Monthly Archives: May 2007

Back to reality — but first, the news

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We had a phenomenal time at our church’s Family Camp, held at the Old Oak Ranch in Sonora, CA. About 250 people registered, plus a number of families who came on Saturday and Sunday.

It’s hard to quantify things in numbers. Even the eight baptisms we had, for which I, as the English-language evangelism director, am doing cartwheels, tells only part of the story. Families were restored. Relationships were built. Impromptu Bible studies were held for people who had questions. Overtaxed families and screaming children had a blast as they got away from the grind of life in Stockton. Continue reading

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Stockton Record: Eric Hu posted on “America’s Most Wanted” Web site

Eric Hu, a fugitive who is wanted on charges of attempted murder, has made the big time. His mug has been reported on the “America’s Most Wanted” Web site, according to a Stockton Record report published Wednesday.

I first blogged about Hu on April 27, following a wild manhunt that started in my neighborhood.  We live in a pretty decent neighborhood. Decent is a relative term in Stockton, mind you. One of the joys and challenges of living in such a diverse city is the utter unpredictability of neighborhoods and public spaces. Horrendous crimes have occurred in high end retail centers, while our church, clearly on a slightly shabby part of town, feels very safe to me.

Eric, if you’re reading, please turn yourself in. Violence isn’t the way to go. Your life still has a purpose, and God’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save you.

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Speaking of Faith: the Soul of War

 

NPR’s Krista Tippett had an excellent rebroadcast highlighting the efforts of Army Chaplain (Maj.) John Morris to reintegrate National Guard soldiers into civilian life after the pressures of war in Iraq. Krista’s nationally syndicated program, Speaking of Faith “probes the myriad ways in which religious impulses inform every aspect of life and culture, nationally and globally,” according to its web site.

Please take a look. It’s especially important during Memorial Day weekend, and with the backdrop of the War in Iraq, to examine what our soldiers go through and to be part of the healing process.

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Parthenogene-WHA?? Today in Science

CNN posted an interesting news item about a female hammerhead shark who fertilized its own egg without sperm from males, according to a joint Northern Ireland-US research published in the Royal Society’s peer-reviewed Biology Letter journal.

The baby was killed within hours of its birth by a stingray in the same tank. Analysis of its DNA found no trace of any chromosomal contribution from a male partner.

Shark experts said this was the first confirmed case in a shark of parthenogenesis, which is derived from Greek and means “virgin birth.”

Asexual reproduction is common in some insect species, rarer in reptiles and fish, and has never been documented in mammals. The list of animals documented as capable of the feat has grown along with the numbers being raised in captivity — but until now, sharks were not considered a likely candidate.

Fascinating. And poor little guy was taken out by The Circle of Life before he even had a chance. Another victim of a single-parent home. Oooooh, Mama tried, mama tried. I wonder if they will campaign for protection under the Family and Medical Leave Act? I wonder … Continue reading

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To my faithful and beloved regulars

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I’m returning to my routine now that I’m back from the funeral. I’m heading off to teach at our church’s annual family camp this weekend. Alas, no Internet access but plenty of carne asada, I’m told.

Not to worry, I have the blogging bug and I’ll leave you with a weekend’s worth of material. Just don’t woof it all down at once. Savor it, as my mother used to say.

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The short and long good-bye

I know that my Redeemer lives,

and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.

26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;

27 I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!

Job 19:25-27 NIV

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Friday found me in Salinas, where I attended the funeral of a dear childhood friend’s grandfather. For those who didn’t know him, Johnny Camera was one cool cat. There was a moving and yet quite funny DVD presentation of him at the funeral chapel.

The pictures showed a man who served in combat in Okinawa and elsewhere in the Pacific Theater as an Army enlisted man during World War II, earning a Purple Heart. The pictures also showed a man who loved his wife, children and grandchildren.

Photo after photo showed him on fishing trips with his family. Another black-and white photo showed a young, muscular Johnny lifting his baby in the air with one hand. Continue reading

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So you know your career is tanked when …

Cerberus

… your company has been bought out by a capital management company named Cerberus.

The news cycle is itself a funny animal. When the news of the Chrysler acquisition first made the wire Tuesday, no one seemed to care about the name of this company. Then the following day, as if on cue, all of the analysis pieces focused on the name of this company.

For those who don’t know, Cerberus, in Greek mythology, is the three-headed hound who guarded the entrance to Hades. Truly a deal with the Devil, eh?

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A lid for every pot

The missus and I turned down an invitation to spend Mother’s Day with friends from church, their parents and in-laws. We would have gone but we both have an unwritten rule about spending family holidays with nonfamily.

And our friends’ relatives truly would not have cared. They are genuinely kind and come from good Mexican stock, where non-relatives can indeed come to a Mother’s Day celebration and nobody would bat an eye. Bring your own mother, your neighbors, your bookie, whatever, no le hace. Grab a plate and oh, could you bring a bag of ice on your way over? This is how we roll.

Some of our holidays do look like this, especially when commitments prevent us from visiting family who live too far away for a Sunday afternoon drive.

Instead of a barbecue with friends, we opted to brave the Mother’s Day restaurant crowd. We happened upon a small Italian place, with a full espresso bar, on the charming Miracle Mile, about a mile south of University of the Pacific. Antique shops, offices, restaurants and cafés comprise the bulk of the district’s retail offerings. A smattering of homes rezoned as light office zones make up the rest of the commercial corridor. Charming brick and wood-slat homes built in the 20s, 30s and 40s line the neighborhood streets.

As we sat at our cozy window table, we talked about our mothers and friends, about having children of our own and wondering what they would look like. The restaurant was replete with adorable children in their Sunday finery, which furthered our discussion.

My wife became distracted. I looked out the window and see a casually but decently dressed Asian woman sporting a sun visor, sunglasses and a motorized wheelchair. Behind her was a more shabbily dressed Asian man, wearing cutoff camouflage shorts, a yellow tank top, aviator sunglasses and a salt-and-pepper fu manchu and accompanying ponytail. Recognizing he had indeed found a good thing, he held on to the back of her wheelchair, guided under the power and direction of his lady friend.

“Ha! Did you see that? Please tell me you didn’t miss the parade.”

“I saw them coming up the street. I caught the whole show.”

“I was wondering what you were looking at,” I said. “I could tell you were distracted.”

“Grandma was right. There is a lid for every pot.”

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My guilty pleasure: Ted DeKker

This weekend I zoned out and read Three, a 404-page thriller by Christian author Ted DeKker this weekend. It’s real page-turner — or more accurately an easy, easy read. I don’t spend all of my time reading Christian fiction. I spent most of my 20s and early 30s reading Bukowski, Henry Miller, Proust. I had set a goal for being the next fiction writer to be banned in the United States.

I no longer use the “f” word as subject, verb, adjective, subjunctive, imperative — although a perjorative thought bubble or two has formed over my head since I’ve plead the blood of Jesus, much to my shame. I’m one of those dour, fuddy -duddy Christians who think swearing and faux-swearing (freaking, hecka, etc.) are wrong. But there I go, making value judgments again.

Ah, where was I. Oh, yes, my foul mouth, depravity and cheesy taste in derivative Christian fiction. Mr. DeKker’s plots have been floating around for years. A little Stephen King, a little Dean Koontz. I buy them because I don’t have to think and it’s — listen to me, the addict justifying his habit. I’m getting the shakes just thinking about it.

Please tell me I’m not the only one with a guilty literary pleasure out there. Anyone else care to confess their sin?

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