Monday, September 29, 2008

On Vacation

As of tonight, I'm on vacation for seven days. It's probably only my third full week of vacation in the last several (5?) years, but vacation time just hasn't been a priority, for several reasons.

  • We're a young family. Taking a week or more to do any traveling is easier said than done with small children in the family. Travel is hard, money is tight, and the kids are too young to participate in most things. Families of six (or seven) are hard to move long distances.
  • I love what I do. It's not a job, it's part of who I am. I like being on call for people. I like studying and writing and praying and counseling. I enjoy those things like some people enjoy their hobbies. I don't really want a break from it.
  • I already enjoy wonderful flexibility in my schedule. Sometimes I work long hours and being on-call means working on my day off sometimes. But for the most part, I have the freedom to come and go as I need to and that kind of flexibility is unheard of in most jobs. I can work from home, change my day off at the last minute, or run home for an hour if needed – that's invaluable to me.
  • In theory, we're saving for a big vacation when the children are older. Our dream vacation would be to take the boys to Disney World (or something similar) when the kids are between ages 5-13. Then go again in the next five years, before Brennan leaves the house. We intend to keep other vacations simple and cheap.

Helicopters Everywhere, Part 3

Here's the demonstration from this last weekend at Kansas Speedway. The Army landed a special forces team by parachute and helicopter insertion. Then they offloaded the race's official pace car from the back of a Chinook; the pace car was driven by former Chief's player, Deron Cherry.





Friday, September 26, 2008

From, uh, What's His Name

Helicopters Everywhere, Part 2

Sure enough, the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment were doing a rehearsal over the Speedway yesterday. They were flying MH-47's and MH-6's as seen in this Army photo taken yesterday.


That's exactly what I saw, probably just moments after the picture above was taken.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Helicopters Everywhere

I saw some neat helicopters overhead today.

We often have CH-47 Chinooks flying north and south, presumably between Ft. Leavenworth and something south of us. But today I saw a Chinook flying east and orbiting over the Kansas Speedway a few miles away.

I thought that was unusual, but then then I saw three helicopters flying west like I'd never seen before. One, I believe was a MH-47E, a Chinook variant for special forces, noteworthy for its large refueling boom.



That helicopter was escorted by two small helicopters which I believe were MH-6 Little birds.



The first Chinook was still east of us, orbiting over the Speedway when suddenly five parachutes trailing smoke appeared underneath. Now it all made sense. There's a major race this weekend and presumably these aircraft are doing flyovers and a jump demonstration this weekend. They were probably practicing.

Ship Him Out

I received a very flattering invitation today to speak at a men's retreat at a big church in Southeast Kansas. I would have done it in a heartbeat but they wanted me for two days next week, on my birthday, in the middle of my family's vacation.

I thought of how Shannon would react, and without hesitation, politely turned them down. How could I, after all, leave on an overnight business trip away from my family on my second week of vacation in three years? Of course, I shouldn't take it.

Then I called Shannon.

"Guess what, honey. I got an offer to speak at a retreat but it was during my vacation."

"You didn't turn them down, did you?"

"Uh, yeah. You'd be okay with that? I thought you'd kill me."

As it turns out, she was very understanding of my desire to preach and teach anywhere, anytime. In fact, I do have a longing to preach on October 5, if only there was a way to combine it with my family going somewhere. I just can't imagine sitting there in the pew not doing something to contribute.

That's what I ought to do, plan revivals and retreats near Disney World or Six Flags and I'll preach on Sunday mornings, whatever state I'm in. We'd be going to church anyway and I'd be fit to be tied otherwise.

So, anybody need a revivalist in Honolulu?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Random Thoughts 9/24/08

  • The RCA Dome has been deflated. The Indianapolis Colts are playing in a new stadium and the old one will be imploded in December. I was in the RCA for the North American Christian Convention in the mid-nineties and thought it was a great facility. But I'm easily impressed.
  • Have you read what it takes to feed my progeny? That's only going to get worse. They descend upon us like a plague of locusts and devour large meals already. Like Shannon pointed out, at Thanksgiving 2018, they'll be 18, 16, 14, 12, and 9 (I was six feet tall at twelve years old).
  • I am a Yoga Master. Just ask my Wii.
  • Friday is Brennan's birthday. How exactly do you celebrate a child you love without creating a monster? When the kids are younger it's less of a problem, but as they get older it becomes a real challenge not to inadvertently teach them narcissism and self-centeredness. Brennan's been planning this birthday since before the last one was over and we're trying to real it in without being unfair to him. It's a delicate balance.
  • I understand that YouTube and Hulu and other video websites are the future of television, but this season several new shows are viewable online a week or more before they air on TV. Isn't this kind of stealing your own thunder? It seems like if you sat down at your computer and watched an hour long show you'd be less inclined to watch spend another hour to watch the same episode again. How are the ratings affected by this? I guess I don't get it. But I bet its handy for people who don't have cable or decent TV but do have a good internet connection.

Death in the Corn

If you're not reading the dispatches from independent combat reporter Michael Yon, then you just don't have any perspective about what's really going on in the Long War.

Here's an excerpt:

Later, a British officer told me that the Afghan lieutenant was a puff bag of sorts. His soldiers go into combat with the Brits, while he stays on base doing admin. The British officer said that the ANA soldiers were losing respect for the lieutenant, because the Brits of higher rank would go into combat, while he stayed in the rear with the gear. I witnessed the same in Iraq during 2005, until the Iraqi soldiers began losing respect for their seniors, because ranking American officers (even full colonels and command sergeant majors) would roll into combat with Iraqi soldiers, while many Iraqi captains stayed on base. But the mentoring began to work, and Iraqi officers were often seen leading the way in combat, and taking casualties right along with their soldiers, which served to build respect for the officer corps, and today we are seeing the fruits of those efforts in Iraq. After nearly seven years at war in Afghanistan, this Afghan lieutenant made it sound like we are at square one, though the Brits said the normal ANA soldiers will fight.

You can't get this kind of insight anywhere else.

The current series of dispatches, detailing Yon's embed with the British in Afghanistan is called "Death in the Corn." Read part 1, part 2, and part 3.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wii (are not so) Fit

Shannon finally found her Wii Fit and Wii Balance Board. She's been saving the money for this thing since before it even came out but finding them in a store is another thing altogether.

Why would you spend money on a computer game that weighs you, tells you you're too fat, and mocks your coordination by asking you questions like, "Do you trip and fall a lot when you walk?"

That said, tracking the whole family's BMI ought to be a good thing, encouraging fitness and such.

And watching my 8 year old doing Yoga is a riot!

Or Just Starved for Decent Entertainment

Okay, after my criticisms of Heroes yesterday, I admit the episodes last night were better than I expected them to be. I still feel they are painting themselves into a corner but at least it was entertaining, well-acted (mostly) drama.

Now does anybody know of a decent sitcom? We started watching the Office but I've pretty much given up on every other sitcom. 90% or more of our TV watching is news or documentaries and the like (especially the History channel and shows like Mythbusters).

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ambush in Coffeyville

I was invited to speak at a high school leadership retreat in rural Oklahoma (south of Coffeyville, Ks) this last weekend. The Dalton Gang couldn't have felt more caught off guard than these kids.

The kids were from a church group and the event was organized by a cowboy friend of mine, Nathan Smith. They were learning leadership principles through horsemanship and camping out.

But my friend Nathan wanted to impress on the students that they may be unprepared to defend their faith. So he introduced me as a philosophy teacher from Kansas City, with whom he didn't agree with on some points, and asked the students to be respectful of me anyway.

Then I attacked. I argued for atheism, evolution, and secularism and denounced organized religion and all of its ills. My attack centered on the premise that the biggest obstacle for them in leadership is that they are churchgoers. And churchgoers, historically speaking, are ignorant, judgmental, and hypocritical. Ignorant because they don't want to know the truth. Judgmental because, in their ignorance, they tell other people how they should live. And hypocritical because they don't live by those rules behind closed doors.

For the most part the kids were kowtowed. Three high school girls tried to argue back but because I knew their side so well I cut them off, took things out of context, mocked them and put words in their mouths. I was telling them about my well worn copy of Darwin's On the Origin of Species (which is true but not in the sense I presented it), when one girl asked if I'd even read the Bible. I told her that I'd read it more thoroughly than she had.

Finally after about 15 minutes of torture, I told them that it was good that I didn't believe most of the things that I'd been arguing. I told them that I didn't just teach philosophy but was actually a minister in Kansas City. The only thing Nathan I really disagreed on was his love for horses. The kids, though rattled, seemed to be greatly relieved.

But I told them that not all of my diatribe was disingenuous. I really do believe that many church people are ignorant, judgmental, and hypocritical and I challenged them not to be that way if they were going to be leaders.

After this I taught two classes on apologetics and headed for home. What an interesting experience; I hope it made an impression.

Random Thoughts 9/22/08

  • The worst thing about the show Heroes is that they gave Peter and Sylar almost unlimited powers. Here they run into the same kind of plot problems that Superman has: if you are omnipotent and unstoppable, where's the drama? Every time the show gives more people more super-powers, it bleeds a little more suspense and drama from an already anemic premise. Oh, well…
  • Everyone agrees: the Chiefs, Lions, and Rams are the three worse-than-the-worst teams in the NFL. The best football team in the state of Missouri is likely the Tigers. Yikes. Should we start looking at draft choices now?
  • The men's college basketball 3-point line will be moved out one foot, from 19' 9" to 20' 9" this year. The old line was equal to the high school distance for 3-pointers. The NBA 3-pt line is further out still, ranging in distance from 22' to 23' 9".
  • Here's an A-10 that almost runs over a cameraman.
  • The second worst thing about the show Heroes: characters that die don't stay dead. The number of cast members that have come back from the dead is reaching soap-opera proportions. If even death isn't a threat to your characters, the drama becomes more and more difficult to sustain.
  • Raphael Peralta, the illegal immigrant turned Marine killed while smothering a grenade in Fallujah, will not receive the Medal of Honor. There seems to be some discrepancy about whether or not the event happened as originally reported. If Peralta smothered a grenade to save his comrades, then he should receive the Medal of Honor. If the events were exagerrated in the context of the trauma and emotion of battle, well… we'll all wish it wasn't and mourn our heroes nevertheless.
  • The only American company that has ordered the huge double-decker jumbo jet, the European A380, is ILFC. The ILFC leases aircraft to airlines internationally but may get sold because its parent company is AIG. FedEx and UPS had originally ordered 10 freight versions each but have since cancelled those orders. I love airplanes but I think the A380 is all kinds of ugly, especially compared to the 747 family of aircraft.

Friday, September 19, 2008

God Says, "Stop It. Please."

Here's a funny video from the Soup. For once, I agree.

Arrrhhh…

Today was International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Really.

How do these things sneak up on me? It's 4:00 in the afternoon and I've received a number of phone calls to the office today. Maybe I need a better calendar…

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cylons turn 30

For those who like their "space operas" dark, brooding and on the brink of annihilation, Battlestar Galactica turns 30 today.

One of the more interesting trivia tidbits: the venerable F-16 Falcon aircraft has often (unofficially) been called a "Viper" by its pilots, an homage to the fictional spaceships in the 1970's TV show.

My Wii Number

Our Nintendo Wii has the ability to send messages and play games online through our broadband connection. But we've don't have anybody in our address book.

In order to communicate, both consoles have to enter the other's "Wii number."

The Altic Wii number is:
3535 7852 6650 1006

Let me know your Wii number and we (and our kids) can send messages and potentially play some games online with each other.

My only issue is our ailing wireless router which I'm probably going to have to replace at some point.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Random Thoughts 9/17/08

  • Have you seen the pictures from Hurricane Ike? Here's an awe-striking set (thanks Gordie).
  • Added to my growing list of angry, old men: Charles Gibson, Chevy Chase, Joe Biden. Other Palin-haters include such luminaries as Pamela Anderson and Lindsay Lohan.
  • I'm making a trip down to Coffeyville, KS this weekend to teach a class on apologetics. I teach early Saturday morning and I'm having trouble deciding whether to drive down Friday night and camp out or drive over three hours early Saturday morning.
  • I'm mildly intrigued by the new Star Wars video game The Force Unleashed. It tells the official story linking episodes III and IV. Hmmm… I hear the story is great but the game itself is kind of weak. Maybe that makes it a rental option during my vacation in two weeks.
  • Brennan's birthday is a week from Friday. He's been looking forward to this for about 50 weeks now.
  • We had a church camp board meeting last night. We added seven people from six different churches to the board, which is a good sign for our small camp. I'm the board chairman for another year but that's okay, I'm eager to help the camp move forward.
  • I caught most of Greta Van Susteren's interview with Todd Palin Monday and Tuesday – how interesting! Sean Hannity is interviewing Gov. Palin tonight and Thursday. That's can't miss TV on FoxNews.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Church Website is Live

Our church website has been redesigned and is now up and running.

The new site communicates a ton of information, which is a huge improvement over some our poor communication in the past. Special thanks go to Jay-rod and Jim R., but especially David T. Fantastic job, David!

Highlights include:
  • The video promo Jay-rod and I made for the current sermon series (I had the concept, Jay-rod did all the work and made it good). This will be on the main page for the rest of the year.
  • Brief bios of our staff and elders, with pictures!
  • Links to our sermon podcasts, blog, and new calendar all on the main page.
  • Our "Come & See" section which includes descriptions of our services and maps of the building.
  • Lots of links to missions, ministries, and para-church organizations with which we partner.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Good Game

I just finished watching the first enjoyable Monday night football game in a long time.

The last few years, in spite of being a rabid NFL fan and fantasy football owner, I've watched very few Monday night games. Not only have the matchups frequently been poor, but the production of the game has been noticeably inferior to my favorite football network CBS.

Here's how I rank the networks based on the production value and the quality of guys in the booth/sideline:

5. NFL Network - The presentation of these games are a disaster; it's been amateurish.
4. ESPN - Two painful words: Tony Kornheiser. Actually I like Jawarski but their secondary group (Golic, Ditka, and Greenberg) is better in my opinion.
3. NBC - Excellent presentation but Al Michaels and John Madden are borderline excruciating. They also continue the years-long Monday Night tradition of being stingy with in-game stats. My theory is that NBC (and ABC before them) hates fantasy football-ers.
2. FOX - Fox rises to #2 on the strength of its talent in the booth (Troy Aikman and Joe Buck especially). Fox invented the score capsule (or "scoring bug") but has used the ugly banner-style graphic for the clock and scores for several years.
1. CBS - CBS has far and away the best information in their graphics, which update the stats every play. A true friend to fantasy football geeks. But more importantly, their commentators are the best, with three of my top five favorite pairs (Harlon/Gannon, Nants/Simms, and Enberg/Cross).

Joint Press Conference

Here's Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Clinton from last week's Saturday Night Live.

[Thanks for the link, Dustin]

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Random Thoughts 9/13/08

  • What kind of military hardware do we leave in Iraq (or sell to them) after we leave there? This article from Popular Mechanics notes billions worth of tanks, light helicopters, Humvees, and even F-16s. Some gear the Iraqis will buy new, some they'll buy refurbished, and other gear and equipment will be hand-me-downs from our troops.
  • This is the definitive version of this dance performance with about a quarter million views on YouTube. Shannon and I got a pretty good chuckle out of it (even though we've seen imitations of this performance before).
  • Charlie bit my finger! Another YouTube classic (from last year).
  • Have you seen the latest Apple commercials?
  • Charles Gibson is a mean, condescending old man.
  • KU lost a football game against a ranked team… and it actually disappointed me a bit. My how times have changed.
  • USC and Ohio St. is not living up to the hype. For two weeks all I've heard is how great this game is going to be. The final score: 35-3 (but it wasn't really that close). If college football is going to win me over, KU is going to have to win a few more Orange Bowls.

Making Star Wars Nerds

Brennan, Tanner, and I just finished watching all six Star Wars movies, in order, from Episode One to Episode Six. I noticed a few things:

  • Brennan (nearly 8) and Tanner (6) loved it. It didn't frighten them, though they did hide their faces whenever there was kissing.
  • We watched episodes 1 and 2, waited a few days and watched 3 and 4 (which went surprisingly well together–the kids didn't notice or mind the transition), waited a week and watched episodes 5 and 6.
  • Elijah (4) completely ignored the movies; he just didn't care. I was concerned he would be too young for the violence but he never stayed in the room long enough to see anything.
  • All the movies are actually a little better when watched as part of one long six-part movie saga. It draws out the concept of Anakin/Darth Vader being the true main character, the story telling of his fall and redemption. You also don't fault any one movie for being less than perfect because it only needs to advance the main story arch.
  • We checked the movies out from the public library, which meant the discs were so scratched they would barely function.
  • I'm officially over watching movies with an 8 and 6 year old for at least a month or two. It's excruciating to have wall to wall questions like, "Why did he do that Daddy?" or "What's that for Daddy?" or my all time favorite, "What's gonna happen next, Daddy?" Just watch the movie!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ring, Ring

After a long day at work, just as I sit down to eat, the phone rings:

"Hello?"

"Uh, yes… is um, Jawl… uh, Jer… Jer-rawld Ale… er, Awl-tize there?"

*sigh*

"Nope. No one here by that name."

*hangs-up*

66,000 Hits

We passed 66,000 hits sometime earlier today. Thank you so much for reading, especially in a week when I've written so little on the blog. I've actually written quite a bit this week but it was for the funeral and for my own personal use.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Important Words

Please pray for me. I have an important funeral in the morning at 10:00 and very little strength. I feel tired and ill and could use your prayers.

God bless.

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Will to Blog

We had a tragedy in the church this weekend that has left me uninterested in blogging right now. There's plenty to blog about:

  • NFL opening weekend and fantasy football
  • Sarah Palin vs. the Looney Moonbats on the Left
  • Sarah Palin vs. Oprah
  • Michael Yon in Afghanistan
  • My kids, who are stinking adorable
  • …and a million other things

But none of them seem worthwhile to write about while I'm grieving. In fact it almost seems disrespectful to delve into any of this.

Friday, September 05, 2008

More Thunder Criticism

I'm not meaning to pick on Oklahoma City and their new NBA franchise. In fact, I wish the team formerly known as the Seattle SuperSonics had moved to KC. But the Thunder seems like an uninspired choice. Listen to how UnderConsideration, experts in logos and branding, lambastes the new logo.


Another authority on sports branding, Chris Creamer, said, “That logo is so bad, I think we need to give the whole state back to the Indians, steal it back, and start fresh.” A Tulsa news channel reported Wednesday night that "thousands of people are waiting for their thunder-wear."

But why name a basketball team after a sound? Aren't you begging sportscasters to rhyme with blunder and count how many seconds late they are to calculate the distance from winning? There was an old CBA team called the Quad City Thunder and there have been various semi-pro teams in different sports by the same name (including an Oklahoma Thunder football team), but I'm not sold on it. And neither are fans in OKC.

I appreciated Jeff's suggestions:

OKC 85CamerosOnBlocks
OKC Mullet
OKC RedDirt
OKC EveryHwyisAtollRoad

Maybe it could be worse.

They're Cute When They're Clean

How beautiful is this? From left to right, Elijah (4), Tanner (6 and a half), Brennan (almost 8), and Graham (2). Baby #5 was also shirtless but unavailable for the photograph.

Another Delay

Unfortunately, the new church website still needs some work (primarily because Jay-rod and I keep changing things).  Hopefully in the next week we can get things ironed out.  

Thanks again for all your hard work, David!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Random Thoughts 9/4/08

  • Sarah Palin is awesome. She's well-spoken, confident, and accomplished. She reminds me of the mother of my own children (sans moose hunting). I heard a caller on the radio say that as a Dem he feels (wishes?) McCain made a mistake in picking Palin. Really? The group that thinks Palin is a liability is pretty small and shrinking as of this morning. In fact, the impact of Palin's speech is most reminiscent of a certain Illinois state senator at the DNC four years ago…
  • Oklahoma City has a new basketball team, formerly the Seattle Supersonics… and this is the best they could come up with? How do they not come up with something better than that? Are OKC residents cool with that?
  • Speaking of sports teams, the "Uni Watch" article is back this year detailing the uniform changes in football this year. The subject falls somewhere between fashion and heraldry and I'm not sure why but it really intrigues me. I guess I was always a victim of ugly-football-uniform-itus as a player and I'm not a big fan of the uniforms of some of my favorite teams.
  • The NFL begins tonight. Yay! But I may not watch the game because John McCain is speaking tonight at the RNC.
  • Our church website redesign is about to go live tonight or maybe tomorrow. We're not 100% done, but we sure like what it's turning into. (Thanks David T.!)
  • I thought Gov. Palin's speech was fantastic and I appreciated Giuliani and Romney as well, but I thought Fred Thompson's description of John McCain was masterful. [All of these links are youtube videos.]

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Our Fantasy Football Video

Here's the welcome/instruction video Jay-rod and I put together last week for our fantasy football draft:


video


We run a league of three 10-team conferences, so when we drafted at Dave & Buster's, we had three drafts running simultaneously and over 30 people in the room. I'm one of three commissioners for the Wyandotte Fantasy Football League; this is our seventh year of operation.

Eager to Listen

On most Wednesdays we have company over to play cards or video games.  Not tonight.  When I get home from church I'll be watching Mayor Giuliani and Governor Palin speak at the RNC. 

I should note that I'm a recent convert to McCain.  He's not my first choice but Obama drove me to him.  I'm learning to appreciate McCain's strong points in light of my other option because the alternative is unthinkable.

In fact, this election more than any other in recent memory seems to be infused with urgency.  Clinton was a rascal but capable and Gore and Kerry were loony liberals but not completely outside the pale.  But Obama is an unfathomable choice.  So unqualified, so inexperienced, who vetted this guy?  I'm genuinely worried that our country could take a grim turn if responsible people aren't in charge.  An Obama presidency would promote abortion (by way of appointing liberal judges) for another generation.  Our enemies in the world would welcome an apologetic, limp-wristed, guilt-ridden American President paralyzed by his own indecisiveness.

What would we be thinking if we elected this guy?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Make it an Issue, Please

The Obama campaign is now producing a radio commercial accusing John McCain of jeopardizing "abortion rights."

Bring it on.

Let's talk about Obama's position on abortion. Let's talk about infanticide. Let's talk about what is above Obama's pay grade. Let's listen to him telling the crowd that he doesn't want his daughters "punished with a baby."

Come on. Let's have that talk.

Let's confront the brutal reality of what abortion actually is: the violent end to a unique human being.


Please do not allow children to see the site linked to below.



**WARNING - GRAPHIC CONTENT**


PLEASE DO NOT FOLLOW THIS LINK IF YOU ARE EASILY UPSET.


DON'T ALLOW YOUNG CHILDREN TO SEE THIS MATERIAL.


PLEASE BE WARNED - UPSETTING CONTENT OF A GRAPHIC NATURE. THE PAUSE BUTTON FOR THE VIDEO IS LOCATED ON THE LOWER, LEFT-HAND CORNER IF YOU DON'T WANT THE VIDEO TO PLAY.


WARNING - The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform's website. - WARNING

**WARNING - GRAPHIC CONTENT IN THE LINK ABOVE**

Updating the "Other" Blog

I've finally updated my other blog, my church blog. As we have a lot of things going on each week at church, I mean to update that one more frequently than I do. Well, after a short break I've posted some information there and will continue to do so regularly.

I really believe that church blogs are an excellent communication tool. It's there 24/7 and can be updated instantly and searched thoroughly. A church blog (and a church website in general) is significantly superior to a church newsletter, which is slower, less flexible, and more expensive.

Our church website is being redesigned as we speak and will go live soon.

Talking to Architects

We had a two special meetings last week about the future of our church buildings and property. The matter before us is to decide what our long-range plans are for this campus and these facilities. Should we be planning the next phase of construction? What would that look like?

The first meeting was with a local construction management company that builds churches. They would manage our entire project, provide an architect, and generally make things go. They gave a fantastic presentation and seem especially capable, having built a large number of churches in the Kansas City area.

The second meeting was with a smaller architectural firm out of Nebraska that specializes in churches. They're presentation wasn't nearly as strong but they were much more personable and engaging, i.e. they knew us, read our blogs, remembered little details from previous conversations, and generally seemed more sensitive to our particular ministry.

Both companies are staffed by good Christian men and women. Both know what they're doing and specialize in churches. Both teams were friendly and professional. Both seem to be good picks.

The key difference is in the way these two companies are organized. With the first company, the architect works for the general contractor. With the second company, the architect is ultimately in charge of the project. This may be a vital distinction but it's admittedly a philosophical one.

My practical side favors the local construction company; they just oozed competence and expertise. But in my gut, I prefer the architectural team from Nebraska. Hands down, the Nebraska company seem like a better fit with our type of congregation; I feel there's a natural like-mindedness with these guys that's more than skin deep. They call us by name and have been so attentive to the little details. One church member noted that he preferred them because as a smaller company they would try harder to make us happy.

I think the local construction company doesn't need to woo us because, frankly, they know they make an almost unbeatable offer. They're not trying to get their foot in the door, they already dominate the local market, and rightly so.

But in spite of this, I still feel a preference for the guys who seem to just "get" us. It's just my opinion. We'll pray about it and make a decision in November.

New NFL Venues

The Cowboys are preparing to move into a new facility next year. This link shows the amazing features of this new football stadium – it's bigger, better, and more expensive than anything else out there.

Meanwhile the Chiefs are putting lipstick on a pig renovating the venerable Arrowhead stadium. Note that there are multiple videos about the new Arrowhead at this link. I'm just glad I'm not a Jackson County resident that has to pay for this.