Monday, September 28, 2009

Is it really the "Almost True Story of Ryan Fisher"?

I am probably a bit behind the times with this one, but I just finished reading Rob Stennett's book, "The Almost True Story of Ryan Fisher".

In the book, Ryan Fisher is a Real Estate Agent who realizes that their is about 80 million Christians in the U.S. and this is a great niche market for him to specialize in. So, he takes out an ad with the ichthys fish, starts attending Church and sees his business boom.

He starts to enjoy the christian community so much, he decides to become a Pastor. So, he and his wife up and move to a fictional Bartlesville Oklahoma to start a new church, first located in the local Chuck E Cheese, since they can't find anywhere else to meet.

The People's Church (no relation to Jim Jones' People's Church), struggles for a few weeks as Pastor Ryan and his wife try to figure out how to get people to come to Church. Their efforts include hiring Cowboy Jack (I think I saw him sing when I was in Showlow) from the local karaoke bar to lead worship. Cowboy Jack knows less about church than Pastor Ryan, but he makes up for this by "christianizing" the lyrics of popular songs.

For various reasons, the church soon begins to thrive and Pastor Ryan becomes famous nationwide, even though he does not believe in God.

This book is an interesting look at the Church. It chronicles some of the ideas that Ryan comes up with to get people to his church and to make it a place where people want to come to and stay at in a cynical and satirical way. Having formerly planted a Church (successful, but not nearly as successful as the People's Church), and having been around many Church Planters and new churches, it was funny and oddly fascinating to see all of the attempts that were made to get people in the door, from a petting zoo to emotional manipulation to his attempts to build teamwork and community.

It was, al in all, a fun and insightful read. If you are kind of angry at the church and "organized religion" anyway, maybe it is not a good idea to read this book. On the other hand, it does offer a bit of redemption, reconciliation and re-examination for those who are cynical, hurt and burnt. So, I guess you can read it. Go ahead, you have my permission...;>).

I now need to get his next volume, "The End is Now", all about the end times coming, but only to a small town in Kansas as a test market. Get it anywhere fine books are sold.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

Patience is a virtue

For all those of you that are patiently waiting for us to return to Tucson, either because you can't wait to see us, if you are from Tucson, or if you like reading stuff on here but you are really tired of readind my last three posts over and over, hang on. The wait is almost over.

We are in Sante Fe today, checking out all the local stuff, but we will be back home tomorrow afternoon.

Next week, I will share some stuff about the trip, a story about the time I nearly threw our daughter's neurosurgeon out the window and....well, that is all I have planned so far.

Check back soon.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


When we were in Hawaii this spring, we took the recommendation of an old friend and hit the Grass Skirt Grill on the North Shore in Haleiwa. The Grass Skirt Grill is just a little hole in the wall place, but it had the most delicious shrimp dish that I think I have ever had.

Apparently a recommendation from her is a good thing.

I am in Denver now. Here in Denver is a restaurant I absolutely loved when I was a kid. Casa Bonita is a mexican restaurant known for it's cliff divers, torch jugglers, strolling mariachis, caverns to explore, Black Bart's Secret Hideout, a game room. This place has the works.

Only, it has the worst mexican food on the planet. Seriously, if you have ever eaten food, you will not like what they have there.

A few years ago we were here visiting my parents and I wanted to take the kids to Casa Bonita. All that fun at reasonable prices. what could be better. We recommended the place to my parents, inviting them to join in the fun. We couldn't understand why they opted out, until we ate there.

Apparently, a recommendation from my childhood is not always a good thing.

We are supposed to have dinner with some old friends tomorrow night. I wonder if they will want to go there.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Just in Case.

In case you don't hear from me for what seems like forever, I will be spending the rest of this week and most of next in Colorado. Heading out there to see my Mom, my two brothers and their families. Also looking forward to hanging a little with a friend from High School and a friend from the old days here in Tucson (referred to by my wife as "old girlfriends", as in, "we are going to see daddy's old girlfriends").

Don't rob my house, since will have my guns elsewhere. Don't even come in the house, since the dog will be loose in it.

If you have my number, you can still call or text or whatever. If not, well then........

Check in here, as I may have one or two good posts during the time I am gone.

Check back regularly after September 27th.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Don't try this at home, or the office, or......

When I was in the 7th Grade, I took a test for Duke University's Talent Identification Program, or TIP. Here is the point of the test, according to the website:

By taking advanced above level testing(at least two years above a student's current grade placement) through Duke TIP's talent search, gifted students and their families gain a far better understanding of where the student stands in relation to his/her gifted peers and what level of educational challenge is appropriate.

At the time I took the test, it looked at two distinct areas of academic achievement Reading/English skills and Mathematics. My math ability had been below average since about the third grade and I am not sure I was even up to average grade level in math at the time I took the test. I have always been well above average in my reading and English skills and I am usually a good test taker. Because of my language arts abilities, I scored exceptionally high on the language portion which gave me a high score on the test.

Unfortunately, our school only had one advanced class that they put everyone in that scored highly on the test. It was a mathematics class. So, for some God only knows why reason, I found myself in first year Algebra with all the smarty, nerdy kids when the previous year I was barely keeping up in math.

They passed me, and the next year, threw me into Geometry with the same kids. I have no idea why I passed that class when I could barely do a three step proof half way through the school year. By the end of the year, I was clever enough to figure out that I wasn't quite ready for higher math and convinced the Consumer Math teacher to let me slide into his class the following year.

Consumer math was the sort where they put all the "I am dumb and could care less about this math stuff" kids and taught them how to tie their shoes, mathematically speaking. We learned to do things like adding up prices at a fictional grocery store, balancing checkbooks and changing our grades in the teachers grade book when he wasn't looking. I shined like a star in the heavens in that class.

Math was the thorn in my flesh throughout High School. I was in all the English and A.P. English classes and Advanced Speech and Government and all the classes that I thought were fun, but in with the dummies and lower classmen trying to relearn the basics of Algebra as a Senior. I think I could have done alright and learned it much better if I had learned it at a pace that was more suited to my level.

Here is the "Don't try this at home, or the office, or......" part:

Too often, I have seen someone passed on to certain positions or promoted or given jobs based on their performance in areas that have nothing to do with the new position they are given. Granted, when people do well at a certain thing, they are probably the sort of people that will do their best to do well in any area. But, sometimes they just can't.

Just because someone is very good at certain aspects of their job, it does not mean they are ready to be a very good supervisor. Just because someone is very god at one job, it doesn't mean they will shine in a completely different job. Maybe they eventually will be ready, or maybe that are better off focusing on what they are good at and being the best in that area, as opposed to someone who merely squeaks by in an area where they are not good.

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11 Greeting Card Emergency

Here is what an old friend of mine has been creating for us all. Learn more at:

What do we call this day?

This will be the day that, for my generation, like the day of the Kennedy assasination for a previous generation, we will always remember where we were when we heard the towers were hit, that people were jumping and that the towers had fallen.

I also remember right where I was when I first saw an airliner flying after the restrictions were lifted.

Where were you?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Have You Seen These things

The latest opinion poll from the Associated Press shows that now 52% of Americans are opposed to the so called "Obamacare" government takeover of health insurance.

When I checked into it, I saw that the poll was of 1,001 people's opinions. Apparently, the majority of these sorts of polls are of a similar number of people. Then, the numbers are extrapolated to show us what we all think.

1,001 people seems like an incredibly small segment of the population to poll and help us determine what everyone's opinion is. It would also seem to matter who they asked. Even if it was a random 1,001 people across the country, it could still be an unbalanced poll, just based on the sheer lack of numbers in the sampling.

I am sure that after the speech tonight, the polls will show that 53% of us are now in favor of the new healthcare ideas. It is easy to get that figure. Just ask a different set of people.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Wait a second

I am still asked, from time to time, when I will return to full time ministry and in what capacity I would consider doing so. Here is a stab at an answer:

For those of you that don't know the story and Without delving more into my calling, gifts and abilities, personality, etc., I, in brief, accepted a position here in a way that I campaigned for, pushed for and rushed into without necessarily thinking it through as much as I might have.

So, I decided that in relation to future full time ministry stuff, I would wait on God. I know that usually a person pursues this sort of calling and hops up and "candidates" for Churches and positions and all that, but I figured that it would do just as good to wait and see if God will make it happen in his time. Besides, if I am not trusting him, what is the point?

I think I am in some good company, in waiting like this. In the Bible, Joseph waited for years in a dungeon before he moved on to better things, Abraham waited for years for God to give him his promised son (and didn't wait for part of the time, creating problems), Moses waited forty years before God moved him back to lead his people out of Egypt, then led them around for another forty before they got to the promised land, David waited a good fifteen years after he was anointed King of Israel before he was actually appointed King of Israel.

I'm no Joesph or Abraham or Moses or David, but God is still God. So, I will wait for his time.

In the meantime I will do the best I can at what he has put before me; my job, my family and my friends.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Who can take a rainbow....?

Well, it is a unique and somewhat clever way to make a buck., in Great Britain, will take your children's artwork and make it into a "professional illustration". At 47.5 British Pounds (somewhere around $65 - $70), it might seem a bit pricey. On the other hand, what is wrong with adding some color and background to one of your kid's masterpieces and making it into something you will keep forever?

May as well go take a look at it, just to see what they do.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Don't Whisper at My Dog

There are some places in Tucson where strange people congregate, but I don't think any of them beat where we went yesterday.

Every three years, we have to have our dog's rabies shots updated. I thought we just took her to the Humane Society's clinic and paid for her license a few weeks ago, but Diane told me that, no, it was three years ago and it is due again. So, we found a place that said it offered a daily vaccination clinic from 2pm to 4pm every weekday. Very good. We loaded her (the her being Penny the half Great Dane half Lab dog we have) and took her across town to the Spay and Neuter clinic to wait in line for her shot.

It was quite a crowd. Among it was a 10 month pregnant lady, a woman who didn't know if she had signed in with her real name or her artistic name (no, she was not an exotic dancer), a man with some very pretty diamond stud earrings, a girl with the biggest tattoo of a silhouette of a chandelier that I have ever seen( well, to be fair, it was the only one I've ever seen, but it was a big tattoo), and various other characters.

One thing they all had in common: they could not control their dogs. Well, the tattoo girl and a couple of others had cats in a carry box, but the rest of them all had dogs that would drag them around, frighten everyone with their barking, lunge at each other and all sorts of craziness. One guy had two rottweilers that kept slipping out of their collars and threatening people.

So, I now think that anyone with a dog should be required to read this book before they do anything else.
By the way, I was hoping the tattoo girl would have a really good story as to why she chose a chandelier. It turns out that she just thought it looked cool. I guess it did.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Not Dr. Richard Kimball...

This morning, we were in the area for the Town Hall meeting in Green Valley that Gabrielle Giffords, our representative in congress was presenting. I went on the walk through of the auditorium, as I was part of the contingency team and needed to see the layout. But, I was nowhere near the facility for the actual event.

Just prior to the meeting,some of the guys that were posted there wanted something to eat. So, I went with a couple of the guys to go pick something up for them at the nearby McDonalds.

While we were there, the former Surgeon General of the U.S., Richard Carmona, stopped in. He was supposed to be doing the inroduction for the meeting and said he had already driven by, but he didn't want to go in yet since it was still early and there was already a large crowd. He chatted amiably with us for a bit, then left for the meeting.

Does anyone else find it a bit ironic to see the former Surgeon General at McDonalds? I half expected to see him step out for a cigarette or jaywalking on a busy street. Okay, maybe not. But it still seemed a funny place to see him.

In his defense, I didn't see him eating. Neither was I.