Mike Had Big Hair & Heels, I Miss That Guy

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This is the house I lived in for about 18 months. I rented a couch, not a room, for $40 a week most of that time. I was there from the Spring of 1988 till the fall of 1989 and most of it was a blur.

I waited tables to earn enough money to party, partied till I was out of money, slept in someone else’s bed or on my $40 a week couch … mostly the couch, Then I would wake up in time to go back to waiting tables and repeat the cycle for a year and a half.

During that time I drank 5 out of 7 days a week, did more drugs than I ever thought I would. Especially after I pledged to never do any drugs my freshman year in high school. I was also involved in a very abusive relationship.

It was during that time I did my share of terrible things to make ends meet, to get drugs … to be a part, to appease my partner … it wasn’t just a blur … it was a dark blur.

It’s Raining Giant Trees (Dream)

dark wood texture

First I am going to share the dream by itself. Then after that I will share what it means to me. The reason I am separating them is that sometimes dreams are like artwork, people can extract a wide variety, and all kinds of personal meaning from them. I think that is totally cool. So, please read the dream, ponder it if you want and gather your own thoughts on it. Then read my thoughts after the second section divider. :)

In my dream I am sitting on my Great Granny’s porch. The porch was built by her father, my Great Great Grandfather, by hand. However, in the dream it had been carefully preserved, modified, expanded and updated. However, I knew that it had always been lovingly maintained/remodeled by The Owner. The house was simply beautiful, warm, welcoming. It actually looked like it had been decorated by one of my best friends. It was again, beautiful.

Ask-It Basket: What Do We Do About The Easter Demon Bunny?

easter bunny

askit basketAsk-It Basket posts were popular on my old blog so I decided to bring it back for my new blog :). This week’s question is:

Why do churches have Easter egg rolls and bounce houses on the Saturday of Easter weekend? Is it okay to do that and not invite them to church or should there always be an evangelism message at the “party” or at least a flyer about church services the next day? Some people think these are secular activities and the Easter bunny shouldn’t be something the church endorses. And/Or, what can a church do to encourage people who visit on Sunday come back the next week? Is this the role of leaders, members, both?

That is a lot of Ask-its for this weeks basket so lets break it down by each question and my responses will follow.

Why do churches have Easter egg rolls and bounce houses on the Saturday of Easter weekend?

I always want to assume the best and say that they do that to be a part of the community. That sounds like a church who wishes to provide a safe and enjoyable place for kids to have Easter celebration fun. This kind of church probably would do the bouncy houses more than once a year. At least I hope that they would. If they are doing it on Easter weekend, I would imagine they are also wanting to inform the parents that they are having Easter services the next day. It only makes sense and I wouldn’t imagine anyone would be offended or surprised that a church Easter egg roll would have a church info table at the entrance. These types of activity are a fun way to meet the needs of children for community, and play, as well as let the parents get a feel for the church’s heart.

Is it okay to do that and not invite them to church or should there always be an evangelism message at the “party” or at least a flyer about church services the next day?

It’s Been A Gizmo Kind Of Day

gizmo

Gizmo ain’t havin’ it.

Gizmo, pictured above, was a GenX kids movie icon. See, Gizmo was a super-cool-super-cute pet as long as you did not

  • Expose him to bright lights
  • DON’T get him wet
  • WHATEVER YOU DO you DON’T feed him after midnight

If you broke those rules all kinds of Hades would be let loose when cute little Gizmo turned into one badass asexually reproducing scaly prank monster!

I know what you might be thinking but no … not Godzilla. YES Godzilla was a badass asexually reproducing NUCLEAR scaly monster. But Godzilla (90′s version) was just a sky-scraper sized hungry gender blurred symbol of humanity’s existential search for primal meaning in a modernist vs. post-modernist age; not a prankster.

Send Me An Angel

colorful dancefloor

Back in the day I used to sneak out of the house and/or call in sick to work to go hang out at the gay bars. I started going to them when I was seventeen. Initially the euphoria and my naiveté mixed very powerfully. I thought I had finally found a refuge for my aching heart.

As any traumatized slightly neurotic seventeen year old looking for any semblance of escape would be prone to do.

It wasn’t legal for me to be in the bars, even way back then. They had raised the drinking age a couple of years before I turned 18. Yes, it used to be lower than 21. Back then I think people had to have strong drink in order to put up with all the dinosaurs and lack of electricity. ::: grin :::

Friends, Gathering By The Fire

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“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” ― Albert Camus

Several times today I have caught myself thinking about friends and the blessings each of them are as individuals and as a group. Last night, in the spur of the moment, one of them decided to have at least one more fire this season (pictured above.) We had a bit of a cool snap yesterday (dry air, high in the 70′s). So last night as the temps fell through the 60′s toward the 50′s, a fire + friends = perfect.

This same friend said, “You know what we have here is truly unique. We have a great mix of people, giftings, and personalities.” I agree.

I can’t remember exactly, but I think I have been a part of this particular group for about 7 or 8 years … has it been 9? There are many reasons I love this group. One reason that comes to mind is that it isn’t a typical programmatic “church” group with the constant pressure to multiple/expand/divide/multiply/expand/divide, work through a structured bible study, and so on. We all come to it as peers. There is no pressure to create or contrive activity; no pressure to increase our numbers. It isn’t about anything other than just being friends sharing a good meal twice a month, and hanging out when the mood hits.

Over time a closeness has developed. However, that closeness hasn’t been contrived or manipulated. It’s not needy or about someone trying to get “their needs” met. It has developed naturally as we simply share life together.  To be sure, there are times when we ‘need’ each other more. We all have seasons we need more support or feedback through difficult times. However with this group, it isn’t a “support group” dynamic like many church groups feel they have to be.

I hope that makes sense.

Of course we talk about spiritual concerns, current affairs, our families, dreams, hopes, projects, … all of it …but we talk about it as it happens, naturally.

I told a couple of the guys who were around pretty late last night, as the fire was dying down, that over the past few years I have had some serious pressures (by other people, groups) to abandon one camp and join another to prove this or that. There was also incredible pressure to abandon the various aspects of God that I have fallen deeply in love with (i.e. grace, personal identity.) Being able to be with these friends, who truly are a spiritual family now, has been a very grounding and life-affirming anchor. Probably more than they know. I deeply appreciate it.

Gratitude for these friends has found its way into much of my day today.

About The Alleged False Gospel Of “Nice”

bible thumper

Yesterday I started on a trail of reading through internet articles and blog posts from the religious activist community. One thing I repeatedly noticed is that there is a new talking point echoing throughout their chamber. The claim is that it is heretical to preach the false gospel of “nice”.  I ran into more than a few articles about how Jesus wasn’t a “nice” savior. While many words were dispensed, common arguments were used to prove their theological point. They reminded us that He ran the money changers out of the temple (with a whip no less!), was an absolutist (He is the only way to the Father), and belief in Him turned family members against each other.

A Bride’s Song, A Bridegroom’s Love

marriageforever12She is a petite blond with an incredible singing voice. I’ve known her for about eight years and have been in a life-group at church with her and her husband almost that whole time.

They are a wonderful, and oftentimes hilarious, couple.

Yesterday at church she led out on one of the songs in the worship set. As a friend, I was blessed to see her step up to the plate and knock it out of the park! She doesn’t lead out on songs often so it was fun to see her “soar” with the music.