Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hit N' Run Evangelism

I'm trying to decide what I think about Hit N' Run Evangelism.

This is the term I give to Christians witnessing, in a non-personal way, and for which the evangelizers are never seen.

Some examples (I've heard Christians talk about most of these things):

-Christian magazines left at laundromats
-Tracts left here and there and especially on tables at restaurants
-Suggestive movie covers turned around at Blockbuster
-Suggestive books in libraries/bookstores put in other places or dumped in trash cans at the store
-Jesus graffiti. "Jesus Loves You" on overpasses, etc. (This seemed to be more of a phenomenon growing up).

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Lisa and I in Vienna. <3 I loved Vienna!!!! What a gorgeous city- both in terms of architecture and green space. The beer, schnitzel, architecture, public transportation, musical heritage and orchestral offerings, and coffee shops were lovely.

And Lisa was as lovely as ever....

Family at Lutsen, MN

Bradley watching a movie

Sharon and her beautiful smile


Laura and Lilly

Myles, Nick, Josue, and Lilly

Apologies to other family members; photographer missing key skills.

Lutsen, MN Outdoors

The first three pictures show our hike up Moose Mountain. You start down towards a creek, then up and up. At the top of the mountain is a chalet and a beautiful view.

The last picture shows the condo where we stayed. I heard that Caribou Highlands, the resort 'village', tries to be really green- composting toilets, saltwater in their pools instead of chlorine. It was a great time in the outdoors and a great time with family.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Yesterday I saw my doppelganger at a local Omaha restaurant.

Except that it was a red-haired, 5'4" woman.

But still, her face shape was the same.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What I've Learned (Or Think I've Learned)

Esquire magazine has a feature entitled "What I've Learned". In a bit of an homage, I offer my own "What I've Learned".

-Corporations are registered in Delaware; Ships are registered in Liberia.... Because the legal 'decks are stacked' in their favor. Class- action lawsuits used to be moved to the Deep South for trials until tort reform.
-The US version of capitalism, casino capitalism (A Yunus term) will go the same way as communism.
-There isn't a liberal mainstream media in the US. If you want liberal media covering the US, watch Aljazeera or a read a European paper about US policy.
-Chances are Indonesia is the most populous country you/I don't know anything about (4th most populous in the world according to Wikipedia).
-Mass murder is still taking place, not only in Darfur but also in The Congo. Estimates range from 3 Million to 5.4 Million dead since 1998 in The Congo alone.
-The US government needs to just tell young people they are 1) going to pay more taxes AND 2) get less. People are broke, government is broke. It is ironic that the West (generally rich) borrowed from the East (generally poor) to fund their consumption- entitlements, electronics, and oil.
-Nothing will improve until the culture improves first.
-Politics needs more technocrats. Just make the trains run on time, automate, promote an even playing field, and do more with less.
-Baseball will go the way of the dodo when Baby Boomers die.
-Clean Drinking Water is the most valuable natural resource, more than gold, more than platinum.
-I see two futures- one with cheap energy where the world is run by robots and there is massive unemployment or one where energy is almost non-existent and everyone is a subsistence farmer. :-)
-The entire system is stacked against the poor; from lending practices, credit access, advertising and marketing, nutritional offerings, war casualties, wage pressures, etc.
-The military and pornography drive the leading edge of many technologies. Makes you wonder whether everyone should be Luddites.
-There is an anti-intellectualism in the US now, symptomatic in Jay Leno's Jaywalking. Don't get me wrong, I laugh, but I also cry on the inside.
-The US exhibits signs of malignant narcissism. *Reference how quickly, when criticizing the US, someone says 1) "We saved your ass in two world wars", 2) America is the best, most selfless nation that has ever been conceived, and 3) if you don't like it, why don't you leave?.
-The world is moving away from monologue to dialogue- in church settings, media, politics, etc.
-In heaven, we will learn more about the "Butterfly effect" and how all our small decisions/sins cause chain events that lead to the huge structures of sin/oppression we live in.
-We (The West) export
our sin's consequences and make others pay for it. In economic terms there are externalities in the economic order where we can enjoy our sin and make others suffer the effects (think global warming, sex trafficking, gluttony and starvation).
-"The system", political and economic, is designed not to be consistent, fair, or logical, but to protect industries and interests.
-Christians try to give meaning to otherwise senseless events. i.e. God gave me that parking space, God meant to take him/her early, etc.
-People are scrappy. In the midst of the recession, so many of my friends picked up contract work, part-time work, and temporary work. I'm impressed with their pluck.
-Some of the best parts of life are the smells of flowers like Lilacs, the beauty of flowers like Peonies, and listening to classical and choral music.
-When you lose your grandparents, some of your biggest irrational cheerleaders are gone.
-The Mission makes men cry like women cry at Beaches (hypothetical because I have not seen Beaches nor seen women cry during it; substitute Steel Magnolias, Titanic, etc. where appropriate).

Sunday, February 28, 2010


I was privileged to spend an extra day in Casablanca on my last trip. I needed extra pages in my passport and a friend recommended doing this overseas, instead of mailing it to an Embassy in the States. This was perfect, as it allowed me to spend 45 minutes one morning having pages added at the US Consulate and the remainder of the day seeing Casablanca.

The couriers that I met in Casablanca over the course of my nine trips have been superb. Rabii and Yusef were especially kind during this trip. Yusef drove me around Casablanca and we were able to see the Hassan II Mosque, Almohades' cannons and an old fort wall, the seaside, and the old medina.

A public park on the outskirts of Casablanca

In Arabic... I'm told of the dedication of the park by the King.

Hassan II Mosque


An old fort wall of the Almohades, the Fifth Moorish Dynasty founded in the 12th Century.

Several views of the sea; both from the mosque and from a beach nearby

A fisherman mending his net.

On my way back from Casablanca I had several harrowing travel experiences including: road construction, wrong terminal, lost passport, exorbitant fees, weather cancellations, rerouting, bus from JFK to LaG, running & sweating, seeing an airline manager, being told I would miss my flight, airlines endorsing their portion of a ticket to another carrier, etc. But several miracles happened and I got home only 2.5 hours after scheduled! So happy.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sociological Benefits of Church

I was thinking of the sociological benefits of attending church regularly. With my generation giving up 'institutions', there is possibly something lost by not participating in a community focused on the Divine.

I thought that both secularists and the faithful could find the following beneficial when attending a weekly service; this was a quick list I put together. Please add your own.

-Increased attention span by listening to sermons.
-Gaining an ear for harmonies, listening to different parts sung with hymns.
-A sense of physical touch through shaking hands and passing of the peace.
-A sense of community through communion and call & answer prayers.
-A sense/respect of history seeing the historicity of liturgy.
-Being provided meals and visits after recent births, deaths, and tragedies.
-An easy opportunity to serve (as an usher, band member, choir member, etc) and an opportunity to learn new skills (audio/visual equipment, etc.).
-A set-aside time for silence, reflection, and Seasons.
-A sense of transcendence that makes today's problems less severe.
-Time in the week for remembering those who are less fortunate.
-Reading and meditating on a book that is both 2,000 years old, yet timeless, has changed the world, and which much of our Western Civilization references.
-An emphasis on the soul and the eternal, which also can make today's problems less severe (provides new perspective).
-Transcending our reliance solely on the mind and using our heart and recognizing our affect.
-Church can encourage an opportunity to practice discipline either through regular reading and prayer or letting go of worldly things by fasting and remembering those who do without.
-Potlucks that foster community.
-Practicing the discipline of tithing serves to help the discipline of other good money management skills.
-Connecting personal pain with the pain of others in community....crying together and laughing together.
-Confession in appropriate ways that clears away guilt and helps participant look to the future.
-Congregation testimonies which suggests the Holy not only in history but today. This lends itself to congregants believing less in the 'randomness' of the world and instead in a purposefulness. To Christians, this can mean God's work in history and God's work in the lives of other members makes life seem less 'random'.
-Ritual and Imagery- Through rituals like baptism there is a visual sense of putting off the old life and symbolizing a new birth.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Whisper Man

In college, you could kind of tell who many of the pre-seminary students were. Not just because of their hairstyles or clothes but because of the way they empathized with you or challenged you.

I had many guy friends who used a different voice when practicing pastoring. They adopted a slightly higher pitch and they softened the volume almost to a whisper. I liken this 'fumbling about' to children practicing being doctors; harmless and getting the kinks out. No pastor who has real-life experience still goes to that voice, surely. While meaning to sound sincere, it often sounded pretentious... like the person was talking to a baby.

"Yeah, I know what you mean"
"Have you considered...."
"The Bible says..."
"It is difficult, I know"

Business majors and Bible majors wore the suits in the college yearbook. That was another way to tell people apart.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Lisa's Visit to Omaha

After my trip to Berlin to visit Lisa, she came to Omaha for 4 days starting on New Years Eve and leaving January 4th.

What a perfect time together! We had such a great mix of activities:

-Delicious Indian food with good friends on New Years Eve- Thanks Daphne, Caleb, John, and Ann Marie!
-Smoking the water pipe, called a hookah, that is popular in Muslim countries. We used a fruit flavored tobacco and shared one hose.
-Das Boot with friends :-) Just kidding. 'Das Boot' is translated as 'The Boat', but we actually drank a few glass 'boots' of German beer shared by many friends at Huber Haus. Lisa was gracious in her assessment of Huber Haus, an Omaha bar, saying that it was imitation German but they did play the right music.
-Watching Holiday Inn with Bing Crosby, Fred Estaire, and Marjorie Reynolds. Classic movie minus two fast-forwarded scenes.
-The Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo .....walking around the rainforest and under the waterfalls, seeing the aquarium and watching the fish, sharks, and stingrays swim above us, seeing the iridescent jellyfish which affirms in both of us a sense of God's majesty, and watching a seahorse that looks like a plant.
-Having lunch at M's Pub, the best restaurant in Omaha.
-Stokes, the restaurant, and Fat Tire.
-WMF office introductions and tour, meeting the folks and community of WMF.
-Tea Smith with Jara and Kenley.
-Wine with Calvin and Liz and lots of laughter.
-Sushi downtown at Blue.
-Wine and cocktails at Urban Wine Company.
-Church Sunday morning at Rockbrook.
-Sgt. Peffers Friday's Chicken Florentine Soup offering. Best soup in Omaha.
-Visiting the Western Heritage Museum in Omaha (a converted grand train station) and walking among the old trains downstairs and imagining ourselves in that place and time. We got to read and see the history of Omaha and some of their special exhibits.

It was such a beautiful time and we now embark on the LDR (long distance relationship). Wise friends have told us that old fashioned letter writing is a good way to get to know one another, so we will do more of that. We also certainly miss being together.