Monday, January 28, 2008

Unseen Worlds

No, this is not a post about aliens or other galaxies. Yes, I'm a fan of some classic sci-fi films, but that's going into territory I don't touch.

I have this thought that comes into my mind sometimes about other cultures and countries I've never seen before. I'll be driving around town or shuffling through the myriad lists of things I have to do and I'll think:

There are places I have never seen, people I have never encountered, areas I will never set foot in...... that have been around for as long as Marietta/Georgia - or much longer. They have histories, their share of ups and downs, people just like me who are living life, day to day. There are millions of people living in this city of Atlanta. I only know a tiny fraction of those persons. This is only one city in the United States.

It blows me away to think of all the cities, houses, peoples and communities that function like a mad, chugging factory every, single day. To take it even further, think of all the generations of people that have passed before us. Think of all the nations, civilizations, and governments that have existed.

This is mind-blowing. It makes me realize how ridiculous our culture is in 2008. We can be so ultra-focused on how we look, how we feel, and how we're measuring up. We are quite confident and proud of ourselves.

We're a small drop in the ocean of time. And God's seen it all.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Props to the Hen-Man

OK, the time is due to give some "propahs" to my little 1.5 year-old son, Henry (aka "Hen-man," "Henny"). You see the amazing Zoe's picture everytime I post on the blog or post a comment elsewhere, since she's my icon picture. She resides in the spotlight, so Henry is moving up for a turn. I'm including some pictures, which I know will produce the "oohs" and "ahs" from the womenfolk in the audience. I will predict, too, that I'll have more response to this post than any of my recent ones. What kind of world do we live in when a post on miracles or Top 5 guitarists gets the hand and one with a cute kid shuts down the server because of overload? Hey, I would give some attention to this kid, too, because he IS cute and he IS awesome.

Now, to explain the pictures:

This is from our annual family Christmas party this year. The theme (yes, we have themes) was "Mafia Christmas." I was chowing down on some pasta when I went a little too hard on my plastic fork. My hand is frozen in the same position where the fork last was on the plate. Truly, the fork snapped in half, my hand went down to the edge of the plate, and like a catapult, I sent noodles flying for about 4 feet to my right. You can see some noodles still on my black overcoat. Henny is chilling beside me, eating (as always.....kid loves food) some noodles with his hair slicked back. You can see Zoe in the background, too.

This second one is from Henry's birthday party this year. The inevitable "first party." It was fun, for sure. This picture was taken by our friend, Matt Swanson, on his phat daddy camera. As you can see, the lens on that bad boy is superior. It looks like a postcard, complete with perfectly placed beams of sunlight cutting across the chalkboard, and highlighting Henny's spiked-up hair.

Word. Enjoy the boy. He's the coolest.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


I have a feeling this will be long >>>>

I got to thinking about "the miracles question" today: Do Miracles Still Happen?

Something in the wording of that question hints at randomness. More to the point of what I was thinking is "Does God Still Perform Miracles Today?"

The main thing that sparked my thinking was all the things in the past few years that have happened to people we know. People who've had terminal illnesses; Laura's sister, Bekah, who was in the car accident; my brother and his wife trying to have a baby.
In all of these situations, a miraculous healing either did or didn't take place. Several people from our church did not survive their bouts with cancer. Much prayer went up to heaven on their behalf. Does God not exist because they weren't healed? Or, in a worse scenario, does God not care for some people enough to heal them? I believe we have to release these situations to God, in His sovereignty and wisdom. We cannot see all the angles; we cannot fathom the reasons that make up the big picture. For whatever reasons, God either does perform a miracle or He does not, in any given situation.

When I go through this mental journey, I have to look at the historical record. In the Old Testament, God has a long, varied track record of performing supernatural feats to show His power. Old Testament's record of God's miracle-performing power: check. Look to the New Testament. Jesus - the embodiment of God on the earth - performed miracles during his ministry here. Wherever Jesus went, miracles flowed out of His presence. Crowds swarmed around Him to "get a piece" of the power to see healing in their lives. New Testament's record of God's miracle-performing power: check. It's in God's nature and character to perform miracles.

So, what's the deal today?

From all the accounts I've heard and read, supernatural healings and miracles of all sorts are occurring at a higher rate in other nations besides America. I believe this is because of the lack of pride and humanistic thinking in these areas. Places such as South America, Latin America, parts of Asia --- these are the outposts of miracles today. People who are desperate for God to move and have full faith in God to do miraculous works will see it happen. We, in America, are much more prone to be cynical or to look for solutions in ourselves. In many cases, we block the work of God because of our self-reliance.

Much of this goes to the subject of the medical field. I believe medicine is miraculous. Much of what has been discovered and put into practice these days is amazing. However, the praise for this advancement of medical science is more often than not going to the people that forge it. Ever since technology has grown and advanced in the past couple of centuries, humanity has, in its weakness, taken credit for so many things and become self-absorbed. Because we can now do so much, we don't really have a need for God, some would say. Medicine and science will eventually find a way to solve all of our problems. Right?

When we get to the point where we're out of options, where nothing is working that we thought would.....when we are desperate..... then God will move...... sometimes. I believe that desperation leads to more miracles being performed. Not to say that everything will be solved by a miraculous intervention of God; this side of heaven won't ever be perfect. But I do believe that when an atmosphere of revival is present and when the spiritual hunger of a people reaches a near fever-pitch, healing will be the doctor of the day. God will show His power over created order. Medicine and science will not be able to explain.

Still, not all will believe or accredit the praise to God. There will always be doubts and other explanations until everyone is laid bare before the Person of God. So, does God shy away from miracles or use them as a "last-ditch effort" because He doesn't want people to view Him as only a vending machine of healing magic or a cool magician? Possibly.

OK, enough thoughts on this for now. That was a very long post.

There Will Be Blood

Being a fan of Paul Thomas Anderson's work, I'm excited to be hearing all the buzz about his latest film:

There Will Be Blood.

P.T. Anderson excels in many areas of filmmaking: writing, directing ensembles, visual design & camerawork. I believe he's one of the modern masters of the medium. My personal favorite of his is Magnolia, an amazing piece of storytelling while, although brutal, shines through with redemption in the end.

One aspect that's exciting about TWBB is Daniel Day-Lewis' acting. I've read this is a jaw-dropping performance. I'm a fan of Day-Lewis' work from years past, especially My Left Foot and In The Name of The Father. Extremely talented and intense, he's one of the best actors of this generation. To see his acting paired with P.T. Anderson's directing will be powerful.

The other very exciting aspect of the movie is that Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead has performed the original music. I've read that it revolutionizes the way music works with a movie. J. Greenwood is already an incredible guitarist in his own right (as I've mentioned in the post-before-last), so to see him translate that talent into a movie soundtrack is intriguing.

Anyone interested in seeing this? I foresee a caravan to the theater.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Small Bite of Nostalgia

I like to dabble in poetry, from time to time. It's a fun exercise in being focused and capturing images/feelings in an abstract way.

If any of you visited Lake Koinonia in Woodstock, GA. back when "the posse" lived up there in the mid-to-late 80's/early 90's, then you've had the groundwork done for you. Here it is, entitled, "The Lake."

Crawling fearfully across an empty lake
via the enormous log bridge
Clutching and fearing the worst
the silt below seeming like quicksand
Exploring the unchartered territory
as a shoe falls down and drowns

The creepy shack
on a hill across the way
Abandoned and run down
We walk through
and conquer any lies
we imagined

Building forts and platforms on trees
Swinging from ski ropes
Mud smells and dries crusty

Bell rings for supper
Moccasins hiding under docks
Camping overnight
Four-wheelers up and down the dam
Little brother on his back

Many memories
locked away
with the burnt-red sunsets
of those magic hours