Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Many Thoughts a Brewin'

But I don't have time to type them out. In the mean time, some blogs you might want to check out...

Mike Devries recounting this chapter of life that is now coming to an end. Mike is a dear, dear friend and one who I have found much solidarity with. After 4 years of attempting a church-like venture (and doing and being some beautiful things... some of which I have been able to participate in), they have decided to disband, so to speak. Mike was also a huge part in our whole Anchor Point experiment in Oceanside. Shoot him an email and tell him you love him.

Will makes a good case for his anti-war stance. I love Will's thoughts. He has a certain clarity about so many things. We have known Will for a few years now and they were one of the first families we stayed with on our pilgrimage last fall. Wonderful people there in Lexington, KY.

Mike and Stacy Stavlund are some of our most favorite people. They have had a seemingly crazy last few weeks. If you are not a subscriber to his blog, shame on you! Just kidding...but you ought to be.

I don't remember how I found Darius or how he found me... but I've enjoyed his blog. Some interesting 3rd options, if you know what I mean.

Now back to work and then off to traveling again...

Sunday, May 28, 2006

A little diddy...

...head on over to Craig's blog as he and I wonder out loud about what America and Europe could learn from each other. It's intense, yo.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Sunshine = God's Pleasure

This last weekend, Holly and I were invited back to the 814 to perform a wedding ceremony for our friends James and Jen. It was a wonderful day, with incredible weather (that was not anticipated since May has had less than 8% sun), wonderful draft beer (thanks Sean), good friends and a wonderfully simple, and very 814, wedding ceremony. Martin recounts it here.

Yes, it was a great day.

The 814 is a magical place in our memory...kind of like the mythic BIG FISH town of Spectre. But I don't think it's our time to be there right now...but it's wonderful to go back and visit.

These last several days have been wonderful. San Diego is a great town...and my sister lives in a cool neighborhood (University Heights), lined with independent restaurants and little shops and coffee houses. And seeing our good friends in South Park was a wonderful time. The Evans, Gonzales, and Kembles are such great folks.

And a little breakfast with my buddy Mike reminded me of what a similar journey we seem to be on. Wow. He made a statement that I have been considering quite a bit these last couple days... People only deconstruct and re-imagine things that really mean something to them. Wow. I think you're right.

Now we're back in the Bay for a few days. Always good to be back up here. Ahh.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Climate Crisis

There is a new film coming out called, An Inconvenient Truth, based on a slideshow that Al Gore has been showing these last couple years. It deals with escalating concerns with global climate change, something that is both very real and worth our time to consider...particularly for those of us who feel that humans are to be stewards of God's green earth.

My friend Chris always seems to have some interesting links regarding this issue.

The US is really the last nation to actually recognize that global warming does, in fact, exist. Weird...just plain weird.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

"Cultural Assumption" is what Damien calls it.

Damien has some great words regarding the sad misplaced attention on The DaVinci Code when there are so many other 'battles to fight' (pardon the military metaphor).

He reminded me about the Dateline show tonight with Bono regarding Africa. Now I'm thinking about us checking into one of the house party/viewings that seem to be going on all across the US. Anyone else?


In the last couple years, my mind and spirit have been stretched in many ways. And you know when this happens, you begin to see the need for new words to help convey new concepts. But you also re-discover words that have a different etymology than you assumed it to have.

I generally dislike the word "believer" when it is used to define a person religiously. It is used by a great many Christians to mean "a person who believes that Jesus is God and died for their sins so you can have a relationship with him." I have disliked this word, not because it is descriptive, but because it creates a certain "right group" which means there must be a "wrong group".

I'm reading McLaren's latest book, The Secret Message of Jesus (what a lame title, I know!), and it's got me thinking about Jesus' primary message, that is, "Change your thinking, your very life! Re-imagine everything. The Kingdom of God is here, now, at hand." This was Jesus' message. And when he commanded folks to believe in it, it didn't have much to do with his divinity or where you'd go after you die or that somehow by doing this you could have a fuzzy "personal relationship with God", no...it was more (and different) from that.

These people he was chatting it up with in 1st century Palestine were awaiting the future date that God would "bring about his Kingdom" that would end all other Kingdoms (or at least rule over them)...but Jesus says, "No, you're missing the point. The Kingdom of God isn't 'coming'; it's here and now. Live that way."

I posted that Sean and I caught this movie (The Celestine Prophecy) the other day. While aspects of it were a bit high on the cheese factor, the underlying philosophy was very powerful...that there is another reality right here in our midst, but we do not see often see it. We are either too busy or to lazy or to self-focussed to see it. It requires a re-thinking of our very lives and the systems of how things "really work". It requires that our eyes and ears be opened to realities that are not in our immediate view.

I'm not talking about some escapist mystical place or some realization that only happens once you've lived ascetically for 20 years. I'm talking about a reality that tunes us to how the world really works...and it's available to those child-like folks who never stop discovering or changing or exploring.

I guess what I'm getting at is that a "believer" is simply someone who believes that there is another reality, that this Kingdom of God is possible and here...and then works for it, lives in it...not beliving church doctrine, but believing Jesus' teachings. After all, "we know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands." Hmm.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Muchas Peliculas

So, after Europe, I was hungry for movies. I hadn't seen a film in so long. Late winter and early spring generally yield very few movies that I'm interested in. Either way, I wanted to see some flicks whence we got back.

First we saw Mission Impossible 3. What was I thinking? Lisa asked. Well, I was thinking that JJ Abrams directed it and Felicity was in it, so what could be bad about that? It was okay. Holly couldn't take the action and left an hour into it. I finished it off. Am I getting too old to appreciate action flicks? Hmm.

Friday, Holly and I stopped in for an afternoon showing of The DaVinci Code. Okay, so I read the book and really enjoyed it...but I was bored by the movie. Holly enjoyed it, but I thought Hanks seemed tired and there were so many holes that it just lacked for me. On the way out of the theatre, we saw some picketters. That makes me sad. Really sad. Signs saying things like I love Jesus Christ. I reject The DaVinci Code. Why do they feel so defensive? I wonder if they read the book. It asks such good questions...and of course, some silly ones perhaps. Anyways...

Today I went with my buddy Sean to see The Celestine Prophecy at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas. Interesting, indie flic. It seemed a little underfunded, but the philosophy behind the movie I vibed with. The idea that when humanity finally comes to a place of realizing its place in the story of creation, it can then evolve.

Tomorrow officially starts my work week here in San Diego. We're in San Diego until Thursday and then we head back up to the Bay for another ultrasound on Friday. Okay, here goes.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

It's A Boy

Yes, that is what you think it is...

2006 Reads

Books I've read (or listened to) this year and a short review if you're interested...

Collapse: Why Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond

This is a fascinating read about environmental (and therefore, human) sustainability. Diamond surveys several different societal collapses that all were predicated by environmental damage. It is a timely read...particularly as an American when you consider that the US is a small part of the world's population uses an incredible (and disproportionate amount) of the world's resources.

Deglobalization: Ideas for a New World Economy by Walden Bello

Thank you, thank you, thank you Emma for mailing me this book from Thailand. Wow. It is a book that every person interested in economy and global justice should read. He not only offers critique of the American trade policies and the organizations set up to keep America 'at the top' (IMF, World Bank, WTO), he also offers some constructive possibilities of other, more humane possibilities.

Nothing Sacred: The Truth About Judaism by Douglas Rushkoff

Holly and I got to hear Rushkoff at a lecture in Knoxville last fall. Total fluke thing, but several of his thoughts really resonated with and challenged us. Considering himself a lapsed Jew, he offers constructive critique of the new-found fundamentalist Jewish systems, calling them to reformation...or even more, to revolution. He offers the ideas that the Jewish way/religion was set up as iconoclastic, intended to keep humanity from deifying any icon/person/idol/whatnot. And that the early Israelites always understood that they had a large place in the story of humanity...they were not simply waiting on God to do everything.The analogues to Christianity are overwhelming and compelling to consider. Certainly I didn't vibe with all of his suggestions, but a great many of them are so powerful to consider.

Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark's Story of Jesus by Ched Myers

I've talked about this before, but it's a great commentary on the story of Mark. Thick and well-researched, Myers is thorough in his explanation of peasant revolution, redistributive systems, and the Kingdom of God as earthly reality.

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (translated by John C.H. Wu)

Picked this up in Washington when we were up there several weeks back. Holly and I have been reading it out loud to each other. So much wisdom found in it's pages. Understanding the historical context has helped me see what Lao Tzu is offering in his pages. This is a great book for leadership, understanding the Kingdom of God in another tradition, or simply pondering.


When Brian McLaren told us his hunch that First Century Palestinian Judaism was primarily a Danielic cult, I figured I ought to go back and re-read Daniel. It is where the phrase "Son of Man" finds it's origin...and in certain places in the text is plural. It's a wild ride of revelation and interpretation, foretelling of the future and understanding that the Kingdom of God is being "built" amidst these other kingdoms of the world...offering a different locus of power and purpose...and I'd suggest even different from many religious manifestations/institutions as well.


Upon re-reading Mark's Gospel of Jesus, I realized that much of the prophecy that the author attributes Jesus fulfilling comes from Isaiah. For many who understand Jesus simply as a figure who died so humanity might go to heaven, this book might give some context around what it was that Jesus was supposed to be doing...namely bringing about justice and peace in this world, here and now. It's also an interesting reminder (up against Daniel) about how the Biblical understanding of God was constantly changing, all throughout Scripture. This book refers to God sometimes in an almost Hindu Brahman sort of way... The Holy. But be warned, this is a interesting paradox of violence and compassion...and I found myself at some points writing in the margins, "What the hell?!?".

The Politics of Jesus by John Howard Yoder

Still not entirely done with this one, so I'll hold off. The book club has stirred up some interesting conversation.

A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn

Thank God for Howard Zinn. His diligence in researching and gathering of stories in order to tell the history of the United States from the perspective of the marginalized, the pacifists during war-time, the economically/racially-oppressed. While he does not entirely dismiss textbook history, he feels that histories written solely from the upper-class, powerful perspective can only do more harm than good if taken too seriously. His chronicle is both inspiring and indicting. Best to read in small portions and explore similarities to our world today.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Thanks to Lora for allowing us to listen to this book on CD. It's autobiographical about her husband's death and the year to follow that. It is a moving story that Holly and I just couldn't pull ourselves away from.

A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Towes

Brilliant story of a young girl growing up in a Mennonite community. Written from an adolescent, first-person perspective, it's fun, funny, and sad... sometimes on the same page. Her confusion about her family's strange religious tradition and her place in all of it makes for great story-telling.

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

What if we understood social patterns and movements less in linear equations and more in exponential equations, like say, an epidemic? Gladwell explains his simple, but very interesting insight on how social phenomenon begin and either take-off or putter-out.

The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century by Thomas Friedman

Very informative book. While I don't necessarily share his faith in a global free-market, his exhortation to think more imaginatively and creatively and cooperatively found home in my psyche. The book gives (for the most part) a fair assessment on globalization if you read it all the way through. There were times where I wish he were more clear on some of the unethical practices of these pro-globalist forces.

And just like that...

...we're back in the States.

Schedule for this week.

Wednesday - Find out sex of our child, work.
Thursday - Midwife appt, dinner in Bay, work.
Friday - Head south to San Diego
Saturday - James and Jen's wedding in Oceanside
Sunday - Chill in San Diego

Not sure what's up beyond that yet... For now, let's get through this week. :)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Dead Tired.

So tired. Must go home. Must sleep in comfy bed. Must sleep. Must sleep.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Made it into Amsterdam

We finally arrived at our hotel just after the clock struck midnight last night. Wandering through a fairly residential area with no 'real' map of how to get to our hotel made it trying, especially after 15 hours of trains and transfers from Prague. One delayed train can change your whole day.

But we were able to download the season finale of The Office once we got to our hotel, so that made us smile. God, we love that show.

We are ready to come home. I am at least a little embarrassed to say that. I want to say, "No, we don't want to come back yet, Europe feels like home." But we're ready for 1 comfortable bed (not 2 twins side by side) and a shower with a curtain and a few other requirements we have for living well. :)

Our beautiful and dear friends Mike and Stacy Stavlund have had quite the week thus far. She gave birth to twins (one boy and one girl) on Tuesday. There have been some (expected) complications, but we are all hopeful. What beautiful people. What beautiful children. It's wonderful seeing all the comments on their blog...being reminded what a beautiful community surrounds them. We look forward to seeing them face to face soon.

But for now, a 20-minute train to Amsterdam (as our hotel is just outside the city) for our last weekend in Europe for this trip. We come home Tuesday. See you soon.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Just posted a gallery from Prague where we've been the last 4 nights. It's been a wonderful time. We slept a lot since we've been here. A good place to unwind I guess.

Tomorrow we travel 12 hours on 3 trains to Haarlem, just outside of Amsterdam where we'll base ourselves for the last 4 days of the trip. (Klaas, are you reading this?)

Okay. Now off to check in on Mike and Stacy. If you haven't been following their story, you can find your way over to Mike's blog here.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Bourgeois Scum That I Am

Well I never.

You see, we're traveling most of this trip on Eurail passes, which so happen to be 1st class. No, I did not specify 1st class... in fact, I would have bought the cheaper 2nd class option if there were one. There wasn't. So we've been in 1st class for most of this trip (train-wise, mind you...not on the flight).

Well... turns out we've gotten pretty used to this whole 1st class thing. It's been so nice to scoot past the masses of travelers and locals to find our cushy seats at the front (or sometimes back) of the train. We've had entire cars all to ourselves, including panoramic cars through the Rhine valley. Wow.

Well today we left the countries that our Eurail passes cover. We entered the Czech Republic and had to purchase actual train tickets. Looking at us (I guess) they assumed we were 2nd class and sold us those tickets. Not thinking about it, I took them. Well you can imagine how put out I was to find out that we were not going to be traveling 1st class on a 4-hour train ride to Prague.

Well I never.

I have become all that I thought wrong with the world. I have become the privileged 1st-classer. I weap.

So we rode 2nd class here and it was actually quite nice. And we made it safe and sound to our hotel in Prague. Ah...

4 nights here and then to Amsterdam with a possible stop-off in Berlin. Should we? You tell me.


Sunday, May 07, 2006

More Contextless Photographs

Sorry for the lack of captions with these photo galleries. Perhaps to explain them, we can stop by some time.

Here are 3 new galleries...

Switzerland 2 (Interlaken and Luzern, along with the JailHotel we stayed in)
Germany (Rothenberg and Fussen/Bavaria)

Again, sorry for not directly posting pics, but this categorizes them a bit better.

We're leaving Vienna tomorrow morning to take a 5 hour train into Prague. We'll be there for 4 nights or so.

Thanks for the emails and comments. This has been a great trip to have been on. Wow.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Arrival into Vienna

Switzerland onto Germany and now into Austria. We are staying with Birgitte Clark's parents in Vienna for 2 nights and there is wifi here, so hopefully I'll post some pics and reflections tomorrow if there's time.

It's been a wonderful trip. We're tired. But it's been amazing. Amazing.

Stories to tell over a pint...your treat?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Photos, Photos, Photos

Okay. I just created some galleries with some photos from our trip thus far. Just click on the below links, as they are divided by Country or City. Cool? Ciao.

And don't worry...there are only about a dozen photos for each link, give or take...

Bruges, Belgium
Paris, France
Figueres, Spain
Nice, France
Cinque Terre, Italy
Gimmelwald, Murren, and Alps, Switzerland