Thursday, January 31, 2008

My New Rifle

Just thought you'd be interested.

My barrel is a little shorter, and I don't have the carrying handle that you see on the top one, so it looks like the one on the bottom.

And my barrel has a 1 in 7 twist, rather than 1 in 9, if you have any clue what that means. So, I guess my rifle is different, but not completely.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Making Fiends

For those that don't know, Making Fiends will be coming to Nickelodeon.

Well, if you don't know what it is, check out a webisode or two here.


The Waldenbooks at the Tucson Mall is closing and had a 40% off sale. I was thrilled to find the new Seth Godin Book, Meatball Sundae.

If you don't know of Seth Godin, he revolutionized the way we are marketed to with his book, Permission Marketing and The Idea Virus, both of which I have enjoyed. I have also taken in Free Prize Inside and The Big Red Fez.

Here is how Meatball Sundae is described on Squidoo :

"A meatball sundae is the unfortunate result of mixing two good ideas.

The meatballs are the foundation, the things we need (and sometimes want). These are the commodities that so many businesses are built on.

The sundae toppings (hot fudge and the like) are the New Marketing, the social networks, Google, blogs and fancy stuff that make people all excited.

The challenge most organizations face: they try to mix them. They attempt to slap new marketing onto old and end up with nothing but a failed website.

This book explores the 14 trends that are changing our world and how organizations can either embrace them or be punished by them."

If you are in any sort of business that deals with people and selling them ideas, I would recommend this one, or any of his works.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Canyon

I mentioned that our family enjoys Sabino Canyon.

There are some good reasons not to like it. For one, it can become much too crowded. When a person takes a quiet nature hike, sometimes they might actually want it quiet. And natural. It has quite a bit of concrete poured around out there.

It can be dangerous too. Here is some actual video of the canyon being dangerous. (careful, it has a bad word at the end.....:>O). If you are unaware, a couple of hikers were killed there last year by a flash flood like the one shown in the video. And it has the usual outdoor collection of falling rocks, steep cliffs and wildlife.

Now that I am thinking of it, I had a buddy in the Air Force that broke his arm falling off a cliff at Seven Falls. He only fell from one of them, but I guess that was enough. My other friend got some sort of a medal for carrying the broken guy out.

It gets very hot. Like the rest of Tucson, summer temperatures hover around 345 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

But, here are some reasons I like the place:

It is a great place for our family to hang out. This year, Abby has really gained in stamina and walking ability....thanks to the running club and her sister pushing her to exercise regularly. Ethan is also much more capable of staying with the program than he was last year. Consequently, we can all go bang out a few miles together up and down some hills. Emily, Diane and I are still faster and can go further than the others, but they do well enough that it is fun when we all go together.

It is a place where Tucsonans have historically gathered for recreation. For years the natives have come and enjoyed this place. That seems kind of cool.

It is a place where people seem to get along. We live in a very independent community in an independent society. While there are many good things about being independent, it leads us to forget that other people are around. In the Canyon, people seem to remember that there are others around. People in the The Canyon will help one another out, talk to each other, and generally be polite and respectful. If we were helpful, willing to communicate and polite and respectful everywhere else, it might make everywhere else a little nicer too.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Great Compromise

..............For years...literally years, since 1989....I have enjoyed hiking in Sabino Canyon. I have always looked askance and with disdain upon those that chose to ride the shuttle. If they knew what was good for them, they would definitely walk as God and the hard working volunteers at the canyon intended. Well, I didn't really look down on them, but I did pride myself on the fact that I had never taken the tourist way out.

Ethan's only request for his birthday this year was that we could go ride the tram at Sabino Canyon. Apparently he had always looked upon the riders with envy while he was stuck trudging up and down the hill on sore feet and rubbery legs. So, we shelled out the money and took the ride.

It was actually kind of fun. Our guide, Scotty, regaled up with stories about the canyon, the Flora and Fauna, Whiskey Row in Prescott, Senator Byrd from West Virginia and a bunch of other stuff. The kids enjoyed riding over the bridges, which are now more of a spillway than a bridge due to sedimentary buildup, and we saw some cool birds and stuff. We stopped out at the dam and played around while waiting for the next tram. Ethan amused us by falling in the water.

By the way, be sure to wait for Scotty's tram. The dialogue on the way back, with a different driver, consisted of a reminder that our tickets were not any good after this leg was over and another reminder not to forget our sunglasses. While these reminders were helpful, it was not quite the same as the ride with Scotty. I do not even know the name of the man who drove us back. But, you can see a picture of Scotty above.

Soon I will provide a post on why I enjoy Sabino Canyon so much. It goes beyond the scenery and opportunities for fun hikes and such, so check in again.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Orthopraxy, the Pendulum and the Protestant Reformation

1.correctness or orthodoxy of action or practice.
Literally, "straight"+"Practice"

In the aformentioned book by Alistair Mcgrath, I was reminded that Martin Luther's ideology was focused on renewal, not innovation. In other words, he had hoped to bring some needed reforms to the existing Church rather than retooling the whole thing. Obviously, the whole thing was retooled as the Lutheran Church and the Protestant movement, but this was not his original idea.

Historically, Church Movements take a certain pendulum type action. If there is something that disturbs congregants, either doctrinally or in practice, the reaction will be strongly to the other side. The Pendulum, rather than always being a corrective back to a semblance of orthodoxy or orthopraxy, will reach a peak in some radical other direction. Not that this is necessarily bad and sometimes it is a much needed change. However, sometimes it can be change merely for the sake of it.

Consider church movements in modernity. For a time, the reaction to any sort of change was the mantra "We have never done it that way before.".

The answer to this in Churches came to the point of, "Let's get rid of that, because that is the way we always did it." or "Lets do this, because we have never done it that way before.".

The goal of innovation has, in instances, become innovation. Something new and different for the sake of being new and different.

While being new and different can be enjoyable and exciting, is it really a worthy goal? Perhaps our goal in reviewing our practices should be the idea of renewal. The driving thought being that we have gotten off track somewhere, be it in our hearts and lives, our outreach, our passion, our purpose, or whatever other defining item is in need of renewal. This will, in turn, lead to innovation.

So, what drives innovation in your life, your Church, your organization? Is it a result of focusing on your purposes and passions, or is it innovation for the sake of just doing something different?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve" - Bilbo on his 111st B-day

On his eleventy first birthday celebration, as he was preparing to leave town, Bilbo Baggins in the book The Fellowship of the Ring, gave an empty bookcase to a friend who never returned books. While I don't intend on getting any empty bookcases for anyone's birthdays, I do still have some books I haven't yet returned that I am done with.

Since I am done with the books I have borrowed, I am on to reading these two books.

Armed and Dangerous is about an ATF cop, the same one that was featured on Gangland for having penetrated the Mongols Outlaw Motorcycle gang undercover. In this book, he is pursuing an armed and violent drug dealer into his hideout in the remote mountain areas near the El Cajon Pass north of L.A. The book deals with this hunt, some highlights of some exciting side cases and his frustration with the bureaucratic nooses that he is continually finding himself in. Seems to be a common theme in Law Enforcement. The more you actually do, the more potential for getting in trouble. The less you do, the smoother of a ride you are in for.

Christianity's Dangerous Idea is a history of the protestant reformation by Alistair Macgrath, professor of historical theology at Oxford.
I just started on this one, but it traces the movement of protestantism and the major effects it had on society from the sixteenth century until today. It really does look to be more interesting than I make it sound...really.
It is a study of some radicals that changed the world. There, does that sound better.?
It should go nicely with the new series at Beginings: The Irresistible Revolution: Dare to Live a Life of Adventure

In any case, I will work on returning the other books that I haven't, in case you are one of the people that I have your book.

Monday, January 14, 2008

This Weekend.....

Was a little too busy, but good.

We spent Friday evening and Saturday at a Homeschooling conference. It was more about some of the goals of Homeschooling than it was a conference for practical application. The main thrust centered around the idea of keeping your child's heart. Maybe I will share some insights on that later.

Sunday morning I did the message for the early service at Pantano Baptist Church. Then we went to Beginnings.

After I went off to work, Diane went with the kids to a memorial service at the First Free Church in Tucson. Ethan commented that he went to three churches today. Hmm, hope it doesn't drive him crazy.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Hat Attack

Diane wanted the kids to get some new hats for hiking, so they got some boonie hats like my work one. A different color for each of them.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Ice Cream Buckets and Cute Chicks With Tambourines

I have visited churches all over the world. From an underground meeting in the Arab quarter of the Old City to a traditional Methodist church in India. I have been to Saddleback, the super mall of church campuses and to tiny country churches.

I have been to spirited services in Bethelehem, Saudi Arabia, New Delhi and Irvine. I have watched liturgy and tradition of the high church in Jerusalem, France and Nebraska. I've seen growing churches from Denver to Dallas and Ranchi to Jabulpuhr. I dove into the services of Church Plants in California, Texas, Arizona, Idaho, Tel Aviv and many points in between.

Here is an observation that I used to make about all the new churches that were thriving and the established churches that were growing. All of them had a cute chick with a tambourine up front with the band/choir/worship team/whatever. Well, sometimes it was a variation of that....two cute chicks with tambourines, or a cute chick on drums with someone else playing a tambourine or the radical: cute chick on a guitar with a tambourine sitting close by.

The conclusion I reached is that this is one of the secrets of Planting a Thriving New Church or Growing a Healthy Established Church.....Cute Chicks with Tambourines.

I asked a friend of mine what he thought about this. He was the Pastor of a growing Church in the Bay Area of California that currently saw 6 or 7 hundred people joining them for worship every Sunday, so I figured he was cued in to these sort of secrets. He disagreed. At his church, they used ice cream buckets for the offering. He was certain that this was the secret. I attended his services and found that they did indeed use ice cream buckets, but they also had up front, you guessed it, a cute chick with a tambourine.

The real secret to planting a Thriving New Church and Growing a Healthy Established Church.

Just a Thought

So I had a thought. Since I am...or at least was....a Church Planter. Well, let me back up and define that. Wikipedia says this:

Church planter is an entrepreneurial minister or organization that starts new congregations from scratch, rather than preach in established churches.

Contemporary church planters include Andy Stanley, John Wimber, Gene Edwards, Ralph Moore, Richard Rossi, Eric Grenier, and Bob Logan.

Many churches have found success in starting new churches to cover other geographical areas. Some leaders (Rick Warren) have said it is easier to start a new church than to reform an existing church that is not producing good results.

So here is one of my latest ideas. Compiling a book for Church Planters by Church Planters about the secrets of Planting a Thriving Church....beyond just ice cream buckets and cute chicks with tambourines.

I would organize it by P's.








Different Church planters would write essays under those general headings. They could share their stories and their "secrets" of church planting for others. Then I would write the intro and comment on the essays at random.

Anyways, just an idea that sounded like fun.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A Brilliant Exercise in Missing the Point

Sheriff drops plan to have border agents deputized

The idea was to have a BP agent on with Deputies in the Border Crime Unit to help coordinate communication, operations, etc. It makes for a safer environment when agencies already working together can communicate together.

One of the complaints is that people will not report crimes if they think Border Patrol Agents might respond. The Pima County Sheriff's Department already regularly calls Border Patrol when Illegal immigrants are located.

Ah well....what can one do.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Positional Leadership

John Maxwell talks about the difference between Positional Leadership and Influential Leadership. Positional Leadership is, essentially, we follow this person because of the position they are in. An influential style of leadership leads to a leader having followers that want to follow them because of who they are and what they have done.

The place where I work is heavy on the positional leadership. If you don't do what the supervisor says, you are slapped with disciplinary action, loss of pay, loss of position, etc. The motivational style seems to be, do this or else. And it works, People do what they are asked. However, it fosters distrust, resentment and a self preservation mode that stifles creativity, decision making and exceptional efforts to accomplish the mission.

How much better of a leader could someone be in a leadership position if they had some of the skills and abilities of an influential leader?

Churches require an influential leader. This is simply because no one has to follow the leader. That is why the Church can be a great place to develop leadership skills and to learn how to influence and lead people to bigger and better things.

And Here is the Art I was Learning

I spent about two and half years learning Krav Maga. Here is a good description of if from The Ultima, where I trained. Check them out here.

Krav Maga was developed for use in the street. Therefore there are no rules. When an individual is attacked in the street there is no way to know how many opponents or weapons you might encounter, therefore Krav Maga training is based on a system without rules. In an assault situation an individual has the right to use whatever techniques necessary to defend themselves. For this reason there are no competitive tournaments or katas in Krav Maga. The techniques practiced in the style must be in terms of actual defense situations. In fact, students of Krav Maga are taught the vulnerable points on the human body and are encouraged to use this knowledge to fend off an attack.

You can also watch a little about it on Human Weapon.

Friday, January 4, 2008


We made it. It took 5 hours, round trip, but we made it.

Never Give Up - Winston Churchill

First Post of the New Year.

On New Years Day, we went to Hike Up Douglas Springs Trail. Frankly, I didn't think we would make it as far as we did. I had to work at 4pm and we didn't get rolling until almost 1300.

We made it past all the hard climbs, then sat down and had a snack before we had to turn back.

Ethan kept up with Emily the whole way and Abigail kept trooping all the way up.

Abigail has it harder than the rest of us, because she has no sensation in part of her feet and her muscles are not fully developed in her legs. Nonetheless, she wouldn't stop and she made a climb that I have have seen grown men fail on wobbly legs.

So, since we didn't make it all the way to the springs, we are going to try again today.

Press On

Nothing in the world can take the place of perseverance.

Talent will not;
Nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.

Genius will not;
Unrewarded genius is almost legendary;

Education will not;
The world is full of educated derelicts.

Perseverance and Determination alone are omnipotent.

- President Calvin Coolidge