world AIDS day

December 1 is "World AIDS Day." Click here to learn more about the AIDS situation in Africa.

U2 meets third day

If you've been reading this blog lately then you know that I've been interested in the Christian underpinnings of U2. Well, this blog entry is just in from none other than Third Day -- the Christian rock band of some report. It's their account of attending U2's concert in Atlanta. For a shorter version, click here. Both U2 and Third Day are involved in DATA (Debt, Aids, Trade for Africa).


women's devotional book

I just discovered that the wife of my church planting coach has written a women's devotional book. Here's the site. And her picture and a brief bio -- lifted from her website.:

Julie has worked as an elementary school teacher and business administrator, and has been a lay leader in ministry for more than 30 years. For the past 6 years, she has served as the Director of Women’s Ministries for Eastside Christian Church in Fullerton, California. [Eastside is an independent, non-denominational Christian Church where 2500 people attend weekend worship services.]

Her ministry experiences include:

  • Leading a local Mothers Of Pre-Schoolers [MOPS] group
  • Speaking at two MOPS National Conventions
  • Launching a church-wide, small-group ministry for women
  • Serving as President of her local Network of Evangelical Women In Ministry [NEWIM] chapter for two years
  • Serving other churches as a guest speaker, workshop leader, and retreat speaker
  • Creating and publishing “Meet Me By The Water”, a set of interactive devotional materials for women.

All of these ministry efforts have been undertaken with one goal in mind: to draw other women into an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ where they truly can be transformed by His love and power.

Julie and her husband, Bruce, have been married for nearly 27 years. They have three children: one in college, and two in High School.


one night, two great musicians, one incredible price

On December 18, LifePoint will be hosting our first "Live at the LifePoint Cafe." It's a time to bring in local artist and fire up the coffee. I'm really excited (stoked, possibly) to announce our two artists. Both have become friends of mine and I appreciate their giftedness and how they approach their craft.

Michael Tiernan. This guy almost became a Catholic priest! His music is insightful, catchy, and good. He plays a mean guitar, too. He has been named the Male Singer - Songwriter of the Year by the Los Angeles Music Awards for the past two years in a row. For those of you who received a LifePoint enhanced CD during our pre-launch days, it was Michael's song "The Track" that was used as background music.

Will Edwards. Will was our first featured artist and appeared at our Grand Opening. He's the only person I've ever met who was born in Zimbabwe. I guess that makes him a Zimbabwian or Zimbabwican. His recent album was nominated as one of the best acoustic albums at the San Diego Music Awards. In addition to his music, Will is also a good web developer as well.

And best of all ... IT'S FREE!


the steve poltz that almost was

The venting is over and I can reflect in a calm manner now.

A few weeks ago, prior to my birthday, Tonya asked me to pick a concert I wanted to go to ... as a birthday present. So, I surfed the net and found out that Steve Poltz would be playing at the Casbah. Steve is a local guy who used to be The Rugburns and has written a couple of songs for Jewel. The concert was this past Saturday night.

The show was supposed to start at 8:30 but ended up getting underway around 9:15. I also didn't realize there would be two opening acts. Each act played for at least an hour -- normally not a big deal. But (and this would be the proverbial big but), we had our girls with a babysitter and had told her we would be home around 11:00. Not to mention that the next day was a "work" day for me.

At 11:00 I made the decision to call it a night and we left without hearing Steve Poltz play. TOTAL BUMMER. I was bummed all the way home. I had been so looking forward to hearing him live (he's on my iPod).

But that's how life goes sometimes.

On the plus side, we had a great dinner at the Crest Cafe on Robinson Avenue in Hillcrest. I highly recommend the Butter Burger. That's all I'm going to say.


seniors community center

LifePoint had her first community service project today and it was a great time. We went downtown to the Seniors Community Center of San Diego. It's an organization that feeds low-income seniors seven days a week, 365 days a year.

We helped distribute the food, bus tables, and visited with a few of the seniors. We had 8 people from LifePoint help out! Hannah and Hope helped out as well, including a few turns at the piano.

We value community service because Jesus valued service. In fact, he redefined greatness in terms of how willing a person is to serve. One of my favorite descriptions of Jesus is found in Acts 10:38 ... "he went around doing good."

We want LifePoint to be the church in the world. As a missional church, we believe we are always "on mission."

Anyway ... here are a few pictures.

yahweh: a U2 sampler

Yahweh by U2 (Vertigo)

Take these shoes
Click clacking down some dead end street
Take these shoes
And make them fit
Take this shirt
Polyester white trash made in nowhere
Take this shirt
And make it clean, clean
Take this soul
Stranded in some skin and bones
Take this soul
And make it sing

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I’m waiting for the dawn

Take these hands
Teach them what to carry
Take these hands
Don’t make a fist
Take this mouth
So quick to criticise
Take this mouth
Give it a kiss

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahewh, Yahweh
Still I’m waiting for the dawn

Still waiting for the dawn, the sun is coming up
The sun is coming up on the ocean
This love is like a drop in the ocean
This love is like a drop in the ocean

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, tell me now
Why the dark before the dawn?

Take this city
A city should be shining on a hill
Take this city
If it be your will
What no man can own, no man can take
Take this heart
Take this heart
Take this heart
And make it break

walk on: the spiritual journey of U2 revisited

I've finished reading the book about U2's spiritual walk. It was quite interesting. There is definitely a strong thread of faith that runs throughout U2's music and it becomes more apparent when you read what they say and do outside of their music. Much of the book focuses on the faith of Bono, which is probably because he is the visible face of U2. I would have liked to have heard more from the other guys but they may not have as much in print as Bono does.

There are times the book seems too quick to justify certain things about the band. It's obviously written by a fan and fellow European.

There are several clashes woven throughout the book. The first is the clash between modern and postmodern. The author definitely puts U2 in the postmodern mold and explains some of the band's relationship with Christianity as a clash between modern Christianity and postmodern U2. What isn't mentioned is the growing postmodern/emerging church models that are gaining traction and are likely very receptive to U2's art.

The other clash seems to be between European (particularly Irish) ways of experiencing church and the American experience. The author seems to hold a low view of American Christianity, at times referring to it as the "Christian ghetto." As is common, there is a tendency to lump everyone under one banner ... unfortunately, the banner chosen is the most convenient one. Not everyone in American Christianity is represented by Pat Robertson, Oral Roberts, or the Southern Baptist Convention. What the author overlooks is that not every American church or Christian experience is like that.

On the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and it made me go back and listen again to a few songs -- and to head over to iTunes for ones I didn't have. It almost convinced me to be a subscriber at U2.com.

As a pastor working in the emerging church context, it only added to my belief that art needs to be missional and the church needs to embrace whatever advances the kingdom of God. Which raises the question: if the church had embraced U2 and U2 embraced the church, would their music have gone a different direction? Possibly. Likely. But that's for another blog ...


over in coronado


We went unplugged for our worship last Sunday. With a couple of regular band guys out of pocket, we put together an in-house acoustic band and it went really well. Just as the Bible promises, God arranges the parts of the body just as he determines. LifePoint is a community effort and we emphasize the giftedness of the body. It was encouraging to see how those parts have been arranged.

And now, a few pictures ...

playing so fast they blurred the picture

napster, gnutella, and postmodern church life

Last Sunday, we had two guests at our 9:00 gathering from Germany! I'm always interested in how people find LifePoint -- either by word-of-mouth, craigslist, etc. -- so I asked them the typical question: "How did you hear about us?"

That's when they told me they found us at ginkworld, a website devoted to postmodern and emerging approaches to church. A number of months ago (even before we launched), I had submitted our site to be listed.

So ... I decided to surf back over there this morning and see what was new. That's when I came across this article entitled, "Church in a P2P context." All you former Napster people should sit up and pay attention. It's a good article and here it is:

Church, in a p2p context:
by john o'keefe

I like the idea of p2p (peer to peer or person to person) in a community of faith. Like in the computer world a p2p relationship in a community of faith speaks of a decentralizing control and allows for a free flow of ideas and creativity in the structure. It creates a paradigm shift in the modern/traditional evolution of the church structure from a unidirectional (television-like medium) into a bi-directional (computer-like medium), collaborative relational structure.

Now, I will admit that it scares the heck out of those who live in, or understand, a more modern/traditional view or the church structure and the way modern/traditional relationships are created. P2p is a “communications model” a “relationship model” where each “peer” (person) has the same capabilities and each person has equal access to the basic structure; no one person is more important then another.

Older modern/traditional models of a church structure/relationships are more in tune with a client/server relationship (a master/slave, pastor/pastored, boss/employee relationship structure model) were one person dictates the actions of others, and “leadership” is found in a central location (mainframe). The modern/traditional model of structure and relationships is less natural and more cultural in its development; being based on a hieratical structure and military model. The modern/traditional structure does not allow for, nor can it encourage, a free flow of information, ideas, relationships and connections. In all cases, giving each person in the relationship the capability to connect in open, honest and transparent ways starts a p2p structure.

In a community of faith a p2p structure is a type of free flowing structure that allows people, or a group of people with the same interests, to connect with each other without central approval; ministries form, deform and reform based on he needs perceived by the people in the structure and not by the central “leadership.” This allows for direct develop in structure and relationship outside of the modern/traditional models of structure within the community of faith.

The advantages of using p2p structure, as a way for people to share lives without the energy involved in maintaining a centralized mandated structure, is that people connect with people and lives are shared, information given and bonds are developed. Let me share some differences between the modern/traditional structure in the church and the way p2p is redesigning then in a postmodern community of faith.

Traditional vs. P2P

Traditional church structure tends to have a static, standalone and self-contained in structure. Everything is centralized and controlled by a body of “leaders” who oversee all aspects of the church. This creates a hierarchy where a select few govern and allow others into that process only upon approval of the other “leaders.”

For example, in most modern/traditional churches a “working class guy” would never be selected as a Board Member. Not because they do not have the ability, but because they do not have the pedigree. So, with few exceptions, most Boards are made up of a rotating selection of a certain group of people, usually those who hold executive positions, own their won business or have an independent source of income. This is true in all modern/traditional churches regardless of size.

Because of this, the “Leadership” becomes self-serving and self-centered. While in a p2p structure a more dynamic relationship is encouraged. In fact, without that dynamic component a true p2p can never happen. It is networked and people based. It is designed more for service then for application.

Traditional churches tend to let information flow in one direction, from the top down. “Leaders” make the decisions and pass that information on to those “under their control.” While in a p2p relationship communication happens in two directions; because of its connective nature a p2p relationship allows information to flow equally in both directions. This relationship empowers everyone equally. A more traditional minded church finds this relationship unacceptable, because they believe that certain people “MUST” be a boss, and others must follow that boss’s directions.

P2p assumes that knowledge flows in both directions and that all people have value and have information worth sharing. The ability to share knowledge is not based on traditional education, position in the community, income, age or anything else. It is assumed that all people have information that can be useful to others in the p2p structure. Which brings us to the next point.

Traditional churches tend to see the role of some as better then others. The “Leadership” see’ themselves as “better” then the others. They believe that the buck stops with them, and that they have the ear of God in all they do. They do not see those outside the leadership circle as anything but “information pods.” Even in a congregational church setting, “Leaders” believe they are to gather information from a select group of members and then to take that information and create a “plan” based on their understanding of the people.

While in a p2p all people are seen as completely equal. It is believed that all ideas are equal, and that while the process seems chaotic it is not 100% chaos, ideas come out and the best will naturally float to the top. It is amazing, but given the power of the Holy Spirit (and trusting in that power) people find common ground, and God’s work gets done.

Traditional churches view people as consumers, and only consumers. In a p2p structure relationship people are seen as both a consumer and a producer. P2p allows people to be creative and allows that creativity to be seen, they can create. It is not assumed that only a select few can be creative, and have that creativity show – some people can sing, while others draw, write, paint, weld, carve, and more – a p2p relationship allows this creativity to occur and encourages its development.

Why not show the creative work of those in the church? Because in a traditional church “singing” and “preaching” are seen as the only valid ways of worshiping God; while in a p2p, any creative art is seen as a way of worshiping God.

Traditional churches tend to create false relationships for long periods of time. P2p allows for short-term relationships based on need. Some relationships can lasts a short time and this relationship can occur among a group or individuals, but it is always based on the fact that each side is equal. In most modern/traditional structures to create a ministry involves a vast amount of approvals; deforming a ministry is virtually impossible. But because a p2p structure is relational it centers on the ability to create and form based on needs.

How to change to a p2p setting:

Change needs to take place in a healthy and supportive environment for a church to move from a modern/traditional structure to a p2p structure. In a modern/traditional church structure model, knowledge flows in one directions, providing a context that lacks any relationships between people. In this directional flow, a p2p is hard to develop because it requires that the top let go of their “perceived power” base and allow for a new way of connecting to form.

I believe that there are several characteristics of the modern/traditional church structure that needs to be changed before a p2p relationship structure can develop and work at its fullest potential. While these can be “forced” changed, when it happens spontaneously, that it is transparent and honest, it flows better and allows for a deeper root of the new structure.

Here are just a few things I believe the traditional church needs to change before a true p2p can be developed.

Develop a comfortable place for change: all “leaders” need to be on board with the desire to change. A “change environment” must be developed for this change to truly happen. To have a “spontaneous” development of a p2p structure one must develop an atmosphere that allows for change; a fertile ground for the birth of new ideas and creations.

A willingness to truly share: people need to be willing to hook up and develop. P2p is connective, by nature and by definition. The environment must allow for people to hook in and see the connections, and develop other connections themselves. This is the hardest part because it removes a “central” command structure and replaces it with a “connective” self-structure.

Allow the spontaneous to happen: don’t fight change let it happen. Sure, some may “lose power” but the true power in the church belongs to Christ, not man. I am amazed at how many times churches claim to “allow” change only to find they truly do not allow it at all, in any level. Remember, change is not moving from red curtains to blue curtains – change is removing the curtains altogether and not replacing them at all – not even with blinds.

Convert from “control” to “connect:” connections cannot be forced, they simply must happen, and for them to happen control needs to be removed. Some churches like to “place” people into “cell groups” based on zip code, and that is doomed for failure – they should be allowed to freely form and freely develop as the people see fit – not as the “leaders” see fit.

Involve as many people as possible: do not limit the involvement in a p2p structure, encourage people from all over to hook in – even new people. By getting as many people involved as possible in a p2p structure people will feel free to connect and create new connections. This will allow the p2p to develop freely and completely and all the time bringing in new connections and new ideas – encouraging growth and creativity.

Occur among peers (all sides are "equal"): a true p2p structure must start and develop among equals. Meaning that no one person or group in the church is above another person or group – equals means equal. People who think they belong to “one class” of people and cannot connect with “another class” need to review scripture to see their place in the kingdom.

P2p is the way of the future in the church. Structure based on connections and not on a military/cultural understanding of leadership is central for the church to reach a new generation, in the communing centuries. If we think we can simply redress the old form and give new names and new titles to “leaders” we truly need to get our heads examined.

“A rose is a rose is a rose” Shakespeare wrote; we paraphrase it as “a rose by any other name is still a rose.” Leadership, by any other name is still control.



scenes from hope's thanksgiving program

Here are a few pictures from Hope's Thanksgiving program. Her class was in charge of chapel and most of these shots are from that.

presidio park

Every now and then I like to sneak off to a place to pray. I try to pick places that don't necessarily provide quiet but perspective. Here in San Diego, the beach is a great place to pray. Especially when you can sit up on a cliff and see nothing but ocean in front of you. That has a way of putting things in perspective.

Another favorite spot of mine is Presidio Park, just above Old Town. This is a gem. I'm not sure many people -- even people who have lived here a while -- ever go to Presidio Park. It has two or three spots that provide good perspective. From one bench you can look out over I-8 and see Morena Boulevard and USD. The other spots direct you to Point Loma and downtown.

Yesterday I chose the spot that looks directly towards Point Loma and spent some time in prayer and reading my Bible. I usually approach these times without much of an agenda -- I just want to find a place where I can regroup and regain perspective.

I've always enjoyed Presidio because it reminds me of how vast and large San Diego is. As I watch the cars stream along I-5, I can't but help but think that more cars go by this one spot in one minute than will park in most church parking lots next Sunday. Every car is headed somewhere ... and so is every person.

I hope you've found a place where you can go to regain perspective.


walk on: the spiritual journey of U2

I'm about halfway through the book about the spiritual life of U2. It's an interesting read, especially since it weaves in both lyrics and interviews. It seems that Bono, The Edge, and Larry all became Christians while in their teens in Dublin, Ireland. Adam remains the only spiritual free agent.

At times the author sounds more like a fan than an observer but it hasn't detracted from the book. One angle that I'm most interested in is how art and faith co-exist and how U2 has chosen to be more missional in their approach to art.

The author uses the term "Christian ghetto" to describe the sometimes restrictive environment of the corporate church. Hmmm.


new books

Thanks to my buddy Jonathan, I went to Berean's and bought two new books (and a Veggie Tales video for my daughters).

The first book is one that I've been wanting to read for several months: The Barbarian Way by Erwin McManus. He says the greatest threat to the movement of Jesus Christ is Christianity! McManus is the lead pastor at Mosaic in Los Angeles, a church that is forging a new way for postmodern ministry. Mosaic was influential in shaping some of my thinking regarding LifePoint.

The second book is entitled, "Walk On: The Spiritual Journey of U2." Yes, that U2. Many people who like U2 don't realize their Christian background. This was a more spontaneous purchase. I saw it on display, thumbed through it, and bought it. At least now I can better appreciate my U2 iPod.

Stay posted.


how emergent are you

The following is from a blog called "Out of Ur." A great reference to Abraham's willingness to follow God in faith. I've posted it here because many people consider LifePoint to be a part of the emerging church conversation. It's a good post.

How Emergent Are You? McLaren's Seven Layers of the Emergent Conversation

Islam has its five pillars. Buddhism has its eight-fold path. Evangelicalism
has its four spiritual laws. And now the Emerging Church has its seven layers of

Last month I was part of a small gathering of church leaders that hosted an
evening with Brian McLaren. And the conversation turned as hot as the chutney. A
number of participants were eager to discuss the criticisms that have been
levied against the emerging church in recent months. The hijacking of the
emergent movement by those merely interested in new worship trends rather than
more substantive issues aggravated others. Everyone was looking to McLaren to
chime in.

Always more likely to defuse than to detonate, McLaren entered the spicy
conversation casually while slouched into the sofa with beverage in hand. He
cautioned us against judging where others were in the “emergent conversation.”
Leaning forward, he outlined what he saw as the seven layers of the emergent
conversation. "We all enter at a different layer," he said, "but everyone should
be welcomed into the conversation no matter where they may be."

Based on McLaren’s description, I’ve outlined the seven layers below.

I’ve added my own titles and used the imaginary “Seeker Community Church” to
illustrate each point.

Layer 1: StyleSeeker Community Church realizes they’re ineffective at
reaching the coveted 18-32 year old demographic. They send a few staff members
to a conference and they come back with goatees and candles.

Layer 2: EvangelismAfter trying every facial hair permutation, Seeker
Community Church discovers that to actually communicate the gospel to a younger
generation they’ve got to learn to speak their language. They hire a former
youth pastor to start an evening worship service with an “x” in its name.

Layer 3: CultureIt gradually dawns upon Seeker Community Church that the new
challenges they are encountering are not limited to the younger generation. The
entire culture is shifting away from the modern presuppositions their church was
built upon. Some of the language and practices of the “x” service trickle into
the rest of the church.

Layer 4: MissionThe emergence of Postmodernism causes Seeker Community Church
to reevaluate the effectiveness of their mission strategy. Altar calls and
gospel tracks are left behind in favor of community groups and relationships.
Conversion is accepted as a journey and not merely a point of decision.

Layer 5: ChurchSeeker Community Church begins to wonder if a multi
million-dollar building housing a theatrical production every weekend is the
only way to do church. Drawing from new and ancient forms of church, they launch
alternative communities—one meets in a bar on Sunday night, and the other is a
liturgical gathering. The church also partners with an inner city monastic group
to reach street kids.

Layer 6: GospelThe leadership of Seeker Community Church is stunned when the
senior pastor confesses, “I’m not sure I’ve really understood the gospel.” He
begins to wonder why Jesus never said God loves you and has a wonderful plan for
your life? And why Paul never asked anyone to invite Jesus into your heart? He
starts to realize that the Good News is much more than he’d ever imagined.

Layer 7: WorldMaybe the mission of the church isn’t simply to become a bigger
church? Maybe, like Jesus, the church is to engage the larger world to reveal
that the kingdom of God has drawn near? To their amazement, Seeker Community
Church discovers significant swaths of the Bible (such as the Pentateuch,
prophets, gospels, and epistles) talk about justice, poverty, and compassion.
The church begins to speak about social issues and participates in efforts to
combat poverty, AIDS, and global injustice.

So, how emergent are you?

Posted by Skye Jethani on October 28, 2005 12:00 AM

news story on moral decline

This just in from my handy, dandy Google news alert service. It's an interesting article reviewing two recent books that deal with the declining moral standards of Americans - Christians included.

I'll post part of the article here and provide a link to the rest.

Country experiencing moral decline? Sociologist, theologian both see
significant dropBy RICHARD N. OSTLINGAP Religion Writer

As the 21st century began, University of Virginia sociologist James
Davison Hunter produced a jeremiad that deserved far more attention than it
received: “The Death of Character: Moral Education in an Age Without Good or
Evil” (Basic Books).

Hunter contended that America is suffering a dangerous decline in
“character” and morality among youth, and criticized public schools' attempts at
moral education and “values clarification.”

He said educators, misled by psychology, treat morality in terms of
preferences, supposing that the inherently moral self should be liberated to
make autonomous decisions. That never works, he claimed; history and experience
show that morality stems from strongly held, socially shared beliefs about
absolute rights and wrongs.

For most people in most situations, religion provides those beliefs,
and in the West the Bible is crucial. Religion as such isn't required, he wrote,
but at least the equivalent is necessary because morality becomes “binding on
individual conscience only in the particularity of moral traditions and the
communities that embody them.”

With those conditions absent, “character is dead,” he asserted. “Its
time has passed.” And Americans' religious diversity and increasing moral
relativism add to the difficulties.

He thought Americans confront the problem haplessly as they “tinker
with the system,” promote slogans (“just say no”), complain about Hollywood,
post the Ten Commandments, impose curfews or require school uniforms and metal



building community

As LifePoint gets close to being three months old, it's been amazing to see how God has nurtured a growing sense of community.

It shows up before and after our worship gatherings. It shows up during our weekly LifeGroups. It shows up in coffee shops, over lunches, and around living rooms. It shows up in the level of caring that blows me away. It shows up when people open their homes to people they didn't know several months ago.

One of the greatest opportunities in starting a new church is to build into it a healthy DNA. Over time, this DNA replicates itself. If the DNA is healthy, that's good thing; if it's toxic ...

We certainly spent time during our pre-launch days teaching about biblical community. But now we're seeing it happen!


go aztecs

One of the blessings of returning to San Diego has been reuniting with a friend from Northern California. Her and her family were members of our church community in Walnut Creek and she is now playing softball at San Diego State. We remember back when she would watch our children and change their diapers!

We took the family over to one of her practice games yesterday against Loyola-Marymount. It's the last inning, bases loaded, and the Aztecs are down by one run. And Tamani's at bat. A wild pitch ties the game. A few pitches later Tamani drove in the go ahead run -- which also turned out to be the winning run! Go girl (click here to see her picture).

It's been great to be back around Tamani. She comes to LifePoint and helps out with the kids. We have her over for dinner most Tuesday nights. She's just a great influence to have around our daughters.


a google tidbit

As many of you know, I'm a BIG Google fan. Besides the search feature, I love being able to click and drag a Google map and the local feature has become the new yellow pages. With all that said, I'm a bit surprised (and disappointed) by the following:

Go to Google and type the word 'failure', and press the 'I'm Feeling Lucky' button.

You'll have to try it for yourself.


random thursday night thoughts

Rather than post several entries, I've decided to lump them all together in a Thursday night blogging buffet.

Pineapple tip. Rather than buy the pre-sliced pineapples from the deli, I purchased my first-ever whole pineapple. I was all prepared to go home and begin chopping. Until one of the Von's employees said, "You know this won't be ready to cut for several days." What ensued was a primer on how to tell when pineapples are ready to be cut. I appreciated the tip.

Flashing Kensington sign. Many of San Diego's older neighborhoods have their name on a street sign that spans the width of a city street. Tonight I went for coffee in Kensington and noticed something about the Kensington neon sign. The "sin" part was starting to flicker while the remaining letters were solid and bright. Message from God?

Chicken Little. Save the Barenaked Ladies singing the opening song, Chicken Little was OK to average.

Parent/Teacher Conferences. Went to Hannah and Hope's teacher conferences today. Both girls are doing wonderful in school. Hannah even had a neatly organized desk!


i'm a poll worker, baby

About six weeks ago I get this letter in the mail from the San Diego County Registrar's office. It's asking for volunteers to serve as poll workers for the November 8 vote. Why not! I've always been interested in the process and figure it would be a good way to meet people in the neighborhood -- at least those who vote and aren't deadbeats.

Then last week I receive this 35 page booklet that I'm supposed to read before arriving at the poll. Let me tell you about arriving at the poll ... I'm supposed to be there at 6 AM and the poll doesn't close until 8 PM! That's 14 hours of civic duty and I'm not even paying for a petty crime. But, hey, I'm up at 5 AM anyway.

It was an interesting experience. Not brain surgery. That's not to say that it was entirely easy. The local and state governments have created a myriad of hoops, requirements, and responsibilities that must be followed every election. Much to my regret, no dead people tried to vote and no one appeared to be disenfranchised.

I worked alongside three ladies, the youngest being somewhere around 60-65 years old. It turned out to be quite fun as these ladies liked to talk. Every now and then I would pipe in with a comment or funny remark just to liven things up a bit. One lady returned from her break and told me she had told her husband that she was working alongside a minister. He remarked that she had better watch what she says. She told him I was "cool." :-)

I did get a chance to see many of the neighbors I already knew and to meet others who live close by. Will I do it again ... probably. Somebody has to do it.


officially thirty-six

The rumors are all true: I turned 36 this past Sunday. Memorial donations can be sent to 6244 Lake Lomond ...

If the statistics are true, then I just entered halftime. Halftime is another way of saying "middle-age." I prefer the concept of halftime. It's the idea that you've lived half of your life and have half of it left (Lord willing). What will I do with the second half of my life? That's an important question that requires more than a blog entry to fully explore. I imagine it will include much of what I've done during the first half of life.

But I must confess to having a growing sense of urgency to do something signficant with my life. As a Christ-follower, my first priority is to make a kingdom difference ... in my family, among friends, and in the community God has placed me. It's all about investment: how one chooses to invest their time, talent, and, yes, money.

I only have a few more minutes before halftime is up and I'll need to start the third quarter. Please excuse me while I grab another cup of coffee.


california proposition 73

Next Tuesday, California voters will have the opportunity to vote on several key propositions. One of those -- Proposition 73 -- has received little attention and yet may be one of the most important ones on the ballot. If passed, it would require parental notification for minors who are seeking abortions. Current law does not require a parent to know if their daughter is having an abortion.

Other items which include either parental notification or consent is the right for a minor to get married or get a tattoo. We don't issue driver's licenses to those under the age of 16. We require a person to be 18 to join the armed services. We even prohibit our children from drinking until the age of 21.

Apart from the pro-choice/pro-life issues, the lack of parental notification is another way of undermining the importance of family in our culture. Opponents will argue that it may be dangerous to notify parents who may not respond graciously. It's even more dangerous to not notify parents who would respond graciously.

This vote comes on the heels of a 9th Circuit decision that allows public schools to survey 5-year-olds regarding their sexuality. The court ruled that parents have "no constitutional right" to control what is taught to their children once they arrive in a public school.

These are not Democratic or Republican issues; they are common sense issues.

a little bluegrass action at twiggs

The person behind the counter at Twiggs is the person that controls the music. Much to my pleasant surprise, I was greeted with a little bluegrass as I walked in the door. The soundtrack from "O, Brother Where Art Thou?" was playing in the background. A few minutes later there is Gillian Welch and Alison Krauss singing "I'll Fly Away." This simply does NOT happen in San Diego!

So, I ask the guy behind the counter ... "Have you ever listened to any Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder?" "Ricky who?"

Only in San Diego ...

Sample "I'll Fly Away."


went looking for a racoon and found an opossum instead

Instead of catching Rocky Racoon, we found an opossum taking a nap in the trap this morning. Did you know there is actually an Opossum Society of America? The site even features an animated gif of an opossum wagging his tail. I'll throw it in here as a bonus.

the humble nature of the powerful kingdom

LifePoint is part of an informal, emerging conversation that seeks to restore the authenticity of the earliest Christ-followers. Many of the people involved in this conversation come from different denominational backgrounds but share many values in common. Many of the values focus on living out the mission of the church. (Click here to learn more about the "seven layers" of the emergent conversation).

I’m attracted to this conversation because much of it is saturated in humility. There is a shared sense that we’re all in this together and none of us have completely figured everything out. In previous decades, the church growth movement tended to create celebrities – either incidentally or by their own choosing.

Those of us involved in the emerging church conversation have a desire to recapture the humble-power of the early church. In a telling incident, the apostle Peter heals a man but quickly moves to disarm those would make him a celebrity: “Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?” (Acts 3:12).

LifePoint has a tremendous opportunity to help form a healthy model for how church life is experienced. But let us never forget that the way of Jesus always involves service, sacrifice, and humility.

May we move swiftly, confidently, and humbly to fulfill what God has called us to do.


trends regarding unwed mothers

2004 set a new record for the number of children born to unwed mothers ... 1.5 million in all. What caught my eye was the age group most reponsible for the increase -- it wasn't teenagers, as one might assume. It was young women in their 20s, specifically between the ages of 25-29. According to the article in USA Today, teenage girls accounted for 50% of unwed births in 1970. In 2004, they accounted for only 24%.

One particularly interesting note from the article:

Young adults having children without being married isn't surprising to Sarah Brown, director of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, who says federal data found that almost two-thirds of girls ages 15-19 agree it's OK for an unwed woman to have a child. "Young adults are acting on their attitudes," she says. "They are doing what they think is OK."

Where did two-thirds of teenage girls get the idea that it's OK for an unwed woman to have a child? Better yet, what can be done to initiate a more constructive view of child-bearing and sex in general?

The article does a good job presenting the evidence as to why it's better to raise a child in a two parent household. It even goes so far as to suggest that it's even best when the two parents are married. Obviously this type of evidence is not keeping two people from having sex outside of marriage.


a short video of hope at halloween

I've put together a little video of Hope getting ready to trick or treat. It's my way of playing around with Sony Vegas. Click here to see the video.

rocky's revival

The Beatles sang about Rocky Raccoon's revival and a Gideon Bible. Last night (Halloween), we noticed a new neighbor ascending a tree in our yard on his way to our roof. This raccoon was the size of a small pig! Well, maybe. Rocky stared back at us like he was as intrigued by us as we were by him. Well, maybe.

Granted, the Rocky Raccoon sung about by the Beatles was a spurned lover and not an actual raccoon. But it does make for a good title.