Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Hold Me Back

03 Nov 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve been listening to Jason Gray’s latest album, Everything Sad Is Coming Untrue, quite a bit these past few weeks. The lyrics of “Hold Me Back” I’ve found particularly compelling. It’s a whole lot more honest than most of the songs I find myself singing these days.

When it’s best that I fail
Don’t let my will prevail
Cause my salvation is
My magnificent defeat

I need you to hold me back
Hold me back
Cause it’s just like me to
Run from the one who loves me

That’s a hard prayer, but it’s one we all need to pray a lot more often than we do.

Categories: Music, Thoughts

Why I Am Not A Muslim

18 Oct 2010 Leave a comment

Often in my travels there are “local attraction” magazines waiting for me in the hotel room. Most of the time I trash them, but for some reason I leafed through one today. What caught my eye was an interview the magazine did with a local Imam. The following snippet made me ache for this man’s soul:

San Diego Reader: Where do you go when you die?

Imam Taha: I am working very hard in my life to be blessed enough to be granted paradise.

SDR: And what happens if you’re not blessed enough?

IT: I’m not thinking about any other place but paradise. I cannot even think about it. It’s so painful and so hard, even when I think about hell.

I cannot imagine a more destructive concept of eternal life than this viewpoint, one so prevalent I wonder if human beings (certainly Westerners) have a hard-wired susceptibility to the notion. It’s just so terribly logical. Grace makes much less sense, but I’ll happily play the fool.

Categories: Thoughts

Tale Of Three Churches

04 Oct 2010 Leave a comment

I found it immensely enjoyable spending the weekend sampling a few local churches. Admittedly, it can be difficult when visiting a church for the first time to focus on genuine worship instead of doing analysis and critique, especially for a person like me who constantly thinks about church structure and worship service organization. I don’t want to live in the analysis state forever, so in the interest of purging the minutia out of my mind, I present to you Jud’s weekend worship trivia quiz:

  1. Which of the following is NOT the name of one of the three churches I visited this past weekend?
    A. Newbreak
    B. Flood
    C. Green Valley
    D. Elevate
  2. What was the length of the shortest of the three services I attended?
    A. 45 minutes
    B. 60 minutes
    C. 75 minutes
    D. 90 minutes
  3. What was the length of the longest of the three services I attended?
    A. 60 minutes
    B. 75 minutes
    C. 90 minutes
    D. 120 minutes
  4. What was the approximate head count of the smallest service I attended?
    A. 100
    B. 200
    C. 500
    D. 1000
  5. What was the approximate head count of the largest service I attended?
    A. 200
    B. 500
    C. 1000
    D. 5000
  6. Of the 15 or so songs I sung over the course of the weekend, what approximate percentage were ones I’d never heard before?
    A. 7%
    B. 20%
    C. 33%
    D. 67%
  7. During the music, what was the loudest sound pressure level (SPL) I measured from my seat?
    A. 90 dB
    B. 95 dB
    C. 100 dB
    D. 105 dB
  8. How many of the three churches had difficulties with their lyric projection ministry?
    A. Zero
    B. One
    C. Two
    D. Three
  9. How many of the three pastors used headset microphones?
    A. Zero
    B. One
    C. Two
    D. Three
  10. Of those, how many had to fidget with them to keep them in place?
    A. Zero
    B. One
    C. Two
    D. Three
  11. How many times did I take communion this weekend?
    A. Never
    B. Once
    C. Twice
    D. Thrice
  12. At how many churches were flip-flops spotted on stage?
    A. Zero
    B. One
    C. Two
    D. Three

Submit your answers in a comment. The person with the highest score will win a sweet prize (cash value of 10 US dollars, but its value goes far beyond that). Good luck!

Categories: Thoughts


04 Oct 2010 Leave a comment

If even a tenth of the world’s Christians were the kind of people who might inspire a non-Christian artist to want to capture or honor or evoke their lives in some way, Christianity would conquer the world.

Is that the kind of life I’m living? Most days it sure doesn’t feel like it.

Categories: Quotations, Thoughts

Dream Within A Dream

21 Sep 2010 Leave a comment

Today I’m going to talk about my fantasy football team. I’m not sure why I get so worked up about it, given that at an intellectual level I understand it’s mere threads of strategy woven into a heavy tapestry of luck. But still I obsess over lineup decisions (this week’s was a back and forth about which running backs to start, and I chose poorly). And come game day I’m watching my score constantly. It’s all kind of embarrassing, really.

So last night I was down 7 points with only player left to play (49ers tight end Vernon Davis, just in case you cared). When I went to bed (10:15pm because I’m old) he’d closed the gap to two points, and I was so anxious to see how things would turn out that I actually considered setting an alarm for 1am so I could wake up and check the final score.

I wasn’t crazy enough to actually do it in “real life”, but the thought (plus the chicken fingers I ate at 9:30 while watching The Event) kicked off a bizarre sequence of embedded dreams ala Inception where I woke up, checked the score, was happy/sad/confused about it, and then woke up again and repeated.

Your movie confused me too, but at least you've got Ellen

I can remember at least 4 distinct layers (5 if you count reality):

  • Upon first “waking” I fired up my browser to find I had lost by a gob of points, but somehow my opponent had figured out have to have 3 quarterbacks, 6 running backs, and a whole page worth of receivers all in the game at once. I was really confused about that. It makes sense that the deepest dream would be the strangest, doesn’t it?
  • I then woke up to a “tie” game, but since our league commissioner disallowed ties, the game was decided by fewest number of punts. That makes no sense since fantasy teams don’t have punters, but in this world apparently they do. My punter had more punts, which was considered a negative, so I lost. I recall being pretty upset by this result.
  • Thankfully, I woke from that nightmare and checked my score again to see that my buddy Vernon had ripped off a huge 21 point effort and I had won the fantasy game with ease. I was a happy camper.
  • Alas, shortly after that I woke again to find that actually he’d stalled out at five points and thus I’d lost by two. Bummer. But no worries, it was just a dream.
  • Finally I awoke to real life (or did I?) around 6am, grabbed my phone from underneath the bed (where I keep it at night), and checked the score, finding I’d won by two. Woot!

Couple this with a particularly lucid dream from two nights before (where, after realizing I was dreaming, I proceeded to run around shattering glass with my mind), and I’d say my mind’s been pretty active the past couple of days.

Dreams fascinate me, enough so that I think I’m going to use this blog to document particular interesting ones that I have. Supposedly “dream journaling” is the first step to achieving more control over your dreams, and that sounds like fun. And besides, who doesn’t love them some Queensrÿche?

Categories: Dreams, Thoughts

The Almighty Calendar

20 Sep 2010 Leave a comment

Being a planner, and being married to a planner, means that sermons like yesterday’s hit pretty close to home. The discussion reminded me of one of my favorite quotations (from President Eisenhower), which I’ve tucked away in my mind to help me resolve the tension:

Planning is essential. Plans are worthless.

There’s real wisdom in that statement. The way I see things it’s not so much about plans themselves but about the attitude with which those plans are made and kept. The calendar should not be an end unto itself, but rather the means to a greater end. And if it can make success more likely, why not embrace it? I sincerely believe that a calendar wielded well makes a person more effective for the kingdom.

Great organizations understand that truth. The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team explains one example of where this is true:

One of the best tools for ensuring commitment is the use of clear deadlines for when decisions will be made, and honoring those dates with discipline and rigidity. The worst enemy of a team that is susceptible to lack of commitment is ambiguity.

Lots more that I’m sure could be said on this topic. I’d be interested in hearing further thoughts if any of my few readers has them.

Categories: Books, Quotations, Thoughts

Broken Is Beautiful

15 Sep 2010 1 comment

About a year ago I started a blog based on the premise that the broken things of this world aren’t just going to become beautiful in the future once they’re fixed, but in some mysterious way they are beautiful now, even in their brokenness. For whatever reason I wasn’t able to get the blog far off the ground (irony anyone?), but I think about the implications of that idea often.

What brought it most recently to mind was overhearing a comment my four-year old made to my wife while working on her homework (apparently even preschoolers need homework these days). She was coloring a picture of an apple and pretty much making a mess out of it; my wife was innocently trying to encourage her to be more neat. This was her defiant yet profound reply:

I think it’s prettier when I color outside the lines.

You’re absolutely right, sweet Amelia. Broken is beautiful. You don’t have to be “whole” (by anyone’s definition) to be loved. Not by me. Not by your mother. And certainly not by God.

Categories: Thoughts