31 December 2004

A wedding message...

I was invited to speak at Cory and Lyndsay Pina's wedding tomorrow.

I will be preaching from the text from Genesis 2:25 and will use PowerPoint.

Happy New Years.

18 December 2004

An open comment to Sean about Tertium Quid...

To understand this blog go to Sean Oldroyd's blog, "everything that increases me" first and read TERTIUM QUID

Tertium quid is the way of life, Sean. It leaves the two dimensional world of liberal/conservative, traditional/contemporary, black/white... etc. It is as if you drew a straight line on a piece of paper five inches long and on one end you mark a number one and on the other end you marked a number two and the tertium quid would be if you marked the number three on your shirt. It leaves the field. We keep thinking we need to stay on the piece of paper in order to have peace but the marks that use to be so far apart have melted into each other. They both have lost the reality of the spirit and is now doing everything it can to keep people within the line thus retaining power and influence. When influence is lost, power begins by intimidation not love.

I believe we are again at the place where many people are no longer listening to the loud speaker that is yelling, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, pay no attention..." and are beginning to draw back the curtain to see a bigger reality. It just doesn't make sense anymore. For me, I was afraid of being liberal when I quit thinking conservative. That is not the opposite, the opposite is tertium thinking. Thinking in truth instead of dogma. I had a conversation with a camp guy a few years back and he was saying it is easier to teach doctrine to the youth because truth is subjective. Again on the left/right plane.

The idea is not to come up with a new idea to be of tertium quid, but to seek what is it that God is doing and do that. I believe most of it is in LOVE. God acts off the paper most of the time and His greatest was what we are celebrating now... the birth of a redeemer that was born in a donkey stable instead of the Warrior plotting out the overthrow of the occupying forces. His life is what we should be living, it will not be centered around style, candles, and pews but it will be in hearts, homes, offices, coffeehouses, Italian restaurants, and other such places of worship by cooks, campers, accountants, and barristas.

"For unto us a child is born..."

16 December 2004

Gotta get better...

I am leading worship and preaching Sunday night. I hope to lead us in worship through a meditation with the carols and such. I don't have much voice but the spirit is willing. I am being touched by the new hope in a child...

15 December 2004

Still out of sorts...

I have been sick since last Thursday night and I am just beginning to feel better. Hopefully I will be ok tomorrow to go in and get a little work done. I spent 2 hours today just answering emails. See you soon.

10 December 2004

I don't feel so good...

Yesterday morning, on the way to work, I sneezed and had the feeling that was no ordinary, dust in the air, tickle in the nose, clean out the system kind of sneeze. It was the oh crap that hurt my fiber, shook up my head like a cheap snow globe from Florida, I think I have a cold kind of sneeze. My head is clogged, my eyes can't take the sunlight, my ears withdrew their membership from the senses club, my tongue is flaccid, my neck feels like it need earthquake reinforcement, my feet want my slippers, and the only thing that feels good on my body is my $4.99 pjs from Old Navy that I got for Christmas two years ago.

I am going back to bed and sleep.

if only I didn't sneeze...

09 December 2004

A Perfect World, Surfing, and the Spirit,,,

I had breakfast with Scott Falk yesterday, in a perfect world we would have breakfast regularly. I always leave thinking better after a Perfect World. It is mind changing...

I also had lunch with my friend Chumley, it was too short but always good...

I was suppose to go to Pasadena yesterday to celebrate with Harambee at a lunch but my brakes started grinding and I had to abort the mission. Sorry Rudy.

Instead of going to Pasadena I did visit another friend, Greg Ehlert at First Presbyterian Church, Fresno. I learned about surfing. Chalkboard and everything, I learned about surfing. Why there are waves, the anatomy of a wave, where to catch the wave, surfing etiquette, and much more. For two hours Greg shared his life, his love, and his passion for surfing. His excitement is always infectious.

Greg's correlation between surfing and watching for the spirit moving was huge and I can understand surfing because it is so much like the move of God. So often they figure since the waves moved in this one area we should plant ourselves and expect wave after wave to come. And when it doesn't, some get out of the water completely and go home never to surf again, some condemn the spot as useless, but others stay in the water and looking out towards the horizon to see the next set and place themselves in the best position to catch and ride it. Some times, Greg tells me they get in their cars and drive up and down the coast looking for where it is happening. They know the water and understand the seasons when to catch the best waves. Apparently Hawaii isn't a good place to go for surfing in the summer, best waves are in the winter.

One interesting fact, they can see what is happening better in the water than those people standing on the shore line. They can feel it in the water as well. They spend the time in silence watching and listening.

I think we should do the same for a while, sit quietly, bathed deeply in the spirit, watch, and listen for the next set to come. We do need to show up, keep paddling, stop tearing each other down, encourage each other, and respect the others even if they are goofy foot or old. It is a time of faith.

Don't give up, it is coming...

07 December 2004

Telling the story...

My friend Chris, tells a great story, life changing for me and it can be found here. Check it out.

06 December 2004


I am praying for the Spirit to scrap off the barnacles that have attached themselves to the undercarriage of my soul and have stolen my joy, my peace, and my love. I know I am the luckiest guy around to be working up here with these people, getting ready for a winter storm that is suppose to dump up 1 to 2 feet of snow, a great family and wife, friends who call and are concern, and a home that is more than adequate.

I want to remember the redemptive gift of relationship God gave me in 1974. May that be fresh again.


Ladies and gentlemen, again, Cory Pina upgrades the visual effectiveness of the blog. I am very lucky to have a friend who knows how to do the things Cory knows how to do.

AND Cosby has entered into the blogsphere... Check 'im out.

29 November 2004

Defining ourselves...

I have been thinking about changing the name of this blog. When Rudy first told me about blogging I thought it would be a place of conversation between camp people. Come up with new ideas about camping in the emergent period of geoSpiritual formation. It really isn't that. It is only about my conversations with myself and a few others and I don't think camp people want to talk much to me. I don't think they know who I am. I find that sobering and freeing.

But I don't think I want to only be about camping. My wife and I were talking the other day about my funeral and what I wanted to wear. She asked if I was going to be in a suit or what. I said something that I could be eternally comfortable in like shorts and my crocs. She asked if I wanted to be buried in a Calvin Crest t-shirt and I thought about it for a while and said no, I don't want to be eternally identified solely (or is it SOULly?) on my employment with this camp. I want to be identified with the work that God is doing not what I did at a specific geographic location. I hope I am more than that (or is it less than that?).

Don't get me wrong. I love what I am doing and where I am doing it. But I don't want my life to be only about my work. Especially when I am a dad, a husband, a son, a brother, a friend, an enemy, a priest, a child, a chosen one... I hope I am more than a baby boomer, a white middle-class, voter, licenced driver, taxpayer, over 50, male, with back problems, bifocaled, crooked teeth, balding, piano playing, Japanese food loving, Van Morrison appreciating, polyester hating... kindof guy.

I was driving to work this morning remembering when Bob Dylan became a believer in Christ for his salvation. I was thrilled because it increased my value because I believed the same thing Bob Dylan believed. A few months later he redefined himself. I felt somehow as if I lost value. I cannot draw my value from anyone but He who calls me His.

Therefore I am going to rename this blog, just reimagining...

Bush chooses Kellogg's CEO...

According to ABC News...
President Bush on Monday chose Carlos Gutierrez, a native of Cuba and now the chief executive officer of Kellogg Co., to be secretary of Commerce.

Another reason I like W.

20 November 2004

An open letter to an inquirer...

Dear friend,
I am sorry that I did not answer your email before I saw you. I am glad to know that you took the initative to bring your friend up with you to check out Calvin Crest and those participating in CommonFire.

I want to reiterate something...
CommonFire is not a program but a community. It is not meant to teach one anything but be there as they learn and help facilitate the questions. I have been doing a lot of thinking about it and I am not convinced that another program is the answer, rather what is needed is let's bring people to a place to labor and live who will love others and be loved by others. Young people will leave an academic environment, a huge program, and get out into society to live amongst people with differing views and beliefs. With reciprocity, they give and take, love and be loved, have dialogues, get frustrated and angry, invest and cashout, educate and be educated, eat and feed, clean up and make a mess, and a myriad of other things that keep the economy rolling.

To go from program to program is self centered and causes a stifled life. At some point we get on the merry-go-round and return with interest that which we have been given as stewards to make this life centered in the Kingdom of God. We pay back the investment!

I am sure you have read Ecclesiastes and know that there are seasons of life, filled with emotions, trials, successes, births, deaths, jobs, retirement, etc... and it is good to be programmed for a while. "Train up a child in the way..." is a good word, but there is a time when we need to leave and carry on the work God has for us. CommonFire is a safe, not easy, place for that transition to take place. Bosses will not always be Jesus, money will not always solve the problem, things will wearout, stuff happens..., but this should be a place to try out our hearts, spirits, and gifts.

We never ask anyone to check their flesh in when they come, so people will be themselves, and that doesn't always look "christian" nor nice. When people who's salvation is in the death and resurrection of Jesus, our Lord, don't get enough sleep they are no different that those who are without faith. Fear causes rust in the soul of all men and women regardless of faith. Crankiness, selfishness, self preservation are in the fabric of all of us, we pray that flesh would be crucified and rejoice when it is but I am never caught offguard when it isn't. We wrestle, struggle, and contend for the His Spirit to take that which we yield. We are a celebrated mixture of spirit and selfwill. Able to drop the enemy with one little word, if only we would speak from our spirit instead of our flesh.

Some of the men and women who are there model, I believe, a healthy life. Learning more of the power of God and letting Him demonstrate it in their lives. They are not perfect but they trust God to use them to love those He would give them.

I do love the men and women of CommonFire. I do hope you will come and join us next season.

18 November 2004

The great divide...

It seems like since the election the conversation has been on the red states and the blue states, the president or a republican senator needs to reach out and serve the other side, we are a country divided, etc. A lot about how divided we are, us and them. It is very understandable since the election is about two parties (sorry but the green and independent party are small blips on the political screen) one will win and the other loses. Many different elections with differing results except one, one guy or gal wins and the other loses.

But the past few weeks, I have heard more conversations about a division of the same magnitude in the church. For many years it was the youth and college age types complaining because they are overlooked and rarely considered in the mainstream church. They became parents of young school aged children and moved to churches that had great programs for their children. I heard that over the past ten years in this presbytery about half of the members have left or died and were not replaced by a new crop of faithfuls. HALF!

I went to a fiftieth birthday party of a friend and some other fifieth types were talking about starting a new church. Why? It is red state / blue state stuff. A large group of people who don't like the trend of the Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal, and other mainline Churches not valuing the same thing as them. The general assembly or conferences are changing the rules on them, developing a Us and Them feel.

These are good people who are sticking with the traditional values but with a new feel of less churchishness. Relationship was a key word. People would get to know each other, trust each other, be accountable to one another, a place where they can bring someone who is hurting. These are not the pomos but people who are living midway to or near retirement and who's children are grown and leaving soon or have left the nest. It is the same conversation I have had with pomos. The emergent church is not age exclusive. The conversation is springing up in more unlikely places with people I never thought wanted anything new.

These guys have the money to do something. It will not be a afternoon service in an established and dying church, it will be in a new place that has a monthly rent that these guys can afford to pay. They have been tithers and understand Kingdom principles of giving. They don't get scholarships, grants, allowances from home, they are and have been the givers of the church. They have been paving parking lots, serving in the children's education programs, singing in the choir, serving as elders and deacons. This group, when they move their capital from a denomination to a neighborhood fellowship, will send a huge message to denoms - its over.

New to the blogsphere...

Go see my friend Sean Oldroyd's ruminations at his new blog.

11 November 2004


The past few months, since summer, I have been looking at changes in the way we do ministry. I like where we are moving in high school ministries and program (AIM and High School Camp) but there are some needed changes in other areas. Retooling the support teams and programs. That will take better people than me (or is it I)

I am looking for talent. Not the "American Idol" type but the kind that are doing more than just existing without trouble. Using the metaphor of playing the guitar, people like Stevie Ray instead of chord players. People who have some ideas and track record or accomplishment. Thinkers AND Doers. It is easy to be mediocre but to excel is phenominal. Someone to say I have been thinking about a different way that solves this problem. Not one who will do the same old, same old, but someone who adds to life.

I don't want to do something new to sell something new, I want to do something good. Not big, not a lot of people big but that the people we do have coming will say, "this is right, this is important, I see Jesus in this."

I am not bored anymore...

08 November 2004

Coming late to the party...

As I said a few blogs back, we had dinner with Dan and Suzanne Kimball one night and we started talking about Stevie Ray Vaughan. I told Dan that I had heard of SRV but never heard his music. Dan looked at me like I had never tasted chocolate and that he gets to introduce me to a fine experience.

He gave me some Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble CDs and I have been playing it for the past few days with much enjoyment. I shouldn't say enjoyment because it is more than that. It got into my DNA, my soul, my rhythmn, my heart beats in time, my face scrunches up and eyes close. Some may call that a demonic possession but I don't think so.

I stopped listening to music during the 80s. A little Micheal Jackson but not much else. I hated the music. A lot of disco and polyester sounds. That is when I started reading Clancy novels. Oh if I only knew about Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble I would probably been a lot cooler and happier.

Thanks Dan for inviting me to the party...

03 November 2004

Ok, I am announcing my new church...

After many months of planning, talking with bankers, lawyers, a few denominations and many people, I have decided to start a church. However I will be starting it at my home in Coarsegold. I will also be able to have it in other locations as I travel. I am arranging it with some people I don't know at all but will watch them grow.

I am not going to mess around with real people. Too many problems, ideas, political views, musical preferences, Bible versions conflict, morning or evening services opinions, pews vs. chairs, overheads vs. powerpoint vs. media shout, etc...

Yep, I am going to start it with Sims, the simulation game. There are some adult themes and situations, but I think I can handle it.

A great day...

As you would think I am very happy that Bush won. I am sad that there wasn't a better turn out from the young voter. Again. What does it take for someone to vote? What I liked the best of this election was Rudy Giuliani. I hope he runs next. That is what I like about Bush, the people he has around him.

31 October 2004

This new season...

I am looking forward to the Christmas season. I have some ideas for new traditions.

I have the only Chia pet nativity creche. So now is the time to take out the set and plant the grass and begin to water. Before the twelve days begin, I will have a full blown Chia Christmas experience. I also have a "homies" creche.

Donate a pint of blood to the bloodbank. By the time Christmas comes someone will have a gift waiting for them. Life.

Vote for someone that will not increase taxes and appoint liberal judges to the Supreme Court Bench after the new year. Like W! (Sorry, I couldn't resist!!!!)

Make gifts for the family. Make food, photos, scarves, hats, purses, etc. Buy rare used books, records and other things that inspire, encourage, expand awareness, creativity, and understanding. And give the balance of what you would have spent to someone who has nothing.

Make a wreath. Be creative and use things other than fir branches.

Do something different. Add wasabi to the cranberry dressing.

Meet a new neighbor.

Write a letter to a fireman or policeman and thank them for the job they did this year and that you are thinking of them during this season.

Take out the youth pastor or the janitor from the church for lunch or coffee. You treat.

Get a bunch of friends and make soup for the church choir's Christmas performance. They won't know what to do with you.

Plant bulbs for the spring. Put one red tulip bulb in a pot with all white ones and enjoy the uniqueness in the spring.

Do as Cosby does and learn to make a pastry, like bear claws or croissants. And invite your mom for breakfast.

Stand up to bullies and give time or money to the underdog. Work for mercy and justice.

Try a new ethnic restaurant and ask them how they celebrate the holidays. Have the owner tell you a story of their holidays from home.

Take a walk and skip.

I know this sounds like Martha Stewart type stuff, but we need to do something other than the same old, same old this year. Enjoy life, drink responsibly, vote, celebrate the birth of a child and the life of someone who has passed on, tithe (give 10% of your earnings) to a mission or a church. (We designate ours to the youth ministry.) Be bold and reach out to the person in class or at work who you have never met. Take a different street to work or school. Slow down and turn off the radio or CD player or the iPod and listen to the sounds around you. Now I sound like Dr. Phil... Sorry

Good friends...

Christel and I had an enjoyable evening with Dan and Suzanne Kimball. There is nothing better for the soul than laughter and love. We get both from them!

28 October 2004

A problem...

I have been hit with a virus. Emails have been sent with stuff like, "I'm nude", "Hi", "Thinking of you", and others. You have been hit if you have ever sent me an email. I am sorry. I knew when I opened this one email from an old friend that would never send me an email. Especially one that said "Hi" I am an idiot.

I am sorry if I have inconvenience anyone.

26 October 2004

Great time off...

Christel is a music teacher for a few of the mountain K-8s up here, and they always take the last week of October as a holiday. It is really the only week that Christel and I have together. Summers she's off but I am busy with camp, the day I get off from summer she starts school. The Christmas holidays are usually busy with me planning a college conference (but this year there is not going to be one) and getting ready for staff interview trips. Needless to say but I will anyway, we don't get much time off together. This is a great week because there are not very many kids off during this week so we can relax at different movies, restaurants, shops, and fun places...

It is raining, which is great to build a fire and read. We are heading to spend a night at the Apple Tree Bed & Breakfast in Fish Camp. Roads are closed for a few hours because of the snow. We are very "whatever" right now so we are not in a rush. Just enjoying the time.


A get away...

I gotta tell you what Christel, my wife, did.

Sunday, I ended up preaching both morning services and I led worship and preached Sunday night. The night time service felt like the Tony Show. I get tired of myself quickly.

But what happened was as Christel and I got in the car to go home she turned to me and told me that her and my bags are packed to spend a night away and where would I like to go. The main thing was that it couldn't be about work. We decided to go to the Monterey Penisula (one of our favorite places). We called some dear friends, Kord and Jay Lazarus, who live in Pebble Beach, and told them we would be coming into town tonight and can we plan a dinner or lunch on Monday. Instead they told us to come to their house now and we can spend the night with them. They built a new house, actually it is classified as a remodel. In Pebble Beach because of a building moratorium, they cannot build new homes so they demolish all but an existing wall or such and build on the same foot print as the previous house. Jay has such an incredible style and high quality in the details that I spent much of the day just looking at the little things of the house. It was exquisite. Being around them has always been a wonderful experience for our spirit, soul, and body. We have wonderful talks about the Lord and what He is doing in their lives. It was Kord and Jay who introduced us to the beauty and power of the Catholic liturgy and eucharist. It opened our lives. They are important friends and we are continually blessed by them.

We had breakfast on their patio, a little cool but very nice. Lunch in Pacific Grove at our favorite Vivolvo's Chowder House. The best seafood bisque and calamari steak. Ask for extra garlic with the calamari! We then walked around art galleries and some shops and headed home. An overnight can bring much peace.

Christel's planning to get away again drew us closer and the drive provided wonderful talks about dreams, fears, explanations, jokes, stories, and silence. What a gift she is.

24 October 2004

Last night's call...

I got a call last night as we sat down for dinner from my pastor, Rick Irish, telling me he was in bed with an 102 degree fever and wasn't going to make it to church to preach. He asked if I could cover the night sermon, I said I would, then he told me our friend Todd Fonda had an accident and was sent to University Medical Center and the Assistant pastor, Paul DePledge, was going to spend time there and wouldn't be able to handle the morning service, would I also preach for those? Sure...

We pray for Todd, for another miracle of God's hand to touch and heal, provide peace to the family, and wisdom to the medical team.

I was hoping to spend the day with Christel at the Art shows around the mountain areas. But I feel like I should do this. Then we are taking the week off and spending some time traveling to the coast for the day, gallery hopping, long conversations, and maybe into the valley of Yosemite.

23 October 2004


Check out Steve Hart's blog, VintageFaith. I pray this heart would take over the denominations.

22 October 2004

New to the blogsphere...

I want to welcome Asher Wallace Ekhardt, son or Bill & Tracy, to the community!!!

What will the world be like when he has his first child?

I pray that he will be a man of peace and wisdom like his parents, know Jesus to be true and powerful and full of love.

Blessings to you Bill and Tracy. Job well done.

20 October 2004


It is snowing. This is the second day in a row. Snow.

The students from the catholic schools are here this week and they are loving it. Parents/Counselors kind of. Teachers not so much.

Great magic. Great God.

19 October 2004

Timbo said it...

A major concern in this election is who is going to pick the next few Supreme Court Judges! That is a major major. I don't want judges who will make laws. I am voting for Bush.

Watch for the attorneys from the demos to cause a lot of ruckus in this election. They already have 5 lawsuits and we haven't even voted yet. Except in Florida.

And what are they doing in Florida with the early vote? Is it because everyone is retired in Florida and they eat dinner at 3:30pm so why not take that logic to the vote?

I didn't mention anyone by name, did you notice? I aim to please.

I am being taken off all the pomo blog lists. Cleave kicked me off a few months ago. Wow. I guess I am not trendy anymore. Just an old, conservative, hick, non-ordained, Bush loving, former smoker and drug addict, believer in the Mother, proLife, antiWar, SUV driving, tri-focaled, moving out of the PCUSA, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez karioke singer, bleu cheese and bbq sauce dippin', English muffin kind of blogger guy. It is hard being cool for a while and then people go to someone else. Maybe in 10 years I will be a part of the retro people... like boy George and Aerosmith.

When I was in high school I worked with the "lower the voting age to 18" group. I am very proud of that association and work. I hope you vote. Find the man that is running for president who is closest to your thinking, faith, etc. and vote for him. Even if you are not voting for Bush to not vote is a shame and you should vote for Nadar or the other guy. For this was the first elections in Afgahanistan, it is a precious privilege that we should never take for granted. There are some important issues on the ballot that needs your attention. Read the literature that the state sends out. VOTE.

I had a cinnamon roll from the fair the other day. Man those are good.

I think I said it all... good night.

OK, I will behave...

I will not rant anymore about kerry and eddie. I will not suggest anything about that he should have used New Jersey Governor James McGreevey as an example instead of Mary Cheney. Won't talk about the hands, the flipflop, his record, his not associating with the left side of the party...

Let's talk about the Seahawks...


In the real world, Steve Hart is inspiring. Check out his blog. Much prayer and praise for a new work in Spokane.
This morning I read, "John Kerry and John Edwards believe in a better, stronger America - an America that is respected, not just feared. An America that listens and leads - that cherishes freedom, safeguards our people, uplifts others, forges alliances, and deserves respect. This is the America they believe in. This is the America they are fighting for. And this is the America we can be."

kerry and eddie believe that we can be better, stronger, listeners and leaders, cherishers, uplifters and forgers. We are worth fighting for. We can be something we are not.

Yep, I for kerry. I want to be better and he is going to make me that way because I can't do it on my own.

(I am getting all of the information from my kerry devotional on johnkerry.com and you can too. It is inspiring!)

18 October 2004

I changed my mind, I am for kerry.

I read, "To protect America's health, John Kerry and John Edwards will develop a private and public strategy to prevent a crisis like the one we are experiencing today. They will strengthen our nation's ability to develop, produce, and distribute safe flu vaccines by putting America's ingenuity to work." AND I read, "John Kerry and John Edwards have a vision for American education: every child should be held to high standards, and every school should have the resources and the responsibility to meet those standards. Every classroom should have a great teacher. Every young person should graduate from high school, and every young person who works hard and wants to go to college should be able to afford it. And all Americans should be able to get the skills they need to succeed throughout their lives."

They've got plans and strategy, vision and development. All Americans should be able to... succeed throughout their lives. I'm all for that.

Thumbs up!

17 October 2004

I cannot stand watching kerry. There is nothing to attach one's self to this man. I cannot understand why people would align themselves with this guy. I respect Ralph Nadar much more. He is a liberal and stays a liberal. Doesn't change his colors to get elected. There is something honorable about keeping with one's beliefs and knowing you will never win an election. I like Jerry Brown. He never changes. Kennedy stays put.

I can respect difference of opinions and anyone who sees the world differently. But this guy... Why do you like him? Give me something that you see in this guy that is honorable and respectful. Something that could give me a difference of opinion. Don't talk about Bush's mentality, or scowls or anything like that, tell me about kerry.

On a lighter note...
Tracy E. is going to give birth to a newcomer and our prayers are with her and Bill E. When your child rebells (s)he will be a republican. I pray all is well. Peace to you two...

16 October 2004

I have got to say it...

I don't like John Kerry.

I don't believe John Kerry is genuine.

I don't want him anywhere near my children, my money, my life.

I worked for George McGovern and he is no George McGovern.

He is a liberal but is afraid to be called that. I resent that. He is a catholic but doesn't believe in anything the Church stands for. I cannot respect that. He votes against what he now says he is for.

I cannot respect how John Kerry used the daughter of his opponent as a case in point. It is not fair game. He doesn't have any class nor respect as he said he did.

He is not genuine.

His hand gestures are contrived. I would rather vote for someone who grimances when he hears a lie!

Why would anyone want this guy to be their president?

There I said it...

13 October 2004


I am not bored with life but bored with the offerings that use to mean something. I am thinking I need to pack lighter and enjoy more along the way instead of needing more and attaining stuff. I like to visit people and hear stories more than watching television. I sat last Tuesday night and listen to Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz, speak. Maybe I should go to the university in Fresno and see who is speaking there. Don opened my eyes because he did not speak like the others it was not a christian message as much as a brother in Christ sharing his life. Does that make sense? So often we go to hear christian messages that don't affect our life. Our summer staff sang one of James Taylor's song, Shed a Little Light for a concert and some of the people asked if we could change the words, "Let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King..." to "Let us turn our thoughts today to Jesus Christ our King..." Why, because they were unable to listen to anything that was not CHRISTIAN. We keep closer to doctrine than truth.

Go figure...


On Monday, I spent four hours from 8 am until 12 noon sitting in my dentist's chair while Bernie, the dental hygenist, scraped the roots of my teeth. Yes, scraped the roots of my teeth. I am not a good brusher, hate flossing, and haven't seen Ed, the dentist, or Bernie in 3 years. I don't know if it was meant to be punishment for the lack of dental care I am giving myself or if it is the consequence of said lack of actions. Any way I brought along the iPod and listened to music that would calm and get my mind away. What did I choose? A little James Taylor, a little Bruce Hornsby, a little Joan Baez and a lot of Secret Garden. They took my mind away. Secret Garden took me to a different world not without pain but where all there was was pain. It was interesting that this pain caused me to focus. I was aware of it for the entire four hours. Yes, I got a local which did a lot to block the pain. Ed perscribed some Valium but I was 4 minutes late to the pharmacy to be able to get. So I had to be there a cappella.

On Tuesday, I sat in Rick's office with Ginny, the Business Administrator, and Rick, the Executive Director, discussing and putting together the budget for 2005. We had to carve out $57,000.00 to make the budget balance. There was no drilling, just carving. My mind did a lot of wandering. I should have brought in Secret Garden to take me away but I had to focus. It was hard to focus without pain. Like last year when it came to the final moments and we had to cut, I focused - I felt the pain then.

What are we going to accomplish with this money. The same old, same old or would there be something new? Do we have to spend more to accomplish something new? Or do we reallocate our resources for this new work that God is doing?

Reallocate. Do it for less. Focus on what He is doing not on what we are not going to do.

Bernie had to spend her four hours in a small area 5 square inches working on my mouth without Secret Garden playing in her ears causing healing to my system. I hurt but she was bored. We need healing to our system, not so that we can spend more money but do what needs to be done.

Kind of like the motto of the Marines... Simplify!

10 October 2004

I'm a little bored...

I am finding myself in much yawning. Not a lot of life in what I have been doing. I tried to write a few blogs only to X it out and turn off the computer... bored with myself. I have heard myself say the same thing over and over, complain about the same people over and over, eat the same thing over and over, worship is rutful and I can't stand it.

At fifty it is pathetic to be bored. I know better. Plenty of opportunities, I have seen incredible things. Demonic activities overcomed by the name of Jesus, healings change the course of someone's life, prophecy come true, creation, beauty, etc., etc. But now I can't stand Christianity as a product whether traditional or emergent. I would rather go to an Art Gallery opening than a worship service. Maybe it is a mid spiritual life crisis, or seeing too many things come and go and not leave an impact let alone a stain. Promisekeepers, Billy Graham crusades, PoMos, blogs, etc. I am even bored with Vente, sugar-free vanilla, breve lattes. I can't get excited about a computer, when that use to bring a lot of fascination, they are quickly obsolete - satisfaction is fleeting when things become obsolete so quickly.

My addictions are greater than my passion. I am almost, and I must say almost, at the point of could give a frik about the whole thing. It is not for something new that I crave, but something real. The love of my wife and children are real. I deeply enjoy that. I should have sooner. My wife's love is like good brandy - it gets better with age. Good brandy is for sipping and enjoying, not mixing with seltzer water or 7up. My children are moving out slowing but it seems like they were just arriving a year ago. They have new adventures and new heartaches. I want to protect them but I know that passion comes from risk not comfort. They have to fall into it and have a bodily reaction. Their souls need to grab on to it. I pray that they would let their souls have fingers.

I am finding the collection of leaves from the dogwood trees near camp soothing and peaceful - even more than a corporate prayer time. I don't think I am looking for something more... I think I need to be looking for something less. I need to change my rhythms to match His rhythms. My Rosary beads need to become more important than my pocket pc.

I am wolfing my food and not enjoying what things taste like again. Drinking a glass of wine so I can sleep at night. Praying for someone and thinking about a problem at work. I cannot focus on what is happening at the present moment.

This past week was wonderful, but I am pissed at myself for what I am doing with myself.

Sorry you had to hear this...

08 October 2004

What a week...

I spent the week in Southern California with some friends, new and old. I had meetings with Donald Miller, who wrote Blue Like Jazz, Rudy Carrasco, from Harambee in Pasadena, Robin Dugall, from Orange County and APU, Izzy, a YP from a Free Methodist Church in Long Beach, Andrew Eagle, new YP at Beverly Hills Pres, Ben and Lauretta Patterson from Westmont, Santa Barbara, Andy Bales, Executive Director of Lake Avenue Community Foundation where I sat in on a consortium of urban ministries like Harambee, Skid Row, Open Door, Lighthouse Men's Christian Home, and a few others. And I had a great dinner with my son, Simon.

It was an incredible time. I designed this week to be aware of new things, confirm old and lasting truths, get refreshed, be born again again, and do a lot of thinking. My time with Donald Miller was incredible as we drove to dinner together after he spoke at this small venue of a emergent church. He spoke some great things with great insight. I haven't been inspired like I was listening to Don in an awful long time. Incredible...

A quote taken from Robin Dugall's blog from Don's talk...
"Culture is obsessed with the HOW's and completely ignores the WHY...the Bible is focused on the WHY's and completely ignores the HOW". Mmmmmm... give that some thought? Look through your Bible and see if you can see a "formula" for spiritual refreshment and living. Give your Bible a shot as showing you a bullet-pointed message on just about anything. Isn't it tragic that we have shackled our God through the bonds of pragmatism. God is attempting to pull us into a redemptive and passionate relationship with Him and we're still trying to figure out how everything is going to work out in our life so that we are comfortable and happy." Don's new book, Searching for God Knows What, is great as it follows the line of thinking which he covered in his talk.

Robin, Don, and I went out to dinner in Irvine afterwards and talked. I was blessed, stretched, and renewed. Like minded, new thinking, acceptance...

Conversations over sushi and a evening stroll in Carpinteria with Ben and Lauretta Patterson was such a delight to feed my soul and set some errors straight in me. It is good to have a friend who will lovingly correct. There is a painting of Ben preaching at Hope College hanging over his fireplace that was very touching. He is preaching to a full house and in the air are angels worshiping... very cool and an incredible gift and recognition of his success there.

I am processing a lot from this week...
a teaching of Rudy's in my car on economics,
camping and the small independant churches,
the consortium meeting,
allowing the encouraging rebuke from Ben to sink in,
and enjoying my time with Simon.

New heat in my soul, new ideas in my mind, new strength in my drive... it was a great week.

25 September 2004

I've got nothing to give but the Spirit...

I am speaking tomorrow night (Sunday 9/26) for an evening church at University Presbyterian in Fresno, CA called Resonance . The previous speakers have been speaking on Acts and I am going to speak on Acts 3.

22 September 2004

Doing a new thing...

I was in Spokane a weeks or so back and was able to see an old friend, Steve Hart. He and his wife, Jamie, are starting a new church, planted in a great part of Spokane called Brown's Addition. I was impressed, as I always am with Steve, he is going out and doing something. He had a little help from a church but this is pretty much his thing. He relocated his family into the neighborhood, which I think is vital to understanding the people with whom he is going to be in relationship. (There is a church I know of that is in a lower income area of Fresno, where the pastor lives in a gated community 5 miles away. That is just bizarre!) It is more than a job but a relationship. He continually teaches me every time I see him. He is not talking about it but giving it a shot. His blog is listed to the right...

17 September 2004

Wedding in Bakersfield.

I am in the hotel room tonight preparing for Sean and Julie's wedding tomorrow. I was going to get a $35 ordination card so I could do the whole thing. I did not like that idea as much as I thought. There was something wrong with it. Sure it is legal and it was not going to cause any problems. The thing is there is something about being ordained that I cherish too much. I don't want to be legally ordained, I believe that I will be and may already be spiritually. I am hoping some day a church or organization will recognize it for the call that is already on my life. I probably don't make any sense, but it felt wrong for me.

I am in charge of the whole service tomorrow. I am reading the order of worship and the litany and am going to rewrite it to be more relevant to the day and to the couple. Hope I don't get tomatoed...

Modern worship and repentance...

Last night at our church, SierraVista Presbyterian, we had a "Solemn Assembly" of prayer and repentance. A church that has been around for 20 some years, started in a living room, bought some property with a ranch house on it and turn the living room into a meeting room for worship, built a new sanctuary that seats 300, replaced an old upright with a beautiful baby grand, picked up those who left other churches, grew during the Promise Keepers events and flattened out afterwards, founding pastor resigns and goes back to seminary for his doctorate and the church panics and goes through some loss and misdirection, calls an interim pastor who's heart is open to the spirit, new elders, no youth pastor, great parking lot, and I love playing that piano...

Anyway last night we had a time of prayer and repentance. It was wonderful to see the room mostly filled with people who had grey hair and walked with canes, choir people, my mom's age and faithfulness. There was a some 40-50s, very few 25-40s and lightly powdered with youth.

But the elderly were there to worship and repent. There was a heart of quiet faithfulness that was glacierally moving. Deep, slow, not much show on the outside but their prayers were familiar because they have been in it for a long time. I was repentant on my view towards them in the past. These were the ones who invested in the church before the dividend paid off. These were the ones who wanted a place for their grandchildren to hear the stories of Jesus, these are the ones when called showed up. I learned something last night.

They are the foundation of the faith. We should not be post-foundation but cherish their stories, encourage conversations that let them talk rather than sit by and let us have our turns. Old men need to dream...

13 September 2004

new faces, new hearts...

I have been involved in some weddings this past month and have another this coming weekend. (This is the season, at 50 years old, that you go to weddings of the children of peers and funerals of the parents of peers.)

At Jeff and Krista Crotty's wedding this weekend up in Spokane, Washington, I met a number of new people with whom I fell in love. Bob Crotty the father of the groom and I started a wonderful friendship that began 5 minutes after we met. Eye to eye there was a wonderful respect and appreciation for the other's life and heart. I look forward to more conversations and stories from his life.

Another person I was very impressed with was a woman named Rachel, who was an entrepreneur and hard worker. When she shared what she was working on her eyes lit up, voice and face got animated and her thought process intrigued me. She will be doing big things soon.

Next weekend is my friends' Sean and Julie's wedding so I must get ordained before I go so I can officiate the ceremony and make it legal.

10 September 2004

This is kind of corny...

I went to the bachelor party of my friend Jeff Crotty. It was given by the best man, Bryan Cosby. I was impressed by the love of men for each other as we gathered around Jeff and spoke about what he meant to us. 99% were brothers of the faith and only a few were not. Heart to heart, kind things were said but mostly prayers to the Father and blessings asked from Him were given. At the end of the time Jeff knew what his friends thought of him. We should do this more often and not just at special occasions. We should tell our parents, children, siblings and friends what we love about them, so they will know.

08 September 2004

Off to Spokane for wedding...

I haven't really had a lot of time to blog these pass few weeks. Maybe after all of the weddings and funerals, etc, I will have some time to think and write. Check back in a week...

06 September 2004

CommonFire arrives...

A new season of CommonFire begins today with their arrival, move-in, barbeque, and time of prayer. We have 17 people this year with the ages getting older and older. It is exciting to see some people coming back to spend the year with us. I pray that I will commit more time to being with them and develop some intentional relationships and experiences.

02 September 2004

Take me out to the ballgame..."

Cosby and I have been invited to see a Fresno Grizzlies' game by Scott Falk. I am looking forward to the game, the conversation, the dogs, the fries, and the bee... soda.

Hard times for good friends...

This has been a difficult week for a couple of friends. Some had to make hard decisions, some had to deal with decisions that didn't go in their favor. You are in my prayers.

21 August 2004

Can what we do up here fill the streets down there...?

A favorite song of mine these days, don't you know, is Passion's Madly. I like it when we use the song on Friday night at the last worship time together because of the bridge that says, "Let what we do in here fill the streets out there let us dance for you let us dance for you.."

What do we do up in a camp setting that creates such a spark of commitment and desire? Some have said that we spiritually and emotionally manipulate people. My friend, Wolf would say we motivate people. My thinking is that we have to move people out of the place where they stay because of ignorance or fear or hopelessness to a place where they make decisions to allow the Spirit of God to begin a new work. Let the old things pass and become new creations.

This last High School camp I felt the need to not have people respond to a message of stop sinning but to understand and declare the pain that causes behavior which is contrary to the Kingdom life. I don't discuss Calvin's total depravity because it doesn't do anything to set anyone free. Yes we are, but the pain that we have and we mask it out by self medicating with sex, porn, alcohol, drugs, movies, TV, adrenalin pumping experiences, etc., is the issue we need to address. I have dear friends and family members who cut themselves to feel something. It is a real pain that they can control and a sermon on the sinless life isn't going end the pain for them. It will only heap more on their souls. So we address it directly. You are sleeping with a guy so that you will feel something for 10 minutes that you think will fill the hole of pain. Of course it doesn't, in fact it augments the pain by heaping guilt and shame on it.

I asked the students to stand if they had a pain that they try to take away with behaviors of sex, porn, alcohol, drugs, movies, TV... and 80% of the people stood up. These were church kids! This needs to be addressed not only at a week of camp but in relationships on a weekly basis in the meetings at church. We need room for this in our schedules and events of a youth group. Places to talk, places to pray, safe places to heal.

A week of camp is the beginning, but I am afraid that if we continually expose the pain to the "light" but never do anything about it, (camp cannot provide a quick fix - it can only open up the conversation of the youth pastor and the student) the pain will only go deeper and manifest itself in darker behavior than before.

What do you think...

17 August 2004

Josh Kerr is the face behind the carnage with 107 crawdads consumed. (give or take a few) Posted by Hello

There are friends that help you with your car, help you paint your house, help you by praying, help you move, drive you to the airport, let you talk without condemning you... you know them. This is my friend George who has invited me into his backyard for at least six years for an end of the summer Crawdad Feed. He invites the summer staff at Calvin Crest to eat crawdads, shrimp, linguisa, french bread, corn on the cob, desserts, drink soda or beer, and just relax. He talks and allows the cares to just slide off. He is a friend like few others who will let people be people as long as they enjoy a good laugh and are willing to try something new. Thanks George for your friendship, you are a healer of my soul, Doctor. (That is pastor Dave behind him.) Posted by Hello

George's Annual Crawdad Feed for the staff at Calvin Crest. I ate only about 35 crawdads, about 8 chucks of linguisa, 15 shrimps, 4 pieces of garlic bread, and a couple of pieces of pork with Dave's BBQ sauce. What a great time this was. We even had crawdad races. There was about 70 people in George's backyard. The backyard is a zen garden with fig trees, fish, frogs, tomatoes, fruit trees, avocados, and more. It is set up to cook this feed and entertain people in a tight fashion. Thanks George, you're a blessing!!!Posted by Hello

14 August 2004

We finished another season...

Camp is being turned over and many parts are being winterized. This was a quick summer. I thank Jesus for His grace and mercy as we went through the summer without any major or tragic events. That which could have been devastating was not. His grace...

Staff was outstanding, new programs went well, changes were accepted and we are looking forward to building on them.

Next are the weddings!


12 August 2004

10 August 2004

Summer is winding up...

I am going to take a brief rest for the next two weeks. Recommit my heart, mind, body, and soul to Him who gave me life. Take some time to listen and process.

... Peace

01 August 2004

Evaluations of the multiple speakers...

There are many who attended the week(s) that can give better feedback and if they would want to leave a comment about the speakers either individually or the idea please leave a comment.

My feelings is that it took the emphasis off of the speaker and on to the story. It is always easy to fall in love with the speaker but the story then takes a back seat. We talked about the Samaritan Woman at the well which has many stories within the story. That all of our stories really are part of a greater story. Very gestalt. So it worked wonderfully.

Each speaker gave her or his story through this one which added to the relevance and significance to us today. We spoke for a greater calling than just getting saved from Hell but to set people free. I sensed a new identity, "we who believe in freedom" which comes from a song during the civil rights movement, for us to embrace. I don't think it is just that we are Christians but we would, as Jesus said, "finish the work of the Father..." We don't have the power to save but we can go back to our community and say, "Come, let me introduce you to a man who knows everything about me..." who does has saved.


26 July 2004

The Story...

We are doing a new thing for our HighSchool Camps. Instead of one speaker, we are having four different speakers looking at the John 4 passage of the Samaritan Woman at the well with Jesus.

I introded it last night. Talked about the idea of we are all in the midst of a story and this week our stories converge but will be told from many perspectives. It is at a given moment in time that we see the story, run with it for a while, and then have to leave it but it is not done.

Tonight, Scott Falk, gives the background to the story, a bit of history, theology, etc. What got them here and this person's worldviews.

Tomorrow night, Jonelle Garo-Kazarian, a wonderful friend and pastor/counselor, is presenting the story from a woman's perspective.

Wednesday night, Greg Ehlert, is giving a man's perspective of this situation. Thursday and Friday I wrap it up with the disciples' viewpoint and coming in the middle of a story, judgementalism and asking for a new perspective. SomedayI will write the one-man narrative that my friend Chris Harrison performed last HS Camp. Wonderful fresh insight called, The Sixth Man. And Friday a look at the woman and others through Isaiah 61's eyes and vision.


13 July 2004


Please pray for Sam Carrasco, Rudy and Kafi's son, who was diagnosed tonight with leukemia. They are at UCLA's Children's Hospital...
Updates on Sam's condition can be found here...

12 July 2004

The Chief BBQer...

I have a new friend, Todd.

I met him last Tuesday at the pool when the campers came up from Sherwood Forest. Last week's camp was called "A Week in the Forest" (for people with developmental disabilities). I usually walk around the pool and meet the campers, especially the ones that aren't swimming. Todd was sitting in the shade and not being very participatory. I wasn't sure if he could talk, but I put my hand out and said, "Hi Todd (He still had on his name badge), I am Tony." He slowly looked up at me, pointing his finger and said, "You must be the chief barbequer!" I wasn't sure if he was identifying me or if he was giving me a new charge. Anyway I told him "there is one greater than I, but yes I am the chief!" I asked him if he liked to bbq and he told me he could do some great things with tri-tip. I told him I know this tri-tip. We should bbq. He asked me if I meant it and I said I did.

I became the chief. He called me to something greater than I was. I loved to bbq but to be the chief I had new expectations put on me. I rose to the occasion. I planned an intimate bbq with about 5 - 10 people and picked up a tri-tip and some Korean short ribs from The Meat Market in Fresno (the best place to find tri-tips).

Friday rolls around and he spots me in the Forest and tells me, "Hey, you said we would be bbqing and I have to leave tomorrow!" I asked him if he knew what faith was? He said he did. I asked him what was the definition and he seemed puzzled. I told him "It was believing in something without much evidence. Todd, do you have faith in me?" Not breaking eye contact he said, "I do... you are a great man!"

We had a couple of guys from the Accommodations team pick him, Cosby, and Geoff White up and drive him up to our house without telling him where he was going. I was heating up McKenzie's BBQ and when he arrived he was a little disoriented. I got his attention and told him, "As I promised, there is a hot BBQ and here is a tri-tip, let's see what you can do with it." He let out a shriek of such joy that it could be heard all over the place and wrapped his arms around me and gave me this incredible hug (see below) and he begins to weep. I am weeping, Geoff is weeping, the two in the truck are weeping, Cosby is too...

It was a very emotional experience.

He cooks, we eat and then it is time for him to leave. I stand to give him another hug and tell him, "Todd, let's be friends." And he looks me in the eyes and tells me, "We are already family."


09 July 2004

Speaking tonight...

Tonight, the Spirit was such that after I taught, we sang, "Madly" and I got the silly desire to dance... so I did, and danced, and danced, and danced. What a wonderful feeling of His spirit moving. I haven't danced in 20 years, I shuffle. But tonight knowing that according to Isaiah 61, He calls me, "...an oak or righteousness..." Me, an oak. I felt like a weeping willow of wickedness, but He calls me an OAK.

Gotta dance...

29 June 2004

Emergency funds are needed for Sudan's Darfur...

I wanted to join my friends in the blogsphere and encourage you to go to the World Vision's web site and donate money for Sudan's refugees.

They are "the least of these..." for today!

27 June 2004

50th group birthday...

I got to spend tonight with a small percentage of my graduating class celebrating our collective 50th birthdays. Men and women from the class of 1972 of Sanger High School, a small farming town in central California, gathered together on Keith Nilmier's farm to eat, drink some wine and pop, dance, sing, and remember some old stories.

Some of the crassest people loved on me tonight. Some quiet ones that I never thought remembered me, they walked up and gave me a hug and a kiss. There was lots of kissing. Not making out, just fondness for each other. I kissed Mark Adanalian on the lips. Italian to Armenian. I have known Mark since kindergarten, a dear friend who lost his wife a few years back and who now is suffering with MS. A kiss seemed appropriate.

Friends. Old friends. Friends who are losing spouses, parents. Friends who didn't return because of illness unto death. We talked of old times, of new marriages and recent divorces, children and their children, our children's colleges and dreams, our own dreams and accomplishments - some still to accomplish, we talked a lot about God.

Some are writers, doctors, radio announcers (I listened to one on the radio on the way home just now on KLOV), wives, mothers, widows, farmers, educators, salesmen, and one camp guy. Money was raised for scholarships, a bottle of wine was signed by us all for the last member to drink after the rest of us are dust, emails and addresses kept. We were heavier, balder, smarter, wiser, softer, and more loving. Even the crass ones were more loving. Old girlfriends asked about my wife with genuine interest and we talked of their husbands and children. A lot of drama back then that seemed like the end of the world opened to new worlds. No one was trying to impress, only remember and reconnect.

A quiet woman that I grew up with from elementary through high school, Lillian Torres, came up and gave me a delightful hug. She said she was so honored that I remembered her. I remembered her. I was honored that she thought anything of me. Isn't it funny how we think of our selves before these events. She is taking care of her mother who is in the later stages of Alzheimer's. Many were taking care of parents in later stages of many things. We all seemed to understand that part of this season of life.

It was a grand time. We bragged a little, cried a little, hugged a lot, took a long time to say good bye to those who had to leave early - this may be the last time we see them. We stood out in the middle of the country road before the last said good bye. It was hard to say good bye when we just said hello a few hours before.

There was some who chose not to come because of bad feelings from the past, that was sad, they missed out on a lot of grace and forgiveness. My anxiety walking up was soon dissipated by the first person to yell out my name. They remember me...

20 June 2004

Great sex...

I went to my daughter's dance recital yesterday that lasted from 2:00p to 6:30p. Of course we left after she was finished but we were there for a long time and saw many acts. Ages ranged from little-littles to women in their young 50s. It was great to see the women my age getting on stage and dancing as a form of keeping healthy and in shape. They were delightful. I loved watching them.

I was greatly disturbed in my spirit watching the young girls and women dance with a bit of provocativeness. I have been to dance performances since I was in high school and I took a jazz dance class with my friend, Huff. I have been to recitals for both of my daughters over the past 10 years. I have seen Twila Tharp and other profession troupes. My wife danced, my friends in college danced... So I am not new to this.

It was not the costumes that were provocative though some were a bit, I am not even sure it was the moves and gestures even though I don't think a 6 year old should be shaking something that hasn't budded yet. But it was something in the eyes. More than a look, it was behind the eyes. A lost innocence.

I started thinking, as a participant in the sexual revolution I don't think sex got better because we are less inhibited now. I don't think it is better because we are free-er to express ourselves in any clothing that we want. I don't think we have gotten better by being free-er to express ourselves by whatever means we want and show whatever we want. It is no more sexually exciting to see some girl's thong showing above her pant line than seeing a plumber's crack rising above his.

I think we need to teach our kids about great sex. Great sex begins with intimacy, not with public indecency. Great sex comes with trust for tomorrow not relief right now. I don't think we are teaching our children anything deep and sacred by having them flaunt their bodies today. We need to begin teaching children about great sex by teaching them about their hearts, minds, and bodies. Their minds and spirits are underdeveloped, and their bodies are overexaggerated.

We condemn pedophiles but yet when I look at these performances of these children aren't we lowering our morals to theirs? They will no longer be perverts if their behavior is not perverting the behavior of the norm. If mothers and fathers don't care, who will.

This society lacks class. People talk in movies, smack their children in the grocery store, girls burp, guys oogle, if I see another television show where some guy is talking to another guy while he is using the bathroom I will scream.

It is more acceptable to say the F word, than to say the name of the Savior. I am not impressed with the evolution of this society. I am not calling for the government to do something, I am not asking for the schools to teach something, I think we need to begin with ourselves. We are to blame and "we are the ones we have been waiting for..."

18 June 2004

Evening beauty...

Photo by Cory Pina (with a ~)

This is the show we have been watching each night this past week.


As the San Joaquin Valley heats up each day we get the residual moisture rising and creating these spectacular cloud formations and the sunsets are gorgeous.

17 June 2004

A grove of praise...

In this place, trees reach up through the underbrush to the sky,
Branches intertwine with others to capture the warmth and nourishment of the sun,
Roots dig deep into the soil for strength and stability so that they may display the glory of the Creator.

We come with the intention, to leave the daily routine and reach for the Eternal Kingdom.
Standing with others, to seek His face and Spirit, we set our faith deeply into His word and truth as we lift our hands in a grove of worship so we may be a testament of His grace, peace, and power.

16 June 2004

This was a one-of-a-kind day...

This was a band that I threw together of some very fine musicians. From Left to Right, Paul Fandl on drums, Me on keyboards, Timbo on bass, Dave Brewer on guitar, Levi Huffman on guitar and flute, my wife, Christel vocals, and her brother Will Eisenhower on mandolin)

The caliber of music that these guys had was phenominal! In the middle of some OLD camp songs like Pass It On, They Will Know We are Christians, and More Love they improvised some incredible licks. I was thanking God for His letting me play with the big boys and girl. It had been a long time since I had played with them.

Good times, good times...

a haiku, a thought, and a song... (UPDATE)

is this rain falling
only on me?

Kobayashi Issa

I have a sense of change, but not of location.
Of duty, but not of jobs.
Of thinking, but not of education.
Of acting, but not of roles.
Of relationship, but not of people.
Of time, but not of today.

This is a peculiar time. I have never felt such restlessness. I am not bored but I know something new is coming. Coming around a corner. I can sense the presence but do not see it yet. Good opportunities have come, but it is not where I am suppose to be. I am suppose to be here. A part of the new thing. I was part of the old new thing. Now I feel like I am too old for this new thing.

"Faithfulness, faithfulness is what I long for
Faithfulness is what I need.
Faithfulness, faithfulness is what You want from me."

This has nothing to do with age but more of ability and confidence. I am sure there are plenty of cliches that can be thrown at me like, "I can do all things..." but that doesn't help me right now.

What I am saying is "Man, I am tired." I know He is able but I am tired.

12 June 2004

A little time with Josh and Cleave...

Top photo: Me, Cleave.
Bottom photo: Cleave, Bryan Cosby, Josh

It was good to see Adam Cleaveland and his friend, Josh Cleveland as they travel through Calvin Crest last Thursday night and Friday morning on their way to Yosemite. Great conversation about Austin, Princeton, the past, the future, some insight for me...

Friends from the past can do that. Godspeed Josh and Adam.

I did notice the Rainbows!


Well Cory is feeling better but still has some pain. We are changing him with Ryan McKenzie who will coordinate the Crestview team. I praise God for both of them.

10 June 2004

I need your help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yesterday, I lost my contacts, all of them, every stinkin' one of them, none was spared, total quantum, many, many, atrocity, dispair, yikes... 2187 of them.

So if you know me please EMAIL me with your address, city, state, zip, phone, cell, email address, birthday... I am very frustrated. What a time to have this happen


08 June 2004

The fresh, the food, and the enemy...

There is a sense of inpending change. I don't want to say disaster because it would be speaking something out there. I would rather be aware of the presence of God than the presence of the enemy. He is shaking some up. A staff member trusted Jesus with her life yesterday. You may say aren't all of your staff christians? and I would say back to you no many are churched and a few know Him. For years we have hire churched people. This year we are sensing God bringing people who want to know Him. It is wonderful to be with these people who are laying down habits that have held them for years. They are not becoming christians they are beginning a relationship with God. I don't know what a christian is anymore than I know what a democrat is. But I can spot a follower, a disciple anywhere. I like being with them, there questions are different. There eyes see for the first time. Like the guy in the gospels who see people as trees. Many of us don't even see people as people. I like these people, they are hungery. They are stepping on new floors, will it hold, will I fall, is it real, is the old thing past away?

The food is delightful. We are carrying a recent tradition with Sean and now with Bink. I do miss Sean, but I like having Bink here.

I sensed the enemy looking for a place to enter. Division, destruction, hopelessness, pride, fear, failure, distraction... It takes its toll. But I sense God even stronger. Love, discernment, hope, forgiveness, healing, mercy, rest...

The teams are great. Some strong returning staff, some young bright people, old walkers, new crawlers. Great diversity. I love this. Hard but I love this.

07 June 2004

My friend...

Cory Pina isn't feeling well. Would you pray for his healing, the peace of God, and a fresh wind to blow over him. He is back home for a day or so to get some medical help. I sure like it when he is here and pray for his return soon.

06 June 2004

Two things...

I haven't talked much about my wife, she is incredible. An important part of the community at Calvin Crest is its choir. Everyone on Summer Staff is in it. It is the one place that an operation guy can be next to a program guy and feel equal. It is about the staff not teams. It has nothing to do with someone being on staff longer than someone else... we are one.

And a good portion of the success, if not all of it, is my wife, Christel. She is able to teach all of the people and many have not been in a choir before and have never sung. And most important, they enjoy themselves. She is able to get them to be in worship as they sing these songs. I am always impressed with her.

Second, we had a person quit tonight. That was very difficult, not because we have to go out and find someone, but I was looking forward to watching her do a great job and trusting God and be a part of a wonderful team. We made some changes but I am extremely sad to see her go. Sometimes the season is a short one. This was 24 hours.

05 June 2004

The life of the community...

I sensed tonights first meeting of staff as a field of wheat moving with the wind. Swaying by the breath of God. It doesn't make sense until they shared a brief story. 80 gathered each with their unique place, a short story... name, how many years on staff, where they're from, and to what are they looking forward? And for a brief moment we saw and heard something, a scratching of the surface, the opening of a door... a bit of their soul. Anxious for these ten weeks. What will it bring? Who will I be?

It was totally different than the interviews, tonight they are chosen, ready. I like them. I can be vulnerable with them. They want to trust me. I need to earn their trust. Watch my patiences, guard my ego, show and release my heart. This is the staff God chose to do His will, the field from where the fruit will come. Its own flavor, different, distinctive.

A new community, same heart... His.

02 June 2004

I missed a day somewhere...

What a mess I have made. I thought yesterday was Monday, it was Tuesday. I was suppose to have a phone conference call with the Program committee. I missed it! Today I am thinking is Tuesday but it is Wednesday, I am thinking I have a few more days before summer arrives but I do not.

I am looking back over the year and wonder where did it go? How did I spend my time? What am I doing...? It is kind of scary to lose a day. It is causing me to be a little loopy. I am not as focused as I want to be.

I pray for clarity, focus, and strength for tomorrow and this upcoming week of staff orientation.

One thing... there is no such word as orientated. It is oriented.


Here we gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo...

31 May 2004

Remembering and planning...

This past weekend Calvin Crest celebrated its 50th anniversary of service. It was an incredible event for many, hard work for the staff, and a unique time for me.

I am planning for the summer, coordinators arrive this Wednesday, Staff comes on Saturday and the guests come in a week from next Sunday. This put me in the middle of the past and the future with anxiety, fear, excitement, sadness, appreciation, fondness, and many other feelings.

Appreciating the people who decided it was a needed thing for a presbytery to own its own camp, go out and look for the property, have the faith to purchase when some are calling it "folly", dreamers who design something very unique, those who take it from the ground to new buildings and roads, etc... I was humbled. Some were there, many passed on to the cabins prepared for them by the Savior, and a few of the recent and present staffs were there. Some very old and dear friends who help me cut my spiritual teeth and develop a budding theology were there to share stories of laughter, tears, and awe. I wish there were more people from recent years to share what is going on now but it takes time to look back.

I pray I will leave something that is eternal in the lives and spirits of those who come this summer and the next...

25 May 2004


Reimagining Camp is going to do just that, reimagine camp, this summer. I am inviting the coordinators to look at their beliefs of Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Father and design a week of equipping, worship, entertainment, etc for our guests that would come.

If this is what we believe, then this is how we should behave. If we behave in a contrary manner to that which we believe, do we really believe that which we say we believe. I don't think we are acting wrong, I don't think we truly believe that which we think we do. When Paul calls us to think on these things... true, honorable, righteous, pure... do we? Why not. If we are told in scriptures that He is present with those who gather in unity does that cause anything to happen? What does His interceding for us with the Father have to do with our daily lives?

We know, we know, we know, but does it show?

I read of other religions, primitive and tribal, and there is a spiritual reality to their lives. They live out a way that is coordinated with the gods. If the gods say to do something, celebrate something, sacrifice something, they do. There is a spiritual strength they possess because they worship and move in harmony with these gods. They become so intensely spiritually intuitive that they are keenly aware of an enemy approaching their land. Their dreams reveal the future, they are in harmony with the land and all of creation. Their worship is... (I am freaking you out about now. Has Tony gone off the deep end?)

We don't, we are much too civilized. But is there a spiritual reality we miss in our civility? That is what I am exploring this summer.

Time is short, we must love in real time today.

18 May 2004

Let us be thankful...

I was at Summit Adventures' send off for their new instructors as they were off on their 2 week course. First time I sat and experienced someone else's traditions. My friend Tom Smith, the executive director, prayed, "Let us be thankful for the day..." and he began to list that to which we should be thankful. At first I thought, oh come on, Tom. But then God told me to be thankful. In light of the tragic events of last week and going to Las Vegas to be involved in the funeral, I should be thankful. I am thankful, Lord.

15 May 2004

A dear one...

This afternoon I heard from Stephanie about the death of one of the summer staff members, Carmen Marrero. She was killed in a car accident.

This was very hard to take. I don't know what to do with it.

I enjoyed the last week of last summer with Carmen. We talked a lot about her faith and her church. She was raised in a Catholic church but did not know much about it. Her faith came from attending Calvin Crest and hanging out with the Presbyterian kids from 1st Presbyterian, Las Vegas.

She told me she was sad because she heard people putting down the Catholics and they didn't know she was one. This caused her deep pain, not only because they were putting the Church down, but what made her the saddest was that she didn't know enough how to defend the Church. I gave her one of my books and bought her a new one about the Church and some basic understanding of its tenets. She was thankful.

I hope she is able to see the blessed Savior, Jesus and His mother, Mary. She will never again hear anyone saying anything bad about His body and His bride. Pray for me.

13 May 2004

Good day...

I am amazed at the working of God in the time of planning for the summer. I am changing 2 programs and watching one as to what God wants to do with that. I am confident in the staff that we have and hopefully will be able to articulate the direction to them and let them put the program together.

Summer is coming fast. Still many loose ends.

11 May 2004


I am heading over to Monterey again tomorrow for some more prayer and planning. God is writing a new program in me. Monterey or should I say Pacific Grove is huge in the framework of what He is doing. I want to be faithful to where He is calling me and to go where He is taking. There was some huge things that happened last week and a major screw up, on my part, this week. Tomorrow should set some things in order for me and I pray that I would be listening to Him through out the day as I will be in different conversations. This isn't meant to be cryptic but I just want to be open.

Pray that God would reveal Himself, His plan, His resources, and give me a deep well of hope and understanding.

08 May 2004

Crown of thorns...

The way of the Kingdom is different. It is not what we think, it is what He thinks. Our minds need to be transformed, renewed, reprogrammed, new paradigms accepted, etc...

I have been reading about a young woman in the early 1800, Anne Catherine Emmerich, who was set apart for His hand to do His work. She was definitely holy. Jesus appeared to her throughout her life, manifested his marks and stripes, stigmas, on her body. Very interesting. I have been intrigued by her faith and understanding of His way.

Once the Savior appeared to her and in His left hand He held a crown of flowers and in His right a crown of thorns, He bid her to choose one. She chose the crown of thorns. She would meditate on the Passion of Christ and find herself caught up in His sufferings. Her love for Him grew the more she experienced His pain. I am deeply moved by this woman's life.

I am so not there. I would have chosen the flowers. I would have never chosen pain. My identity is in His resurrection not the crucifixion. I want the followers not the betrayers. Disciples not rejecters. Oil not spit. Shouts of "Hosanna," not jeers of "Crucify Him." Bowing down not beating down. Words of success, not of contrition. Positions of leadership not positions of submission. In the theme of the last Indiana Jones movie, I choose poorly.

I position myself in places of potential. Can I assume the position of humility? There is a new awareness that I must know differently that I do now. What are the conversations I should be in. Not one of authority but one of responsibility. I can only do that which He calls me to and to focus EVERYTHING on that area instead aspire to do something He has not given me. I have been given people for whom I am responsible. That is where I must be instead of someone else's position. Even when it hurts.

It cannot be about my kingdom, I must be totally surrendered to His.

04 May 2004


I have been working at Calvin Crest now for about 13 summers and there have been many frustrations and battles. I tried to keep my head and heart in the game. Watching God design and plan and carry out incredible summers of power, love, grace, and mercy. I watched the Spirit of Christ move in the lives of many, both camper and staff. I had to discipline, correct, and release some precious people of their responsibilities.

Last year I was told I was depressed. Got medication, felt doped up and felt like I was walking through jello in zorries and a toga. God did an incredible work a month or so back and brought back hope to me. It was incredible. That what I had seen in others was being done in me.

The programmer got to benefit from someone else's program. This doesn't happen enough. We listen for His word and watch for His work so that those who would come would be transformed, but do we get to be touched by His hand?

"It is not about me..." The song goes, but it needs to be about Him touching and transforming us as we are about to participate in the transformation of those He would bring up to us this summer.

I cannot enter this summer without hope. As we are going through some intense issues He is bringing me a deep touch of peace and power. Two months ago I didn't think I had it in me. Now I am getting very excited for what He is going to do. Some of the changes I have been thinking about have been confirmed by phone calls and emails from people.

I needed a little touch of the Spirit of Christ through a friend last night to be set free from some bondage. I was praying against something that I thought was harassing someone else then I realized it was and has been harassing me. We prayed and got released.

Sometimes we bring a spiritual program we are unaware of. The programs that set people free sometimes inflict damage on us - the programmers. We need to understand that just because we have seen campers set free and experience God's power doesn't mean that we are experiencing the same thing in our lives. We need to let our brothers and sisters in Christ, minister to us, pray for us. Program an experience of truth and light - for us, the programmers.


25 April 2004

Prayer and planning...

I am taking the week to again pray and plan. There are a couple of meetings that I need to have with some key pastors and friends and then it is run away and listen.

A while back I had an interesting discussion with our friend, Rudy Carrasco, regarding capitalism and the poor. It, like everything else with me, blazed some rabbit trails that I have been on since that conversation last August.

It was the idea of INVESTMENT. This is not just an economic concept but it is also very spiritual. We are not a community of investors any more. We want to cash in and get out quickly. But investment means doing something today that pays off in the distant future. This is the mind of Christ. How do we look at what we are needing in 50 years so that we can beginning training, learning, and discipling today. I want to create a community, but it only begins today, it doesn't function well today. It is the heart from which this comes, not the flesh. Investing in tomorrow is a different heart than get it now. Could you imagine giving your life away for something that COULD still be around in 2000 years or more. Like, uhm, eternity?

I have been saying this for years but what we do this week of camp cannot nor should not be measured just by the faces on Saturday or the proverbial pinecones tossed on Wednesday, but by what is taking place in their lives in November or next March.

Investments are hard to monitor. My dad invests in the stock market and when I was growing up he kept a chart on his bathroom door of each stock and how they did that day. Everyday when he would come home from work (and I am thankful he did each day) he would put a mark on the graph to signify the day's worth. It was interesting for me to see this and talk with him about it. He had stock with a company, Baxter Labs. It didn't do much but stayed steady. I asked him why he invested in them and he told me he is committed for a least two years to a company. It takes time, he would say.

The reason I bring this up is I have real concerns for the future of the church. Who is going to lead? Who is going to teach children? Who are the worship leaders? Who are the ones that are going to invest in tomorrow's way of following Christ? This cannot be done if we are going to cash out today but we have to be seeking the spirit of Christ to direct our resources (time, money, people, thoughts, energy, natural environment, etc.) to do that which He will be doing in 2054.

We must invest in an education, not just academic but "understanding tools" which will give us abilities for carrying out the Way. I had some jobs that sucked but I see God using those abilities today. Those jobs put me in new situations with people who I would have never hung around with that gave me love and profound respect for them that is of immense value today. I learned to play guitar and piano 30 years ago, which is a part of the Way of today. The Kingdom is made up of the tools crafted years ago and adapted for today.

The seed planted today for the fruit of tomorrow.

23 April 2004


When things don't go the way one is use to it is probably time for a change. I am looking at making some changes to a long way of doing things. People are going to be ticked.

20 April 2004

Eliacin's comment provoked me...

I would rather blog than comment to Eliacin's comment on the previous blog, "How do we know we are successful..."

I want to tell you why I like to do women's retreats. Everytime I tell someone what I did this weekend they get this look on their faces like, "What is wrong with you?" They get a smirk or something that just cannot relate to the whole thing.

First off, it is a time for the food service supervisor, Chef Bink, to go crazy and make incredible food. We want to pamper these women, like no one else does. We want them to feel loved and cared for. We want them to unwind enough so they will be able to experience Jesus' presence in their hearts and spirit. We want them to feel safe to share their hearts and open up enough to allow Jesus to forgive them of sin, release them from the chains of abuse and pain they have been holding on to their whole life. Many are ministering out and this is an opportunity to be ministered to. And Jesus shows up everytime.

We are manipulating them, not by trying to whip them up emotionally, but unwinding them spiritually to let go of themselves into His arms to be loved and set free. When weather permits we open up the giant swing and climbing wall for them to try new things and feel confidence where they lacked before. We have crafts for them to sit, talk, get ministered by Deb as she teaches and talks about this craft and their heart. Safe places to come and let go and let Him.

The speaker is a key. She has to be someone who can understand these women need Jesus, not Freud. They need to be set free, not given more to do. They must walk away release to do His work, not feel guilty for not doing her work.

I lead them in worship. I point out along the way things that Christ is doing and letting them experience Him. It is not about powerpoint or the latest songs, on Sunday we couldn't use the projector because the sun was too bright so we sang songs we knew, old ones, they chose them randomly, and I played them on the piano, and the Spirit ministered to them. I was panicing on no powerpoint but Jesus was moving inspite of our production.

Seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added... is really the formula for good programming. Do we allow room for Jesus to do the things He wants to do or do we only do the latest things that we see others doing? Do women come because of the food? You bet! Do they come because of the crafts? Yep. They come because they will see Jesus. But on Sunday when they leave we want them to be 5 pounds heavier because the food was so good, but 50 pounds lighter because Jesus has set them free of the burdens of sin and pain they have been carrying around in their souls for a long time.

19 April 2004

I am blessed...

I just got back from a meeting with some of the CommonFire leadership (Anne & Jonathan Capps, Laura Cosby, and Christy & Bink Smith). The prayer time at the end was so good, felt His presence and peace.

It is well with my soul...

How do we know we are successful...

A number of years ago, when I was a program director, I went around to a number of youth pastors and directors and ask them what were their goals for the coming year. They listed off a number of events (Bible studies, a couple of lock-ins, pizza bash, bbq, camp, houseboat trip on Shasta, winter retreats, ski weekend, and the obligatory Youth Sunday). I told them they didn't give me goals but events. They said that they were the goals to accomplish this year. I asked them at the end of the year how would they know they were successful? They said if they grew in numbers. I asked them what is a successful amount of people? They said more than they have now. I asked them how does Calvin Crest, the camp where I work, fit into their goals? They told me that they would be coming to camp and they wanted a good program. I asked them how would I know I had a "good program?" And they said if the kids like it.

I asked Scott Vance what his goals were, and he pulls out his wallet and slides out a small, laminated, card that had his goals written out. I asked him does his staff know these goals and he said each one had a card. Not one bulleted item was an event but a goal. A measurable goal.

He referred back to the card through out our conversation. I was impressed. I asked him what he would use our camp for. He said, the strategy of camping for him was developing relationships with his students, time to be in the Word, listen and respond to speakers who would challenge their thinking and deepen their faith and understanding on being a disciple of Jesus Christ, and to have a fun time away from the distractions and issues at home.

I liked talking to him. I could go back to the drawing board and keep those things in my mind as I planned the upcoming summer. I could measure my success by Scott's goals for the week at Calvin Crest. Some years I measured up and some I failed. But I always appreciated Scott's evaluations because they came out of his goals which I agree with and not just a nebulous goal like "more kids are coming"...

17 April 2004

A women's conference...

I am leading worship for our women's conference as we speak. The speaker is Stephy Beans, or "Mama". Power is in the house! I love participating in these conferences! The women are open to the Spirit of Christ and to each other. And Bink is doing a great job w/ the food. I will regain the conversation on Monday.

16 April 2004


Rick and I were discussing yesterday that many camps were built after the Korean War or WW2, which means that their conditions are roughly in the same condition I am in... water problems, structural disintigration, electrical shortages, etc. (I'm a mess.)

Repairs are needed everywhere. Remodeling and new buildings are very expensive today versus back then. It will take a lot of money for this work.

Families don't camp as much as they did when I was a kid. They go to motels and stay on the concrete. Roughing it is staying at a Motel 6 instead of the Radisson. They don't want to stay in tents or cabins and walk to the bathroom. They want it like home. New

13 April 2004

Stay tuned...

You may not believe this but we are talking about camping. We will talk about the facilities tomorrow...

Moving on...

If this movement of the Savior was to last for more than a generation, what would be the M.O. (Modus operandi) of the leadership of the movement? What would you do as leaders to ensure that that which Jesus started would continue through the ages. What are we as church leaders doing today that will ensure that our children's great great grandchildren will follow Christ in the same manner as did the Apostles?

I hope I haven't made my ordained friends mad. Education is important. For it is by the power of the Holy Spirit that changes lives. Are we controled by the Spirit or tradition.

12 April 2004

I am asking myself, Again...

Again, we reduce the role of the pastor to someone who is learned. Whether it is Spanish, Greek, Hebrew, or even know who Anye Rand is, etc. We reduce the existence of the Christian life with the event on Sunday or Saturday, the true Sabbath ;).

The event is not the issue with which I am concerned. However we do need good speakers for that, male or female. They need to know the scriptures. The historical context, the culture in which they were written, able to correctly parse the text, correlation between scriptures, prophesy and fulfillment, how to spell correctly and pronounce the names of kings and cities...

They need to understand the event of the worship service, the liturgy. They need to be able to move seamlessly from each station to the next as a conductor moves between the movements of a concert. But we stop there and we don't need to.

What brings a community together? What is important enough for the community to stop what it is doing and gather? If it is the sermon, the speaker better be educated and gifted in the art of public speaking and time managment. The question is why do we gather? To hear a sermon? My catholic friends would say we gather to participate in the Eucharist. But we protestants think it is just symbols and not the very presence of Christ, so that can't be it? To minister to each other? No we arrive and leave 65 minutes later without getting share our lives with each other, maybe a little coffee but not our souls. To learn to be better Christians? I am not sure that is happening except we are able to live intentionally for 40 days at a time.

The position I was trying to get out is that our community is about community. The Christian community has to be more than a group of people who wear christian t-shirts and quoting scripture. It is about labouring together building houses, stores, farms, schools, services, family, etc. Investments made that payoff later, not just a consumeristic - get it now, pay off.

The pastor has to be the spiritual director for the community, just as the mayor is the political director, the teacher is the education director, the conductor the musical director, etc. But when the pastor becomes the politician, the entertainer, etc. instead of the spiritual director, we have people that are lacking spiritually and become consumers. So the important thing in a congregation's life and concerns are the prices at the Gap. This does not reflect poorly on the congregation but the pastor. He has concerned himself with everything but the spiritual life of the congregation and the arguement of educated in the scriptures is a spiritual endeavor is baloney. We misinterpret knowing things about God with knowing God. Having a Ph.d in baseball doesn't give you a .333 batting average. (Steroids do that!) If that was the case George Wills could take Barry Bonds anyday.

This week we are to discuss why do we have camps. But until we can decide what the church is about it will be interesting to see what camps are about. Eliacin said that the camps are doing the church's job. I don't disagree. But the question is, what is the church's job. Then we will know what the camp's job is.