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:: M squared T ::

Do you have an M Squared life? Matt does...
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:: Friday, December 31, 2004 ::

Like Champaign County

The South-East Asian Earthquake and Tsunami's death toll has risen to 125 000. That's like taking my entire county and wiping it off the map. There's a little over 100 000 in Champaign-Urbana-Savoy, and about 25 000 in the surrounding few miles, our 30x36 mile rectangle of very flat ground.

This helps bring this all home for me. It gives me a handle on the magnitude of what has happened. The number of people homeless is approximately the size of the Chicago metro area - City (2.7 M.) and Illinois suburbs (4.3 M.).

Imagine finding homes for all of metro Chicago - on 3rd world income.


:: Matt 12/31/2004 02:18:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Thursday, December 30, 2004 ::
Long Day

First, the good stuff: Illinois Basketball is still undefeated.

Work Stuff:

It's kinda complicated making a transition from an NT4 domain to an Active Directory Windows Server 2003 domain when you're at a large institution like the University of Illinois. We've been running our own departmental domain for a long time; for a number of reasons it has become important to attach ourselves to the greater University domain.

Then, you move into the switchover phase. You've tested everything, and you think it works. But there's always a lot you don't know. So when you switch to "live production" you get interesting problems. Like, for instance, that passwords that should be synchronized aren't always. Actually, it seems most of the time they aren't. Or your computer cloning software gives strange error messages leaving computers in unbootable states. Or when people need something to be fixed "right now!" and you have to tell them that they need to take a number.

All in all, it's been a long day. But we're making really good progress with the transition.

What will Monday bring?

:: Matt 12/30/2004 10:20:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Wednesday, December 29, 2004 ::
Yeah, I like that!

Jonny Baker comments on the new Banksy book.

And related to that, this makes me laugh. Out loud.

:: Matt 12/29/2004 06:53:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
To assist with the effort


:: Matt 12/29/2004 06:11:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Tuesday, December 28, 2004 ::
International Prayer Request

It almost goes without saying, but perhaps it needs to be said anyway:

Please pray for the situation in Tsunami-stricken SE Asia.

I'm not sure what to pray for; here's where I'll start; God will lead us beyond this humble beginning:

- That aid and comfort will come quickly to those in need;
- That the sorrowing, the mourners, will be comforted;
- That in lieu of fingerpointing and blaming constructive steps will be taken to design infrastructure means of attenuating future devastation in such cases as Tsunamis
- That God's people will be the city on the hill: good deeds shining so brightly that glory to God is natural - amidst natural disaster
- That those who ask deep questions will find deep answers

Pax omnibus in nomine Domini Nostri Jesu Christi

:: Matt 12/28/2004 10:04:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (3) ::
:: Monday, December 27, 2004 ::
Blogger Idol "Travel" Top 5

Ah, the time of the week when I post my Blogger Idol Top 5...

Some diverse posts:

1. The Religious Duty of Travelling
2. Linus and Peanuts
3. Whoa...
4. Been there, done that...
5. I hate commuting too...

:: Matt 12/27/2004 11:16:00 AM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Saturday, December 25, 2004 ::
Christus Natus Est

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And in fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in his hand
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand.

King of Kings yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth he stood,
Lord of Lords in human vesture,
In the Body and the Blood
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for hevenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of Light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.

At his feet the six-winged seraph;
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the Presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry,
"Alleluia, alleluia!
Alleluia, Lord Most High!"

:: Matt 12/25/2004 09:25:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Friday, December 24, 2004 ::
Keep Watch

Keep Watch!

Our salvation draws nigh.

This is the night our Lord is born.

From Irenaeus:

Being thirty years old when He came to be baptized, and then possessing the full age of a Master, He came to Jerusalem, so that He might be properly acknowledged by all as a Master. For He did not seem one thing while He was another, as those affirm who describe Him as being man only in appearance; but what He was, that He also appeared to be. Being a Master, therefore, He also possessed the age of a Master, not despising or evading any condition of humanity, nor setting aside in Himself that law which He had appointed for the human race, but sanctifying every age, by that period corresponding to it which belonged to Himself.

For He came to save all through means of Himself — all, I say, who through Him are born again to God — infants, and children, and boys, and youths, and old men. He therefore passed through every age, becoming an infant for infants, thus sanctifying infants; a child for children, thus sanctifying those who are of this age, being at the same time made to them an example of piety, righteousness, and submission; a youth for youths, becoming an example to youths, and thus sanctifying them for the Lord. So likewise He was an old man for old men, that He might be a perfect Master for all, not merely as respects the setting forth of the truth, but also as regards age, sanctifying at the same time the aged also, and becoming an example to them likewise. Then, at last, He came on to death itself, that He might be “the first-born from the dead, that in all things He might have the pre-eminence,” the Prince of life, existing before all, and going before all.
(From Adversus Haereses, II.xxii.4)

:: Matt 12/24/2004 05:50:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Wednesday, December 22, 2004 ::
Still #1

The Illini beat Mizzou (barely)... we're still #1!!!

:: Matt 12/22/2004 10:09:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
Airlifted to Hong Kong... or not?

A real adventure awaited me while on a trip to Latvia (Former Soviet Union) during the summer of 2002. I was with the Xtreme Team, a short-term mission trip set up like MTV's "Road Rules."

There were rarely two nights in a row where we slept in the same place. During our second week, we biked over gravel roads (loose sand, really) for three days to get to a church camp on the Russian border.

The camp opened with a night of singing and a bonfire. A couple of other missionaries joined us, and we quickly discovered that they didn't know how to roast sausage over the bonfire. Being a helpful sort, I assisted one Irish missionary in making his sausage, which we then shared. He spent the rest of the night with an incredibly powerful stomach bug - which erupted on 45 minute intervals.

I didn't think any more of this until 4 days later, when we had moved on to Tallinn, Estonia. All of a sudden, while walking around downtown (old town) Tallinn, miles from where we were staying, this stomach bug hit me. Hard.

Less than 24 hours after arriving in Tallinn, we were on the hydrofoil to Helsinki, Finland. While this wasn't nearly as disastrous an experience as it could have been, I was uncomfortable for the whole 45 minutes on A BOAT while nauseated.

I spent the entire next day recovering. After that, I was fine. I really enjoyed the rest of the trip - seeing Lithuania and Sweden as well as Latvia, Estonia and Finland. It is a trip that I will not soon forget.

When I got home, I met with some people from my church. One of the first things they asked was, "How was Hong Kong"?

Thinking that there was some confusion, I said, "I was on a mission trip to Latvia. Was someone from this church in Hong Kong?"

The response was even more confusing than the first question: "But weren't you sick and airlifted to Hong Kong?"

Evidently, the church's "Prayer Chain" ministry, where people call down a "chain" of people relaying prayer requests had had a minor breakdown. Somehow Tallinn, Helsinki, hydrofoil and stomach flu had become so jumbled in the literal game of "telephone" that the story became Hong Kong and airlifted.

No, I was not airlifted from Latvia to Hong Kong.

:: Matt 12/22/2004 09:34:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (2) ::
Blogger Idol Top 5 Week 2

Ok, here's my top 5...

1. Darren, your humour is very similar to mine: First Dates
2. Well-written, powerful story: Pearls and Dreams
3. Interesting, different perspective: Biscotti Brain
4. Classy guy - like something I'd do...: In that Number
5. Similar experience: Oblation

:: Matt 12/22/2004 09:23:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Friday, December 17, 2004 ::
I Just Don't Understand

Why do some of the world's most creative, intelligent people spend all their time writing computer viruses, adware and hacking? I'm not sure I understand the mentality.

Most of the last week has been consumed fixing problems caused by the above activities; it is distressing to me that so many (it seems) very gifted and creative people choose to use these gifts in ways that harm others. It just doesn't make sense to me.

Well, on the other hand, it does. It makes a lot of sense. Contrary to popular opinion and current American educational philosophy, to know the good is NOT to do it. In most instances that I have seen, despite Rousseau's protests to the contrary, "The Good" is not so compelling in any given situation as to induce favorable behavior in people and lauding of "the good" as virtuous. Teaching people rules does not mean that the rules will be followed or enforced. Nor are rules really the point, after all.

In most cases, we are satisfied with keeping behavior within certain boundaries. We do not expect everyone to be happy with how things are; but as long as they do not violate the behavioral standards, we permit attitudes, worldviews and thought patterns to crash about unchallenged in social interactions.

What we find, however, is that those attitudes, worldviews and thought patterns do not remain internal. They find expression in behaviors - some minor, some major. Thus, it should not come as a surprise to us that people do whatever they can get away with. We are looking for something deeper: the transformation of the heart.

But how does this come about? Certainly, it does not come about by coercion. That is one of the least effective means. Nor does it really come about by transferring information, or education. In that case the attitudes remain largely the same, but are expressed within the informational/educational paradigm available. We can try reasoning with people: but people can rationalize just about anything.

We can lead by example. Yet even this cannot convince someone to care. This is the most likely scenario to build transforming relationships, but it is, by nature and necessity, non-coercive. We cannot force ourselves on anyone. We cannot enforce transformation. So what can we do?

We begin with a loving invitation for them to experience life beyond themselves. This requires us to actually love them ourselves - not for our own sake - so that they might be better people and thus make our lives better by being less annoying: no. Neither do we love them for their sake: in that case, they become our project, and we their patrons. While that works to a point, even such attitudes build resentment. A patron/client relationship can never develop the closeness that will tranform the heart.

We have to take them beyond themselves, beyond ourselves, beyond their community: we have to invite them to a kind of life that is lived on an entirely different plane. We invite them to experience the love of their Creator - who is tickled with delight over their very existence. This love will so transform those who choose to let him love them that the attitudes and behaviors will become naturally good. Moreover, they will begin to experience life on their Creator's terms - thus becoming resonant with who they were made to be.

So let's quit fooling ourselves. Teaching people that they should act nicely toward others does not mean that they will be good. Only a love that goes far beyond us and far beyond them will be able to make up the difference.

:: Matt 12/17/2004 03:57:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Thursday, December 16, 2004 ::
My Blogger Idol Top 5

From last week...

1. Buzzcrash
2. Cliff Between The Lines
3. Tom Mohan
4. Pearls and Dreams
5. Katie

Yeah, that's them... sorry they're so late!

:: Matt 12/16/2004 05:14:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Wednesday, December 15, 2004 ::
This Is Profound

Ave Maria!

:: Matt 12/15/2004 08:15:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
Blogger Idol: First Dates

So the Blogger Idol topic this week is, "First Dates."

I know I didn't post my top five from last week; I'm sorry... it's been a crazy week. I'll try to get that done soon!

First dates for me are always a time of finding out whether I actually want to date the person. In most cases, the first date does not lead to a second. Something isn't quite right. Usually, the first date is very informal; both parties are struggling to determine if this is really a date or if we just like hanging out. Maybe that's why second dates don't happen all that often!

So far, most of my first dates have been fix-ups. I've required a lot of help getting them to happen. So if one happens, I ought to stand up, like an Oscar speach, and thank my best friend, my Mom, Jesus and anyone else involved. They usually do play an integral role.

Right now, I'm looking for another first date... any takers? I'm a single male, mid-20s, Master's degree (pastoral career), outgoing, love the outdoors, love academics, and enjoy starting new stuff. Availability? Now...

:: Matt 12/15/2004 07:51:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (1) ::
:: Monday, December 13, 2004 ::
The Emergent Conversation

Andrew Jones has a good blog article out on the current emergent church discussion and its critique by more mainstream church leaders. It's a great summary: check it out!

:: Matt 12/13/2004 03:36:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
Presence of God

Steve has been asking people about their experience with the presence of God.

I left this in his comments:

"How have you experienced the presence of God" was a question I used to ask incoming members of our Christian fraternity in college. At that time, I approached the question from a distinctively Baptist/Pentecostal background. This meant powerful revelations during prayer, speaking in tongues, exorcism, miracles.

As I've continued my journey, this has become more nuanced. An example: A year ago on Good Friday, I was serving in an American Episcopal Church [Anglican Communion]. All incense had ceased for the entirety of Lent. The smell, by Good Friday, had largely vacated. Most of the decoration had been removed as well. As the service began, we came in silently, dressed all in black. The priest, deacon and I all lay prostrate on the floor near the altar, in front of the cross. As we lay on the brick, I realized that I could still smell the residual incense if my face was up against the brick floor. I got the sense that God was saying, "I'm still here. I'm returning. I will rise again."

And, just like that, we stood up, and the priest said, "Blessed be our God."

And we answered, "Forever and ever, Amen."

Somehow both of these contexts describe my experience of the presence of God: sometimes overtly powerful, other times more subtly so. Somehow the later experiences are harder to describe: to tell it does not do it justice.

:: Matt 12/13/2004 01:01:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (1) ::
:: Sunday, December 12, 2004 ::
The Call of God in "SpiderMan 2"

I just finished watching "SpiderMan 2." The movie is entirely about call.

A few jottings:

"With great power comes great responsibility." This is, of course, the theme of the SpiderMan universe. It speaks of talents put to use; it speaks even more of fulfilling the call of God on one's life - even if one did not ask for it.

The movie deals with living others' dreams: is Parker really supposed to live out his uncle's command?

The movie discusses the sacrifices necessary to fulfill the call; then it says that everything will work out anyway. I'm not sure if that's accurate. But, then again, that might be my fear of success talking.

Most importantly to me, it discusses the question of boundaries. How responsible is Peter Parker? Is he supposed to help everyone? Where are the limits of what he is to do? How does he balance the competing priorities in his life?

I suppose this movie leaves me with more questions than answers. But I see it as a useful tool for thinking about such matters.

Peace in Christ.

:: Matt 12/12/2004 09:58:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
Veni Emmanuel

Veni, veni Emmanuel!
Captivum solve Israel!
Qui gemit in exsilio,
Privatus Dei Filio.
Gaude, gaude, Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel.

Veni, o Sapientia,
Quae hic disponis omnia,
Veni, viam prudentiae
Ut doceas et gloriae.
Gaude, gaude, Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel.

Veni, veni Adonai!
Qui populo in Sinai
Legem dedisti vertice,
In Majestate gloriae.
Gaude, gaude, Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel.

Veni, o Jesse virgula,
Ex hostis tuos ungula,
De specu tuos tartari
Educ et antro barathri.
Gaude, gaude, Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel.

Veni, Clavis Davidica,
Regna reclude caelica,
Fac iter tutum superum,
Et claude vias inferum.
Gaude, gaude, Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel.

Veni, veni o Oriens!
Solare nos adveniens,
Noctis depelle nebulas,
Dirasque noctis tenebras.
Gaude, gaude, Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel.

Veni, veni, Rex gentium,
veni, Redemptor omnium,
Ut salvas tuos famulos
Peccati sibi conscios.
Gaude, gaude, Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel.

Lyrics via this site

:: Matt 12/12/2004 01:42:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Thursday, December 09, 2004 ::
Parents on Strike

I'm not sure if we were ever threatened with this... but it's creative!

:: Matt 12/09/2004 02:34:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
More Squirrels

In the vein of yesterday's audio clip, here's a bit of Ray Stevens:

Oh the miracles God has wrought in this old world
But the one I'll remember 'til my dyin' day
Is how he put that Church back on the narrow way
With a half crazed Mississippi squirrel

The day the squirrel went berserk
In the First Self-Righteous Church
In the sleepy little town of Pascagoula
It was a fight for survival that broke out in revival
They was jumpin' pews and shoutin' Hallelujah!

:: Matt 12/09/2004 01:43:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Wednesday, December 08, 2004 ::
The Squirrel Cop

The story of a rookie Chicago cop on his first day on the job. Very funny. It's a RealAudio (grr) clip: scan to 19 min. 50 sec. for the start of the story. It involves trying to apprehend a squirrel for breaking and entering.

:: Matt 12/08/2004 02:09:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
Meteor Insurance, Anyone?

You just never know when you might need it!

:: Matt 12/08/2004 01:16:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Tuesday, December 07, 2004 ::
Blogger Idol Series 2, Week 1: All I Want For Christmas...

Well, Darren's re-started the Blogger Idol, so I thought I might join in this time.

This first week, the theme is "All I want for Christmas."

I think that I would like to see a distinction made between Advent and Christmas. Instead of this ever-increasing sound and noise and "holiday spirit" (whatever the heck that is), let's spend the four weeks before Christmas preparing ourselves for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Then, starting 25 December, let's take 12 days and feast and focus upon the Word become Flesh and how amazing that actually is. And besides, 12 days of feasting will be less than we normally do in Advent!

In this way, we do what Bob Webber talks about all the time: we set time free to worship. We re-claim the seasons, the days, the feasts and the fasts for God. We give up being driven by shopping and the push to come up with something I need/want for Christmas.

I always have trouble coming up with Christmas lists. Don't call me a grinch!

:: Matt 12/07/2004 02:59:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (4) ::
I wish this were me...

Check out this link. Then, think for a minute. Apply it to me and my desire to lead in the church. Draw conclusions.

Am I yelling loud enough yet?!?

:: Matt 12/07/2004 02:49:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
A Must-Read for Church Leaders

This article is from a Minneapolis alternative newspaper describing the author's foray into a Mpls. megachurch. She compares her experience to that of Alice in Wonderland - very real, yet simultaneously nonsense.

It is really interesting to me how contemporary megachurch assumptions of what non-believers need don't line up with this author's viewpoint. I suppose this doesn't surprise me; I've been saying this myself in one form or another for a while.

She wasn't scared off by a firebrand preacher - no! Not that! I think she took issue with something dramatically different: its busyness. She didn't like it when she discovered that it looked like a shopping mall inside.

I see this article as yet another voice we're ignoring. We've gotta listen.

Link via http://www.churchmarketingsucks.com/ through this post on http://www.healyourchurchwebsite.com/

:: Matt 12/07/2004 01:44:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
Of Apples and Bananas: Or, A Window Into My Soul

This Sunday's readings and sermon really caused some things to come into sharp focus for me.

First, there was the sermon, focsuing on Matthew 3:1 - 12, where the question arose, "what kind of fruit are you producing?" The notion is that we are all trees, and we all produce fruit. We produce all different kinds of fruit. Whatever the case, we produce fruit consistent with the kind and quality of tree we are.

This got me to thinking, "what kind of fruit am I producing? What does my life look like on a daily basis? What do I do?" And I realized that there's a lot of bad fruit growing on me right now. Fruit based on fear. Fruit based on need for control. Fruit based on boundaries all out-of-bounds. Fruit coming from fear of rejection. Fruit of self-image issues, fruit of little faith in God.

So Sunday I resolved to make a change. Resolved to allow the pruning of the branches that do that. Resolved to make an effort to feed the branches that produce good fruit. Fruit like generosity. Fruit like mentoring. Fruit like development of Christian community. Fruit like living missionally in the world. Fruit like prayer. Fruit like encouragement. Fruit like humor. Most of all, fruit like hope. Like faith. Like love. Hmmm... that sounds familiar. Faith, hope and love: those seem to be the antithesis of fear, anxiety, bad self-image and bad boundaries.

Second, there was the text from Isaiah 11:1 - 10. This passage embodies the Advent message of hope. That tree that was chopped down - look, something's coming up out of it. And that new branch, that new tree, coming up from the roots of the old one - it will set about the process of making everything right. Those who have been victimized will be restored. Those who have done evil will be destroyed. And after that, creation will be brought to a new level of wonder, where no one lives to the disadvantage of the other.

And all of this has allowed a level of peace to come to me that I have not experienced in months. This reminder that all is well, all will be well could not be more timely. In him we have put our hope. And so in him I stand.

:: Matt 12/07/2004 11:45:00 AM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Monday, December 06, 2004 ::
Compare and Contrast

Compare and contrast these two websites:

Honor The Chief


Illinois Chef

:: Matt 12/06/2004 03:45:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
Non Sequitur

So I got a Christmas stocking at work... all the staff got one.

It's cool.

But there's a Hanukkah banner in it.

Santa Claus gives out Hanukkah gifts?


:: Matt 12/06/2004 11:38:00 AM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Sunday, December 05, 2004 ::
This Nickelback Song is Just Too Funny

There's a mix of two nickelback songs out on the 'net that is referenced here. Basically they play two songs at once and it doesn't sound bad... that's how alike they are!

:: Matt 12/05/2004 08:11:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Saturday, December 04, 2004 ::
Advice Sought

I'm looking to buy a laptop so I can use it when I preach to do video clips/photos/powerpoint. I'm looking at Toshiba. Anyone heard pro or con?

:: Matt 12/04/2004 11:50:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
Illinois Vs. Arkansas

Illini Win!!!

This was a real hack game - but Illinois manages to keep the lead the entire second half. Maybe we'll be #1 on Monday...

I hope!

:: Matt 12/04/2004 11:49:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Thursday, December 02, 2004 ::
Chill Out, Folks

This is nuts...

:: Matt 12/02/2004 03:50:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
Render Unto Caesar

Yesterday's Daily Office passage was Luke 20:19 - 26, the "Render unto Caesar" passage.

Here it is, from the NRSV:

19When the scribes and chief priests realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to lay hands on him at that very hour, but they feared the people.
20 So they watched him and sent spies who pretended to be honest, in order to trap him by what he said, so as to hand him over to the jurisdiction and authority of the governor. 21So they asked him, ‘Teacher, we know that you are right in what you say and teach, and you show deference to no one, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth. 22Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?’ 23But he perceived their craftiness and said to them, 24‘Show me a denarius. Whose head and whose title does it bear?’ They said, ‘The emperor’s.’ 25He said to them, ‘Then give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ 26And they were not able in the presence of the people to trap him by what he said; and being amazed by his answer, they became silent.

All the sermons with the conclusion, "this means you should pay your taxes and your tithe" notwithstanding, I remembered a different angle on this passage presented once by a source I do not remember, reinforced by a careful study of the original [Greek] text.

Jesus asks them, "whose image is on the denarius, and whose inscription?" And they tell him, "Caesar's." In other words, "whose coin is this?"

Jesus' reply, "render unto..." confounds his hearers, but does not really answer the question of taxation in a way that they appreciate. Coins with Caesar's image on them were, in a sense, owned by Caesar.

The implied parallel is significant: the term "eikon," "image, icon" is the same word used in the creation of human beings in the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint. Humans were made "in the image of God." Thus, God's image is on all of us.

By extension, we are all, like it or not, owned by God. Jesus then says, "give to God what is God's." Give Caesar what is rightfully his, but give yourselves (completely) to God.

And they were amazed at his teaching.

:: Matt 12/02/2004 01:28:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (2) ::
Victory Lap

The University of Illinois Men's Basketball team beat #1 Wake Forest last night - leading by 32 points for a few minutes. The final score turned out to be 91 - 73. Here is the story from AP (off Wake's website, no less!)

The Illini looked good - shot percentages were high, and they played to the level of their opponents (and better). And with only 6 turnovers, it was a really clean game.

Go Illini!!!

:: Matt 12/02/2004 09:52:00 AM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
:: Wednesday, December 01, 2004 ::
The Real Life on the Web

I've been reading a lot of blogs lately - from my normal reads, those who have some association/affiliation with Jesus Christ - to just clicking the "next blog" button [channel surfing] on the top of my good ol' blogspot blog - and I've started to notice some blog personality.

There seems to be a freedom and openness to speak very frankly and in terms that would not often be superimposed. "I love Jesus" in one sentence is sometimes followed by a four-letter invective. Usually something like "man, that was shit." (Ha ha, now I did it, too!)

Now, honestly, this is often overdone or used for shock value that becomes melodramatic. Thus, it is downright unecessary. On the other hand, I think this bodes well for us to be able to live real life together - life that is not hypersensitive, worried about protecting backsides and keeping well clear of others' toes. For me, this brings freshness to the stale, cautious conversations I can often have where I spend more time fearing the reaction/outcome than actually communicating. Blogs seem to give many of us the room to loosen up and breathe.

Blog communication reminds me of Jesus at Matt the Traitorous Tax Collector's house: God in the midst of off-color jokes, heavy drinking and pure-and-simple irreligiosity. God being told off-color jokes. Maybe God being told jokes that satirized his laws. God being offered more wine than he could handle.

And yet, I don't think he sat in a corner, with his arms crossed, shaking his head. "Oh, these poor lost souls..." There were plenty of others doing that. Nor did he sit there telling religious one-liners like, "so what do YOU think of the Kingdom of Heaven?" I don't think he sat there, wringing his hands, uncomfortable.

So what did he do? How did he handle the guy who got drunk and very philosophical - and didn't make any sense? How did he respond to the women who offered him more of themselves than he knew was good for them? How did he relate to his host, who was just trying on this new life thing for the first time? How did he respond to the "who are you and what do you do" questions? And, importantly in the minds of many, how much did he drink?

Bloggers resist classification. Of course. But it seems like a lot of these Jesus-connected bloggers are trying to figure out how this scene plays out - on the web and in more physical existence. Most of us, I think, have come from an "uptight Jesus" perspective that we are trying to shed. I'm definately in that category.

When I blog, I want it to be real. Real words, real feelings: none of this genetically-modified "nice" that doesn't actually say anything. Don't get me wrong: I'm not here for the shock value of it all. "Love your neighbor as yourself" is still an anchor. But I think genuine and wholesome makes room for the full suite of emotions.

Most of all, I suppose, I want to laugh heartily at things that are genuinely funny.

:: Matt 12/01/2004 02:05:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::
This Always Happens

When I've just made a great post with some cool reflections...

...blogger eats it.


:: Matt 12/01/2004 02:01:00 PM :: permalink :: comments (0) ::

:: What is the Curriculum? [>]
[::..Spirituality I..::]
:: Foundational ::
:: The Bible (of course!) [>]
:: The Divine Conspiracy [>]
:: Celebration of Discipline [>]
:: The Spirit of the Disciplines [>]
:: Primary Texts ::
:: The Practice of the Presence of God (Image/Doubleday Ed.) [>]
:: or ::
:: The Practice of the Presence of God (Spire Ed.) [>]
:: The Weight of Glory [>]
:: The Way of the Heart [>]
:: Lectio Divina [>]
:: Secondary Texts ::
:: The Study of Spirituality [>]
:: Listening Prayer [>]
:: Hearing God [>]
:: The Renovation of the Heart [>]
[::..Spirituality II..::]
:: Life Together [>]
:: In progress... check back later [>]
:: The Connecting Church [>]
Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem
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