Thursday, December 21, 2006

From Kevin Clauseman. . .to God

A man named Kevin who comes to Grace gave me this poem and asked if I might read it in Church as a gift to the Lord. I told him I would post it here at "life together" . . . .

As the moon shines down upon the glistening blue still lake
I feel your love upon my soul

As the eagle flies above the mountain peaks into the clouds
I feel the hope you give me with encouragement

As the stormy waves crash against the rock shores
I feel the strength you give me in my daily life

As the snow flakes float gently to the ground covering everything in a white blanket
I feel your gentle arms around me

As the breeze rustles the autumn leaves in the trees
I hear your words of encouragement

As the pick black sky lights up with bolts of lighting and thunder
I feel your strong but loving hands for when I have done wrong

As the galling winds carve put the canyons in the mountain sides beautiful and smooth but yet sometimes treacherous
I feel this is the path you have chosen for me to take

As cold as the pure water drops off the melting glacier I feel my nerves run as cold
When I approach your throne to ask you for your help and blessing in this special request

As a small child stands in front of his ather white eyed, pure of heart
I ask the Holy Trinity to grant me

The Return of the Cross

Did you see this in the Trib this morning?

Isn't that neat to see? Isn't it great that the local paper still covers stuff like this?

I've heard that a relative of someone who attends Grace owns or did own the building.

Some people have been asking for us to put another cross on our tower. What do you think?

The Return of the Cross

The Tribune
Photo courtesy of David W. Miller

A cross once again sits high atop a church building near the entrance to the Arroyo Grande Village.

Members of Harvest Church at 124 W. Branch St. erected the cross Wednesday.

"It just kind of communicates to the community that the building is a church again," the Rev. Steve Henry said. "The cross is symbolic of the Christian faith; we’re excited to put a cross back up."

The building was constructed in 1887, said Henry’s wife, Jolene Henry.

Several churches occupied the building until about 40 years ago, when it was converted to retail. The cross that used to be on top of the building was removed in 1979.

Harvest Church formed in 2003, Jolene Henry said.

Its members, who now number about 200, met at Lopez Continuation High School on the Nipomo Mesa until they decided a permanent home was needed.

The congregation spent time renovating the building and moved in last March.

— Larissa

Van Beurden-Doust

Come and Stand Amazed

The Birth of Jesus
Gustave Doré, 1866.

Christmas carols are so doctrinally rich and right on . . . here's a medieval Dutch carol I bet you've never heard/seen/sang before. . .

Come and stand amazed, you people,
See how God is reconciled!
See his plans of love accomplished,
See his gift, this newborn child.
See the Mighty, weak and tender,
See the Word who now is mute.
See the Sovereign without splendor,
See the Fullness destitute;
The Beloved, whom we covet,
In a state of low repute.

See how humankind received him;
See him wrapped in swaddling bands,
Who as Lord of all creation
Rules the wind by his commands.
See him lying in a manger
Without sign of reasoning;
Word of God to flesh surrendered,
He is wisdom’s crown, our King.
See how tender our Defender
At whose birth the angels sing.

O Lord Jesus, God incarnate,
Who assumed this humble form,
Counsel me and let my wishes
To your perfect will conform.
Light of life, dispel my darkness,
Let your frailty strengthen me;
Let your meekness give me boldness,
Let your burden set me free;
Let your sadness give me gladness,
Let your death be life for me.
—Medieval Dutch carol, translated by Klaas Hart (1906-1973), as collected in PROCLAIMING THE CHRISTMAS GOSPEL: ANCIENT SERMONS AND HYMNS FOR CONTEMPORARY INSPIRATION. Edited by John D. Witvliet and David Vroege. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004, page 99. ISBN 0-8010-6405-8

I love the final stanza. The book referenced has been sweet devotional reading for me.

new slide shows at

We take so many great photos of our "life together" at Grace. We jam as many as we can into the Life @ Grace publication each week. I've been told by many that they really enjoy seeing the pictures every week. We've been trying to figure out a way to share more.

So we're experimenting with a new slide show module at our website. Check it out and tell us what you think. There's a limited number of event slide shows posted now, but we hope to add more on a continuous basis and even a few more today. . .

Here's a direct link for clicking now and saving for later. . .

Also, because some have requested it, a pdf version of Life @ Grace is now available each week on the website as well.

If you're going out of town for Christmas, you can download this week's L@G right now . . . just

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Is this guy offensive?

Ok, so I may be perseverating on this topic of offensiveness.

Check out Mark Driscoll at the recent John Piper Conference, Above All Powers:

Listen Here!

Piper says he got in more trouble for having Mark Driscoll speak at the conference than any other speaker he's ever invited to speak. Listen and you'll see why . . .

Mark says some powerful things about contending for and contextualizing the Gospel. He calls out the emergent church movement but also stuck in the mud Calvinists.

Is this guy offensive? If so, why?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Spurgeon on the celebration of Jesus' birth

Over the last few years, I've had a couple of people ask me questions about the celebration of Christ's birth on December 25th. . . . Is it appropriate? Should we decorate? What about the Christmas tree . . . isn't it a pagan symbol?

Here are some of Spurgeon's thoughts . . . AWESOME . . . as usual!

The first paragraph is from a sermon intro. . . the last paragraph is great application from his conclusion . . .


There is no reason upon earth beyond that of ecclesiastical custom why the 25th of December should be regarded as the birthday of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ any more than any other day from the first of January to the last day of the year; and yet some persons regard Christmas with far deeper reverence that the Lord's-day. You will often hear it asserted that "The Bible and the Bible alone is the religion of Protestants," but it is not so. There are Protestants who have absorbed a great deal besides the Bible into their religion, and among other things they have accepted the authority of what they call "the Church," and by that door all sorts of superstitions have entered. There is no authority whatever in the word of God for the keeping of Christmas at all, and no reason for keeping it just now except that the most superstitious section of Christendom [he means Catholics] has made a rule that December 25th shall be observed as the birthday of the Lord, and the church by law established in this land (the Church of England] has agreed to follow in the same track. You are under no bondage whatever to regard the regulation. We owe no allegiance to the ecclesiastical powers which have made a decree on this matter, for we belong to an old-fashioned church which does not dare to make laws, but is content to obey them. At the same time the day is no worse than another, and if you choose to observe it, and observe it unto the Lord, I doubt not he will accept your devotion: while if you do not observe it, but unto the Lord observe it not, for fear of encouraging superstition and will-worship, I doubt not but what you shall be as accepted in the non-observance as you could have been in the observance of it. Still, as the thoughts of a great many Christian people will run at this time towards the birth of Christ, and as this cannot be wrong, I judged it meet to avail ourselves of the prevailing current, and float down the stream of thought. Our minds will run that way, because so many around us are following customs suggestive of it, therefore let us get what good we can out of the occasion. There can be no reason why we should not, and it may be helpful that we should, now consider the birth of our Lord Jesus. We will do that voluntarily which we would refuse to do as a matter of obligation: we will do that simply for convenience sake which we should not think of doing because enjoined by authority or demanded by superstition.

. . . You may keep his birthday all the year round, for it were better to say he was born every day of the year than on any one, for truly in a spiritual sense he is born every day of every year in some men's hearts, and that to us is a far weightier point than the observation of holy days. Express your faith first, as the angels did, by public ministry. Some of us are called to speak to the many. Let us in the clearest and most earnest tones proclaim the Savior and his power to rescue man. Others of you cannot PREACH, but you can SING. Sing then your anthems, and praise God with all your hearts. Do not be slack in the devout use of your tongues, which are the glory of your frames, but again and again and again lift up your joyful hymns unto the new-born King. Others of you can neither preach nor sing. Well, then, you must do what the shepherds did, and what did they? You are told twice that they SPREAD THE NEWS. As soon as they had seen the babe they made known abroad the saying that was told them, and as they went home they glorified God. This is one of the most practical ways of showing your joy. Holy conversation is as acceptable as sermons and anthems. There was also one who said little, but thought the more: "Mary PONDERED all these things in her heart." Quiet, Happy spirit, weigh in thy heart the grand truth that Jesus was born at Bethlehem. Immanuel, God with us;-weigh it if you can; look at it again and again, examine the varied facets of this priceless brilliant, and bless, and adore, and love, and wonder, and yet adore again this matchless miracle of love.

. . . Come and worship God manifest in the flesh, and be filled with his light and sweetness by the power of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

--Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892). "The Great Birthday" from TWELVE CHRISTMAS SERMONS DELIVERED AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1976, p. 91, 101. ISBN 0-8010-8081-9.
HT: Pastor Al

Grudem on Women in Ministry

Since we're talking about what's offensive to some. . .

No doubt some might be offended by Wayne Grudem's thoughts on women in ministry. I think Grudem expresses well my own convictions and the convictions of our leadership here at Grace.

Grudem on Women in Ministry

My favorite paragraph is at the very end. . .

The Bible only restricts leadership to men in the home and in the church. It does not make similar restrictions in regard to government or business or other areas of life. The principle here is the sufficiency of Scripture: We need to remain true to everything that the Bible teaches, but not require more than the Bible teaches and not try to become "more conservative" than Scripture itself. We have the principles of male headship in the home and the church, but the Bible also has the principle of equality in the image of God. As men and women we both bear God's image equally (Genesis 1:27), and that means we have equal value and importance and dignity before God and with each other. That principle gives us great freedom to have both men and women lead according to gifts and abilities and callings in areas such as government and business and nonprofit organizations.
It's just as easy to become "more conservative" than Scripture itself. I think we have more places here at Grace where women can and should serve, but because of history and tradition have not. I think we're making slow, but healthy and Biblical progress.

I have had some great conversations about what the Bible says about this issue with those who have come to me asking questions. Most of the time these folks leave my office understanding and encouraged, if not always agreeing completely.

So . . .. (here we go again)

What do you think of Grudem's observations and thoughts?
What do you think about how these principles are or are not being applied at Grace?

Monday, December 18, 2006

my thoughts on monday

Note: The following are my thoughts in response to the questions and issues raised in the 24+ comments on the post two below entitled "I don't mean to bug you . . . " If you're trying to make sense out of this post, better start with that one. I've posted it as comment 26 in the comments section of that post as well as here, for easy future reference.

Happy Monday, brothers and sisters in Christ! Two posts back, I asked for your perspectives and you sure shared them. Thank you all very much for sharing your minds and hearts on this relevant issue. While vulnerable, scary and potentially divisive, I do believe in the concept of passionate dialogue and principled debate. For the most part, I think that is what we’ve experienced around this issue. Nothing got too out of control or too personal. I trust our relationships and fellowship are intact.

I am resigned to the fact that my calling in life as a pastor involves lots and lots of communication. I honestly get very tired of hearing my self talk. (If you do, too . . . just keep that fact to yourself please.) I have made matters worse by starting and maintaining a blog. (What was I thinking?!) As I preach and post regularly, I have resigned myself to the fact that it is inevitable that I will, at times, offend, upset, and/or disappoint some (many?) people. Its not my goal and I sure try to avoid it, but its reality. Pastors need to have tough skin, but a tender heart. I try to maintain both.

Sometimes I know when I’m about to step in a hole, and I pridefully choose to step into it anyway. Not in this case. When I posted the original post, I honestly did not recognize it as a hole, but now that I’ve fallen in neck-deep, let me humbly share some final thoughts. I hesitate to do so, because I have little confidence that I can sway, convince or comfort some of you, but I promised some additional thoughts, so here goes . . .

Let me begin with some apologies:

First, to Original Anon: I’m sorry for posting your email to me without asking you first. I regret doing that. I missed a step in asking if I might post your comments. I wish I would have done that. I understand now there was a reason you emailed me privately instead of leaving a comment. I’m publicly asking for your forgiveness. Will you forgive me?

Second, to any others out there for whom the original or cropped ad might have been a cause of stumbling or a cause for sexual temptation: Please forgive me. I had no clue that the photo held that kind of potential for you or anyone. I have come to believe that men and women are wired and aroused very differently. . . men are aroused by the visual while women are not aroused visually, but in other ways (words, touch, romantic niceties). While perhaps this is true generally, your sharing has convinced me that perhaps this not true across the board. Will you please forgive me?

Please hold on to my apology as you read all that’s written below. It in no way negates the apology above . . .

Why does "life together" exist?

The stated purpose of “Life Together” is up top on the masthead. . . “to explore, contemplate and pursue life together at Grace Church, SLO.” In other words, my aim with the blog is, in some small way, to facilitate our Christian community. I believe this involves, among other things, exploring the ties that bind us in Christ; our place IN the world but not OF the world; and how the Gospel applies to every area and sphere of our lives and the whole universe. I believe these ends require us to think long, hard, critically and Biblically about the cultural context we live in and challenge that culture where appropriate.

I believe that humor and even satire can be a means by which that critical thinking happens. (Anybody familiar with the Christian publication The Wittenburg Door?) In addition, I believe its true that “a picture is worth a thousand words” and that images sometimes have the power to expose lies and convey truth. Furthermore, I believe that laughing is a part of “life together.” Frankly, I need to do a lot more laughing in my life.

I think all that has happened over this post fits well into the stated purpose of "life together."

What was the point of the post?

A few commenters asked, “What was the point of the original image and post?” Stated above. The series of advertising posts was intended to be an exercise in critical and Gospel thinking.

In my message on December 10, I talked about how the prevalence and sheer volume of modern advertising plays upon and fuels our natural discontentment. I thought it would be valuable to pursue that rabbit trail a bit here at “life together.” I believe, with all due respect to some, that the exercise had everything to do with the Gospel, contentment in Christ, and the original sermon.

The post in question referenced a website aimed at challenging modern advertising which was also my original intent in the series of posts. I clicked over and looked at a few things on the site, but not a lot. Nothing struck me as offensive, inappropriate or impure. In fact, much of it struck me as very insightful and quite funny, including the pictures I posted.

The first spoof was chosen because it built upon my grocery store example in the sermon and humorously showed where things might go next. Potty humor, to me, has no point. That spoof made a poignant and funny point. . . . to me and a few others. Apparently a few did not find it funny, but offensive.

The second spoof was chosen, as I have stated, because I thought it insightfully exposed the modern infatuation with the physical and our valuing of some body types over others. While that spoof may have unintentionally caused the stumbling of a few, I think we can agree that was not the original intent of the spoof (or my posting it!) Nor, in my opinion, was the original intent of the spoof to insult men who have shapes or hair like that. The original intent of the spoof (and my posting it!) was to lightheartedly challenge the lies of modern advertising and our cultural values of body image. The image and my posting was meant to be funny. Its obvious that it wasn’t to some, but it was meant to be and it was to me and others.

(Incidentally, my use of the word “silly” was not in reference to Original Anon’s point of view, as Husband asserted, but in reference to the picture itself. The picture, I believe, was intended to be silly, as in humorous . . . . not provocative or offensive.)

What about the weaker brother or sister?

So we've recognized (I, the hard way!) that some of us think that picture is offensive, while others don’t.

That’s the rub, is it not? We all have different sensibilities in these matters. Depending on our backgrounds, experience, personalities and make-up, what’s appropriate to some is inappropriate to others. What offends me, doesn't necessarily offend you. What makes one struggle, isn’t a problem at all for someone else. What’s sin for one is not sin for another. We see this in the area of language, social drinking, movies, music, financial stewardship, etc, etc, etc. I would call these many areas, “matters of conscience.”

In both Romans 14, 1 Corinthians 8, 10:23-32 where these “matters of conscience” are addressed, Paul seems to argue for three guiding principles:

  1. Our Freedom in Christ. It is broad and sweet.
  2. Our Acceptance of One Another. We are not to judge, but leave the judging to God. We are to respect one another's differing convictions.
  3. Our Concern for the Weaker Brother/Sister. We are to curb our freedom for their good.

The weaker brother, as I understand the text, is the less mature Christian who has not fully come to know and understand our freedom in Christ. Their conscience is bound, not because of some direct command of Scripture, but because of some background experience or other reason. Having said that I think its possible for mature believers to differ on matters of conscience.

When we are in the presence of a weaker brother and we know it, we are to limit our freedom in Christ in order to keep them from stumbling. When we are in the presence of mature believers, we are free.

Its hard to hold the three principles together. I think we must stridently argue for and teach our freedom in Christ because legalism is a threat to and contrary to the Gospel of grace. This is the point of Galatians and Colossians 3:16-23. Mature believers are to give one another great latitude in matters of conscience for this is mark of Christian maturity. Mature believers are to willingly and eagerly give up their freedoms while in the presence of less mature believers who we know struggle with particular areas. At the same time, without flaunting or abusing their freedoms, the more mature are to gently instruct the less mature in the principles of Christian liberty.

Its easy to fall into license. Its safe to run to legalism. Paul challenges legalists, but cares for weaker brothers. It’s a constant battle to hold the three principles together: freedom, acceptance, concern for the weaker brother.

Not only that, sometimes its difficult to tell the difference between a legalist and a weaker brother. Sometimes its difficult to know when a weaker brother is present or where a weaker brother might struggle. This is the case in the present situation. I honestly was not aware that the original photo was something that might cause offense or stumbling to some. (see Second Apology above) I don’t think that was poor judgment, but ignorance on my part. Call it poor judgment if you prefer.

However, when Original Anon, brought that to my attention, I cropped the photo, but I was curious and wanted to explore this some, which is why I posted her email to me and invited more dialogue.

In the course of events, I think I’ve sensed among us some legalism, some mature believers with differing convictions; and also the presence of weaker brothers and sisters. Its been a terrific learning process. Hopefully valuable for us all. I remain steadfastly committed to all three: 1. challenging legalism, 2. accepting those with differing convictions and 3. caring for the weaker brothers and sisters by limiting my own freedoms for their good. I believe that the Gospel demands all three.

In retrospect, had I recognized the potential for weaker sisters to stumble, I would have refrained the original spoof. I would have limited my freedom in this area.

My thoughts on a few other issues that were raised. . .

What about the kid readers?

Not only do we have different sensibilities in these matters of conscience, but we also have different parenting styles. I want “life together” to be something that all the generations at Grace feel safe to read. As I have stated, I did not find the spoofs posted offensive, but funny and instructive. . . for folks of all ages. (I have come to see otherwise!)

I’ve had great and open conversations with my computer savy-children about these spoofs and the storm raging at “life together.” We tend to be very open with our children because we’re committed to inoculating them against and preparing them for life in the real world. I want my children, too, to think long, hard, critically and Biblically about cultural matters of all sorts, so they might live the Gospel and impact the world. We, at the same time, endeavor to train our children about the importance of modesty in dress and behavior.

What about the double standard?

If men and women are aroused differently, then there’s not a double standard, but a different standard for good and obvious reasons. If, however, as I’m hearing, bare-chested men are a real struggle for some women, then I better put a shirt on at the lake. Of course, a picture of a woman similarly clad and posed (and hairy?) woman would be inappropriate and offensive to all.

I have posted pictures of my partially naked sons in the tub here at "life together." I didn't think twice about that. You better let me know if that causes you to stumble.

What about offensive Biblical material?

I agree that there is much in the Bible that is offensive to at least someone. Christmas is the story of how God impregnated a young, poor, unwed peasant girl. That’s pretty offensive and scandalous! When Paul calls all his life before Christ “excrement” in Philippians 3:8, is he using potty humor or is he making a point? Jesus contemporaries were appalled by the people He hung out with, the places He went, the things He said, and what He did and didn’t do on the Sabbath. The concept of a dying Messiah was offensive to the Jews and foolishness to Greeks. Paul ate meat sacrificed to idols, scrapped circumcision, and encouraged Timothy to drink a little wine for his stomach. David danced before the Lord. Proverbs openly references female body parts. All these examples were/are offensive to someone or some culture at some time. (At least I’m in good company!)

I don’t think our goal is merely to not be offensive. Its much more ambitious than that. Our goal is to believe and embody and glory in the Gospel of God’s grace, which obviously involves a lifestyle of growing holiness and Christ-likeness.

What’s the difference between what’s appropriate in worship and what’s appropriate on a blog?

My own view is that the blog medium does allow for differences in format (dialogue, comments, referenced articles), but also in content. I agree that a different moral compass should not be used in the two mediums. I did not say that in my initial response. When we worship, our focus is far more narrow in scope. We come to God with song and prayers and offerings. God comes to us through Word and sacrament and our fellowship together. There’s a whole lot I talk and blog about in the whole sphere of life that I don’t talk about when I preach. For example, I would never show that “silly” (there’s that word again!) baptism video from the last post in church.

In Conclusion. . .

I think I’ll leave it at that. Once more, I apologize to those for whom recent posts were a cause for stumbling or sexual temptation.

I can say with confidence that "life together" will continue to be engaging, thought-provoking, occasionally offensive to some, Gospel-centered and messy. I will strive to keep it wholesome for readers of all ages.

Thanks for reading and thinking along. . . Pastor Tim

Oh yeah, Colin rocks for pegging that "I don't mean to bug you . . . " is a Bono quote from Bullet the Blue Sky off the Rattle and Hum album.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

That's a first. . .

Though my last attempt at humor blew up in my face . . . and I've lost a bit of confidence . . . I am pressing forward with fear and trepidation . . .

One of the Ernstrom boys sent this to Sharon who sent it to me. They all thought it was funny. I just hope that no one gets any big ideas. . . .

Watch and laugh . . . please laugh. . .

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I don't mean to bug you . . .

I received the following email today in response to one of yesterday's posts and the spoof ad "Reality for Men."

I've been thinking about this since yesterday, and I've decided I have to say something. I was completely offended by Wednesday's Blog. With all the junk on the internet, a person should feel safe reading their pastor's blog. Instead I found a very suggestive, inappropriate picture of a nearly naked man. I can't help wondering how a father of a teenage girl would feel if she logged on and saw that picture. I understand the joke, and it may be innocent fun for a bunch of guys, but I'm sure I'm not the only woman offended by this. My real concern is that your blog represents Grace Church and, worse, the Christian community. I'm not in general upset with you, but this act of poor judgment troubles me.

Here's my response. . .
Thanks, _______. I appreciate your perspective and your honesty and boldness in sharing it. I sure didn't intend to cause offense and didn't think I would since stuff like this has become so common place in the great majority of magazines. I had no idea that that picture of a pot belly and hairy chest would be suggestive to some. To me, honestly, it was pretty gross. I think the spoof was intended to make us evaluate how some body images are more acceptable and esteemed than others in our culture, but in reality most of us have bodies that are more akin to this picture. It sure made me think and laugh.

I have taken the initiative of cropping the picture a bit to avoid further
offense. I also will post your feelings and comments on the blog. . . with your name left off course, just to encourage some more dialogue.

I in no way want to be offensive at Life Together, but I do think that the medium affords the opportunity to deal with some issues that might not be appropriate in a Sunday morning worship setting. After all, we live in a real world and are confronted by it on a daily basis. Let's think about and confront it from a Biblical perspective. Let's be real Christians in a real world living together and different.

I hope that's helpful. Thanks for reading and thinking along.
Because of and for the Gospel. . . Pastor Tim

So, I'd like some more feedback. Did you think that silly picture was "suggestive"? Were others offended? Did you think that was "over the line"? If so, is the cropped picture (I trimmed a little on the bottom) still offensive? If its still offensive to you, how high up would I have to crop for it to become inoffensive?

(Bonus points if someone can tell me where the title of this post comes from . . . )

That Sermon You Heard on Sunday May Be From the Web

As I painstakingly, but joyfully, study to prepare for another Sunday's message, I am disheartened by this article sent to me from one of our college students, Matt Esswein. . .

That Sermon You Heard on Sunday May Be From the Web -

We all stand on the shoulders of others, but just preaching another person's sermon seems to me to change the nature of preaching and represent a neglect of calling. Preaching is something else to me.

I believe that God uniquely calls men to the task of grappling with his Word and declaring the mighty acts of God to His people and to those who are not yet his people. I believe that preaching is truth through personality. I believe there is something special and mysterious when God's Word is preached and God's people together hear.

Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God . . (1 Peter 4:11)

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. (2 Timothy 1:8-11)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

lost in transition

I just upgraded to the new blogger. Bear with me while I figure this thing out. I've lost my blog roll and a few other sidebar items. Lets see if I can find them.

Omni-Present Advertising Submittal #4: Adbusters

Brian Redin sent this website which seeks to expose the silliness of modern advertising. . .

Some of the spoof print and TV adds are pretty funny.

Here's a couple. . . .

And I thought the grocery store was bad. . . Has anybody ever seen something like this?

Come on, you have to admit that's pretty hilarious! And pretty real.

What's a bit ironic is that adbusters is resorting to real T.V. advertising to get their message across. Perhaps there's no other way. . . .and I suppose they aren't selling a product but an idea.

What say you?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Omni-Present Advertising Submittal #3: watches & straw

Gordon Wong submitted two examples of obnoxious advertising, confirming that neither is a Photoshop job. Check them out. . .

The watch one is pretty clever. Try before you buy. But I'm pretty sure I don't need a woman doing yoga on my drinking straw!

BTW, I generally don't like to drink with straws. That has nothing to do with the subject at hand, but I thought I'd share it anyway.

What else have you got?

Omni-Present Advertising Submittal #2: MLB bases

Erik Ernstrom wins the award for the first solicited response this morning with his MLB Bases advertising submittal. . . . but since it never made it to market, maybe it shouldn't count. Here's Erik's email. . .

This was something they wanted to do in the summer of '04 to advertise Spiderman 2. Every major league baseball field was going to switch out their bases for the summer.

But word got out and there was a huge negative reaction from the fans that wasn't expected. So to "protect the game", the idea was shelved.

What else are you seeing? Who's next?

What's Next?

In Sunday's message, I talked about the prevalence of advertising in our culture. . . how it's everywhere and all the time. I talked about the advertising coming at us at the supermarket on those slick flatscreen tvs and when you try to separate your groceries from the guy behind you and and the gal in front of you. Here's some more . . . .

And what's up with the checker trying to sell me stuff. . . ."Would you like to buy this ________ that's on special this week?"

I asked in the message "What's Next?"

So let's have a bit of fun this week at Life Together and you tell me "What's Next?" Send me examples of invasive and/or absurd forms of advertising that you notice around our world. Email your pics to me at and I'll post them.

Shane Williams sent me this example, unsolicited . . .

I don't think we even realize all that stuff that's being pitched to us, so let's practice noticing this week together.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


While we were in Carpenteria, some of the Grace men were just up the road at Jalama. I wanted to be two places at once. I hear a great time was had by the men. They're talking about next year already. Andy and others log in and share some stories. . .


We returned Sunday from a week of trailer camping at Carpenteria State Park. . . just us 6. Slow, relaxed, unplugged, do nothing week together. It was good to get away. Good to be back. Ready for the Christmas crunch which begins this weekend.

Thanks to the other SLO Theules for loaning their trailer. Here's a couple of pics. . .

the 5 I love

skater girls

trailer pizza at Costco Santa Barbara

tired husband, beautiful wife