Battle of the Bands LIV

04/23/2008, 1:28 pm -- by | No Comments

Here are the next batch of band names from Luke (Flog moves on!)


Bible Discussion — Luke 19

04/23/2008, 1:00 pm -- by | No Comments

This week, looks at the next chapter of Luke, Luke 19.

Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50
Exodus: 1-4 | 5-8 | 9-11 | 12-14 | 15-18
19-22 | 23-26 | 27-30 | 31-34 | 35-40
Romans: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch. 5 | Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 (I)
Ch. 8 (II) | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15-16
Luke: 1:1-38 | 1:39-2:40 | 2:41-3:38 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14-15 | 16-17 | 18

Here, Jesus sensed the errant thoughts of the disciples concerning His rule on earth, and tried to let them down easy. “There was this guy, and he was going to receive a kingdom, but to do it he had to leave for a while and go to another country far, far, far away”¦”

Luke\’s telling of the parable of the ten minas is different than I realized. There were ten servants who received a mina, although only three report upon the master\’s return.

God likes short people better?!

The people on the side of the road during Christ’s entry into Jerusalem were described as “the whole crowd of disciples.” I wonder how many people that included.

Not this time, but another time, I noticed that this is actually the second time that Jesus cleansed the Temple. He did it at the beginning of his ministry too, the first time he ever visited Jerusalem.

Chloe: Muttering Sin
Josh: Five More; Stones Cry Out
Steve: Ten More Mina

Continued here!

Joke of the Day, 4/23/08

04/23/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

“I went out with twins last night, Bob.”

“Oh, yeah? Did you have a good time?”

“Yes and no…”

Houghton Going Green

04/22/2008, 1:30 pm -- by | 1 Comment

A new professor is coming to Houghton College — Dr. Matthew Sleeth, an environmentalist and the author of Serve God, Save the Planet. He\’s been hired to make the campus green.

I don\’t like the sound of that.

See, we all have our own opinions on how Houghton College spends its money. Personally, I\’ve been watching professors drop like flies. The sociology department\’s class offerings have dwindled to entry-level courses, and senior writing majors have been forced to coerce over-extended professors into doing independent studies, or else succumb to Intro to Creative Writing.

And instead of getting a few new sociology or writing professors, we hire some guy to make the campus green? Houghton doesn\’t care about being green! This is a marketing strategy.

This whole semester, every time I heard Sleeth\’s name, I went off on the poor souls who found themselves within a ten-yard radius of me. “Do you know they\’re requiring all the first-years to buy his book?,” I would cry. “He\’s rewriting the Scripture and calling it the first ”˜Green Bible!\’ It\’s going to be printed with recycled paper and soy ink. Soy ink!” Absolutely absurd.

Sleeth spoke in chapel yesterday. I would have boycotted, but I skipped too many chapels earlier in the year and had to go to meet the requirement. I decided I would go, but I wouldn\’t enjoy it.

Sleeth started off on the wrong foot, bragging about how his son was 19 and graduating from Asbury, and his daughter was 17, in her second year at Asbury, and looking forward to seeing her book, “It\’s Easy Being Green,” in bookstores soon. Well, whoopty-freakin-do.

But then he started talking about his life. He graduated third from the bottom of his high school class. Relatively Christian, he met a Jewish girl and got married, then together, they swore off religion. His wife announced soon after their wedding that she thought he should go to college, so he did, worked his butt off, and went to medical school just two years later.

Throughout his chapel talk, Sleeth spoke time and again of how someone — usually his wife, often God — challenged him, leading him to dedicate himself entirely to something: first emergency medicine, then Christianity, and finally environmentalism. When Sleeth chose to believe in something, he threw himself into the work of perfecting it. He loves what he does, he\’s passionate, and he wants others to be passionate with him.

I enjoyed his chapel, immensely. He\’s speaking again today, and I can\’t wait to hear him. Maybe the college isn\’t spending its money wisely, but that doesn\’t have anything to do with who and what Dr. Matthew Sleeth is. I can\’t wait to see what he will do for Houghton.

Clash of the Titans LXXX: Short-Term Mission Trips

04/22/2008, 12:00 pm -- by | 3 Comments

In this corner, opposing short-term missions, is Job!

And in this corner, in favor of the trips, is Josh!

Dear _______ ,

Hi! Some of you are my family, some of you know me from church, and some of you are friends of my parents, whom I assume must have some money. Don\’t you just love the Northeast this time of year? Or whatever part of the country you might live in? I just love it when the snow melts and the growing grass seems to scream, “Time for a short-term mission trip!”

That\’s right — while our youth group leader isn\’t sure yet where he feels “led” to take the youth group on our annual summer mission trip to any non-American place that\’ll have us, we\’ve been told to raise $3000 anyway. So I\’m writing you! Won\’t you please donate $100 so I can spend a day traveling to Honduras or somewhere, a day to recover from jet lag, four days to hammer away on a roof or something, another day to sight-see, and then a day flying home?

I\’ll take pictures!

While I am already knee-deep in college planning and other social trappings that will ensure a life lived here in the States, I think it best not to invest myself completely in a summer job that will expose me (and the Gospel) to my unbelieving contemporaries. Instead, I want to spend a week or two struggling with the language somewhere visually stunning and, quite possibly, way more Christian than my own country! Viva wherever!

I\’ll be going with 20-25 other young people and in addition to our iPods, we’ll also be taking our petty dramas and romances. Yeah, Shannon is going but she\’s being really weird lately. We, like, never play foosball anymore on Wednesday nights. I think Tyler may have told her how I kissed Esther. OMG! Hopefully we can work it out over a pile of rubbish.

Look, it\’s just $100, but it’ll look like a million bucks on a college application. So whaddya say?

What’s that? I live mere miles from inner cities choked with poverty and crime, places where Satan has laid easy claim? I have friends in school who don\’t even know I\’m a Christian? (My art teacher does — she goes to my church!) My understanding of theological matters is at best elementary, while my concept of missions will soon be forever shaped by gross excess and lack of commitment, in an appallingly poor nation we will leave to flap in the wind? And — worst of all — I only stand to (maybe) accomplish temporary physical gain, while learning to accept that as reasonable proxy for the eternal and spiritual?

Well… How ’bout $50 then?

My first question when I received this assignment was how exactly we were defining short-term mission trips. Since Job was involved, I should have known the answer would be “narrowly and cynically.”

So, if the question is whether I think it’s a good idea to take weeklong trips, masquerading as vacations, to areas so distant as to be a financial burden, by large groups of people with questionable spiritual maturity, then I guess not. But what we’re looking at here is an error in execution, not a wholesale indictment of short-term missions.

Let me start by conceding that I don’t believe ministry is ideally accomplished in the short term, that it takes commitment and often immersion to make real Gospel connections. But many people have ministries almost entirely defined by the short term, including the apostle Paul, and — in a way — Job’s own pope-whuppin’ hero, Billy Graham. One man plants, another waters, you know the drill.

And who said a missions trip has to be to the other side of the world? Job correctly recognizes that there are fields to be harvested right in our backyard, and yet he still frames this debate in caricature. Having personally led student-based mission teams all over the northeast United States, I can assure you that not every effort fits that mold.

Ultimately, I think short-term missions should have a few goals in mind. Energizing existing ministries with extra manpower and new perspective is obvious. So is the idea of encouraging both the visiting team and the host church, by shrinking the world and expanding the body of believers.

But what is also okay is to concede that sometimes the visitors will be the ones most blessed and convicted, challenged to go back boldly to the need at home, while not forgetting the world of need they’ve witnessed firsthand.

You might even be able to get that all done in a week.

What did you do with your spring break?


Quote of the Day, 4/22/08

04/22/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

“Freedom is not only a gift, but also a summons to personal responsibility. Americans know this from experience ”” almost every town in this country has its monuments honoring those who sacrificed their lives in defense of freedom, both at home and abroad. The preservation of freedom calls for the cultivation of virtue, self-discipline, sacrifice for the common good, and a sense of responsibility towards the less fortunate.” — Pope Benedict XVI

The Council’s Ruling — Most Manlike Animal

04/21/2008, 12:00 pm -- by | 1 Comment

This and every Monday, the Bweinh!tributors, having convened in secret for hours of reasoned debate and consideration, will issue a brief and binding ruling on an issue of great societal import.

This week’s question — Which animal is most similar to man?

Tom delivers the ruling of the Council, joined by Djere, MC-B, Kaitlin and Connie:

The chimpanzee combines a 94% identical genome with the ability to fashion and use tools, a sophisticated social structure and an expansive ability to communicate among its kind and with ours.


David dissents, joined by Steve and Erin:

Dogs. They go through life clueless and depending on the kindness of a greater power — but as soon as that power turns his back, they tear up the trash, escape from the yard, and run wild.


Erin dissents, joined by David:

Dogs, because we’re both messy, stupid, and love company.


Steve dissents, joined by Mike:

Only the cat combines senseless (often violent) behavior with a limitless superiority complex.


Chloe dissents, joined by Mike:

Sloths. Slow. Bored. Boring. Stinky. Freaky-odd.


Josh dissents:

I was going to say “woman” to be funny, until I remembered that they’re nothing like us, so let’s go with armadillo.


Job played no part in the determination of this issue.


Next time: At what age should a child be permitted to pursue a romantic relationship?

Best of Mike — Pied Beauty

04/21/2008, 11:00 am -- by | No Comments

Originally published on July 16, 2007.

Pied Beauty
Gerard Manley Hopkins

Glory be to God for dappled things–
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced — fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise Him.

I am not a poetry person, usually. Yet I ran across this poem a couple years ago and it captured me and has not let me go. I love how it images the “useless” things in creation: freckles, the play of clouds in the sky, the chestnuts that fall to the earth. All of these things are “counter, original, spare, strange” and yet their beauty cannot help but point to the greatness of the One who made them.

Romans 8:19 says, “The creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.” Why? Why bother? Why would creation wait for us? Isn’t the creation Hopkins describes perfect on its own? What possibly could creation want from us?

I think creation longs for us because the children of God are to be the pinnacle of all this wonderful creation. We, of all people, can afford to be counter, original, spare and strange to a world which lives in captivity to itself. When God set us apart to be his people, he made us beautiful and strange in the same way so much of his creation is beautiful and strange. We do not have to reflect the tired gray of those around us; instead, we can be dappled and beautiful and strange and point the world to the Beautiful One.

It was a wonderful revelation when I realized that part of our call as Christians is to be beautiful, the pinnacle of a beautiful creation. Not what the world calls beautiful, not silicone or sinew, but the simple beauty of being what we were created to be. I struggled (and still struggle) to have the world see me as pious, knowledgeable and wise, but at my best I am simply focusing on being beautiful, on settling for no other agenda for my life than finding who I am and being that person. This is a personal task, to be sure, but never individualistic — I discover myself best in community, when other beautiful people are gently alerting me to what is beautiful in me.

What about you? Will you settle for being virtuous in another person’s eyes? Will you allow the Democrats or the Republicans to sell you their version of the beautiful life? Will you allow the tabloids to tell you who is beautiful? Will you allow Pottery Barn to define beauty for you?

Or will you follow the One who dared to say the beautiful life always begins with a crucifixion? Will you be children of that God? Will you be counter, spare, original, strange? Will you be a playful part of the way God is redeeming creation? The chestnuts and the finches, the trout and the skies — all of dappled creation awaits your answer.

1913 Ad of the Week — Brick Work

04/21/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

This is the sixth in a series of real ads from the 1913 World Almanac…

After seeing all these exciting ads from 1913, you’ve probably (correctly) identified that year as the famed Golden Age of advertising. But surprisingly, not every single ad in the Almanac is full of fascinating close-up diagrams of hernia trusses and intestine cleansers.

No, my friends — some ads are slaves to Sweet Lady Text.

Take this humble advertisement for “Brick Work.” Surrounded by a simple border (which I removed to protect any who may suffer from a heart condition) and flanked by an inch of white space on each margin, this ad screams to its competitors, “Keep your flashy drawings and your catchy slogans, my friends — for myself, I shall rely on confusing compound sentences and poor design!”

You can see why I feel a certain kinship with it.

But really, this might be the worst ad ever. Just look at how it opens: “After an inexhaustible research and thorough investigation, including the severest fire and water tests that could be applied toooooooooooooopppa;sfas.’;’/=998

Oh! I’m sorry! I seem to have dozed off, in the middle of an opening sentence that took TWENTY-SIX words to get to its point (“brick work rules”)!!

And it’s followed up with one even longer and more poorly constructed, which starts with an admission that either steel or concrete “measures up to commercial tests, as generally known.” Meanwhile, the ad takes another whole paragraph to get around to identifying anywhere you can actually buy bricks. Nice touch.

Where this ad really brings the heat is in the adjective department — it includes such winners as inexhaustible, thorough, severest, extreme, disastrous, indestructible, noticeable, well-burned, and marked! It’s like the love child of Mad Libs and Lorem Ipsum.

But I guess this isn’t surprising; I’ve often found that when words fail me, a brick often fills in quite nicely.

Chick Tracts Are Back!

04/21/2008, 12:00 am -- by | No Comments


©1984-2008 Chick Publications, Inc. Reprinted without permission as fair use (parody).


Clash of the Titans LXXIX — The Stanley Cup

04/18/2008, 12:00 pm -- by | 6 Comments

In this corner, supporting the Philadelphia Flyers, is David!

And in this corner, rooting for the Philadelphia Flyers, is Djere!

The Flyers started their postseason with a loss this year, but it was this game, and the game that followed, that convinced me they had a legitimate shot at winning Lord Stanley\’s Cup this year.

In the opening game they lost 5-4 at Washington, before a sellout crowd that could only be called “manic.” They were so pumped! Alex Ovechkin had almost singlehandedly led them through a streak of 11 games without a loss to win the Southeast Division. He had also pretty much clinched the season MVP award, by scoring 65 goals and lifting his team into the playoffs. Winning game one was inevitable for the Caps.

So why was I so sure Philly would win the series and have a shot at winning it all? Because, while weathering the first game storm, they still scored four times — and each goal was effortless. Washington scored five goals in a frantic pace they could never sustain, but the Flyers sat back, played patient hockey, and netted four effortless goals.

It takes three things to win the Stanley Cup — solid defense, opportunistic offense and hot goaltending. The Flyers show all three.

Solid defense — The Flyers have a deep defensive core with a good mix of young guys and hardy veterans. Hatcher, Modry and Timonen are three solid veterans, while Coburn, Jones and Kukkonen are three young guys with size and speed. And the entire team is playing with a patience that dictates defense first, then offense.

Opportunistic offense: Solid defense produces turnovers, and a turnover in the hands of a sniper winds up in the back of the net. The Devils made a living, and won a couple Cups, with a lineup that featured no superstars but snipers on every line. The Flyers’ top seven forwards averaged nearly 28 goals each this year. That’s the kind of depth a team needs to take advantage of every opportunity to score, and the Flyers have it. So far, in this series, they have scored 16 goals from 8 different players, and they have done it effortlessly. It’s sustainable.

Hot goaltending: Marty Biron gave up five goals in game one, so you might question calling that hot goaltending — but let me explain. That loss was, as I said, inevitable. If the Flyers put ten men on the ice, it would not have kept the Capitals from doing whatever it took to win. Strike it from the record.

But Biron ended the season by shutting out Pittsburgh and New Jersey, the two best teams in the Atlantic Division. He came back in game 2 in Washington and pitched another shutout. His last six games, including that five-goal game, give him a GAA of 1.83 and a .933 save percentage with three shutouts. I call that hot goaltending!

Hello Lord Stanley!

As an amateur Chaotician and part-time Historian, I bring good tidings of great joy. The curse of William Penn will be lifted this spring, and the Broad Street Bullies shall win the Stanley Cup.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, William Penn founded the original British colony of Pennsylvania, or “Penn’s Woods.” Residing atop Philadelphia’s City Hall is a statue of Mr. Penn, complete with goofy colonial hat and shoe buckles. For years and years, the city maintained a gentlemen’s agreement (strictly enforced by the city planner) that no building in the City of Philadelphia would exceed the statue’s prominence of 548 feet.

The ’70s and ’80s saw a veritable hotbed of sporting-related successes in Philadelphia. Championships were won by the Flyers in ’74 and ’75 (with Stanley Cup Finals appearances in ’76, ’80, and ’85); the Phillies won the World Series in ’80 and the NL pennant in ’83; the Eagles won the ’81 NFC championship; and even the 76ers won the NBA Championship in ’83, making the finals in ’77, ’80, and ’82. Things were looking good in the City of Brotherly Love.

But then, disaster struck. Developers broke ground on One Liberty Place, the first skyscraper slated to supersede the statue in height. Since construction of the 945-foot behemoth began in 1985, Philadelphia has not seen a championship in baseball, football, basketball, hockey, college basketball — or (worst of all) even horse racing’s Triple Crown.

But today, things are changing. Eclipsing even the shadow of One Liberty Place is the new Comcast Center, the tallest building in all of Pennsylvania. How will this change the sporting atmosphere of Philadelphia?

Two reasons:
1. Comcast owns the Flyers and the 76ers.
2. Attached to the tallest beam on the skyscraper is a statue of William Penn.

From his new perch, high atop the Comcast Center, ol’ Billy Penn can finally stand at ease as the tallest man in his woods, lifting his curse with him.

Go Flyers and God bless America!


My Words

04/18/2008, 9:26 am -- by | No Comments

Bweinh! celebrates National Poetry Month.

I write these words today and hope that they are true
true to the purpose
of living here for You

And I long for eloquence to break the gravity
breaking with tradition
to soar with levity

And somewhere in heaven perhaps they’ll find a home
mixed with the prayers of saints
who suffered here alone

But my words are limited in what they might become
a prayer, a song, a monologue,
a sonnet to the Son

While your words are powerful though ever so reserved
dropped from heaven sparingly
till all the earth is served

But my words are all I have, thoughts cast into stone
settled on a point of view
and lifted to your throne

I only hope they’re purified passing through the cloud
purged from their insolence
before they’re heard aloud

Joke of the Day, 4/18/07

04/18/2008, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

What’s the problem with lawyer jokes?

Lawyers don’t think they’re funny and nobody else thinks they’re jokes.

This Week in Connie

04/17/2008, 10:14 am -- by | 4 Comments

I know we’re all busy, but I thought I’d give you a glimpse into my life. Here’s some things I will and will not do this week:

I will help throw a fantastic shower for my son’s beautiful fiance Karen.
I will not listen to Barack or Billary attack each other.
I will stop eating junk for the next two weeks.
I will not buy a new car. This week or EVER! So shut up, Billy Fuccillo!

I will balance my checkbook.
I will research passive puppies for smaller homes.
I will not go on Spring Break.
I will not get a puppy . . . though this may change closer to April 28th.

I will not file my taxes on April 15. Extension time!
I will file Sarah’s taxes on April 15, and I will finish my taxes later this week. Really!

I will pray diligently for my friends with many needs, I will work at two different jobs this week (three if you count this one), and I will pick up my daughter’s amazing wedding dress with her.

I will also watch Survivor.

I will not go see Prom Night (sorry, Sarah), go to dinner anywhere until after the weddings, buy anything from an 800 number, or worry about facial lines and wrinkles.

And above all, I will not stress out over things I have no control over, like . . . NO! See the beginning of that sentence!

Quote of the Day, 4/17/08

04/17/2008, 7:00 am -- by | 3 Comments

“In the face of Justice Stevens\’ experience, the experience of all others is, it appears, of little consequence. The experience of the state legislatures and the Congress ”” who retain the death penalty as a form of punishment ”” is dismissed as ‘the product of habit and inattention rather than an acceptable deliberative process.’ The experience of social scientists whose studies indicate that the death penalty deters crime is relegated to a footnote. The experience of fellow citizens who support the death penalty is described, with only the most thinly veiled condemnation, as stemming from a ‘thirst for vengeance.’ It is Justice Stevens\’ experience that reigns over all.” — the Honorable A. Scalia, concurring, in Baze v Rees

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