Saturday, March 31, 2007

The comfort of a home...


homes
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

"It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle. The door opened on to a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with panelled walls and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished chairs, and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats--the hobbit was fond of visitors. The tunnel wound on and on, going fairly but not quite straight into the side of the hill--The Hill, as all the people for many miles round called it--and many little round doors opened out of it, first on one side and then on another. No going upstairs for the hobbit: bedrooms, bathrooms, cellars, pantries (lots of these), wardrobes (he had whole rooms devoted to clothes), kitchens, dining-rooms, all were on the same floor, and indeed on the same passage. The best rooms were all on the lefthand side (going in), for these were the only ones to have windows, deep-set round windows looking over his garden and meadows beyond, sloping down to the river. -The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

"Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. -Jeremiah 29:5

What a ministry for today. In light of all the broken homes, the abandonment, the abuse...the call for home makers is echoing through the land. There is an ever widening crevasse that is being carved into children's hearts through absent, career driven, self centered hedonistic parents.

Wealth can't create a home. It isn't about the stuff in the house but the spirit in the home. Home making is an art. Weaving a homelife that nourishes, empowers, nurtures, feeds, expands, calms and soothes is a gift that requires a sensitivity to all that is truly life giving.

A house or a home?


home
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

His (Elrond) house was perfect, whether you liked food, or sleep, or work, or story telling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all. Evil things did not come into that valley. I wish I had time to tell you even a few of the tales or one or two of the songs that they heard in that house. All of them, the ponies as well, grew refreshed and strong in a few days there. Their clothes were mended as well as their bruises, their tempers and their hopes. their bags were filled with provisions light to carry but strong to bring them over the mountain passes. Their plans were improved with best advice. -The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien

I am currently speaking on the subject of time at our church. Last week I dealt with cultivating the art of silence, being alone and developing a life that includes solitude. This week I am looking at spending time with a small group of people. In my studies I have been nourished on some thoughts about creating a home...not just building a house but a home. The art of "settling down" as the Lord puts it, through Jeremiah.

"Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper." -Jeremiah 29:5-7

What kind of homes are we building in our communities?

Friday, March 30, 2007

The emperor is naked.


mike
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

If someone were to say to me, Mike, why are you a Christian? Well, it’s not because of the Bible. I’m sorry. I mean, I like the Bible, I believe in the Bible. And what I like about the Bible is it tells the truth. You know, what happened when I went to church was they edited out all the stuff in the Bible...They didn’t mention that when Noah got off the boat he got drunk and got naked... No, they never told that. Thank God they didn’t put that on a flannelgraph, but I’m here to tell you that I never heard that story." -Mike Yaconelli

Man, I miss this guy, it was a tragic day when Mike was killed in a car accident, we lost a gifted writer, speaker and prophet. If you have not read his "messy spirituality" book, go out and get it, you wont regret it.

I agree with Mike on the bible issue. What is "so very sad" today is that most Christians would ban the bible if they really read the bible for all its worth. It is a barn burner of crazy human depravity written about in vivid R rated language and even more raw and saucy if you can read between the lines. The bible is an adult book. I get so much flac for daring to look at culture, peoples lives and flat reality, yet we hold to a book as central to our faith that is far more straightforward about our lives than any movie, article or sermon ever is. What gives?
It reminds me of this quote:

"I would rather be exposed to an a R-rated truth than a G-rated lie."
Ken Gire Reflections on the Movies: Hearing God in the Unlikeliest Places March 13th, 2007

Unfortunately many folks just dont want to live that way. I painfully understand the prophet side of truth...facing reality is brutal. We dont want to really see ourselves, our families, our culture and sometimes our churches for what they really are. We hold to fantasies about our lives, our friends and many other things. We want to be told stuff that we wont live, wont really believe and certainly dont act on but it makes us feel better to be told those things.
Truth that isn't lived.
If you cant live it, is it truth? If you cant walk it, is it true? Would God call you to a reality that He wouldn't empower you to actually live? Will he judge you for something you could not do?
Too many people are walking around the sanctuary naked and yet, we are expected to act like everyone is dressed. It's a joke.
And people get ticked off, if you point that out.
Yes...sad...so sad, indeed.

Year Zero


NIN
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

Whatever Trent Reznor is getting at: political speech or viral marketing...I still find this completely brilliant.
Why cant we christians be as interesting as pagans?

Read about it here:
http://www.rollingstone.com/rockdaily/index.php/2007/02/22/year-zero-project-way-cooler-than-lost/

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Pace your plan...


arnold
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

I've been on my work out program with some major changes this time.
I'm over a month into it, 5-6 days a week and this time I've included weight training.

Last year I lost 30 pounds but looked like a skinny teen...real bummer to not really enjoy yourself at 250 and then work your tail off and not enjoy the look at 220.
So this time I am not just taking away but adding to my body. It's slower but more healthy and realistic.
I was burning 1000 calories a day last year in the gym...looking back now, I was a madman, no wonder I ended up pissing blood in the gym.

That's one of the dangers of goals. You can get so focused on reaching that goal that you end up getting tunnel vision.
Goals have an end but real life is about finding rhythms that are sustainable, healthy and fruitful and last.
I have had to really force myself to submit to developing a reasonable plan and discipline myself to move at a pace that wont undermine my plan.

A great song for pumping iron:

Jawbreaker by Judas Priest

Deadly as the viper peering from its coil
The poison there is coming to the boil
Ticking like to time bomb
The fuse is running short
On the verge of snapping if it's caught
And all the pressure that's been building up
For all the years it bore the load
The cracks appear, the frame starts to distort
Ready to explode

Jawbreaker

Crouching in the corner
Wound up as a spring
Piercing eyes that flash are shimmering
Muscles all contorted
Claws dug in the dirt
Every ounce of fiber on alert

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Aung San Suu Kyi & Burma


rangoon_burma
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

Aung San Suu Kyi represents Burma's best hope that one day there will be an end to the country's military repression. She has spent nine of the past 15 years in some form of detention and house arrest under Burma's military regime. Aung San Suu Kyi has often said that detention has made her even more determined to dedicate the rest of her life for her people.

"The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear." -Aung San Suu Kyi

Look at a beautiful set of pictures taken in Burma at: http://www.stevemccurry.com/main.php

Pray for our new Karen family that arrived here from Minnesota. The fathers name is Nyot Eh, his wife's name is Dah Mer, and 3 year old son "Tiger heart". We have gotten them signed up with the state for medical and food, Dah Mer was also tested and confirmed she is 4 months pregnant. We found Nyot a job, yesterday was his first day landscaping. Now we need to find them a home in our neighborhood. Please pray because Nyot says his mother and father and 6 kids are coming to Spokane from Burma in about a month or so...we need workers to help resettle, money and homes to clothe, feed and launch these families into new lives.

I was a stranger, and you welcomed me. - Jesus (Matthew 25:35)

Friday, March 23, 2007

shuck-a-bow-bow


shuck a bow bow
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

My son Christian and daughter Destiny heading out to a youth event.

The only person in the world for me...


Mother Teresa
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

I do not agree with the big way of doing things. To us what matters is an individual. To get to love the person we must come in close contact with him. If we must wait till we get the numbers, then we will be lost in the numbers. And we will never be able to show that love and respect for the person; every person is Christ for me, and since there is only one Jesus, that person is only one person in the world for me at that moment. -Mother Teresa

Respect for the person...it is something that you see so powerfully in the life of Jesus. Whores, outcasts, blue collar sinners, money hungry rich guys...were all treated with a loving respect that often ticked off the religious folks. The way he dealt with people that usually got the cold shoulder or the scorn of the pious...had a way of transforming the hearts of those whom Jesus extended dignity towards. In our rush to make converts, grow churches, win the culture war and protect our children from the world...we often end up losing the gentle grace of kindness.

I felt this the other day while at breakfast with my wife. A blind young man came in the restaurant. The door faced everyone in the room. As he came in with his cane, the waitress said hello and made a comment about the special and then hurried off to the kitchen, leaving him standing there unaware that she had quickly left. He started to talk to her as if she was still there; immediately I felt a tinge of awkwardness for him and stepped in to finish the conversation with him. Hoping to soften the embarrassment he might have felt.

Dignity is a cry of the human heart and as followers of Jesus, we are called to care for people, to love them and cover their sins...not expose them, trumpet them and seek to humiliate them in front of others. Like the good son of Noah...we need to back into their lives with a garment of grace and cover their nakedness with gentleness and kindness. Too often the church has been seen as the ridiculing sons of Noah that stand, mock and point their fingers at the sins and humiliations of our brothers and sisters.

I hope that changes in my generation.

Which way...is the right way?


No-Bible-Thumpers
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

Behold, My Servant...He will not cry out or raise His voice, nor make His voice heard in the street..-Isaiah 42:1-2

As Christians we are called to follow the way, the truth and the life of Jesus. Holding in tension the call to live out the way of Jesus, just as He lived out the Life of His Father. In doing that we need to also go in the truth of who Jesus is as well. He chose to live a certain way as a man, even though who He was was as God was so much more. He chose to empty himself and come as a servant even though He was Lord of all. That act was an example of biblical meekness.

One of the major problems the jewish leaders had with Jesus was the fact that He didn't fulfill their preconceived ideas (many which were biblical) about what the Messiah would do and how he would do it. They couldn't see Jesus riding on a donkey...they wanted a messiah to come first on the warhorse of the apocalypse. They wanted to skip the first verses of Isaiah 42 and get to the end of the chapter where it says:

"The Lord will go forth like a warrior, He will arouse His zeal like a man of war. He will utter a shout, yes, He will raise a war cry. He will prevail against His enemies. -Isaiah 42:13

The church militant is a reality, she is conquering through love, humility, service and grace in footsteps of the one who rode a colt first.
Then through dying to self she shall be reborn in another age riding on a white horse. Her perceived lowliness shall be transformed into the reality that she is...a conquering white horse of victory. Not a wild untamed stallion but a trained & reined, yet free horse of strength, meekness and glorious beauty.

The gospel must be preached and we must use words if necessary. (St. Francis of Assisi...or sissy, depending on your perspective)

"More arguments are lost by arrogance than are ever lost by poor reasoning...What does that mean in practice? It means not just arguing the truth of the Christian faith, but living that truth every day. It means that instead of lashing out in response to attacks and insults, we bear them patiently and respond with Christ-like grace and love. Instead of going for the jugular in a conversation or debate with a nonbeliever, we listen and answer with respect. Instead of thinking we have all the answers, we are ready to be corrected and to learn. When have we ever needed such an attitude more than we do right now? In the times in which we live, anger and spite are more and more taking the place of rational discussions. If we hope to convince the world that Christ has truth and hope to offer, this is the way we must do it—as Sire says, with "a reliance not on the cleverness . . . of argument but on the power of God to will and to do his good pleasure." -lifted from a Chuck Colson break point article that quoted James Sire's "A little Primer on humble apologetic"

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Preaching the gospel with a fist?



Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. -Matthew 5:5

After watching the "way of the master" video I posted, I was grieved by the way the transvestite was treated at the end.
Do christians now feel comfortable filming lost people in such a way?
What if that was your son...would the way they handled that young man make you grateful they were the christians Jesus sent to reach your little boy who had fallen into such darkness?

Don't turn the other cheek now...just film it, post it and most importantly use it...
Use people...for our gain, to make our point, to justify our actions, to show others what we do or have had done to us.
I hope to God that if my little girl or my son finds themselves at some broken and sinful place in their lives that they will run into Mother Teresa not these guys or anyone else that has decided that the world needs a talking too.

Thoughtfulness is the beginning of a great sanctity.
If you learn this art of being thoughtful, you will become more and more Christ-like for His heart was meek and He always thought of others. Our vocation, to be beautiful, must be full of thought for others. Jesus went about doing good. -Mother Teresa

Come to me all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart, and you will find your lives restful. For my yoke is easy and my burden sweet (Mt 11:28-30).
-Jesus

Go and do likewise...-Jesus

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

a little puritan nugget for you...

"All men by nature, and even believers, in so far as they are unrenewed, desire to be under the covenant of works, and to obtain happiness by their own righteousness, or the condition of it. 1. It is natural to men, and hence men of every form or religion, station, office, education, or manner of life, agree in it (Romans 9:31,32; 10:3; Jonah 1:16; Matthew 19:16; John 6:28; Acts 2:37; Luke 15:19). 2. Our own working or suffering, in order to obtain happiness from God, is exceedingly suited to the pride of our corrupt nature, and makes us to look on God as our debtor (Romans 10:3; 7:9,13; John 5:45; Isaiah 58:3). It is like pangs of death to quit our hold of the law (Romans 7:4,9; Galatians 2:19). 3. Men's ignorance of the extensive and high demands of the broken law, and of their own utter inability to keep it, — or their care to abridge their apprehensions of them, and to enlarge their conceit of their own ability, mightily promote their desire to be under it (Romans 7:9-13; 10:3; Galatians 4:21). 4. Men have naturally a peculiar enmity against God and his gracious method of redemption, — against Jesus Christ and his whole mediation, particularly his sacrificing work; and hence love to oppose the honor of it be cleaving to legal methods of obtaining happiness (Romans 8:7; John 15:24; Romans 10:3; 9:32; 5:21; Galatians 2:21; 5:2,4)." -The systematic Theology of John Brown of Haddington

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Lee & Jackson


Lee & Jackson
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

LeeElla got to play babysitter today for Jackson our foster daughter's son. It's kind of amazing to see how life turns out...we think life is heading in one direction and end up getting a major u-turn and end up somewhere we never thought we would be. We end up finding grace in unlikely places or in the next generation. Strange to think that God might have a work for you in a child yet to be born. All the thistles and briars you are wrestling through or have torn your way through might be for a whole other reason or person. In the end that's what is awesome about following Jesus...you just trust and follow and He weaves it together. I am grateful that He is sovereign.

future leaders...

It is not enough for the priests and ministers of the future to be moral people, well trained, eager to help their fellow humans, and able to respond creatively to the burning issues of their time. All of that is very valuable and important, but it is not the heart of Christian leadership. The central question is, are the leaders of the future truly men and women of God, people with an ardent desire to dwell in God's presence, to listen to God's voice, to look at God's beauty, to touch God's incarnate Word and to taste fully God's infinite goodness? 
-From the book "In the name of Jesus" by Henri J. M. Nouwen

What do you think?



I have mixed feelings about this show and the method they use. I have been involved in street ministry as presented here. I have done one on one, group proclamation, carrying a cross on a street corner, hand out tracts, surveys, door to door and a few other expressions of modern evangelism. I have seen some amazing moments take place, souls touched, and seeds planted. I have had other less enjoyable moments too...a knife pulled, spat on, bibles torn in front of me in front of a Marilyn Manson concert, cussed out & chewed out and most often just flat out ignored. I have also felt the rush that this type of sharing faith can bring and I have also felt the tinge of pride that can ride in on the brave act of cutting edge proclaiming. You almost start living for the confrontation or the adrenaline of the hunt. I am not sure how to quite put it but it can be slightly addicting on some levels.

I have grown uneasy with the "battle" motif that is often used in promoting this kind of evangelism. The fight, the confrontation, the wrestling all appeal often to a certain personality that can do more harm than good. I have seen God use it, often but I also have seen God dishonored in extremely rude ways. The whole "GOD HATES FAGS" group being the height of that error....the chopped up babies on huge signs in front of abortions centers is also painfully vivid in my memory.

There is defiantly a draw to the whole "prophet proclaiming" edge to this kind of ministry and it can stir up a host of devils, snakes and scorpions for sure! I remember in Portland OR a certain street preacher getting a crowd and women pulling off their tops and a man dancing around the preacher butt naked in opposition.

What do you think?

Are we chicken to not be doing more of this kind of ministry on our streets? Should you be going door to door in your neighborhood? Should we stand at street corners and hold up signs? How about grabbing a bullhorn and start talking at people at intersections? Should you...or more importantly, will you?

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
But do this with gentleness and respect" (NIV). -1 Peter 3:9

Monday, March 19, 2007

Smith Rocks Or


Smith Rocks Or
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

Ok...I admit it, I am a rock hugger with a fairly green underbelly. I was raised that way. I attended Seventh Day Adventist schools as a kid, had a vegetarian mother and a nature lover for a father. We spent most of our outings as kids in nature, we camped a lot and lived in a number of outdoor type places. In fact some of my most vivid childhood forming memories are of my mother showing us kids Green peace movies about clubbing seal for fur...that will shape a mind and heart towards environmentalism!

One of my most painful memories centered around earthiness (other than that vile pasty stuff called Tahinni) is when my dog got hit by a UPS truck and died and we got the news over the phone from the vet. I was balling and all that but what made it worse was my mom was playing this Whale song cd that had all these wailing whales crying in the background....talk about a creepy moment.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Stone...


rock
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

Can you love stone?

Can you pass on that love? I think you can. I spent a lot of time with rock in my childhood, especially in Bend, Oregon. I can still remember the awe of visiting the Valhalla of stone...Smith Rocks, Oregon. The immensity of it, the challenge that it seemed to boom down at you from it's gigantic rock faces. I can still remember the thrill of getting to the top of one of its canyon peaks and gazing over the miles of area you could see from its top. There is something eternal in it.

As a kid I loved discovering rock, building with it, firing machine guns from behind it, crawling and hiding in it. I like the feel of rock...the stability of it. The coolness and roughness, the shapes, the toughness. I love the way they just sit where they sit. The strength of rock reminds me of bone, structure, foundation. Boys always want to climb them, conquer them and stand on them.

Have you noticed that?

The call to rest....


our lake
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

In American, alas, beauty has become something you drive to...-–Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods (1998), p. 200

This new year I am seeking to put into practice, new and neglected rhythms that will help restore balance to these three areas of my life that I think are essential to true health:

time alone: to hear from God, to read Scripture, to read others.
time with one: spouse (if applicable), mentor, peers.
time with groups: doing fun, doing ministry, sharing life.

Part of that goal is getting outside more. Walking, hiking, sitting. Part of that means I got to drive too. Thankfully I live in a city that is surrounded with beauty and places to reflect and pray and think. But the real goal is to nurture this solitude and silence and reflective ability within my own soul. You can't always leave, get away or walk in the woods but you can pray without ceasing. That is a internal reality that isn't based on being in a beautiful place but before His face. I want to walk in that reality more.

A poor urban neighborhood is the perfect place to learn to do this. The work of God involves cultivating beauty internally and outwardly among a community of people.

This involves saying yes to somethings and no to others. It requires discipline...which isn't a bad word. It can set you free.

"A spiritual discipline . . is the concentrated effort to create some inner and outer space in our lives, where . . obedience can be practiced. Through a spiritual discipline we prevent the world from filling our lives to such an extent that there is no place left to listen. A spiritual discipline sets us free . . ." - Henri J. M. Nouwen; author

I heard pastor Rob Bell comment that the Sabbath was a day that God taught His people that they were valuable for who they were and not for what they produced. Egypt said they must produce bricks or die...their value was determined by how much they could produce. God said to set aside a day when you do nothing, produce nothing...don't work. That is a profound act of rebellion against our culture. I think it is a worthy revolt.

"Give me, O Lord, a steadfast heart which no unworthy affection may drag downwards; give me an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out; give me an upright heart which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. Bestow on me also, O Lord my God, understanding to know You, diligence to seek You, wisdom to find You, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace You through Jesus Christ our Lord." - Thomas Aquinas

Thursday, March 15, 2007

More 300 thoughts...


death
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

So I turned to consider wisdom, madness and folly...-Ecclesiastes 2:12

A number of people have expressed concern over my viewing the movie 300 and my thoughts about the movie. As usual I don't think my writing ability seemed to convey the point I was trying to make.

300 is an R movie. It has extreme violence, nudity and some odd eastern/arabian night like monsters. I took a chance on a film I really had been anticipating...it let me down in the way it went over the top in some of it's imagery.

As a pastor I was trying to get at the themes that were in the film that resonate with a christian man as well as a non-christian man. I was trying to show that the internal drives are often the same but for a Christian how we live out those drives is different.

Just to admit that I enjoy a healthy sex life is somehow sinful to some people. Much of the church conversation seems to imply that a godly man wouldn't write like King Solomon did:
"The curve of your hips are like jewels" -Song of Solomon 7:1
"Your stature is like a palm tree, and your breasts are like its clusters, I said, I will take hold of its fruit stalks" -Song of Solomon 7:7

Sometimes in the church, which is often dominated by a womanly perspective about sex and the general attitude is that men are obsessive about sex and if they were truly spiritual they would have a sex drive more like a woman. Because we all know that women are more spiritual than men.

That is more what I was trying to talk about but again it got lost in the wording I guess. I wasn't trying to endorse porn or viewing endless nudity or advocating a sexual romp through hollywood for your own sinful pleasure. Sexual sin is destructive, I have taught up and down that tree this last month. Porn is destructive, damaging and addictive and playing around with fire can get you burned. We all need to guard our hearts and use wisdom in choosing entertainment. In most of all my choices I use a lot of preemptive searches to find out content etc. I think that is wise and I often avoid much that this world pumps out for consumption.

I know that many will disagree with choices I make at times, you are free to have your standards and I will aim to engage culture, consume culture with as much wisdom as I can muster. Sometimes I make good choices and sometimes I don't...it's a learning experience for sure.

I know many will use my viewing of 300 as a excuse to see it or a means to justifying see it. Looking back, that issue probably should have had more weight in my choosing to write (and/or seeing) about it.

simple truth...



I know this is an ad but why is it the world often gets a handle on what makes people tick better than us Christians do. Churches banging their heads to figure our the "missional code" or pay loads of money to go somewhere to have someone tell them how to impact their community. When actually you might be able to do that with a couch and some kleenex.

The kingdom of heaven really belongs to the children...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Slow down dude...

More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn't be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them. -Henri Nouwen

Wow...so true. 

I wrestle with this, especially as our church grows and the needs mount and people start expecting more and more "stuff". Then there is your own inner self that seem to feel the pressure from without and within to "be" something more, do something more, provide something more and on and on it goes. One of the blessings and challenges of living in a neighborhood where your church gathers and more and more members live; is the reality of there always being some place to go, someone to visit, something to do. On one hand that is a major blessing and practical way to share life and Jesus. But it also means that your private world or chance for "solitude" diminishes as well. 

Suburban and commuter life pastoring has its downsides but one thing I miss sometimes is the feeling of pulling up into your own private home and lowering the draw bridge and parking and then raising it and feeling that you were "away or done". Strange how sometimes we can love and hate something at the same time.

Paul Bunyan burgers...


chowing
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

Here's my kids awaiting their Paul Bunyan burgers at our post hiking mandatory stop in Coeur D alene, ID...Not a bad looking bunch of kids.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Amazing!

Christa


Christa
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

Christa enjoying the lake on our hike. She went back home to Amsterdam, Holland yesterday after a 3 week stay with us. We will miss her. We are praying that she might be our first international intern and come and helps us with the growing church. Pray for her as she decides.

And remember sister the 3 points of God's to call to Abraham:
—one that requires sacrifice (“Leave your home”) and obedience (“Go to a land I will show you”), one that holds great promise (“I will bless you”).

Spokane Falls


Spokane Falls
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

One of the reasons I love living in Spokane...nature is a part of the city. Here is a shot of the falls that run through the downtown area.

Micah in a moment of glee


Micah in the woods
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

My youngest son scampering all over the hillsides on our hike on Saturday.

Starwars...a lost hope


sabers
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.



Ok, a little low brow but this made me laugh.

going for a walk


going for a walk
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

We all took our friend Christa from Holland to Coeur D Alen for a tour of the town, a hike and visit to our summer swimming spot on Tubbs Hill.

14


14
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

This is my oldest son Christian...he is 14.

I am sure we are all proud of our kids but I sure am proud of how this young man is growing up. He is smart (3.6 and up), funny, creative, wise for his age, compassionate, not a push over, sincere, respectful to us, brave and makes some great films. And most of all he loves Jesus and shows it...oh, and of course, he loves metal.

His blog is:
http://worldofniss.blogspot.com/

New baby.


Jackson
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

Alicia, our foster daughter had a boy, his name is, Jackson...so in a strange kind of way, I am a grandpa at 36.

hummmmm


hummmmm
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

Can you figure out what this piece of art is about?

I am going to make one of these out of stone.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Batman vs alien vs predator

I'm sorry you have no mission....

In high school (youth group), you were baby sat, entertained, shamed, taught how to be "nice," kept busy with lots of programs, told not to sin--(sex, porn, getting drunk, having long hair), you went on 10-day missions trip to Jamaica over Christmas, but you were never given a picture for your role in the mission of God to redeem His world. Your faith has been totally undermined by a Christianity of privitization: you and Jesus. You were given the monastic vision of Christianity as a life of personal piety alone, raised to live in the Christian ghetto where it's safe

Read the whole article here:
http://anthonybradley.worldmagblog.com/anthonybradley/archives/024770.html

Monday, March 05, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth


pans labyrinth
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

Saw this film yesterday and have to say, this dude was the creepiest creature I have seen in a long time. I am not into horror or fright films at all and this gangly, bloody, skin dangling, fairy chomping nightmare on two awkward legs was enough o make me grip my chair! Yikes! Don't let your kids near this film!

But, it is worth seeing in my opinion, though not at the theater. I could have enjoyed it on my big screen at home just as well.

It is violent in parts, I mean brutally graphic. Not gory or grotesque but shockingly violent. The main bad dude of the film is a nazi like figure.
He likes smashing in noses and point blank shots into wounded opponents. You want this guy to die, fairly quickly after you meet him in the movie.

It's a fairy tale story set in war time. Its spanish with english subtitles.
The female child lead, is amazing. The story is rich and the fantasy elements are original and well done.

The movies message is deep and worth unpacking. Human depravity, the power of faith, sacrifice, redemption in blood, a father who is trying to make a way to be reunited with his child, two worlds, an unseen one and a real one that exist at the same time and interact but only some can see, a book that must be read followed and obeyed, A guide who helps the child return from this world to the next, life and death and conflict as necessary for growth and passage to the next life, the futility of trying to ward off death or act as if it wont happen, the struggle of a son and his fathers death, on and on it goes. This movie is packed with discussion points for sure.

I liked it but be warned...one part has a man sewing up his cheek...it made my butt pucker!

Listen...you can hear mountains moving.



Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he promised to those who love Him? -James 2:5

Mesmerizing.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Male or men?


atlantis
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

And of the Gadites there separated themselves unto David into the hold to the wilderness men of might, and men of war fit for the battle, that could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as the roes upon the mountains..." -1 Chr 12:8

Our friend Christa and LeeElla and I were talking the other day and Christa was sharing how in Amsterdam, Holland it's hard to find christian men who are self motivated spiritually. The women seem to be the ones dragging men along in spiritual things. Then they asked if I knew any christian men who have spiritual drive? Not just christians, but devoted, spiritual, focused, hungry, front line kind of men. I had to confess...they are far and few between. Not many stand out, rise above or stand alone.

Why is that?

I read this after our conversation:
"Christianity is now seen as a part of the sphere of life proper to women rather than to men, it sometimes attracts men whose own masculinity is doubtful. By this I do not mean homosexuals . . . rather religion is a safe field, a refuge from the challenges of life and therefore attracts men who are fearful of making a break with the secure world of childhood dominated by women. These are men who have problems following the path of masculine development." -Leon Podles, is his book, The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity,

Over the years I've noticed in christian circles of men some trends:
Men are more soft. They look more like girls with feathery hair cascading down over their pouty and moody faces. Lots of tight pants with silky, patterned shits, shoes that don't get dirty, bodies scented with product, perfumes and stuff for lips. Struggles with paralyzing Indecision, deep seated timidity, escapism and juvenile fantasy lives. They are often slow...they meander in life without spiritual focus, drive and ambition...they end up talking instead of walking. They don't want the "wilderness" but civilization, safety and the familiar. Men of might? men of war? Hummm...we can't even get up the courage to sing out-loud much, let alone pray out-loud. Faces like Lions? I've not seen a countenance that appears hungry, fierce and determined in a long time.

Pure grit is that element of character, which enables a man to clutch his aim with an iron grip, and keep the needle of his purpose pointing to the star of his hope. Through sunshine and storm, through hurricane and tempest, through sleet and rain, with a leaky ship, with a crew in mutiny, it perseveres; in fact, nothing but death can subdue it, and it dies still struggling.
- Orison Sweet Marden

61% of the average adult U.S. church attendance is women, 80% of attendees at midweek church activities are women, and 90% of boys raised in the church will abandon it by time they turn 20-years-old.

Those stats alarm me. This is the hour for males to return to men. My prayer is that this year will be a awakening year for the soul of men in the church.

Friday, March 02, 2007

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


Lilly
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

"The good artists are the people who are, in one way or another, creating, out of deep and honest concern, a vision of life . . . that is worth pursuing. And the bad artists, of whom there are many, are whining or moaning or staring, because it's fashionable, into the dark abyss."
- John Gardner, On Moral Fiction

Tonight we are hosting our third artist & live music event called: First Friday...on the other side of the tracks.

This month we have an open exhibit with over a dozen different artists that have submitted work. We will be showing paintings, model cars, hand made crafts, poetry and video. Come and visit, eat some great food, listen to local musician Sean Saugen and enjoy everyones offerings...and it's FREE.