Monday, December 31, 2001

As you finalize your New Year's resolutions, you might want to read over the 70 resolutions that Jonathan Edwards sought to live by. Here are a few choice examples:

Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.

Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.

Resolved, always to do that, which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it. Aug. 11, 1723.

Notice "lose 15 lbs" was not among his resolutions ;-)

Thursday, December 27, 2001

I love wassail around Christmas time and have been making wassail every Christmas for the last 5-6 years at least. (I also love egg nog, which, as it turns out is a descendant of wassail.) Last Christmas I made an authentic wassail that was different from what I usually make, but still rather interesting.

While searching for different wassail recipes on the web today, I found this unbelievable wassail page. It hails itself as The Web's Wassail Epicenter and after a brief surf around this page, I would not refute that claim. When you pull up the page it automatically breaks into "Here We Go A-Wassailing" which plays over and over until you leave the page. By the way the site has a special section on Wassail songs and, lo and behold, they list close to 50 different wassail songs. In their section about the drink itself, they include recipes that if printed out would come to 20 pages. These recipes range from "authentic" dating from the 17th & 18th centuries all the way up to wassail "jello shooters". Since I was just ordained in October, I thought that it would be appropriate, if not absolutely required, that I make the last recipe listed on their recipe page -- "The Pastor's Wassail"! I'll have to report back to you on how it is. It looks a little strange, in that there are on apples called for, nor apple juice or cider.

Off I go a wassailing...

Monday, December 24, 2001

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight...

Saturday, December 22, 2001

I've enjoyed John Fischer's writing in the past, and found this essay to be pretty decent. He laments the fact that evangelicals have constructed a disembodied, mystical, almost gnostic Christ. What better time to consider the glory of the incarnation...

We avoid a scandalous Christ by constructing in our minds a Christ who comes short of being fully human. We are so convinced that our humanity is our problem that we have Christ saving us from ourselves instead of saving us to ourselves—saving us so that we can become who we truly are and are meant to be as human beings created in God's image.

Fischer also quotes throughout a contemporary hymn writer named Brian Wren. I'm not familiar with him at all, but would be interested in hearing lyrics like these set to music:

Good is the flesh that the Word has become
  good is the birthing, the milk in the breast,
  good is the feeding, caressing and rest,
  good is the body for knowing the world,
Good is the flesh that the Word has become.

Thursday, December 20, 2001

Speaking of Muslims, G. K. Chesterton said:

…but out of the desert, from the dry places and the dreadful suns, come the cruel children of the lonely God; the real Unitarians who with scimitar in hand have laid waste the world. For it is not well for God to be alone.

From "The Romance of Orthodoxy" Orthodoxy via The American Chesterton Society.

Thundering Herd indeed!! Marshall beat East Carolina 64-61 in the highest scoring bowl game in history. It took two overtimes and came after Marshall trailed 38-8 at halftime. Marshall's quarterback, Byron Leftwich threw for 576 yards and 4 touchdowns to lead the Thundering Herd to a victory in the GMAC bowl.

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

OK, I'm getting ticked. I can't find any Big Butt in any of the grocery stores in St. Louis. Oh, they've got three or four other kinds on Leinenkugel's but no Big Butt. Somebody get me some Big Butt...quick!

Check out Chuck Colson's sketch of 67 year old, black-patch-over-one-eye, nun from hell -- Sister Connie. We, too, run a pretty tight and tough ship. And tough, costly love is definitely what has to be exercised, given our context, if we wish to be engaged in faithful Christian ministry. Many volunteers feel "in their gut" that an approach like this is devoid of compassion and gentleness and the like...they just want to love on the poor inner city kids -- who by the way are often very cute. It's no different when dealing with our shelter guests...people are convinced that these guys just need a break and need a support network and it will all turn around. This is actually less compassionate to give many of these folks another handout, even if it's a handout of love and compassion. Handouts are a huge part of the problem and are less than Christian in most cases.

On days when my work with inner city teens seems to be going absolutely nowhere, when I look up from my work after 1-2 yrs. with some of these guys and struggle to see even a quarter inch of discernible change in the right direction, I'm somewhat comforted by the following story from Eugene F. Rivers III. Rivers is pastor of Azusa Christian Church in Boston, and shares the following exchange that he had with a drug dealer in his neighborhood, when he asked the drug dealer why the church was losing kids while the dealer was walking around like a pied piper.

RIVERS: Man, why did we lose you to the underworld? And why are we losing other kids to you right now?

DEALER: I'm there--you're not! When the kids go to school, I'm there--you're not. When the boy wants somebody older to talk to or feel safe and strong around, I'm there--you're not. I'm there--you're not. I win. You lose.

There are many applications that could be made from this dealer's wisdom, but one that I try to draw some encouragement from is that, in at least a small way, our ministry is present, and we have some kids who are with us. That presence and "withness" is valuable and redemptive, if for no other reason than, the fact that the kids are with us, means they aren't with the dealers. Hopefully, we're helping them to steer clear of a potential shipwreck and at the same time opening up a new world to them. A world where Christ is King, and a cursed world is thawing because of the conquering, victorious work of that King. As best we can, we present in word and deed an alternate narrative to the thug/player/user worldview, a narrative that is the true narrative, of the covenant God leading his people out of Egypt, by the blood of the lamb, and preparing a new city on a new earth for His people, that he might make His dwelling among them. By God's grace, the fact that we are here will hopefully pay dividends and increase His glory by gathering some of His sheep from this city in order that they might become citizens of His city.

Friday, December 14, 2001

Roman Catholics have bettered Protestants on this one. Twenty years ago Father John Cusick founded Theology on Tap, which takes theology to the bars and pubs. The meetings, which usually open with prayer and a 30 minute lecture followed by an opportunity for question/answer, are extremely popular in our nation's capital where, recently, a crowd of 500 turned out to hear a cardinal speak. The owner of the establishment cancels salsa dancing on the main floor on the night that Theology on Tap meets, built a small podium for the meetings and even donates some of the proceeds to charity. Here's a link to the Atlanta Theology on Tap. (St. Louisans: When should we start this at Duffy's?)

A Green Bay Packers fan from the beginning in 1919, Palmiro "Paul" Mazzoleni will be inducted into the Packers FAN Hall of Fame.

For those of you who've tried Blogback, Reblogger, Snorcomments, and other "comments" software on your blog, let me encourage you to try Sensus Plenior, which I use on this site. I've had this blog up for about a year, give or take, and I've had Sensus Plenior almost from the beginning. In all that time, I've maybe had a total of one day in which Sensus Plenior was not working. It is very reliable and easy to use, and includes some nice features like e-mailing you when a new comment is posted. On top of all that you could support our beloved fellow blogger, Jon Barlow, who wrote and maintains Sensus Plenior. Give it a shot. You can contact Jon via his blog linked above or in the list of blog links on the side of hotdogblog.

Tuesday, December 11, 2001

Brandon Hance who started all but the last two games of the season for the Boilermakers is transferring and will not even make the trip to the Sun Bowl on December 31st. The last highly touted quarterback to leave Purdue after his freshman year was a guy named Jeff George.

Wednesday, December 05, 2001

You must read the following blog entry out loud to get the full effect.

My almost 4 year old daughter while arguing the merits of a particular rendering of Clara from the Nutcracker Suite in an illustrated Nutcracker book that we have, said:

She's a vewy pwetty sugaw pwum pwincess.

Tuesday, December 04, 2001

Can anyone give me a brief evangelical assessment of James Cone, the noted Black Liberation Theologian? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

Leinenkugel's has now posted their Holiday Edition of their newsletter, The Legend, which announces the return of one of my favorite beers, Big Butt, which is...

"a very rich, malty tasting, very full-bodied beer. It’s very dark in color; there’s a lot of mass to it. To some people, it’s the best beer we’ve ever made.” Buhrow said that Leinie’s Big Butt Doppelbock is the brewery’s own recipe for a Germanic-style strong bock beer.

I didn't link directly to the newsletter, because you must begin at their start page and log in your birth date (to guard against underage browsing I guess). Anyway, follow the links to Newsletter, then under 2001 click Holiday Edition to download the newsletter. You'll find the article on page 4 of the newsletter, and of course, you must have Adobe Acrobat to access their newsletter.

Feel free to shower me with cases of Big Butt as well as Big Butt hats, T-shirts, and other Big Butt items for Christmas.

The cheeseheads were celebrating lastnight!! The game is never over as long as Favre is taking snaps.

Unbelievably The Sporting News picks Purdue to win the Big Ten next season. I understand their logic, but wonder if they've watched the last five games of the season. Inexplicably, the Purdue offense is totally inept. The Boilermakers have led the Big Ten and have ranked among the nation's leaders in turnovers forced, yet they've converted very few of those turnovers into points. And we'll be without Travis Dorsch next year, which means new punter & new kicker. I hope they're right, but it'll take some convincing before I can be that optimistic.

Monday, December 03, 2001

So did anyone see the Journey toward Forgiveness documentary that I mentioned last week? Better yet, did anyone tape it for me? I was in Indiana over the weekend and saw that it was going to be airing on the ABC affiliate there in the afternoon. I was all set to tape it and...they aired a different program instead. It was a documentary on the contribution of the black church to the civil rights movement of the sixties. Still a good show, but not what was supposed to be airing. Oh well.

By the way I received Mandate today, the newsletter of the Chalmers Center for Economic Development, and they feature an interview with John Perkins. You must have Adobe Acrobat to read the newsletter and you'll find the interview on page 4 of the newsletter.

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