Wednesday, August 31, 2005

My Son John

Departing from the buoyant subject of Diablog, Stu sent me a song performed by Boiled in Lead. I assume it is an Irish folk song.

One stanza in particular stands out:

All foreign wars I'll now denounce
'Twixt this king of England or that king of France
I'd rather my legs as they used to be
Than the King of Spain and his whole navy

This pretty well sums up my opinion about the value of this war in Iraq.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Poof! You're all beta testers!

Sorry for my negligence in posting. I've been spending my spare time putting together a little program to do something cool.

Well, at least I think it's cool.

The program is named "diablog", partly in honor of Paul's blog, and partly because it's intended to allow a little more dialog on blogspot blogs.

If you look at the bottom of each post, there's now a button that says "Diablog Me!" and a text area where you can enter your email address. If you put your email address in that box and click "Diablog Me", you will be subscribed to that post. That means that whenever ANYONE adds a comment to the post, the comment will be emailed to you. My intention is to make it easier to remain involved in a conversation about a post.

If this doesn't make sense, tell me.

I'm still testing the program and finishing it up, so please bang on it as much as you like. If you want to test the program on your blog, let me know and I'll help you get set up.

Wow. It can't just be a coincidence that I post this thing and all of a sudden get hammered with blog spam. From now on, we'll have to do that "type in a word" thing.

Another Update:
Has anyone actually tried to subscribe to comments? Because I haven't seen any subscriptions coming down the wire.

And if you wanted to subscribe but you haven't, why not? Is there some barrier to subscription that I haven't thought of?

Somebody should try subscribing and then adding a comment to see if it gets forwarded to their email correctly.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

One Last Look (at things that suck)


"Write the next post!" Stu says. "Wouldja hurry up and post? It's been a freaking week. What ya gonna post about? Huh? Huh? Huh?"

God, I love that man.

Happy birthday, Stu.

The Next Post

Ok, I'm ready to wind up this "things that suck" tirade. Depressing. Let's sprint through this as quickly as possible.

To make it seem faster, let's do it without using a full stop.

Thank you all for your comments and insight and encouragement about my family and about forgiveness it's comforting to see people from parts far distant demonstrating love for me and my family ... makes me smile

(Ick. This is like some well-paragraphed ee cummings freak show. Sorry. I'll stop now.)

Furthermore, I agree with many of the things you said about forgiveness, even some of the things that I argued against. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to play devil's advocate; to question assumptions like "forgiveness is the way of God".

Finally, I'd like to tell you a little bit about my weekend.

On thursday, I went back to the town where I grew up; I drove down to pick up my wife, son, and a moving truck full of my parents' boxes and furniture.

While I was there, I had the opportunity to go back to church for an hour or so. But this wasn't for a regular church service. It was for a funeral.

A young man my sister's age had died - a kid we grew up with - and my dad was performing his funeral.

Now, about my dad and funerals:

My dad prepares for a funeral by sitting down with the family and listening to their stories. He compiles those stories - picks the best of them - and spends most of the funeral telling stories about the deceased. The funny stories are his favorites, and usually they're the favorites of the family as well. So his funerals end up being a combination of sweet and funny and sad, which taken as a package, usally turn out to produce a little comfort as a by-product.

And that's probably nice when you've lost someone you love. You get to spend some time with your friends, enjoying those memories, listening to my dad paint a gritty, beautiful picture of someone you're all going to miss. No obsessing over heaven, no dire warnings about hell, no whitewashing of the person's faults, no platitudes, no false hope. It's difficult for me to explain exactly what he does, but whatever it is, I'm convinced that my dad preaches the best funerals in the world.

So it was nice to get to hear my dad preach another funeral from that pulpit in that church where he's been the shepherd for 20-odd years. My sister and I came in at the last minute and stood in the back ... the place was packed.

My dad did his job: the funeral was spectacular, as usual, especially considering that these were the people who had treated him so poorly.

He had told me a few days before that he was having trouble deciding what scripture might go best with the funeral ... and as you might expect, he ended up with the perfect one: the story of the Samaritan woman, whose love and enthusiasm tapped at the hearts of all the people she knew, making them ring and resonate with the love of Christ.

After my dad had finished speaking and the funeral directors prepared to run the final slide show, I left the crowd and went meandering through the shadowy hallways of the church building. I poked my head into every classroom, trying to remember what grade I had been in when I had gone to class in room 9, trying to remember who my teachers had been.

I looked out the windows and remembered looking out the same windows with church friends who were like my brothers and sisters.

I chuckled at the paintings on the walls of the Junior High classroom; my sister had done one of those clumsy, garish things. There were her initials and the initials of her friends.

Library, a small room, with books to the ceiling.

The tiny, dusty broom closet. The black, cylindrical iron mailbox.

White columns. White steeple. White walls.

Dark stairwells, dark hallways that still figure prominently in my best dreams and nightmares.

And, of course, those people I grew up with. I didn't spend much time with them. When I had finished my tour, I went back to my sister and told her I was going to skip the trip by the casket. I would go and get the car. I was ready to go home.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Things That Suck (Post 3)

For those of you who continue to follow this nonsense: thanks.

The Way of God?

I still need some convincing from Irina and company: What makes you think that "forgiveness is the way of God"?

The Story of Shimei

First, this link to my dad's take on the situation. I suspect that he means to communicate some particular message through the use of this story, but that might not be the case: he might just be tossing it out.

However, for those of us who feel inclined to back David here, let's remember that Shimei is at least being accurate: David is a "man of blood", and in many ways a "scoundrel". As David says, "Leave him alone; let him curse, for the LORD has told him to."

The Letter from My Sis

(I think it's very well done.)

To the Elders of the Church of AH,

Greetings in the name of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. I hope this letter finds you well.

I know that you have received numerous letters about your choice to ask my father for his resignation in January. This is mine. You would have received it earlier, but I didn’t want it to be considered castigating.

In fact, nothing is further from my mind. I have held you all very dear to my heart–we were family.

I have grown up with your children, learned from you in bible class, attended your family functions and gone to camp with you. I have known some of you since the first Sunday my Dad started preaching at AH, a few months before my first birthday. The rest of you I welcomed into the family with open arms.

So I’m sure you can imagine how devastated I was to hear about the way my father was treated. I admit that I cannot know all the details surrounding his “release,” but I do know one thing: regardless of whatever wrongs he committed and whatever faults he had, I believe he was treated unjustly, because he was treated as hired help and not family.

I believe this set a bad example to the flock (I Peter 5:3) and was not a good way to manage the church family (I TImothy 3:5).

It is my belief that you saw your church in danger, that you were–as the rest of us–watching it fall apart slowly, inch by inch. And so you made a rash decision, lunged out to save something you love. But instead, that decision, and especially the way you handled it, caused more problems and more pain than you anticipated. We all know it caused pain in the AH family at large, and I can tell you that it has caused unspeakable pain in my immediate family and especially in my own life.

My father, as you know, has handled this whole situation very stoically and has–true to form–spent his time trying to ease the pain of the congregation and help its people to move forward in the love of Christ. The rest of our family, however, is having a harder time.

Surely you can understand that I can’t imagine ever attending services at AH again. I believe doing so would have the appearance of my stamp of approval–would send the message that I agree with your decision and the way in which you enacted it. And I obviously do not. I am grieving the loss of my childhood church, the family I have known my whole life, at your hands.

I feel betrayed by you, the men of my own beloved church family, at the treatment of my father, who deserved better if for no other reason than the fact that he had served the Lord and His people at AH for 22 years. But he has also cared for your own families in times of grief, pain and loss as well as those of celebration. And he has done no less for the other members of our AH family, who have expressed their own grief and outrage at the events that transpired in January.

And so, Elders of AH, I write to ask you for an apology. I ask you to apologize to my family at AH as well as my immediate family for how you handled the firing of my father. I am confused as to why it has taken this long, but let’s face it: AH is still in trouble, turmoil and pain. I believe that nothing else but your humility and the love of God will heal the body of AH.

But I want you to know that regardless of what you decide, you have my forgiveness anyway.

So please, for the sake of the people who we all hold dear, consider my request prayerfully.

In Christ,
(the sis)

Monday, August 01, 2005

A better approach to poverty

I think Larry James knows what he's talking about.