Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Times They Are A Changin'

The local news had a couple of articles that interested me today.

This article talks about how the rate of Churchgoers in Arizona is far behind that of the rest of the nation. I believe it. I would say except for California, but Churches there are starting to connect more with people and bring God's message in ways people can understand. I think we are still behind that curve in Arizona. At least in Tucson.

Here is an article talking about how neighborhoods are trying to become more friendly to kids for accessing. According to Chris Poirier, county planner, 15% of kids walk to school now, as opposed to 50% 40 years ago. There are many reasons for this, besides just the high walls and inaccessible cul de sacs that the article sites, but I think it shows how we have become more and more disconnected with our neighbors and less likely to walk anywhere.

Morgan Spurlock, in his Super Size Me movie, decided to limit his daily walking to under 2 miles a day to emulate an average U.S. Mcdonald's eating citizen. He said he had a hard time with it. Do we have a hard time limiting our walking to under 2 miles a day?

And finally, here is an article about a man from Holland bitten by a javelina while has was visiting the Desert Museum. The Rodents of Unusual Size (ROUS') strike again.

Who says there is nothing interesting going on around here in the summer?

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Tribute to the Swatter

My friend Jason (Ethan knows him as Mister Near/Far) has decided it is time to step down from his position as worship team leader at his Church. He has been the worship team leader there for about six years and was a member of the team for about a year and a half before that. This Sunday is his last Sunday in this position and they are having a send off for him.

The Church he is at also happens to be the one I started about Nine years ago in West Sacramento. So, Jason was a member of the team that helped get our church up and running and has been a key leader in the Church for about two years while I was there and in the four years since. He is also a great friend.

It is easy for us to overlook the contributions people make both into the organizations we are a part of and into our lives. Jason has done a great job in the position at the Church and has always been loyal, trustworthy and able to put up with stuff from his friends. So, even though he is being replaced, I am sure he will be greatly missed at the Church

I plan on keeping him as a friend.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A few books I have ran through recently and an explanation of why I read them

The Men Who Stare at Goats:
A look at the U.S. Army's dive into the Paranormal, led by a General who was convinced he could walk through walls, if he just got into the right state of mind. Apparently, this weirdness is all true and it is very bizarre. Soon to be a movie starring George Clooney.

Alice Cooper, Golf Monster:
His story in his words. Includes some interesting insights into how he replaced alcoholism with a golf addiction and is now a 5 handicap player. He also talks some about how his Christian Faith impacted his career and relationships.

What Got You Here Won't Get You There:
A look at the annoying bad habits that keep successful people from obtaining greater success. Ok, here is the list of those habits-
1. Winning too much: The need to win at all costs and in all situations - when it matters, when it doesn’t, and when it’s totally beside the point.
2. Adding too much value: The overwhelming desire to add our two cents to every discussion.
3. Passing judgment: The need to rate others and impose our standards on them
4. Making destructive comments: The needless sarcasms and cutting remarks that we think make us sound sharp and witty.
5. Starting with “No,” “But,” or “However”: The overuse of these negative qualifiers which secretly say to everyone, “I’m right. You’re wrong.”
6. Telling the world how smart we are: The need to show people we’re smarter than they think we are.
7. Speaking when angry: Using emotional volatility as a management tool.
8. Negativity, or “Let me explain why that won’t work”: The need to share our negative thoughts even when we weren’t asked.
9. Withholding information: The refusal to share information in order to maintain an advantage over others.
10. Failing to give proper recognition: The inability to praise and reward.
11. Claiming credit that we don’t deserve: The most annoying way to overestimate our contribution to any success.
12. Making excuses: The need to reposition our annoying behavior as a permanent fixture so people excuse us for it.
13. Clinging to the past: The need to deflect blame away from ourselves and onto events and people from our past; a subset of blaming everyone else.
14. Playing favorites: Failing to see that we are treating someone unfairly.
15. Refusing to express regret: The inability to take responsibility for our actions, admit when we’re wrong, or recognize how our actions affect others.
16. Not listening: The most passive-aggressive form of disrespect for colleagues.
17. Failing to express gratitude: The most basic form of bad manners.
18. Punishing the messenger: The misguided need to attack the innocent who are usually trying to help us.
19. Passing the buck: The need to blame everyone but ourselves.
20. An excessive need to be “me”: Exalting our faults as virtues simply because they’re who we are.
I find myself picking out leaders I have dealt with recently as I go through this list. I think the intent of it is to apply it to ourselves, rather than others.

Now, here is why I read like I do:
As a former and future (perhaps) ministry professional and communicator, I think reading from a variety of subjects and fields is important. Yes, it is important to know and understand your field and to try to keep up with the latest and to stay grounded in God's word. But, I try to read outside of that as well.

Reading outside helps one understand the world from other perspectives, helps you see how others think, provides an ability to communicate on topics that appeal to others, thus giving you a chance to relate better to them, gives you more examples for teaching and illustrating, provides insights and outlines pitfalls relating to problems you may face, or be facing and is kinda fun.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fireproof Viewing in Tucson

Diane and I saw the movie FIREPROOF at a special advanced leadership screening deal last night.

If you haven't heard of it, Fireproof is by the same guys who brought us Facing the Giants, a Church in, uh, somewhere in the south.

This movie stars Kirk Cameron (showing us that smile again) as a Fire Department Captain that is on the verge of a divorce with his wife. His Father talks him into taking a 40 day challenge of loving his wife.

It was a good story, it included some fun moments and it had some great marriage lessons. It also had some harrowing firefighter guy scenes. So, all around, it was a good time.

However, it was very, how shall I put this, preachy. Yes, that is it. Well, if you have seen Facing the Giants, you might understand. they spend a good deal of time explaining exactly what they mean when they are trying to say something of significance. This tendency might be a little much for some folks.

My only other criticism would be that it has about fifteen minutes straight of tear jerker time at the end. Good night, I felt like the Indian in the commercials looking at all the trash by the end of the show. It was one heart wrenching moment after the next. Whew!

Anyways, it was a good movie that reminded you what it meant to be in a marriage and how a commitment to that can bring hope and joy. It is not out 'til September, so eagerly anticipate it until then.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Words and the stories they can tell

As someone who used to make a living as a communicator (or partially made a living communicating, or made a partial living, depending on one's perspective), I am very interested in words and the stories they can tell.

Here is a list of some interesting words that I liberated from Lanny Donoho's blog. Pick any three and use them with your family and friends this week:

alexithymia (ah-lek-sah-THI-mee-ah) — inability to describe emotions in a verbal manner

assuage (ah-SWAJ) — 1. to make (something burdensome or painful) less intense or severe.

cacology (kah-KOL-ah-je) — bad choice or use of words

gesticulate (je-STIK-yah-late) — to make gestures especially while speaking, as for emphasis

indubitably (in-DOO-bi-tah-blee) — unquestionably; without doubt
The consonant combination is just fun to say.

malacophonous (mal-ah-KOF-i-nus) — having a soft voice

persiflage (PUR-sah-flazh) — banter; light, good-natured talk

propinquity (prah-PING-kwi-tee) — proximity; nearness

pulchritudinous (pul-kri-TOOD-en-es) — having great physical beauty or appeal

pusillanimous (pyoo-sah-LAN-ah-mes) — timid or cowardly; fainthearted

quatopygia (kwah-tah-PIJ-ee-ah) — the shaking of the buttocks while walking

quiddity (KWID-i-tee) — 1. the real nature of a thing; the essence. 2. a hairsplitting distinction;

sesquipedalian (ses-kwi-pi-DAY-lee-en) — 1. given to using long words.

triskaidekaphobia (tris-ki-dek-ah-FO-bee-ah) — an abnormal fear of the number 13

and just fyi…
the word latchstring has six consecutive consonants

and the word queueing has six consecutive vowels.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Abigail has a bad cough and a stomach ache tonight. It always bothers me more when she is feeling sick, because of her history of operations, hospitalizations and the like. I think her last operation was about five years ago, but it is still quite fresh in my mind. Diane and I were just talking today about one of the times we took her to the hospital when she was horribly dehydrated.

Anyways, I suppose I ought to post a little of her story soon, since I told what I did, but you will have to wait. For now, we have to take care of her and try to get some sleep. Hopefully, she is just extra tired from a couple of hours at the pool.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A new thing

I put a new playlist on here. Some sweet songs. So, turn the sound on on your computer and you can listen while you read my updates.

I think it might be working.

In reference to my previous post -

It is cooling down and it looks like it could rain. Keep up the good work folks, and we might get some showers yet.

Monsoon Revival

It is now officially monsoon season in Tucson. The beginning of monsoon season used to be calculated based upon atmospheric conditions. Whenever the dew point was at a certain spot, it was monsoon season. So, one could count on monsoon-like conditions following closely after the beginning of the monsoon season.

Now, a date is picked for the official start of monsoon season.

The Church I grew up in had a tradition of holding "revivals". I had always considered a "revival" as a type of renewal brought about by God. So, I always wondered, with it being something brought about by God, how we declared next Thursday through Saturday a "revival", simply because we were going to go listen to a couple that both preached and sang, or played the piano or guitar or trumpet or whatever. Did that obligate God to come and revamp our spiritual life?

I recently found this definition of revival at an awakening, in a church or community, of interest in and care for matters relating to personal religion.

So, if a revival is an awakening that is somehow supernatural, and yet, still brought about by our awakening interest, then maybe we can declare a certain time to be the time for "revival".

Back to the monsoons. Can they be something that is supernatural, and yet brought about by our awakening interest? If so, maybe we can declare a certain time for monsoon. So, if everyone could please be really interested in some rain and cooling breezes, maybe we could get some relief from this heat.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Appearing Soon!

my friend Dave,
listed as Lepeau on the role call list of blogs, will be presenting the message at Revolution Church manana.

He really is an interesting and inspiring guy, so if you have Saturday night free, go check him out.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Two Times at the Cinemark

What exactly does Cinemark mean? That is the name of the theater chain where I see first run movies for an outrageous fortune. I just really like watching movies at the theater. The whole process of going, descending into a darkened theater, checking out previews and hearing the uninterrupted surround sound experience is a dashingly good time.

So, in the past week, I have actually been to two. The first was The Happening with Diane.

She and I, to the chagrin of some of our friends, enjoy most all of the M. Knight Shymalan movies. She didn't like Unbreakable, we both really enjoyed Lady in the Water and Signs and were a bit indifferent to The mostly because I figured it out a third of the way through. Not that I am usually that clever. I don't think I figured out The Sixth Sense until the third time I saw it.

So, we were eagerly awaiting The Happening. On Saturday, we extricated ourselves from our house and went over to the Park Place to catch it. Unfortunately, we found it somewhat disappointing.

Why? Well, first of all, it was full of graphic depictions of people killing themselves. Jumping off of buildings, ramming things into their bodies, cutting themselves, running themselves over with lawnmowers, crashing their cars, shooting themselves, slamming their heads into windows....that is all I can think of now. But who wants to see that? I get enough of that at work.

Secondly, it was missing the humor that was elemental in Signs and Lady in the Water, which we both enjoyed so much and were looking forward to in this movie. Their were a couple of laughs, interspersed with the suicides, but it wasn't the same.

Finally, it felt like a propaganda piece for be nice to the trees. I would think the trees would be one of the only things on earth that want more carbon emissions, as they thrive on carbon emissions. But, in this movie, they seem to kill because of them.

Yesterday, I went to see The Incredible Hulk with Agent Pipes.

It was: Much Better Than The Last Hulk Movie.

When I heard they were making this, I wondered why, since they just made one a couple of years ago. But, watching the last one probably makes you wonder why they didn't just remake it right away so everyone would forget the last one. Well, people probably already have.

It also had fun cameos by Lou Ferrigno (the body of the Hulk in the old TV series), Bill Bixby (Bruce Banner in the Old TV show. Ok, Bill is dead, but they showed a clip on a television with him in it) and another surprise cameo.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cloudbow or RainCloud?

This was in the western sky on Father's day, so I took a picture of it.

What do you think it should be called? It is not a rainbow, because it is a cloud that was showing the colors.

Anyway, I thought it was cool and that I should share it with you.

Monday, June 16, 2008

This raised some eyebrows

Job 7:13 & 14 "When I think my bed will comfort me
and my couch will ease my complaint, even then you frighten me with dreams and terrify me with visions"

Diane's sister and her husband came for a visit about a week or so ago and stayed in our guest house. In a fit of rearranging, we decided to put the bed in the guest house in the girls room and get a new bed for the guest house. So, we began shopping.

Our trip took us to Sleep America (where America goes to sleep), on Broadway. The first thing the salesman did was lead us to some contraption that we laid on. It did a high tech analysis of our body type, weight, height, etc. to tell us which sort of bed would be the best for each of us.

Turns out, Diane and I should not even be sleeping together.

Who would have thought, after 16 years of marriage?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

He's Got a Crazy Eye!!!

At Church this morning, we had a piped in guest Pastor, Steven Furtick, talking about being audacious for God. He planted Elevation Church in Matthews NC in 2005. Yes, this is his picture. He looks almost normal here, except for the crazy eye. In the message, his skin looked purple and he had a white jacket on. It was kinda creepy. But the message was awesome.

Here is a little of the story of Elevation from their website:

"In the winter of 2004, God started assembling a group of families around Pastor Furtick that would sell their homes, move their families, and invest their lives into the start of Elevation. After sensing that God had selected Charlotte as the city, the eight families put the "for sale" signs in their front yards in February of 2005.

From February to September of 2005, the team pressed into God for what His vision was for Elevation. Following hammering out the bedrock principles of the purpose statement, core values and ministry strategy, Pastor Furtick sensed it was time to make the jump and start meeting in Charlotte. On September 11th, 2005, the core team had its first informational meeting in the Community Center in the town of Matthews. That night a small group of people gathered to hear more about Elevation Church. Those "information meetings" continued through the end of January when it became clear that it was time to make the shift to Sunday mornings.

A committed team of 60 people put on the first Sunday morning worship experience February 5th 2006, and watched 121 people attend that first Sunday. Just two short years later Elevation Church is now meeting in two high schools and weekly attendance has topped 4,000. Through God's favor and a relentless pursuit of the vision we have watched over 1,300 people profess faith in Jesus Christ during our second year of ministry."

Elevation is a Church that gets it, in terms of what it means and and what it takes to reach people for Jesus, not just building a church for the sake of having a large Church.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday the 13th

I added the Today in History feature to the bottom of my page.

Now you can look and find out things such as:
Today is the anniversary of the first buzz bomb to hit London, the day someone murdered O.J. Simpson's wife and her friend and the day of the Miranda v Arizona ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.

But, you have to look at the bottom of the page, because it takes up too much room to put at the top.

The Need for Novelties

Our friends, the Ross', just gave us a desert tortoise. it is kinda cute and I will see if I can get a picture up.

I consider reptiles kind of a novelty pet (a tortoise is a reptile, right?). In other words, they don't particularly serve any particular purpose. A dog or cat or baby elephant can help fill some emotional needs, provide companionship and maybe even protection. A tortoise is just kind of there to look at and to look like fun. Otherwise purposeless.

I suppose I have plenty of things in my life that are that way. Really kind of pointless as far as meeting needs or having any real use. But, I like them anyway.

So, that raises the question: Do we have some sort of need to have some sort of novelties in our life, or are they generally just things that we have convinced ourselves we need because we want them so much?

What are some novelty things you have that you might be better off without?

Friday, June 6, 2008


Hmmmm, the picture I had here didn't work out. It was a picture of a bunch of rattlesnakes coming out of a hole in the ground. So, picture that in your mind, then read the following:

These were found in an area we work in.

I stepped on one the other day, but it was only one.

These pictures make me feel like Indiana Jones.....Or Arizona James.

I think that will be my new name. Arizona Allerton. You may refer to me as Ari.

Bruised and Confused

This picture is the suit we wear for the padded assailant stuff, that I did again this week. Well, we don't wear quite all of it, but it is the same suit.

I pulled my lat muscle (or strained it or something) when I threw some girl.

I didn't get hurt at all from the guys I fought...just bruises and a few scrapes, but I pulled a darn muscle fighting a girl.

I hear it takes about two weeks to heal completely from that. Sigh.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Over the Weekend

I had to go to the hospital over the weekend to be with our guys who were shot at.

Here is an article about it.

It is a sobering situation, but it is good to see how all the cops get together during a situation like this.