Friday, August 29, 2008

Political stuff...

Here's some political humor for you political leanings types, I hope this satire is worth seeing, oh, and that's Chris Farley's brother playing the Michael Moore spoof. Yes, I did record Obama's speech last night at the DNC, I'll watch it today, I watched most of Gore's speech yesterday....and I read up on Mcain's pick of Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin for VP. This race just got more interesting to me.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Does prayer really do anything...?

Does prayer really do anything...?

I think the above article clearly outlines what I was presenting on Sunday and during our bible study on Wednesday night. I confidently stand on the position that this paper expounds; and intend to root our minds, hearts and church practice in the truth it teaches. I feel this position is biblical, honors God's character and power and yet, holds the tension of man's role, responsibility and opportunity.

I am fully aware that this subject is fraught with abuses, misunderstandings, false teaching, especially from the those who come from a Word of Faith, hyper-charismatic or Pentecostal background. At the same time I know that those who have been raised in the Calvinist tradition can swing so far into the realms of Sovereignty that life starts sounding like a predetermined plan that looks like the theological errors of fate, destiny and the straightjacket of Islam and greek mythology. Some ideas about prayer can start sounding very Deistic: God wound up the world and is just watching it spin out on its own and we are simply along for the ride...victims of cold, calculated, pre-determinism. With all the opinions, experiences and church backgrounds in our circle; we are presented with a very real challenge to remain centered on the whole counsel of God and not swing to far to either side. That isn't just a safe view, but a healthy, biblical my opinion.

I encourage all discussion, and hope we can all be humble, quick to listen, slow to speak, approachable, teachable and yet, always rooted in biblical truth; as we explore our way forward in regards to the rhythm and call to prayer as individuals and a church.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

All before I was 18...

"Our friday night, no strings attached, events. No strings attached means we're not preaching, we're not going to do cool stuff only to make you sit through a cheesey 10 minute epilogue at the end. We've got rid of all of that and cut it back to just the cool stuff. - a local Church in Spokane

I read this statement today on a church website, I was looking for some info on some resources I knew they were providing for the practical needs of the poor in our community. In the process, I read this on the "youth" site. It's a ministry philosophy like this that breaks my heart as a former youth pastor. It's youth ministry like this that makes me fall on my face and pray to God for a movement of grace and power among the youth of our city. A harvest gathered through gospel preaching laborers, not just game guru's. I understand all the arguments and tag lines that are offered up in these kind of discussions but in the end...I think about the many young people I have seen in the streets, the jails, the schools and the churches that need more than sanctified goofiness in the their lives.

I simply have no understanding of that world as a teenager. I remember what it felt like to put a razor blade to my wrist and contemplate cutting into my flesh and pouring out my numb life, after a night of frying hard on LSD. I remember the lostness, the emptiness that consumed my soul and the helplessness that I felt as I realized that no amount of partying or getting laid was ever going to fill the ache inside.

The smell of puke, urine and dirty clothes from nights of sleepless partying is familiar to me. The cold of sleeping in a dumpster and having to try to start a fire to keep warm. Running from police, getting a gun drawn on you and feeling handcuffs clip over your wrist or the hard plastic of the backseat of a cop car. The fear, the anger and the blood of fist fights, watching someone get pummeled and not letting them run from their antagonizer, all for the fun of watching it. I can still see the tears of girls being rejected after being used and watching them realize they are just a moment, a sexual experience, an appetizer.

I've meet drug pushers, with their sexual conquests pictured in Polaroid's on the wall...liars, abusers, evil people that prey off the addicted or the naive. I know what is like to not graduate, to fail, to be a loser. I've sat in circles, watched blood being leeched from an offered hand over a religious symbol, while music played that hailed Satan, mocked Christ...I've seen frightening devils.

I've found a suicide attempt, wrists slit, naked, bloodied and floating nude in a bath tube. I've watched some one shove a needle into their arm and beg for more and more and more and realized that they would kill themselves for that high. I've felt drugs squeeze out your breath, I've gasped and lost consciousness....thinking that I was dying from a drug overdose. I know what it's like to stumble into a hospital and ask for help because I can't breathe.

I saw all this before I was 18.

Where are the youth ministries for those kind of kids?

"While women weep, as they do now, I'll fight; while little children go hungry, as they do now, I'll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I'll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I'll fight - I'll fight to the very end!"-William Booth

Abraham Joshua Heschel

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this interview, a Jewish teacher, not a follower of Jesus, but his insights and biblical scholarship is world renown. His wisdom is potent and his communication is mesmerizing to me. I wish to God more men grew into such oaks. I dug into finding out more about him after reading his commentary on Jeremiah 20:7, a passage that is deeply troubling and mysterious on so many levels...but at the same time is so true. I know many people will wrestle with the many did, when the prophets often scandalized their hearers. We have unfortunately scrubbed most of the prophets words clean of their dirt and grit today...we have sanitized their words with our soft light translations and paraphrasing, to the point that they are no longer dangerously viral.

We have also moved the deeply mysterious and painfully complex reality of walking, sometime stumbling, often hiding, rarely with God; into a stroll with Jesus that is painfully disingenuous. Too many talkers have faked it to the people, in order to try to convince them about something we know will ruin them, infect them, win them, make them die and pull them out of their graves. God is presented to most as a Gentleman...and to some of us, He has been a conquerer more than someone who offered us a "conversation". He has become to me a King who captured me, am I better for it, eternally yes, but to deny that He has been more than gentle with to belie the fact that He is a God of the Hurricane as much as the whisper.

Here is the commentary from Mr. Heschel

O Lord, Thou hast seduced me,
And I am seduced;
Thou hast raped me
And I am overcome.
-Jer. 20:7

The meaning of this extraordinary confession becomes clear when we consider what commentators have failed to notice, namely, the specific meaning of the individual words. The striking feature of the verse is the use of two verbs patah and hazak. The first term is used in the Bible and in the special sense of wrongfully inducing a woman to consent to prenuptial intercourse (Exod. 22:16 [H. 22:15]; cf. Hos. 2:14 [H. 2:16]; Job 31:9). The second term denotes the violent forcing of a woman to submit to extranuptial intercourse, which is thus performed against her will (Deut 22:25; cf. Judg. 19:25, II Sam. 13:11). The first denotes seduction or enticement; the second, rape. Seduction is distinguished from rape in that it does not involve violence. The woman seduced has consented, although her consent may have been gained by allurements. The words used by Jeremiah to describe the impact of God upon his life are identical with the terms for seduction and rape in the legal terminology of the Bible.

These terms used in immediate juxtaposition forcefully convey the complexity of the divine-human relationship: sweetness of enticement as well as violence of rape. Jeremiah, who like Hosea thought of the relationship between God and Israel in the image of love, interpreted his own involvement in the same image. This interpretation betrays an ambivalence in the prophet's understanding of his own experience.

The call to be a prophet is more than an invitation. It is first of all a feeling of being enticed, ofacquiescence or willing surrender. But this winsome feeling is only one aspect of the experience. The other aspect is a sense of being ravished or carried away by violence, of yielding to overpowering forced against one's own will. The prophet feels both the attraction and the coercion of God, the appeal and the pressure, the charm and the stress. He is conscious of both voluntary identification and forced capitulation.

(Volume I, pages 113- 114)


This film is a perfect example of how to make a movie with heart, spirit, values and passion without making it feel like a sunday school flannel board. I was so refreshed and moved by the intelligence and masterful way of saying something that so desperately needs to be said today, but in a way that slips under the skin, crawls up into the heart and shaves off the callouses, so a person can see or feel again. This is a film that is like a good book or a good have to take it all in, slowly, digesting it and sipping it. It's not a Hollywood shot glass, it's a dark red glass of wine or a hot cup of dark, foamy coffee...meant to walk barefoot through. (Thanks Dan, for the tip off)

Monday, August 25, 2008

WAR DANCE: What a film...

Watch the trailer here. Simply devastating and inspiring...I think I was moved by this film more than Invisible Children. Both were amazing documentaries but this one has a story that is so heart warming in the midst of the horror. A must see for anyone interested in human drama and Justice issues.

Spurgeon on: The Preachers Private Prayer...

This short selection from the chapter "The Preacher's Private Prayer" in C.H. Spurgeon's book "Lectures to My Students"; is some of the best wisdom I've read on prayer, especially for the pastor or spiritual leader.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Following Ezekiel’s path...


Dare I move to holy places that utter, swoosh and rumble.
Feathered fear, unblinking eyes that surround each step.
Flames smolder, stirred up in the voices, distant songs, present prayers,
They swoon and swirl around, fragrant offerings, desperate pleadings.

Paths among the colors, hues and glints that dazzle and wash over you.
Voices echo among the angelic pillars...prayers resound and return to the earth
with the momentum of divine decrees enveloped around them like falling stars...they descend with grace and judgement.

Hands hidden among symbols of flight...the lift of heaven pulls in a skyward uptake.
He is inhaling the moment, the weakness, the terra-firm boundness.

Here gifts that burn, are passed. I receive what is given and release what is destined but it scars me with celestial flames. I suffer to pass the coals. It is the way of the seer to be consumed first, by what passes through ones hands.

I’ve been summoned and now...I am released like a feather that falls, a symbol of something that flew where you could not walk.


Eric Blauer 8.24.08 (based on prayer time in EZ 10)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Bamboozled again...

Well, it appears the wools been pulled over some of our eyes yet's come out that Michael Guglielmucci, musician who wrote the song "Healer", which I posted previously, was faking his cancer for two years and duping innocent people while raising cash for the cause, who knows where that all went? You can read more here.

I'm getting nauseated with so much of this stuff going on right now. I know there has been liars, wolves in sheep's clothing, quacks, 'christian voodoo men", fake healers, snake oil peddlers and kooky spooky nuts who throw things, blow things and sell lots of things and we love it so. The sideshow has been ratcheting up for ages but with all the recent Lakeland shenanigans going down...I'm starting to get ticked and yet, I read this verse and I pause, with my forehead veins still protruding...

"Some proclaim Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill. These proclaim Christ out of love, knowing that I have been put here for the defense of the gospel; the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but intending to increase my suffering in my imprisonment. What does it matter? Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice." Philippians 1:15-18

I guess I will have to figure out how to rejoice in this...some how, some way. I can rejoice that he was exposed and as another brother has said, it was probably due in part to the popularity of the song and the light it shed on in a way, he dug his own pit and fell into it...which might become a mercy from God for his own soul.

The Apostle Paul urged the Ephesian elders to..."be on your guard" (Acts 20:31). The challenge is to be level headed, clear minded and biblically rooted in these times. We need to learn to: "test the spirits to see whether they are from God" -I Jn 4:1; because the days ahead will continue to pump out more and more deceiving signs and wonders, false prophets, teachers and apostles.

Jesus warned about the "God is moving here and there crowd" in Matthew 24:23-24 "Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect."

The church and faithful pastors have to hold fast to the example of the Ephesian church that was praised by Jesus for the way they handled the traveling charismatic circus of their day..."I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. -Revelations 2:2.

With out sounding like I'm quoting from a Left Behind book or channeling a TBN prophesy guy with greying hair, wide eyes and the grumbling and rumbling sound of hysteria brewing in my bowels...I still think these days seem to be evidence that we are way to prone to deception, which could bode bad if these times come, if they are not already here:

"The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. -2 Thessalonians 2:9-12

That should send us to prayer and bible study and urge us to get our butts back into a healthy, truth preaching and teaching church. Oh and maybe canceling our subscriptions to the christian magazines that are peddling and promoting this strange fire revival stuff. Turn off the christian boob tube, quit panting after the next movement, message or man that is pranced around as the latest and greatest.

God help us...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Response to the Lakeland, FL/Todd Bentley events...

Due to the recent events that have been reported as revival In Lakeland FL and the current moral issues surrounding revivalist Todd Bentley; I have linked to another article published by Dr. Steve Crosby of Stephanos Ministries regarding the issues:

Perfect Lord, Flawed Vessels, Corrupt Systems

I have written about the issue and publicly stated my position on the "revival" prior to the recent news (which seems to be continually evolving) concerning issues in and around the movement:

"We wish to acknowledge, however, that since our last statement from the Fresh Fire Board of Directors, we have discovered new information revealing that Todd Bentley has entered into an unhealthy relationship on an emotional level with a female member of his staff. In light of this new information and in consultation with his leaders and advisors, Todd Bentley has agreed to step down from his position on the Board of Directors and to refrain from all public ministry for a season to receive counsel in his personal life.-from Revival Fire Ministries website

Due to the fact that there has been publicizing, promoting and facilitating by local pastors, city leaders and ministries in Spokane to host a Todd Bentley meeting here in Spokane; I felt the need to state my position. I am seriously concerned about the state of the Charismatic and Pentecostal movement today. I am more concerned about the structures, values and paradigms that are present that set believers and churches up for deception, abuse and a "revival" itch that never seems to be satisfied. The constant pursuit of signs & wonders, revival movements and charismatic holy men today is alarming but not new.

Methods, Message and Men...have always had to be held accountable to biblical truth and the historical roots of biblical, apostolic Christianity. To ignore one of these legs of the stool, will cause people, churches and movements to eventually fall. The damage can be devastating in both personal experience and the backlash of cultural and community disdain.

As a Charismatic, reformed leaning, evangelical...I consider the Word and the Spirit to be complementary and necessary for healthy biblical living and a fruitful church or ministry. I attempt to lead from a position that is open and inviting to authentic works of the Holy Spirit and at the same time grounded and tethered to the Christ centered proclamation of the gospel and the truth of the New Covenant. A reality that is proclaimed in the words that the "Kingdom of God is at hand". The Spirit of God has been poured out and we plead with people to enter in by faith, to the work of God by His Spirit, both inwardly in conversion and outwardly in ministry. I am not ashamed of the gospel and the power of God that is found in proclaiming, teaching and living the word of God. We preach Christ and Him crucified, risen and ascended to the right hand of God in word and deed.

We rest in His finished work of Jesus Christ and are not looking for another Messiah, Message or Movement. The events of Lakeland and the fact that many high profile leaders laid their hands on this man and endorsed by word, deed or presence, the message and movement; alarms me and is evidence that we are still wrestling with men, systems and philosophies that are dangerously prone to anti-christ influences. The excuses, side stepping, spiritualizing, flip-flopping and spiritual bullying by high profile leaders that is going on now, is more evidence that the blind may be leading the blind.

I pray that as we navigate the wind and waves ahead in this city, nation and era; we will not be moved from the apostolic message of the centrality of Christ, the teaching of the whole word of God and the ministry and outreach to the poor and unbelieving in our cities.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The violent man...

The violent one has become a rod to punish wickedness" Ez 7:11

This Thursday night at 7PM at Jacob's Well Cafe, 3016 E. 5th Ave, Spokane WA we are hosting the next Spokane Gentleman's Society meeting which will be centered around the issue of "What makes a man...a man" and the side issue of men's fascination with violence. I've been reading through the Bible and in Ezekiel there is some pretty strong judgment reserved for the violent societies. God is especially gunning down on a few sins He says He really hates and number 3 on the list is "Hands that kill innocent blood" (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Do you have a problem with violence? As a man where does ones thirst for action, butt kicking, big guns and the thrill of smash and blast or hack and slash find it's place in the Christian mans world? Do we get an out if the iron fist of proverbial justice is coming down on those who are NOT INNOCENT?

What about the taste of blood?

Is it weird to you that one of the symbols of the Jesus Way is drinking blood and eating flesh? Can you get any more earthy than that? What about the Jesus of the Apocalypse? He looks more like the Thor of Norse mythology than the carpenter who told Peter to put away his sword. Do we have a place for a God of War? A God-Man who is tattooed, wielding a slaughtering sword, trampling the grapes of wrath, His rope splattered in the blood? How do we balance the Prince of Peace with the Lord of Hosts...Heaven's armies?

What do we do with such images?

worship is more than singing...

I think the danger of critiquing modern "worship" is failing to understand that playing songs is just one act of worship. SInging can be an act of worship. Just because someone is leading from a stage or singing in a church, thats no guarantee that it is worship. Worship is an act of life. It's buoyed in realities of our daily direction and purpose.

Singing becomes an overflow of a worshipping life. Wether we are releasing an abundance of praise or vocalizing our desperation...worship is more than music. With that matters not the style, the number of people doing it, the age, the social context, the cultural flavor...all of that is not worship. God sees the heart, the life, the message, the offering.

The posture of ones life determines what is worship.

The beauty of this truth is found when we realize that many parts of our lives can become a way or an act of worship.
It expands our offerings to the Lord. Worship then becomes a discovery of how to glorify God in all we do in word or deed. It wraps all of life into an act of praise...the good and the bad can become a hallowed sacrifice that we humbly or joyfully lift up to Him.

Monday, August 18, 2008

He said...what?

I've wrestled with this issue a lot in my communication. These kind of issues are bumped up against all the time in my life and in my desire to communicate to a generally christianized culture and an ambivalent culture that has grown deaf to the voice of the church due to the monotonous, monotone, mumbling that has so often characterized the proclamation of truth. I find the bible shocking, raw and humorous. It's stories are potent with all things human.

The truth is often proclaimed in words and ways that would prevent the original hearers from falling asleep. In fact the messages more often than not, got the preachers imprisoned, stoned, chased out of town or beaten down...rarely ignored. I tend to tread close and over the line and often I beat myself up afterwards as I try to balance being a godly and dignified elder as commanded in the scriptures; but at the same time holding to the edge of truth even if it bites, shocks and makes some people squirm or bleed. In the end my prayer is that Jesus would be glorified and not ignored. That His word would be proclaimed and not pandered or be reduced to a slight whispering over tea...a mere "conversation" that can be lost in the droning of the many other voices that shimmer, gently massage and buzz.

it's the balance of the title of this blog: Crowbar Massage...not always an easy endeavor, for sure.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pend Oreille Lake....

We just returned from our Church camp-out at Pend Oreille Lake in Idaho, about 45 minutes from here. A beautiful place to laugh, bike, eat, sing, swim, boat and enjoy God's gift of the great outdoors. Around 70 of us were blessed to enjoy hot summer days, cool nights, no major insects and most rain! Thank the good Lord above because a few years back, it was like the deluge of Noah's days....unfortunately my tent was not built like the ark.

Location: Bonner and Kootenai counties, Idaho
Area: 148 square miles (94,600 acres to Albeni Falls Dam),
26th largest freshwater lake in the world
Length: 43 miles
Maximum Width: 6.5 miles
Shoreline: 111.4 miles
Depth: 1,158 feet (5th deepest lake in America)

Confucius sez...

Great People Talk About Ideas.

Average People Talk About Things.

Small people Talk About Other People.

Chuck on Grace....

Chuck Swindoll defined the legalism problem as:

"...when we get into areas that are not set forth in Scripture, either in precept or even in principle. These may be such things as length of hair, tattoos and other body piercings, skirts or pants for women, makeup or no makeup. Those are not scriptural issues. Sometimes these issues are cultural, and you do have to address them when you are in that particular culture. But I think legalism begins when you do or refrain from doing what I want you to do or not do because it’s on my list and it’s something that I am uncomfortable with...The problem with legalists is that not enough people have confronted them and told them to get lost. Those are strong words, but I don’t mess with legalism anymore. I’m 72 years old; what have I got to lose? Seriously, I used to kowtow to legalists, but they’re dangerous. They are grace-killers. They’ll drive off every new Christian you bring to church. They are enemies of the faith. Other than that, I don’t have any opinion! So, if I am trying to force my personal list of no-no’s on you and make you feel guilty if you don’t join me, then I’m out of line and I need to be told that."...The problem with the "easy believism, cheap grace" crowd is that they don't understand the severity of their sin. In other words, it's hard to appreciate someone paying your bill for you if the bill wasn't all that much to begin with.

On the other hand...

The problem with the Ned Flanders-type "legalists" is that they don't understand the extent and efficacy of Christ's redemptive work to forgive all our sins - past, present and future. In other words, they keep trying to pay a debt that has already been paid. And unfortunately, they look at every other believer as a person who needs to keep working in order to pay their own bill as well.

Truth...or being Correct?

"Stories bind us by reminding us that our lives all exhibit the same fragilities, and thus demand that we stay humane. But I didn't want to be humane; I wanted to be correct."
- William Kittredge, Hole in the Sky

I think one of the maladies that infect Christian circles and often steal the joy from ones spiritual journey is the need to be correct. I think there is a difference between walking in truth and striving to always be correct. There is an abandon that is present in truth that is often absent in those who are attempting to strain the gnats of life. One who is at rest in truth seems to be someone who is at peace with life, in a way that those who are on a crusade for correct seem to miss. There is a simplicity that grows with those who walk the way of truth that's easy, it's a yoke, it guides for sure, but it doesn't chafe. Those who are panting after the top rung of correctness can't seem to see the journey because of the steps.
They forget to make a lot of room for...time.

There is a gentleness in becoming more and more human that the pursuit of the Divine produces in us. God softens us. We become slower, quieter, we mellow inwardly in a way that makes us less prone to have to argue, debate, convince, convert or dominate. We can take the last place, the end of the table, the position of servant because we have seen through the illusion that blinds them that need to be correct.

Truth is a position that enables one to really love...being correct, is a pursuit of those who often lose the way of love.

Victor Bregeda

I really like this guy's art.


I read elsewhere that someone was saying that they were part of another church body in town and that they were going to "come and check us out".


When are we going to stop "checking things out" that sounds like a continual Costco nipple session. Ugh. If you "go" somewhere...maybe you should stop just "going" and become a member. Be loyal, support your church and pastor, love the people God has surrounded you with, develop your gifts, serve, give and celebrate life together for the long haul. Love each other, have mercy and grace for one another. Learn to sow into the need, don't just point out the needs. A truly spiritual person can see the underdeveloped parts of a garden and works and cares for it with their gifts and talents and Godward influnece to help make it more fruitful. Church garden do not need more Ravens that swoop in and pick and tear, nibble and dribble and then flutter off to the next garden.

I'm praying for the Holy Scarecrow anointing.

Jesus said the "birds of the air" should come and "nest in the branches"(Mark 4:32). So make a nest, make some babies and start feeding off the insects that are killing the tree...make the tree of God's dwelling more fruitful by you being there. Don't be a pest or a parasite.

'nuff of this willy nilly tip toe through the churches thing...if we keep reshuffling the deck nothing is really growing. Play your hand..if you just got two of a be it. People keep looking for the full house instead of playing the hand they are dealt. I'm not saying that God never moves His pieces around the chess board but the lack of commitment and the way we shop and graze today makes real lasting relationships almost impossible to develop. Community can happen around a general vision and that is good and goes fairly deep, at least until something more exciting comes along. But real, meaningful relationships require years of history, events, ups and downs, good times and bad times...together.

So let's stop sharing with our Christian friends and instead...reach out and share Jesus with people who are not connected to Him and His body. I understand when we are excited about where God has us...but our commission is to take the good news primarily to those who have not heard or...those who need to hear the echo of love and grace...again.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The last book to read...not really, but close.

I was thoroughly disappointed with this book.

I knew I wasted my money from the first page:
"Women should feel free to read it. In fact, most of this book easily applies to either the very least, women ought to read this book to have more awareness of the sorry excuses we men sometimes give." -First page, first chapter.

As a man, I was disappointed and offended by these statements. First of all I bought a book (with hard earned cash!) that calls itself a "Men's Book"...but right off the starting block, the author lets you know it's just going to be basic Christian life stuff...material covered in countless other books already. Basically nothing new here.

But the second statement ticked me off. This kind of male bashing is at the root of most of my frustration with Christian writers and speakers on male issues within the church. There is this thin or not so thin veneer of condescending judgement that often denigrates, belittles and disempowers men. It's like Christian communicators love the "rubber glove" treatment...they purposefully are always looking to expose weakness, sin, the underdeveloped side, the cancer, the inadequacies, the frailties and dichotomies of men.

They undermine the key issue the Scripture says men long for...RESPECT.

Training involves engaging the subjects that men struggle and fail with but the manner in which those subjects are dealt with here...leave men turned off and feeling like another Homer Simpson. It's typical, uninteresting, tired material...reminiscent of the proverbial dripping faucet. This style of writing is more similar to a nagging wife than a partner or helpmate that understands the power of praise and encouragement.

I was hoping the references to historical, solid theological roots would of inspired a fresh book that is biblically sound and culturally spry...but instead it felt like room temperature church coffee served in a styrofoam cup at the local Presbyterian church Grandma used to go to.

I'm sorry if this review is hyper critical, but I was really disappointed with the book and hope to see these kinds of books disappear and am praying for more creative, engaging, biblical authors to emerge in this genre. I respect the author's intent but feel he fell way short of actually living up to the idea behind the title.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

FlapJack...this show is bizarre.

Anyone notice that they are making cartoons more and more appealing to weird adults like myself? What's up with that?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Methods and Message...matter.

When is the the Charismatic church going to stop being enamored, mesmerized and duped by flamboyant, over the top, circus-like methods of ministry pictured above. Not only that but what happens when the "methods" begin to undermine the "Message" or even corrupt it. It amazes me how when it comes to Jesus, many Christians seem to forget that He is as much "WAY" as He is "Truth and Life" (Jn 14:6).

How we act, how we minister, how we present God, how we treat people, how we preach, how we represent the ways of God are all part of discerning the true gospel.

We do not just judge the fact of rather or not there is "life" or just "truth" but is this a healthy "way" to live out the gospel? What some people accept on a stage would never find any place in day to day life and in the case of this video...might even be prosecutable. The craziness that we put up with behind closed doors is becoming frightening. But now with video, internet and youtube...the world is able to see and hear us...and that is causing much that is being done in "darkness" to be come exposed. The internet is "light" and that can be good light or bad light...depending on what kind of actions are taking place or being revealed.

But methods can be argued with, but what really worries me is the way "message" can be warped, anemic, light, crooked like a half shadow, muddled, bizarre, dwarfed, hollow and theologically underdeveloped and we buy it. These gospels are packaged like organic truth but upon biblical and just plain human sense examination they are revealed to be as nutritious as a greasy burger....well, actually the packaging is more scary than the message most of the time but people still gobble it up. No one could grow in grace on the 'gospels" that are being peddled over the airwaves and "god-tubes" these days. Our webcams have unveiled the underbelly of lunacy in both the world and the church and its being trumpeted as evidence of God moving?

I position my self theologically as an evangelical, reformed leaning, Charismatic. I have seen God do miracles but I have also seen God allow a lot of stuff to be done in His name, that in the end just exposes those who will cling to Him and His word and those who didn't. Even when "stuff" happens and "evidence" appears to validate the "words and ways" of various "prophets" in the was more about who clung to the Lord and His words. Miracle and sign chasing is shaky ground to build your spiritual life upon.

I would heed the warnings of Jesus, the Apostles and the history of Israel. These passages are present to help us navigate the stormy waters that so often swirl all around the church and the truth.

If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, "Let us follow other gods" (gods you have not known) "and let us worship them," you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. -Deut. 13:1-4

"But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who brought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves."
-2Peters 2:1

Scriptures also tell us that as the end times approach, more and more false prophets will come and deceive the people.
-Matt. 24:12

Jesus himself warn Christians to watch out and be on the alert for false prophets, who come "in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves." -Matt. 7:15

You may say to yourselves, "How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?" 22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him. -Deut 18:20-21

The longer I live and walk in Jesus, the more I see that the same old stuff just gets repackaged with a few twists. Sure there might not be any rattlers and vipers in these services but its the same game...just a different field.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Resurrected again...

My Mac got all funky on me and decided to require a new hard drive. So I've been limping along for the last four days waiting for the return. So today, I got her back and all is swell. She's got the new Leopard OSX under the hood and I was able to finally upload over a month of sermons online at our church site. The computer/internet break did my head and heart some good though. I needed to decompress or defragment my own hard drive that's lodged in my soul. So the down time was kind of like a rejuvenating fast. I upgraded to the new Mac OS for the Time machine feature. It's a Mac program that facilitates backing up your computer to an external hard drive. I've had two major break downs this last year with my computer that required backing up stuff...thankfully I was backed up (in the non digestive way) and didn't lose much of anything. I learned my lesson when my computer was stolen from my office at the last church I served at. I lost years of stuff that I never took the time to back up...I won't do that again!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Family Vacation 08

World Refugee Day

World Relief hosted a celebration at Liberty Park here in our neighborhood for World Refugee Day. There was lots of different ethnic foods, live music, singing, sharing and friend making going on as we celebrated the good things God has done. We've been blessed as a church to be involved for the last two years in refugee resettlement in our neighborhood. With around 100 refugees now as our East Central neighbors and friends, we've seen lots of good stuff take place. We host a tutoring class, a permit/driver's licensee education class, weekly volunteer opportunities with appointments and assistance to the families. We have a Sharing Shack where we collect and store household goods for those who need them. We have a Karen refugee service with their own Karen speaking pastor who lives on the same block as the church. We are working with the Spokane Community College to open a 5 day's a week refugee English program here at the building that will greatly enhance the incoming refugees language and life skills. We are working on a computer class and station for learning and having access to computers. We also will be starting a Basic Car Maintenance class as well. All in all this has developed into a very hands on way for our church to serve and love people who come into our city with many challenges ahead of them. It's been an honor to grow a church that has engaged itself in practical ministry in a loving way. A huge thank you to all our volunteers that make this ministry what it is, you inspire me.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Dark Knight

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

I thought it was amazing...blew the first one out of the water to me.
I have a few complaints:
-Not enough good hand to hand fighting.
Like this kind of fighting:
-Two-Face situation could have been developed better.
-Batman's Cycle looked cool but didn't look fast in some shots.
-I wish Batman would have been as good as the Joker was evil.

I wanted to cheer at more parts like when Batman flipped the Semi...that rocked, but most of the time I found myself cheering for the Joker. Can you think of one other bad guy in film history that was as creepy and memorable? I can't. I wish the Elf prince in HellBoy 2 was developed as much as the Joker, I felt he was a great villain. But all in all...its the best movie I have seen in a really long time in that genre. I agree with this review here.

Sex Traffic

Originally uploaded by ericblauer.

"Justice is what love looks like in public"

Watch the trailer here:Call & Response

About a Boy

I'm not a huge Hugh Grant fan but this movie was really good. It really hit close to home for me, since I experienced the same thing in my family at about the same age as the boy in the film. It was surreal at some moments but the message about manhood and family and a bunch of other stuff was moving.