Friday, October 26, 2007

Moving and Birthday Cake

Moving is hard, and it is not fun. It's great once you're moved IN, but not the actual moving. Lots of boxes, a big UHaul truck, and both my cats riding in the front with me. Cats DO NOT like going in the car. They let out these noises that come from the darkest corner of hades, and it sounds like they're dying. Anyways, we're slowly getting unpacked in Valencia, and here's some pics from moving day...

"Bye little apartment..." --------------Me and my Dad

-Boxes, boxes everywhere---------Binx hard at work

We got all the boxes into our new place on Friday night, and Saturday, Jess went with our new church to Hope Gardens, a rehab center for women and their children in Sylmar. I thought that the event was a "women only" deal, so I went back over to Azusa for Matthew Papik's one year birthday party. It was a good time. I got him an electronic remote fart machine. He liked it. His daddy liked it too.

Matthew and Poppa Greg-----------Matthew and Laura

"Oh yeah, that's moist." ---------------The gang

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Albus Dumbledore

I'm sure that most of you have heard by now that author J.K. Rowling announced that one of the main characters in the Harry Potter series, Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, was gay. As Rowling predicted, the Christian audience, who already made so much fuss about the whole "witchcraft and wizardry" issue, now has one more reason to ban Harry Potter from their library.

I'm not going to go on some rant about the morality of Rowling's decision to make the character gay, I think it's a little ridiculous that there's so much controversy over the sexual orientation of a FICTIONAL character to begin with. I do wonder however, along with many others, why Rowling chose to reveal this fact now, after the fact, and why she didn't write it in to a story full of blatant political correctness. She would often give descriptions of characters that included their ethnic background and/or physical appearance, and so to leave out something like that is a little puzzling. Of course, maybe she thought that her books would have met much more opposition had the headmaster been openly gay from the get-go; as it would have shone a whole new light on his relationship with Harry, and his motivations for doing the things he did (looking back and reading the new information into the text is different than having the information as we first encounter the text, wouldn't you say?)

I read this very interesting TIME magazine article by a gay author named John Cloud, who's article "Put Dumbledore Back In The Closet" ponders the question of why Dumbledore took the facts about his sexual orientation to his grave (save for possibly mentioning them to his love interest Gellert Grindelwald). In Cloud's view, Dumbledore's failure to be honest and open about his sexuality imports a "lack of personal integrity that is completely out of character."

I found that an interesting take on the issue. There were plenty of times Dumbledore chose to keep information from Harry or other characters for what he believed were greater purposes, so maybe his sexual orientation would have made Harry uncomfortable or what have you, and he wouldn't have been able to have such an influence in his life, therefore rendering him helpless before Lord Voldemort?

Either way, to hear a gay man say "put Dumbledore back in the closet" is pretty ironic. Check out the article, and let me know what you think.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Village Christian Family Fair

Last Saturday Jess and I went to the Village Christian Family Fair. It was so cool! There were hundreds of people there and lots to do. Jess had that corn-on-the-cob-on-a-stick snack, which I still don't really understand (at what point does corn-on-the-cob become a snack???) and we both had some delicious coffee that the guy called Senior Brahe specializes in making in the mornings for the school faculty.

I even won a chocolate-mocha cake in the world famous CakeWalk!

Here are a few pics:

Monday, October 15, 2007

Handed Over To Satan

Sounds pretty intense huh? That seems like the ultimate degree of giving up on someone. I know the Bible says that God gives people up to their own evil desires, etc. but that phrase of giving someone up to Satan seems somehow worse.

My pastor preached on verses 18-20 on 1 Timothy ch. 1 on Sunday, and the apostle Paul does exactly that: he hands some dudes over to Satan!

We don't know precisely what these guys were up to, but it had to have been something pretty huge that was endangering the purity and health of the church. In Corinthians, Paul addresses a situation where some guy in the church was having an affair with his own stepmother, and the church in essence didn't care!! He instructs them to remove the guy from among them. I wonder what kinds of things are going on in our church, that the apostle Paul would say "Woah!!! That is completely inappropriate and harmful, you need to remove those who are involved from among you!!" I would hope nothing of the sort. I know no church is perfect because it's comprised of sinful people, but man I hope our collective consciences are still in working order that we would be able to perceive and deal correctly with any of those types of issues that would arise!

But in the way that Scripture always points to God, the apostle Paul says that he hands them over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme! He's not giving up on them! He's not completely turning his back on them, and forgetting about them, he is trusting in God's sovereign plan to teach them in some other severe way the lessons that they were not learning in the safety and care of the church family. Needless to say, that can be a frightening method of learning.

As I said earlier, we don't know exactly what these dudes were doing, but the apostle tells us that because some reject faith and good conscience, they make shipwreck of their faith. That was the application of this passage to our lives; a warning to hold fast to our faith, and our conscience. Holding fast to faith means holding fast to doctrine, since it's what explains that which we have faith in. Holding fast to a good conscience means doing what we know is right. The conscience doesn't help us determine right and wrong, it urges and exhorts us to do what we know is right, and not doing that is sin.

So we keep a tight grip on the doctrines of our faith, and we preserve our good conscience by doing what God's Word instructs us is right. Paul calls it waging the good warfare, so prepare for battle.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

In Rainbows

If you were to ask about my "favorite band," I would think about the multitudes of bands that I like and listen to, and then I would remember, "oh yeah, but then there's Radiohead." And I would easily respond that they top my "all-time" list as far as favorites go.

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not making some bold claim that Radiohead is the "best" band of all time (what is the objective standard for being "the best" anyway?); but I'm saying without a doubt, that their music strikes a deep resonance with me, and strikes it in such a way as no other band has been able to come close.

They just released their 7th studio album entitled "In Rainbows," and the way in which they went about releasing that album is intriguing in itself. But there's something in their mix of rock, electronic, folk, and ethereal awesomeness that consistently challenges my preconceptions of what music is/should be, but that does it in a brilliant and beautiful panorama of sonic bliss. In other words, they always strive for originality and creativity, but they always do it in a musically beautiful and pleasing way, not just doing different for different's sake.

Anyways, I'd recommend you check out and give it a listen. If you haven't clicked on the link in the last paragraph, check it out, and you might be lots more inclined to give the album a listen.

Let me know what you think ok?

We've Hit The Big Time

Yes, that's right: we now have our own washer and dryer.

I'll let it sink in for a few moments...


Has it hit yet?



Imagine a world where there's no need for the proverbial can of quarters for the $1.25 fee to wash one's clothes; where the hamper doesn't start to overflow solely because you're trying to maximize that next laundry trip; and you don't have to pull a few clothes OUT OF the hamper in order to have something to wear to go DO the laundry.

Yes, this is the apex of luxurious and civilized living.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

My First Official Sunday at Crossroads

Today was my first official Sunday as Director of Worship at Crossroads Community Church! It was a great morning, and Jess and I are so excited to finally be a part of the church family. My brother graciously volunteered his Sunday off (from playing drums at SGUC) to come up and play percussion for me so we had a nice acoustic morning (also thanks to David Zimmer for letting us borrow his cajon and shaker).

When I called my wife before she left to come to the service and asked her to "please bring the camera," I guess I didn't imply clearly enough that I would've liked her to take some pictures :) so unfortunately I don't have any!

Last night SGUC held it's annual Battle of the Bands, and it's always a great time of reaching out to the kids within the community that play in bands. Pastor Tim shared a short gospel message, and the rock and roll was abounding as bands competed for a cash prize, and although I left before the winner was announced, I heard through the grapevine that Master's College based "Chasing Cadence" came out the winner. They spent the summer up at Hume Lake as the Jr. High worship band, and they've also had the opportunity to record an album of worship songs, which although I haven't heard all of it yet, I am confident to recommend. You can find more details about the CD and the band here.

This afternoon we celebrated my Mom's birthday with a barbecue at my grandma's that my older brother Oscar put together. We had a good time relaxing with family and eating some delicious kabobs together. Her birthday was Wednesday Oct. 3rd, so if you see her, wish her a happy belated birthday.

We are continuing to slowly move our stuff out to Valencia and our new condo we'll be renting, so maybe in the next few weeks we'll be able to have a little "house-warming" party and have some of you over!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Do We Still Believe In Objective Right and Wrong?

I was sort of pleasantly surprised today when I channel surfed across The Steve Wilkos Show.

Steve Wilkos used to be the head security/body guard guy on the Jerry Springer show, and became popular enough in his own right to apparently warrant his own "talk" show. I expected antics similar to Jerry Springer, but was surprised to hear him dealing with the subject entitled: "My Son Beats Me."

I didn't know what to expect, and wondered how they would address these mother-beaters. I was sure that they would delve into their past and somehow justify their actions (while maybe not directly condoning them) and try to "help" them deal with those past issues.

The guy I saw come on the stage was a classic "Jerry Springer-esque" fellow; an extremely overweight, messy, arrogant, obnoxious kind of guy. He came on and was going off about how he was "his own man" and he was born this way, and he didn't feel bad or sorry for beating up his mother when he wanted his way.

Contrary to what I expected, Steve Wilkos called him out and told him that he was blatantly wrong to beat up his mother! Steve is a pretty big guy, and looks pretty buff as well, so when he came and stood right in front of the guy, and yelled in his face about what a horrible thing he was doing, I cheered on the inside!

In no way am I trying to say that "Hey, Steve Wilkos is a Christian" or anything of that nature. I am only observing that in a world of post-modernism, where any way can be "a" right way, someone had the conviction to stand up for the moral law that God built into us! There's technically nothing "wrong" (as in against the law) with beating someone up (sometimes I bet we think people really deserve it), but it was plain to everyone in the audience, that this guy was completely wrong to beat up his mother.

It is funny though, how when we as Christians stand up for what we know is right, based on God's Word (issues of homosexuality, abortion, etc.), we are labeled as "fundamentalists" and increasingly shoved off to the side. Is this because we're doing something wrong? Or is it because Christ told us that the world would hate us? (John 15)

Objectivity still exists, if only in a few extreme cases. Everyone agreed that this dude was wrong to beat up his mother, but what about other things that aren't so clear? Are we supposed to have clear opinions about everything, and die on those hills if necessary? Or is there room for grey?

Leave some comments with your opinions...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Dare you not to laugh...

Thanks Ashley Fenderson, for posting this on Facebook! I especially liked how you titled it:

"This is Chuckles, he is my friend."