Thursday, May 31, 2007

Conclusions on Worship

Last week I wrote about worship and my recent personal experiences with it. Been thinking about it some more, and here's what I know:

I know that worship is a lifestyle and not an event.

I know that when I lead others in worship, I should focus on and care about the God of my worship, and not the reaction of a congregation.
I know that this is hard because while I lead, I am on a stage.

I know that my purpose as a leader is not only to worship, but to help others do the same by meeting their needs as worshippers.

I know that the words I sing should be dedicated to the Lord, even when I don't feel close to Him.
I know that not feeling close to Him when I sing them does not mean I have failed in worshipping Him.
I know that worship doesn't always feel good. It is not always exciting.
I know that when it does feel good there's not a better feeling in the world.

I know that the movement of the Spirit in a congregation is impossible to judge in 20 minutes.
I know that the movement of the Spirit in a congregation is equal to the love they have for one another, not how loud they sing, or how much they clap or yell or smile.

I know that anything the Spirit does is in spite of myself.

I know that worship will not always look the same.

I know that you can market a worship CD, but not a worship experience.

I know that worship cannot be packaged and sold because it is not something I get, but something I give.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


I should drink more water. It's the best thing for you. Good for your skin, good for weight control, good for your overall health, and good for my sadly dehydrated vocal chords from 2 cups of coffee every morning.

But here's my problem. I think drinking water is boring. It doesn't taste very good, just plain. So I thought I'd branch out and try some of that flavored spring water I've been seeing at Target.

Of all the bottled water for sale on the shelf at Target, of all the Ozarka, Dasani, and Evian. Of all the different flavors, watermelon kiwi, mixed berry, grape.....why in the h### did I choose "Unsweetened Spearmint"?

Unsweetened Spearmint?

What was I thinking?

This stuff is disgusting.

Why did I think that water that tastes like minty gum would taste refreshing? Dumb dumb dumb.

I am so mad that I spent 3 bucks on four plastic spearment flavored spring water bottles that are bound together with such tough plastic material that it takes 5 minutes with the scissors to loose just one.

I am so annoyed at myself for not being able to enjoy my water. Just stick with Ozarka, people. Good ole' natural flavored spring water.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Untitled Tuesday

Thought I'd share some of my favorite music with you. Hopefully every Tuesday. Shall we call it Tuesday's Tunes? Or A Tune for Tuesday? Or Tunariffic Tuesdays? I don't know, let me know if it comes to you.

I think a good song writer is one who gets into the soul of a thing. Lyrically, musically, artistically. Ben Folds is one of my favorite song writers. Rather than talk about it, I'll just let you listen.

Let me know if you have trouble playing it. Just click on the link. And hopefully the greatness will not be hindered by the poor sound quality of the squished flat frequencies of an uploaded MP3 file blaring out of your tiny computer speakers. If you like what you hear, I highly recommend purchasing it from iTunes or wherever you do that sort of thing. It's worth it to hear it well. Let me know what you think, and if it makes you think of a song or an artist you like, let me know that, too, so I can check it out.

He wrote this for his son. This is Still Fighting It.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

My! What Fancy Pants I Have!

So how do you like my pants? Pretty fancy, huh?

It was a Good Try...

8 and 1/2 hours to Tulsa, Oklahoma. 8 1/2 hours back. 17 hours total. That's how many hours we spent in the car this weekend for my father-in-law's surprise 60th birthday party. Only to find out, upon arrival in Tulsa, that the party was no longer a surprise. Someone accidentally spilled the beans.

At least they didn't tell us before we arrived. When you drive that many hours in a short amount of time, it helps to know that when you get there, you'll get the satisfaction of seeing a 60-year-old man flip out when he realizes that his family drove from across Texas to tell him they love him.

AHHhhhh, oh well. I love my in-laws, so I was excited to see them, surprise or no surprise. And my father-in-law was grinning from ear to ear the entire party.

He couldn't have cared less if it was a surprise.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Riddle Me This (2)

1) Prior to Seth's doctoral comprehensive exams:

Mom: What did you guys do last night?

Me: Well, I stayed up and read while Seth studied. He was burnin' the midnight hour, let me tell ya.

Mom: Oh, really?....?

2) After Seth passed his doctoral comprehensive exams:

Seth: Man, I am SO glad those are over.

Me: Yeah, no kidding. But I'm really proud of you. I mean, you worked hard, really put the iron to the...oh wait,
this isn't gonna be right...iron to the mill?

I caught myself that time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Jews and Tax Collectors: How the Crowd Viewed Zacchaeus

So, about Zacchaeus.... Now I'm not sure how interested you are in this subject. I assume most of you don't click over here for sermons or history lessons. But humor me, because this Biblical figure is quite interesting to me, for good reasons, which I'll share at a later time. For now...

Following our look into the Biblical figure, Zacchaeus, we ask the question: How did Jewish custom or law perceive those Jewish men who opted to become Roman officials by way of the publican, or tax collector?

The Talmud, which began as an oral tradition or law explaining what the Torah (Genesis - Deuteronomy) means and how to interpret the five books and apply the Laws therein, was compiled and written down around the 2nd century C.E., after the fall of Jerusalem and her temple in 70 C.E. Orthodox Jews believe God taught the oral law (Talmud) to Moses, and he taught it to others, down to the present day. It is from the Talmud that we draw societal conclusions and laws governing Jewish tax collectors.

We know that during the time of Christ on earth, the Pharisees were the Jewish sect that strictly followed this oral tradition. In fact, it was a Pharisee that later compiled the written Talmud in 2nd century C.E. What we don't know is how much weight these laws had with the other sects of Judaism at the time of Christ.

I have not gone to the original sources here but rather take mostly from the writings of Alfred Edersheim, a Messianic Jewish scholar of the late 1800's in The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. Brief internet sources are cited.

1. The lawfulness of paying Roman taxes was questioned by Rabbinical teaching. Why? For one, Roman rule over the Jewish nation was against the expectation, hope, and redemption of Israel. The Jewish publican was seen as the embodiment of antinationalism, a man gone to work for the other side, so to speak. And second, religious conviction, especially of the most devout Jews, demanded no homage to any lord but the one true God.

2. There were two types of tax collectors. Those who collected the regular dues of ground, income, and poll tax. And the custom house official, of greater Roman importance, and the object of chief hatred. It was the custom house official that could inflict greater hardship on the people, taxing them on anything imaginable. Imports, exports, all bought and sold, road money, harbor dues, axles, wheels, animals, bridges, etc, etc. Even the research of modern scholars has not been able to identify all the names of exacted dues. Tax collectors often stopped travelers on their journeys, forcing them to unload all goods, animals, and searching through private letters and such. Quite an annoyance to any traveler in route to a necessary destination.

3. Both classes of publicans fell under a Rabbinic ban: Tax collectors were disqualified from being judges or witnesses in law suits, because they "exacted more than was due." It was also believed and stated that repentance was especially difficult for tax-gatherers and custom house officials. Jews were forbidden the changing of money from the chest of the custom house officials who did not keep to the tax appointed by the government. Those that volunteered their service to Rome did so in hopes of making profits on their own account. Or at least that is how they were viewed. The Talmud charges the custom house officials with gross partiality, showing favor to those they wished, and exacting from those who they did not favor. They were considered a criminal race. If a Jewish tax collector belonged to a sacred association, they were at once expelled, though restoration was possible through repentance. They were said to be oppressors, and against them every type of deception was allowed so as to avoid their oppressions.

4. Records of the brutality of the tax collector: Recorded by Philo (30 B.C.E - 45 C.E.), Hellenized Jewish philosopher from Alexandria, Egypt: "They [Romans] deliberately choose as tax collectors men who are absolutely ruthless and savage, and give them the means of satisfying their greed. These people who are mischief-makers by nature, gain added immunity because of their "superior orders," obsequious in everything where their masters are concerned, leave undone no cruelty of any kind and recognize no equity or gentleness . . . as they collect the taxes they spread confusion and chaos everywhere. They exact money not only from people's property but also from their bodies by means of personal injuries, assault and completely unheard of forms of torture." From De Specialibus Legibus (

5. Records of favorable Jewish publicans: There are cases of recorded religious custom house officials showing favor to Rabbis, or giving them notice to go into hiding. There is an instance related of a tax gatherer becoming a Rabbi, though the more rigid of his Jewish brothers refused association with him.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Married to a Music Man

(The following takes place Saturday night between 11 PM and 12 AM.)

I love being married to a music man. It's just hilarious ALL the time.

Right now I'm sitting in the living room, laptop out, surfing the blogosphere, waiting for Seth to finish working. He's in the middle of producing someone's record. He just purchased some kickin-major-A headphones, so he works with them on. Which is beneficial for me, because I get to enjoy the dear silence, with only the occasional sound of the silent keys of the keyboard pounding out an unheard tune.

So here I am, enjoying the blissful silence, the hum of the air conditioner, pondering deep life issues, while he works on the record in the music room. Suddenly I hear, with no warning at all, Seth burst out in song at the top of his lungs.


The outburst of song fades into humming, then interspersed Yeah's amidst pauses, a couple more hums, and once again,

Dead silence.

This has happened before. Sometimes instead of singing it's sudden and alarming drum sounds he creates vocally that I couldn't even begin to sound out so as to type them. we go again.


I love my life.

He just stopped and yelled out to me from the other room, "AM I TALKIN' LOUD? AMBER? AM I TALKIN' LOUD?" Yes, dear, you're talking extrememly loud. "I CAN"T HEAR BECAUSE OF THESE HEADPHONES."

I'm laughing so hard I can hardly see my computer screen. I think I should rephrase my first sentence.

I love being married to my music man.

An Honest Look at Worship

I don't know a thing about Brian McLaren or the Emerging Church Movement. I know people in Evangelical circles question his theology, and I know the Emerging Church Movement is considered by some to be Postmodern, whatever the heck that means. But when I heard Brian McLaren speak on worship and art and God, it rang true deep down inside.

We led worship for about a year at a "contemporary" service at our church. And on tour last fall we usually incorporated worship into our set. But the more we led the worship, the more uneasy I felt, the more ackward I felt. There were times when a genuine feeling of corporate worship would grab hold of us all, and I felt at one with the Christians in front of me. And that was great, but I confess it rarely felt that way. I don't know about the people in front of me, but I didn't necessarily feel close to God or true to Him. Most of the time it felt like I was being watched, judged, depended upon to make the Holy Spirit move. Or maybe the latter was the inane expectation I placed on myself.

Here's what Brian says about it:

Friday, May 18, 2007

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

I've been thinking alot lately about how much I love CINNAMON. Cinnamon and Zacchaeus, that's what I've been thinking about. A great number of my favorite things to eat include cinnamon. When I was a little girl, my dad would make cinnamon toast on the weekends. I was so excited to get out of bed on Saturdays because I knew that Dad would be in the kitchen. And I would sit down at the table in my PJ's with scrappy hair and ask Dad to make me Cinnamon Toast. He would mix cinnamon and sugar together. Sometimes it was already mixed together in a plastic container. Butter the bread. Sprinkle LOTS of the cinnamon and sugar mixture onto the buttered bread. Place the bread on a cookie sheet. And put it in the oven until the butter melted, and the cinnamon sugar would soak into the butter and get all mushy, but the outside of the bread would toast at the same time. Oh MAN was it good, right out of the oven. So, in honor of my dad's famous Cinnamon Toast, here are my top 10 favorite cinnamon items.

10) Spiced Cider brewed all day over the stove at Christmas

9) Brach's Cinnamon hard candy

8) Old Fasioned Cinnamon Donuts from Dunkin Donuts

7) Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal

6) Cinnamon Wheat Thins (These are new and incredibly delicious.)

5) Snickerdoodles!

4) Cinnamon Graham Crackers (spread some peanut butter on these, and wow.)

3) Cinnamon Raisen Bread

2) Cinnamon Vanilla Creme coffee creamer


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Carol Update

This week was hard. We met in our park and talked, but the conversation was exhausting. According to Carol, most everyone is out to get her. Her evil sisters and her evil neighbors, the evil credit card company, the evil apartment managers, the evil electric company. She talks with a low, harsh, monotone voice, like her parrot, Pebbles. And when she's especially anxious, her large hazel eyes dart back and forth, scanning the park for evil suspects. She went on and on and on. I spoke a total of...probably ten one and a half hours. I'm not exaggerating. When I did speak it was to mention that, possibly, her evil neighbors weren't so evil because they asked her an insensitive question about her husband's death. Maybe they just didn't know what to say. Alot of times people don't know what to say. She ignored me. Talked over me. Acted like she didn't hear me. I got tired. My back hurt. My head throbbed. She called someone a bitch every 20 minutes. She trusts me and Seth and another girl in our apartment complex, halfway trusts the woman across the way, and that's it, she says.

It's starting to weird me out. I don't know if that's good or bad.

She brought me two cards she wrote to Tim when he was alive. One for their 10th anniversary and one for their 11th. Just so I could see what she wrote to him, how she felt about him.

She made an appointment to take Misty to the vet to put her to sleep. The tumor on Misty's lip is getting too big, and she's having a hard time eating. She showed me an email she received about a place where dogs go when they die. A place "this side of heaven" called "Rainbow Bridge", where they wait for their owners in the afterlife. Carol seemed disappointed. She said she wasn't sure about it, because she wanted Misty to be with Tim, not waiting for her on Rainbow Bridge. I didn't know what to say.

Friday's the day. I think I'll send her a card. She'd like that.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bad Habits

When I get mad at Seth for refusing to use the dirty clothes hamper, he reminds me of this little habit of mine.

Here it is at another angle:

Those are all my shoes, except that one greenish pair. Those are Seth's really rad green shoes. And those are my incredibly pink sandals. Wow, those are really pink.


So I can't get mad at Seth for not using the dirty clothes hamper until I defeat this habit of taking off my shoes and leaving them under the coffee table. Or else he'll always be equipped with ammunition to strike back.

Me: Seth, the middle of the bedroom is not the place for your dirty socks! Why can't you just drop them in the hamper?

Seth: Well, under the coffee table is not the place for all your shoes. Why can't you just drop them in the closet?

Dangit. See, then he doesn't have to pick up his socks because all my shoes are strung out.

I've got to break this habit. I've got to. This logic can't be fair. You mean I have to be neat and tidy to expect him to be neat and tidy? Dangit. That's not how it's supposed to work.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Zacchaeus (con't)

I've been thinking alot of Zacchaeus lately. We had a great discussion going a few posts down, and I can't get it out of my head. You can follow it there if you'd like, but at the core of the discussion was a matter of Biblical translation: the use of verb tense that changes our understanding of Zacchaeus, depending on which way it's read.

We all know the story of Zacchaeus. We sang the song in Sunday School. He's a short, mean tax collector. Jesus hollers for him to come down from the tree. "For I'm going to your house today."

But we should take another look at the story. On account of one translation (NIV, among others), Zacchaeus tells our Lord, when accused by the Jews of being a sinner, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount." (Luke 19:8)

So by this interpretation, the story is that this Chief Publican, Zacchaeus, a Jew, excited by the arrival of Jesus into Jericho, expectantly climbs a tree, most likely a tree close to his house, to see our Lord walking by on the road to Jerusalem. Jesus looks up, notices Zacchaeus, sees something unexplainable to the crowd, and asks to be his guest, a high honor in Jewish custom. The Jewish crowd sees Jesus walking to Zacchaeus's house, and they become indignant. "Surely Jesus would not be guest to a sinner. A man who has taken wrongfully from us to give money to Rome. Blasphemous Rome. Causing us to pay allegiance to one other than the God of the Jews. And getting rich at the same time, by taking more than necessary and keeping the excess." And so Zacchaeus, moved by the acceptance given by Jesus that had been refused him by his own people, utters his conversion. To which Jesus replies, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."

But the New King James, among others, translates Luke 19:8 as: "Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”

So here we see that after the complaint of the crowd, Zacchaeus testifies to our Lord that the crowd had it all wrong. They had cast wrong judgment on account of a man's career, his wealth, his appearance. Because of their laws they had considered him unworthy, an outcast. Not righteous enough. And Jesus restores Zacchaeus to his rightful place in Jewish society by looking beyond the outward appearance. And Zacchaeus experiences the love he so desperately sought when climbing the tree to see the man who healed the sick, raised the dead. drove out demons, and claimed to forgive sins. The love he was refused by his own.

Two different stories. Two different accounts of Zacchaeus. So what do we do with this? Where do we go from here?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

I don't believe in signs or anything, but I saw a link on Yahoo that I couldn't resist. It was a list of famous people with the Taurus sign. I clicked on it hoping to find Audrey Hepburn shared my birthday, or someone really great like that.

Guess who I found shares my birthday?

THIS guy!

Great. That's just great.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Crack Show

We are addicted to 24. The show. We have 24 marathons. It rocks. We're only on Season 3 so I will not be clicking on the comments link in case any of you think it's funny to tell me what happens in Season 4, 5, or 6.

Season 3 is by far the best. My stomach actually aches from the intensity, and I'm not kidding. Or maybe it's just queasy. Season 3 is about a bio threat. I won't say anymore.

Last night during a 24 marathon date with Seth, I found myself praying for Michelle.

Michelle is a character in the show.

This is getting ridiculous.

If you all watch the show and would like to discuss, feel free. I will not be clicking on the comment link, just so you know.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Jesus in My Backyard

Someone very close to me passed away about a week and a half ago. Carol and I were supposed to have lunch that week, but I had to cancel to fly out for the funeral. I told her I couldn't be there because the man who was like a second father to me passed away.

It was a nice day today, so Carol and I met in our park. We talked about Amber from the Bachelor. Carol thinks I should go knock on Amber's door. We both think we almost remember the apartment number we saw as Amber and Andy were leaving her place. Carol hopes Andy picks Tessa in the end. I hope so, too.

Carol showed me pictures of her and Tim, her late husband. Tim, who passed away a year ago on March 30. Her dog, Misty, was in the pictures, too. Misty was rolling around in the grass when I walked outside to meet Carol. Carol had told me in our last meeting that Misty had cancer on her mouth. To be honest, I didn't believe Carol. I thought she was just seeing things, or creating it in her head, because too many bad things happen to Carol for them all to be true. I saw the tumor on Misty's mouth today. It was bigger than a golf ball. And pink, bright pink, like an extended growth of her lip. Carol wasn't imagining it. She's had Misty for 14 years. Carol says it will be the end for her when Misty dies.

Carol talks alot without stopping. Mostly negative. All about the problems she's experiencing. She apologizes for talking so much, but she says the doctors tell her its part of her anxiety problem, her post tramatic stress syndrome. We talked briefly about God, whether or not Carol believes in Him, and whether or not He's good. She says Tim always believed it, and he helped her believe it, but now she's not so sure. Because if there's a God, why is there so much evil in the world? she asks me. I try to expain about how God allows evil because of man's choice to choose himself over God. But that doesn't do it for Carol. But why do the bad things just keep coming? she asks me. I asked her if she believes in Jesus. She said Tim did, but she didn't.

Carol handed me a card today. It said this: "Nothing is harder than saying goodbye to someone you love. May you find comfort in your loving memories." The card is white with very simple, watercolored, purple irises on it. Then Carol wrote on the inside,

"Amber, I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your best friend's Dad. Words are hard, at a time like this, but may it help in some way - to know others care - I care. God bless to you and to Seth, Carol."

People have been very kind in the things they have said to me about Tom's death. But I think I felt most comforted by Carol's card.

Carol's card helped me understand why Jesus says that we give to Him when we give to the least. Mother Teresa says it like this: "Whoever the poorest of the poor are, they are Christ for us - Christ under the guise of human suffering." Strange as it may sound, I experienced Christ today when a suffering, lonely, sick woman told me she cared. I am thankful for Carol.

Monday, May 7, 2007

The Bachelor in Sugar Land, TX

Woah. Woah. Woah.

Fancied friends, I am about to admit to you a little secret that Seth and I share. But it must be revealed so I can share this very weird but exciting circumstance with you.

As of this year, Seth and I now watch.....The Bachelor.

I know, I know. I slap myself every time, but it comes on after Dancing with the Stars, and you know I can't possibly miss THAT. So what do I do when, while glued to the couch dialing the number for my favorite dancing star, The Bachelor shows me scenes from last week's episode. I can't just turn it off! No, no, this stuff is too juicy. It's too catty and ridiculous. I'm watching a sorority house gone utterly maniacal. Girls, girls, girls, crying girls, conniving girls, back-stabbing and malicious girls. And one officer and a gentleman: Andy.

Andy's actually pretty alright. A good guy. Of course, when you consider that he's dating 15, then 8, then 4, now 3 girls at a time, you have to wonder how gentleman-like the guy can be. But, hey, really, and I mean this. He seems like a very sincere guy who took a step of faith to find the woman of his dreams.

So in tonight's episode, Andy goes to each of the 4 girls' hometowns to meet their families. Talk about intense. These girls are all in love with Andy! And all crying about how they're in love with Andy. And! I'm crying! Why am I crying!?!? Because these girls are introducing Andy to their dads, and then one is crying to her dad about how she doesn't want to get hurt, and then HER DAD is crying! Geesh. Reality television, how did we get here? Their pain is my entertainment.

Anyway, that's not my point.

The point is, that as I'm sure you know, one of these 4 girls, Amber, is from Sugar Land, TX. So we're watching, and....Hey! That's the restaurant by our apartment! And then, they're on a playground in a park....and then! They're leaving Amber's apartment, and I say. Seth! That's our apartment complex! The Bachelor was at our apartment complex! Oh my gosh! Wait, lemme check the doors and see if they match up. I run outside and look at our door. Exactly the same, except the number, of course.

Amber lives in my apartment complex!

You should know Amber did not get a rose tonight. She went home, devastated and alone. Poor Amber. Maybe I'll see her soon in my park, and we can have lunch, and we can talk about her roommate and her aunt and her love life. Then maybe I'll tell her that I'm sorry her parents weren't there to meet Andy, just because they didn't agree with Amber being on the show. What a shame. Then maybe I'll tell her how sorry I am that her pain was my entertainment. But then maybe I'll remind her that she signed up to be my entertainment, and ask her why she would do that.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Code 5

So I guess you're supposed to get you're driver's license renewed when you turn 28. Yeah, didn't know that.

I also didn't know that when you go to the airport and hand your boarding pass, along with your driver's license, to the man or woman blocking your way to the security scanner thingy, blocking your way to your gate, that the man or woman is not just checking for a name and face match. They are looking to see if your ID is current.

Mine wasn't.

Expired 4/28/2007.

The date was 5/1/2007. Only three days expired. You'd think they'd give me a break.


Old wrinkled man trying to sound in charge: You got another form of ID? This is expired.

Me: What?! No,, I, (I search frantically in my purse.)

Old man: That's OK. Go ahead. (writes something on my boarding pass.)

Me: (thinking) Yes! He let me by! Sweet.

I take my shoes off. Take the little plastic baggy with small bottles of liquid out of my backpack. Put my shoes, purse, backpack, and little plastic baggy on the conveyor belt, and confidently walk through the security door frame, hand my boarding pass to a grey-haired man whose belly hangs over his belt, and sweetly smile.

He starts to hand it back, then does a double take at my boarding pass.

Belly Man: (thick Texan accent) Wup! I got a Code 5 here! I got a Code 5!

Me: (thinking) A what?!?!

African American, very strong and very tall woman: (yelling) WHAT? WHATCHA GOT? WHAT IS SHE? WHAT IS SHE?

Belly Man: Got a Code 5 here! Code 5!

Very strong woman: WHAT IS SHE? WHAT IS SHE?

Me: What am I? What am I?

Belly Man: Ma'am, just step right over here, please. On this mat. Place your feet on the outlined feet you see on the mat. Wait here.

Me: No, I will not put my bare feet on that nappy mat. (I stand next to the mat.)

Very strong woman: Ma'am, please put your feet on the mat.

Me: (quickly) OK.

I step on the mat wondering how many other nappy feet have been on the mat. I stand and wait, my legs set in a wide stance because my feet have to be on top of the outlined feet on the mat. I stand and wait, thinking that my feet are way too far apart and that it feels weird to stand this way.

Finally the woman pats me down, feeling for weapons, I guess. I try to imagine what it's like for her if she ever actually finds a weapon on someone. Maybe she starts yelling, "CODE 6! SHE'S A CODE 6! Or maybe she nonchalantly stands and slowly walks over to Belly Man, and he yells CODE 6! Or maybe she just throws down and tackles the perpetrator right then and there.

She tells me to watch my bags as they come out of the belt. She doesn't find any weapons. Whew! She takes me to my bags, where two people go through every single pocket and rub my things down with some sort of large cotton round, then run it through some Star Trek machine. I wonder what they're checking for. Traces of invisible chemical lethal substances? A sharp pointy thing lodged in my camera? Definitely probably checking for bombs.

All because I'm three days expired.

Then she says: What'd they get you for?

Me: Expired ID. Three days old.

She laughs and nods her head, like....yeah, thought so.

What, you mean I don't look like a person you should be patting down and screening? Huh, go figure.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


Still reading Blue Like Jazz. I'm close to finishing. Here Donald Miller writes about hearing Brennan Manning speak. Brennan Manning is one of my favorite writers. I've heard him speak a couple of times as well, and it's a real treat. Here's what Don heard:

"A friend and I traveled to Salem to hear Brennan Manning speak. Manning is a former Catholic priest and a wonderful writer who has struggled with alcoholism and speaks frankly about matters of Christian spirituality. We sat so close I could see the blue in Brennan's eyes and that quality of sincerity you find in people who have turned trial into service. Brennan grew up in New York and speaks with a slight East Coast bite that has been sanded down by years of smoking.

He opened his talk with the story of Zacchaeus. Brennan talked about how an entire town, with their ridicule and hatred, could not keep the little man from oppressing them through the extravagant financial gains he made as a tax collector. Christ walked through town, Brennan said, and spotted the man. Christ told Zacchaeus that He would like to have a meal with him.

In the single conversation Christ had with Zacchaeus, Brennan reminded us, Jesus spoke affirmation and love, and the tax collector sold his possessions and made amends to those he had robbed. It was the affection of Christ, not the brutality of a town, that healed Zacchaeus."