Almost Paradise

Last Saturday, I took Jeremiah, Natalie and Ben with me to the store to get a few various and sundry food items that Sarah needed. (Yes, I know saying “various” and “sundry” is redundant, but you have to admit, it’s fun to say together.) Usually, such a venture is a crapshoot – you never know what’s going to happen, how they’ll behave and whether or not I’ll end up getting the urge to buy a roll of duct tape. Sometimes, it’s an ordeal just getting them to cooperate by riding in the cart. And believe me, I would MUCH rather have them ride in the cart. That way, I know where they are and know where their hands are (“please keep arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times.”)

But on Saturday’s excursion, they each did wonderfully. There was no arguing as to who got to ride where, why couldn’t they walk instead and generally refrained from adding things to our cart that didn’t need to be there. Jeremiah, in particular, however offered up some rather funny moments. This should be no surprise since this is also the child whose style of worship leading covers quite the range of music. On the subject of putting things in the cart, Jeremiah quipped “Do you know why we don’t put things in our cart? Because it’s not on our list.” He definitely gets that from his mother.

After getting all of the food items on our list, we went to get some toothpaste. Since the toothpaste is right beside the toy section, we couldn’t possibly NOT go down the toy aisles. Especially since the munchkins had done such a great job in the store. I lifted them out of the cart and they made their way down each aisle, checking out the various and sundry toys [see? You had fun reading that, didn’t you?]. We checked out the pink aisle with all the girlie stuff and the more colorful aisle with the Legos, building block and other learning toys. But then, we rounded the last corner and Jeremiah must have heard angels singing and a bright light shining a path for him. He stopped, stretched out his arms and exclaimed with a sigh, “Ah! The toys with all the buttons!” And that’s exactly what they did – pushed buttons to their hearts’ content.

I told Jeremiah that I felt the same way when I go into a bookstore. He just looked at me like I was nuts.


Friday Funny

Cletus is passing by Billy Bob’s hay barn one day  when, through a gap in the door, he sees Billy Bob doing a slow and  sensual striptease in front of an old green John Deere.

Buttocks clenched, he performs a slow pirouette, and gently slides off first the right strap of his overalls, followed by the left. He then hunches his shoulders forward and in a classic striptease move, lets his overalls fall down to his hips, revealing a torn and frayed plaid shirt. Then, grabbing both sides of his shirt, he rips it apart to reveal his stained T-shirt underneath.  With a final flourish, he  tears the T-shirt from his body, and hurls his baseball cap onto a pile  of hay.

Having seen enough, Cletus rushes in and says, “What the  heck’re ya doing, Billy Bob?”

“Good Lord, Cletus, ya scared the bejeezers out of me,” says an obviously embarrassed Billy  Bob.

“But me ‘n the Ol’ Lady been havin trouble lately in the  bedroom d’partment, and the therapist suggested I do something sexy  to a tractor.”


HT: Dan Casey

Turn in your hymn books to…

All my children love to sing, dance and listen to music.  They also love to “play church.”  I remember doing the very same thing when I was their age.  My sister, brother and I would line up all our stuffed animals in a row, play some music of some sort or just make up our own, then someone would “preach.”  The “preacher was usually me since Michael was too young and Sharon, well, no women preachers and all that.  Occasionally a bear would get converted or a dog might “rededicate his life.”  But the outpouring of the Spirit was rare.  But I digress.

So it is often with fond memories when I watch my kids doing the same thing.  This morning, we were busy get ready for church.  As I walked past the living room, I noticed Jeremiah, Natalie and Ben holding pieces of paper and were singing “Holy! Holy! Holy!” — or what they could remember of it — with great gusto.  Jeremiah, apparently the designated song leader, then said “Now turn to #136.”  As they started singing “My Soul finds rest in God alone”  my heart swelled with love and pride for them.  Here they were singing two great songs praising our God.  Alas, the moment was short-lived.  Next on the kindergarten liturgy:  Jeremiah launched into the final song with just as much gusto – “Pants on the ground, pants on the ground, looking like a fool with your pants on the ground!”  Sigh.  Back to the drawing board.

All together now on the last verse.

Wayne Grudem’s the man

‘Nuf said.

Music Monday – Um, what?

And now for something completely different.

I don’t think I’ve ever featured a commercial on Music Monday before, but this “music video” by Toyota is just too good/funny to pass up.   This one’s for all my peeps, yo.

Book Review – Imaginary Jesus

Imaginary Jesus is a helter-skelter, “not-quite-fiction” ride through the imagination of Matt Mikalatos as he attempts to humorously point out how we in 21st century American evangelicalism often create our own ideas of what or who Jesus is.  From “King James Jesus,” “Magic 8-ball Jesus” and “Testosterone Jesus” to “Free Will Jesus,” “New Age Jesus” and “Meticulous Jesus,” Mikalatos paints an absurdly funny narrative of someone trying to find out just who the REAL Jesus is.  Accompanied by the Apostle Peter and a talking donkey (who I’m convinced is included only so King James Jesus can hurl the threat “Thine ass is mine!”), Mikalatos’ journey gets personal in a few places where he talks about his own struggles of faith and his questions to the many Jesuses about his goodness and power.

Imaginary Jesus is one of those books that makes you laugh, makes you think and often makes you wonder “Where in the world is this going?”  I laughed quite frequently at Mikalatos’ many variations of “Jesus.”  The word pictures he creates will draw you into the story and make you feel like you are a part of the action.  The book doesn’t take itself too seriously, but that is perhaps its one major downfall.  There are some serious questions of the goodness of God and faith in Jesus that are raised, but they are surrounded by the high-speed chase scenes (Mikalatos chasing fake Jesuses then fake Jesuses chasing Mikalatos), hijinx and silliness.  When his experience with the real Jesus finally comes into view and offers answers, I got a feeling of mental whiplash at the sudden change in tone, only to reverse back to the silliness later.

In my experience, I’ve found that, in general, authors should not read their own books.   While they might be great authors, they make lousy readers.  Matt Mikalatos is one author who certainly does not fit into that generalization.  He narrates the audio version of his book available from ChristianAudio (who provided me a copy of this book to review – thanks!) and shows that he has the ability not only to be a good story writer but also an excellent story teller.

Overall, Imaginary Jesus is more of a diversionary read than anything else, but it’s definitely a fun read.

Flashback Week – Rip-roaring Trends

[originally posted on May 16, 2008]

Ever notice that trends and fads are usually of a nature that requires you not to think about them for too long? This is because if you do think about it, you’ll easily convince yourself that it ranks high on the list of dumbest things you’ve ever experienced.

Take, for example, the desire to display perfectly good objects as broken, torn, smashed, ripped, cracked, faded or any other form of imperfection. I have no idea when this started, but perhaps it all began when Og the Caveman returned home after a grueling mammoth hunt, his primitive saber-toothed-tiger-hair outfit torn to shreds. His friends see this and Og’s social standing immediately skyrockets since everyone now knows he survived the ordeal, but was close enough to ruin his good hunting cloths. Either that, or Mrs. Og thought “My, how hot is that?!” Before you could say Archaeopteryx, everyone was clamoring for the torn look and the rest is history.

Fast forward a few thousand (or million, depending on your view of earth’s age, but anyway) years and young people still pay big money for jeans that look like they’re ready to be thrown out. Unfortunately, as this generation aged, the need for social acceptance based on wild and crazy hunts didn’t go away. True, they don’t go around wearing jeans with huge holes in the knees (factory installed) anymore, but now this need manifests itself in other ways. Now they sport fake bullet holes on their car, apparently still trying to convey the image that they’ve had a dangerous run in (with someone who obviously can’t shoot) and have lived to tell the tale. Or perhaps instead of the bullet holes, they have a sticker on their window making it look like someone put a baseball halfway through the window. I’m not exactly sure how wanting people to believe your car window has been smashed by an errant baseball fits in with the whole “moving-on-up-the-social-standing-ladder” theory, but I’m working on it. I haven’t done a demographic study of the kind of people who usually have such stickers, but I’d be willing to guess that these are the people who probably wouldn’t be anywhere near a sporting event where there would be a chance of a wayward ball hurtling through their window, but at the same time they want to appear cool.

Computers are by no means exempt. Thanks to Stumbleupon (a very cool Firefox feature, by the way), I came across this article detailing how to create your very own “Sawed Off USB Key.” Why would someone want a computer accessory that looked like a ripped cable and had the potential of being tossed in the trash? Og had no idea what he started.

But of course, my first reaction was “Whoa, how cool is that?!” Then I made the mistake of thinking about it for more than 15 seconds and behold, this blog post was born.