Tag Archives: author

This Blog is moving!

Moving a house, LA

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All previous posts and comments have moved too.
This blog will be a
read only site, until it is phased out, in the near future.

Thanks for visiting here. I can’t wait to see you at the New blog.

7 Reasons Why my Blog will make you cry LESS than Jon Acuff’s blog

I’ve known Jon Acuff for few years now. We have the same agent. And he’s even given me an invitation to write on his blog. (Here’s the post). I was a fan of Stuff Christians Like long before Jon wrote his first book, called, well, surprisingly Stuff Christian Like. And even long before he was selling ads to….what?! NBC… (what the heck? wow. whoa. Jon Jon, way to go.) Oh! and even way back (sort of ) when he was using his spy name “Jon Christopher”… seemingly to throw weaker fans off his scent.

This is all to say that this post isn’t to actually rival Jon’s awesomeness, or his blog. (Jon gets more views in two minutes than I get all week.)

In fact, I’ll tell you outright that Jon’s new book called Gazelles, Baby Steps, and 37 Other Things Dave Ramsey Taught Me About Debt promises to be awesome. And Jon delivers in a way that could compete with Octomom. Delivers.

Is this a “coattails post”… like something written to ride on another writer’s popularity and winsome humor to get more readers? Of course. [And frankly, I’d be surprised if you’d need me to ask such an obvious rhetorical question. Will I always ask rhetorical questions?]

Anyway: I highly recommend you order Jon’s book for a loved one for the holidays. It makes a great gift. A limited time special here will give it to you for only $10. Laugh, Learn about Money, and Linger on the comedic stylings of Jon Acuff.

If you’re a Jon Acuff fan, you already know all these things, and I hope you’ve stayed with me. We all must be on the same page. You know this. I know this. Jon knows this. We’re a fan club, er…  family, er…community…team. So we have to move like one. As. one.

7 Reasons Why my Blog will make you cry LESS than Jon Acuff’s blog

Jon Acuff: Funny man. Serious man. Modern Legend.

 

 

1. Unlike Jon, I only rarely talk about orphans. Right now, I’m tearing up just thinking about a person (Jon) writing about orphans. So this has to be true. You need more proof, then click here. Orphans break out the water works like nothing else can. The only thing worse for your tissue stock pile is an orphan with cancer. That cute bald head. The sweet bloated belly. Horrible stuff. I’m changing the subject. ugh.

2. Jon can make plenty of us cry, just by being a tad more serious, on Serious Wednesdays. That’s skill folks. I’ll never do that to you. It just not in me. (I mean I don’t haz the skillz) For future notice, I happen to be sillier on Wednesday than Jon is, thereby making my ability to incite tears pale by comparison.

3. Jon writes touching things about his kids, that are profound and can make your eyes as moist and irritated as rubbing a hot chili pepper on your iris. Go ahead get a chili pepper and see for yourself.

4. Jon raises money for orphans. Frickin’ orphans, dude. If that’s not so sweet to be tear jerking, than you must be the Tin Man–pre-Emerald City–my friend.

5. When Jon cries, we cry. More proof here. Don’t miss the comments section. About 400 people admit to crying. Unbelievable. I never cried in an airport except when I’ve been with a TSA.

6. Jon loves his wife, and it shows. Witness this. Honestly, where the heck are my tissues? (I don’t know if people even know if I’m married-which I am. There I said it.)

7. Jon is generous. He’s always helping out struggling writers, ahem, and plenty of other people. Plenty. It’s almost too good to be true. (I have NEVER given iPads, or shuffles, or really any Apple products at all. I’m so lame, but unfortunately not lame enough to stir your tears of pity.)

Have I made my case?

(If you enjoyed this post, please come back soon, or click the “update button” for … you guessed it–post updates. Thanks.) 🙂

P.S.
If you are a blogger that offers fewer crying opportunities than Jon does, tell us your blog, and we’ll stop by.

Yes, I have a fan page.

Welcome Schuylkill & Berks News readers (SBN- Facebook link). (Related to my column: If you have good traveling tips, please leave them in the comments section.)

Some of you have been wondering if you can “LIKE” me.

This is perfectly understandable.

You have a battle raging within…or maybe you don’t know what I’m talking about…or both…

Um. So.

We all like to be well-liked, but in this case, if you haven’t figured, I’m speaking about Facebook. It’s a so-called fan page. Even though I’m not my biggest fan, in a desperate attempt at self-actualization, I created my own fan page. Pathetic. I know. But wait.

If I could have changed the name to “Fun page” I would have. It’s really all Facebook’s fault. It’s not vanity. You would do the same thing, if you were backed into a corner. And what a corner…

What if, you’re Not on Facebook?
very bad. Your punishment is to leave a comment explaining why. 🙂

OKAY! I just snapped, a little. Sorry ’bout that. (See why spiritual practices are indispensable? Imagine if I didn’t do them. Yes. We’d all be sorry.) Um. Yes. Where were we?

Right. The Page Facebook page called “Triple Dog Dare” is my way to connect with friends, fans, and the random person who likes to read something humorous.

(Image yourself holding a full pail of funny…See, you’ll love it.)

Click a photo below to get there; and remember, I love you, more than cheddar cheese, despite its power, and I mean that!

If you “Like” and “Share” to your FB page, I’ll leave you a witty quip on your Wall, and you’ll actually like it, (Help me know who you are, and/or confirm you did this, right here, or on my Facebook wall).

Happy Autumn, ya’ll.

-Lisa

Facts and Fiction: 10 “impressive” things (I may have done)

by monteregina FLICKR

Okay, when you become wildly famous, rumors circulate, and some of them must be dispelled. I wouldn’t know much about that.

Just have some fun with this:

1. I invented Pop Tarts

Fiction. But I do like them.

2. I am an illegal alien of African descent.

Fiction. I was born in Puerto Rico, but the island is an American Territory. African descent? My Nana was a bit mum and shifty-eyed on that.

3. I’ve been hit by a bus.

Fact. I’m writing about that right now. Your appetite is now whetted, yeah?

4. Author Donald Miller wrote me a personal note.

Fact. It involved something about Paraguay and paper, but I don’t want to embarrass him too much at the moment.

5. I wrote Hebrews.

Fiction. But, It’d be great to write a book about my husband who makes me coffee each morning, and it could be called, He-brews: All about Hymns and Hers. (Okay, that’s but a working title) Also, I wrote a mediation in the Holy Bible: Mosaic. But, that’s not really the same thing, is it?

6. I’ve been shot out of a canon.

Fiction. But, I’ve both shot a Canon (camera), and written about the (biblical) canon.

7. I’m allergic to bananas.

Faction… half-in-half. Unripe bananas make the roof of my mouth feel like it’s sort of dry, splitting open, and raw. Ripe bananas? No problem.

8. I’m bilingual.

Let’s not get carried away.

9. My son can count cards, like Rainman.

Fiction. Nathan has autism, but his cool savant-type of qualities are limited to paper 3D models and legos. (So far, not all that marketable.)

10. I’ve stayed in Prague.

Fact. And I like to call it Praha.

Now you try.

1. List 1 fiction and 1 fact, and we’ll make a guess.

2. Guess what the photo is.

Featured Guest Writer- Professor Doug Jackson (not a futurist)

Professor Doug Jackson

Today’s Featured Writer has something to say about the future of the church. But, he has an altogether different perspective, than our previous guest writer, John O’Keefe, and actually, most people. And this, in a nutshell, is Doug Jackson. But you could ever squeeze him into a nutshell, so never mind. He is a thoughtful and gifted thinker, a searching pilgrim, a devoted Christian, and a baking whiz. And, he’s topped with more than a modest dollop of wisecrackiness.

Please enjoy and interact with Doug’s contribution.

Mini-Bio: Doug Jackson

Director of Logsdon Programs, Instructor of Spiritual Formation at South Texas School of Christian Studies, in Corpus Christi, TX.

  • D.Min. – Truett Seminary ( 2006)
  • M.Div. – Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (1985)
  • B.A. – English Literature, Grand Canyon College (1982)

The Church with a Future

-Doug Jackson

John O’Keefe is a futurist.  I find that intimidating as heck.  Personally, I’m a traditionalist.  I can quantify the difference.  Tramping through the jungle, a futurist and a traditionalist happen on some tiger tracks.  “You track him,” suggests the traditionalist, “and find out where he’s going.  I’ll backtrack and find out where he’s been.”

There isn’t even a cool name for the preferred direction for my arrow of time.  “Futurist” conjures up images of, well, guys with shaven heads and soul patches.  “Traditoinalist” calls up images of guys with bald heads (which is SO not the same thing) and no soul at all.  This part I can at least work on.  I think from now on instead of “traditionalist,” I’ll call myself a “past-er.”

So what can a past-er say to the church’s future?  If there is, in the words of T. S. Eliot’s J. Alfred Prufrock, “time for a hundred visions and revisions” of the people of God in community, how much time do we have (and should we allow) for a rear-vision?  Not too much, I don’t guess.  Accordingly, I want to state a thesis and offer three theories.  My thesis is that, whatever the church OF the future looks like, the church WITH a future will be the one with a past.

To speak of the church OF the future is simply to make a chronological observation.  It means “the church that isn’t here yet.”  It doesn’t tell us much about what this church will do or how long it will last.  By the church WITH a future I mean the local community with staying power.  And this church, I believe, has a future precisely because it has a past.  Which leaves my three notions of what such a church looks like.

First, I believe that the church with a future cares less about the draft of its craft than the depth of its ocean.  In his eightieth sonnet, Shakespeare admits to his chick that other poets can praise her better.  So why should he keep scribbling?  Then the bard continues:

But since your worth, wide as the ocean is,

The humble as the proudest sail doth bear,

My saucy bark inferior far to his

On your broad main doth willfully appear.

Your shallowest help will hold me up afloat,

Whilst he upon your soundless deep doth ride.

In other words, what matters is that her merit can bear the burden of grand praises and meager ones. I come from a generation of ministers who learned that good meant big so bigger meant better.  I think the church with a future looks back on the mighty acts of God in history and realizes that the Queen Mary of the megachurch and the rowboat dinghy of the corner congregation all float on the vast sea of God’s greatness, and that plumbing this depth, not scaling our own impressive rigging, is what counts.

Second, I believe that the church with a future cares more about reading its story than writing its narrative.  “Narrative” seems to be a big word in church these days.  As far as I can tell, it has a lot to do with composing our own future in a compelling way that attaches single acts of worship or service to a greater purpose.  I’m all for that, but I think it is important to remember that, at best, we’re writing one chapter in a very long book whose plot is already clearly laid out.  This even works at the local church level.  Eugene Peterson warns us in The Contemplative Pastor that, “the cure of souls takes time to read the minutes of the previous meeting, a meeting more likely than not at which I was not present.”

We find those minutes recorded in church history and church hymnals, two documents which have fallen from favor in my own denomination, where we seem to believe that the church poll-vaulted from Pentecost over several regrettable centuries until she landed safely in our own generation.  That’s why we jettisoned a songbook that came to us polished by millennia of theological mulling on the part of the worldwide body of Christ and opted instead for toe-tappers and hand-clappers that can give us no idea of who we are.

I’m not knocking contemporary music, nor do I believe the Spirit quit inspiring songwriters somewhere around the time Fanny Crosby died.  But because more recent music has not had the advantage of the filtering years, I would like to apply C. S. Lewis’ dictum about books to the business of congregational singing:  “After (singing) a new (song), never allow yourself another new one till you have (sung) an old one in between.  If that is too much, you should at least (sing) one old one to every three new ones.”  (I should admit here that Lewis disliked ALL hymns because he thought the poetry was bad.  He’s probably right, but to me it seems that their theology is rather good.)

Finally, I believe that the church with a future cares more about present faithfulness than future viability.  Because the church of the future will be a mess.  Do what we will (and I hope we will), she will remain a morass of carnality and littleness and arguments over service times and carpet samples for the new fellowship hall.  And she will be the Body of Christ, the one institution Jesus ever promised to care about, and one which he said would sit on an unshakable foundation.

So the church with a future doesn’t spend too much time reading the chicken guts of the changing culture and dealing a Tarot deck of trends.  She doesn’t cross with sliver the grasping palms of earringed “consultants” ensconced in dark tents of occult insider info.

Lewis’ Screwtape rightly warns his protégé Wormwood that the proper focus of human endeavor is the junction of Right Now and Forever which leads us to ask what we need to do in the former in order to serve the latter.  But “the future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity.”

The beauty of futurists like John is that they won’t let us rest in Merlin’s tower forever gazing at some ecclesiastical zodiac; they keep demanding that we do something about this stuff.  They refuse to let us fall into Screwtape’s trap of forgetting that the future is not (Screwtape again) “a promised land which favoured heroes attain,” but rather “something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”

In short, I should simply say that the Church is the church with a future.  For two thousand years we have hijacked her with our high-handedness, betrayed, bureaucratized, bushwhacked and bamboozled her, tarted her up, sold her out, locked her in and dragged her down.  We have made her impertinent, irrelevant, irreverent and irritating.  We have used her to camouflage our carnality and let the slimming stripes of the martyrs’ scars hide the midriff bulge of our overfed carnality.  “And for all this,” the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins reminds us (if I may take a large liberty), Christ’s church

. . . is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things; 10
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over Christ’s bent
(Bride) broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

What feedback do you have for Doug?

Featured Guest Blogger: CHAD ESTES!

I’ve been enjoying Chad’s blog, and social media shout outs for a while now; so I was quite excited, when this busy guy agreed to guest post here. It’s a joy for me to share things with readers here, including people. 

Chad Estes

 

Chad is a legend. Even “Biblical Learning Blog” (at http://www.biblecollege.org)  included his blog, Captain’s Blog, in their list of Top 50 Ecumenical Blogs. So, it’s really an honor to have him here.

When I asked if he would be a guest blogger, Chad mentioned that wanted to share his heart, and I hope you soak in his contribution.

Leave your comments, afterwards, and show him what a polite readership I am fortunate enough to have by visiting his site, and to say “thank you.” 

Chad, Thank you!

I Want You to Want Me

-Chad Estes

        What we learned on the schoolyard playground seems to hold true in life. Those with the mad skills are the ones in demand. Those who can’t keep their eye on the ball, or catch an easy pop fly are picked to play right field and bat at the end of the order. This peer rejection is like the sting of a wasp, and unless you get off the field, you will probably get hurt by the same stinger, over and over again. 

    Adults play this same game. We want to team up with those people who benefit us, and help us win. We do this in business and in social circles. We even do this in church. Those on the outside of our margins–because of divorce, financial status, education levels, or addictive behavior issues, maynot be the first ones invited to our home fellowships. It isn’t their children that we invite to spend the night with our children. 

   But actually my thoughts about rejection aren’t about being picked last; it is the rejection that comes from being picked first. 

What? 

Yes, there is also a rejection issue with being picked first on a team because, more often than not, you are being picked for what you can do instead of who you are.  

     This is acceptable as long as you can keep up with the performance levels, but if your stats ever start to stumble, so will your value to the team. 

     It would be nice if this didn’t happen in Christian circles but unfortunately, it does.

Many churches and ministries recruit to a position based on a person’s perceived contribution value (Do they have good speaking skills? Can they lead a team? Do they agree with my direction? Will they serve this vision?) like it was written on stone tablets. But, when recruiting is all based on performance there will be a day when those skills will slip, or someone, even more qualified will come along. And when our positions are challenged, we may resort to some sort of spiritual steroids to help keep us on the field of play. The bad thing is these unnatural growth hormones actually stunt spiritual development It’s a cheap trick. 

       Today, I had a meeting where I was being recruited because of my ministry skills. But, as I drove home, I realized I was actually feeling the sting of rejection even though I’d been offered a position. The recruiter wasn’t really interested in me as much as she was interested in what I could do for her. She doesn’t really know me, nor does she know my heart. And unfortunately with her priorities all about her vision, she never will take the time to know what my heart is about. And so though it is a heady offer, it is a path that leads to performing, pretending, and pain. 

       My real value is my heart, not my skills. The skills are deteriorating with age. My heart is in the process of being renewed.

                  What I really want out of this life is to be picked by someone to be on their team, or be their friend not, because I’m a good player, or that I fit a niche, but simply because they want to be with me.

How about you?

  • Which rejection hurts you more—the kind from not being included, or the kind from being selected for performance-based reasons?
     
  • What do you suggest are ways to build relationships outside of these judgments and expectations? 

Big Prize Friday #2 -(UPDATE)

UPDATE- WE HAVE A WINNER. CONGRATS TO LISA! 

(PLEASE note: Not shown in the picture, but also part of the prize -chocolate-)

Shown here is a fantastic book by Becky Garrison-Oh, and it’s autographed! (See how to get this awesome prize below!)

A fitting prize combo!

 

Here’s a book synopsis from Powell Books:

A challenge has been issued on matters of faith and Becky Garrison meets it head on in this witty yet poignant answer to the Anti-God gurus Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett.

Becky Garrison, religious satirist and senior contributing editor for “The Wittenberg Door,” is taking a stand. Where most Christians assume the character of the Cowardly Lion chanting, “I do believe, I do believe, I do believe,” Garrison refuses to simply thrust tracts at these self-proclaimed infidels.

Instead, Garrison steels her pen and takes on the ungodly program of the New Atheists, skewering each argument with her sharp satiric wit. Garrison turns aside the atheists’ assault without ignoring its real criticisms, namely, the church’s inadequate response to war, evolution, medical ethics, social justice, and other important issues in the post-9/11 world.

This from Becky:

I penned The New Atheist Crusaders and Their Unholy Grail at the request of Thomas Nelson, who wanted a satirical response to a select group of best selling authors, who in my view seemed to be behaving as badly as their fundamentalist counterparts. Both sides presented a black and white view of the world that reduced centuries of Christian and scientific thinking into easily digestible and often inaccurate soundbites. Such exchanges may make for entertaining cable news programming but they fail to present an faithful depiction of the Christian faith.

Since the publication of this book I’ve have the privilege of dialoguing with thoughtful freethinkers in my discussions with people like Greg Epstein, author of Good without God (http://www.harvardhumanist.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1&Itemid=30) and the Purple State of Mind (http://www.purplestateofmind.com) guys, as well as contributing  regularly to Religion Dispatches (http://www.religiondispatches.org) and Killing the Buddha (http://killingthebuddha.com). I’ve found a group of folks, who decry the excesses of religious empires that threaten to demolish the wall separating church from state by siding with my ancestor Roger Williams, who coined the term “soul liberty” to denote the freedom of all to believe according to their own conscience. In addition, we acknowledge that religion and science can live in harmony without producing some faith based pseudo-science or a scientific world consists of cold hard facts that’s totally devoid of meaning.  Also, we tend to roll our eyes at the latest biblical brands du jour albeit evangelical, prosperity gospel, power progressive, emergent, or New Monasticism that end up marketing certain missional mavericks as though they were the Messiah instead of following the living Christ.

What we share in common is a quest to explore what we share in common with our shared humanity in the hopes of addressing many of the concerns facing our world. My hope is that we can turn down the white noise of the New Atheists and then tune in to each other.

How can you get this great prize?

Becky thought this one up herself. This is her photo. Give it a caption. One winner will be picked.

Also-if you have questions about the book, or for Becky, leave them here, and she’ll reply. Fun, huh?

 

Awkward sign from Becky's trip to Canterbury Cathedral