Monday, August 28, 2006

Does Baylor Hate Black People?

Call of the Wild - 2006 Football Commercials
I'm a college football fanatic, and am interested this year to see, of all teams, the Baylor Bears. I think Guy Morriss is a good coach, and enjoyed watching his team when he coached at Kentucky. he did a great job for the Bears last year, and I think you'll finally see some continued improvement by Baylor this year. I wish them well.

On another note, I was a bit shocked when i saw the new Baylor Football teaser that the school produced for the upcoming season. It's just funny to me that they did a video that depicts several lilly white (no doubt rich) Baylor kids running from a giant black guy.

While on the subject of Baylor, how many Baylor girls does it take to change a light bulb? Two: one to hold the diet Coke and one to call Daddy!

Anyway, I really do hope Baylor football does well this year.

A Cut Above!

Pierce, my little Autistic dream child, recently got a haircut. He's had his hair cut in the past, but it has not been such a pleasant experience. Cutting Pierce's hair is like bathing a cat. He squirms, screams, and scratches, and that's just when they put the apron on him. When the hair starts flying, he goes absolutely ballistic.

We wouldn't even worry about cutting his hair because we think it's cute when it's long, and Pierce is just one of those kids who looks adorable no matter how you style his mop. You could give the boy a mullet and he'd look magazine cover good. But when it gets long, his hair hangs over his eyes and creates a shade that allows him to hide in his own little world. The whole struggle with Autism is the isolation that it fosters, so allowing his hair to further isolate him is a big deal.

Thankfully, Pierce's therapy center started introducing elements of a haircut into his therapy, and he has been getting more and more comfortable with the apron, clippers, scissors and blow dryer for the last couple of weeks. This past Friday was the big day to finally cut his hair, and he did great! It's amazing what his therapists are able to teach him, and we couldn't be more pleased with his progress.

If you're interested in helping with Pierce's therapy, click here to read more about how you can help.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Smells Like Tiger Bait!!

Only 11 days until my beloved LSU Tigers take the field at the legendary Tiger Stadium. I know everyone's got their favorite places to watch a game, but I want to invite any of you, even if you're not a fan of the Tigers, to try to make your way to Baton Rouge on a fall Saturday night for a game in Death Valley. I'm a bit biased, but I think any fan of sports would love the environment. I've been to many great stadiums; Auburn's Jordan-Hare, A&M's Kyle Field, Colorado's Folsom Field, Florida's Swamp, Tennessee's Neyland Stadium, and many others, but I've never been anywhere like Tiger Stadium. It's loud, low-rent, and flowing with great food and drink.

I'm getting goosebumps just talking about it!!

My favorite game that I attended was the Florida game in 1997. Florida came in ranked #1 in the nation, and Steve Spurrier's team was poised to take another national title. The 14th ranked Tigers were supposed to be out of this one early, as everyone was confident the Gator's passing attack would prove too potent for the Tigers. LSU won the game 28-21. We stormed the field after the game, and it was awesome. That was in the second year of my marriage, and Kim and I celebrated that victory with my brother-in-law and the girl who would become his wife. I remember it like it was yesterday.

Anyway, I love Tiger Stadium, and apparently so does this guy. He ranks it #1 on his list of college game day experiences. Geaux Tigers!!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

This Chick's Got Guts

Wafa Sultan on Al Jazeera February 2006
What do you think of this lady's views? This was aired live on Al Jazeerah, the Arab television station. Pretty interesting stuff. You have to think that those Muslims who were really listening to her might be thinking, "Well, when you put it that way it sounds so bad." Is there any other way to put it?

Click here to read the entire transcript.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Irresistible Revolution

I'm reading a really cool book called, "The Irresistible Revolution" by Shane Claiborne. I'm only in the first chapter, but already there are several quotes that I've found encouraging, insightful and super challenging. Here's a sampling:

- While musing about the entertainment industry's propensity to support global initiatives like Live 8 and the One Campaign, Claiborne writes, "...but most Christian artists and preachers have remained strangely distant from human suffering, offering the world eternal assurance over prophetic imagination. Perhaps it should not surprise us that Jesus says that if the Christians remain silent, then the rocks will cry out... or the rock stars, I guess."

- While reminiscing about the great influences in his life, he writes, "In college, one of my professors said, 'Don't let the world steal your soul. Being a Christian is about choosing Jesus and deciding to do something incredibly daring with your life."

- On the humor of God: "I've grown to admire the humor of a God who uses the foolish things to shame the wisdom of this world, and weaklings to remind the strong that they may not be as mighty as they think they are (1 Cor. 1:27). And in an era of smart bombs, maybe the world needs more fools. There have always been 'fools' in the imperial courts, but it's an interesting age when folks trust the court jesters more than the court itself."

- On being an "ordinary radical": "I have a confession I'm sure many of you will find refreshing and familiar: I don't really fit into the old liberal-conservative boxes, so it's a good thing we are moving on to something new. My activist friends call me conservative, and my religious friends call me liberal. What I often get branded is 'radical.' I'ver never really minded that, for as my urban-farming friends remind me, the word radical itself means 'root.' It's from the Latin word radix, which, just like a rad-ish, has to do with getting to the root of things. But radical is not something reserved for saints and martyrs, which is why I like to compliment it with ordinary. Ordinary does not mean normal, and I lament the dreadful seduction which has resulted in Christians becoming so normal. Thankfully, there is a movement of ordinary radicals sweeping the land, and ordinary people are choosing to live in radical new ways. So this is a book for ordinary radicals, not for saints who think they have a monopoly on radical and not for normal people who are satisfied with the way things are."

So, if you get the chance, grab this interesting little book and give it a whirl. Ordinary Radicals Unite!!

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Evolution of Grumpy

Man, I'm grumpy today. I told a little white lie to my wife last night, and she caught me (I told her I changed the filter on the A/C, and I didn't. What a stupid lie!), I missed a deadline at work, and it's haunting me, and a good friend informed me that a ministry I'm involved with isn't doing so well. I'm not upset about these things as much as I am just angry. It's irritating to live this life!!

I find myself asking, "why can't everybody just leave me alone!", but I still have this desire to be around people. I hate being alone, but I also hate the pressure and responsibility I face each day. What a silly, confused little man I am.

Today is the staff day of prayer, and we heard a beautiful message from Jackie Roese, our women's pastor. Jackie's such a gifted communicator. She summed up my frustrations, and led me to see the one thing that I need in order to continue to live this life with joy instead of grumpy irritation. She spoke of Martha and her tendency to value "distractions" more than a place of honor and knowledge at the feet of Jesus. I could relate.

So what does it mean to sit at the feet of Jesus? Maybe it's that sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seet kind of listening that you do when you hear to a song that is saying something important and moving. Maybe it's living life with the same kind of optimistic anticipation that you have when your favorite team runs onto the field for the first game. Maybe it's confessing all your anger and frustration on a blog and learning as you write that Jesus loves you and will give you peace... even though you're a liar, a deadline misser, and a manager of a failed ministry. Maybe it's just taking the time to sort it all out and be still.

I'm calm now, and Jesus has done his thing with me again. He has shown me that I'm deeply flawed, but his love is deeper. He's given me a desire to love and know him, not by making me feel bad and guilty, but by reaching down in grace to pick me up, dust me off, and send me on the way. He's been good to me. I'm not so grumpy anymore.

Friday, August 11, 2006

40 Feet of Meaning

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We used to live in a 1,100 sq ft home on 2nd Avenue in Corsicana, TX. We were very thankful for the house, but it was definitely nothing special. The house was drafty, creaky and roughly the size of a sardine can, but the rent was low and it was a good fit for us at the time. It had a particularly interesting kitchen, and that was the room where I did some serious pondering about life and death.

There was no dishwasher in this joint, so each evening I would stand at the kitchen sink, look out the window, and hand wash the dishes. The view from that tiny window was profound and disturbing, and I'll never forget what it taught me. You see, just beyond that kitchen glass - spread across a 40 foot span - lay a grassy front lawn, the busiest street in town and a somewhat eerie cemetary. It was a seriously strange view, but at least the neighbors across the street were quiet!

There were three specific meanings associated with each of these very different changes in scenery. The grassy lawn symbolized the safety, fun, comfort and simplicity of childhood. The busy street signified the responsibility, risk, challenge and frantic pace of adult life. This thought was only intensified by the fact that we were constantly afraid that our kids would escape our view, if only for a moment, and run into that busy street. I guess that could be symbolic of the varitable car wreck that most families experience when their kids become teenagers. The cemetary vividly represented the hopeless, dark, frightening and inevitable nature of death. These were the thougths that would run through my mind while taking in life's panorama from that silly window. Pretty deep stuff for a guy washing dishes, eh?

It was at that point in my life when I began to realize that there were no divisions between the sacred and the secular. All of life, whether a busy street, a cemetary or an episode of Spongebob Squarepants tells something about a greater story. I see it at the movies, or in a sporting event or at a family picnic. There's no such thing as a moment void of greater meaning.

Does that mean that we walk through life looking for "deep" stuff to the point that we can't enjoy a brainless moment while zoning out in our easy chairs to mindless sit-coms? I hope not, as that's one of my favorite past-times. I thnk it means that we have to open our eyes, even in seemingly ordianry moments, to something bigger. Pastor and author Erwin McManus says that most people he knows want to be people characterized by great faith. Unfortunatly, says McManus, most people "resist the tedious journey of being faithful." The journey of faithfulness, in my estimation, begins with perspective. It seems to me that the true Christian perspective is one that sees the panorama of life and is compelled to be faithful because the stakes are so high. After all, life and death are sometimes only 40 feet away.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Man, Look at all that Stuff!

So lately I've been thinking a lot about the world we live in. Our church staff talked yesterday about being "good managers" of "God's economy", and it got me thinking about what that really means. Does it mean that we rearrange our lives so that we can have enough money to be generous financial givers? Does it mean that we change our priorities so that we can send our kids to college and retire with financial security? Does it mean that we quit buying cars with borrowed money and pay our houses off in 15 years? Just what does it mean to manage what God's given us with wisdom and responsibility?

Well, as I sit in a Starbucks writing this, I'm looking out the window at our world. There's a lot to look at. Cars, convenience stores, shops, auto repair garages, laundry and dry cleaning services, colleges, hospitals, restaraunts, churches, Radio Shack's, and the list goes on, and on... and on... and on (this could go on forever...). And that's just from my window view at the corner of Gaston and N. Haskell in Dallas! We live in a culture of goods and services, and quite frankly, we have more goods than is good, and more services than we can possibly service.

Our culture used to make stuff because we needed it, but those days are over. Now we make stuff for the same reason dogs lick themselves: because we can. There was no need to advertise stuff in the old days because there was no need to be "sold" on something you already knew you needed. Now we can't escape advertising. It's on the sides of busses, it's kalidescope frames the freeway, and a pregnant lady recently sold her belly on ebay as advertising space (the winning bid was $1,000). Anybody ever wonder why we're so marketing driven?

The reason is that we make more stuff than we need these days, and in order to sell all that un-needed crap we have to convince people that they need it. Problem is after we've convinced them, we have to come up with a way for them to pay for it. Enter the credit card. After all, you can buy anything on credit! So now we find ourselves as the richest country in the history of the world, but we're also more in debt than ever!! Nowadays, over 50% of US families routinely spend more each year than they earn, and roughly 70% of US families live paycheck to paycheck. Shameful considering the fact that millions of people throughout the world are living on beans and rice while we struggle to payoff our mini-van.

I'm as guilty as the rest of us. We've made our fair share of ridiculuous financial mistakes, and I've never been motivated to get a handle on it. I think it's because I've been coming at it from the wrong standpoint. I've been looking at it from a practical point of view. If I get a handle on my money, I'll be able to retire with securty, pay for my kids college and give more generously. Those are all good things, but they can't be the primary motivation for a change. This change has to be radical. It's about a lot more than money. This thing is about a revolution in the way that we view all of life.

It's time to get back to our needs and not our wants. It's time to view our finances as a luxury and not a right. It's time for us to view money as part of the same spiritual perspective in which we view worship and discipleship. It's time for us to downsize. Now, that's a radical shift, and I'm motivated by it.

It's time for me to leave Starbucks. I'm getting some weird vibes from the young corporates in this place who seem to be able to sense what I'm writing about. I have this way of making people in business attire who order skinny white chocolate fraps very nervous. I guess I'll hop in my 1988 Buick Park Avenue and make my way home. I'm going to keep looking at the world as I head that way in hopes that I may someday see less and not more.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

10 Years... and Counting

In ninth grade I met a cute blonde with a great sense of humor and an impecable reputation. Little did I know that she would one day become my wife. In this day and age of high divorce rates and low committment levels, I consider it a rare blessing to be able to say that I've never regretted being married to Kim for one moment. She's a true gift, and she's as beautiful as ever. Thanks, Honey, for 10 wonderful years. Maybe we can celebrate by taking the kids to McDonalds!!

What's your Worldview?

Take this quiz to see what your theological worldview is. I'm going to take it now!!

This and other great stuff at Bag of Nothing!!

Mel Gibson Recieves Counseling

OK, it's bad, but I couldn't help posting this picture. Lord, please forgive me.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Many people have wondered, while reading this very blog, why the name "Cajun Roast Beef" was chosen to represent my thoughts on life, faith and stuff. The name comes from my favorite sandwhich, served at Pronia's, a Lake Charles, La deli. This sandwhich is a beast - loaded with cajun spiced roast beef and some sort of "special sauce" that I dare not ask the ingredients. I've been eating the CRB for years now, and it's one of the many things I look forward to partaking of when I return home for a visit.

So why name my blog after this one of a kind sandwhich? How should I know? I like the sandwhich, and I like the name. I don't have to worry about anyone else stealing the name, and it fits my personality. I love food and culture, and this blog represents my somewhat spicy and kind of unique perspective on life (at least I'd like to think so). Anyway, if you're ever in the big L.C., be sure to stop by Pronia's deli for a Cajun Roast Beef. Until then, this blog will act as the digital embodiment of the kind of strange deliciousness that you experience when eating the sandwhich itself. Mmmmmmm.