegler-challenged :)

Six Word Memoir

Saw this meme on a blog and thought that I would write my own six word memoir. Here it is:

Loving Jesus and learning to love!

A fun exercise. I invite you to write your own and leave it in the comments or on your own blog.

Abortion: Rescue Adoptions

I am once again in the process of pondering the abortion question. This recent activity was initiated by UMC pastor Adam Hamilton's latest post titled:

Why I'm "Pro-Life With a Heavy Heart"
I recommend that you read the article and also read his writing about abortion in his latest book. I will be commenting more about that in the future. What I want to do today is to quote in part one of the commenters on Adam's blog who commented as mas:
I find myself unable condemn those who choose abortion, because I would consider it an enormous hypocrisy. I have not adopted any children whose parents did not want them. How can we condemn those who choose abortion, decry their inhumanity, or attack their motives when we refuse to participate or assist in the result of an unplanned pregnancy? I have noted that the most outspoken critics of abortion, the headlines grabbing folks, have no adopted children. It’s so easy to condemn it from the armchair, isn’t it? No need to get ruffled, wrinkled, inconvenienced or give up your income to one of those “saved from abortion” children. After all, surely someone, somewhere will take care of them, right? After raising three children, mostly on my own, I know the incredibly hard work and the measure of self-sacrifice required to do it well. But, amongst my friends and acquaintances who have stated they are against abortion, not one has adopted a child. Any child. Among people I know who have adopted a child, they came to the decision because after trying for some time, they were unable to have a child on their own, not because they wanted to save a child, although that was the wonderful result. And, what of those children who are born with significant birth defects or physical/mental handicaps? How many anti-abortionists are lined up to adopt these children when the parents decide they are unable or unwilling to care for them? The problem is a multi-faceted and heartbreaking one, because real babies and real parents are caught in desperate situations. I agree that we should pay much more attention to prevention and education. And, if folks really mean it when they say they are against abortion, it’s time for them to become part of the solution.
I found this to be an interesting comment. I have two adopted children but our motives in adopting were not to rescue them from abortion. I only know of one couple that has come close to this kind of rescue adoption. Do you know of anyone.. or even heard of anyone.. who has rescued children by pledging to adopt a baby that would have otherwise been aborted?

In a different vein I found the comment to be slightly ill-thought-out. Using this logic one could say that you could not be against any sin unless you were willing to be a part of the solution. This logic would say that you could not be against suicide unless you worked on a suicide prevention crisis line. You get the idea.

Idol Shouts to the Lord

An amazing finale to last night's Idol Gives Back!

Are You a Carrot, Egg or Coffee Bean

This great story comes to you via my inbox!

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as soon as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.

Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, 'Tell me what you see.'
'Carrots, eggs, and coffee,' she replied.
Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, 'What does it mean, mother?'

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same
adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

'Which are you?' she asked her daughter. 'When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain.. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.

When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Kansas: National Champions

This one minute video of the last few seconds of last nights game say it all. The basket tied the game and sent it into overtime, The rest is history.

Congratulations Jayhawks!

Adam Hamilton says it this way in his Lessons from the Jayhawks post:

My heart is still beating fast from watching the Jayhawks come back from a nine point deficit with two minutes left to tie the game at two seconds and send the National Championship into overtime, and then winning in overtime. Unbelieveable! Congratulations all you KU fans! There are a undoubtedly a host of life lessons in this victory - I’m hoping you’ll take a minute and tell us how the Jayhawks championship illustrates some great life principles or might serve as a great sermon illustration! :) One that comes to mind for me: There are people who give up when things look impossible, and there are people who never stop believing that things can turn around.

Tie a Yellow Ribbon

This is DD214.. the form a soldier is given when they are discharged from active duty. I just spoke to my son Matt and he had his in hand.

He is coming home!

Blessings to all of my friends in Blogdom who have consistently prayed for Matt.. a special thanks to my dear friend Karen who has prayed me through much of this.

This video is so fitting as Matt called me from his car on Interstate 70.

Go Jayhawks!!

April 7 Update: Who knew when I posted this over a week ago that we would be going for all the marbles tonight against a seemingly invincible Memphis. Well.. after our sound beating of UNC on Saturday.. I am optimistic!

Church Property

This poll is relevant to the happenings last week in Virginia where a Fairfax County judge has given an initial victory to conservatives from 11 Virginia churches in their battle to keep tens of millions of dollars in buildings and land after breaking away from the Episcopal Church.

I voted with the 34% because, generally speaking, the denomination is at best only a mortgage holder in these types of situations.. and sometimes the mortgage has been already paid off. I think that local congregations should keep the property because they pay the mortgage and all of the operating expenses for the building. How would you have voted?

The War and The Economy

An interesting brief interview with Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz who has recently authored The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the US Invasion and Occupation of Iraq. The national deficit and current financial crisis seem to be tied back to this presidential blunder.. enough to make a Democrat of me.. maybe :)

Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams (1722-1803) was an American statesman, politician, writer and political philosopher, brewer, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Adams was instrumental in garnering the support of the colonies for rebellion against Great Britain, eventually resulting in the American Revolution, and was also one of the key architects of the principles of American republicanism that shaped American political culture. Here are a few things that he said:

We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come.

Driven from every other corner of the earth, freedom of thought and the right of private judgment in matters of conscience direct their course to this in happy country as their last asylum.

Our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty.

Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: First a right to life, secondly to liberty, and thirdly to property; together with the right to defend them in the best manner they can.

Mankind are governed more by their feelings than by reason.

It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.

Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say 'what should be the reward of such sacrifices?' Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!

Charlton Heston

This iconic actor passed away Sunday. I will always think about him when I watch this great movie. He will always be Moses to me!

Cool Camera Phone

Sad Movies

Here is a partial list of movies that make you cry from this site ... I only listed the ones on the front page and only ones that I have seen:

Saving Private Ryan – Sad movie with hero death

Dead Poet’s Society – Sad movie with suicide death

Finding Neverland – Sad movie with Tuberculosis death

Glory – Sad movie with war death

Braveheart – Sad movie with hero death

Titanic – Sad movie with love death, many other deaths

Ghost – Sad movie with letting go after death

Patch Adams – Sad movie with murder and blame after death

Untamed Heart – Sad movie with a chronically ill death

The Green Mile – Sad movie with martyr death

Star Trek II the Wrath of Kahn – Sad movie with Spock death

A Walk to Remember – Love shortened by death

Hero – Sad movie with many deaths

Armageddon – Sad movie with sacrifice death

My Girl – Sad movie with first love and young death

Romeo and Juliet – Sad movie with star-crossed love and suicide death

To the list I would add:

Beaches - Reminds me of dying and makes me cry

Shadowlands - All time tear-jerker about CS Lewis and his wife

Brian's Song - All guys cry for Brian

Let me know if you have any to add to the list.

Best of Idol: Syesha

One of the American Idol stealth singers is Syesha Mercado. She has one of the biggest voices on the show and I think.. even though the AI judges might disagree.. could possibly make it to the top 3. Good luck Syesha!


This is a reprint of an emailed article by Kim Allen of HeartMath.

Have you ever sent the wrong email to the wrong person? I know I'm not the only person who's ever done this and there's a good chance I will do it again! Yet the embarrassing, worrisome and anxious feelings that sometimes follow the mistake have the potential to put me into a tail spin and ruin an otherwise good day.

What is it about human nature that makes it easier to dwell on the one thing we did wrong rather than on everything else we did right?

Mistakes are what they are. Feeling badly about them is only an opinion based on a limited perspective. That's because 'beat myself up' thoughts and emotions like guilt, worry and "I can't do anything right!" trigger a cascade of physiological responses that not only wear us down, they prevent us from thinking clearly or seeing the situation any other way. We literally can't remember all we do right.

Don't let yourself get caught in this vicious cycle. Next time you make a mistake, get neutral first: Heart focus. Heart breathing. This will help stop the nonproductive, negative emotions or thought loops. Then, activate a heart feeling, like appreciation or care. Remember what it is you do well and all the times you don't make mistakes. From this coherent state, ask yourself what would be a more efficient or effective response or action. If the mistake needs corrective action, you'll maximize your ability to make the best choice about what to do about it.

This reduces your stress so you are able to get back to the business of the day with more energy.

Separation of Church and State

I read this statement today in an article about national religious broadcasters (NRB) that have concerns about Senator Charles Grassley's investigation into six Christian mega-ministries:
"This is not a crusade against ministries," Grassley said. "It has nothing to do with doctrine. It has only to do with the enforcement of the law, and it's no different than the investigation I've been doing on non-profits for the last five years."

Grassley is the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee. He believes the government has a right to investigate these tax-exempt ministries to make sure they are using funds for charitable purposes and not lavish lifestyles.

Right now, Grassley's investigation focuses on six television ministries. But those associated with NRB say the implications of that investigation are far-reaching, affecting Christian broadcasters across the spectrum.
I tend to agree with the concerns that these broadcasters have. I am not sure that the government should be sticking its nose into the affairs of faith based charities. If people want to support these ministries.. regardless of what I personally think about them.. the government should leave them alone.. isn't that what this separation of church and state is all about? What do you think?

Big Green Apple

The Big Apple believes charging motorists $8 a pop to enter much of Manhattan is the best way to deal with the city's atrocious congestion, get a handle on greenhouse gas emissions and raise millions for mass transit. The New York City Council, facing intense lobbying from Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other supporters of the idea, voted 30-20 in favor of the proposal, which must be approved by the Legislature. If lawmakers and Gov. David Paterson sign off, the plan would create a weekday "congestion zone" from 60th Street south. Cars would be charged $8 -- trucks would pay $21 -- to enter between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.