Sunday, November 29, 2009

Silent Night

Mars Hill Church in Seattle has released a new Christmas album entitled Silent Night. The album is recorded by in-house musicians Ex Nihilo. The album covers several classic Christmas hymns, and has a bonus track "What Child is This?" as a free download, as well as free chord charts for all the songs on the album.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Traffic Etiquette

Tim Challies had an interesting blog this morning concerning the late merger. He explains the situation like this:

You know these people. Most of you, when you are crawling along the highway in heavy traffic and see a sign telling you that the lane will end in one mile (or one kilometer if you’re up here in Canada), quickly bump over into the lane that will not end, glad that you’ve immediately sorted out that problem. Now you can be assured that you won’t find yourself squeezed onto the shoulder or parked endlessly with your light blinking, trying to squeeze your way out of that dying lane while everyone else tries to block your progress. Yet, as you sit there, content that you’ve done the right thing, you can’t help but notice all those people speeding by to your right, driving their cars to the edge, to the brink, to the very last car-length of the lane that is about to end. You grouch, your grumble, you remark on their complete lack of care for the other people on the road. And yet you have to admit that they will get where they are going before you will. They seem unaffected by your plight, content to further their own goals even at your expense.

Tim uses an example from Traffic, by Tom Vanderbilt, to explain why he has switched from the conservative, early merger to the late merger. It is evident from the responses that this is an emotional issue for many people. I personally can not stand the late merger. It is as if he cannot be forced to wait in line like everyone else, and thinks it is his right to be in front of everyone else. I applaud the semi-trucks that drive side by side in these situations to prevent the late merger. Essentially I think the late merger is using the right lane to pass, and therefore illegal lane usage. I found one example of a driver ticketed for late-merging, and successfully had it overturned. I liken the situation to the person who uses the center turn lane as their personal merger lane in heavy traffic. The law on this issue may vary in different states. The one I found is for Michigan and it states:
It is unlawful to use the center left turn lane for a right turn or as a merge lane when entering the roadway.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Selling Jesus

I've often been irate when I've found examples of what appears to be a use of Christianity to make money. If you're like me you may get these feelings when you step inside a Christian bookstore. While these bookstores are usually filled with some good commentaries, bibles, and teaching resources, they are often flooded with what has been branded as "Jesus Junk." Jesus Junk may include anything from tacky t-shirts to Christian candy. I've even heard it said that if you have a mediocre product with no way to sell it, just slap a Bible verse on it, and sell it it Christian book stores.

This spring in my Philosophy and Theology of Outdoor Ministry class at Wheaton, we discussed the dichotomy of the ministry/business model. In the example we probed the idea of how a Christian institution should exist. Can it make profit? Should it charge for services? The paradigm is a beast of its own, but I think for the most part Christian institutions are seeking to serve Christ and his Kingdom, in a society that is consumer and money driven. Jesus Junk on the other hand is a completely different category for me. These items are often defended as a way for believers to share their faith, or give them a subtle reminder of it. I think we need neither, and these items do not serve this purpose anyway. I've yet to meet anyone who realized their sin, repented, and became a believer because they saw an Icthus fish on someone's bumper.

Relevant Magazine recently posted an article concerning the issue, containing an interview with Mark Bontempo, the founder of Testamints, a company that produces mints with scripture verses on the package. Check out the article to get his take on the issue.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


The last few months I have taken a break from blogging. My summer season was filled with busyness working as the Worship Coordinator at HoneyRock Camp, and left little time for blogging. At the end of summer, Courtney and I moved back to Missouri with the plan to open an all-ages music venue, while looking for a paying youth ministry job. Several interviews and a few months later, I'm still without a paying job. We have been in the interview process with one church, and feel very good about this particular church. Sunday we met with the youth and parents for a question answer session, and are awaiting to hear the next step. Soundtrax, our vision for an all-ages music venue, has not had the great start we envisioned. We are still seeking funding and a building, and are unsure what our next step should be. But the biggest news of all is that Courtney is 12 weeks pregnant. We are extremely excited about this news, and are seeking how this affects all the other aforementioned news. Please pray for us as we seek guidance for our choices in employment, church, and home.