Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Last night I sat in a bar from 11pm to 12:30am…or at least that’s how it felt. I love the old TV show Cheers. You may not be a fan, you may never have had the pleasure of watching the show. The theme song totally encapsulates all I love about it though, so read this and tell me you don’t want someone shouting “Norm!” or “[Your Name]!” whenever you walk in to your favorite establishment.

“Making your way in the world today takes everything you got. Taking a breaking from all your worries, sure would help a lot. Wouldn’t you like to get away? Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name (dum, dum, dum, dum). And they’re always glad you came (dum, dum, dum). You wanna be where you can see your troubles are all the same. You wanna go where everybody knows your name.

The place where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came. Tell me that’s not at least a little bit of why people come to a church?

How interesting too that this is what take me back to childhood. You know, most folks have Nickelodeon, or if they weren’t sheltered: Nick at Night. I have a show that takes place in the bar and the bar owners sexual exploits have at least a minor part in every episode. My favorite movie was Major League, which drops the f-bomb about as much as in The Departed (why did I watch that?). Recently
I had this strong desire to watch the movie Friday. Then I included a line from the movie in an email to some folks in church, only to realize as I wrote it that the next words were “I’m gonna get you high!”

Maybe what I don’t like about the idea of raising my kid to Veggie Tales all-day-every-day is that it lacks the sincerity of life that I experienced growing up. I saw the world in all of its comedy, longing for community, and gory detail. Yet, what if I could take out the f-bombs, drug references, and sexual exploits, leaving a childhood of sincerity in a home that is safe?

Does Blockbuster sell pre-viewed Veggie Tales DVDs?

This is probably why I am the Common Cup’s most faithful and least-profitable customer. I don’t have the money to live recklessly, but I long for that place where everybody knows my name. So, I go to the birthplace of Lutheran Coffee, buy the cheapest thing on their menu, get the free refill every time, and listen to their hip-music. I haven’t gotten them to shout out “Kevin!” when I walk through the doors, but I’m pretty sure they know my name since my frequent user card bring it up on their screen every time I buy my $1.48 coffee.

Maybe I’ll combine the best of both worlds and open up a coffee shop that looks like the bar from Cheers. Although, I think I get a little sentimental every time I think of saying quoting a good swear from a favorite movie in my backyard before stepping up to the plate to hit the tennis ball my brother promptly throws directly at me. Reconciling childhood.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


“But if I am doing the very that I do not want to do, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me”-Romans 7.20

Paul is such a philosopher, you know. This point that he makes is one of great simplicity but deep impact. Could it be that who I am is more defined by my desires than my actions? Now, what if those desires even have two levels. One is the desire that I have that is more present with my consciousness and the next is more the subconscious desire, one that is more basic or even primitive.

Here’s an example. I play Fantasy Football. I stink at Fantasy Football. Whenever I play these online sports competitions it seems that the more time I put into it the worse the result. So, when I got smoked by 30 points in week 1 I had this inner desire that my opponents, all friends of mine, would from that point forward loose miserably so that I could, with a small smile on my face, tell them my strategy that worked so brilliantly, and help soothe their little wounds. At the same time, I had a feeling that mirrors what Paul writes later in chapter 7, "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Seriously, I am one messed up dude...but not me, the sin that lives in me. For real? Is that not just some cop-out? I actually do not believe in any part of me that is...any more. Since, if I did consider it a cop-out, I would be going back on the very thing Jesus did for me.

So, I am a good man...because of God rescuing me from my wretched self through Jesus Christ our Lord. What so many Christians consider basic, I think is the most profound truth I have ever experienced. This is reason turned on its head by reason. Think about it: the only way we don't feel utter guilt for our lives is by passing the buck, not taking responsibility for the hurt that we cause other people. It's the only way. Unless, we take responsibility, then we see how "wretched" we are, and we see our need for someone to save us. There's Jesus. The only way.

Profound, I tell ya. That is something, the only thing, worth giving my life to.

As one of my friends who was trying a little too hard said in middle school, "Straight up seriously yo!"