Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Make Yourself

OK. I realize that this is probably not what Brandon Boyd had in mind...but you can go here and create your own avatar (icon).

Check me out...I look much cooler in cyberspace.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Coffee with a Flaming Idiot...

Yesterday in Waco, we're sitting at a local coffee house waiting for Brennan Manning NOT to show. (see post below.) One of the girls in our group orders her drink, a 'Flaming Idiot'--a sort of latte with cinnamon and other girly stuff.

Just before the 'coffee artist' (whatever that is...) tops off her drink with whipped cream and little chocolately sprinkles, she asks, "Do you want everything on this Flaming Idiot?". Only her inflection sounded more like "Do you want everything on this, (you) Flaming Idiot?".

Good times.

Monday, November 07, 2005

MIA: The Ragamuffin Godfather

Twelve years ago, I was privileged to spend a weekend with Rich Mullins. It changed my life forever, but not in the ways you’d think.

During a retreat in McKinney, Rich and Beaker led worship and spoke to nearly 500 students. I was volunteering as a leader with a college group and we were staying at a nearby house each night. After each service, Rich would come to the house and hang out with us. Drinking coffee, talking theology, and sharing stories, we’d laugh and cry until the wee hours of the morning. Like hundreds of others, Rich’s music, life and ministry had impacted my own in ways that hadn’t even surfaced yet. But each night, his words dripped with wisdom. They were like drops of living water that splashed on my thirsty tongue. One night, after all but two of the group had gone to bed, Rich asked us, “Do you guys like to read?”

“Sure.” I said.

“Ever read any Chesterton?”, he asked.

“Nope. Never heard of him.”, I replied, feeling a little ignorant.

He stared at me. “Man. You need to read him. He’s almost as good as Brennan’s stuff.”

Now he had me. “Brennan?” I asked. “Who’s Brennan?”

Rich then launched into an eager, passionate description of his friend Brennan Manning, of which his favorite, of course, was The Ragamuffin Gospel.

“Brother, it changed my life,” he said, “Brennan helped me realize that the gospel of Jesus is not about giving my best for God, but about realizing I have nothing to give Him. That everything I have is nothing but a gift, an expression of grace, straight from God. Everything I have is from Him…I’m just a beggar-turned-son.”

I did just what you would have done: I bought The Ragamuffin Gospel at 9am on Monday morning. Although I’ve bought and given away approximately 30 copies since then, I still have that copy. In fact, as I type this it is within arm’s reach.

Brennan was scheduled to speak today at BU. So, James, tg2 and I loaded up and drove a couple of hours to sit on the front row and soak up the wisdom of my personal Yoda: a feeble, frail man who has been weathered by alcohol, depression, divorce, and religious legalism, but who has been rescued and reborn by the free handout of amazin’ grace, and whose eyes still dance with the wide-eyed wonderment of my toddler’s.

But he didn’t show.

Brennan was rushed to the hospital Saturday night, due to complications of emphysema and, although, released Sunday afternoon to his New Orleans home, was not able to travel to Waco.

If you don’t have a copy of Ragamuffin, I’ll sell you my first copy for $10,000. Or you can run here and get one before they close tonite. Don’t wait for Amazon to ship it to you…it may take 2 days or more. In the meantime, religion can choke you under it’s yoke.

And pray for Brennan.

Thank you

Thank you.

It’s been nearly a week since my last blog entry. So much has happened. Maybe later I can go into details in a future post, but you know me: I’m a bottom-line kinda guy. So, here goes:

Last week our family was blessed in an incredibly generous act of love and grace. We had a need that only God could provide….and He did so through some fellow believers in our little community of faith here in P-ville. I’ve cried nearly every time I’ve thought or talked about it.

As ministers, our vocational job is to meet the needs of others and to train fellow believers to do the same. Ministry is an incredibly rewarding experience when the crosshairs of your efforts are aimed at blessing others instead of trying to ‘get yours’. (that’s another post for later…)

However, being on the receiving end of such a tremendous blessing is both an honoring and humbling thing. After 15 years in the ministry, Heather and I were blessed last week like never before. By anyone. Anywhere.

All I can say is ‘thank you’.