This is why Ninjas rule and California is...ummm...California. Oh, that Onion!
Ninja Parade Slips Through Town Unnoticed Once Again
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Did you "catch" this unreal game winning play at the end of this college football game from over the weekend? Check it out. It's nuts: 15 freaking laterals! Take that Cal v Stanford!
"The Miracle in Mississippi, unbelievable last play of SCAC title game between Trinity University and Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. Play began with 0:02 remaining in the game, Trinity players used a total of 15 laterals to take the ball 61 yards for the game-winning TD."
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Wow. This is an eye opening article on the childhood/teenage obesity epidemic that is running rampant in America. How serious is the problem? Here is a teaser:
The statistics are sobering, and almost hard to believe. Nearly 35 percent of American children ages 6 to 19 are overweight. Half of those—some 11 million children—are so overweight they’re classified as obese. Over the last 25 years, the obesity rate has doubled for young children and has tripled for teenagers. As a result, diseases once associated only with adults, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and even cirrhosis of the liver, are on the rise among children. If the trend in childhood obesity continues, experts predict that over the next few decades, it will cut as much as five years off the average American’s life span. “Our kids,” said California health official Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, “belong to the first generation of Americans whose life expectancy could well be shorter than that of their parents.”
The rest of the article is short, sweet and very insightful. It goes to say how we all play apart in the problem - family/parents, schools, and corporate America.
This really makes me think hard about what I model to my kids in regards to good health. It also makes me think about what is a good theology of wellness for followers of Jesus and our responsibility as Christian leaders. What implications does this have for children and student ministries (teaching, eating, and spiritual environments)?
(bu to BoingBoing)
Thursday, October 25, 2007
You'll notice at the top of the page is a little link to the "Blog Of The Week". This week I am bringing some attention to my good friend, Graham, who is serving a ministry called Asia's Hope in Cambodia. He works a real job teaching English, but then serves this ministry as well as care for orphans, disciple college kids, and share the story of what God is doing in that nation.
One of the things I love about G's blog is that he is a great amateur photographer. His pictures are beautiful and are truly worth a thousand words. I get stoked every time he posts because it's a chance to get a glimps into the kingdom of God breaking in around the globe...really cool stuff.
G, I'm proud of you. I thank God for you and the work you are about as you love and lead the people of Cambodia to Jesus. It's a beautiful thing.
Last week I was at my parent's house and Kelly was looking through some magazine with Christian products for sale. Kelly said to me that we should think about some of this stuff for the kids for Christmas. She was totally baiting me because as soon as she said that I got on my soap box. I can't stand that stuff. But as soon as I got on my soap box, my mom was on me. She and I engaged for a few minutes about the pros (her) and cons (me). She was defending the industry of religious apparel and stuff and I was frustrated with it. She was warning me of "judgementalness" and I was warning her of the trivialization (and big business) of Jesus-y stuff. At the end of the conversation, my mom and I agreed to disagree.
Then the other day, I found this article by Keith Giles. It was on one of my favorite emergent websites, The Ooze. The timing was scary. It was a very engaging piece and one that I mostly agree with (not sure about the whole music thing). Here are the first few paragraphs to wet your appetite:
I've come to the conclusion that the Christian Subculture is evil. I want to destroy it. I want to choke the life out of it and watch it die. I want to strip the skin from its bones, shake the life out of it and break it into tiny pieces.
In the past I've written articles that express the dangers of the Christian Subculture, and it's no secret that I cannot stand Christian Radio, and have zero tolerance for "Jesus Junk" such as sanctified breath mints or t-shirts that christianize popular logos and advertising (see "Bud Wise Up" or "Lord's Gymn" for example).
The Christian Subculture prevents the breaking in of the Kingdom. It inhibits the Gospel message. It paralyzes the followers of Christ by isolating them from the people they are supposed to love and interact with on a deeply intimate level.
Click here for the rest of the article. Ask yourself how might God see our Christian sub-culture? What do you feel about this sub-culture? What is the good, the bad, and the ugly of the sub-culture? And how do you think the culture at-large views business arena?
Good stuff. Happy reflection.
Monday, October 22, 2007
...I will rise.
Oh, do we need to hear those words. I need to hear those words! I need to hear them every time I blow it, slip, stumble, and fall - sin. But often I lay there like a figther on the canvas after a upper cut to the chin. I'm stunned, embarrassed, and guilt ridden because I either didn't see it coming or I didn't get out of the way.
Damn it - is what I scream in my head - I did it again (whatever the it/sin is). God won't want me close now. I'm too messed up. I'll just crawl off the mat and not deal with God for awhile. I KNOW He doesn't want to deal with me. And so I struggle to find that place of reconnection and intimacy with my God who loves me so much.
Whether it's greed, laziness, pride, or self-righteousness, it all gets me. But none of them get me or our culture more so than the sexual junk. That's seems to be the most crippling.
So if you are like me, check out this article by John Piper. It's called "Gutsy Guilt". It was a great word for me. Here is a taste:
Verwer's [a speaker Piper heard] burden at that conference was the tragic number of young people who at one point in their lives dreamed of radical obedience to Jesus, but then faded away into useless American prosperity. A gnawing sense of guilt and unworthiness over sexual failure gradually gave way to spiritual powerlessness and the dead-end dream of middle-class security and comfort.
In other words, what seemed so tragic to George Verwer—as it does to me—is that so many young people are being lost to the cause of Christ's mission because they are not taught how to deal with the guilt of sexual failure. The problem is not just how not to fail. The problem is how to deal with failure so that it doesn't sweep away your whole life into wasted mediocrity with no impact for Christ.
The great tragedy is not masturbation or fornication or pornography. The tragedy is that Satan uses guilt from these failures to strip you of every radical dream you ever had or might have. In their place, he gives you a happy, safe, secure, American life of superficial pleasures, until you die in your lakeside rocking chair.
May that draw you into read. May we all be inspired and empowered to live with guts.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Almighty and everlasting God, in Christ you have revealed your glory among the nations: Preserve the works of your mercy, that your Church throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
It's been a long time (10 years or so) since Kelly and I have had to check out a church as regular folk, but we did it tonight. I must admit - it was a bit funky. It funky to come into a church setting with a different set of eyes. Usually, I've gone in as a potential employee/pastor. I've looked at a church environment 1) as a place to worship, but 2) as a place to work. For good or for bad, that tweaks the way you visit a church.
Kelly and I went in excited and hopeful. I had heard of this church through a good friend of mine, Dave Booram. We walked in simply trying to get our kids to the children's environments. We got lost and went to the wrong place - stupid first time visitor! Once we found the right spot for Sarah and Parker, it's weird giving them over to complete strangers. You want to say: These are our kids. Care for and lead them well. And if our red numbers flash on the screen, we'll kill you.
From there it was off to the gathering of Apex Community Church and worship as strangers. Weird, but ok. It's life. And to make a long story short: we dug it. It's an earthy place seeking to connect a network of house churches into the body of Christ. I think it's where we are going to land for this season. Our kids liked it (they had face painting and the people were fun). Worship was very good. Teaching was good (lead pastor looks like Paul Giamatti). They had a time of prayer and ministry which was real and powerful at the end.
Next step is we'll go a little deeper and check out a house church and see how God's works from there. You know what else, I'm committed to doing: just going in and being Seth - a guy looking to connect into authentic community and for place to see the Kingdom of God come alive in and around he and his family. I don't even want to tell them about being in ministry for the last 12 years or seminary degree. I just want to ease in and have them know me for me, not me as former pastor dude (the people pleaser/performance part of me wants to scream that out - I've got issues). Make sense?
We'll that's my dealio. I've rambled too long. Kelly and I are hopeful about what Jesus is working out here. No reason to tip-toe in - we go straight up cannonball style.
Grace and peace.
Friday, October 19, 2007
This is why I don't like the great bands to get back together for reunion tours (most of the time). This is not how I want to remember Van Halen. And to think this is how they closed the show! Oh, my ears!
Btw, how old/what grade were you in when this song hit the charts? Sixth grade, right here, living in Omaha, Nebraska, listening to Z-92 and Sweet-98!
(bu to BoingBoing)
Thursday, October 18, 2007
King Middle School will become the first middle school in Maine to make a full range of contraception available, including birth control pills and patches. Condoms have been available at King's health center since 2000.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I'm in my Human Development and Lifespan class at UD. We are having this really cool discussion on this question: When did you first realize you had become an adult? Was it a specific moment or a gradual process? Did you experience a ritual or rite of passage that marked this time of transition?
I share in my group about graduating from high school, moving off campus in college, and getting married at 23 as being marked moments for me that define my transition to adulthood. But even though these were specific moments, they took place over a period of time when I was 18-23.
We also asked about who defines adulthood? Self? Family? Culture? A combination there of?
What about you? When did you realize you were an adult? Who defined being an adult for you? How do you define adulthood?
How are you helping older adolescents, younger adults, and families that you work with make that transition?
Just some thoughts and questions I have for myself (and those out there working with kids) as I continue to work with students and even adults.
This is for all my education, teaching, ministry, and learning friends out there. Where are you on the graph? Where are the people the you work for or work for you at on the graph? Where is your work or ministry culture at on this graph? What does your small group look like? Just curious.
(bu to Indexed)
One of my thoughts, as I look back on my time in Indy and at Grace Community Church, is that I hope I was able to leave honorably, graciously, and Jesus-ly (pointing people to Jesus). You know it's tough resigning when in actuality you were probably "let go". There is so much in me that cries for truth and justice. My flesh really does want to exact some amount of revenge for what transpired. But as a follower of Christ, I had to take a step back (get some perspective), take a deep breath (get some wisdom), and try and do the right thing (be honorable, gracious, and Christ-like).
Don't let me fool you into thinking that I got it all right, all the time. I didn't nor haven't. I have simply done my best. Sometimes, however, I get in the way of what God wants to do in and through me, and I choose the way of me and not the way of God. It is so hard to reconnect with those by whom you felt abandoned. There are days where I'm picking up the phone and then I put it down because of bitterness, fear, pain, and/or fatigue. And there are simply the days that I look at the phone and wonder when are THEY going to call me.
These days are fewer and farther between now than they were a year or so ago, but needless to say they are still there. The scar still throbs.
Why am I blogging about this? It's because of this article I found on Monday Morning Insight. It's entitled "How to Leave Your Church With Grace". Here are the three main points:
1. Recognize that the church still belongs to God and only He can make it what it should be.
2. Forgive those who have wronged you.
3. Let your parting words reflect the grace of God not a grudge of the flesh.
Check out the rest of the article. It's short and sweet. You'll get a little glimpse into my world and what my heart has been working through for some time. God is still pushing me to work through unresolved issues. He's good like that. And who knows, maybe there is someone in your world that is working through a similar situation and could use these words of grace like me.
(bu to Monday Morning Insight via email)
Sunday, October 14, 2007
It's a bitter sweet day here in my life.
Bitter in the sense this will by last official post as a resident of Indiana and the city of Noblesville. I am writing this from our friends, Chris and Tara's house. They are letting us crash at their house because our house here is EMPTY! Nuts. We close on our house tomorrow and then head back to Dayton after that is all signed and sealed.
There is lots to think and feel in times like this. I will reflect on that more (possibly) in a future post. But for now, I am both sad/bitter and hopeful/sweet.
Thanks to all who have shaped me and my family. Thanks for loving us, caring for us, and moving us to a place of deeper relationship filled with rich blessing, laughter, and grace. Thank you for welcoming us into your lives, homes, and teams for whatever reasons we were there for. It has been my/our honor to seen God work amazing ways in us as we have shared our lives together. I know for me (and I know for Kelly and the kids) I/we am/are more like Jesus because of y'all. He is a great and gracious God!
So stay tuned to this Bat channel and various Bat times, to see where He takes us over the next couple of years. Next time your read "Held Up High", it'll be from the little D - Dayton, OH!
Grace and peace to you and yours from the Rings family.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Saw this idea over on a blog I track. Thought it would be fun to share with my peeps here on Held Up High. These are some of wild and/or wonderful jobs I've had over the years:
1. Cart checker/Count clicker at Pace Warehouse
2. Bus boy at a gourmet restaurant.
3. Truck unloader at UPS
4. Shipping and receiving clerk at Rol Mfg
5. Admin. clerk at Arapahoe Medical Society
6. Stone and apoxy layer
7. youth pastor
9. Door-to-door sales for Costco Wholesale
10 Present-graduate assistant at UDayton for DECA.
What about you?
(bu to Jesus Creed for the idea)
Found this veeerrry loose translation of the Bible vary interesting. It's based on what I'm thinking is im chat or text message verbage. I was wondering how long it would take for someone to put the translation of the Bible up on Wikipedia and, well, here it is albeit a bit wacky. Here is an example taken from John 1:
1. In teh beginz is teh werd, and teh werd iz liek "Oh hai Ceiling Cat" and teh werd eated teh Ceiling Cat.
2. In teh beginz teh werd an teh Ceiling Cat iz teh bests frenz.
3. Him maeks alls teh cookies; no cookies iz maed wifout him.
4. Him haz teh liefs, an becuz ov teh liefs teh doodz sez "Oh hay lite."
5. Teh lite iz pwns teh darks, but teh darks iz liek "Wtf."
6. And teh Ceiling Cat haz dis otehr man; his naem iz John.
7. He tellz teh ppl dat teh lites is tehre, so dat teh doodz sez "OMG."
8. Him wuz not teh lite; he jsut sez teh lites is tehre.
9. Teh tru lite--iz lotz of lite--iz comes, k?
10. He iz liek, "Oh hai, I mades u," but teh wurld duznt sees him.
11. He iz comes to his stuffs, but his stuffs sez "Do not want!"
12. And sum guyz did want, and sez "Teh Ceiling Cat pwns," and deez guyz iz liek his kidz—
13. But not liek reel kidz, k? Iz liek teh Ceiling Cats kidz.
14. Teh werd is becomes Visible Man (omg) and he is lives wif us. We is sees teh glorie taht is frum teh one n only; him come from teh dad wif teh grace and teh truth.
Here is the link to the translation. It's wild to see what how people try to seriously translate in this language and to see how others just try to be funny and as off the wall as they can be.
(bu to Boing Boing)
Monday, October 08, 2007
Something I am noticing about my life and leadership (parental leadership, marital leadership, organizational leadership, and self-leadership) is that it is primarily reactionary. Whether it's how I mold and shape the character of my kids, love my wife, or serve my organization, my leadership is reaction oriented; it's responding to the urgent screaming in my face in the here and now.
As a parent I tend to use negative situations (kids acting out or disobeying) as the focal point of leading my kids to make good choices or be kind to others. As a husband, I tend to love/lead "more" when my wife expresses frustration with my laziness or selfishness. When I'm at work, I tend to lead reactively because the people I serve tend to live in crisis (students failing class, a fight with a friend, a son/daughter dealing with depression, a family crisis with a co-worker, a superior dumping an urgent project on your plate, an so on and so on) or because of some kind of culture chaos (prepping for a retreat, class project, sales meeting, and so on and so forth).
I write this because not only do I notice it in myself, but I notice it in the organization that I work it. Whether it be the church, Costco, the USPS, or school, the organization that I have worked in live in this reaction mode of leadership. Maybe it's because these organizations are customer service based (even education). It's crazy.
This is an issue I have to go after in my personal life. It's also an issue we have to address in the organizations that we lead. It takes carving out the time to self lead (up to 50% of our time should go to this as leaders) and it takes leading in important areas and delegating the urgent things (if you can).
So how are you leading in your personal life, family system, or work environment? What are you noticing about how and why people lead the way they do in the organizations in which you work?
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Friday, October 05, 2007
After the last post, I needed something to restore my hope in the church and God's people. I found it at one of my favorite (and more liberal) websites, BoingBoing. It was a bit unexpected to say the least. This is the title of the post that caught my eye: Revolution in Jesusland: building bridges between progressives and born agains.
Yes. It can be done. Despite all our faults, Jesus is on the move and people are thinking, tasting and seeing that the Lord is good. Here is the intro paragraph to the post:
Zack Exley, one of the smartest progressive online activists I know, has been maintaining a blog called "Revolution in Jesusland," about the evangelical resurgence, with an emphasis on bridging the gap between progressive activists and evangelicals. This is a laudable effort, and Zack's tackling it with wit, humility and a great deal of intelligence.
Read the rest of the post and then check out the website for Revolution in Jesusland. Good stuff.
Thank you, Father, for the millions of men and women out there that by their lives - heart, mind, soul, and action - are leading and drawing people to your son, Jesus. May my life be that kind of life. A life of intellect, meaning, and love. You are on the move - always and at all times. You are awesome!
(bu to BoingBoing)
This is what drives me crazy about Christianity. This is an actual undergraduate/graduate level class at seminary in Texas: Biblical Model for Home and Family. Now it's doesn't sound horrendous, but upon further review of the class, it leaves little doubt in my mind why the world at large mocks us, our faith, our training, and ultimately our God. Here is another quick article about the class.
Here is a sample from the online article:
I [the interviewer] asked Dr. Stovall why did Southwestern Baptist feel it necessary to offer such a program? Dr.Stovall said that "there were several reasons: (1) We were hearing a demand for this from women who have a heart for the home and from ministers wives who want to use their home for hospitality and ministry (2) It rounds out the Humanities degree in a way that makes it the most well-rounded, complete education a woman can receive (3) We wanted to do our part to strengthen the family and to give women the tools to reinforce a biblical model for home and family."
When asked why did Southwestern decide to only leave the program open women? Dr. Stovall said that "The Homemaking Concentration within the Bachelor of Arts in Humanities is only open to women because it was requested by women, is tailored to women and seeks to model biblical womanhood."
Listen, I'm pretty conservative and a moderate traditionalist and even I think this is goofy, even sexist. Am I crazy? Cranky? Overreacting? What do you think? Who knows...maybe I'll feel different after I sleep on it. G'night!
(bu to The Mental Floss Blog)