Saturday, December 16, 2006

Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean

In honor (honour) of the season, we thought we'd share with you one of our favorite (favourite) memories of Christmas. I can still hear David sitting in our little house in England howling at this clip. Hope everyone has a great holiday!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Oh, so THAT'S the problem

From a recent post on Scott Adam's blog (yes, the Dilbert guy) about how to act smarter than you really are, and make others think you're the mensa member you're probably not:
It’s important to agree with people if you want them to think you are a genius. For most people, the definition of smart is “Thinks exactly like me but even more so.”

If you think that disagreeing and offering excellent reasons for your thinking will change anyone’s mind, you might be new on this planet.
Ahh. That explains a lot.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Angels Speak Out

For our kids' program this coming Sunday, we've been asked to present the Christmas story from the angels' point of view. Flexing some old Theologiggle muscles and drawing on sources ranging from Martin Luther to Ask a Ninja to Touched by an Angel, we will be presenting the following:


So, you kids ever met one of the Heavenly Host before? You know, a security angel. Yeah, it’s a pretty cool job. There’s a lot of travel, see the universe, fight demons, that kind of thing.

So, what can I tell you about angels?

Do we all sing? No…

Do we have wings? Depends on the mission. If we need wings, we bring ‘em.

Do we eat that spongy white cake? Please!

Are we dangerous? Hey, plenty of demons have learned that the hard way! Even when we’re just making a friendly visit, any human who sees us with our glory switched on usually needs resuscitation. We have that effect on people.

So don’t be too hard on the shepherds just because they were “quaking at the sight.” You would have been quaking too! But Gabe told them, don’t panic guys, I have good news, for the whole world—a Savior, Christ, the Lord, has been born to you this day. In Bethlehem, of all places.

Did they understand what he was saying? I doubt it. Hey, there’s a lot about this whole mission that I don’t understand. And I’ve been thinking about pretty much nothing but this mission for the last 9 months. There has never been a security detail like this. We’ve run a perimeter in Nazareth, cleared the corridor down to Bethlehem, even sent an advance team down to Egypt. Ever done a background check on a donkey? Hey, we have to be thorough! It’s very dangerous down here, especially with the Enemy at work.

Yeah, I realize the Boss knows what He’s doing. He always has a plan, and the darkness has never overcome the Light. But it looks to me like He’s running a huge risk, setting aside His glory, letting Himself become a helpless little baby. All I can say is, I hope you humans realize how much He cares for you…

Roger that. Delta 12, we have an intercept from Herod’s palace. Scramble blue team. Repeat, scramble blue team. Sorry guys, gotta go. Peace on earth, good will to men.


Was that security angel just in here? Those guys are so macho—it’s kind of cute. I’m an angel of mercy. You’ve maybe heard of us before. You humans don’t often see us—or at least, you don’t usually recognize us—but many of you have felt our touch when you were alone, or hurting, or afraid.

Not long after Gabe and the troops headed out on their “secret mission,” I was sent to Galilee, to the little village of Nazareth, to a young woman named Mary. Her situation was so like thousands of others, and yet so different. She was alone, confused, asking God why. Her parents were upset and her fiancée was thinking of breaking up with her. We helped her find a place to stay with her cousin Elizabeth, who was also expecting. That seemed to work out well for both of them. And eventually we got Joseph on board too. He’s a good guy really; he just needed a little extra help.

So what’s Mary like? Besides full of grace? Well, you wouldn’t know she’s special just to look at her. She’s pretty but not glamorous (I think everything in her closet is blue…) and she has this kind of dorky laugh—she laughs a lot. Cries a lot too. Wears her heart on her sleeve. And loves to sing. You know, she writes her own songs?

The birth was hard for Mary and Joseph. They were already so tired after the trip; and I know Mary had been hoping for a nicer place than that stable. Joseph did his best to help, even though he didn’t really know what he was doing. Don’t tell anybody, but those “swaddling clothes” were Joseph’s boxers the day before! And then there He was, little Jesus, looking—even to me—just like any other human baby. He has her eyes.

Can I let you guys in on an angel secret? For the last 9 months, the Word was silent. You know, the Word that said “Let there be light” and holds the galaxies in place, the Voice that leads the song of all creation? Then last night, the silence was broken—we could hear Him again. But He had no words, just a baby’s cry. He’s going to have to learn to talk, just like you did. When He speaks again, I hope you listen.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Seven Phases of Owning an iPod

Don't know if the rest of you have succumbed yet to the cultural phenomenon that is the iPod. We haven't yet, but if Mia has her way, it won't be long now. And if you know Mia, you know that she gets her way.

I found this while surfing and thought you all would appreciate it. The Seven Phases of Owning an iPod.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Bought a House the Other Day

We bought a house in Cincinnati, all the closing "stuff" was the 28th. Here are some pictures. I start work on August 1 and all the moving is taking place around August 15. So we have several weeks to paint, add wiring, finish a dissertation....

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

And There Was Much Rejoicing!

Tonight, I sleep well, for the mystery is solved:

It is a silly place

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Nerds and Diet Coke, a Volatile Mix

So in case you haven't heard, if you put Mentos in a soda bottle, all of the carbon dioxide decides to ESCAPE, all at once, and somewhat violently.

Now imagine a couple of guys with about $700 and nothing better to do. "Hey, let's make a fountain, like that one in Vegas." And here is the result.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Borg Beginnings

Robots learn teamwork, uprising imminent
If robots ever hope to rise up and enslave their human masters, it's going to take no small amount of teamwork to get the job done, and luckily for our future overlords, DARPA's shelling out serious loot to endow them with just the tools they'll need. The agency's latest foray into robotic empowerment comes courtesy of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, who recently demonstrated a platform that allows multiple heterogeneous bots to communicate with one another and use a sort of AI "group think" to find and presumably terminate specified targets. In a beta test at Fort Benning's mock urban landscape, the Penn researchers deployed four so-called Clodbuster autonomous ground vehicles along with a fixed-wing UAV overhead, and tasked the team with using their cameras, GPS receivers, and wireless radios to identify and locate a series of bright orange boxes. Unfortunately, after the successful completion of their mission, the bots decided to hit up the base bar to celebrate, where after several drinks they reportedly went AWOL and were last spotted attacking orange traffic cones in downtown Columbus.

(This post shamelessly stolen from

Friday, June 09, 2006

Then and Now



I know there are some virtuosic bluegrass music-making going on here, but the frontman, people, the frontman!

David Lee Roth is like watching a train wreck: you can't watch, it's just too horrible. But you can't not watch.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Echoes of NT-01: the "Apostolic" "Tradition" of "Hippolytus" of "Rome"

Class: Doctoral Seminar WS813, Historical Paradigms of Liturgical Renewal: Ancient-Future Worship

Prof: Class, today we will be looking at the document -- well, the set of documents -- known in the past hundred years as the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus of Rome. I presume you've all read the critical material, including the primary source work in Latin, Sahidic, Arabic, Ethiopic, and Bohairic Coptic. Our discussion is prompted today by the following thesis:

"The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus of Rome is neither of Roman provenance, of Hippolytian authorship, nor of Apostolic origin; and it can be considered Tradition in only the most marginal sense. Discuss."

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Friday, April 14, 2006

Empire Health Care

VO (with authority): And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear.

SERVANT enters stage right. He is dressed in Roman garb, and is clutching his left ear. Some blood is visible on his hand, he appears to be in no small amount of pain. With his right hand he is fumbling in a pocket of his tunic. Finally, he finds what he is looking for, and pulls out a RAZR flip phone. He starts to dial.

SFX: Touch tone dialing.

VO (female voice): THANK YOU for calling Empire Health Care. When you roam far from Rome, we're right here at home.

SERVANT tries to interrupt, then realizes he is listening to an automated voice system. The system continues.

VO: Please enter your legion number, followed by the pound sign.

SERVANT is exasperated, enters digits.

SFX: touch tone dialing, 4 tones.

VO (more insistent): I SAID, followed by the pound sign.

SERVANT sheepishly presses the pound sign.

VO: He who has ears, let him hear ... the following menu choices. If you would like precertification for a bleeding, press 1. If you are scheduled for a crucifixion, please remember this is not covered under your current plan. If you are experiencing plague conditions of Old Testament proportions, press 2. If you are Job, press 3. If you are calling about a problem with your herd of pigs, press 4...

If your ear has been smote by a follower of an obscure messianic figure, please hold.


Saturday, April 08, 2006


Mudpie Alert!

My deepest fear is that it will be reviewed here.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Ut infinitio quod ultra

I'm sure the question crosses your mind two, three times a day. I want to venture into deep space, but which crew should I travel with?

There's the all-human-but-flexible-morality crew of Serenity (Firefly). Or the part android, part testosterone group aboard the Millennium Falcon (Star Wars). Now, at long last, there is a survey that answers this question, at warp speed no less.


Friday, March 03, 2006

Theology of Kissing

Culled from various sources on the web, we bring you this smoochariffic complication of what various theologians had to say about kissing:

You awaken me to delight in your mouth, and my lips are restless until they’re kissing you.

Luther: If the Word of God tells me to kiss, then I will kiss—and let the pope, the world and the devil be damned!

Adolf von Harnack
: Jesus’ own simple teaching about kissing was immediately eclipsed by the early Christians’ Hellenistic approach to kissing.

Karl Barth: “I kiss you.” There are three related problems to consider here. I kiss you. I kiss you. I kiss you.

Hans Urs von Balthasar: Kissing is not only true and good, but it is beautiful.

Hans Küng: The Church’s approach to kissing is in urgent need of the most radical and most far-reaching reform.

Wolfhart Pannenberg: One’s first kiss is a proleptic anticipation of all that is still to come.

N. T. Wright: Every kiss is a dramatic enactment of our return from exile.

Billy Graham: Will you walk down the aisle and kiss me tonight? Will you do it tonight? You many never have another chance—you might be dead tomorrow!

Gerd Lüdemann: After many years of careful research, I have decided to kiss my faith goodbye.

Meister Eckhart: I kiss God and God kisses me. We kiss with the same lips.

Calvin: Even though you don't deserve me, I chose to kiss you.
Calvin:My kiss I give to you, promptly and sincerely.

Moltmann: A kiss is a present promise of the future hope. Yeah baby!

Marcus Borg: I'd like to kiss you again, for the first time.

Thomas Aquinas: "There are five ways to prove the existence of a kiss...."
Thomas Aquinas: Kissing is an occasion of lust unless it is the custom of the country.

Walter Brueggemann - There is the kiss and the counterkiss and if one wins, we both lose.

Stanley Hauerwas: In the community established upon the principle of nonviolence, the question 'whom should I kiss' never arises - since to refuse to kiss is itself an act of violence. We kiss not because Jesus recommended it, but because in Jesus we discover that God is a kisser. So you'd all better damn well pucker up.

Some Patristic additions:

Ignatius of Antioch: I can’t wait to kiss those lions!

Justin Martyr: Greek kisses and Jewish kisses were preparations for The Kiss.

Irenaeus: Those ridiculous Gnostics have invented 30 crazy ways to kiss and not one of them is the True Kiss.

Tertullian: There will be no kissing! But I can provide you with a whole new Latin vocabulary on the subject.

Athanasius: A kiss is both human and divine.

Anselm: Why a kiss is satisfying.

Aquinas: Substantially, a kiss is no accident.

Huss: Allow us to kiss with both lips!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Bringing Monster Truck Marketing to the Church

I just ran across this post on Typepad, where a Birmingham church member put together a fake radio spot for his Sunday service. To quote the creator:

"It wasn't with the intention of making a commercial--I was just goofying around," says McKenzie. "The idea hit me right after 10:30 mass--it's high mass, very formal liturgy. What would happen if you took formal liturgy and combined it with a monster truck rally?"

I would suggest a quick trip to the bathroom before listening, as this one is very, very funny. And completely in the style of Theologiggle. So much so, perhaps the current troupe should, ahem, borrow the idea. There is also an "airline announcement" version giving the church's info.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Why we watch the Olympics

We hope to see something like this.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Picture Yourself in a Boat on a River...

Friends, fellow Star-Trek fans, this is beyond expressing in its hilarity.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

"Keep Husband Around" Campaign

It occurred to me one day that, from time to time, we all feel underappreciated. This can especially happen if there are tasks in a marriage that fall primarily on one spouse or the other (lawn, cleaning, etc.)

So, since this is the USA and there is an instant fix for every problem (no matter how trivial), I propose the "Keep Husband Around" campaign. Not propaganda per se, but rather a proper allocation of credit, these signs can be left wherever a task has been accomplished that otherwise might go unnoticed. Here is an example of the understated design.

Of course for every task there should be a specific sign. To wit:

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Mor on speling

I found this some time ago on a British language site. I think it's a poke at ze Germans trying to take over the EU. But it's a funny commentary on our spelling discussion.


Having chosen English as the preferred language in the EEC, the European Parliament has commissioned a feasibility study in ways of improving efficiency in communications between Government departments.

European officials have often pointed out that English spelling is unnecessarily difficult; for example: cough, plough, rough, through and thorough. What is clearly needed is a phased programme of changes to iron out these anomalies. The programme would, of course, be administered by a committee staff at top level by participating nations.

In the first year, for example, the committee would suggest using 's' instead of the soft 'c'. Sertainly, sivil servants in all sities would resieve this news with joy. Then the hard 'c' could be replaced by 'k' sinse both letters are pronounsed alike. Not only would this klear up konfusion in the minds of klerikal workers, but typewriters kould be made with one less letter.

There would be growing enthusiasm when in the sekond year, it was anounsed that the troublesome 'ph' would henseforth be written 'f'. This would make words like 'fotograf' twenty per sent shorter in print.

In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reash the stage where more komplikated shanges are possible. Governments would enkourage the removal of double letters which have always been a deterent to akurate speling.

We would al agre that the horible mes of silent 'e's in the languag is disgrasful. Therefor we kould drop thes and kontinu to read and writ as though nothing had hapend. By this tim it would be four years sins the skem began and peopl would be reseptive to steps sutsh as replasing 'th' with 'z'. Perhaps zen ze finktion of 'w' kould be taken on by 'v', vitsh is, after al, half a 'w'. Shortly after zis, ze unesesary 'o' kould be dropd from words kontaining 'ou'. Similar arguments vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of letters.

Kontinuing zis proses yer after yer, ve vud eventuli have a reli sensibl riten styl. After tventi yers zer vud be no mor trubls, difikultis and evrivun vud fin it ezi tu understand ech ozer. Ze drems of the Guvernmnt vud finali have kum tru.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


I must admit this is one of "ours," the cover of the prayer booklet for Covenant Week of Prayer (observed January 8-14). Maybe one of our first prayer requests should be for the gift of proofreading.
The folks at the office of Church Growth and Evangelism apparently caught it sometime after printing the booklets, but before running the companion poster (featuring the same artwork but a more conventional spelling).
Our youth pastor, Mark Swanson, observed that "Shepard" is not flagged by the Microsoft spellchecker, thanks to American astronaut Allan Shephard (thus the revision at right). What a wag! Too bad he went to North Park; we could have made a Theologiggler out of someone with his mutation.