Wednesday, February 28, 2007

fight the good fight...

fight the good fight...
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

The PBS documentary, The Perilous Fight, reported on American soldiers in the Pacific theater: An astounding "1,393,000 soldiers were treated for battle fatigue during world war 2. Of all ground combat troops, 37% were discharged for psychiatric reasons." The military determined that 90 days was about as long as a solider should go in continues combat.

I think ministry is often like combat...taking continual personal shots, avoiding theological land mines, losing brothers and sisters and sewing up soul guts. It can be brutal...and that's just the stuff that takes place in the church!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

White man that does voices....

My oldest son Christian with video camera and his new found portal to fame: youtube.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

Our dear friend from Amsterdam, Holland is here staying with us until March 12th. We met her on a youth missions trip in Amsterdam many years ago and became friends. She loves the Lord and is praying about the next step in her life journey, so she came to be with us, pray, rest and ponder the near future.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

Saturday night at my house.

Micah turns 7

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

Saturday my youngest turned 7...hard to imagine.
One good thing is, he's got a great hair do.

This made me laugh...

What rhymes with implants?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Man vs Wild

By far one fo the best shows on tv. It is on the Discovery channel. It Features ex-British forces manly man "Bear Grylls" as he shows you how to survive if you are stranded in any extreme wild area with only a knife, canteen, flint and a few clothes.
My son Micah (6 years old) LOVES this show, if you know Micah, you know why he digs it...its rough, raw and dangerous.

Stuff you will see:
Glissading down a glacier at 50 mph.
Climbing down a glacial waterfall, doused with near freezing water.
Floating down a mountain stream, with no boat.
Climbing 100' up a tree, to survey the land.
Hunting rabbit with a throwing stick.
Attempting to mount a wild or escaped horse.
Soaking his head cover in his own urine to cool himself down in the desert.
Ripping the flesh from a dead zebra with his teeth.
Tyrolean traverse: Crawling over two ropes suspended above a deep chasm, with only improvised safety equipment (paracord wrapped around rope and secured to parachute harness).
Cracking a raven egg on tooth while hanging from cliff wall.
Drinking water directly squeezed from elephant dung.
Using a length of knotted rope, weighted down at one end with his pack, as a self arresting device to stop from falling down into a canyon (which he purposely jumped into to demonstrate the technique). He climbs back up the rope using Prussik loops. Alps episode.
Using a hammerstone to make a disc knife from flint. Rockies episode.

Two films I thought we duds...

What a downer this film was. What was Eastwoods point? Let's take the few stories our culture has of bravery, sacrifice and tragic heroism and make it all look like an act of commercialism, racism, pointless loss and cowardice. I left deflated...thanks Clint...way to denigrate the flag of our fathers.

Any film that has you thinking about just getting up and going home is probably not too good. Formulaic is all I can say. I was hoping this was going to be a good ww1 flick. But instead you got the war movie formula....good guys & bad guys, the tough captain, the moody and dark character, the dame in distress, the goofy attempt to portray community and the melding of boys into men...on and was so painfully contrived to me. I didnt believe any of it.

I would take the credits of Band of Brothers over the hours of this film.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

can I get the t-shirt?

the lonley mind of man...

Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.
–John Steinbeck, East of Eden (1952), p. 131

I wrestle with this, especially in the area of pastoring a church. It seems there are things that a group or team can do...and much that it can not do. I think a lot of the time we can hide behind a group or team and feel safe in a circle. There are no first points of contact in a circle. Leading sets you on a straight course for conflict. As soon as you bring something out of the dark and into the light, Like: an idea, a program, a dream, a song, becomes a point of contact for judgment and criticism. That can often be avoided by hiding behind others. But you can't find a start or an end in a circle either, confusion can creep into a circle mindset. Everyone wants to hug the back in front of you but when it comes to owning an action of plan...who is leading? We love to own a good result but how about a bad one?

In the end, most things won't get done without someone choosing to lead. Choosing to take it on the chin when it doesn't work. It's not easy and I think that is why there are more followers than leaders. Why not draft on the momentum of someone else than try to create wind on your own?

"Downtime is necessary for creativity and intuition. For the incubation of reflections and relationships. For God to work in our minds and hearts. For us to hear the song inside us. The relative mind, while in the act of creation, is like a fading coal. It's a battle requiring both industriousness and indulgence to keep something alive that is constantly flagging and wanting to go out." -Leonard sweet

So true...fighting against the "fading coal" is critical in any work. There is so much that aims at quenching the flame.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Sir Richard the Brave Knight - episode 1

Another one of Christian's film projects...this one makes me laugh the most for some reason. Looking back at mr somber as a child and seeing him doing comedy, just cracks me up.

Transylvania Trailer

Trailer for my sons latest film project.

First Friday...

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Coming up...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

TEDDIES! DVD coming this month

My son Christian has directed, produced and acted in his first moive.
Here is the trailer.

My valentine...

My valentine
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
...makes my life so sweet.

dreaming outloud....

I was talking to a family member of our KaRen refugees the other night. He wants to move to Spokane with his young pregnant wife and 2 year old child. They have had trouble finding assistance, work and a community in Minnesota where they were relocated from the refugee camp in Thailand. He wants to be with his extended family. I told him I would look into what it would take to get them here. As I left, I thought about this house behind our church that we have been looking at for church space needs. We decided it wouldn't work for the church but now...I wonder if....?

World Relief is always looking for sponsors to house incoming refugees for 2-3 weeks while they find them housing. This possibly could serve as a wonderful landing pad for arriving families. I am praying about it and have posted some pictures of the house and all the work that will be needed to be done in order to get it ready. You can see and read more about this at:

I am simply dreaming out loud and seeing what happens...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Just untie the cords...

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear... -Is 58:6-8

Loosen the chains and untie the cords...we have been able to help do this in the lives of our KaRen refugee friends. Through hours of doctor visits and dentist appointments, we are seeing the cords and chains of injustice being broken and untied. When you are driven from your home and crammed in a refugee camp with thousands of other refugees, you do not get adequate medical or dental care. The chains and cords literally become sickness, disease and pain. But when you are granted freedom, you can have access to the resources, the wisdom and the care of justice. Your teeth get pulled, or filled, your body gets medicine and help to regain health. You find healing.

This is the true work of the serve, to heal, to love and to untie.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Honey grows in dead lions....

Here are a few of my thoughts about community building.

Watch this video first if you can:
click on the video called: Straton

(By the way it's an African pastors name...not a paper company on tv)

This short video immediately produced action in me.
After being touched by God through the screen, I went outside and God gave me a way to touch my neighbor.

With all the recent talk of loneliness, the need for community, what to do about isolation and not connecting; this video gives a powerful answer.
Ultimately to me, it is THE answer: Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you. Often the loneliness is more a product of us listening to our own brokenness than arising from hearing the voice of the Spirit.

(If )you give yourself to the hungry And satisfy the desire of the afflicted, (Then) your light will rise in darkness And your gloom will become like midday. And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. -Is 58:10-11

“Most people unreasonably … want such a friend as they are unable to be themselves, and expect from their friends what they do not themselves give.” -Cicero

God's way is to use the lions (loneliness) that seek to slay us, empower us to kill them with our own hands, and then teach us to eat the honey from inside those victories and then feed it to others. (Judges 14:5-9). There is nothing as sweet as tasting the honey of victory and being able to share that honey as well.

Community most often, is going to start with fighting something that is seeking to kill you. The honey of community will only be tasted by those willing to risk everything for it.

Community can't be programed, it can't be forced, or pushed. It's a mysterious and sometimes elusive reality. I've met in small groups where it happened and in other small groups where it didn't. In larger church meetings where it flourished and others where it was flushed. We can't and shouldn't facilitate some quasi-form of relational rape in the guise of community building. Intimacy is a gentle process that arises often from natural affinity, shared and common experiences but in the kingdom of God it goes much deeper. It is cultivated over time. It is a fragile and timid bond that though present as a seed in the fellowship of the church, it must be cultivated, watered and watched over. Real community is something that we have to fight for, work at and die to our flesh in order to truly taste of it's most nourishing fruit.

Many people have illusions about community. Look at Jesus and his disciples. Read about their experience of community among themselves. There were moments of deep connection that made profound impact on them and how they chose to live as a community after Jesus ascended.
But there was a reality to their relationships too. There were sons of God and a son of the devil in the inner circle of Jesus' relationships. There was disagreements, prideful jockeying for position, moments of madness when you say things that sound more like the devil than from God. There was those that came and those that went. Moments when you see miracles and moments when you sink on the waves of faith. There was penetrating light that would send you to your knees in repentance and grace filled words that would heal old wounds. There was betrayal....kisses with ulterior motives. Community means there will be those that cling to the cross in moments of extreme trial and others who will run away, curse and deny. Some will hang themselves and others will repent and return. And a lot of talk about forgiveness. All of that is woven together in true biblical community.

You really want community? I seriously doubt it, because in the end, community or better, Love... is a path of suffering.

Most people want to be hugged but not hung.

But the only way to real community of spirit is through the cross.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Men are from Mars Hill...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Running barefoot...kinda.

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Living in a predominantly low income community offers up many odd and sometimes tragic images.
Here is a list of some of those moments that made me pause as I move through life down here...

Dog shit upstairs on the floor of a now vacant home.
A house that had many kids living there, in fact right next to that room that smelled and looked like a kennel.

No glass in the livingroom windows. Shot out by a pistol about a week ago.
You can hear conversation from the's below freezing here.

Scabs in the hairline of a despairing mother....meth death erupting from within.

Red utility notices hanging from door knobs...signaling to everyone you dont have enough money to cover the basics of heat.

Dirty diapers, vomit on the wall, piss soaked in garbage.
How one lives, no longer matters...when poverty gets a hold of a mind and heart.

Sirens, condoms, whiskey bottles, beer cans, cigarette butts, leaking toilets, exposed wires, smoke detectors without batteries.

It's obvious that nobody can get out of here...they only have one shoe; and who can escape poverty with one shoe?

As good as it gets...

as good as it gets
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Last week we were providing relief to a group of Karen people in their hiding place. These people had fled their homes when the Burma Army attacked and were living in lean-tos and make shift shelters in the jungle. We had been in this area since early January and had just about exhausted our medical and other relief supplies. The medics were able to treat most of the cases we saw and the two cases that we could not treat we were able to evacuate.

It was just getting dark when a man came up to me carrying an old woman. “This is my Grandmother”, he said, “She is 97 years old and has been blind for four years, can you help her”?

I said a quick silent prayer, and thought that probably the only help we could give was love and some vitamins. Her grandson set her gently down in front of me, as all the medics were busy.

She squatted down with her thin arms dangling down beside her legs. She began to shake. I asked her if she was cold and she said yes. I got a Good Life Club jacket that Partners had donated and put it on her. She smiled broadly and said repeatedly, “Thank you, thank you”. Her eyes were squeezed tight and with the help of her grandson we opened them for examination. Her eyes were small, misshapen and looked partially dissolved. They did not look much like eyes anymore. I asked the medics their opinion and they said, “She has been blind a long time, is very old and so there is no way to fix those now.”

I told her we could not help her eyes and I got some vitamins from the medics and gave them to her grandson with instructions.
And then I prayed for her. That was it; no healing and no treatment for her eyes. The grandson then smiled and as he started to pick her up, he thanked us again.

She held out her arms and grabbed him tightly from behind, drawing her legs up so that he could carry her on his back. She looked secure there and laid her head against his shoulder.

As they walked away I almost began to cry. There she was, all folded up on her grandson’s back, with her new GLC jacket with the smiley face logo shining. Off they went to their hiding place with no healing, no promise of security and no certain future.

But for the moment she seemed content and was warm and I thought, “This is as good as it gets”. We want to help everyone, we want to be part of real change in Burma, but in reality sometimes we cannot do very much. But the little we each can do is sometimes as good as it gets here.

We thank you all and all the individuals and organizations that are working together to make positive change for Burma. We thank God that in this life of triumphs and tragedy of contentment and distress there are good things that happen and with love, there is always a way.
-God bless you.
A relief team leader, inside Burma
Free Burma Rangers

Monday, February 05, 2007

This moved me to tears...

click on the video called: Straton

This is the gospel to me.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

UFC 67 All of Nothing

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
This Saturday night at my house.
Snacks welcome.

First Friday...on the other side of the tracks

Seattle Artist Matt Whitney...7PM
Spokane musician Mark Ward...8PM

Food, music, art and good people, come check it out.

Band of Brothers?

Has anyone seen this series and what did you think?