Thursday, July 27, 2006

Thanks Natalie

Thanks to Natalie who recently read and reviewed this article from UMNS about the church being too feminine I had to go out and read the article. I then went about reading the rest of my morning blogs (camps with wireless internet are the best!) only to find that Gavin had already made note of the same blog from Natalie and was now underway with his own critique.

I have long struggled with the issue of marginalized men, and the need to rectify the wrongs of our past as overbearing and unable to compromise limiting the powers of women. The flip side of that is that when women took the reins (men wouldn't give them up) men took flight and are still searching for an identity.

I took this up in part with Gavin, and hope that the dialogue will continue. What's more I hope that the two or three readers I have that Gavin doesn't will then have an opportunity to chime in, especially since a few of them are women in ministry whom I respect greatly.

So now for my response to Gavin's post.

So how do we hold an online debate. The article was not written by David Murrow - whom you quote, but Robin Russell, a woman.
She makes some very valid points and directs the church to be challenged. Murrow does seem to have some bigger bones to pick - albeit a little unneccesary.

"If church was a place where men could be real and not religious, you'd see a lot more of them," he concludes. (Murrow)

I would hope that it is, but unfortunately many of our churches forget the real and enter fantasy land during worship. (I'm guilty too)

But he really went off the deep end, and may have been done a severe injustice by Russell with this quote.

"Every Muslim man knows that he is locked in a great battle between good and evil," he recently told Religion News Service. But most Christians today see their faith more in terms of "having an unconditional love relationship" with Jesus, he said.

It isn't about the battle or the loving relationship, it is about how we carry those out. Islam does a very good job of laying out how to "work" in that battle, while the loving relationship is less often portrayed as "work", because we cannot earn our way into heaven, which Islam promotes.

Truth is, men in the church are on the decline and we have got to develop a reasoned understanding of why (especially difficult when men are hard pressed to identify feelings - on the whole, a generalization I know) to better incorporate both men and women's styles of worship in our services, and our outreach, and our studies.

Enough of my opening diatribe. Maybe I'll post on my blog for more input.


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hero - Me?

Your results:
You are Superman

Green Lantern
Iron Man
The Flash
Wonder Woman
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.

Click here to take the "Which Superhero are you?" quiz...

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Onward and upward

Okay, so I made a promise to my congregation earlier this year. Well, mostly it was a contract with myself. I said I was going to lose 40 pounds this year. I did great during the first 2 and half months and lost over 20 pounds. I since put a goodly portion of that back on.

Well, this week I have decided to step it up again and work my way back down. What's more is that I got tired of my back being in pain. I need to stretch and loosen up more. It has been suggested I spend a few hours a week doing yoga and kick-boxing. I am not so much for the kick-boxing. The yoga has been a suggestion for many years and has just not appealed to me.

But the time has come. I found a couple of shows worth taping for yoga. One is a great half hour program on PBS that varies the program. I have used it several times already and have also taken the time to stretch without the tape.

I have managed to keep my exercise levels ata reasonable rate in the evenings too. I have been on the stepper this week, taken the dog for a walk, played a game of soccer, and some basketball (the basketball was in 110 degree heat on the courts-stupid really, but worth it).

I have also resumed the oatmeal breakfast plan. I haven't really eaten breakfast for nearly 10 years, since I started seminary, and started to do that almost every morning since January and I think it has helped me tremendously.

Now, it is time to work it a little harder. Plan to work and work the plan.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006


So today I am sitting at my desk inputting more and more names into a database for the Conference Nominating Committee. Oh, the joys of being the techie in the group (and the only one under 35...big surprise there).

This is a big task but nowhere near the challenge it takes to input all of the data from all our records at the church. We are talking well over a thousand members from the beginning of our records to current (close to 2000), and the various baptisms, weddings and other information we have in our written records. It is scary how much information is there.

The trick is finding a good way to get it all inserted into the computer database we have from Membership Plus 8.0. We need to hire someone to input it all, and that remains their sole objective. The kicker to it is that we would probably need to get another computer workstation so that they could have their own set-up to do the work.

I am not sure how long or how much money it would take to get such a person in place and complete the task. It is a bugger to be sure.

So, that's my rant for the day, records are hard to arrange and locate without a centralized database, and the work to get the database is harder than trying to find them in written records, at least until the work is substantially completed and therefore easier to locate and saves time in the long run, yada, yada, yada...but I really wish it were done. Anybody know a good miracle worker. It seems I have yet to hear of computer miracles, though there are many to do with nature and the human body, not to mention a few of the animals of the world...when is God gonna move on to miracles of the Computer?


Saturday, July 08, 2006

World Cup recruits

With the recent exit of the United States' team from the World Cup there have been a variety of conversations about what next for the US team. We need to make some changes to be sure, and the natural order of change has to do with replacing the coach. In this case Bruce Arena is on the firing line, maybe even more so since Claudio Reyna has retired.

There has been recent conversation about Bruce Arena's replacement and whether or not this person would be an American or an "outsider". There are several names being thrown around including Glenn "Mooch" Myernick, who was the primary face of the US coaches at the World Cup appearing in a lot of sideline interviews, and Bob Bradley, whose son Michael is a very likely fit for the next World Cup and appeared in two of the preparation matches leading into the tournament. Those guys are Americans and good choices. Then there are the international voices projecting Sven Goran Eriksson, the former skipper for England (and apparently has a girlfriend here in the US) and the hopeful voices that suggest Jurgen Klinsmann, skipper for Germany currently and who has already pushed aside any such rumors and just that.

ESPN profiled the Portuguese team and noted that outstanding players Deco and Miguel are Brazilians with ties to Portugal. I noted there were several other mentions of such players on other teams playing in the World Cup. Players who were overlooked by their native countries and went back to play for another nation they had ties to (baseball aficionados think Mike Piazza playing for Italy) have made contributions and maybe ought to be the source of our reviews, rather than the coach.

I wondered about the possibility of some "outsiders" who ought to be considered for the US squads of the future. I wish I had some names to throw out there, but my knowledge is just not vast enough to answer such a question, so I threw the entire idea for a column over to Alex Chick at

Certainly much has been made of Freddy Adu becoming a US citizen and we were certainly fortified in previous Cups by Thomas Dooley and Joe Gaetjens, notable "outsiders".

Who should we think about in our soccer future? Maybe the trick to winning at the World level has less to do with US players playing overseas, and instead with "recruiting" as so many other nations do to strengthen their squads.


Monday, July 03, 2006

Barna at it again

A friend of mine pointed at the recent George Barna book, "Revolutions". I haven't read it yet, but I am quickly concluding that as a pastor with some major growth issues in my denomination I ought to look more carefully at the possibilities presented.

Winston gives a brief outline, and I will have to read before commenting further, though my initial comments about people giving less to the church, church numbers shrinking, and fewer people interested in mega churches, and local churches are below.

What does that mean, and how do we then translate the message of the Gospel to a new generation? I think it can be done, and it will mean a whole new style of leadership. I suspect it will also mean that the pastors who are currently employed who make it that far will have to become Pauline leaders, working in the community at other jobs and then moving into small group leadership.