Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Few Quotes From Rick McKinley's Book

Oh, just some food for thought:
"The issue of relevance is only a problem because we have failed to engage the culture for such a significant period of time that the culture no longer speaks the same language we do. But the problem exists because at some point we stopped being the church that is displaying the kingdom and instead became a church that is hiding the King in the basement, trying to protect Him from the bad world."

This retreating mentality comes from not asking a better question and because we haven't thought critically about the answer to that question. What does the church desire? Do we desire Jesus? We cannot assume the answer is yes. Do we want to display the kingdom and live into the love and life of the King? We retreat from the world because we want some level of protection that we were never called to have. In the Kingdom, we are called to be a different kind of community: an unprotective one, a courageous and crucified one, a community of Jesus."

"Vocation is central to understanding the the role of the church in building the Kingdom. Doctors, nurses and dentists, gifted by the Spirit, come into a new understanding of what they were created for. They are not given those gifts just to have a job and make a living. Their vocation is so much bigger. They are kingdom people first and foremost whose desire to bring healing was given them by God. They didn't simply come up with the idea to become doctors, nurses, or dentists on their own. These were God-given desires that have become God-given vocations. These desires are central to their personalities. These desires bring them joy and pay the bills. And here in the Kingdom their desires become a key to unlocking heaven on earth, so the greatness of our King is displayed to the world.

What we love to do is significant. We may be tempted to think of our work or passions as "non-spiritual," but I don't believe that. I think those desires that move us toward our vocation are central to the Kingdom. When we take what we were made to do and what gives us joy and imagine how God could use that to display His Kingdom, the result is heavenlike."

(he is using "doctors, nurses and dentists" as examples from an earlier illustration. It could be any vocation, though.)

Well, patrons, there's a couple of mind vitamins for ya. Have a cup of joe and weigh in on the discussion!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Post #3,000

So, I've been posting here at The Diner for almost 8 years now. Blogging was, at one time, "in." This was before MySpace came along with all their bells & whistles and fancy backgrounds and music. Before Facebook streamlined everything and made connecting on-line more personal with photos and short burst status updates. Before Twitter with it's 140 characters and links and hashtags.

I still do it. I'm not really sure why. Seems more natural for me than all the others...but when I do it, I feel like I typing a paper on the old Smith-Corona with the correction ribbon: Behind the times, but it feels better to me.

And this is post #3,000. If a baseball player gets 3,000 hits, he makes it into the Hall of Fame. I don't know if anything should happen to bloggers for post #3,000 or if it's even a noteworthy milestone. But, it's a nice, round number nonetheless.

And I thought about what I should post.

And it dawned on me that it should be the thing that is most important to me in my life, right? And, coincidentally, on Easter seems fitting:
"Now if Christ is being preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is futile and your faith is empty. Also, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified against God that he raised Christ from the dead, when in reality he did not raise him, if indeed the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless; you are still in your sins. Furthermore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. For if only in this life we have hope in Christ, we should be pitied more than anyone."

It's pretty simple, really.

If Christ was raised from the dead, well, it is the most important event in human history...with all sorts of eternal consequences.

If Christ wasn't raised from the dead, well, Christians should be pitied. More than anyone in human history.

There ain't much middle ground there, kids.

So, there you have it.

Post #3,000.

That's a little over 1 post per day since 2003. A lot of words, man. A lot of fun man.

The Diner management thanks you all for your continued patronage...even if those visits seem mostly nostalgic these days.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


I finished reading Tina Fey's best-selling book Bossypants. Manalive, is that woman funny.

Anyway, one of her chapters focused on her move to Chicago to study improvisational comedy in hopes of her furthering her acting career...which to that point in her life had been mostly holding down day jobs and grabbing whatever parts she could wherever she could. She landed at a sketch comedy troupe called The Second City.

In her words,
"I moved to Chicago in 1992 to study improv and it was everything I wanted it to be. It was like a cult. People ate, slept, and definitely drank improv. They worked at crappy day jobs just to hand over their money for improv classes. Eager young people in khakis and polo shirts were willing to do whatever teachers like Del Close and Martin de Maat told them to. In retrospect, it may actually have been a cult."

Well, I didn't know what the "rules" of improv were and thankfully she explained them:

First, always agree and say yes. This keeps you from leaving your partner in an awkward moment. So, if they say they're robbing a bank to start the scene, you agree with that and move forward. Think about it. If you followed up with something about how they weren't robbing a bank, you've killed the scene before it started.

Second, it's always "yes...AND...". Again, you don't want to leave your partner hanging. Her example was that if someone said it was hot in here to start the scene, and you just said "yep" then it still doesn't move. But if you follow with, "Yes, and this can't be good for the wax figures" the scene starts to move.

Third, make statements. You can't always ask questions in improv. A few good questions can make a scene work, but mostly you put the scene in the other person's hands all the time unless you contribute to the scene with statements. Instead of pointing out obstacles all the time but rather be part of solutions.

Finally, there are no mistakes, only opportunities. Her example was that if you start a scene mimicking a cop riding a bicycle, but your partner doesn't see that and assumes you're a hamster in a wheel, then you just become a hamster in the wheel and keep the scene moving. To try to correct the other person would kill the scene or make it drag, so you just view it as a happy accident and see where it leads you.

This profoundly affected Tina Fey's worldview...and it's easy to see if you lived your life by those rules, the world would be a much better place.

Start with a "yes" and see where it takes you. "No" kills things before they start.
Always add something to the discussion. If you're afraid to contribute, the rest of the group misses out on potential.
Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Raising questions without solutions is easy, not to mention annoying to others.
Many of the world's greatest discoveries have been by happy accidents.

Think about it.

In her words,
"The rules of improvisation appealed to me not only as a way of creating comedy, but as a worldview. Studying improvisation literally changed my life. It set me on a career path toward 'Saturday Night Live.' It changed the way I look at the world, and it's where I met my husband. What has your cult done for you lately?"

Good question, eh?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What Rob Bell Really Believes

Worth 54 seconds of your time, IMHO:


Good advice.

Friday, April 15, 2011

My Morning Songs

So, this creativity class is pretty fun...and one of the exercises is that you journal 3 pages per day. Hence, not much blogging energy.

One of the exercises has me registering the first song in my brain each day. Thought it'd be fun to list them all for the last two months or so:

Lynyrd Skynyrd, "You Got That Right"
Soundgarden, "Superunknown"
Kiss, "Cold Gin"
Frank Turner, "Once We Were Anarchists"
Blind Melon, "Tones of Home"
Pearl Jam, "Daughter"
High Strung, "The Look You Got"
Pearl Jam, "World Wide Suicide"
Frank Turner, "Reasons Not To Be An Idiot"
Bad Religion, "21st Century Digital Boy"
Cracker, "Teen Angst (What The World Needs Now)"
Frank Turner, "Reasons Not To Be An Idiot" (again?)
Frank Turner, "Photosynthesis"
Social Distortion, "I Was Wrong"
The Refreshments, "Pistoles"
Frank Turner, "Once We Were Anarchists" (again)
The Presidents of the United States, "She's Lump"
Frank Turner, "Once We Were Anarchists" (again!)
Free, "All Right Now"
Cold War Kids, "Something's Not Right With Me"
Black Sabbath, "Paranoid"
Cracker, "Teen Angst" (again)
The Smiths, "What Difference Does It Make"
R.E.M., "Oh My Heart"
R.E.M., "Discoverer"
Black Eyed Peas, "Tonight's Gonna Be A Good Night"
Nine Inch Nails, "Head Like A Hole"
Pavement, "Summer Babe"
Kiss, "Watchin' You"
R.E.M., "Discoverer"
R.E.M., "All The Best"
Alice Cooper, "Elected"
Dire Straits, "Walk of Life"
R.E.M., "That Someone Is You"
Smashing Pumpkins, "Muzzle"
Toad The Wet Sprocket, "Walk on the Ocean"
The Cure, "Primary"
Yuck, "Holing Out"
My Morning Jacket, "I'm Amazed"
Frank Turner, "I Still Believe"
Pavement, "Summer Babe"
Spoon, "The Way We Get By"
Rolling Stones, "Gimme Shelter"
R.E.M., "That Someone Is You" (again)
Elton John, "Saturday Night's Alright For Fightin'"
The Raconteurs, "Consoler of the Lonely"
Counting Crows, "The Reign King"
Kings of Leon, "Molly's Chambers"
Concrete Blonde, "True"
Frank Turner, "Take You Home"
Son Volt, "Jukebox of Steel"
Paul McCartney, "Let 'Em In"
Cold War Kids, "Mexican Dogs"
Cold War Kids, "We Used To Vacation"
Frank Turner, "I Still Believe"
Social Distortion, "I Was Wrong"
Foo Fighters, "The Pretender"
Foo Fighters, "White Limo"

So...try it yourself. First song in your brain this morning. GO!