Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I just finished watching a PBS movie called Jonestown, the Life and Death of the People's Temple. It was a 90 minute look at the "Church" as it began as a dream of Jim Jones' in Indiana, to it's move to Ukiah, CA, to build a commune-like community, to it's move to San Francisco to reach more people, to it's final move to Guyana leading to the murders of Congressman Ryan and of 900+ Church members.

It was unfortunate and tragic and I have always wondered how people could be caught up by such deception and obvious crazy evil. This movie helped me to get more of an understanding of how and why people got involved.

Jim Jones was a charismatic leader and exceptional speaker that brought an incredible vision of hope and change to people. The church was all about helping people, building community, accepting the outcasts, caring for poor children and the elderly, racial reconciliation. The People's Temple was a beacon in San Francisco in it's time, showing that people of all different races, backgrounds, etc. can live together in harmony.

Unfortunately, it was led by an megalomaniacal drug addict that was paranoid, transferred blame for all his problems to others, was entirely disingenuous in all he said and did and eventually thought it was better to kill everyone than face the consequences of his mistakes.

It shows me that a compelling vision can be powerful and intoxicating. And, if you learn about The People's Temple, you will see that it really was a compelling vision. As it resonated in people's hearts, it made it easy for the people to follow Jones and ignore the warning signs all around.

The movie included interviews with Jones' family members, survivors of the People's Temple and survivors of Congressman Ryan's ambush. It was a very interesting look at the sort of thing that never happens here and could never happen to us when it really did happen here and happened to people just like us.

Monday, July 28, 2008


So, this weekend the local alternative sort of theater was playing Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.....not to be confused with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which, although technically more like the book, was just too weird. In fact, after we saw it, Diane had to immediately watch Pirates of the Caribbean to wash her mind of the image of Johnny Depp as a very disturbed Willy Wonka.

So, the theater was playing the movie and allowing you to sing along with it, which I thought sounded like great fun. Apparently, everyone else I know thinks thinks this is just bizarre. Even my own children.

While I admit that a song early in the movie, which admonishes Charlie to 'Cheer Up', is one of the most boring songs on the big screen since "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" was released, most of the songs are fun.

Consider the "Candy Man" or all the Oompa Loompa songs. What's not to like? According to everyone I spoke with, plenty.

So, I am wondering, does anyone else enjoy this movie? At all?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

What's Your Remedy?

Here's some pics from the ball game we went to tonight. Agent Pipes brought a couple of his kids, Diane's parents met us there, Emily's friend Sarah came with us and AJ(The house-sitter) came with the little guy he is mentoring. It was a good end to a busy weekend. We even left early so we didn't have to see if the Sidewinders won or lost.

The weekend included a dinner with Carrie Jones, a lunch with the Mcghee's, A Baby Bash, a lunch with the Shermett's, coffee with the Sickels, Church, a dinner with the Sickel's and Smith's and the ball game. I think I will try to get alone for a while tomorrow, as I have to go back to work on Tuesday.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Pagan Christianity???

I am taking in Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna.

This provocative volume delineates the pagan roots of many of the practices we have in the modern Church. Some of the not surprising items that have roots in paganism include the ideas of the Church being a building and the ministry belonging to professional clergy. Some of the more surprising items include chapters on how the sermon as we know it has more in common with Greek sophistry than the way it was done biblically, how the order of worship comes from tradition rather than biblical directive or precedent and how Christian training and education is more about "swelling the cranium" than it is about training the heart.

The purpose of the book, I believe, is not to do away with Church as we know it. Rather, it is to get believers to think about why they do what they do and to diligently seek to follow God and His plan for His people.

It is worth the read.

Check out the book's website here.

And here is a spoof of the book being the most reviewed book by those who have never read it.

A Small Victory

Diane's Doctor told her her blood pressure was 110 over 60 yesterday.

No, she hasn't had struggles with it, but she has been getting regular exercise and trying to eat well and all, so it was fun to see some of the rewards of that. The Doctor said those numbers are great!!!

I, on the other hand, haven't even been to the Doctor in years.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hancock, off the Beaten Path..........................................Does contain a spoiler or two

If you know our family at all, you probably realize that we don't do things quite the same as everyone else. We try not to eat the same foods, we don't send our kids to the same schools, we don't watch tv at home, we expect our children to behave at nice restaurants, we try not to get caught up in current fads and trends....etc.

So, instead of going to see The Dark Knight, like everyone else has, Diane and I went to see Hancock. Part of the appeal, I think, was that Hancock is an off the beaten path hero. the story is basically this:

Hancock is a reluctant hero, angering the public in LA as he saves lives and generally wreaking havoc and causing millions in damage while he does it. Justin Bateman plays a PR man that gets a hold of Hancock and helps to remake his image into someone the public actually calls on in dire circumstances. The story takes a weird twist when it is discovered that Hancock is actually an ancient supernatural character somehow linked to...well, I won't spoil it that much.

But, the movie is entertaining. Some of the best scenes are those of Hancock trying to do good, but ending up damaging things and generally embarrassing himself and angering everyone else. I wished they had even more of those scenes.

Cheesy Personal Application

If you feel you need a moral lesson from a movie, then here it is:
Hancock wants to do good, but has some serious personal issues he needs to deal with before he can make a real impact. Justin Bateman not only helps him, but befriends him and believes in him. Many of us want to do good stuff for others and make an impact on our world, but sometimes we need to get over ourselves before we can do it. And, if we believe in someone and befriend them, maybe we can help them become a hero too.

I think I will try to go see The Dark Knight next.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Ok, I put Bruce and Travis back on. They are blogging again. Good for them.....and all of us.

When a loved one passes

A whole new batch of experiences, events and memories hit you when a loved one passes. Here are some of them:

- A bunch of emergency workers invade your house. I have been a part of this before, so I was able to understand and explain what was going on to my mom. By the way, the Jefferson County Deputies and Firefighters in Colorado were great. Very professional, helpful and compassionate.

- You have to tell people what happened. If it is sudden, it is hard to accept it yourself, then you have to tell way too many people about it. My older brother and I had to go to my little brother's house to tell him my Dad had just died. That was really hard.

- Before you know it, you are at the funeral home deciding what to do with your loved one's remains. As compassionate as they try to be, it is shockingly expensive.

- Everyone tells you to let them know if they can do anything for you. It is great, but you don't really know what to have them do.

- You start to cry at unusual times.

- You are hit with memories when you don't expect them. we went to bury my dad in the town where I grew up and I felt like I couldn't turn around without "seeing" a memory of doing something with my Dad.

- People share their memories of your loved one, and you appreciate every one. Both of the Funeral homes we worked through had an online memory thing where people that knew my Dad shared some thoughts, a couple of his close friends blogged about getting to know him, some friends and family shared memories at the funeral and graveside services and numerous people shared thoughts, cards and phone calls. It was very cool to see the impact my Dad had on the lives of others. It was even a blessing to have people just show up for the services.

- Before you know it, the whole experience is over and you wonder what you should do next.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A couple of things to share.

I just wanted to share a couple of blogs about my Dad from some others. Check these out:

Steve Chavis

Douglas Karr

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dad's Obituary

Michael Allerton
March 10, 1944 - July 12, 2008
Littleton, Colorado -- Michael E. Allerton, age 64, died Saturday, July 12, 2008, at home surrounded by his loving family.
A memorial service will be held at 7:00pm, Thursday, July 17th, at Horan & McConaty Funeral chapel on 3101 South Wadsworth Blvd. in Lakewood, Colorado. His sons, Rev.'s Michael and James Allerton will officiate. Internment and a graveside service will be at the McCook Memorial Cemetery in McCook, Nebraska, on Saturday, July 19th, at 2:00pm.
Horan & McConaty will be in charge of arrangements in Littleton and Carpenter-Breland Funeral home is in charge of arrangements in McCook.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at or at
Michael Eugene Allerton, the son of Russell and Geraldine, was born in Lincoln, NE, on March 10, 1944, and died in Littleton, CO, on July 12, 2008, at the age of 64 years.
He grew up in Lincoln, NE, and attended Lincoln High School. He was a veteran of the Lincoln Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, McCook Police Department and Red Willow Sheriff's Department. He was currently employed as Court Security Officer in Denver with the U.S. Marshall's Service. Mike was devoted to serving God, loving his family and enjoyed four-wheeling in the mountains with his wife, playing with his grandkids, fishing, hunting and shooting.
Michael was united in marriage to Kathy Allerton on September 11, 1964, in Lincoln, NE. They lived in Lincoln, NE, Lakewood, CA, and made McCook their home before moving to Colorado in 1996.
He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Edwin and Russell and nephew Russell III.
Those left to cherish Mike's memory are his wife, Kathy of Littleton, his three sons Michael (Christy) of Littleton, James (Diane) of Tucson, AZ, Kevin (Noelle) of Aurora, CO; seven grandchildren, Thomas, Emily, Abigail, Noah, Ethan, Paetyn and Victoria, several nieces and nephews and numerous friends.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Sad Day

My Father passed away Saturday morning while in bed while we were here in Colorado.
He was a great guy and I will tell you more about him in an upcoming post, but for now it is good for us to know that all three of his sons and 6 of his seven grandchildren were here.
He told us that he was feeling better than he has in years and was very happy to see us all together when we got here.
I am glad we were here and will stay a little longer than we planned.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Newcomers

Nicholeopolis is the blog of a good friend of ours from Sacramento (actually Davis now). She is new at blogging, has had a couple of good posts and needs to add some more, cause we like her and think she has great stuff to say.

Dana Hicks is the blog of my friend Dana Hicks. He has been the Pastor of a few Churches, including the Planting Pastor of Beginnings Church, which is currently being replanted as something else.

Emily (AKA Desert Hiker) is the blog of my daughter Emily. She doesn't post much, but she does pretty good for a 12 year old, I think.

The Lion's Den is the blog of our friends the Lepeau's. They are fun, funny and interesting so, if you can't meet them in person, check out their blog.

I recently had to remove Travis and Bald Head Bruce from the roles. If they update again sometime, I will re-add them. Come on guys!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

On the Road Again

We are out in Colorado at my parents house visiting them and my brothers and maybe some other friends. We actually drove out here in one foul swoop this time, a 14 hour shot. It is much more pleasant traveling with older kids than it was traveling with kids under, say six.

In any case, I am trying to finish up the book Opening Day, about Jackie Robinson and his first season in baseball. It is an interesting book describing his background before his debut at age 28 with the Brooklyn Dodgers and a blow by blow of the struggles and challenges he faced during that first season.

Most of the challenges he faced were not the overt racism that was expected, although at one time he was tempted to scrap his pledge to not retaliate and go knock some guy out. Most of the challenges were just from being ostracized. He and his wife were not part of the social gatherings of the Dodgers and even the guys who weren't racist didn't really know what to say to him, so he just got left out.

Three other African Americans played for the majors during his first season, but they started after he did and they were not the players that he was.

Interesting read. He is definately a hero.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Marital Bliss

This weekend, on Saturday, I performed a wedding ceremony for my friend Nick and his now wife Amber at the historic Stillwell house here in Tucson. Nick was at the academy with me and started on the streets the same day in the same district as me.

I haven't done a wedding ceremony for about five years. I always preferred funeral services, because it seems like people listen a little closer and the impact can be a little greater. However, other than a little fumbling with the rings, the ceremony was flawless and fun. I think I am better at wedding ceremonies than I used to be in the old days.

No, do not try to schedule me for all your friends weddings.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Something that really does help

Recently, I have had to deal with dead and dying desert crossers that walk about in the middle of the hot day. Do they not have a sun where they come from and don't know it is dangerously hot?

I understand their motivation in ignoring the laws of a neighboring country. They are encouraged to go by their communities and the bigger country seems to only want to keep them out and greedily keep all their fortune for themselves. If I was in their situation, perhaps I would attempt to make the trip too. Maybe in February, rather than in July.

The illegal immigration is encouraged by the consulate, which prints pamphlets on how to safely cross the border. Does crossing an area where your guides charge exorbitant fees and turn you over to bandits to rape and rob you, lie about the distances and leave you to face the elements really seem safe?

Some here in the U.S. attempt to help by placing water stations along known trails and trying to provide food and water to people they come across in the desert. While their goals of saving lives are commendable, I think it doesn't really help that much. The crossers hear about how the trails are full of humanitarian water stations, when in reality they are few and far between and often are filled with boiling hot water when they are found. They also hear how there is almost an underground railroad network of people willing to help them. The truth is somewhat less glamorous.

I think these attempts only cause more people to make the dangerous journey. Without commenting on the drawbacks (or benefits) of a flood of illegal immigrants into our country, I will say that I think a much more humanitarian way of assisting people is to try to make life better for them where they are, rather than encourage increasingly dangerous behavior.

I am still not sure exactly how that is to be done. But, here is a very cool organization that helps people improve life for themselves and their communities in their home country:

KIVA provides loans, through private individuals, to micro businesses in the developing world. The cool part is, you can be a lender. For as little as $25, you can help a farm in Cambodia, a beauty salon in Uganda, an Auto repair shop in Lebanon and so on. Anyways, go check out their site to see why they do what they do. You might agree with me and think it is a really cool idea.

And Again.....

Our Unit was featured on KVOA news last week. You can read the short article here. Be sure to check out the video too.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The S-Word!!! or, A little alliteration is not as easy as one might think.

Stop and scan the story of our celebration:

It started with a scrumptious snack at the Sickels. Next stop, our sanatorium, to scour, scrub, sweep, and sanitize it for a small soirée. The Smiths slipped on over, bringing the smallest Smiths, who first saw the sun sometime after Sunday. Steve and all six Shermett's also showed up, as well as the Smith's Sister. She sponged some scissors for snipping her stitching. We all sipped sodas and snacked on some sustenance.

Soon, we shaded the Shermett's to the store to station our selves in a stance to see some spectacular fireworks. When we were there, we saw the singular Short's had stopped to see the show.

Ok, I am all out of S-words, but we did get to hang out with the Sickels, Smiths, Shermetts and Shorts. Next year, maybe we will go for all E-people or B-people.

Hope everybody had a great fourth and took a moment to remember the freedoms we enjoy here and now that very few in history have ever enjoyed.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

While we are on the subject......

Check out the Game, Left Behind, Eternal forces.

Here is a fun review on it.

According to the review from the Running With the Lion blog, the highlights of the game include, "....converting evil people to join your army of cookie-cutter, sweater wearing, KJV carrying fundamentalists.".

Ok, so the review is dated (2006), but it makes the game sound really funny.

Apocalyptic Fever

For all those who are concerned about the coming Apocalypse, here is a book I read a few years back. It came out right before the year 2000, as I recall. It talks about all the political upheaval, wars and rumors of wars, religious heresies, the influence of the papacy, and the conviction that the end was near.......all surrounding the year 1000. Interesting read, if you are into history and the like.

Ok, it is more of a history book than a book about the Apocalypse, but I thought the analogy the contemporaneous craze regarding the coming millennium was good. By the way, I think the next year that the end of the world is coming is in 2012.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

You're gonna be left behind!!

Ok, so I grew up in a pretty conservative Church(es?) where, from time to time, it was all the rave to be speculating about end time events and the "rapture".

For those of you that may not know, the rapture is a time in history when God will bring all the Christians up to heaven and others will be Left Behind for seven years of "tribulation". This means seven years of death and misery and suffering and being led by the antichrist (who currently leads the MVD), before being sent to hell, or, hopefully, repenting and getting to go to heaven in the second wave.

While there is no actual mention of the rapture in the Bible, it is commonly known that this is how it will go down. Numerous authors have written this and Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins even put it into the wildly popular and poorly written Left Behind series. They even wrote a song about it, I wish we'd all been ready. DC Talk even did a remake of this. We had a version of it on a Pat Boone album.

Life was filled with guns and war
And everyone got trampled on the floor.
I wish we'd all been ready.
Children died, the days grew cold,
A piece of bread could buy a bag of gold.
I wish we'd all been ready.
There's no time to change your mind,
The Son has come and you've been left behind.

Growing up like this led someone to wonder most all the time if they were going to be left behind. Lose track of your mom and brother at the supermarket and you wonder, "Have I been left behind?". Come home from school when everyone is supposed to be there and find the house empty and wonder, "Will I see the antichrist on tv today?".

Well, now you can stop worrying about your friends being left behind. i found this info out from our friends at Emergent Nazarenes. For $40 a year, you can have these guys send your left behind friends an email letting them know, one last time, that they have been left behind, but they still have a chance. This is, of course, assuming they don't get destroyed with 1/3 of the earth by wormwood, tricked into receiving the mark of the beast or tormented by hideous insects...all of which is mentioned in the Bible, I think.

Here is what they do, from their website:

We have set up a system to send documents by the email, to the addresses you provide, 6 days after the "Rapture" of the Church. This occurs when 3 of our 5 team members scattered around the U.S fail to log in over a 3 day period. Another 3 days are given to fail safe any false triggering of the system.

We give you 150mb of encrypted storage that can be sent to 12 possible email addresses, in Box #1. You up load any documents and choose which documents go to who. You can edit these documents at any time and change the addresses they will be sent to as needed. Box #1 is for your personal private letters to your closest lost friends and relatives.

We give you another 100mb. of unencrypted storage that can be sent to up to 50 email addresses, in Box #2. You can edit the documents and the addresses any time. Box #2 is for more generic documents to lost family & friends.

The cost is $40 for the first year. Re-subscription will be reduced as the number of subscribers increases. Tell your friends about You've Been left behind.

Or, you can just do what my friend Dale does at work. whenever someone does something wrong, remind them that they are going to be left behind.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

While Angelina Jolie awaits the birth of her twins in France, two others are born in Tucson

Our friends the Smith's just had a couple of babies, within minutes of each other.

I hope it is not inappropriate to put their picture on here, but they are sooo cute.

In reference to this post, I forgot to mention that every thriving Church also has at least one set of twins. I wonder what happened to those twins from Sacramento?