Sunday, November 30th, 2003 :: 12:22 AM

"Tom was raised in a Christian home. He made a decision to become a Christian when he was twelve years old and was baptized in his Baptist church the next Sunday. He eventually became a leader in his youth group, sang in the church choir and suprised no one when he went to a Christian college, where he majored in biblical studies. During college Tom helped out in a local church youth group and seemed to have a special gift for working with teenagers. After graduating, he had several offers from churches and parachurch groups to help direct their youth ministries.

"In his new job Tom experienced tremendous success by all measurable standards. The kids loved him, the parents appreciated him, and his youth group grew in numbers as well as spiritual maturity. He married his college sweetheart, who was devoted to Tom and to the ministry that they shared. For ten years things seemed to be perfect.

"One day Tom stunned his supervisor by saying that he was resigning. The supervisor braced for the worst. He asked, 'Why?' when what he wanted to say was, 'Have you sinned morally?' Tom smiled knowingly and said, 'No, it isn't what you are thinking. It's worse. I don't know if I still believe everything I say. I'm no longer certain who God is, and I can't pretend.' After a series of long theological debates with the supervisor, late-night conversations with his wife and an extended leave of absense from his work, Tom left the ministry and enrolled in an MBA program. There was no crisis in his life that precipitated this loss of faith. He just stopped believing.

"After finishing his graduate training, Tom got a good job with a manufacturing plant and maintained loving commitments to his family. He was supportive of raising their children in a local congregation and continued to sit in worship with his wife, who became a leader in the church's ministry. Every Sunday the congregation would stand and recite the Apostles' Creed. Tom could never get through the opening line, 'I believe in God.'

"He never got used to living without faith. If asked, he would say that he was searching for God or whatever it was that was at the bottom of his life. He was quite successful in his career but found little purpose or meaning in it. He did charitable work in the community, but it offered no hope for him or those he served. Many nights he would come home from work to read literature or philosophers or theologians or anyone who had an angle on the truth. For years the search continued, and he found nothing. Eventually he became emotionally and intellectually exhausted. He was tired of his doubts and tired of his search. As he explained to his wife, he had resigned himself to the fact that 'there was nothing else out there.'

"A professional move took Tom and his family to a new community. Again he followed his wife to church. But this church was different. The preacher was a well-read, silver-haired pastor who had little need to rehearse worn-out Christian jargon from the pulpit. He spoke honestly about doubt and faith as if they were companions and not enemies. He easily quotes French existentalists but always ended his sermons with a passionate love for Jesus. Tom wondered what held this preacher together.

One Sunday morning the sermon text was from the sixth chapter of John. After Jesus had performed many miracles including the feeding of the five thousand and walking on water, a large crowd of disciples began to follow him. Then Jesus spoke some harder words about who he was and where he was heading. Most of the new followers began to complain because they could not understand him or his 'difficult teachings.' and so they left. Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, "Do you also wish to go away?' It was Peter who responded, "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life' (John 6:67-68.) It was clear that the disciples did not understand those words any better than the crowd. They just knew there was nothing else.

"Tom sat in the pew and began to weep. So this is it, he thought. His great search had ended not with an illuminating discovery but with a tired whisper. Instead of the intellectual breakthrough to God that he had sought for years, he now knew he would return to the faith simply because there was no place else to go.

"Like Peter, Tom does not understand all of Jesus' words. He has plenty of doubts but chooses to live as if the words of Jesus are true because he does believe this is the only Savior he has. Also, like Peter, Tom continues to follow this Savior he cannot fully understand. It has to be enough to simply follow.

"After the wise preacher retired, I followed in his pulpit. It has been my joy to inherit the pastoral care he began in the lives of many, including Tom's family. Not long ago, Tom's wife approached me at the end of worship with tears of her own and said, 'Guess who said the Apostles' Creed today.'

"I have breakfast with Tom from time to time. I very much enjoy our conversations because I like him a great deal and admire his integrity. I also get to watch how faith develops as a response to the silence of God."

(>>)

Saturday, November 29th, 2003 :: 10:52 PM

"I am so easily satisfied,
by the call of lovers so less wild.
That I would take a little cash
over your very flesh and blood.
'Cause I am a whore, I do confess…" (>>)

Friday, November 28th, 2003 :: 1:24 AM

"But what we suffer from to-day is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert himself. The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt — the Divine Reason. Huxley preached a humility content to learn from Nature. But the new sceptic is so humble that he doubts if he can even learn. Thus we should be wrong if we had said hastily that there is no humility typical of our time. The truth is that there is a real humility typical of our time; but it so happens that it is practically a more poisonous humility than the wildest prostrations of the ascetic. The old humility was a spur that prevented a man from stopping; not a nail in his boot that prevented him from going on. For the old humility made a man doubtful about his efforts, which might make him work harder. But the new humility makes a man doubtful about his aims, which will make him stop working altogether.

"At any street corner we may meet a man who utters the frantic and blasphemous statement that he may be wrong. Every day one comes across somebody who says that of course his view may not be the right one. Of course his view must be the right one, or it is not his view. We are on the road to producing a race of men too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table. We are in danger of seeing philosophers who doubt the law of gravity as being a mere fancy of their own. Scoffers of old time were too proud to be convinced; but these are too humble to be convinced. The meek do inherit the earth; but the modern sceptics are too meek even to claim their inheritance."

G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, November 27th, 2003 :: 11:41 PM

worse than the awareness of unjustified arrogance,
is its continual existance in spite of its foolishness.

Thursday, November 27th, 2003 :: 8:48 PM

Perfect Thanksgiving song.

Thursday, November 27th, 2003 :: 3:16 PM

"He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

"Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
we all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all." (>>)

Tuesday, November 25th, 2003 :: 4:11 PM

This is already in my "otherLinks" on the sidebar, but y'all should be going to The Hunger Site every day and clicking the little button that sends food to people (it's free for you).

Monday, November 24th, 2003 :: 5:45 PM

Aaron pointed out a funny interview The Door did with R.C. Sproul.

Friday, November 21st, 2003 :: 11:41 PM

Tonight's used record score: The Latest Craze by Fanmail for $1.

Friday, November 21st, 2003 :: 7:04 PM

"My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones." (>>)

Friday, November 21st, 2003 :: 1:03 PM

"But somehow I can’t not believe." (>>)

Friday, November 21st, 2003 :: 7:50 AM

Triniity Broadcasting Network is suing their neighbors over a bunch of bricks and some plants.

"But instead, one brother goes to law against another–and this in front of unbelievers! The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?"
(>>)

Thursday, November 20th, 2003 :: 9:47 PM

"When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid…" (>>)

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.' He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!' " (>>)

Wednesday, November 19th, 2003 :: 11:23 PM

Bob on the building of ApexCommunity.net:

"We bought pMachine and modded the snot out of it…"

Tuesday, November 18th, 2003 :: 5:59 PM

This is a cool interview from HM Magazine w/ John Maurer, Social Distortion's bass player.

Tuesday, November 11th, 2003 :: 2:27 PM

Doesn't it suck how "days off" are never really days off?

Sunday, November 9th, 2003 :: 8:52 PM

I've come to the realization that math textbooks aren't written to teach students how to do math. They're written to frustrate the student by not actually showing how to solve a problem, but only showing that the author can solve the problem. Thus, rubbing this fact in the student's face and stroking the ego of sad little men sitting in their mathmatical ivory towers.

But I'm not bitter…

Saturday, November 8th, 2003 :: 11:57 AM

Leroy and Amber have started blogs. Actually, Leroy's had one for awhile, but I didn't know about it.

Friday, November 7th, 2003 :: 6:31 PM

"After we got settled into our room, the big drama was that we forgot your Dr. Seuss book back at the Chicken Shack in Merritt. You refused to settle down until I told you a story and so I was forced to improvise in spite of my tiredness, something I am not good at doing.

So then you wanted to hear about another animal, and so I asked you if you'd ever heard of Squirrelly the Squirrel, and you said you hadn't. So I said, 'Well, Squirrelly was going to have an exhibition of nut paintings at the Vancouver Art Gallery except…'

'Except what?' you asked.

'Except Mrs. Squirrelly had baby squirrels and so Squirrelly had to get a job at the peanut butter factory and was never able to finish his work.'

'Oh.'

I paused. 'You want to hear about any other animals?'

'Uh, I guess so,' you replied, a bit unambiguously.

'Did you ever hear of Clappy the Kitten?'

'No.'

'Well, Clappy the Kitten was going to be a movie star one day. But then she rang up too many bills on her MasterCard and had to get a job as a teller at the Hongkong Bank of Canada to pay them off. Before long she was simply too old to try becoming a star–or her ambition disappeared–or both. And she found it was easier to just talk about doing it instead of actually doing it and…'

'And what,' you asked.

'Nothing, baby,' I said, stopping myself then and there…"

Douglas Coupland, Life After God

Friday, November 7th, 2003 :: 4:36 PM

Bob is blogging again :)

Thursday, November 6th, 2003 :: 4:33 PM

Michelle Branch's new single, Breathe, is the perfect pop song.

Monday, November 3rd, 2003 :: 7:26 PM

I'm just blogging this for future reference, but a few of you may find it useful.

If you're working with a group of rackmount servers (or any computers, actually) that are hooked up to a KVM switch, it can get annoying because you don't know which one you're logging into until you actually login. One way around that (I'm sure there are several others, like a different wallpaper for each login screen, etc) is to add a string named "Welcome" to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogin and give it a value of "- %computername%". That will make your login screen say "Log on to Windows – YourComputerNameHere". There's probably a way to edit the initial login dialog box also, but I don't have any motivation to find one. I know this works on NT Server, 2000 Server and 2000 Professional, but it probably works on XP also.

Monday, November 3rd, 2003 :: 2:27 PM

YouthSpecialties.com has an MP3 of the last message Mike Yaconelli's gave before he died last week.

Monday, November 3rd, 2003 :: 1:56 PM

The Door has a really funny article called Bob the Angel in the current issue.

Monday, November 3rd, 2003 :: 12:57 AM

My friend Josh just launched a cool new website, MobPunishment.com. They sell novelty mob punishments for pranks. For instance, you could have a black rose sent to your upper management for their recent decision to outsource your job to India. Or a newspaper-wrapped fish sent to that ex-girlfriend who you saw kissing some other guy a week later.

Sunday, November 2nd, 2003 :: 11:58 PM

You all need to watch Four Days in September.

"Unlike most such films, 'Four Days…' puts a realistic and human face on all sides; the police, the rebels, and the American diplomat played by Arkin." (>>)

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