Stranger Things Soundproof Houses

Watching Stranger Things with Pam and one thing I have noticed is that apparently everyone else’s house is easier to climb into and much more soundproof than any that I have ever lived in. These people can have very loud conversations in their basement and nobody on the floor above them can hear a single word. Also apparently anybody can climb onto the roof of a house and sneak into a bedroom without anyone noticing. Apparently these people have some very well insulated houses. I’m not sure who built them but movie houses are either high quality work or everyone in Hollywood is deaf.

This American Life Episode on the Travel Ban

If you haven’t listened to the “This American Life” episode on the travel ban (609: It’s Working Out Very Nicely) I would recommend doing so. I believe it does a very good job of putting faces to some of those affected by the ban.

I have embedded it below.

UPDATE – so I was wrong that it was embedded. I’m presently working on fixing the link.

UPDATED UPDATE – not sure why the embeddable player isn’t working on my blog since I copied the code from This American Life’s share feature. Therefore, I am just posting a link here. Go listen to it on their site or better yet subscribe to their podcast and listen to it on your favorite podcasting app.

Praying for the President

NOTE – I wrote this blog post a little over a week ago based on some struggles I had been experiencing with people who I care for. I was going to post it right after writing it, then the Executive Order travel ban happened. As a result of the ban I worried at that time because of the circumstances that my post might not be viewed I in the manner I had intended. So I postponed this post until today.

I have said before that I talk politics not politicians at church, chaplaincy, and on this blog but I’m going to break that for the beginning of this post. The reason I am going to break my previous statement is because it is necessary for the subject that I wish to write about – praying for the president.

My friend Kirby, a poli sci professor at Texas A & M, posted a Google Chrome extension (PolitEcho) that analyzes one’s Facebook “friends” and places them on a continuum of political ideology. Below is its analysis of my “friends”.


As you can see from the above graphic of my friends, if it is accurate, I am apparently drawn to people who have an extreme range in political thought. I know for a fact that several of my friends are having trouble praying for our current president and I also know that some other friends have had trouble praying for previous presidents. I have heard this as a friend, a pastor, and a chaplain.

1 Timothy 2:1-4 reads as follows:

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

That isn’t a suggestion. It is a directive. Following that command is obviously easier when you like the president that is currently in office. It isn’t necessarily very easy if you really don’t like the president and feel like he (and thus far it has always been a “he”) is dangerous for the country.

Yet scripture tells us believers to pray for him. is a pretty big deal since Paul was telling Christians to do this during a political regime that would soon want to kill them. Yes praying for the emperor was smart. It showed that Christians, while having very different values, weren’t trying to overthrow the empire. Christians were persecuted in the Roman Empire for many things but the biggest reason was that we were viewed as bad citizens for not being willing to sacrifice and worship the emperor ((The Emperor Cult was a crucial part of Roman power and the witness of Christians that “Jesus was Lord” was a direct affront to the Roman thought that “Caesar is lord”.)) . Christianity wants to transform countries, not necessarily depose kings. Praying for Caesar didn’t mean supporting what he was doing in Rome. In fact, the followers of Christ worked to change the world that the Caesars wanted to create. So Paul instructed followers of Christ to pray for their political leaders. This is usually fine and dandy with people when we like the leader.

But not so much when we don’t.

One of my favorite aspects of Anne Lamott’s book “Plan B” is her honesty in admitting that she didn’t want to pray for President George W Bush, a president that I voted for twice. She knew she needed to pray for him because she claimed to follow Christ. She knew that it is written scripture that Christians should pray for their political leaders. Of course, this didn’t mean that she wanted to pray for him. So she prayed for God to help her pray for the president. I love prayer like that and I believe God does too. It reminds me of the father in scripture who prays “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief” ((Mark 9:24)) .

I’m convinced that praying for President Trump means asking for God’s best for him while also asking for the best for our country. Asking that the duties of the office of the presidency won’t destroy his marriage or family. That love in his marriage and family will grow during his time in office. Asking the Father to help President Trump to make very difficult decisions and to make the right decisions. To know when to listen and to whom to listen.  Praying for him to be surrounded by people who will offer him good advice and help him to see the American way. Praying for humility for the man who now sits in the oval office. Praying for him to be able to find ways of peace for our country in a world off war. Most importantly praying that God will make himself known to President Trump and that Donald Trump will also know that he himself is known by God. That’s actually a pretty dangerous prayer because while it is best for all of us to encounter God it also tends to flip everything one thinks upside down.

None of the above means that we can’t pray for certain of his policies to be stopped from going into action. Nor does it mean that one can’t pray for his time in office to be as short as possible. It just means that we need to be praying for him and his life. I believe that praying for our leaders affects our attitudes toward them. It might help to love him like Christ does, as a child created in the image of God no matter how marred that image might be. I can pray for President Trump while also praying for policies that I am convinced are more consistent with the American way.

Saying Something is Outdated in an Outdated Manner

So I found myself on another degree mill kick this morning (one of the wonders of Facebook is finding “friends” who have “degrees” from some of these places). The video above came from today’s search through the interwebs. Bethany Divinity College & Seminary is located in my hometown of Dothan, Alabama. You can read for yourself about the college and the requirements they have for their degrees. I would love to be able to say that the school makes me proud of my hometown, but after looking at what they offer and require I can’t say that.

You should watch the above video. Why? Because of the wonderful example  it is of calling other modes of education outdated in such a wonderfully outdated manner. The video looks and sounds like it was made in the late 70s. It was posted on YouTube in 2012 by Bethany as an example of why you should use them for your education. BTW in my opinion you shouldn’t use them.It is my opinion that they are a degree mill, a unaccredited “school” that provides an “education” that won’t be accepted by accredited institutions and doesn’t really prepare you to do what it is supposed to prepare you to do.

Bethany describes other modes of education as outdated in a video that claims to that Bethany is on “the cutting edge”. I’m not sure what decade this video would have been consider “cutting edge” but I’m betting it was before the 80s, maybe before the 70s.

To paraphrase old Jeff Foxworthy‘s old “You might be a redneck” series of jokes: “If you watch the above video and think it is cutting edge, you might be out dated.”

Personally it reminds me of all the times I see people, businesses, churches, and other organizations talk about how something it new and exciting when the truth is that whatever you are doing is basically the same old thing. For churches this usually means “We’re the church for people who don’t like church” which should usually just be translated “you can wear shorts to church and our pastor has a cool beard, but everything else is basically the same”.

Johnny Karate’s 5 Karate Moves to Success

Noah really likes Parks and Recreation. Since Noah liked the show I thought I would Netflix the series. I just finished it which means I have now watched the rather odd 7th season. In the 7th season there is one episode about The Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show.

Johnny Karate (i.e. Andy Dwyer, a.k.a. Chris Pratt) has 5 Karate Moves to Success and I love them. The 5 karate moves are to each day:

  • Make Something
  • Learn Something
  • Karate Chop Something
  • Try Something New (Even If It’s Scary For You)
  • Be Nice To Someone

A long time ago I started teaching the boys 4 things that I wanted them to remember if I were to I suddenly die (at the time this would have probably been from an alligator attack since we were living in Baton Rouge). This was important at this stage of my life because it was not uncommon for me to be involved in something that could possibly lead to my death.

I’ve mentioned the 4 things before. They are that a real man …

  • Loves God
  • Loves his family
  • Respects/protects women
  • Protects those who are weaker than him

The list works and I continue to ask the boys concerning the 4 things whenever I leave from visiting them or they leave home to go back to school. However, if I was looking for a new list I would seriously consider Johnny Karate’s. I even think “Karate Chop Something” would work if I directed it toward karate chopping injustice (i.e. I’m going to call my senators tomorrow – POW).

Is it too late for me to encourage my college age young men to karate chop something each day?

Basset Hounds Make Great Guard Dogs

Just in case you have ever doubted that basset hounds make great guard dogs above is photographic proof of their superior ability in such tasks. I took a photo of Montana setup in her security post when I left on my rounds early this morning and took another photo when I returned home. As you can clearly see she has barely moved from her post. This right here is dedication folks. Obviously, Montana is a great example of diligence in protecting her family.

Bulletin Quote January 8th

For 2017 I’m making graphics of the quotes from the front of each weeks bulletin at Tapestry’s gathering. This week’s comes from a C.S. Lewis letter found in the compilation “Letters to Malcolm”. It’s a great reminder that the God Who is the Comforter doesn’t necessarily bring the comforts that we often pine away over.

If any “threads” would like to do some of these please shout and let me know.

Sabbath as Ressitance

Just finished Sabbath as Ressitance by Walter Brueggemann and it is so good. Was reading it with the small group that Pam and I belong to. BTW we are officially the most awesome small group in the world because the Oberstadts made coffee cups for everyone saying so.

Anyhow here’s a quote from Brueggemann’s book that I believe summarizes pretty well what he is saying throughout the book.

Sabbath is the practical ground for breaking the power of acquisitiveness and for creating a public will for an accent on restraint. Sabbath is the cessation of widely shared practices of acquisitiveness. It provides time, space, energy, and imagination for coming to the ultimate recognition that more commodities, which may be acquired in the rough and ready of daily economics, finally do not satisfy. Sabbath is variously restraint, withdrawal, or divestment from the concrete practices of society that specialize in anxiety. Sabbath is an antidote to anxiety that both derives from our craving and in turn feeds those cravings for more. Sabbath is an arena in which to recognize that we live by gift and not by possession, that we are satisfied by relationships of attentive fidelity and not by amassing commodities. We know in the gospel tradition that we may indeed “gain the whole world” and lose our souls (Mark 8:34–37). Thus Sabbath is soul-receiving when we are in a posture of receptivity before our Father who knows we need them (Luke 12:30). p. 84.

Bass Fishing Via A Drone

I may have a reason for owning a drone now. This is awesome. It is even better because he catches the bass on a Arbogast Jitterbug, the greatest of all lures. Now sure that even Andy Lickel has done this.

In addition I have mad respect for the guy for having wits enough about him to tell the person taking his photo to do so horizontally, rather than vertically. Folks, there are very few occasions when it is okay to take portrait style photos.