eagle

Bloged in family, life by rod Sunday May 28, 2006

three times in my life I’ve had the fortune to see that most majestic of birds, the Bald Eagle. The first time, I was playing guitar on a dock on the Saluda river when I saw him from a great distance, flying at the tree tops straight toward me, following the river. He flew directly over my head. I turned and watched him continue in the same way he’d approached me.
The second eagle I saw was perched on a limb beside an I-77 bridge across a river. He sat there until we were almost beside him then he dove off the limb toward the water. It was a beautiful sight. Will was in the back seat, and though I was making an excited attempt to tell him where to look, he never saw him, and cried from disappointment.
The third sighting came yesterday. Will and I took a long motorcycle ride and were headed home down a country road when we saw him crossing in front of us. We slowed and watched him fly to our left until he was out of sight. Slow, relaxed, purposeful, he beat those long wings about once per second. I turned around make sure Will could see him, and saw Will’s eyes as big as saucers behind his face shield.
When we got home Will told me what the eagle was saying as he flew away from us. Evidently, Will had recorded him, even over the roar of the motorcycle engine. I don’t know though, he sounds strangely like a caricatured Khalil. Anyway, you can decide for yourself if this is really the eagle. Here’s the soundfile.

an aside

Bloged in worship by rod Saturday May 27, 2006

I don’t think it would really be fair, now that I’ve announced the topic of my next 46 blogs, if that were all I was allowed to think about and experience. So from time to time, I’ll have to post something unrelated. And just because this post is unrelated, it doesn’t mean that I’ve abandoned my windy diatribe of wrong roads and progressively turning back.
So the aside is that I’ve posted some more photos on flickr to add to the ones from the canyon in February. Some of them are new and some are old. I really like taking pics, and I really like flickr. So there it is. Come visit me there. I’ve also placed a way cool flash animated flickr badge in my sidebar, so you can see bitty little baby thumbnails of my pics moving around. If you click one, it will take you right to the larger version of the photo.
If you’re unfamiliar with flickr, you’ll be thrilled to find that you can download the pics, email them, print them, have them sent to a printing place, arrange them in your own flickr collection, tag them, etc., lots of cool things you can do with flickr pics. You can even ignore them entirely. Or if you have a response to them, you can leave a comment. The COOLEST thing though, is that they are in a RSS feed. So you can subscribe and instantly know when I’ve uploaded another cool picture!
So head on over there and take a look at my obsession with my kids and the moon.

Technorati Tags:

where I am coming from

Bloged in worship by rod Friday May 26, 2006

Before I toss out an extremely opinionated series of controversial post here, I’ll have to make some claims and admissions. I believe in love. I’ve known it and I know it. I believe in love in the way that Shakespeare wrote about it. Romeo and Juliet love? Yes. This is the real thing. There are those of us who feel it so strongly. We get terribly confused and cynical about this, because it is rather rare for two people to feel it about one another. Therefore, to feel it, leaves one very vulnerable and open to disappointment, pain and the feeling of rejection. But to love and not to be loved equally in return, does not mean that it is not felt and given. For some reason we gauge what we think is possible and real based on what is given to us, rather than on what we can have to give. This is of our selfish nature and betrays that we haven’t given what we thought we’d given.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength love? Yes. This is the real thing. I reject out-of-hand most of what Christian marriage gurus have taught for years because I don’t believe love is a decision. I believe behavior is a decision, and anyone in love will know the difference.
Nothing aggravates me more than a marriage book or video series that teaches spouses to manipulate one another so that an acceptable behavior will result, or so that one can get what she wants. “If you want your husband to (insert your behavioral desire here), then you’ll have to compromise, begin to treat him like (insert appropriate non heart-felt, manipulative behavior designed to affect the above inserted desired result), then you’ll see him treat you differently.
This kind of teaching betrays our theology, because we basically teach the same things in discipleship. The word decision replaces the concepts of love and belief. One can decide to be behaviorally disciplined, but I don’t feel that belief or love are things that can be decided upon.
So all of that is just to say that I’m not an unromantic, chauvinistic ogre, who doesn’t give a flying flip about romance and fantasy. I’m a bit too romantic probably, in the high expectations I have for such a dangerous emotion. But I still believe to love and to be loved warrants the risk, and LOVE is worth fighting for. I have to try to convince you of this, because I don’t want my next post(s) to sound cold, unemotional, and unromantic.

Technorati Tags: ,

the right road

Bloged in apprenticeship, life, worship by rod Thursday May 25, 2006

Way back in the day (2000), I started the germ of my blog with a bit on the grace monkey site called rod’s rants. It was far from a daily excursion into the cynical observational recesses of my mind, but rather, stuff that would build up over time and which I would finally sit down at my keyboard and spew out through my fingertips. In the meantime, between spewings, old rants would just sit there, or I’d replace them with some cool quote from someone who actually had something to say. When I got the idea to give myself this outlet, I hadn’t actually formulated a rant yet, only felt the need to do so. So I created the page and filled it with a placeholder that to this day seems to be the hub of nearly everything I rant about. The quote concerns repentance.
The illustration that C. S. Lewis used in that quote, simple as it is, has drawn pictures in my head that have made many things clearer to me, and have muddled my understanding of other things. But it is the impetus of my walk and my desired M.O. It has been the screen on which I make observations about my self and the human environment in which I find myself. It has been the filter through which I sift jargon and suspect word meaning shifts and exchanges. I inadvertently summed it all up for myself when I wrote a little parable called
the errant evangelical
.
It seems that the character trait that seems most ubiquitous - in fact, I think we all are bent this way - is to find ourselves on the wrong road, and redefine our destination so that the road we are on will suffice. Usually though, we don’t change the name of our destination. We simply rename the place to where we are erroneously headed, with the name of the place we were supposedly headed before we found ourselves on the wrong road.
We live a meta example of the “I meant to do that” response to simple faux pas. Or maybe it is actually more severe than that. I think we set out to build a house and when it turns out to be a barn, we decide to call it a house and continue to pretend that it is a house. So we end up living in a barn and eventually no longer realize that we live in a barn. Had we recognized that we were building a barn, razed it and started anew with the house… well, you get the picture. Of course there is nothing wrong with building a barn, that is, unless you think it is a house.
I have bemoaned that I see us switching what we’re about by getting sidetracked and rather than correcting ourselves, we correct the thing we’re supposed to be about. I have pointed out my observations concerning honesty and integrity, faith and belief, cause and effect, expression and means, etc. But our confusion doesn’t only exist between word pairs. There are many areas of the Christian life that have come to be redefined according to the off the mark place we’ve found ourselves. I have written here before about discipleship; and I’m about to launch into connected diatribe about love, sex, and worship. So if you think none of these three things have anything to do with one another, then be forewarned.

Technorati Tags: ,

da code

Bloged in apprenticeship by rod Sunday May 21, 2006

Saw The Da Vinci Code tonight. Jack and I caught the 8:50. The reviews were right, it is the first movie adaptation of a book that takes longer to watch than to read. But even so, the movie was better than the book. Opie is a better director, and everyone in the film are better actors than Dan Brown is a writer.
This afternoon when I googled theatres and show times, I landed on one of the Debunking websites that was exposing Brown’s conspiracy theory sources and quoting from them. Of course, one is a book that Brown places in Lee Teabing’s library and that was published in 1997. This website pointed out also, mistakes in Brown’s citing of the passages and translations of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi. He refers to them in the wrong language. Anyway, that’s not my point, I just thought that was interesting. My point is a passage from the book that Jack and I were discussing on the way home, and that Gandalf delivers verbatim in the movie. The scene has Teabing explaining that Constantine was responsible for the proposition that Jesus was divine, the canonization of scripture, etc. He states that Constantine was a lifelong pagan who claimed Christianity for political reasons, and was baptized on his deathbed against his will. Apparently Constantine was baptized on his deathbed, but not against his will. Evidently it was common to be baptized late because it was taught that baptism washes away sins, and that caused people to wait to be baptized so that more of their sins would be washed away. I guess a deathbed baptism guaranteed all were taken care of.
As Jack and I discussed this, I began to think about the theology behind a teaching that could lead to such a tendency, and of course it made me think about something I talk about a lot, and about which I’ve blogged several times. It’s one of those word pairs in which one begins to take on the meaning of the other, or one is eventually assumed to take on the role of the other. The concepts or words here are confession and repentance. Now I’m not saying that I don’t think deathbed conversions are real, but for a Christian to put off baptism til then implies that he has confused confession with repentance. Perhaps it’s not his own confusion, but the fault of how he was taught. But the bible says John the baptizer came preaching a baptism of repentence for the forgiveness sin. Jesus set about preaching “repent and believe the good news of God.”
Repentance, no doubt includes confession, but confession doesn’t necessarily imply repentance. Repentance means to turn from your sinful ways. Jesus told the woman caught in adultery that he didn’t condemn her, and to go and stop sinning.
I have spoken here before that honesty seems to have replaced integrity in meaning and discipline, and I believe that confession falls short of repentance in the same way that honesty falls short of integrity. It is much easier to admit what you’ve done wrong than it is to stop doing wrong, but we’ve basically decided its enough. Yes, we learn to sin more so that grace may abound.

Technorati Tags: , ,

commencement 06

Bloged in education, life by rod Sunday May 21, 2006

Another school year accomplished. Another class commences. Graduation was this morning, and for the first time, at least since I’ve been around, it was scheduled to be outdoors at 8:30am. Allison and I were sitting out on the deck with a fire under a crystal clear starry sky at midnight. But lo and behold, when morning comes, the clouds blow in and the storm arrives. As I drove up the road toward campus and slowed behind the graduation traffic, the rain was so hard that the wipers couldn’t clear the windshield. The bolts of lightning were simultaneous with the claps of thunder, and were continues. Bolts were staying lit for seconds rather than merely flashing. The looked like neon with a short circuit. I smiled at the irony of a first attempt squelched by weather, and then I thought about how many graduation ceremonies that I’ve attended where a few thousand people sit under ominous clouds in uncomfortable bleachers waiting for someone to decide if they will move the festivities or not. As often as not, it seems easier to stay put than to move, so the decision is made to chance it under the ominous clouds. Also as often as not, a few minutes into the festivities the clouds decide to dump their loads leave everyone regretting their decision, and soaked and scrambling.
So when the rain came this morning, everyone was saying, “I prayed for good weather, what’s this all about?” Of course, I, always the eternal optimist, realized that the prayer was answered, and that we could have all been sitting on the field wondering when the sky opened up. Instead, before there could be any debate, a decision was handed down and we all survived the commencement ceremony dry and happy.
By the time the ceremony was over, the sky was blue, the clouds had emptied and the sun shone it’s mild warmth on a crowd of smiling commencers and their families.

Technorati Tags: ,

posthumous pearls

Bloged in music, nostalgia by rod Wednesday May 17, 2006

During Franz Schubert’s short life, around 100 of his pieces were published. To me, this seems like an inordinate catalog for a 31 year-old. But during the next 50 years after his death, his works were published steadily. Occasionally, a long buried piece will still be found. One Viennese music critic wrote in 1862 that “it is as though he continued to work invisibly. One can hardly keep up with him.”
No doubt, those responsible for bringing to light his long hidden catalog, were delighted to continue to find that he was more prolific than anyone imagined. I would imagine that his fans, Brahms, Mendellsohn, Liszt, and others who had digested, and been nourished by Schubert’s works were ecstatic to consistently unearth, publish and perform previously unheard music.
What a treat to find that you’ve been provided for after a musician is gone. Though the body of work left by the musician would no doubt be sufficient for a lifetime of enjoyment and appreciation, to be provided with previously unknown creativity keeps it all alive for much longer a period of time.
Yesterday, Personal Files was released. It contains 49 songs from Johnny Cash never before heard. These were found in his home studio by his son, John Carter. I was serenaded during all my finals week preparations yesterday by guitar and voice renditions of “Farther Along”, “Drink to me Only with Thine Eyes,” “Sanctified”, (complete justify-cation)and 47 other old living room covers and originals that have never been heard before. Many of the recordings include him telling the story of where the song came from, who he was with when it was written, etc. All were recorded between 1973 and 1980.
These days with record labels seeking no investment-high return projects, after an artist is gone, we can expect a barrage of releases of re-compilations, best ofs, the essentials, re-masters, b sides, remixes, cast-off tracks of familiar hits, but 49 spanking new stuffs? Unheard of. And recorded in his cleaned up prime with a new lease on life. It is a bright day for life-long, die-hard Johnny Cash fans.
So I’d suggest for you. Load up your iPod, grab a Fanta® and a cane pole, find an old abandoned depot or warehouse or secluded river bank, and take a couple hours to hear the product of a man singing from his soul. Have your own soul ministered to in the process.

Technorati Tags: ,

renaissance man

Bloged in apprenticeship, family, parenting by rod Tuesday May 16, 2006

As I’ve discussed on these cyber pages before, C. S. Lewis says that pride is the biggie. He says that Satan will even help us to overcome simple sinful behaviors because our overcoming can create pride and that is far worse than the sin we’ve overcome, but much more acceptable. However, he clearly states that there are things for which we use the word pride that are perfectly natural and acceptable - for instance, the pride we feel for our children. So I’m going to bank on Brother Jack’s approval and swell up with a large dose.
Will’s school Award Ceremony was held tonight, during which he was named “Male Student of the Year”. The presenter described him as a “true renaissance man.” I couldn’t think of a better description of Will. When I tried to think of another description, Allison added “sunshine.” Yes, that would describe him as well. Everyone knows that Will lights up a room, it is so magic to know that he also lights up his school.
I often get what I consider challenges from well meaning friends and colleagues who ask about my decision to send my children to public school. I usually find it odd that it would be viewed as a decision. If I ever felt the need to send them elsewhere, then that would be a decision. So my answer to why public school? Salt and light. Keep your savor, and don’t hide under a bowl. Tonight my son’s teachers confirmed that he is light. Sunshine. We already knew that he is spicy.
Before tonight, Will, I was proud of you. Tonight I am so proud that my pride is validated by your teachers. Ha, so it’s not just me, eh?
Too often in this world, beauty goes unnoticed. But I guess there are things that are just too beautiful to miss. Thank you Will, for being you. You bring light to everyone in the house, in the same way, you light your light shine before men so that they might see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Technorati Tags: , ,

divisions

Bloged in friends, metaphor, random by rod Tuesday May 16, 2006

The indiscriminate choices of children provide promise of a hopeful future to forward-thinking and tolerant parents. Kids seem not to have any prejudice at all. They accept what they’re given, work with what they have, and their imaginations fill in all the gaps. One is as good as another in their eyes.
When the world turns out to be different in some aspect from what they’d expected, they quickly adjust their expectations to match reality, rather than tweaking their perception of reality to validate their expectations.
No doubt, regardless of how promising the attitude and tolerance of the child seems to the parent, as they grow, they encounter prejudice in their friends and classmates, unfounded preferences arise, and perhaps hidden feelings in the parents themselves emerge and are voiced by the children.
Whatever the cause, as we grow up, the realities of the world emerge, and divisions become evident where they didn’t seem to matter before. The differences in our own little homes and the larger world become apparent, and familiarity begins to feel like superiority.
It happened last week in my own home from my very own son. He had been working on a homework project at school with some classmates. He emailed a file to himself from his friend’s computer. When he attempted to open the file, his prejudice was manifest in his frustration.
“STUPID WINDOWS COMPUTERS!!!!”

on behalf of every man

Bloged in family, love and marriage, parenting by rod Monday May 15, 2006

For Mother’s Day, I sang “Daughters” during the morning worship in the last two services. I worried quite a lot about it beforehand, but decided (under Al’s influence) that if I set it up correctly it would be heard well and all would be fine. In the end, I got precisely two comments concerning the song. The first comment was from my son, Will, who said, “Dad you sure can pick a tear-jerker, all the women around me were crying.” The second comment came from a man who came to the stage as I was coiling cables and said, “Hey Rod, I liked that song you did, that was kinda jazzy.”
So I’ve tried to analyze what makes something work in the minds of the general congregation. Sometimes I wonder if lyrics are just heard as noises that serve to carry the vocal melody and ultimately carry as much meaning as the guitar riffs, but now and again, someone hears a song, and I realize that must not be the issue. So now I have another theory.
Most recently, I’ve done two songs about which I was a bit anxious. Both were tied to the service intentionally, and no song could have done better to carry the message. The first was “Check it Out”, then “Daughters” yesterday. My new theory is that I can play general songs apart from the worship set, as long as they are written by someone named John. I believe I’ll try out “It’s a Big Ol’ Goofy World” by John Prine, and maybe “Born on a Bayou” by John Fogerty. I’d do, “Proud Mary”, but they might think that is by Ike Turner, and everything would be messed up.
Yesterday, I felt like I succeeded for the first time ever, in tying all the peripheral elements of the service together, and it was the result of the Mayer song. It opened with a children’s (all girls) choir of probable future mothers. Then there was a baby dedication, which I called a “parents dedication”. We sang Jesus Loves the Little Children as the parents and babies returned to their seats. Then I sang “Daughters”, followed by “Children of the Heavenly Father”, and other songs about humility and love, attributes necessary in preparing tomorrow’s mothers.

I don’t know if the average congregation member would catch the Mother’s Day focus on raising up tomorrow’s mothers, as the day usually focuses on celebrating people currently in the role of mother. But I thought it might be proper to think for the moment beyond dinner, diapers, soccer games, homework, and laundry, to the not-so-distant future when our parenting abilities will be made manifest in our children’s ability to parent, when our ability to love will be made manifest in our children’s ability to love. What kind of lovers and mothers will our daughters become? I believe our ability to love is so entirely dependent on our having been loved. I think this is biblical. We love God because he first loved us. We learn to love and receive love from our spouses and children by being loved by our parents. And love is not busyness. It is not attending every activity that every kid is participating in, though these are certainly good commitments. These things can be accomplished without love.
Love is what a kid senses as the feeling of the selfless heart of a parent and responds to with trust and confidence, a trust and confidence that will in turn be easily given to a spouse, and be grown into love that will nurture and nourish the hearts and souls of children to become parents.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

21 queries. 0.255 seconds.
Powered by Wordpress
theme by evil.bert