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Archive for October, 2011


Practice Makes Perfect

Practice makes perfect was a mantra in my household, and practice I did. I can remember shoveling snow off of the driveway, and eventually the basketball court out back, in order to shoot basketball. It could take twenty or thirty shots before the ball would fall through the frozen net without help. I would imagine being at the free throw line needing to hit two shots to win the game, or shooting half court shots at the buzzer. Sometimes I would even practice the celebration after one went in.

While I keep resisting the fact that I am getting older I am afraid that my basketball playing days will soon be behind me, sadly, but my kids still can play sports. One year my kids needed a soccer coach, and I knew very little about the game, but I was willing to learn. Now I enjoy playing and I even enjoy watching. I appreciate the technical difficulty of the game as well as the physical fitness necessary to play. Having five children all playing the sport I continually try to encourage them to practice. When I see a kid do what Iya does in this video I can only imagine how many hours went into perfecting each trick.

When I think about the effort it takes to draw near to the Lord, and how often when people need to experience His presence they struggle. Many times it’s because they expected to play the game of life without practicing life with Christ. We try to call upon the talent of faith without ever trying to perfect it. It’s like stepping up to the line with the game tied and time expired, but we’ve never shot a free throw before. What might we expect the result to be? Where in your life are you failing to practice?


To scare or not to scare

I’ve always been kind of a jerk when it comes to sneaking up on people or interrupting an intense moment of drama with a loud scream. Just ask my kids. I blame my grandfather for the example. Whether you be innocently making a copy at work or coming around the corner there is no safe place.

However, I’ve never been a great fan of horror film or of Halloween. The occult sensation associated with both is a real turn off. I believe that evil is powerful and that there are dark forces at work in the world, so I just don’t like giving any attention to that.

All of that may change after looking through the Flickr photostream of the Fear Factory in Niagara Falls, NY. Recently, I was turned on to by @joshmcalister and Ben Arment. It really is fun to watch people get scared out of their mind. The myriad of reactions, even within one photo, is just plain fascinating. The other thing quite noticeable is the number of guys hiding behind their dates. There is hardly a picture of a guy pressing the girl behind him, but multiple shots of the dude crouching behind the fully exposed and unprotected woman. Just because they do this I think I would actually pay to go through the joint. Super creative way to interact with customers.

I think maybe we should start taking random shots of people during sermons and post them online. I wonder if that would help or hurt attendance?


Outside of the Box Thinking Results in…a Box

I once thought about being an architect. I love creating living spaces. I can still remember designing my first house in seventh grade shop class taught by an incredible teacher, Mr. Vincent. Since then I have had the privilege of designing and building all three of the houses in which Kristi and I have lived, but I never thought of doing something like this… It’s not just any box, but a box of glass that also happens to be a house. That’s right, a house. The story is that a family bought property on which there was a very old house in Lithuania, but the house was not considered large enough for the family. Traditional thinking would be to some how fabricate an addition to the house that imitated the original architecture.

The result; however, is anything but traditional. It is stunning! Instead the architect designs a glass enclosure of the house and makes some living space very public, like eating and kitchen and even hallways and entryways. Bedrooms, bathrooms, and other private living space is contained in the original house. I still wonder what they did with the original fireplace and chimney. It is still there but did they exhaust it through the roof and is it still useful? There is a lot about this structure that boldly allows the residents to live their lives in public, while making space for some mystery. For instance, I love the fact that the people at don’t show us what the builders did inside to the traditional house.

Transition to traditional thinking about being the Church. While the Internet’s impact on our culture is relatively new and at the same time rapidly evolving I wonder how traditional ways of being the Church will need to change. Can the cultural norms for communication like email, texting, Facebook, and Twitter replace good old fashion face-to-face, or might it just need to encapsulate the personal? While some struggle to answer the Either-Or questions I think we need to start figuring out better ways to do Both-And. When it comes to being the Church what old structures do we need to keep within a modern architecture? How might we encapsulate traditions in a modern way that make our living out the Gospel of Jesus public and mysterious at the same time?