a bit embarrassed

Not long after I arrived at work this morning, a few of the co-workers were sharing an interesting bit of customer mail. It seems that someone who had received one of our catalogs decided it was a bit too risque for his/her taste and sent the offending page back in ... along with a Holy Joe tract attached to it. The tract was called "A Dirty Mind."

Many of my co-workers are aware of the fact that I am a pastor. I wanted to say to them, "I'm not THAT kind of pastor." I wanted to explain to them that the Christianity I preach and try to practice is not a cartoon but ones that mixes and meshes with real life. It doesn't feel the need to take a page from a pool supply catalog, strap a devilish tract to it, and mail it to some unknown receiver with a warning about eternal damnation scribbled on the side.

Once the envelope was licked and dropped in the mail, this person probably turned on their television and was bombarded with far more salacious material than what arrived in our catalog. Even worse, they may have propped up their feet with the feeling that they've done their part to make the world a better place.

How risky is it to drop an anonymous note in the mail, along with a 25-cent tract? I'll tell you what's risky -- to live an authentic life that doesn't capitulate to immorality while at the same time being willing to invest yourself in lives that are right smack in the mud.

I winced as the letter and tract were being passed around. What was left unsaid was ... "Are you that kind of Christian?" "Do you carry Holy Joe tracts around in your wallet?"

I have to admit -- I was a bit ashamed. Not of Jesus or his values or his message. But of how we sometimes create unnecessary obstacles for people who haven't plugged into Jesus just yet.


drinking pee pee water

This mistake gets filed under the category of "OOPS." It seems that someone with the Otay Water District (just south of San Diego) hooked up with the wrong pipes a few years ago. Instead of sending regular old drinking water into the business center, it was treated sewage water. "Recycled water" as the district likes to call it. That makes it sounds less like pee and more like taking your cans and bottles out to the curb.

Normally, I would just chuckle at this kind of story and be thankful for living in San Diego. But when the paper comes out with the story, who's in the picture? LifePoint's former bass player and current lead pastor at Wave Christian Church -- Jim Osbourne. Jim's wife, Carla, runs a party supply store in the affected business park! And there is Jim sporting the ever-fashionable Late Show t-shirt.

Here's the Union-Tribune story and picture:

Merchants told water is tainted
Chula Vista center connected to pipes carrying treated sewage
By Anne Krueger

August 22, 2007

Shop owners in a Chula Vista business park knew something was wrong with their water. It tasted bad, smelled funny and had a yellowish tint.

“You would flush the toilet, and it looked like it wasn't flushed,” said Amy Wise, co-owner of the Candy Bouquet, which sends out candy arrangements.

The Otay Water District assured the merchants that the water was fine, but the merchants weren't convinced. The park's property manager sent a water sample to a private lab and got some shocking news Friday.

For two years, occupants of the 17 businesses in Eastlake's Fenton Business Center have been drinking and washing their hands in treated sewage water.

Somehow, the park was hooked up to a pipe carrying recycled water – treated wastewater intended solely for irrigation – instead of drinking water. Now the Otay district is dealing with distraught merchants and the question of how this could have happened.

Signs are now posted on all the businesses warning people not to drink the water. Two food-related businesses – the Candy Bouquet and Dream Dinners, a store that provides ingredients for make-and-freeze meals – were closed by the county Department of Environmental Health.

Yesterday, water district representatives met with the business owners in a hot, empty office at the business park. About 20 people crammed into the tiny room and peppered officials with questions.

“We just want peace of mind,” said Joe Padilla, owner of a computer store.

General Manager Mark Watton didn't have a lot of answers, but he did make some promises. The water district would pay for medical tests for workers, and would compensate the businesses for their losses. “We want to do whatever we need to do to make things right,” Watton said.

Watton said the water system has been repaired, but the state Department of Public Health requires more clean samples before the water is deemed safe and the two food-related businesses can reopen. Watton said he expects that to happen tomorrow afternoon.

Ken August, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Health, said officials are investigating. “We have learned about the situation and we are evaluating it,” August said.
Recycled water is not tested as rigorously as drinking water because it is not meant to be consumed. Several shop owners expressed concerns that they or their employees could be sickened by the lingering taint of bad water.

Watton said this is the first time he has heard of recycled water being accidentally sent to a drinking tap in the county.

Reports tell of cases elsewhere, including San Antonio in 2002 and Calabasas in 1997. The San Antonio Water System recently paid $19,500 to settle a 2003 lawsuit filed by 13 people who alleged they were sickened by the treated wastewater.

Otay officials say they are still trying to figure out how the mistake occurred. Watton said when the three buildings of the business park were constructed in 2002, they apparently were connected to a purple pipe, the color that usually designates a recycled-water line, instead of a pipe with drinking water.

The business park opened in July 2005, and the water that flowed in was made up of about four parts drinking water to one part recycled water, Watton said.

In May, the Otay Water District entered into a deal with the city of San Diego to buy 6 million gallons of recycled water a day from San Diego's two reclamation plants. Otay began pumping 100 percent recycled water instead of the blend of recycled and drinking water.

That's when the merchants noticed the funky smell, look and taste. Josh Bristol, the owner of a home-decorating store, complained to Otay officials in an e-mail July 27. Watton said workers flushed the system clean and thought the problem was resolved.

Wise, who co-owns the Candy Bouquet with Angela Mason, said she contacted the business park owners a couple of weeks ago when she noticed the water's yellowish tint.

The private lab's testing showed the presence of total coliform bacteria. The bacteria is not necessarily harmful, but its presence indicates contamination. The lab warned that the sample appeared to be recycled water, and said occupants should be warned not to drink it.

Recycling water for irrigation is not the same as the long-discussed plan in San Diego to send highly treated wastewater back to taps, a program detractors have dubbed “toilet to tap.”

Although most businesses in the Eastlake park are open, the owners of the Candy Bouquet and Dream Dinners wait and worry about the damage to their reputations.

They said their customers are not at risk. Wise said her business uses only prepackaged candy. Jennifer Kober, owner of Dream Dinners, said customers are required to wear gloves when preparing food and no one drinks the tap water or uses it in food preparation. Only filtered water was used with the ingredients and in the coffee brewed there.

Wise said she fears she'll lose customers when they see the county's “closed” notice. “People don't want to know the excuses,” she said. “They just see the sign on the door.”

Staff librarian Jenna Rohrssen contributed to this report.


the big duh sales event

Has anyone else seen the recent campaign for Hyundai? It's called the Hyundai Big Duh Sales Event and it features a car floating down from space ... or being discarded from an interterrestial garbage ferry. I'm not really sure which one it is.

Maybe it's just me, but the Big Duh Sales Event slogan does nothing to motivate me to buy a Hyundai. In the spirit of Homer (Simpson, not the guy who wrote that long book a long time ago), perhaps it should be called the Hyundai Big Do Sales Event. Like ... "Did you know you just bought a Hyundai? Do!'


random thanks

Every know and then I believe it's good to drop a random "thank you" on someone. Maybe it's for something you've already said thanks for. Maybe it's for something you've thought about saying thanks for but never did. At any rate, go ahead and do it!

For example, Tonya and I have been talking recently about how much we appreciated Hannah's Navajo softball coaches. So ... I just dropped a quick email this morning to say thanks. Again. We thanked them throughout the season and at the end of the season but it just felt right to say it again.

Over and over I'm surprised by how a random thank you finds its way to the recipient at a very appropriate moment. That's part of the interconnectedness we have as spiritual beings. I believe many times the Holy Spirit is prompting us to say or do something because he knows what we don't know -- what's happening in the other person's life.

So, go ahead and say "thank you" again. You just might find one floating right back to you.

lifepoint pool party

Tonya and I hosted a pool party for LifePoint yesterday. We fired up the grill and had a great time. Even a few adults got in the water. Someone asked me if I was going to be the lifeguard. My response was, "You don't want me to be the lifeguard." Fortunately, I was confined to the grill and to other dry spots.

week three

I'm about to begin week three working at shopbluehaven.com. For the most part, I've spent the first two weeks learning various aspects of the business and the ins and outs of the ecommerce software. I've not been very steeped in pool knowledge, so it's been interesting learning more about that stuff. All in all, it's a fun to place to work, even more so when the AC is below 75 :-)

Working downtown is certainly an interesting experience. All the sights, sounds, and smells of San Diego's dowtown are at my doorstep. Let's just say that some smells are better than others.


How to prepare your swimming pool for winter

Here's a nice little article about how to prepare your swimming pool for winter. It talks about winter covers, pool chemicals, and more. All from your friends at Blue Haven Pools and Spas Supplies Direct (www.shopbluehaven.com).

read more | digg story


i'm packing my lunch

I'm packing my lunch for my first day at shopbluehaven.com ... any suggestions?


road trip

The family and I are taking a road trip tomorrow to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. We're going with another family and spending the night. I had the opportunity a few months ago to go with a friend and it was a great experience. The view alone is worth the price of admission.

Hannah was reading about Reagan this morning and said, "Hey Dad, Ronald Reagan was born in Illinois, just like you were. And he moved to California, just like you did. But then he became President." My response -- give me about 30 more years and I'll be ready.

This may be our last road trip for a while. On Monday, I start my new position with Blue Haven Pools as the web designer for their ecommerce division (www.shopbluehaven.com). The parent company is a big $_ _ _ million company that has been around for decades; the ecommerce division is about a year and a half old. So it has the feel of a start-up with the backing of a secure, stable company.

It's also located downtown near the Gaslamp and comes with free parking! I'm excited to lend my creative skills to what seems to be a really good company.

LifePoint goes on and is doing well. I look forward every weekend to teaching such a great group of people. The reality is we are a new church in a high cost area -- but the blessing is that we have so many talented people who contribute to our community.

In some respects, we find ourselves more aligned with the experience of the first century church. The old-school term we once used was "tentmaking." That simply meant that Paul worked a day job and preached and pastored whenever and where ever he could. The source of his income didn't matter; what mattered was that people heard about Jesus.

LifePoint continues to support CityWalk Church with ten percent of our weekly offerings. Several of our members are also helping out with Wave Christian Church, a new church starting this fall in Chula Vista. Through thick and thin, we want to remember that we are a part of a larger Kingdom movement.

funny website

I normally don't pass along other websites too often but here is one I discovered this morning. The journey began while researching videos to use at church. But in the great spirit of the internet, I stumbled upon this:


You must choose the Flash version to really, really enjoy it.