New Pic

Thursday, 17 August 2006

Haitia is the name she came with (pronounced HAY-sha). We’re actually not quite certain of the spelling, but she does answer to it. She’s a really well-trained dog already, but is having a few adjustment issues. Given time, she’ll get used to us and we to her. She obeys quite well, and has a good deal of energy. She and the neighbor dog have reached some kind of agreement as well, so things seem to be working harmoniously.

Of course, already there is a bit of jealousy between son #1 and dog #1, at least as far as son #1 is concerned. But he’ll have to work through that as well, and he might as well do it now, given that a new brother or sister is stepping on the scene in a few months.


Has the Church become newsworthy?

Wednesday, 16 August 2006

“If one admits that the media are mainly in the business of selling something, of getting people interested, then one begins to erase the line separating the New York Times and the National Enquirer. In fact, we are frequently reminded that where the tabloids lead, the “respectable press” will soon–actually must–follow.”

C. John Sommerville wrote this in How the News Makes Us Dumb (link in the sidebar, right). His point is simple yet, upon consideration, profoundly obvious: the news media is not in the business of reporting news but about perpetuating itself and filling its own need for existence and profit. In the opening pages Sommerville argues that it is the daily nature of these media outlets that perpetuates it. The mundane, repetitive, and otherwise not newsworthy news is put before us, hyped, and billed as life-/world-changing.

The problem is that it’s generally not.

Contrary to what they would have you believe, your world does not necessarily change in a matter of hours and minutes. They need it to appear to change to keep you tuned in. Enter USA Today Syndrome: offer more excitement, more flash, more of anything that produces emotional, hormonal, or otherwise electrical/chemical surges in the brain to keep the people coming back.

As one who is intensely skeptical of the media, be they news media or otherwise, I find this to be a refreshing voice. It puts a label on one of the nagging feelings I’ve had about the whole enterprise. At the same time, as a theologian I find this to be extremely telling regarding the state of affairs in American Christianity.

As the churches have become more and more about excitement, with an eye toward garnering and keeping a market share, the confessional church will soon follow.

Anyone not seeing this happen? Of course you’re seeing it. The churches are allowing their message to be market-driven, crafting their proclamation according to the same sham relevance that dictates the news that people crave and loathe at the same time. It’s market research and poll data. And the fact is, in order for the church to truly be relevant, it must abandon the pressure to become flashier, more exciting, ever-evolving, and concentrate on giving the people that which they need: God’s pure (and unchanging) Word and Sacraments–apart from the flash, which only serves to turn God’s people into “users” who become hooked on that flash.

Test walk?

Tuesday, 15 August 2006

I’m not sure what you’d call it, actually, but the OSC family is considering adding a dog to the mix. She’s a 2-year-old German Shepherd–a 90-pound puppy, for all practical purposes. She’s had all her shots, she’s apparently quite loving and has been well and responsibly raised and trained. And she’s free to a good home. The story is that the dog who birthed her is getting hostile with her, and one of them must go.

We’ve talked about getting a dog for a while, and our son absolutely loves them. So this week we’ll take her into our home. If it works out, she’ll stay. If not, we’ve got an arrangement with her current owner, who simply wants to put her into a good home. I respect that, and it feels like a good fit at this point. At the end of the week we’ll know a little better.

Of course, anyone who has any words of wisdom in such cases is welcome to comment. Thanks.


Thursday, 03 August 2006

Rev. Beisel tagged me. I believe this is a first for me. It’s a decent diversion. Here goes:

1. One Book that changed your life:
The Book of Concord

2. One book you’ve read more than once:
The Last Battle, by C. S. Lewis.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island:
1001 Means of Escape from Desert Islands…duh! I don’t know. Perhaps an actual title might be SAS Desert Survival.

4. One book that made you laugh:
The Complete Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

5. One book that made you cry:
By “cry” do you mean “wretch?” In that case it’s got to be R. Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life.

6. One book that you wish had been written:
Heresy Exposed: A Layman’s Guide to Satan’s Assault on the Church of Christ From Within

7. One book that you wish had never been written:
There are so darned many. I’ll go with All God’s People are Ministers, by P. Page.

8. One book you’re currently reading:
Modern Fascism, by G. E. Veith

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read:
How the News Makes Us Dumb, by C. J. Sommerville

10. Now tag eight people.
Do I know eight people? Who haven’t already been tagged? Er,
Anoki Ha Ish
Rev. Joe Fremer
Whey Lay
Derek K
That’s the best that I can do at the moment.

Banging my head against a wall

Wednesday, 02 August 2006

The title of this post describes my feelings about a great many things. Lately it’s about one particular organization with which I am involved. This organization has struggled for two decades, through financial malfeasance, poor planning, and a number of other issues, to produce a strung-together, duct-taped, jury-rigged product that only takes into consideration meeting the perceived needs of the next six to ten months with no eye for the long view. I’ve watched it happen. Lately it’s happened in such an overhanded way that I’m seriously speechless.

Sometimes God closes doors. And heroics on our part to continue to drive our agenda when it becomes more and more clear that it is not in concert with His plan are simply idolatrous.