Friday, March 31, 2006

battle of the bands

Tonight we saw the Battle of the Bands at FIS - they even had a Jack Black look alike. Barb and I think Isaiah was the best.

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dog gas

Now here is a must have item for those of you suffering from dog gas ...

Simple Design and Inexpensive

The Dogone - Dog Gas Neutralizing Pad is a comfortable and least intrusive means for deodorizing gassy discharges in a thong design. This will eliminate pet odors and dog odors from flatus or flatulence. [more]

What I like is that it must be targeting European dogs - note the "thong" style.

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Thursday, March 30, 2006

zondervan expands pdl market

Thanks to Jason Clark for this tip...

Zondervan Expands Purpose-Driven Marketing Campaign to Distant Planets
By Jana Riess

Based on the runaway popularity of Rick Warren's bestseller The Purpose-Driven Life, which has sold more than 24 million copies just in the English language, Zondervan is turning its sights to the final frontier: space. Special editions of the book will release on Mars, Venus, and Mercury next year, the Michigan-based Christian publishing house reported this week, with more distant planets to follow later if initial sales efforts prove successful. [more]

following that article are a couple of more worth reading...

Dalai Lama Not Penning Enough Forewords, Study Shows
By Jana Riess

An alarming new study out of Naropa University has proven what many have long feared: the Dalai Lama is writing fewer forewords for Buddhist books. "It used to be that the Dalai Lama could be counted on to write the foreword for every single Buddhist title being published," said Dharma Gregg, editorial director at Bodhi Tree Books. "Now we're lucky if he writes two a month. It's terrible. He's profoundly underexposed."

Darn It Anyway! List of Verboten Swear Words Grows Ever-Longer for Christian Fiction
By Jana Riess

Although the Christian publishing world has long been known for squeaky-clean language and the absence of profanity, the bar has just been raised even higher. RBL has obtained a document from a major CBA publishing house outlining even more draconian language restrictions. While the list will be the operative standard for any book the house publishes, it will likely hit hardest on the fiction side, where novelists have sometimes used words like "crap" and "poop" to substitute for what they'd really like to write.

purpose and values

I've been looking at a lot of purpose (mission/vision) and value (principles) statements from various churches. I'd be interested in seeing your favorite and having you explain why. Please comment with a link and some explanation.

A note regarding values (in addition to comments in my other post), I do not see one value above another but rather they follow the law of the minimum principle.

Here are the 8 characteristics (values) identified by Christian Schwarz:
  1. Empowering Leadership; When members are empowered and trained to serve and lead others.
  2. Gift-oriented Ministry; When members are serving and leading according to their God-given spiritual gifts.
  3. Passionate Spirituality; When faith is being lived out with commitment and enthusiasm.
  4. Functional Structures; When the organizational structure is serving the mission and goals of the church.
  5. Inspiring Worship Service; When it is inspiring and fun—regardless of the style or format—for those who attend.
  6. Holistic Small Groups Groups; where people can develop genuine community, receive practical help and enjoy intensive spiritual interaction (prayer, worship, serving, peer counseling, etc.).
  7. Need-Oriented Evangelism; When the ways that the church expresses the gospel meets the needs and questions of the not-yet-convinced.
  8. Loving Relationships; When members have developed friendships marked by authentic, practical love.
Cape Bible Chapel (from my old hometown) has a very sound and complete purpose statement. In addition, it flows well and is simple to communicate (and thereby remember). I did not find a statement of values (which I differentiate from beliefs - I'm sure they will straighten me out on this soon).

Most Vineyard Churches are working from this list of values:
  1. THE PURSUIT OF GOD. We are hungry to know God's presence, hear His voice and follow hard after Him. (Psalm 63:1-3)
  2. CHRISTLIKENESS. We desire that through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus' love, mercy, grace, truth, purity, power, and integrity would shine through all that we are and do. (Ephesians 5:2)
  3. SPIRIT-LED. We honor Jesus as our Head and the Holy Spirit as our Counselor. We seek to be responsive to the Holy Spirit in life and ministry. (Galatians 5:5; Romans 8:14)
  4. PRAYER. We believe that prayer is essential, because it is our primary means of communion with God, and because it is God's primary means of accomplishing His purposes in the world. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Philippians 4:6)
  5. DISCIPLESHIP. We aim first to grow as disciples of Christ ourselves and then to make disciples of others. (Matthew 28:18-20)
  6. THE KINGDOM OF GOD. We aim to move in the signs of the present fulfillment of the kingdom, invoking the Spirit's powerful presence, ministering through the Spirit's gifts, and seeing God heal and work wonders. (Mark 1:14,15)
  7. MERCY OF GOD. We believe that mercy is fundamental to all that God does in salvation. We, therefore, aim to extend mercy to one another and to all to whom we minister. (Colossians 3:12,13)
  8. INTEGRITY. It is important for us to speak the truth, deal honestly, and live uprightly. (Ephesians 4:15)
  9. SERVANT LEADERSHIP. We believe that Christ has put significant leadership authority in the hands of the pastor and associates. We aim to exercise that authority with humility, selflessness, grace, care for the sheep, and a sincere desire to build up the Body of Christ. (Mark 10:37,44-45)
  10. THE INDIVIDUAL, single or married, and we want to enable and support mature relationships and family growth. (Romans 12:9,10)
  11. UNITY. We are convinced that all who belong to Christ are one in His Body, the Church. We aim to maintain unity by honoring all who call on Jesus' name and by seeking reconciliation with all parts of the Church. (John 17:21-23)
  12. COLLEGIATE RELATIONSHIPS. We are honored by every person whom God adds to the Vineyard. We aim to work together to build the Church through maintaining mutual respect, open communication, determined cooperation, and believing and speaking the best about each other. (I Corinthians 13:4-7)
  13. REALITY. We aim to walk in the Spirit and see real supernatural works of God. We aim also to function on the natural plane based on God's leading in conjunction with excellent, relational thinking. (James 1:5)
  14. SIMPLICITY. We wish to do nothing for "religious effect" but rather to operate in natural low-key, non-hype patterns. We desire to do the ministry of Christ with joy. (Philippians 4:4)
  15. CULTURE CURRENT. We aim to develop an atmosphere of ease, and to speak, act, and dress in ways in which our culture can respond positively. For example, we reflect this value through worship music that is of a popular style. (I Corinthians 9:19-23)
Intown has a great Purpose and Values page - short, sweet, and actionable.
Intown Community Church exists to extend the renewing presence of the Kingdom of God throughout the communities of metropolitan Atlanta and beyond it to the world. We do this by celebrating Christ in vibrant and life-changing worship, by spiritually nurturing and equipping our community of believers and seekers with the resources of the Historic Christian faith, and by partnering with leaders, churches, and ministries who share in our kingdom vision.

Our Values/Guiding Principles
  1. Kingdom- Renewal: Renewal comes through the power of the gospel of the kingdom, the power that can heal and mature anyone and any community. Kingdom-renewal is fueled by prayer and brought about through ministries of word and deed.
  2. Discipleship and Spiritual Direction: We all need “life on life" relationships as we are on the spiritual journey of becoming mature and equipped followers of Christ.
  3. Authentic Community: Authentic Christian community is the most effective way to demonstrate the truth and power of the gospel of the kingdom. It is by our love for one another that we are known as Jesus’ disciples (John 13:35).
  4. Historic and Contemporary Christianity: By the work of the Holy Spirit, our community is dynamically being shaped by Scripture as read by the church throughout the ages and within the context of contemporary Evangelicalism.
  5. Strategic Priority of the City: One of the most strategic place for Christians to embrace and embody the gospel is in the context of global cities. Spiritual, cultural, and social transformation occurs when kingdom renewal occurs in global cities.
And finally, VCF - Columbus has an excellent mission statement coupled with a good example of defining terms.
Our Mission; “To develop a community of passionate, mature, reproducing disciples; to plant passionate, mature, reproducing churches; and, to transform the world by love and good deeds for the glory of God.”

The Definition of Discipleship; “A disciple is a person who in the context of the church is passionately committed to a lifelong process of worshipping Jesus’ person, obeying Jesus’ words, doing Jesus’ deeds, and imitating Jesus’ life.”
  1. Disciples are formed in community. A Christian cannot grow apart from relationship with other Christians. The single reason why so many “decisions” for Christ don’t result in discipleship is because of individualism. People wrongly believe that “me and Jesus” alone is sufficient to grow. We need the accountability, instruction, discipline, love and example that other Christians provide in order to grow.
  2. Disciples must be passionate. Discipleship doesn’t happen without passionate and intentional commitment. You don’t drift into discipleship or osmose personal transformation without choosing to, without goals, without a clear plan to follow Jesus. Our intention to follow involves our whole heart and soul and mind and strength. It’s not a lukewarm or bloodless sterile commitment. Effort must be consistently exerted. Discipleship involves total devotion, extreme fervor, and passionate zeal. To be passionate is to be internally motivated. One gives, shares one’s faith, enters fellowship, worships, prays, studies, not because he or she is forced to, or is manipulated, but because he or she loves Jesus and wants to serve him.
  3. We want to develop mature disciples. Discipleship is not the product of one class or ten classes or a certain set of experiences. We never arrive in this life at full obedience or complete imitation of Jesus. We commit ourselves to a lifelong journey.
  4. Discipleship is not something that a church, a group, or another individual can do to a person. Every individual is responsible before God for their own growth. But discipleship is not individualistic. Growth only occurs in the context of loving relationships in the church.
  5. We want to develop reproductive disciples. Real disciples impact the world. Consider the early church. The early church was said to have “turned the world upside down.” They did this by witnessing and by acts of love. Maturity and reproduction, depth and numerical growth are part of discipleship. Every disciple is called to add new links to the chain of faith—a chain that stretches back to Jesus and the apostles and reaches forward through us to the world.
  6. Church Planting: The fruit of our labor must not just be individual disciples, but new churches. Planting churches that plant other churches is the best way to reach this world for Christ. Vineyard Columbus is committed to not only grow our own church, but also to plant many churches both in the USA and internationally.
  7. We want to transform the world by love and good deeds. Christians are not simply called to verbally share our faith. We also are called to serve this world by doing good whenever we can, to whomever we can, as often as we can, wherever we can, for as long as we can, to the glory of God.
They also have a good links to vision, faith, and values.

So now I'm off to dream ... ah, the perfect Church, what would it look like? Hmmm ... wait a minute, no need to dream, she's described in the Word. Ok then, I'm off to read and meditate ... later.


Techcrunch has the latest on legal (?) mp3 downloads via AllofMP3. At 2c per megabyte, this is far cheaper than iTunes $0.99 per song. I'm still using iTunes as a player and for podcasts but I'm working hard to resist buying from them - it's too easy and too expensive.

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goodbye winterreifen

The snow is gone but still typisches deutsches Wetter. Anyway, time to change the winterreifen...this is one of the things I will not miss after moving to the US.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

the centrality of the gospel

Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian writes an excellent article on "The Centrality of the Gospel" (click here for pdf). His premise is that the Christian life "is a process of renewing every dimension of our life - spiritual, psychological, corporate, social - by thinking, hoping, and living out the 'lines' or ramifications of the gospel."

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will the real gospel please stand up

Andew Jones at tallskinnykiwi is asking us to join in the Tim Challies fray over what is the real gospel. Sorry, I cannot do it. First, I'm just not smart enough to keep up in a writing war with these guys - they use words I do not understand - even my dictionary doesn't find these words. Seriously, I do not know where one starts when a debate about what the Gospel is started with the following:
The word evangelical [was] used to describe a well-defined theological position. What made evangelicals distinct was their commitment to the authority of Scripture and the exclusivity of Christ. Now "evangelicalism" is a political movement, and its representatives hold a wide variety of theological beliefs—from Neuhaus's Roman Catholicism to Jakes's heretical Sabellianism, to Joyce Meyer's radical charismaticism, to Brian McLaren's anti-scriptural postmodernism.

So says Phil Johnson. And he is right.
Wow - that's the accuser, judge, jury, and executioner all in one (ok - two). Phil Johnson says so and Tim Challies agrees. What could be added? I'll let these guys continue. John MacArthur explains (in Ashamed of the Gospel):
The gospel--in the sense Paul and the apostles employed the word--includes all the revealed truth about Christ (cf Rom. 1:1-6; 1 Cor. 15:3-11). It does not stop at the point of conversion and justification by faith, but embraces every other aspect of salvation, from sanctification to glorification. The gospel's significance therefore does not end the moment the new birth occurs; it applies to the entire Christian experience. And when Paul and the other New Testament writers spoke of "preaching the gospel," they were not talking about preaching only to unbelievers (cf v.15). [emphasis mine]
Now that I can line up to. The only slight exception I have occurs when they continue that it is the "message". I would rather say it is both the message and the behavior (proclamation and demonstration). So I think they have adequately explained what the Gospel is. I think what is left is to now discuss what it looks like in practice. They modeled what it does not look like in their unfortunate attack against others under the guise of defining evangelicalism. I'll watch to see if they get around to modeling what it does look like.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

from anger to contempt to verbal desecration

In his discourse on Mt 5.22, Dallas Willard explains that Christ's words are more than "laws".
When I go to New York City, I do not have to think about not going to London or Atlanta. People don’t meet me at the airport and exclaim over what a great thing I did in not going somewhere else. I took steps to go to New York City, and that took care of everything. Likewise, when I treasure those around me and see them as God’s creatures designed for his eternal purposes, I do not make an additional point of not hating them or calling them [names]. . . . Not being wrongly angry . . . is a poor plan for treating people with love. Law for all of its magnificence, cannot do that. Graceful relationship sustained with the masterful Christ certainly can.
Treating people with love is the right plan for not being wrongly angry. We cannot simply avoid anger. We must actively pursue love. This is the righteousness that goes beyond that of the scribes and Pharisees. And as Willard concludes, "we learn this in our discipleship to Christ."

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As some of my friends wrestle with the "charismatic question", I read this reminder from Castle Sands on the 100th anniversary of Azusa Street quoting Johnathan Edwards.
A work is not to be judged of by any affects on the bodies of men; such as tears, tremblings, groans, loud outcries, agonies of bodies, or the failing of bodily strength. The influence persons are under is not to be judged of one way or other by such affects on the body; and the reason is because the Scripture nowhere gives us any such rule.
See here for more Edwards on physical manifestations.

reason to witness

Vince (aka Wince) commented on needing more courage in sharing Christ, a feeling I think many of us can relate to. It reminded me of the encouragement in John Piper's recent letter. I like it so much I've included it in full.
One of the things I am doing at this point in my sabbatical here in Cambridge, England, is reading through the four Gospels and collecting all the explicit and implicit commands of Jesus into various categories. I am driven in this endeavor by Matthew 28:18-20. Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and . . . [teach all the nations] to observe all that I have commanded you.” So it is important that we are able to do that. We should teach and obey “all that he commanded us” because he has “all authority” in the universe. No one else has the right, the wisdom, or the love to tell us how to live. Only Jesus has that authority.

But when you read through the Gospels you find some horrifying things. If you don’t feel them as horrifying, you are not awake. I think they are calculated to wake us up form our domestication of Christ and his book. This one grabbed me because it relates directly to the issue of Jesus’ authority. At the beginning of the parable of the ten minas (or ten pounds) in Luke 19:14, Jesus describes the citizens’ relationship to the nobleman like this: “His citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’” Then at the end of the parable Jesus says in Luke 19:27, “As for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me."

This is horrifying. Jesus says that people who do not want his absolute authority over them will be slaughtered before his eyes. What should our hearts and minds do with this kind of talk in the mouth and heart of our Lord?

First, we see what is really there: horrific language about the condition and the destiny of certain people. They are enemies. They do not want Jesus' authority over their lives. They will be slaughtered. Jesus will not have it done in a private place but before his eyes.
  1. We bow before the judgment of the Lord and reckon his way to be wise and just and even loving for those who tremble at his word and repent.
  2. We shudder at the terrible future that awaits so many people.
  3. We are made to ponder what a moral and spiritual outrage rebellion against Jesus is—otherwise being slaughtered for it would be an unjust overreaction.
  4. We feel vulnerable knowing the remnants of rebellion in our own hearts.
  5. We fly from the wrath of the Lamb (Revelation 6:16) to the cross where he has made an escape from his own wrath (“Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come,” 1 Thessalonians 1:10).
  6. We feel the stunning, humbling, incredible truth that our escape from the torture that comes from Christ into the ecstasy that we will enjoy with Christ is by grace alone and not because of our righteousness (as Jesus said, “When you have done all that is commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty,’” Luke 17:10).
  7. We feel pricked in conscience that there is too often a self-righteous contempt for rebellious people that rises in our hearts—and we add that sin to all the rest that make us good candidates to be slaughtered along with the rebellious.
  8. We repent of our own rebellion and its many subtle forms, and find, by grace, a love for rebellious people rising in our hearts so that, unlike the elder brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son, it would really be our joy if one of these rebels against the authority of Jesus would be saved and join the celebration of grace—like Saddam Hussein, for example.
  9. We are moved, in all our imperfections, as forgiven sinners, to move into the lives of rebels and warn them of their condition, and commend the work of Christ to them, and endure their derision, if by any means we might save some.
This is not simple, and it is not easy. And I don't claim to do it well. But it is how I endeavor to respond to horrific things in the Bible.

Longing to be shaped by Scripture, not the world,

Pastor John
I left the salutation because that is also cool.

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a brave person

Aristotle in Nicomachean Ethics describes a brave person as:
Whoever stands firm against the right things and fears the right things, for the right end, in the right way, at the right time, and is correspondingly confident, is the brave person; for the brave person's actions and feelings reflect what something is worth and what reason prescribes.
As I've wrestled with the issue of confronting error it is clear that one of the key elements is wisdom. It is one thing to have a good sense of right from wrong but it is quite another thing to determine the right way, time, etc.. I know some that confuse their lack of bravery as being wise but it is simply that they are faint of heart so that it never seems to be the right time. I tend to err toward bravery without wisdom and therefore any time and any place seems good. That's not ok. I fact I think it is foolishness rather than bravery.

So as I contemplate this, I ask for wisdom to bring the foolishness more toward true bravery.

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off atkins again

I'm off the Atkins again and I'm growing uncontrollably. Why did God make chocolate?

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I do not know John Gottman, "the mathematician of love", and I cannot attest to the accuracy of his findings but I can say that I intuitively agree with what I've read. His studies are related to marriage but I think carry over into relationships in general. He claims to be able to predict the probability of a marriage lasting by observing a couple for only a few minutes. He focuses on what he calls the Four Horsemen: defensiveness, stonewalling, criticism, and contempt. Even within the Four Horsemen, in fact, there is one emotion that he considers the most important of all: contempt. If Gottman observes one or both partners in a marriage showing contempt toward the other, he considers it the single most important sign that the marriage is in trouble.

"You would think that criticism would be the worst," Gottman says, "because criticism is a global condemnation of a person's character. Yet contempt is qualitatively different from criticism. With criticism I might say to my wife, 'You never listen, you are really selfish and insensitive.' Well, she's going to respond defensively to that. That's not very good for our problem solving and interaction. But if I speak from a superior plane, that's far more damaging, and contempt is any statement made from a higher level. A lot of the time it's an insult: 'You are a bitch. You're scum.' It's trying to put that person on a lower plane than you. It's hierarchical. Contempt is closely related to disgust, and what disgust and contempt are about is completely rejecting and excluding someone from the community."

We are always evaluating others and then filtering data based on that. Our subconscious does this in an attempt to be more efficient. The problem is that we see through lenses that are often always tinted. And worse, some of that tinting comes from the input of others - it's not even first hand. We must be very careful to avoid gossip. It seems good but it effects our innermost being. We must always pray to see others as God sees them. We need to be able to spiritually discern yet not hold others in contempt - especially based on information that we do not know as truth.

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Monday, March 27, 2006

humilty ... oh, sorry "humility"

In the realm of apologies, this one is great. Few people apologize. Most that apologize only apologize for the hurt the other party received. Here is Mark Driscoll apologizing not only for the damage caused but also what specifically he did wrong. And he is apologizing at the same level (i.e., public) that the offense was made. That gives one real hope that changed behavior is soon to follow. Let's learn from this.

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Sunday, March 26, 2006

christian signs pointing to salvation?

Not that I could ever compete with Marc at Purgatorio but here's something I just received ...

New Church Signs

Life is Hard

Afterlife is Harder!


X and O

This is pretty unique - don't ask me how they do it.

Place your mouse on the X below and drag to the O.

XEven though you can't see Him, GOD is there!O


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Saturday, March 25, 2006

woe, lo, and go

I was reading Isa 61.1-6 today - GREAT stuff! It really spoke to me especially in regard to church leadership. First, it starts with clearly seeing the Lord. We must have His presence. If that is not our start point, we have no hope. "Coincidently" during our time of worship at the elder meeting today we read Re 4 - Glory!

Then comes woe - experiencing God in worship often (I'm tempted to say "should") leads to repentance. From that comes lo which is the cleansing. Only through His touch can we be truly healed. And then, it gets better, the go. We go out as ambassadors for His Kingdom to say and do the stuff.

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from vision to programs...

These thoughts are from Alexander Venter's, Doing Church; Building From the Bottom Up. There is nothing magic here, they only serve to help define terms that are often mixed and provide a stepwise method for building "from the bottom up".

Six Step Process

Define Purpose – defines who we are and where we are going (or who we want to be). This gives identity and direction. There is the purpose of the Church in a more general sense, which is theologically informed, and then there is the more specific purpose of a local Church – the particular calling that God has for each local Church. The general purpose forms and informs the particular local purpose, which has to do with leadership and context and other factors. This purpose is expressed in terms of a mission or vision statement.

Clarify Values – potentially unseen, out of view and not consciously thought of but absolutely crucial to the superstructure which is seen by people. Values determine what you think and what you do. They answer the question “why”? This defines what one gives time, energy and money to. They give criteria and principles by which judgments are made. Everything is evaluated against these, your preferences and choices. They determine what is non-negotiable and important as opposed to what is urgent and flexible. Values guide and inform your decision-making. They can be both Biblically, historically, and contextually determined. They determine what we do, i.e., our priorities and they affect the way we do things, i.e., our style or practices. They are not absolute. And there should not be so many that there is no core or “center of gravity”.

Establish Priorities – built directly upon values otherwise they are a nonstarter. Priorities answer the question “what”? They describe what we actually do. These are what are primary and important. They give us our goals and plans. They channel our energy and effort.

Model Practices – these hang off the priorities. They answer the question “how”? That is, how we do what we do. They give us skills and disciplines. They have to do with our style and methods, our way of doing things. They tend to be oriented toward individuals yet they have a corporate effect.

Choose personnel – this makes it all alive, workable, functional, and efficient. This is the “whom”. Those that fulfill the purpose, are bonded together by the values, guided and supported by the priorities and sustained by the practices. These are the workers and the leaders.

Implement programs – this structures the activities. This is what is ultimately seen. For them to be successful, they must be part of the overall vision and purpose and embody and express the basic values. They must uphold and help achieve the priorities, and they must be done through the common practices of the personnel. The programs are the “through what”. They give structure and cohesion.

believe in what "god"?

Now here's an anecdote from NT Wright that some may call psychobabble but I think illustrates nicely how dialog may be better than direct confrontation.
A student states, "You will not be seeing much of me since I do not really believe in god."

Wright replies, "Oh that's interesting. Which god is it that you do not believe in?"

This is invariably met with surprise because people generally assume that the word "god" always carries the same meaning. The surprise is followed by a few phrases that would sound something like, "A being who lives up in the sky. Who looks down disapprovingly at the world. Who occasionally intervenes to do miracles. And who finally sends bad people to hell and good people to his heaven."

Wright responds to this spy in the sky theology with, "I'm not surprised you do not believe in that god, I do not believe in that god either. But I do believe in a god. I believe in the God seen in Jesus of Nazareth..."
I find this Biblical, uncompromising, and quite Jesus-like...

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tortoise dies

One of the world's oldest creatures, a giant tortoise believed to have been about 250 years old, has died in the Calcutta zoo where it spent more than half its long life. [more]

Mom, Dad - wanna guess who now has the 1 and 2 spot?

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"All men come into the world with the same amount of hormones - if you want to use yours to grow hair, that's your business..."

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bolg's view on worship

While I'm not sure why Ryan Bolg credits "emergents" for being on the leading edge of this discovery relative to true worship, I like the insight he provides regarding what worship does and does not look like.
Emerging Worship is about Who Gets to Play

I remarked recently that I had attended a near lifeless traditional church. More recently, I attended a traditional service that was filled with life. What was the difference? It really came down to who got to play and who didn't.

Taking my cues from the Alt Worship network in the UK, new forms of worship do not equate to candles and coffee, videos and tables, stations and art. Rather, it is about access and inclusion. Who was invited and empowered to create and participate in worship? Was worship from the people or from the experts? Was the door open for any to come and share in the worship planning and execution? Did the worship itself invite a bodily encounter between a person and God, thus facilitating an engaged form of worship? Was there a deep sense that this is the people's worship and represents our collective offering to God? Was worship from us, the average Jane and Joe in the congregation, or was it from the priests performing rites for us, to us, but not with us?

These are the primary contributions of Emerging Church worship, but that is not to say that it hasn't existed in other movements and at other times. But I would say it is more explicit here than I have observed in other movements in the recent past.

I received joy and a deep sense of communal worship at that traditional service, as I witnessed young and old, men and women, representing various cultures and traditions, offering themselves up to God, in ways that made sense in their worlds. For me, it doesn't get much better than this...
So, emergent or not, let's all get in there an play. This morning I go to yet another elder meeting (non-emergent). In the past these were ok but business oriented. Recently they have become great times of worship with close friends. I look forward to getting together with these guys (who are different than me) to spend the morning singing, praying, and listening.

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more confronting

Now here's what grabs me...
Phil Johnson - "Ryle's words here offer some much-needed advice that certain nominally-evangelical bishops [NT Wright] ministering in the morass of modern and post-modern Anglicanism would do well to heed." And then quotes Ryle warning against throwing out Scripture and making defective statements about Scripture.

Dan Phillips - "What Wright says about anastasis is just wonderful, right-on. His defense of the eyewitness character of the Gospels, and his broadsides at Bultmann and his ilk -- simply delightful. But then it comes down to some "touchy" issues, and he waffles, is diffident, double-spoken, tepid." And then goes on warning about failing to boldly uphold the truth.
As I read these posts, both contain excellent thought and warnings that we should heed. But the Johnson article continues in a venomous line of attacks against Wright while the Phillips article spoke with general regard without compromising the warning.

I have to honestly say, the more I read Johnson, the more I question the man's heart (I know...). There are several Phil Johnson's out there and frankly they are doing a great damage to the body of Christ. I originally had "Johnson and MacArthur" but I'm beginning to wonder how much of MacArthur's ranting is his versus his editor Johnson's. Who is influencing whom, I do not know.

The Phillips article ends with "If you and I are not striving to be genuine Christians fulltime and everywhere, will we be genuine Christians anytime, or anywhere?" Excellent!

And Johnson, well...he just doesn't end.

So - do not compromise the Word of truth. Proclaim it boldly. And do it in a manner that is worthy of the high call of Christ our Lord.

Friday, March 24, 2006

how to confront

If you are not a blog comment reader, some of the comments here are getting good. So that it is not lost in the comments, here is one from my friend Randy (ok Brits - stop laughing) that I'd like to pull forward and respond to.
I'm sure we have discussed this before, but what would be your comments on the responsibility of church leaders to protect the flock and use the ministry of discernment? How should a church leader react to popular ministry that is often seen on TV such as Benny Hinn? How should a leader guard the flock from preaching that seems very attractive such as with much of what Schuller and Osteen preach? Or even worse, how does a church leader guard against those who prey on "weak women" such as Mormons and JW's? I agree that a ministry that is chiefly focused on criticizing others is skewed, but how do we practice discernment, and pass that discernment on to those under our care?
The bumper sticker answer is "irrigate your own lawn". Weeds take over where there is no grass or where it is weak. Build on the truth. Don't leave people hungry for anything other than more of the truth. Etc.. To really do this we need orthodoxy, orthopraxy, and orthopathy (right doctrine, right practice, and right motive).

But since that may sound too "emergent" (i.e., avoiding the question) for the pundits, I think that in addition to feeding the sheep (irrigating the lawn), we must confront error and do so up front and public. But there is a right way and a wrong way. John Piper demonstrates the right way. We need to be uncompromising. We need to be specific. We need to not address straw men but rather make an honest effort to properly represent the other side. I've read some stuff about my "ilk" that is not true about what we believe and then the attacks were against those points. I've read characterizations where we have been grouped in with others that are in fact different. I've read attacks on our motives rather than our specific statements, behaviors, or more important the fruit of our ministry. Personally when I see that, I think these watchdogs are helping their flock become poor Christians.

Randy and I had a Mormon friend back in the old factory. I did not know much about his faith other than I thought that it was wrong and that they wore special underwear (Randy pointed that out to me - ask him how he knew). I took an article to the man that explained what Mormons believe and contrasted that to orthodox Christianity. The man read it, he was not offended by what was said about Mormons, in fact he said that was one of the best summaries of his faith that he had read. He just did not agree with the orthodox Christian position. Now that is the way to confront.

I hope that gets at it.

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christian professionals

I'm doing some remote church shopping as we prepare for our move back to the US by listening to mp3 sermons. I listened to four sermons this week from the leading candidate and I have to say, I'm not too impressed. The sermons were informative, interesting, even Biblical, but I realized that the man is a professional speaker and organizer that also happens to be a Christian. He is very good at what he does and I would defend him against the army of folks out there accusing guys like this for selling out, etc.. But the bottom line is, he just isn't a preacher of the Word of God. And sadly, he is one of many. Pulpits are filled with men that really love God and have great communication skills but are in the wrong vocation. They should be cooperate executives or motivational speakers. Their faith would make them excellent ambassadors. But I think they really should stop trying to be preachers.

It is really a struggle to find someone with the heart, knowledge, ability, calling ... sigh ...

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christian academics

In recent posts I've noted that while I'm a fan of NT Wright, some of his comments confuse me. Frankly, I'm not sure I disagree with him because I simply do not understand him. Dan Phillips over at Pyromaniacs writes an excellent (i.e., balanced - not something I find frequently at that blog) and encouraging piece. I love the title. Many of you may not be interested in this sort of thing so I did not copy it to here. But if you are, here you go - "Christian academics: not an oxymoron".

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the gospel

Now here's an unlikely group:
John N. Akers, John Ankerberg, John Armstrong, D.A. Carson, Keith Davy, Maxie Dunnam, Timothy George, Scott Hafemann, Erwin Lutzer, Harold Myra, David Neff, Thomas Oden, J.I. Packer, R.C. Sproul, John Woodbridge, Eric Alexander, C. Fitzsimmons Allison, Bill Anderson, J. Kerby Anderson, Don Argue, Kay Arthur, Myron S. Augsburger, Theodore Baehr, Joel Belz, Henri Blocher, Donald G. Bloesch, Scott Bolinder, John Bolt, Gerald Bray, Bill Bright, Harold O.J. Brown, Stephen Brown, George Brushaber, David Cerullo, Peter Cha, Daniel R. Chamberlain, Bryan Chapell, David K. Clark, Edmund Clowney, Robert Coleman, Chuck Colson, Clyde Cook, Lane T. Dennis, David S. Dockery, Stuart Epperson, James Erickson, Tony Evans, Jerry Falwell, Sinclair Ferguson, Dwight Gibson, Wayne Grudem, Stan N. Gundry, Brandt Gustavson, Corkie Haan, Mimi Haddad, Ben Haden, B. Sam Hart, Bob Hawkins, Jr., Wendell Hawley, Jack W. Hayford, Stephen A. Hayner, D. James Kennedy, Jay Kesler, In Ho Koh, Woodrow Kroll, Beverly LaHaye, Tim LaHaye, Richard Land, Richard G. Lee, Duane Litfin, Crawford Loritts, Max Lucado, John MacArthur, Marlin Maddoux, Bill McCartney, David Melvin, Jesse Miranda, Beth Moore, Peter C. Moore, Pat Robertson, John Rodgers, Adrian Rogers, Doug Ross, Joseph F. Ryan, John Scott, David Short, Ronald J. Sider, Russell Spittler, James J. Stamoolis, Charles F. Stanley, Brian Stiller, John Stott, Joseph Stowell, Stephen Strang, Charles Swindoll, Joni Eareckson Tada, Thomas E. Trask, Jim Henry, Roberta Hestenes, Oswald Hoffman, R. Kent Hughes, Bill Hybels, Kay Cole James, David Jeremiah, Arthur P. Johnston, Howard Jones, Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Kenneth Kantzer, T.M. Moore, Richard J. Mouw, Thomas J. Nettles, Roger Nicole, Luis Palau, Earl R. Palmer, Hee Min Park, Phillip Porter, Paul Pressler, Ray Pritchard, Robert Ricker, Augustin B. Vencer, Jr., Paul L. Walker, John F. Walvoord, Raleigh Washington, Greg Waybright, David F. Wells, Luder Whitlock, Bruce H. Wilkinson, David K. Winter and Ravi Zacharias
What do they have in common? The Gospel! See Steve Camp's post for more. What impresses me is that these diverse, great thinkers were able to come together on anything - thus further demonstrating the power of the Gospel. It would be great if their writings and preaching would continue in the same vein.

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syrian lord's prayer

Thanks to A for this one...

Services in the Syrian Orthodox Church are conducted in Syriac, an ancient language similar to what Jesus spoke. To the left is the text of the Lord's Prayer in Syriac. Listen to Father Tony Kasih, a Syrian Orthodox priest in Zaidal, Syria, sing the Lord's Prayer in Syriac.

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is wright wrong?

Personally, I still do not understand the rants against NT Wright. What I understand from him I like agree with. But the below gives me some insight into why some dislike disagree with him. I do not agree with the pundits that he should be completely written off nor that the Church needs to be warned with intensity of his dangers; but at least on the below I'm confused.

Wood queried Wright:

Do you believe that a significant percentage of mankind will be permanently in hell, as a result of their sin? Do you believe that hell is an objective place, characterized by permanent suffering of an individual? Do you believe that the only way that an individual can avoid hell is to personally repent of his sins, relying on Christ’s actions on earth, during that person’s mortal life? Do you believe that Christ will preside at a final judgment, dividing mankind into two groups, one to eternal heaven and one to eternal hell?"

Wright responded:

I think the best thing is to wait for my next relevant book. Your questions are so thoroughly conditioned by one particular (and to my mind unbiblical) way of speaking about God’s eventual purpose (which, I repeat, is stated in the New Testament not in terms of ‘heaven and hell’ as in mediaeval and subsequent western thought, but in terms of the new heavens and new earth) that it is impossible to answer them as they stand without colluding with misunderstanding. And I repeat, whatever your powers of recall in other instances, I simply cannot have said anything like what you seem to think I must have done. I strongly suspect it was the result of my trying to turn questions with whose presuppositions I was in disagreement into questions with a biblical base which I could answer, and I can well see that this might have resulted in you or someone else imagining I was giving a particular answer to the question you thought I was answering while my intention was very different. Anyway, let’s wait for the book.
As I said, I have learned from what I understood but the above leaves me confused. It seems to be a sophisticated form of tongues. If anyone has the interpretation, I'm open. Seriously, if someone could say what he is saying in simple English (without an anti-Wright bent), I would appreciate it.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

monster thickburgerrrrrrrrr

Thanks Wince (and of course Hardees)... now I can really look forward to the move back to the US ...

The "Monster Thickburger" — two 1/3-pound slabs of Angus beef, four strips of bacon, three slices of cheese and mayonnaise on a buttered sesame seed bun — sells alone for $5.49, $7.09 with fries and a soda and only 1,420 calories!

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who is above all in worship?

Here's a good example of "me'ism" in worship pointed out by Bill. It's hidden so let's see if you spot it.
Above all powers
Above all kings
Above all nature
And all created things
Above all wisdom
And all the ways of man
You were here
Before the world began

Above all kingdoms
Above all thrones
Above all wonders
The world has ever known
Above all wealth
And treasures of the earth
There's no way to measure
What You're worth

Laid behind the stone
You lived to die
Rejected and alone
Like a rose
Trampled on the ground
You took the fall
See it? Of course not because I cut it out. The last two lines of the chorus are:
And thought of me
Above all
So this is a good example of some great lyrics but "tainted" by putting "me" in the center. I don't know Michael W. Smith well enough to say whether or not that was intentional. Nor if it were intentional, if it was put there to try to bring balance to some other issue he might have been addressing. I use this not to critique him, but simply as an example of how we would do well to meditate on the words rather than simply singing. While you may not agree with me on the weakness of these two lines, meditation would at least reveal the greatness of the lines prior to that part.

PS - my recommendation to Bill was to sing the other parts louder ... but having heard him sing, I recant.

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mclaren worship

In an open letter to songwriters, Brian McLaren encourages the following:
  1. more eschatology - that is, more of the Biblical vision of God's future
  2. more mission oriented - that is, less consumerism (me, me, me) and more realization that the church exists for the world
  3. rediscover historic Christian spirituality - we have a rich heritage and we do not always have to reinvent
  4. more songs simply about God - 'nough said
  5. more songs of lament - we should not continue to ignore this aspect of ourselves (although this is a hard one in the cooperate setting since not everyone present may feel lament nor is called to feel it at any particular moment)
I like what's happening in the current worship "scene" and these suggestions would only improve that.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

amazon had it right

They had it right the first time...

Amazon Says Technology, Not Ideology, Skewed Results last week modified its search engine after an abortion rights organization complained that search results appeared skewed toward anti-abortion books. Until a few days ago, a search of Amazon's catalog of books using the word "abortion" turned up pages with the question, "Did you mean adoption?" at the top, followed by a list of books related to abortion. [more]

288 ways to know you are a redneck

For my Ukrainian friend moving to a part of the US where this will be helpful.
  1. More than one living relative is named after a Southern Civil War general.
  2. You think the stock market has a fence around it.
  3. You think the O.J. trial was the big Sunkist and Minutemaid taste test.
  4. You've ever lost a loved one to kudzu.
  5. Your boat has not left the driveway in 15 years.
  6. Your front porch collapses and kills more than three dogs.
  7. You've ever used lard in bed.
  8. Your coffee table used to be a telephone cable spool.
  9. You keep a can of Raid on the kitchen table.
  10. You've ever used a toilet seat as a picture frame.
  11. Your home has more miles on it than your car.
  12. Your Christmas tree is still up in February.
  13. You've ever been arrested for loitering.
  14. You think that potted meat on a saltine is a hors d'ouvre.
  15. There is a stuffed possum anywhere in your house.
  16. You hammer bottle caps into the frame of your front door to make it look nice.
  17. You've ever shot anyone for looking at you.
  18. You own a homemade fur coat.
  19. Your wife can climb a tree faster than your cat.
  20. Your momma has "ammo" on her Christmas list.
  21. You've totaled every car you've ever owned.
  22. There are more than five McDonald's bags currently on the floorboard of your car.
  23. Momma taught you how to flip a cigarette.
  24. There is a wasp nest in your living room.
  25. The Home Shopping Channel operator recognizes your voice.
  26. You give your dad a gallon of Pepto-Bismol for his birthday.
  27. There has ever been crime-scene tape on your front door.
  28. You burn your front yard rather than mow it.
  29. You consider a six-pack and a bug-zapper high-quality entertainment.
  30. Fewer than half of your cars run.
  31. You've ever been kicked out of the zoo for heckling the monkeys.
  32. The taillight covers of your car are made of tape.
  33. Your car has never had a full tank of gas.
  34. Any of your kids were conceived in a car wash.
  35. Your momma has ever been involved in a cuss fight with the principal.
  36. You think a subdivision is part of a math problem.
  37. You've ever bathed with flea and tick soap.
  38. Your good deed for the month was hiding your brother for a few days.
  39. Your wheelbarrow breaks and it takes four relatives to figure out how to fix it.
  40. Your momma doesn't remove the Marlboro from her lips before telling the State Trooper to kiss her a--.
  41. You stand under the mistletoe at Christmas and wait for Granny and cousin Sue-Ellen to walk by.
  42. Your favorite T-shirt is offensive in thirteen states.
  43. You've ever been involved in a custody fight over a huntin' dog.
  44. You're an expert on worm beds.
  45. The dogcatcher calls for a backup unit when he visits your house.
  46. Your wife has ever said, "Come move this transmission so I can take a bath!"
  47. Your family tree does not fork.
  48. The flood history of the area can be seen on your living room walls.
  49. You haul more than U-Haul.
  50. Your momma has ever stomped into the house and announced, "The feud is back on!"
  51. There is a gun rack on your bicycle.
  52. Your wedding was held in the delivery room.
  53. Your soap on a rope doubles as an air freshener.
  54. Your wife's hairdo attracts bees.
  55. Your baby's first words are "Attention K-Mart shoppers."
  56. The antenna on your truck is a danger to low flying airplanes.
  57. Your primary source of income is the pawn shop.
  58. You pick your teeth from a catalog.
  59. You've ever financed a tattoo.
  60. You refer to the time you won a free case of oil as the "day my ship came in."
  61. A ceiling fan has ever ruined your hairdo.
  62. Your mother has been involved in a fist fight at a high school sports event.
  63. You've ever barbecued Spam on the grill.
  64. You own all the components of soap on a rope except the soap.
  65. The best way to keep things cold is to leave'em in the shade.
  66. You've ever raked leaves in your kitchen.
  67. The neighbors started a petition over your Christmas lights.
  68. Your brother-in-law is your uncle.
  69. You entire family has ever sat around waiting for a call from the governor to spare a loved one.
  70. You go to the family reunion to pick up women.
  71. Your grandmother has ever been asked to leave a bingo game because of her language.
  72. You can't tell what color your car is because of the dirt.
  73. You have refused to watch the Academy Awards since "Smokey and the Bandit" was snubbed for best picture.
  74. None of your shirts cover your stomach.
  75. Your only condiment on the dining room table is the economy size bottle of ketchup.
  76. The rear tires on your car are at least twice as wide as the front ones.
  77. You consider "Outdoor Life" deep reading.
  78. You prominently display a gift you bought at Graceland.
  79. You use the term `over yonder' more than once a month.
  80. Birds are attracted to your beard.
  81. The diploma hanging in your den contains the words "Trucking Institute".
  82. Your mother keeps a spit cup on the ironing board.
  83. Your wife's job requires her to wear an orange vest.
  84. You've ever worn a tube top to a wedding.
  85. Bikers back down from your momma.
  86. You were shooting pool when your kids were born.
  87. Your favorite Christmas present was a painting on black velvet.
  88. You think that Dom Perignon is a mafia leader.
  89. Your school fight song was "Dueling Banjos".
  90. You think a chain saw is a musical instrument.
  91. You've ever stolen clothes from a scarecrow.
  92. The most commonly heard phrase at your family reunion is "What the h—l are you looking at, Sh-thead?"
  93. You think that beef jerky and Moon Pies are two of the major food groups.
  94. You've ever shot a deer from inside your house.
  95. The first words out of your mouth every time you see friends are "Howdy!", "HEY!" or "How Y'all Doin'?" (If they respond with the same... they're a redneck too!)
  96. You have more than two brothers named Bubba or Junior.
  97. You've ever stolen toilet paper from a public restroom.
  98. You clean your nails with a stick.
  99. You prefer car keys to Q-tips.
  100. Your Christmas cards have a copy of your butt included.
  101. People are scared to touch your wife's bathrobe.
  102. Your father encourages you to quit school because Larry has an opening on the lube rack.
  103. You think a Volvo is part of a woman's anatomy.
  104. You've ever worn shorts to a funeral home.
  105. You think that the Styrofoam cooler is the greatest invention of all time.
  106. You've ever been too drunk to fish.
  107. You've ever bought a used cap.
  108. You had to remove a toothpick for wedding pictures.
  109. You've ever used a weed eater indoors.
  110. Your momma tore her best dress coon hunting.
  111. You have a rag for a gas cap (on a car that does run).
  112. You look upon a family reunion as a chance to meet `Ms. Right'
  113. You have to go outside to get something out of the 'fridge.
  114. Your richest relative buys a new house and you have to help take the wheels off it.
  115. In an effort to watch your cholesterol, you eat Spam Lite.
  116. Your idea of a seven-course meal is a bucket of KFC and a sixpack.
  117. You go to a Tupperware party for a haircut.
  118. You've ever spray painted your girlfriend's name on an overpass.
  119. Your lifetime goal is to own a fireworks stand.
  120. Someone asks to see your ID and you show them your belt buckle.
  121. Your Junior/Senior Prom had a day care.
  122. The directions to your house include "turn off the paved road".
  123. Your dog and your wallet are both on chains.
  124. Every electrical outlet in your house is a fire hazard.
  125. Your kids are going hungry tonight because you just had to have those Yosemite Sam mud flaps.
  126. You owe the taxidermist more than your annual income.
  127. You fainted when you met Slim Whitman.
  128. You have lost at least one tooth opening a beer bottle.
  129. Jack Daniels makes your list of "most admired people".
  130. You won't stop at a rest area if you have an empty beer can in the car.
  131. Your dog can't watch you eat without gagging.
  132. You have a Hefty bag on the passenger side window of your car.
  133. You have a very special baseball cap, just for formal occasions.
  134. Red Man sends you a Christmas card.
  135. The Salvation Army declines your mattress.
  136. You bought a VCR so you could tape wrestling while you are at work.
  137. Your dad walks you to school because you are both in the same grade.
  138. Your wife has a beer belly and you find it attractive.
  139. Your house doesn't have curtains, but your truck does.
  140. You have started a petition to change the National Anthem to "Georgia on My Mind".
  141. You call your boss "Buddy", on a regular basis.
  142. You consider your license plate personalized because your dad made it in prison.
  143. You have been fired from a construction job because of your appearance.
  144. You need one more hole punched in your card to get a freebie at the House of Tattoos.
  145. You need an estimate from your barber before you get a haircut.
  146. The biggest fashion risk you take is which plaid you'll wear to the 4-H Fair.
  147. You have flowers planted in a bathroom appliance in your front yard.
  148. Someone in your family says "Cum'n heer an' lookit this afore I flush it."
  149. Your wife weighs more then your refrigerator.
  150. You move your refrigerator and the grass underneath it has turned yellow.
  151. You mow your lawn and find a car.
  152. You can spit without opening your mouth.
  153. Going to the bathroom in the middle of the night involves putting on shoes and a jacket and grabbing a flashlight.
  154. You go Christmas shopping for your mom, sister, and girlfriend, and you only need to buy one gift.
  155. You are still holding on to confederate money because you think the South will rise again.
  156. You consider pork and beans to be a gourmet food.
  157. You can amuse yourself for more than an hour with a fly swatter.
  158. You have to go down to the creek to take a bath.
  159. You participate in the "who can spit tobacco the farthest contest".
  160. You roll you hair with soup cans and wash it once a year.
  161. You've never paid for a haircut.
  162. You consider a three-piece suit to be: a pair of overalls, a plaid flannel shirt and thermal underwear.
  163. There is a sheet hanging in your closet and a gun rack hanging in your truck.
  164. You think the Mountain Men in Deliverance were just "misunderstood".
  165. You've ever made change in the offering plate.
  166. The fifth grade is referred to as "your senior year."
  167. You consider a good tan to be the back of your neck and the left arm below the shirtsleeve...
  168. You own at least 20 baseball hats.
  169. You think a 'cursor' is someone who swears a lot.
  170. You know of at least six different ways to bend the bill of a baseball hat.
  171. You can change the oil in your truck without ducking your head.
  172. When you run out of gas, you put gin in the gas tank.
  173. Your screen door has no screen.
  174. Your biggest ambition in live is to "git that big ole coon. The one what hangs 'round over yonder, back'ah Bubba's barn..."
  175. Three quarters of the clothes you own have logos on them.
  176. Your grandfather completely executes the "pull my finger" trick at the family reunion.
  177. When you leave your house, you are followed by federal agents of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, and the only thing you worry about is if you can lose them or not.
  178. You have a house that's mobile and five cars that aren't.
  179. Your gene pool doesn't have a "deep end."
  180. Your `huntin dawg' cost more than the truck you drive him around in.
  181. You have a Hefty bag for a convertible top.
  182. Your belt buckle weighs more than three pounds.
  183. You have an Elvis Jell-O mold.
  184. You have the taxidermist's number on speed-dial.
  185. You own more cowboy boots than sneakers.
  186. You've been to a funeral and there were more pick-ups than cars.
  187. You have a picture of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, or Elvis over your fireplace.
  188. You just bought an 8-track player to put in your car.
  189. There are four or more cars up on blocks in the front yard.
  190. It's easier to spray weed killer on your lawn than mow it.
  191. You think that John Deere Green, Ford Blue, and Primer Gray are the three of the primary colors.
  192. You've ever climbed a water tower with a bucket of paint to defend your sister's honor.
  193. Your vehicle has a two-tone paint job--primer red and primer gray.
  194. The tobacco chewers in your family aren't just men.
  195. Your momma calls you over to help, cause she has a flat tire on her house
  196. The ASPCA raids your kitchen.
  197. You have to check in the bottom of your shoe for change so you can get Grandma a new plug of tobacco.
  198. You can't get married to your sweetheart because there is a law against it.
  199. You celebrate Groundhog Day because you believe in it.
  200. Your kid takes a siphon hose to show-and-tell.
  201. You've been on TV more than 5 times describing the sound of a tornado.
  202. You fish in your above ground pool and catch something.
  203. When a sign that says "Say No To Crack!" reminds you to pull up your jeans.
  204. Your beer can collection is considered a tourist attraction in your hometown.
  205. Getting a package from your post office requires a full tank of gas in the truck.
  206. Your wife wants to stop at the gas station to see if they've got the new Darrell Waltrip Budweiser wall clock.
  207. You dated your daddy's current wife in high school.
  208. You're moved to tears every time you hear Dolly Parton singing "I Will Always Love You".
  209. You grow Vidalia onions, rather than considering them a gourmet item.
  210. Your Momma would rather go the racetrack than the Kennedy Center.
  211. The most serious loss from the earthquake was your Conway Twitty record collection (your insurance man is a redneck too if he pays you for it).
  212. You have spent more on your pickup truck than on your education.
  213. You've ever hit a deer with your car deliberately.
  214. You can tell your age by the number of rings in the bathtub.
  215. Your momma gives you tips on how to sneak booze into sporting events.
  216. Exxon and Conoco have offered you royalties for your hair.
  217. Your dad is also your favorite uncle.
  218. Your classes at school were cancelled because the path to the restroom was flooded.
  219. During your senior year you and your mother had homeroom together.
  220. You're a lite beer drinker, because you start drinking when it gets light.
  221. On your first date you had to ask your Dad to borrow the keys to the tractor.
  222. Your parakeet knows the phrase "Open up, Police!"
  223. You saved lots of money on your honeymoon by going deer hunting.
  224. In tough situations you ask yourself, "What would Curly do?"
  225. Taking your wife on a cruise means circling the Dairy Queen.
  226. You think the last words to the Star Spangled Banner are "Play Ball..."
  227. You have a color coordinating rope that ties down your car hood.
  228. You bring your dog to work with you.
  229. Your grandmother can correctly execute the sleeper hold.
  230. You've ever held somebody up with a caulk gun.
  231. You have every episode of "Hee Haw" on tape.
  232. Your favorite hunting dog has a bigger tombstone than your grandfather.
  233. Your masseuse uses lard.
  234. Your wife's best shoes have steel toes.
  235. You use your fishing license as a form of I.D.
  236. On stag night, you take a real deer.
  237. You use a 55 Chevy as a guesthouse.
  238. Your back porch is bigger than your house.
  239. There is more oil in your cap than in your car.
  240. You think a hot tub is a stolen bathroom fixture.
  241. A full-grown ostrich has fewer feathers than your cowboy hat.
  242. An expired license plate means another decoration for your living room wall.
  243. You think Old Yeller is a movie about your brother's tooth.
  244. You watch Little House on the Prairie for decorating tips.
  245. Your secret family recipe is illegal.
  246. Your handkerchief doubles as your shirtsleeve.
  247. Your baby's favorite teething ring is the garden hose in the front yard.
  248. Your coat-of-arms features kudzu.
  249. Your sophisticated show-biz cousin is a rodeo clown.
  250. You think people that send out graduation announcements are show-offs.
  251. Your best ashtray is a turtle shell.
  252. Your pocketknife has ever been referred to as Exhibit A
  253. You think cur is a breed of dog.
  254. People hear your car long before they see it.
  255. Your four-year-old is a member of the NRA.
  256. Your satellite dish payment delays buying school clothes for the kids.
  257. Your most expensive shoes have numbers on the heels.
  258. Your wife has ever burned out an electric razor.
  259. Your birth announcement included the word "rug rat".
  260. You've ever hitchhiked naked,
  261. You're turned on by a woman who can field dress a deer.
  262. You use the O on a stop sign to sight your new rifle.
  263. Your bumper sticker says, "My other car is a combine."
  264. The gas pedal on your car is shaped like a bare foot.
  265. The highlight of your parties is when you flip out your false teeth.
  266. Your wife keeps a can of Vienna sausage in her purse.
  267. Taking a dip has nothing to do with water.
  268. There are more than ten lawsuits currently pending against your dog.
  269. You take a fishing pole to Sea World.
  270. The hood and one door are a different color from the rest of your car.
  271. You've ever filled your deer tag on the golf course.
  272. You've ever shot somebody over a mall parking space.
  273. Santa Claus refuses to let your kids sit in his lap.
  274. Your toilet paper has page numbers on it.
  275. You think mud rasslin' should be an Olympic sport.
  276. The receptionist checks the rattraps at your place of business.
  277. You list your parole officer as a reference.
  278. There are more fish on your wall than pictures.
  279. Motel 6 turns off the lights when they see you coming.
  280. There are more dishes in your sink than in your cabinets.
  281. You think a turtleneck is a key ingredient in soup.
  282. You've ever stood in line to get your picture taken with a freak of nature.
  283. Your anniversary present was getting the septic tank pumped.
  284. Your local ambulance has a trailer hitch.
  285. You watch cartoons long after your kids get bored.
  286. You think the French Riviera is a foreign car.
  287. You think you are an entrepreneur because of the "Dirt for Sale" sign in the front yard.
  288. You're still scalping tickets after the concert is over.
Best wishes...

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