A Little About a Lot of Things from Around the InterWeb

Some of these I remember very well, having grown up in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Fifty Ugliest Cars of the Past 50 Years: A Half-Century of Automotive Eyesores – BusinessWeek: “”

(Via Matt Perman.)

I plugged this via my Facebook status a few days ago, but wanted to give it another plug here:

3 Pages a Day – Joshua Harris: “”

I’m trying to give it a go, but my problem is that the books I’m reading are at my study at church and the time I usually have to read this type of extra material… is at home!

(Via Joshua Harris.)

I came across this in the suggested feeds from Google reader:

Amazing Mini Egg House by dmvA: “”

Not sure I’d want to live in it, but wouldn’t mind giving it a go for the summer. I’m open to offers from the company, so just contact me. Thanks.

(Via Google Reader.)

I might actually try this. I know my son-in-law would… he’s into “extreme biking.” But this looks safe. Really. Check it out.

Kolelinia / Martin Angelov | ArchDaily: “”

(Via Google Reader.)

And I’m thinking that those who watch “Biggest Loser,” “American Idol,” “Lost,” or “Survivor,” are probably doomed to die in the next year. I’m just sayin’…

Too much TV may mean earlier death – CNN.com: “”

(Via Google Reader.)

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A Book I’m Enjoying

I’m currently reading, to review, a book published by Grace Acres Press, a small group with the larger Baker Publishing house. It’s title: Spiritual Maturity – the road to Wonderland. the author is Bruce Baker (I’ll tell you more about him later).

This is proving to be a very enjoyable read. The format is set up to be almost like a devotional or study. Chapters are short, and at the end of each there are questions to probe your thinking and help you move on to the next chapter. At the beginning of each chapter, Baker uses a quote from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, a story that most are familiar with only because of the Alice in Wonderland theme, but probably not from actually reading the whole book themselves. Each quote helps set up the theme of that particular chapter.

This fascinates me. At first, my initial thought was, “Oh no, another of these attempts to over-spiritualize something that is not spiritual (Through the Looking Glass) and to under-spiritualize that which is truly spiritual (the Bible).” However, Baker doesn’t do any of that. It’s really quite refreshing.

Baker also finds nothing helpful about the modern trend toward spiritual formation – clearly, a concept that has captured Christian book publsihing and selling. This too got my attention. It’s a thought I’ve had for quite some time. It’s just frustrating that it always seems to take someone to express these thoughts first, confirming what I thought in the first place. Ah well.

I’ll keep you informed as I read and then post my final review for all to see. But I can already tell you, only about 1/8th of the way through, that I’m really going to like this book.

I’m Working on Figuring Out Which Church This Is

Every once in a while, I stumble across LarkNews.com. I really need to bookmark them and read them a bit more frequently. One caution I was given about reading satire “continuously” – don’t. It’ll rot your brain. No, that’s not right. Oh yeah, don’t. It’ll harden your heart and make you cynical. And goodness knows, I don’t need to be more cynical than I already am! Anyway, check out this article.

ROCHESTER, Minn. — At The Circle, a young, innovative church which meets in a renovated bus depot, there is no pulpit, platform or pastor, as such. The congregation rejects the labels “Christian” and “congregation,” preferring “followers of Jesus” and “friendship community.”

There are no ushers, but rather “helpers.”

There is no worship team, but rather “God artists.”

And woe to anyone who affixes traditional church labels to any of it.

“God’s doing a new thing here,” says Mitch Townsend, the leader of the church. He shuns the “pastor” label and insists people call him, “Hey, man,” or simply “Dude.” If someone slips and calls him “pastor,” he bristles and gently rebukes them.

“We got rid of all those old labels,” he says. “There’s no going back.”

At the church office, which they never call a church office but rather “the Hub,” secretaries, or “community action facilitators” as they are called here, tap-tap on computers (which they still call computers) and take calls.

When a visitor slips up and refers to The Circle’s “sanctuary,” Dude Townsend cuts him short.

“Listen, it’s not a sanctuary, it’s a meeting place, a gathering place,” he says, flushing red.

“Sorry, pastor,” the visitor says.

“Not pastor,” says Townsend. “Dude, or friend. Or just hey, Mitch.”

“Sorry, Dude Mitch,” the visitor says uncomfortably, and slinks away. Mitch quickly goes to him and hugs him.

“We’re all about love and freedom here,” he says. “I know it’s hard to get used to.”

At a Sunday morning “gathering,” as services must be called, people sit in chairs arranged in circle around a “focal point” (not a platform) and listen to the team of God-artists play instruments and sing “songs of adoration and devotion to the Creator,” as opposed to praise and worship music. The gathered “posse of Jesus followers” is free to sing along and to express themselves in any way that seems “real and authentic.”

“We strive to be genuine here,” says non-pastor “Hey, Jim” Richards, who in another setting might be called an associate pastor. “It’s about being who you are, not fitting into a pre-determined box.”

Before Dude Mitch’s personal sharing time (which markedly resembles a sermon), one visitor raises her hand and says, “Is there going to be an altar call? Because I really want to give my life to Jesus today.”

Dude Mitch answers quickly, “We don’t have altar calls here; we have ‘God moments’ or ‘Creator re-connects.’ And we don’t say ‘give your life to Jesus,’ but you may begin a lifelong love relationship with the Creator-Friend, if you like. But please wait until we are done with sharing time.”

After the service, “new friends” join in the “kick-back hall” for refreshments and conversation with the Dudes and other Hub personnel. They may also join a mid-week “hang-out crew” of 10-12 people which meets in a home, and which is steadfastly not referred to as a “small group.”

“Anyone who wants a break from normal, rigid church life is welcome at The Circle,” says Townsend. •

All content © 2003 LarkNews.com. All rights reserved.

I think I know which church in Rochester they’re talking about, but I’m still doing a bit more investigating before I reveal any names.

On the serious side, can this be said to be a “true church” if it abandons even Scriptural terms/names because they don’t want to offend and they want to appear “cool” to the world?

What do you think?

Yeah, I know… more on Resolutions

Did I ever tell you I don’t care for or make resolutions? Well, maybe I’ll make an exception for this one:


(click here to see an enlarged version of this comic)

Begin the Year with Resolutions? I don’t think so…

I’ve already gone on record about not making resolutions. Here are some good reasons why I don’t –


(click here to see an enlarged version of this comic)


(click here to see an elarged version of this comic)

End the Year with Something Wonderful

I suppose one could say that I almost detest TV shows like "America’s Got Talent," "American Idol," and the like. Usually all it shows is that America really doesn’t have talent; we have an affinity for glitsch, flash and spangle, and exhibitionism. There have been a few singers who are decent, one or two who are quite good. However, most couldn’t hold a note on tune for their life.

Here, however, is a clip from the Ukranian version of "America’s Got Talent." I don’t know if it goes by the same name, but the format seems similiar. However, this woman shows real talent of the artistic variety. At first, you wonder how this can "entertain." But entertain is not what it does; it moves and stirs something deep within you. Watch and enjoy… and hope beyond hope that America’s versions could try to hold the candle the artist uses.

Ending the Year Around the Blogosphere

Here are some of the things cluttering my mind after searching the web and a few of my favorite blogs. Enjoy.

Dave (I’m not making this up) Barry (always funny) gives a great recap of 2009. Please take my advice: don’t drink anything while reading Dave Barry, unless you’re the strange type of person who enjoys liquid squirting out your nose!
(HT: Gene Veith)

Dan Phillips, of TeamPyro, comments on why he believes in blogging, and why all the bloggers who are reporting the demise of blogging do so on their blogs. Good stuff (just remember, the first part is very tongue-in-cheek).
(HT: The Pyromaniancs)

I once had to (read: forced to because it was the only English class available) take Poetry 101 in college. I dreaded its approach. However, I almost enjoyed it (our instructor was a bit weird) and actually learned something. Erica’s daughter, Heather, has had to take up poetry for a college class and gives some really good examples here.
(HT: Erica)

I don’t do resolutions as a rule, but goals might be a different sort of beast. Stephen Altrogge might be putting salami on his resolutions list of things to give up this year. First part – hilarious. Second part – very good and challenging. Check it out.

Many people set out to read the Bible through each year. I wonder how many actually make it? Anyway, Crossway is offering ten – count’em, ten different Bible reading plans to choose from. 

By now, you’ve probably seen those word clouds over at Wordle. Well, there’s a cool site that has posted sixty-six clouds, one for each book of the Bible. Pretty cool.
(HT: Gene Veith)

Finally, it would be difficult to end a year with noting some of the great Fails that have appeared. This one, for those of us in Minnesota, is particularly noteworthy.

epic fail pictures
see more Epic Fails