Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hubbard's Cupboard has MOVED


If you have a bookmark for my blog, delet it and reset it to this: http://ruthhubbard.wordpress.com so you'll always return to the HOME page of the new blog (rather than to an outdated specific blog entry).

If you access this blog via an RSS feed, you'll want (I hope) to unsubcribe the blogger one and newly subscribe to the wordpress one.

I've been blogging on Blogger.com for a few years. I'd recently become frustrated by some of the limitations there which motivated me to look more closely at WordPress.com. After a bit of informal research and some dinking about (my way to describe what I've been doing to test this online software) I've decided to convert. Some of the features I'd hoped to have aren't possible on the FREE blog sites -- and for now, I don't want them badly enough to pay montly blog hosting fees or to spend the time it might take me to figure out my other options.

I will leave the old blog where it is for a while (at least) -- mayby longer. I think, for instance, that the images that migrated are dependent on the old blog for the time being. We'll see.

So, this will be here, but there will not be NEW POSTS here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

9.11


"Nine one one. What is your emergency?" 911 is the number you dial on the phone when you need emergency services. It is the promise of help. The beginning of a rescue.

September 11 is my mom's birthday. This has been a part of the rhythm of my life for my entire life. Labor Day/school starts and then we soon celebrate mom's birthday. Six weeks later it's dad's birthday followed by Halloween and my birthday. Soon after that is Thanksgiving and then Advent which leads to Christmas and New Year's. It has long marked the beginning of a long season of celebrations in our family.

Nine eleven is the day when terrorists flew commercial jets full of passengers into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and not into the White House (thanks to brave passengers who acted selflessly over Pennsylvania). Nine eleven is the traumatic event which has shaped American thinking and acting for almost a decade now. It is this generations' JFK assassination in a way.

I remember that one of my early reactions to the news as it was unfolding was a totally selfish anger that "they" had turned my mom's birthday into something else. That morning I'd woken up and wondered what it was going to be like for me, living through Mom's birthday without her. She'd died just over nine months earlier. Part of my willful response to the events of that morning -- my "you can't beat us that easily" rebellion was to continue on with our quiet celebration of Mom. Dad and I went to Ritter's and had frozen custard sundaes for supper in her honor. Inside I was sticking my tongue out at "those terrorists" with one of the ultimate comfort foods. I think we were the only customers Ritter's had that night. Most Americans had begun to hunker down already.

Three digits with multiple meanings. All depends on how you slice it.

Oh, and Porsche makes a 911 model -- but that is pretty far from my life experience radar. I only remembered it when I Googled "911" to find these images for illustration.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Twitter


Because I Twitter

I found out that there is an iPhone app I want with Fantasy Football season beginning this weekend. Thanks to Bycemaster who tweeted "@Ruthhubbard hey, did you see that there is a free app to track your yahoo fantasy team up in the app store?"

I was reminded that Northland's NOW gathering began this week -- and found out that I could view via the web if that was an option that worked for me when vrain tweeted "Join us online at Northland at 7PM for the launch of NOW! Web or iPhone www.northlandchurch.net"

I discovered that briggzay is not only dealing with a bit of a plague in his office, but has a sense of humor about. He tweeted, "my office has become a den of fruit fly iniquity. calling in the swat team."

I also know that Kouya has a new phone, jlhufford's son had a good first day at kindergarten, threadless was selling all of their T's for $9 each yesterday and Relevant mag was selling 1-year subscriptions to their mag for $9.99 for that one day only.

Do I need to know these things? Maybe not. Couldn't I find them out in different ways? Some of them...but some of them, no. Kouya lives in the UK and briggzay is from the Chicago area, for example.

The point isn't really the information -- or at least not the information alone. It is about the relationships. I know some people view these relationships on Twitter and Facebook as "fake." I'm not going to argue. I'll also choose to not be swayed by the nay sayers.

I'm glad that I know that my friends (abudigan and his non-twittering wife) will have a/c installed today and that Joy_B has some shopping to do before the baby arrives. I happened to hear these things via Twitter this morning and last night. I could have heard them at the office later today -- but may have miss those conversations because, well, the Wycliffe USA Board is gathering and we're all hands on deck for that.

Those who follow me on Twitter know that I'm looking at migrating my blog from Blogger to WordPress. And now, you know too. [Word Press has some features which I like and I'm trying to determine whether it's worth the work. The literal migration itself is automated and, actually, I've already pushed the button. But there are things that don't move (some embedded video) and there is a learning curve on the software. For the moment, I'm still a Blogger.com blogger.]

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

09/09/09

09/09/09


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Cold Play: something about strawberries

This video plays automatically. The problem is, there is another in the post just below that will do the same thing. How annoying. I don't know what to do to make that not happen. I do know that if you click on the one you don't want to hear (or on both of them) it will pause the video. I guess I'll have to resist posting these more than every five blog entries -- or figure out how to change the settings. Hmmmm. Now back to your regularly scheduled blog...



My friend Nancy likes Cold Play. She has an advantage these days that keeps her connected to new music: offspring. As a single and childless woman of 47 years I have done my time lamenting both of those realities from time to time -- though mostly I'm good with both. And mostly for the past decade or two if I have had anything even akin to regrets about my state is has related more to specific advantages or disadvantages and not so much to the whole picture. I am fully aware that there are two sides to this coin.

One of the disadvantages of not having kids at this age in my life is that I don't have access to the music that seems to surround our nation's youth. Yes, I could be more intentional about it -- watch MTV or whatever it is I could do to change that. I could spend a boat load of money downloading things from iTunes when they tell me that this or that is a necessary addition to a complete collection.

For more than a decade -- while many of my peers were disconnected from the music and lost in a land of Barney and Wiggles and Christopher Robin -- I was teaching high school and was one of those "cool" teachers who actually liked the music that my students listened to. Well, most of it.

All of this is background. Context. Explanation to why I'm asking "where have I been?" as I explore Relevant tv and the music videos shared there. (David Gray and Cold Play. I wonder what's next?)

David Gray



According to Relevant TV, "If Chris Martin, Bob Dylan and Billy Joel had a love child, it'd be David Gray." That TWEET worked with me and I clicked to view and listen.

I liked what I heard well enough to post the video here and give you a link to his website so you can listen and consider for yourself.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Microwave Memories






Back in the day when I was living with my parents in Zionsville, I often found it helpful to suggest ways that they could improve their lives (and mine) through the purchase of some new something. By 1975 -- the year we moved to Z'ville and the year I started high school -- the popularity of microwave ovens in American homes had sky rocketed. I was quite sure that our lives would be significantly improved if we, too, had one of these appliances.

I am not sure when I began campaigning toward this end, but I do know that over time, my recommendations grew in their intensity and passion. The bottom line reason we didn't get one was budgetary. So, one particular Christmas when the church my dad pastored gave my folks a monetary gift, I was sure we'd finally get our microwave.

I was wrong.

My mom had her eye on a chair. An Occasional Chair, to be more exact.

One afternoon that winter my mom found me standing in the living room punching imaginary buttons on that chair and placing some sort of snack on the seat. She asked what I was doing and I told her that I was using the new microwave to heat up my food.

It was a few years longer before my parents had their first microwave and truly, I don't think our lives were in any way less meaningful than they would have been had that technology arrived earlier. In fact, I'm quite sure of it.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

trying a new look


Blogger provides basic templates for their free blog service. Others create blog templates (more are created for WordPress than Blogger, from what I can tell) that they let people use (in exchange for a link to their websites and blogs OR for a price). I've found a few that I like a lot, but that require more HTML or XML skills than I even dream of having. The one I've used most recenlty is nice, but...maybe I just got bored with it. I've saved it incase I want to put it back.


I've resorted to one of the most basic templates that Blogger offers. I'm trying to add a header that I created in Photoshop (I've done that before) but Blogger.com is not cooperating. So, since the direct approach isn't working, I'm going to place the image here and then link to it from the header form. Maybe that will work. Maybe.

Friday, September 04, 2009

August Rush

I watched August Rush tonight. I picked it up at the library last weekend mostly because it looked like it might be interesting and, well, when it's free it's easier to take a risk on a movie that you might turn off in 10 minutes.

I did not turn it off. In fact, I watched it and then hopped on iTunes and downloaded the CD (not the soundtrack, the "music from" one).

I'm not going to try to tell you that the story is anything but predictable. From the opening stanza I knew where this had to go. The thing is, this story isn't about the what and what -- and it's only barely about the who. This movie is about the mystical something that we call music. And yet the moment we name it, it has slipped into a new thing that we can't quite put our finger on.

I found the movie to be affirming. Life-giving. Bright. True. And at had a good beat; you can dance to it. You almost have to dance to it.

At least that's how I hear it.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Michelle's Story

I've been waiting for a few days for this media to be available to share with you. Listen to Michelle's story and consider all that you can learn about God and about your own story when you listen to hers. I love that God created us to live and grow in communitiy, to benefit from each other's stories as we are all written into God's story.

Michelle's Story from Northland Media Design on Vimeo.

From August 30, 2009


After hearing Michelle's story, listen to the song which she shared at Northland immediately following the video this past weekend. (The guy who is playing bass and singing back up? That's her husband.)

"Sweet Sweet Sound from Northland Media Design on Vimeo.

From August 30, 2009

Let's NOT keep Christmas this year.



Instead, let's give it away.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

1st Day of School Photo

Scott and Cat serve with Youth For Christ in Asia -- they live in Thailand. This year when their three youngest (handsome young men in the photo) went back to school, their oldest was in the States preparing to start University. For the traditional back-to-school family photo, she Skyped in. You can see her there on the laptop screen.

I've got a number of friends who have sent their first-born sons and daughters off to University in the past year or two. Many of them have sent back to the States while they continue to live and serve hither and yon around the globe. I've found myself praying more for MK's and their parents for these past few seasons because their reality is closer to me than it has been in the past, I guess.

The technology we have today (Vonage phones, Skype, Facebook, etc) makes all of this less of a relational disruption than in the past, but it's not without cost.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

2 hot chicks in 1 hot car

Becky, my cousin, posted this photo on her Facebook page recently. I grabbed it and tossed it here on the blog both because it's just such a cute pic which I had to share and because it brought back memories. This may have been the first appearance of these 2 hot chicks in 1 hot car, but it was not the last.

Back when we were both in our 20-somethings (days when I was teaching high school in Indianapolis, Indiana and Becky was running a day care center in Council Bluffs, Iowa) Becky invited me to join her on a business trip. I was on summer break and visiting family in and around (mostly around) Omaha. Becky needed to make a run to Kansas City to get some supplies for the daycare. I could ride along.

Now, the fact that we got up rather early was carefully calculated. The plan was to get to the store when it opened, make the purchase, and then head to Worlds of Fun (was that the name?) for an afternoon of amusement park madness. It was a good plan.

There was one more factor that made it a GREAT plan -- Becky was the proud owner of a brand new Mazda Miata. It was the premier year for that adorable, speedy, convertible. We had way too much fun speeding down the highway turning heads. And the drive home that night...top down...gazing up at the stars (benefit of being the passenger) was spectacular.

Great memories.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Meerkats

There is a very good reason that these critters have their own "reality" television show -- they are adorable and, unlike most zoo animals that seem to be bored beyond words with the humans who trail past every day, these guys seem quite engaged. They may not be. That's not the issue. They give every appearance to be totally enthralled with whatever you might be saying or doing.

I'd only seen them on the commercials for the Meerkat Manor show -- but after having seen them at the Lincoln Park Zoo recently, I may become a fan. Not of the show -- of the animal.

I say that knowing full well that this is why I am more of a dog person than a cat person. I respond better to the "you're here! oh, I've waited all day for you to return!! you smell great and i love you and can we just hang out and...you're here!!" of a canine companion than I do to the "you're back? hmmmm. I'd not noticed that you left. Well, it's about time. I'm hungry. You do know how to open those cans, don't you? OR should I call someone else?" of a feline.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Warehouse 13


Warehouse 13 is a new series on the SyFy network -- and it is, well, cool. I like it. I like it on a few levels, actually.

First, I like the concept. The series follows United States Secret Service agents Myka Bering and Peter Lattimer as they are reassigned to the government's secret Warehouse 13, which houses supernatural objects. They are tasked to retrieve missing objects and investigate reports of new ones. The promos for this show call Warehouse 13 "America's Attic."

Second, I like the ensemble cast. As the characters develop, they are growin growing on me. (Here is a list of the characters that I grabbed from Wikipedia. I've added some of my comments to the list.)

  • Peter Lattimer (Eddie McClintock), a "rule-bender" Secret Service agent. Agent Lattimer is smart, handsome, athletic and has a knack for quick thinking. He's a recovering alcoholic and can sometimes be prone to petulance. He has a deaf sister who taught him lip reading. He has a sixth sense in regards to immediate dangers and a weakness for cookies. Peter reminds me of a cross between Tony on NCIS and they guy on Bones.
  • Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly), Lattimer's "by-the-book" partner. She has more book smarts and an eye for details. She takes her job very seriously and has many clashes with Lattimer.
  • Arthur "Artie" Nielsen (Saul Rubinek), the Secret Service agent in charge of Warehouse 13. Although incredibly smart, he is uncouth and lacks certain social skills. He has a fondness for baking cookies, which is good for Peter. (Arite is in the photo above.) He brings a good bit of comic relief to the story -- and add the important connection to the history of this multi-century operation at the Warehouse.
  • Leena (Genelle Williams), the proprietor of the bed-and-breakfast where Lattimer and Bering stay. She can see auras and also knows about Warehouse 13. She has been aware of Warehouse 13 for quite a while and has known many of the Warehouse agents that have died -- making it seem as if she is much older than she appears to be. We'll see.
  • Daniel Dickinson (Simon Reynolds), Lattimer and Bering's former boss at the Secret Service.
  • Mrs. Frederick (C. C. H. Pounder), the director of a secret government organization, who IS older than she appears. She is a shadowy figure and is usually accompanied by her bodyguard. She is apparently Artie's superior. This woman is truly a trip.
  • Claudia Donovan (Allison Scagliotti), a "young, hip, brilliant techno-wiz" whose brother was believed to be dead. She hacked into the warehouse computer systems and kidnapped Artie so that he would help her bring back her brother and now works in the warehouse with Artie. She's the Abby from NCIS character -- but not exactly.

Finally, the gadgets are delicious. Not the artifacts, the gadgets. The ways they communicate and record or search for info, get around in the warehouse. That stuff. I imagine that the design team who creates these things is having a great time with this job. Set design and props. (What do that call it in television?)


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Prayer Cards

I'm designing a set of mini prayer cards which I'm hoping will help people who've committed to pray for me and my ministry with Wycliffe to do just that. On Friday I posted a few of my initial draft designs on Facebook and recieved GREAT input from all sorts of people. I use that input to design a few more and gathered more input.

Honestly, I was both surprised and honored by all the people who gave their opinions and shared their preferences and observations. How cool that people would take the time to invest themselves in this process.

Today (while I watched a movie I picked up at the library -- love free dvd "rental"), I worked on what I think will be the final 10 designs. They are also posted on Facebook. Click this link and you should be able to see all of them (one of them is the image above) whether or not you are a registered user of Facebook.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Gifts Can be...Tricky

My friend, Charlene, is celebrating her birthday today. (HAPPY BIRTHDAY!). I've blogged about her before -- told about the adventure that she's on with her husband, Mark, serving with SEND International in Ukraine. So, one of the things I was thinking about lately was what to give to her for her birthday. I wanted to do something different than I'd done in the past. This was complicated by the fact that she is living in Kiev, Ukraine -- so postage can be both expensive and unreliable AND there aren't places there that sell gift cards that can be purchased online and delivered.

I decided to do something that people often do for missionaries -- I sent money to be deposited in her account (not as a ministry gift which is assessed, but as a personal gift -- I actually sent it directly to the person who manages their personal bank account here in the States). But I wanted to make it fun for Charlene so I created a "fake" gift certificate that I sent to her electronically.

Because I'd been to Kiev this summer, I knew of this store (found a photo of it online so I could fake the logo) and wanted to give the gift from here. I saved the certificate as a .jpg file and had it ready for delivery. Oh, I also used an online currency converter to get the amount right in local currenty.

I fired up Skype and watched for Charlene to come online and delivered the gift via Skype while we chatted a bit. It was kind of like stopping by to drop off the gift.

Why am I blogging about this? I figure that most of you who read this support missionaries here and there or have friends/family living overseas. You may find yourself choosing to give cash gifts, but would like a way to make it feel more like a gift that has some thought behind it and less like a financial transaction. So, if this sparks any ideas for you -- then I've accomplished what I'd hoped.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

SOUR '日々の音色 (Hibi no neiro)'

The EP of Japanese group SOUR titled Water Flavor (or is the song title SOUR WATER FLAVOR by a group named Torrent? or visa versa?) was released in June of this year. This video (okay, there really are only bits and pieces about this group or this release that I can find on the internet -- in English -- so I'm reading between the lines a little) was created for that release. Anyhow, that's not really the point. The point is, this is brilliant. Eddie (friend/colleague with Wycliffe UK) posted this to FB today and I'm quite smitten with it.


I'd like to know what the song is about -- but I will continue to enjoy this whether I know or not.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Day in the Life: Illustrated and Incomplete

I remember when I was in college and we were just beginning to have electric typewriters that offered more than one font type AND size. That meant that if I had a paper to write and the prof had given page number parameters, I could cram in more words with a smaller font.

As a designer I've also known for a long time that if you don't have much to say (or nothing at all to say) you can do that more engagingly by illustrating it.

If I have not yet convinced you to click to the next blog or return to Facebook or even go back outside for one last romp through the sprinklers, then I will simply say that you are reading (and viewing) at your own risk.

My day began (well, after I left the house, anyhow) with a visit to Dr. Gabor's office for a blood draw. The first tech "missed" and the second one had to go for my other arm before striking a productive vein. Still, I was out of there quickly and on my way to the office.

I am honestly fascinated by all that they can tell from testing the blood. As one who has a family history that includes all sorts of things (including diabetes) that are often diagnoses by blood tests, doctors seem to be happy to test mine annually and I am happy for them to do so.

My day at the office was relatively routine. I'm not complaining about that at all and that should not be taken to mean that I didn't do anything interesting or important. I did spend a good bit of time interacting with people through email. I'm starting to forget how we functioned before we had it.

My INBOX has been a little out of control for the past week or two. I was pleased to get it down to a manageable level between yesterday and today's focused attention on doing just that. And no, I didn't just DELETE things randomly, though I admit to having threatened that on occasion.

On project I'm working on this week involved the production of a draft document (using WORD) which then needed to be shared with a colleague who works in Dallas with Wycliffe's primary strategic partner organization, SIL for his input and additions before we jointly share it more broadly. For various reasons that are even more irrelevant to this story than what I've already included, email was the chosen method of sharing. Problem is, somewhere between my OUTBOX and his INBOX, the file was converted into something that was useless (and huge). After a couple attempts, we resorted to other technology -- and I transfered the document to him through SKYPE. Click, zoom, done.

Just before 5 pm, I gathered up my belongings and headed down to the computer training lab where I met with some of my colleagues with whom I am playing Fantasy Football this year for our player DRAFT. The process of ten teams/owners selecting fifteen players each took around two hours. It was fun -- at least I know I had fun.

Sometime later in the season I'll share my team logo and my drafted team. I will potentially blog about that again before the season is over -- but doubt it will be even as frequently as weekly. But then again, who knows.






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Finally, I thought I'd give you a glimpse into my tomorrow-but-actually-Friday: the shuttle has been rescheduled to go just after midnight tomorrow night (making it technically Friday morning) and I plan to join a few other colleagues for the trip out to the coast to watch it up close. Not from the Cape itself -- we aren't fortunate enough to have tickets for that. But from the river. I've not seen a night launch from up close and fear there won't be many more opportunities. You will hear about that from me sometime before the weekend passes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Clean Teeth, et al











Something clicked this morning and I started making phone calls for the purpose of making appointments.

Doctor (fasting blood draw and basic).

Opthamologist (eye check and new Rx for new contacts).

Dentist (cleaning, X-rays and exam).

I figured that between my this and that, I would likely get all of this accomplished before the holidays kick into full swing.

I am only about a month late on the doctor appointment. No worries there. It has been nearly two years on the eyes and that means it's time. The dentist...well...it has been a very long time.

The dentist had a last-minute cancellation and so I went this afternoon. I go back in three weeks to spend a few hours dealing aggressively with the two issues that showed on the X-rays/exam.

I'll have the blood draw in the morning tomorrow and then go back for the rest in on week.

I'm still waiting to hear from the opthamologist. I didn't call there, I requested the appointment via their website. Hey, I had to try to see if that worked. Theoretically it should be easy. Like I said, we'll see.

So, whatever clicked in my head, I'm glad it did.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Immersion or Sprinkling?

If you've been to Millennium Park in Chicago, you might recognize this fountain/art. This is one of two box buildings from which water gushes and which emit images of faces. (Inadequate description. Sorry.)

When I was there this month with Tammy, Julie and Sandy (who took the photo -- thanks for sharing), I had an urge to stand under the falling water. It was, I suspect, somewhat motivated by the temperatures -- but not entirely.

I had excuses both times we were near this installation -- spending the day in soaking wet clothes as the first and not wanting to get our borrowed car wet was the second. So, instead of taking the plunge, as it were, I stood close by the falling water and imagined what it might be light to take that last step back.

Maybe it was the responsible thing to do. Still, I wonder what it would be like to stand, drenched to the skin.

I'm not sure if I'm regretting having missed the experience or regretting having not overcome the excuses more. Now, don't get me wrong, I do know that I have (as John Ortberg would say it) stepped out of the boat on occasion -- but I also know that my natural tendency is to do the safe thing. To stay dry. To keep my arms and legs inside the vehicle and my seatbelt fastened.

Maybe next time I visit the Windy City I will get a chance to submit myself to this baptism and will not hesitate.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ketchup

I am not a ketchup fanatic, but I am sure I've consumed a fair quantity of this stuff in my lifetime. And yes, I'm pretty sure that this is my favorite brand.

Heinz has been making and selling ketchup since 1869. One hundred and forty years. Crazy.

Here is the interesting thing (for me, anyhow) -- if you go to heinz.com you'll find that they are on message in every category to near perfection. I enjoy seeing companies who know what their BRAND identity is all about and are intentional and dogmatic about maintaining that identity in all they do.

One of my early memories of the HEINZ brand via television is of a commercial, but only recently did I realize that Matt Le Blanc was the actor who co-starred with the ketchup.



Saturday, August 22, 2009

Zinger Pull Chain Switch

I'm just stubborn enough that I will use a good bit of time in pursuit of fixing a thing that "should be" easy enough to fix.

More than a week ago Dad pulled the chain that controls the speed of the ceiling fan's rotation and it broke off. He's been living with "fan ON and stuck at medium" for all this time. Yesterday he carried the ladder in to see if he could attach the new chain he picked up at Wal-Mart only to discover that there was nothing to attach that chain to.

When I got up this morning, I thought I'd take a look myself and came to the same conclusion -- this was going to take more than just a climb up the ladder to remedy.

I took apart what needed to be taken apart to get a better look at (what I now know is) the Zinger Pull Chain Switch. [The image is NOT the same switch...it is only a single switch and not a 4-wire, 3-way switch like I've bonded with on my Saturday.] It didn't take too long to determine that we needed to find a replacement switch.

And it certainly did not take any arm twisting to add Lowe's to Saturday's produce market and library list of errands. I had a few things I wanted to get "next time I'm at a Lowe's or Home Depot" so the agenda for our hot and humid August morning was quickly set.

The very (very, very) helpful staff at Lowe's quickly found the replacement part of us and we were on our way. [I'm wondering if they're putting customer service on steroids there -- we were warmly and happily approached by no less than 5 staff in our time there, all wanting to be so helpful and encouraging -- wondering if we're working on any projects that we'd like help on. I should have invited one of them home immediately.]

Once home, I read the instructions (try not to pass out) and headed back up the ladder with confidence.

An hour later, I'm admitting that this not going to be one of those project about which I wonder "why did I put that off for so long" because it turns out to be much easier than I'd thought.

I "think" that the switch I purchased is faulty -- but really how would I know that. I'll pick up another on the way home from church tomorrow. I'm not driving 25 miles round trip to potentially fail again. [You can see how my attitude has shifted from "DIY QUEEN of the UNIVERSE" to "Where is Andrew or any of the other (very handsome) handyman types from HGTV or DIY or any other network for that matter??"]

For now, I think I'll plant a plant in a pot and then take a nap. I'm very good at both of those activities.

Friday, August 21, 2009

10 conclusions from this day

1. i must see my opthamologist soon for new contact lenses - my current ones have been a major contributor to far too many headaches these past two weeks
2. thunderstorms are brilliant!
3. i want to go to improv camp -- do that have that for middle-aged women?
4. the gator nation is a powerful force
5. a hand full of tootsie rolls in a little brown bag can be a fantastic treat
6. there's an ap for that
7. there is a reason they call it the rainy season
8. i'd best get to making a plan for the fantasy football draft -- like, what will I wear?
9. i am not insane
10. laughter oils the gearbox in my brain

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Open Sourcing the Gospel



Last night as I was pondering this idea of outsourcing sermons I let my mind wander. Before I knew it, I was asking what it looks like to open source the Gospel.

(By this I don't mean outsource in the sense that we just hire other people to do the work or "open source" in a sense that everyone takes the parts they like and then uses those to create their own paths to redemption and reconciliation -- I still hold that Christ was not kidding when he said that "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by me.")

I'm thinking more in lines of making the platform of the Gospel available to everyone to apply to their own contexts. That's what I understand open source to be relative to software development anyhow (in my limited understanding). I'm pretty sure that a critical part of making that possible is that the Word of God -- the Word who created the earth and everything/everyone in it and the Word who became human and moved into the neighborhood, filled with grace and truth and the Word which has been translated into words and whose flesh has become the Church -- that Word must be translated to include everyone. That would suggest that the words must be translated into the languages of every people and that what will follow will be the incarnation of Christ as the Church is established among every people.

I say "every" for two reasons -- the nature of Christ demands inclusion and the Word itself refers to people from every nation, tribe, tongue and people worshipping around the throne in heaven. "Every" is God's idea, not some political or social agenda.

With this understanding of the Gospel, there are two interdependent movements that are essential: Bible translation and church planting.


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PHOTO: Reading Gapapaiwa New Testament. "People enjoying reading New Testaments in their own language for the first time." Photo by Jonathan Federwitz.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Call to Destructive Behavior



As Hamel continued, I must have realized that I was not going to be able to keep up with him because my notes start getting less and less complete.

So, after he said that we must (in order to catch up with the pace of change in the world which is our context for ministry) (1) overcome the temptation to take refuge in denial and (2) generate more strategic options, he said that (3) what we're doing now has to be destructed before the new can be built.

How in the world does one accomplish that and, well, isn't that dangerous?

Clarification came to me with this next directive: CHALLENGE YOUR OWN ORTHODOXY. His instruction is to consider what has not changed for 3-5 years (and in that he implies "or longer") and ask WHY? Those long-lasting things are "orthodoxy."

As he started to toss out ideas of ways that the church could do this, my head started to swim (the good kind of head-swimming) with questions and wonders. He asked evocative questions. Why don't we outsource sermons -- put the topic out there a week or two ahead of time and let people contribute to it -- participate in it's development. Why don't we bring lap tops to church for note taking and online interaction?

"The further down in the trenches you are, the easier it is to mistake the edge of the rut with the horizon."

Yeah, just about everyone who took notes (whether it was like me in the mole skin or like many by Tweeting) got that one recorded.

So, when you're looking at all of those things that have become "orthodoxy" for you -- and arguing with yourself about why it's okay that you're holding on to tightly to strategies that don't work any more and to programs that are ineffective, ask yourself this question: Am I more committed to redemption, renewal and restoration or to policies, processes and procedures?

Birds in Bushes



...Gary Hamel, continued

So, the temptation to take refuge in denial must be overcome and Hamel gave some great ways to ensure that it happens. I had no idea when I blogged those notes yesterday morning that I'd have a chance to see them lived out during the day. The executive leadership from Wycliffe USA and from SIL International met together all day (something we are making a habit) and a simplified version of what we did together was that we engaged in battle against denial.

Hamel's next point is that leaders who want to lead organizations and movements that are engaged and relevant in a culture that is changing at the speed of light is this:

2. Generate More Strategic Options

He instructed us to not hold so tightly to the bird in the hand -- suggesting that one of the two or three in the bush might be a better option.

One of the illustrations he used to express this need for generating more strategic options comes from nature -- oak trees and acorn. He said that most acorns are fully capable of producing an oak tree. The key is finding the right conditions for that to happen -- the right soil, light, water, season combination. "Acorns are a search strategy."

Then, among the examples he offered of how this is working today - in the age of social media and everyone having a voice - was Dell's IDEASTORM.

As he gave other examples that I didn't write down, Threadless came to mind -- a t-shirt company that (among other things) makes and sells t-shirts that contain text from Twitter messages. People come to the site and vote on the ones that they'd wear and not wear each week and the winners are created and offered to the public for sale.

I started asking myself what I can do to open up the conversation to more people -- in Wycliffe, for example. What would that look like? How could we make that work better than it does now?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Umption in my Gumption

Gary Hamel presented session #2 at the Leadership Summit. I was tuned in to listen right away because of the intro John Ortberg gave him -- and I was not disappointed.

"The world is becoming more turbulent faster than most organizations are becoming resilient." He said that our problem is inertia -- living and doing ministry at a time when the pace of change is in hyperdrive.

He made some recommendations for those organizations and individuals who want to continue to be relevant and effective in this new world -- a new world that Bill Hybels had already warned is here to stay in session 1. I'm going to share the first one tonight.

1. Overcome the temptation to take refuge in denial.

He suggested that the good news about this one is that denial follows a know pattern and can be identified -- and if you can identify it, you can combat it more easily. That pattern looks something like this: DISMISS; RATIONALIZE; MITIGATE; CONFRONT. "Every organization is successful until it is not."

One of the powerhouse statements that he made about this tendency for organizations to choose denial over reality is rather...well, rather convicting. "When an organization misses the future, it's not because the future was unknowable. It's because the future was unpalatable."

Hamel then gave these three things leaders can do to avoid denial:
(a) Cultivate a culture on unflinching honesty
(b) Question your beliefs (not your creeds or practices)
(c) Listen to renegades

So, here I am chewing this over again -- at a pace a bit slower than I could last week -- Hamel is a fast talking (literally, not figuratively).

Where, in Wycliffe's cultures, do we cultivate a culture of unflinching honesty? And where don't we? Where do we, in actual fact, cultivate a culture of nodding heads and pasted on grins? Now, for all sorts of reasons I'm not going to fill this blog with names and departments and scenarios ("honesty" should sometimes be delivered privately). But I'm asking God to help me see that specifically where I am called to wield influence. Where I have responsibility.

And then I'm asking--beyond Wycliffe USA's "Results to Achieve" (some organizations call them Ends or Goals) and our "Core Values"--what needs to be poked at more vigorously and called into question? Where have we ignored the signs of ineffectiveness (that is, where are we in denial about programs that are well loved or that are long-standing and therefore have been deemed "the way we do it") and where are we telling ourselves that certain things are not our responsibility when they in fact could be changed?

And then, well, I'm asking myself who the renegades are to whom I need to be listening. And what distinguishes a renegade from a complainer or someone who just likes the sound of her own voice (or his...that is a trait that plagues both genders)?

Makes my head hurt. But the cause of Bible translation and the ultimate building of the Kingdom is too important to be crippled by leaders who are unwilling to roll up their sleeves and do the hard work of change in order to avoid the aspirin bottle.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I'm a Loaner

Jessica was interviewed at the Leadership Summit last week. I'd heard about Kiva before that hour, but I'd not paid all that much attention to the story or the strategy. Last week I listened. I was taken in by three aspects of this venture and found myself compelled to at least try it for myself.

First, my mind was captured by the idea itself -- the simplicity and the goodness of it. Invite people to make small loans directly to people who need those loans. Use systems already in place for part of that process and build systems for others parts (but only when a system is necessary). Charge a low interest on those loans so that repayment is possible. Make these loans to those who can't secure regular bank loans -- the hard-working poor.

Besides the goodness of the idea, my hear was captured by the stories of people who have been and continue to be impacted by this simple idea. Here is Lourdes Arambulo's story:

Lourdes Arambuloo, who lives in the island village in the town of Binangonan, Rizal Province in the Philippines, is a woman of courage who maintains hope in her ability to rise above poverty. Happily married to Felix, a 37-year-old fisherman and her business partner, she is a mother to three boys and a girl.

Lourdes joined ASHI (Ahon Sa Hirap, Inc.), an MFI and KIVA partner in the Philippines, in 1999, and during her ten years as a member of ASHI, she has been noted for her exemplary performance in meeting her obligations in the organization. Her previous loans were carefully used as rolling capital for her fishing business. Because fishing allows her to earn just enough income for her family needs, she recently ventured into raising pigs, an enterprise that will bring her enough profit to save for the future of her children. Fishing will now become her secondary business.

She is now requesting her ninth loan, 45,000 pesos to pay for 10 piglets, 26 sacks of assorted feeds, vitamins and transportation expenses. Lourdes is hopeful that the trust and opportunity given by ASHI and KIVA, coupled with hard work, will allow her to reach her dreams of expanding her business, sending her children to school, and building a new and more spacious house.


Really, who doesn't want to be a part of that kind of healthy development?

And then there is the Spirit of God speaking to me and saying "this is one way." I've often asked what it looks like in our context and our world for a person like me to live out the clear commands from Scripture like those in Isaiah 58. "Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors! Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness..."

I've blogged before and will again about how Bible translation (the work/ministry in which I'm investing myself deeply through my vocation) fulfills this mandate. So you see, it's not that I've never had an answer or a way to do this before. I've had myriad opportunities (and have even taken a few of those) to be a part of removing yokes of oppression and of helping those in trouble. Kiva provides one more way -- a way that I'm exploring through participation right now.

Join me if you'd like.

Friday, August 14, 2009

You can ignore it, but it won't go away...



Most of us (individually if we're over 40 years old and organizationally) are already running to catch up with this new thing. The learning curve is steep because it's not so much about the technology (we've survived new technology before) as it is about a new world view. If you've been thinking that you can ignore Social Media for a few months and it, too, will die in popularity like salad shooters and mood rings, then you're going to wake up in a few years more confused than ever.

Sometimes I'm already confused.

If you're needing to get a sense of just how powerful and how widespread this revolution has already spread, then the video below is a good place for that conversation to start. (Thanks to Lynn who posted this on Facebook from YouTube where I saw it and grabbed it to post on my blog. Next step? I'll Tweet it. Crazy.)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Millennium Park - Chicago

The plan was simple: meet in Chicago and attend Willow Creek's Leadership Summit together and then stay a couple days extra to play in the Windy City. Julie, Sandy, Tammy and I did just that.

On Saturday morning we woke up to rain (it had been raining all of Friday), but the forecast promised the rain would move on and the sun would shine. While we did linger a bit longer than planned over the coffee at the hotel, we did not really alter our plans.

As the driver, I chose a route from Schaumburg to the Loop that had us cross the north side of the city on Irving Park -- I enjoy those neighborhoods -- and then drop south on Lake Shore Drive. We parked in the Millennium Parking Garage under the park/art institute. With Lalapalooza in town all weekend (3 days of concerts at Grant Park) all the garages were charging "event" prices, so picking one place and leaving the car there was the plan.

We spent a couple of hours playing in the park. The two places that engaged us the most were the bean and the fountain. Okay, I probably enjoyed the fountain the most of any of us -- or maybe I'm just assuming that because I'm the one who had to take off my shoes and roll up my pant legs so I could splash around with all of the kids.

At noon we found seats in the shade near the stage and enjoyed a FREE jazz quintet (soprano sax with strings) concert before heading to lunch.

(I've got photos on my laptop which I'll load on to another blog entry later -- maybe even later today. This photo is from my phone and is already loaded on the home computer.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Leadership Summit (aka #TLS)



Because I did not blog during or immediately following the Leadership Summit this year (like I did last year), I am not sure I'll go back and do it. It's possible that I will use future blog space to think through the notes I took. You know, a little cud chewing.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Playing on YouTube



So, we should be sleeping soon...but started playing oldies from our youth now found on YouTube. Like this one. Oh my. If we would have had the right technology (aka cables), we could have played these on the big screen and had kareokee night.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Breathe Deep

I first heard this song on a recording by Lost Dogs quite a few years ago. It was Track 18 on their 1992 release Scenic Routes. When I read the playlist on that recording I find myself able to hum all of them and recall the lyrics for most (at least for parts of the songs).

Vernon and the team offered this version in worship recently and I was, as I often am, amazed by the power of the right song as part of a whole -- with other music and Scripture reading and a sermon and the lights and graphics. All of it.

I was also reminded of why I love this song which so clearly reminds us that ALL are loved by God and ALL are invited to breathe deep of his very breath. He does not ask us to straighten out our act or get our stuff together or make things right or figure them out BEFORE we are loved, invited, included. He promises to walk with us through all of that mess and do the straightening and cleaning and restoring for us. He knows we can't do it ourselves.

I am also reminded that many of the things that we think divide us (status, titles, roles and such) actually don't. Or only do because we let them, but by letting them we are listening to the one who deceives and divides rather than the One who is Truth, the One in whom everything is brought together in unity.

The lyrics are in the video above, but I'll put them here too.


Breathe Deep (The Breath of God)
(Music and lyrics by Terry Taylor)


Politicians, morticians, Philistines, homophobes
Skinheads, Dead heads, tax evaders, street kids
Alcoholics, workaholics, wise guys, dim wits
Blue collars, white collars, war mongers, peace nicks

Breathe deep
Breathe deep the Breath of God
Breathe deep
Breathe deep the Breath of God

Suicidals, rock idols, shut-ins, drop outs
Friendless, homeless, penniless and depressed
Presidents, residents, foreigners and aliens
Dissidents, feminists, xenophobes and chauvinists

Breathe deep
Breathe deep the Breath of God
Breathe deep
Breathe deep the Breath of God

Evolutionists, creationists, perverts, slum lords
Dead-beats, athletes, Protestants and Catholics
Housewives, neophytes, pro-choice, pro-life
Misogynists, monogamists, philanthropists, blacks and whites

Breathe deep
Breathe deep the Breath of God
Breathe deep
Breathe deep the Breath of God

Police, obese, lawyers, and government
Sex offenders, tax collectors, war vets, rejects
Atheists, Scientists, racists, sadists
Biographers, photographers, artists, pornographers

Breathe deep
Breathe deep the Breath of God
Breathe deep
Breathe deep the Breath of God

Gays and lesbians, demagogues and thesbians
The disabled, preachers, doctors and teachers
Meat eaters, wife beaters, judges and jurys
Long hair, no hair, everybody everywhere!

Breathe deep
Breathe deep the Breath of God
Breathe deep
Breathe deep the Breath of God

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ted Dekker: GREEN




I can't remember which one of Dekker's books I read first, but once I'd read one, I was quickly on my way to becoming a fan. A few months ago I took the "Circle Trilogy" on a long trip and read all three in the span of about 10 days. It's hard to explain the experience, really.

I'm not one to think that any fiction work is for everyone -- but if suspense/fantasy/sci-fi is interesting to you at all and you've not read any of Dekker's work, you should at least give it a try.

A month or so ago I became aware that the next book in this series -- GREEN -- will be released soon. Then, not long after hearing that, I was invited by a marketing deal to which I subscribe to promote the book with friends.
Essentially I can invite people to go to the website and sign up to receive info about the book when it's published (including a discount coupon for the book) and by doing go I become eligible for fabulous prizes (you know, autographed books and some amazing trip). Truth is, I'm not all that fired up for the prizes (though a trip is always cool). I just want to pass on the op for a coupon to you if you are wanting to purchase the book anyhow.

So, go to the website and sign up if you want to. When you do, you can give them my code number and that will get me "credit" toward whatever it is I get credit for. (I really did read it when I signed up. I just didn't care that much.)

That code is 6970.

Now, I'm not at all sure why the graphic above lost a layer of it's color. Bummer.

And, here is some info about the book. There is way, way more on the website.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wycliffe "at" URBANA'09


One of the things I will potentially (and probably) blog about over these next months is URBANA. It's a great conference hosted by InterVarsity every three years that I've attended twice in my lifetime (1987 and 2000) and which I'll attend again this year.
I've already posted some comments about it on Facebook and have Tweeted about it. Blogging is sure to follow.
As we build the on-site team and develop our strategies for the event, one of my priorities is to provide tools to that team that will enable them to effectively engage a prayer-team to support the work we'll be doing. The graphic above is one of those tools -- an represents a small collection of digital graphics that we'll be able to email to people or put on blogs.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Chicago

Next week I'm flying to the Windy City to meet up with a few friends. We're going to attend Willow Creek's Leadership Summit together and then will spend the weekend doing a bunch of whatever.

Chicago is a great city for that. Parks, museums, neighborhoods, zoos, shoreline and skyscrapers. Oh, and millions and millions of people.

I've been exploring our options -- making lists of things we could do if we choose to. It's one of these deals where we want to squeeze all we can out of the time, but the highest value is being together. The place is, well, frosting. Bonus (and a great bonus, no denying).

The last time we were all together was the first time we were all together -- and that was a year ago Spring in Thailand. There we (in various combinations) rode elephants and enjoyed a number of eating adventures, we sat in meetings and visited the pink-shirt ladies for foot massage.

We've each traveled thousands of miles (literally and figurative) over this past year plus. It's been a joy to do that together (figuratively, but really). I'm looking forward to some literal together time, though.


Friday, July 24, 2009

The World Calls it Football




Cootie enjoys socc...er...football. She likes the thrill of it. The competition. The companionship. The grass stains and sweat and especially the snacks after the game.

She was thrilled to hear about the good fortune of the US team this week.

CHICAGO (July 23, 2009) -- The U.S. earned a trip to their third straight CONCACAF Gold Cup Final, following Thursday's 2-0 victory against Honduras at Soldier Field in Chicago. Clarence Goodson scored the game-winner in first-half stoppage time, and Kenny Cooper added an insurance goal as the game reached 90 minutes. With the victory, the U.S. will face Mexico on Sunday at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Kickoff on Sunday is set for 3 p.m. ET on Fox Soccer Channel, Univision and the Futbol de Primera Radio Network.

It's Friday evening and The Brownmeister thought the best thing to do (since I didn't give her the option of a chewy treat, another bowl of food, or a ride it the jeep) was to kick it around a bit.

She's done that and now she is resting. With her blanket.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wedding Celebration



Thanks for sharing this, Angela! I'll post without further commentary.

Kindle Kindling

If you know me at all, you can't be surprised that I think these are very cool tools! The Kindle (first and second generation) not only works, it it beautiful to look at and quite nice to hold.

The more I travel, the more I think that being able to load a whole pile of books onto a small but easily viewable device like this is a good thing. Add the ability to also load dozens of magazine/newspaper publications and it's nearly irresistible. The fact that this loading is done over a G3 network at no fee beyond the purchase of the publication is brilliant.

I found out a few months ago that you can also upload PDF files to this device (for now, through a website -- but soon they will be directly loadable if I understand correctly) makes the deal is so sweet I need a cup of coffee with it.

This thing even has a long battery life -- actually makes it through a 36 hour door to door trip to the other side of the globe without a recharge. And the size - it leaves loads of room in the backpack for other travel essentials,

So, when the 2.0 version was introduced by Amazon.com and the price began to do as prices of technology are supposed to do, what kept me from clicking on the Add to Shopping Cart button and calling it mine?

When I travel and take a new book or two with me (usually fiction), I sometimes bring those books home in my suitcase -- but I often pass them on to someone else who either also travels or who lives where English books are not so readily available as they are where I live. You can't share books purchased on the Kindle unless you also share the device.

I know that may seem incidental -- and ultimately it might be less of a reason than it has been for me so far. But, sharing books is one of the things I love about books. Libraries are built on the value of sharing books and now also include sharing other things. I love that.

Then yesterday Eric Twittered about this article on slate.com in which Farhad Manjoo suggests that the technology which lets Amazon.com delete an e.book from the Kindle owned by anyone "on network" whenever they want to paves the way for book-banning like we've never experienced. This article is fascinating if you are at all willing to consider any sort of conspiracy theory.

I have friends who have these and love them -- friends who are not as easily lured into the latest gadgetry as I am. Will I take the Kindle plunge one of these days? Perhaps. The jury is still out, I guess.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cootie Trades "Camp" for "Spa"










You may remember that Cootie Brown is a regular guest at Hubbard's Cupboard and an occasional blog contributer as well. A couple of years back when I had just started to blog with any regularity, Cootie stayed with me for a spell and we enjoyed a week or so of "CAMP" with all sorts of activities appropriate for that theme.

Well, she's back.

Arriving this morning after breakfast -- on her 8th BIRTHDAY, no less -- she has decided that she'd rather go for a SPA theme for this summer stay-cation.

Today she spent a good bit of time out by the fountain on the patio dreaming of younger days when she'd rather hunt geckos than have her nails done. She says that the sound of water's babble makes her think of the brooks and creeks and raging rivers where he loves to ramble and hunt with her friends. I'm pretty sure that all of that romping is also in her dreams.

She'll eventually grow weary of the spa treatments and we'll be on to other ventures, but for now, it is rather placid around here and I don't mind at all.


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If you are new to the blog and would like to catch up on Cootie's exploits, simply click on the "tag" above for "Cootie Brown" and all of the blogs which have been similarly tagged will magically assemble themselves in one long string. Oh, the joys of technology.

Meet me in St. Louis

I made a comment on the other day on Facebook about URBANA'09 on which Janet Balasiri commented something like "I'll see you in St. Louis!" Janet, who is on staff with InterVarsiy (the event sponsors) has leadership responsibility for a portion of the event - a significant portion, if I might say so. (Having been a sponsor on a short term mission trip that Janet took with Faith Church to Barcelona and now having the privilege of seeing the ways that God is using her makes me proud in a way.) Anyhow, that comment made me think of this song:




It also made me think about how Faith Church is having an interesting impact on URBANA'09 this year (again) - probably one that is much deeper than I'm aware of, but still. There is Janet's leadership of the Poverty tracks. Then there is a little thing like Jim Tebbe's leadership of ALL OF URBANA. There are others who have been sent from Faith who are on staff with IV (including Don Fields, Larry and Debbie Lee, Mark and Dawn Slaughter). I'm suspecting that there are other Faith missionaries who will be representing their respective missions agencies at the event. Like me.

One of the things that is requiring a good bit of my attention during these hot days of summer is planning Wycliffe USA's strategy for URBANA'09. I'm not alone in this venture by any means and that is reason for gobs of gratitude.

On the URBANA09 website they have FAQs. For the first question (What is Urbana?" they offerr this answer:
Urbana is the missions conference for North American student hosted by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA and Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of Canada. Urbana 09 will be our 22nd conference. The first "Urbana" was held in Toronto in 1946. From 1948 to 2003, the conference was held at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Since 2006, Urbana has been held at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. Generations of college students have come to Urbana to hear about cutting edge issues missions and respond to the call to participate in God's global mission. During the five days of Urbana participants will experience multicultural worship and drama, dynamic speakers, in-depth Bible study and prayer. They will also be encouraged to explore short-term and vocational opportunities as they interact with representatives from more than 300 mission agencies and educational institutions. Attendance at Urbana is usually around 20,000.
If I keep on this topic I may find myself singing It's A Small World next.

Before I do that, let me encourage you to consider praying for this event. It is not too soon to start doing that. I'm sure you could find inspiration for your praying on the URBANA'09 website -- or ask to be on Janet's or Tebbe's or my prayer update distributions (which ever of us you may know) as I suspect there will be specifics shared in those publications. Find out if any students you know are going and pray for them. There are loads of ways you could be directly and deeply involved through prayer.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cathedrals and Laboratories

Cathedrals and Laboratories from Northland Media Design on Vimeo.

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Earlier this week I shared a quote that had been shared at the beginning of Northland's worship last weekend. That quote came in this media piece. As one who has long believed and celebrated the fact that all truth is God's truth and that God can be seen in all He has created, I found this topic to be exhilarating and affirming in many ways.

I grow weary of the part of the conversation that keeps trying to limit God to religious discussions as if we can somehow put a fence about Him and expect that He will behave Himself like a well-trained pet. And while I fully admit that the conversations that push out the sides of the box walls in which we carry around our definitions of God (for I think our finite minds make boxes even when we are trying hard not to do so) can be painful and difficult, they are one of the best ways we can spend ourselves.

In addressing the dance between science and faith, Joel reminded us that science answers the WHAT and HOW questions while faith answers the WHY and WHO questions. And to think that God is only interested in the WHY is to strip God of Himself.

Joel Hunter is one of the people in my life who is helping me to push out the sides of the boxes that I don't really want to have but am stuck with because of my own limitations. Ted Dekker is another -- he uses fiction. John Rutter does it with choral music. Who else?