Monday, July 31, 2006

Don't Forget to Vote

Tomorrow is election day here in Kansas, which is always hard to remember when it's not a November, Presidential election.

For primary races in Kansas, you can get a voter's guide from Kansans for Life. Candidates identified as pro-life include both Barnett and Canfield for governor. Also note that Jesse Hall (D) is recommended for the State Board of Education (Dist. 1). See, not all Democrats are pro-abortion! (Governor Sebelius, on the other hand, has an interesting "easy abortion" record as a politician. Hopefully, she will be defeated in November.)

Primaries in Missouri are August 8.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


We have our new cell phones now. Our numbers are… not for the internet.

We're trying to figure out all the features on these new phones and part of that is finding unique ringtones. Shannon had the idea of taking an MP3 song from our computer and using that as a ringtone, which inspired amusing new ways of looking at that song. Part of the song asks, "Is there anybody out there? Does anybody care?"

These are actual songs in my iTunes library that you may hear on a cell phone near you:

Is Anybody Out There
I Need Thee Every Hour
If I Could Make It Work
Lord Have Mercy
Never Alone
Coming Home
There You Are
The Noise We Make
So Help Me God
That Where I Am, There You May Also Be

Friday, July 28, 2006

More Chiefs News

  • Is Brodie Croyle just the latest Chiefs QB to be drafted but not developed or could he be the one to replace Trent Green someday? I don't see anything yet but I'll be rooting for him just the same. Croyle holds the Crimson Tide records for career passing yards, attempts, completions, and touchdowns, as well as some single season records.
  • Willie Roaf reportedly retired this last week. The poor guy can barely even walk but he was still one of the best offensive tackles in the game right up until the end. The young Jordan Black, NFL Europe's Will Svitek, and veteran bad boy Kyle Turley will fight to replace him.
  • Will Ty Law be part of turning the Chiefs' defense around or is KC the locale for him to ride off into his career's sunset? Key numbers: 32 years old, 5 Pro-Bowls, $30 million over 5 years, 10 interceptions last year with Herm Edwards.
  • I'd kind of like to see Priest Holmes just retire. The team doesn't need him urgently with Larry Johnson and he could seriously jeopardize his long term health by playing more. He's a nice guy that should just walk away. Maybe he could get involved in coaching or scouting or something.

Fantasy Football…

Information about our Fantasy Football league will be issued tomorrow, Saturday the 29th. We know this is a lot later than most years, but this summer has been busier than most.

An Apple a Day

Here a short little article about why the author loves Apple computers. It's a minor detail but an important point: it's the little things that count. Especially when you're talking about your computer experience being a pleasure or a chore.


We've reached 17,000 hits and this post is my 600th post. That's about 30 hits per day and better than one post per day.

I really appreciate your reading and commenting!

This blog serves several purposes, which I've mentioned before: It's a record for my boys of my daily life and thoughts. It's also a communication tool for friends and family. It's also an exercise for me in writing discipline and creativity. It also serves as a forum for debate and conversation. Thanks for tolerating the many diverse facets you find here!

Of Training Camp and Bronco-flage

The Chiefs start training camp today in River Falls, Wisconsin, with their top pick signed! Tamba Hali, the defensive end from Penn State, signed a five-year contract with the Chiefs, bringing all of their picks into camp on time. Hali, who came from Liberia when he was 10, plans to use his bonus money to bring his mother to the United States from the war-torn country of his birth.


Carl Poston, the agent who got Ty Law signed with the Chiefs, was suspended this week by the Players Association for two years. He basically was banned because he is a sloppy, arrogant, and wreckless agent about whom Gene Upshaw said "[Poston] is making a mockery of our system." Carl's brother, Kevin, is still at large as an agent/parasite, representing the best interests of the Poston brothers first and foremost (as well as some Chiefs).


While in Colorado this week, I kept noticing people wearing Broncos jerseys. My gut reaction was always, "way to get yourself beat up, buddy." And in KC, that could happen (especially between August and January). But then I'd catch myself and realize that, no, it's a Chiefs jersey that would get you in trouble here. I wisely stuck to my orange and blue Boise State Broncos t-shirt – my "bronco-flage" – while in enemy territory.

And, yes, Raiders jerseys get you in trouble everywhere, year-around.

Cease and Desist

Thank you for your comments on "Haven of Rest," but I would ask that we bring this conversation to a close. It's not necessary to argue this point and it only adds to the grief that Shannon is enduring.

We also need to limit the anonymous posts. Please identify yourself by signing in or signing your name at the end of your comment. Your bias or prejudice is relevant to the objectivity of your post. That means you, Mom! (just teasing)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Mountain View

I've hooked up my computer here at the airport in Alamosa, just below the control tower. The boys are also in this room fighting over a mock-up of an airplane's flight controls. At last glance they're flying inverted with the gear down, so I don't think they're quite ready for flight school.

I do have an RSS feed enabled for this website. If you don't know what that means, nevermind.

We're hoping to be back in Kansas City by late Thursday.

Haven of Rest

Monday morning we left Denver and drove through the mountains to visit my aunt Vicki and uncle Ron (and my other uncle Steve, too) in Alamosa, Colorado. Words fail to describe what it’s like to melt into the welcoming arms of unconditional love. I hadn’t been to Alamosa and Monte Vista in probably 15 years and my wife and boys had never been there. But we were welcomed into a home where there was no tension, no stress, no selfish expectations, and no “elephants in the room.” The way my aunt and uncles received my little boys that first evening was a priceless treasure.

Uncle Ron took the boys in the mornings to feed the mules and they helped Aunt Vicki water the flowers. Uncle Steve took us to an alligator farm Tuesday to see the gators, snakes, turtles, ducks, ostriches, and a ferret named Ro-Ro. They actually got to pet the ferret and a baby alligator (as well as the snake around the cashier’s shoulders). We spent a lot of time watching the humming birds off aunt Vicki’s porch and finding “boy” ways to play with girl toys: costume jewelry becomes pirate treasure and hairbrushes become swords (which makes the dolls and stuffed animals hostages, I think). We watched the crop dusters fly over Tuesday morning and Elijah growled at the Mountain Lion skin on the wall each time he walked by it. Baby Graham has been passed from one set of loving arms to the next without a break. Brennan and Tanner got to sit in the pilot seats of a real airplane and push all the buttons when we visited the airport. The plane’s owner will need an hour to reset everything!

What a wonderful time of healing it’s been to be here. What a haven! What a godsend in this terrible storm we’ve endured. What a joy to be reminded that family can really be like this: unconditional and unassuming, pure and wholesome, relaxed and inviting. We can laugh and tease and even bear with one another in love without any fear at all. We have this in Kansas City but seeing it so far away from home is like seeing it anew.

Last night the boys asked Ron and Vicki to pray with them before bed (which is a rare invitation). They were tucked in under an old quilt and Mom and Dad and Great Aunt and Great Uncle each gathered around the bed and prayed with those precious little boys and kissed them goodnight. Pictures of my grandparents looked over us.

I don’t have a word for how this made me feel but I think that being in heaven will bring that moment to mind.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Denver Post

We arrived in Denver last night about midnight local time; it took us about 9 hours from KC. Our plans keep changing so we'll be here for maybe a day or two and then probably head home.

We'll add more info later.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Cell Out

Shannon and I are going over to the Dark Side. We're finally giving in… and buying cell phones. Now…

  • I too can interrupt other people's meals by yelling my way through a bad cell.
  • I too can drift into the other lane while checking my Caller ID.
  • I too can introduce a little festive music to events like funerals, fine dining, board meetings, and counseling sessions.
  • I too can surf the internet, watch tv, and play video games on a low resolution, two-inch screen.
  • I too can go spastic when my phone vibrates while in my pocket.
  • I too can share personal and private information with passers-by.
  • I too can check the time by digging in my pocket and flipping open my phone instead of just wearing a watch.
  • I too can interrupt important face-to-face conversations because, "if they're calling my cell, it must be important."
  • I too can freak people out at Wal-Mart by talking to my invisible friend (with a tiny phone hidden in my ear).

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Graham and Dad

Here's a picture of Graham watching TV with me. He's a fan of Fox News too!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Making More Enemies

There's a line of thinking out there that says that if you kill too many of your enemies, and especially if you cause civilian deaths, you'll only create more enemies. Thus excessive force (and maybe any force at all) is counter productive in war. It makes sense, right?

But does history actually show this? The Allied armies in World War 2 killed millions of Germans and Japanese yet both of those countries became close allies in the years just after the war. In fact most of our allies are countries that we've gone to war with in the past, including Great Britain, Canada, Mexico, the Confederacy, Spain, Germany, Italy, Japan and now even Russia. Conventional wisdom says that each of these countries should have turned against us for generations to come, and yet they didn't.

So why didn't Sherman's Burning of Atlanta create a perpetual war with Southerners? Why didn't the firebombing of Dresden create a permanent anti-American Germany. These disproportionate acts of violence supposedly create more problems but instead they seem to have the opposite effect. We were so disproportionate in our response to Pearl Harbor that Japan became a nation of pacifists for the next half century.

I wonder if a severe penalty for war might not actually be a deterrent, creating a bad taste for conflict. In our war on terrorism, we're constantly warned not to act too harshly for fear of creating the next generation of terrorists. I don't think so. Israel has tried to get along with terrorists and where has that gotten them? Maybe if the backlash was more severe, there might be an end in sight.

You never want to advocate more killing or more violence, but passivity and appeasement may only draw out the violence, perhaps without end.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Global Warming…

…happens each year about this time. It's called "Summer."

The record high temperature in the US is 134° in Death Valley, California. The year was 1913. The all-time global high was 136° in Libya in 1922. Kansas reached 121° in 1936. In fact, 39 states had their record high temps before 1955. And temperatures have not increased the last several years.

It's about 100° in KC right now with a heat index of around 105°. Hot, yes, but not end-of-the-world, sell the SUV hot. Sorry, Al, but here are some inconvenient global warming facts from
  • Global temperatures have gone up only half of a degree Celsius in the last one hundred years (or about 1°F in the last 140 years) with most of that warming occurring before 1940. We've seen a slight cooling trend in recent years.
  • 98% of greenhouse gases are from natural sources.
  • The natural greenhouse effect increases our temperature 59°F more than it would be otherwise and life would not exist on Earth without it.
  • In history there have been more extreme climate changes, both colder and warmer, than anything projected for the next century of "climate catastrophe." History has seen both miniature ice ages and Vikings farming in a warm Greenland.

Monday, July 17, 2006

World War 3 or not?

When I woke up this morning I wasn't planning on declaring Newt Gingrich a sage. But with the whole issue of Israel fighting terrorists backed by Iran and our long struggle for the future of Iraq and everything else, I think that the former speaker of the house may be one of the few that are speaking plainly on the subject.

Gingrich writes here that this conflict is part of a larger picture that he wants to label World War 3, stating that "the United States and her allies face a long war with an irreconcilable wing of Islam." He argues that this isn't a war of our choosing, but rather the choice has been made for us, over and over again. For example, Israel has made multiple concessions to its Arab neighbors, only to see the fascist and racist elements of those countries demand the complete elimination of Israel and the Jewish people (which Victor Davis Hanson explains well here).

We can recognize this for what it is or we can ignore it. There's a lot of people in the world that hate us and don't want to reason with us.

My hope is that diplomacy and threat of force can keep a relative peace in this world. But what I fear is this: We (the western, democratic nations) will convince ourselves that we're through with Iraq and Afghanistan and go home. We'll convince Israel not to defend itself adequately and for a time, through appeasement, we might even have peace in the world. But then we'll have another 9/11. And another. Then a few free countries will fall under totalitarian control. And then a few more. Israel may eventually be eliminated and much of Europe and North America may be compromised.

I'd really like for more parts of the world to be open to missionaries and religious freedom and not fewer. I'd want the Bible to be allowed to compete in the free market of ideas. And I'd also like for my children and grandchildren not to have to worry about Katusha rockets and suicide bombers if it could be prevented now.

While I don't want this to become a larger conflict, I'm not sure our enemies want to avoid it.


It's interesting that as a Christian, and specifically as a minister, there are people who just assume that I'm a narrow-minded, judgmental bigot. They just assume that I'm going to light into them the first chance I have, harping on all the things they ought to change. My very presence, before I've said or done anything, will sometimes evoke a sharp, hateful reaction in people and it's not unusual for me to be left standing slack-jawed, asking what happened.

In one sense those people are right. I do judge them… at least so far as I've come to a conclusion about the entire human race, including myself: we're all sinners. I'm under no delusion that somebody alive today walks on water and has never done something regretable. In counseling people have been surprised that I've not been more surprised at their confessions of regrettable acts in their past. No big deal, I say, I already assumed you were a sinner, like me, in need of a Savior (and you're gonna have to do better than that to shock me!).

The disdain directed at me doesn't take into consideration that I see myself as one of the offenders. If they indict me as "holier than thou" then they have completely misunderstood. I'm just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.

They also don't understand something I've experienced: God's Grace. Everyone should be offered consideration and mercy as a person, no matter where they currently stand. I'll not throw the baby out with the bathwater nor will I dismiss or be easily dismissed.

But some won't have it. I wish it wasn't so.

Shannon is Home

Removed under threat of legal action.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Random Thoughts 7/16/06

  • Shannon is on her way home from Denver today. Words can't describe how badly we've missed her. Fortunately Denver is only like a three hour drive with her brother at the wheel (nine or ten hours for the rest of us).
  • Surely if there is one country that is more readily criticized than the the US for trying to do the right thing, it has to be Israel. Western, free, democratic countries try to fight totalitarian and terrorist regimes to make people free and safe and yet the pundits make it sound like Israel and the USA are what's wrong with the world. I'm not sure I understand the self-loathing that I hear.
  • It's amusing watching the people on the news try to talk intelligibly about military things. One info-chick was reporting on Israel's use of the MLRS. She says, "…the MLRS, that's the mulitple long-range rocket system…" Good try but, um, no. That's the Multiple Launch Rocket System. I wonder how much the producers of some news shows just make stuff up assuming that the audience also doesn't know.
  • Curiosity may yet still kill my cat. Kala, our mangy monstrosity, has a habit of finding a closed door and meowing until it's opened. She especially likes bathroom doors after you've begun your shower. After entering, she turns a 180, calling to mind battleships and such, and then begins meowing at the newly closed door. Considering that she's only one more hairball from being made into a calico rug, she ought to consider being less conspicuous.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Bored to Death

One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Alex standing in the foyer of the church staring up at a large plaque. It was covered with names with small American flags mounted on either side of it.

The seven year old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the Pastor walked up, stood beside the little boy, and said quietly, "Good morning, Alex."

"Good morning, Pastor," the boy replied, still focused on the plaque. Then he asked, "Pastor, what is this?"

The pastor said, "Well, son, it's a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service."

Soberly they stood together, staring at the large plaque. Finally, little Alex's voice, barely audible and trembling with fear, asked:

"Which service: the 9:45 or the 11:15?"

Friday, July 07, 2006

Random Thoughts 7/7/06

  • I'll be gone next week to do Church camp again. It's a combined senior high and junior high week where I'll be preaching each evening. Shannon and the boys are going with me and I'll have more time during the day to spend with them this time around. But I won't have internet access again from Sunday until Friday evening, so it's highly unlikely that I'll post anything during that time. But you never know!
  • I should reach 16,000 hits sometime Saturday. Thanks for reading!
  • The Air Force officially named the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. It's now the F-35 Lightning II. It seems like the compromise choice – it's neither too offensive nor too belligerent for our allies' tastes and adds some nice historical ties to an earlier era. I don't think I like it but I suppose it'll grow on me. That and I'm confident that the pilots will rename it informally. Another thought occurred to me: if the Air Force demonstration team, the Thunderbirds, continues beyond the era of the F-16, then they will almost surely be flying F-35s.
  • Wouldn't the contempt and disdain for Enron's Ken Lay after his death have been more appropriate for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi? When Zarqawi died there was a lot of mixed feelings and everyone was careful not to gloat (well almost everyone), but I've heard more disparaging remarks about Ken Lay since he died than I can count. Some people are almost gleeful. Sure the guy was ultimately responsible for losing a lot of people's money, but that can't be as bad as cutting heads off, is it?
  • Speaking of terrorism, a plot to blow up New York's Holland Tunnel was uncovered. But the "masterminds" of this scheme wanted the blown up tunnel "to flood Manhattan like Katrina flooded New Orleans," which is of course above the tunnel. Can you be a criminal "mastermind" and not know that water won't flow uphill?
  • My Sunday School class is starting on the book of Hebrews. We did introductory material last week and will start chapter one Sunday. Hebrews shows how Christ is better than what we had under the Old Covenant. It's a fascinating story.

Food Poisoning?

Shannon went to visit her mother and grandfather yesterday and came home sick – violently sick – maybe as bad as I've ever seen someone without calling for help. She's still pretty green this morning and when she called her mom, she found out that they were terribly ill also. Shannon's mom and grandfather, who shared the same meal with Shannon yesterday, were having a bad episode yet the boys, who ate different food, are all fine.

Right now I'm sitting home with the boys while Shannon rests. It's good to have this kind of flexibility (I don't have an appointment until 1pm); I'm not sure what she'd do otherwise.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Planting in KC

The topic of church planting came up recently. Being a missions nut, I'm all for churches getting planted and, sadly enough, we need church plants in places like New England, where Biblical Christianity once flourished. But do we need to spend the church's resources planting churches in KC? It's not that there aren't new subdivisions that could use a local congregation but I'm afraid there is something more pressing. Here's my response…

As for Church Planting, there is a church on every corner in Kansas City; the problem in KC is not so much the number of churches, as the quality. We have lots of old, dying churches and we have lots of young, shallow churches. And we have far too many liberal theology, make-it-up-as-you-go-along churches. But the solid, mature, fruitful churches are relatively few. Nevertheless, I assume that all of these churches are still part of the body of Christ. So what we need most isn't church planting (assuming falsely that we have lots of new, empty ground in which to sow), but rather the rejuvenation of lost ground (we have a damaged harvest already that needs to be recovered). We need to recapture established churches and become catalysts for change in the lives of those who've wandered astray. Those churches need to be reclaimed with Biblical preaching, solid leadership, and the charge to return to their first love.

But a lot of people don't want to do the hard work of herding the flock. When things go south, most ministers just go find new sheep. They jump from church to church, avoiding conflict and looking for greener grass on the other side of the fence. I want to see ministers who'll lock horns with a group of people and, out of love, refuse to let go.

Instead of church planters, we need revivalists, interim ministers, counselors, strong Elders, and solid preachers.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Silly Norks

You're looking for consistency and common sense. Right there's your problem.

The North Koreans (Norks for short) are at it again. They threaten to nuke us and then launch seven missiles toward Japan. A lot of people were calling their bluff right up until they pushed the button. Now nobody knows what to expect. That said, the big dangerous missile only lasted 35 seconds and barely left North Korean airspace -- yeah, go ahead, you try to nuke us.

Hopefully, nothing happens. It turns out that the Norks are on borrowed time as this article shows:

While everyone's attention was focused on North Korean missiles, the real story is the North Korean economy. It continues to fall apart, and more North Koreans are unhappy about that. Worse yet, more North Koreans are finding out how badly they have been screwed by their leaders. Meanwhile, North Korean officials engage in even more bizarre behavior. For example, food and fuel supplies sent to North Korea have been halted, not to force North Korea to stop missile tests or participate in peace talks, but to return the Chinese trains the aid was carried in on. In the last few weeks, the North Koreans have just kept the trains, sending the Chinese crews back across the border. North Korea just ignores Chinese demands that the trains be returned, and insists that the trains are part of the aid program. It's no secret that North Korean railroad stock is falling apart, after decades of poor maintenance and not much new equipment. Stealing Chinese trains is a typical loony-tune North Korean solution to the problem. If the North Koreans appear to make no sense, that's because they don't. Put simply, when their unworkable economic policies don't work, the North Koreans just conjure up new, and equally unworkable, plans. The Chinese have tried to talk the North Koreans out of these pointless fantasies, and for their trouble they have their trains stolen. How do you negotiate under these conditions? No one knows. The South Koreans believe that if they just keep the North Korean leaders from doing anything too destructive (especially to South Korea), eventually the tragicomic house of cards up north will just collapse. Not much of a plan, but so far, no one's come up with anything better.

Sink or Swim

The boys like swimming… at least on their own terms. We went swimming yesterday at a friend's pool, but the pool wasn't like the one at the YMCA, which has a zero-entry "beach" where one can wade into the water. This was just a traditional in-ground pool. Brennan, Tanner, and Elijah were terrified. They screamed and cried, "No Mommy! No Daddy! Please, No!!!"

After quite a fuss, I pulled Brennan and Tanner into the pool and, lo and behold, they liked it! Standing in the three foot section, clinging to the pool's edge (the pool may suddenly get deeper after all), the boys refused to play but refused to get out either. So I pried their fingers loose from the death grip and, suffering another barrage of "No Daddy! I don't want to drown!", threw them out into the middle of the three foot section. Each son bobbed to the surface, waded back the ladder and said, "Look Mommy! I'm playing in the pool! It's fun!"

"Fun?! The fun was over half an hour ago," I thought. This right here is a life lesson.

We steadily progressed, each step loudly protested with tears, but we progressed. I had a pretty good workout, shot putting 40 pound children across the pool. By dinner time, the boys were jumping in the pool on their own, holding their breath, diving for the pool's bottom, and generally having a blast. But there was still one more crying protest to come.

When we had to get out the boys cried, "No Mommy! No Daddy! Please!!! We want to swim! Please don't make us get out!!!"


My word-of-the-day was oxymoron. Along with the standard definition and etymology, they gave an example:

"It was a pretty ugly situation: we were alone together with a pitcher of beer almost exactly half full listening to soft rock. I was half naked in a pair of tight slacks and Lucy wore a pair of slack tights. Suddenly we had an urge for some jumbo shrimp but when I put on my plastic glasses to look for them, we found our car keys missing."


Other favorites include a fine mess, freezer burn, British cuisine, and Microsoft Works. There are pages that list this sort of thing (like this one and this one).

Monday, July 03, 2006

Random Thought 7/3/06

  • According to rumors, it looks like the F-35 will be called the Lightning II, almost guaranteeing that the pilots and crew will call it something different. The official announcement will be this Friday. Oh, well, I just hope the unofficial nickname can be repeated in polite company. Read my previous post here.
  • It seems weird not having Wednesday night Bible study this month. You just get used to seeing everybody halfway through the week but now you might not run into them until next Sunday. People are so disconnected these days and our church is between several communities, so a mid-week get together is important to our congregation's relationship building. I understand that summertime attendances are lower but just hate to sit around and miss an opportunity.
  • Did anybody notice that the North Koreans threatened to nuke us today? Granted, it's not a credible threat right now, but they did say it. The Norks are silly like that.
  • Speaking of being out of their league, the Hamas terrorists (and the Palestinians in general) are playing with fire confronting Israel like they are now. They murder and kidnap Israeli citizens and soldiers but then they seem genuinely surprised that Israel would respond violently. And I've got a feeling that it may be the Palestinians who blink this time.
  • Our family is in the throws of a summer cold. Tanner and Shannon have been pretty miserable off and on for the last several days and I've been all congested for I don't know how long. It just seems wrong that anyone would be ill when it's bright and sunny outside.
  • The boys have been playing with fireworks. Brennan and Tanner love the kid's stuff (sparklers and tanks and such) but Elijah (2) doesn't like anything that makes noise. He's just not ready for that yet. Graham hasn't voiced an opinion on the issue yet.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Bouncing Baby Boy

In contrast to the brother to whom he's most often compared, Graham is probably the happiest baby we've ever had (or at least a close second to Tanner). He's full of smiles.

Graham saw the doctor and he's 14 pounds now! He's doubled his weight (and number of chins) in two months.