Monday, September 25, 2006

Record store v Church

Thomas has a great entry on record stores and churches. What can we learn from the fading record stores? From the NYT:
The neighborhood record store was once a clubhouse for teenagers, a place to escape parents, burn allowances and absorb the latest trends in fashion as well as music. But these days it is fast becoming a temple of nostalgia for shoppers old enough to remember “Frampton Comes Alive!’
Around the country, he (Eric Levin) said, shops like Grimey’s in Nashville, Shake It Records in Cincinnati and Other Music in New York are hanging on to young customers by evolving into one-stop hipster emporiums. Besides selling obscure CD’s and even vinyl records, many have diversified into comic books, Japanese robot toys and clothing. Some have opened adjoining nightclubs or, in Mr. Levin’s case, coffee shops.
Thomas says, "The lesson here is to adapt or die... its a sad lesson... I've lost Our Price and Impulse in Hamilton... and apart from Woolworths and ASDA there isn't anywhere to by music in Motherwell. I have to go to one of the 2 Fopps in Glasgow... or HMV... or one of the Virgins (no laughing... but there are at least 2 Virgins in Glasgow)."
I wish I had more time to delve into this and spit out my opinion before I head out to Nigeria but I better not right now.
But read the entry and leave your comments. How is your church adapting? Is your church adapting? Or should we bring back the hymnals, the King James Version (if it was good enough for Jesus and the disciples it's good enough for me), and the old pipe organ?
What are your thoughts?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Get your strange land fix at the library

Well, the Dallas Public Library that is.
According to
Wireless internet access has arrived at the Dallas Public Library. Laptop users can now connect for free to the Internet at the Central Library, 1515 Young St., and at any of the city's 25 branch libraries, according to Director of Libraries Laurie Evans.
In addition to all the library locations, computer users can also connect to the internet via wireless transmitters located at these Dallas parks: Kidd Springs, 711 W. Canty; Exall, 1355 Adair Street; Tietze, 2700 Skillman Ave.; Ridgewood-Belcher, 6818 Fisher Road; Lake Highlands, 9940 White Rock Trail; Campbell-Green, 16600 Parkhill Drive; and Timberglen, 3810 Timberglen Road.
Sure hope the folks in Waxahachie are paying attention.
CWF responses

We filmed some thoughts and responses from folks who saw our shows over the weekend. Check out what they had to say.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Bowling for Gutters

I've posted a number of new CWF videos on YouTube... including this funny one of Nick having some trouble at the bowling alley.
Beer Cannon Montage

And what happens when you shoot beer cans at loads of other stuff.
Beer Cannon 101

Ever wonder what happens when you shoot a beer can full of sand at a melon?

Driving your message

As I'm finishing up things at the office, I just finished typing this information on Wayne Hamilton, former Executive Director of the GOP party in Texas.
I think the message goes a long way towards ministry and driving/communicating your message our The Message - The Gospel.
“Driving the message is always important in politics,” Hamilton said. “The Democrats did a great job making Newt Gingrich look like an extremist. But the Democrats don’t follow their script very well lately. For that matter, the Republicans haven’t either. During the latest redistricting, the message was controlled from a Republican standpoint. Susan Weddington was responsible for the message and the state party was in a position to drive the message of ‘fair redistricting.’ They had credibility as the majority party and when the Democrats left the state the Republican party set out talking points. Ted Rueter and Robert Black helped implement the strategy then.”
Hamilton said that grassroots efforts played a major role in helping push the message and agenda.
“During redistricting people were updated and informed constantly,” Hamilton said. “When you can keep people updated and informed you don’t have to do much. The party did a phenomenal job in the media. The party also used paid media, which of course gets you earned media.”
But despite the continued use of mass media, Hamilton said the most effective way to drive a message is through personal interaction.
“Tom Craddic said it was the most effective grassroots driven message ever and it was a text book example on how to communicate a message,” Hamilton said. “We live in a very impersonable world where we work in one place and live in another. The personal touch of someone coming by and talking to you may be the only touch they have but it can make a world of difference. That can be seen especially in local raises like the city council or county commissioner elections which are sometimes decided by hundreds if not a dozen votes."
I think that's why churches and ministry need to continue to utilize technology like Flickr, MySpace, blogs and more to put a personal demension and touch on the ministry.
As ministries grow bigger and bigger and the outreach grows, you need to take advantage of every possible way to be personable and reaching out to your "clients."

Less than nine hours to go

Just wanted to fill each of you in on how you can keep track of our trip “around the world” over the next few weeks or so.
I’ve started a new blog site (God bless blogger), where I hope to post daily updates about our trips between now and Oct. 12.

We will leave Rockwall, Texas tonight around 1 a.m. and head to Branson, Missouri.
After Branson, we will drive to Ottumwa, Iowa for a show there on Friday and Saturday night.
We’ll return to Dallas, where “Jesus Freak” Rob Vaughn and I will travel with a group of 13 others to Jos, Nigeria.
I’m so stoked.
We covet your prayers for the next couple weeks and feel free to share the link with others.
Thank you all for your support, especially those who gave financially.
God bless and I hope to see you all again real soon.

BTW - if you're interested in e-mailing me, to make things easier, I will only be checking one e-mail account while travelling. Please direct all e-mail to: jdblundell (at) gmail (dot) com.

Re: Ethics question of the day

This was supposed to have posted yesterday, but apparently it did not...

Finally, someone has given me what I believe is a good argument against homosexuality, other than just quoting scripture. I hate when as Christians we only make arguments to non Christians as to what our Scripture says.
Many homosexuals argue that they have not chosen their condition, but that they were born that way, making homosexual behavior natural for them.
But because something was not chosen does not mean it was inborn. Some desires are acquired or strengthened by habituation and conditioning instead of by conscious choice. For example, no one chooses to be an alcoholic, but one can become habituated to alcohol. Just as one can acquire alcoholic desires (by repeatedly becoming intoxicated) without consciously choosing them, so one may acquire homosexual desires (by engaging in homosexual fantasies or behavior) without consciously choosing them.
Since sexual desire is subject to a high degree of cognitive conditioning in humans (there is no biological reason why we find certain scents, forms of dress sexually stimulating), it would be most unusual if homosexual desires were not subject to a similar degree of cognitive conditioning.
Even if there is a genetic predisposition toward homosexuality (and studies on this point are inconclusive), the behavior remains unnatural because homosexuality is still not part of the natural design of humanity. It does not make homosexual behavior acceptable; other behaviors are not rendered acceptable simply because there may be a genetic predisposition toward them.
For example, scientific studies suggest some people are born with a hereditary disposition to alcoholism, but no one would argue someone ought to fulfill these inborn urges by becoming an alcoholic. Alcoholism is not an acceptable "lifestyle" any more than homosexuality is.

Thomas wants to get ((deep))

Thomas is looking to expand his ministry with a new expression of church he's called, ((deep)).
He's posted a PowerPoint that he's using to discuss the future of the ministry.
What do you think?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Jerome Weeks accepts buyout

LAST WEEK, Jerome Weeks accepted a buyout offer from The Dallas Morning News beginning Sept 15, rather than work in a severely reduced arts section. Staff employees were told they could write a farewell column but it would have to be OK'd by management first. At any rate, Jerome's farewell column was refused, and thus far no farewell column from any of the 111 people leaving the paper has appeared.
He wants to read for fun again and for pleasure. It's a great column. Click to read what he wrote.

Blundell Street

Maybe we can convince the owners in Liverpool to open a branch in Waxahachie...


Originally uploaded by Jim Pritchett.

I believe I found the inside of Blundell Park.

Blundell Park, Grimsby Town

Blundell Park, Grimsby Town
Originally uploaded by blogdroed.

Found this on Flickr.
A stadium named after my ancient relatives I do believe. Wonder what the inside looks like.
I get news clips about it all the time and I believe it's a soccer stadium.


Dear Cowboys, UT and UMHB Football teams,

Thank you for all winning this weekend. I was begining to get worried after each of you suffered your first lost of the season last week.
My life can continue now that you are each 1-1.

A true fan,


Dear guys who keep cutting me off on his motorcycle,

Thank you for proving to me that life can still be adventuresome -- especially when you're driving down I-35 at 70 miles per hour. Please don't be mad at me if I accidentally rear end you or knock you off your bike, while traveling at that same speed. I'm only trying to make life for you as adventuresome as you've made it for me.

Road raged driver,


Dear Charter Communications,

I'm sorry you felt you had to cut our cable off after several months of non-payment. We had come to enjoy the free cable that you were apparently too lazy to disconnect when the last tennant of our loft moved out.
Please feel free to reconnect us at your earliest convenience and expect the same monthly payment from us.

Looking for my old rabbit ears,


Dear Dish Network,

I'm very sorry we had to part ways when I moved. I'm glad you're enjoying the $150 for me cancelling my contract early. I would like to ask however that you stop calling me and harrasing me about sending my DVR/Satellite unit back.
If you really want it back, you'll get around to sending the boxes you promised to send at the end of June.
Until then I take comfort in knowing that the final season of The West Wing is stored on the DVR and I can watch it anytime I get around to hooking the DVR back up.



Dear Brandi,

I'm glad you have no quams about stealing ideas from other bloggers. It gives me the courage to do the same.

Your Journalism Lab buddy,

Five (in)famous pirates

Today, Sept. 19 is "Talk Like a Pirate Day." So in celebration, here are five (in)famous pirates

5. Captain Poteet Pirate (that's the best guess I have for the name of my high school's mascot)
4. Long John Silver (the pirate of fast food)
3. Captain Crunch (the pirate of the breakfast cereals)
2. Captain Morgan (the pirate of rum)
1. Captain Blundell (my Halloween costume of old)

Parents adbuct 19 year old to force abortion

A Maine couple, incensed that their 19 year old daughter was pregnant, chased her into her front yard, tackled her and tied her up and carried her to their car and tried to drive her to New York to force her to have an abortion.

Today's ethics question

What arguments can you provide that concludes that homosexuality is not wrong or that homosexuality is wrong?
And I'll add a second part to it from previous discussions...
What arguement, other than Scripture or Religious beliefs, have led you to the conclusion that same sex marriage is wrong?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Kids in Jos

Kids in Jos
Originally uploaded by MikeBlyth.

I did a search on Flickr to see some pics people have posted from Jos, Nigeria. Oh I'm telling you, I'm so ready to go.
I'll probably add another 200-300 photos to Flickr when I get back around October 12.
Scroll through the pics and enjoy.

Re: 'Cause I got high

Jacquielynn Floyd over at the DMN notes: "I note with interest that the youngest person busted aboard Willie's fun bus is 50.
AARP cards notwithstanding, that's a hard-partyin' bunch."

'Cause I got high

Texas independent gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman's energy czar was busted in Louisiana this morning, for having weed on his tour bus. Wonder if one of Kinky's opponents set him up?

$8.2 million. is reporting that the City of Dallas is expecting to rake in $8.2 million from newly installed red-light cameras in FY 2007.
Are that many people really running red lights in Dallas?
$8.2 million?
I'm guessing the average ticket is $100. That's 82,000 people running red lights where the cameras are installed.
Wow. Better slow down folks unless you want to be one of the unlucky ones.

Free Derek Webb

Derek Webb's latest release, Mockingbird is available for FREE online.
Yeah. Really. Free.
I couldn't believe it myself.
But Thomas was right. I sent out a few e-mails to friends about it and sure enough as I'm typing this right now, I downloaded the whole album and now I'm adding it to the Orange Noise Radio mix.

Forwarding the gospel

My pastor Brian asks, How do we Forward the Gospel?
How is the good news of Christ to be forwarded in this generation? How does it leap from the pages of Scripture to the hearts of people in need? How does it leave from inside the walls of the church to the streets where people live?
What do you think? Click the link and post your comments, or comment here.

Things I'm claiming today

I think it's always good to claim scripture in your life.
Thought I'd share several verses I'm claiming today and this work.
The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are His children.' - Acts 17:24 - 28 (NASB)

And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this? - Esther 4:14b
Also, I'm claiming this song by Wayne Watson:
For Such a Time as This
Now, all I have is now
To be faithful
To be holy
And to shine
Lighting up the darkness
Right now, I really have no choice
But to voice the truth to the nations
A generation looking for God

For such a time as this
I was placed upon the earth
To hear the voice of God
And do His will
Whatever it is
For such a time as this
For now and all the days He gives
I am here, I am here
And I am His
For such a time as this

You - Do you ever wonder why
Seems like the grass is always greener
Under everybody else's sky
But right here, right here for this time and place
You can live a mirror of His mercy
A forgiven image of grace

Can't change what's happened till now
But we can change what will be
By living in holiness
That the world will see Jesus

So ready...

In less than 72 we'll embark on our world wind CWF trips.
And when I say world wind - I do mean world wind ;-).
We'll leave Thursday morning at 4 a.m. for Branson, Missouri where we'll have a show that night. We'll leave early the next morning to drive another eight hours to Iowa, where we'll have a show on Friday and Saturday night.
After Saturday's show we'll pack up the ring and hit the road again to return to Dallas by Sunday afternoon.
Rob's preaching Sunday night in view of a call for an associate pastoral position.
Then Tuesday afternoon Rob and I head to DFW Airport to fly to Jos, Nigeria with a group of 13 other fired up folks from Lakepoint Church in Rockwall.
There are still some concerns and needs that I won't go into here, but pray that God will remain sovereign and take care of our needs in ways that can only bring Him glory.
Also pray for the hearts of those we come in contact with between now and our return to DFW on Thursday, Oct. 12.
To God be the Glory!

Five ways you know you're packing for a trip to Africa

5. You're bringing your own toilet paper for two weeks
4. You pack special "extra duty" insect repellent (illegal in 24 states)
3. Packing a bag of Doritos for the missionaries is almost as important as packing medical supplies
2. You've been told to bring multiple bottles of hand sanitizer
1. Your group is bringing toilet seats

Mark Cuban expects the end of YouTube

Dallas Mavericks owner and former founder Mark Cuban has written on his personal blog that he expects to see the end of YouTube sometime soon.
He is a smart man.
What is it about that has made it so successful so quickly? Is it the amazing quality of user generated content? Is it a broadband fueled obsession with watching short videos?
No & No.
Youtube's rapid ascension to the top of the traffic ranks can be attributed to two and only two reasons:
1. Free Hosting from any 3rd Party site
Hey, why pay for bandwidth for a video if you dont have to ? A blog, a myspace page, an email, any website. Just throw in some html in foots the bill for bandwidth. Sure you are limited by size of file, but so what. Just chop it up into parts 1 through N. Its fast, easy and free.
Come to our website and use our video hosting services, we can party like its 1999 all over again !
2. Copyrighted music and video.
I dont have a count, but i bet Daniel Powters' Bad Day is attached to some video snippet of every sporting event ever played , with links sent to fans of every losing team. PIrates season, You had a Bad Day. Spurs vs Mavs. Mavs vs Suns, Mavs vs Heat , Yankees vs Red Sox, etc, etc, etc. Bad Day, Bad Day , Bad Day. If Daniel had a nickel for every time his song was used in a YouTube sports video, he would be a much richer man.

Get your browsers going

This is going to be fun! Unfair Park reports on the irony that the DMN wanted to cut their staff to spend more money on digital offerings, yet most of the people who left are now online thanks to blogs.
Anyone starting to notice the irony yet? Smells a little like…uh…bacon. By which I mean, for months Belo management has been insisting its buyouts at The Dallas Morning News were all about “empower[ing] reporters and photographers to employ methods in new media and digital journalism to communicate stories,” as editor Bob Mong put it in a press release last month. That’s why the paper lopped off 111 of its own limbs last week–to get ready for the future that was passing it by, to save money it was gonna spend out in the digital ether when the time came. So it allowed to walk out the door pretty much all of the newspaper’s arts staff; guess they weren’t ready for the brave new tomorrow, right?
Well, turns out pretty much everyone who left the fourth floor has already resurfaced–yup, on the good ol’ Interweb, which, last I heard, was gonna belong entirely to Robert Decherd.
Best quote from Robert "Fingers of Fury" Wilonsky's post:
It’s a promo for Uncle Barky, which, I guarantee you, will be the most-visited-and-viewed local blog by the end of October. Or this afternoon.

Ed Bark has a new blog

Former DMN television critic Ed Barkley has a new blog.
One of his first posts gives you a rundown of the buyouts at DMN and why he took one.
I'm looking forward to the read.

Working out the kinks

Orange Noise Radio is getting closer and closer. I can feel it. Can you?
We're ironing out the weekly schedule, playlist and more.
Since I'll be heading to Nigeria for two weeks next week, I would imagine the station will go live around November 1.
But until then, we're adding more and more music, more and more programming and I'm having fun.
Want a tease? Check out the current stream at:
Here's our current program lineup (all times CST):
  • 11 a.m. - encounter (with Brian Treadaway)
  • 1 p.m. - Soul2Soul (with Mike Beck)
  • 7 p.m. - Spin 180 (with Matt Mungle)
    Noon - Powertalk (with Rick Walker)
  • 11 a.m. - encounter (with Brian Treadaway)
  • 8 p.m. - Renew (with Aaron Lehmann)
  • 9 p.m. - Headphonaught's Music Store (with Thomas Mathie)
  • 1 p.m. - Soul2Soul (with Mike Beck)
  • 3 p.m. - Renew (with Aaron Lehmann)
  • 4 p.m. - Headphonaught's Music Store (with Thomas)
  • 7 p.m. - ?? (with myself - Jonathan Blundell)
  • I'm still considering a name for my program. I've considered Lighthouse 21 and Powerline, but they've both been used and I'd like something new, so feel free to email/leave your suggestions.
    Also, if you've got an idea or program you'd like to see added to Orange Noise Radio, drop me a note.

    Saturday, September 16, 2006

    Re: Kinky in DeSoto

    We were able to record Kinky's message yesterday at the DeSoto Chamber Luncheon and it's online now.
    To listen to the file, click here or I'll have it on my podcast in a few minutes.

    U2 and Green Day to reopen SuperDome

    From multiple sources:
    U2 will help reopen the New Orleans Superdome on September 25th, by performing before the start of the Saints' home game against the Atlanta Falcons. The band will be joined by the punk rock trio Green Day for a version of the song "The Saints Are Coming," which was originally recorded by the Scottish group the Skids. The appearance will be featured on Monday Night Football on ESPN, and the audio will be streamed live over the music service. In addition, a download of "The Saints Are Coming" will be sold by soon after the performance, with the proceeds going to the Music Rising charity that U2 guitarist the Edge helped set up to get instruments back in the hands of New Orleans musicians.
    The Edge said, "My visits to New Orleans gave me a firsthand look at the devastation which tragically destroyed the lives of thousands. The area's rich and spirited culture must continue to be restored. Providing musical instruments through Music Rising will not only help the professional musicians, but all the churches and schools in need."

    The Gospel according to Barney Fife

    Looking for a Bible study idea? I just came across this random site tonight that offers Bible studies based around Barney Fife and the gang on The Andy Griffeth Show.
    The Andy Griffith Show is a unique television series in that it never goes out of style. Some viewers even suggest that the show is more popular today than during its original eight-year run. A glance at the membership of The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club (TAGSRWC) would seem to support this opinion. Looking back, there were several notable series from that classic TV era so the question becomes, what makes The Andy Griffith Show special? And furthermore, why is it remembered above the others?
    I’ve often heard people say, "I wish we could go back to Mayberry; back to a simpler time when life was far less complicated". However, even a cursory glance at the decade of the original series run reveals anything but a simple lifestyle. The threat of nuclear annihilation, civil unrest, and political assassinations were just a few realities of the turbulent sixties. But it was during this time that The Andy Griffith Show enjoyed its primetime success. Do people really want to return to the events of the 1960s, or is there something about the attitude of this television show that provides the appeal?
    Reflecting on the series, the characters are what people most remember. The names Andy Taylor, Barney Fife, and Gomer Pyle instantly produce memories of a particular show or situation. Most often the comedic interaction between the characters comes to mind, but other impressions surface as well. We remember Andy for his selfless attitude and ability to find good in any situation. Barney had the best of intentions, but his methods always seemed to backfire. And Gomer may have seemed a bit naïve ("nave" as Barney would say), but his compassion toward others was undoubtedly genuine.

    Re: Kinky in DeSoto

    Friedman joined his fellow candidates running against Perry and criticized the TAKS test.
    “I’ve said no teacher left behind,” Friedman said. “In order to accomplish this we’re going to have to leave one governor behind. Education has dropped to 50th. We’re last and Guam and Samoa are sneaking up on us. But I want to put the teachers back in charge. I want to appoint people to education positions who have actually seen the inside of the classroom. Teaching is the noblest profession of them all. So the teachers are getting screwed around. They’re playing with their social security and Perry finally promised them $1,500, that’s about what it amounts to. But I really want to do something for the teachers. For starters I want to get rid of the TAKS test. There’s not a teacher in Texas that likes the TAKS test – not a good teacher. This test has a whole generation of kids who aren’t quite sure if the Civil War took place here or in Europe – it wasn’t on the test. They’ve never heard of Mark Twain – he wasn’t on the test.
    Friedman also plans to bring local retirees back to the schools to help students learn.
    “I want to bring in the Texas Peace Corps. It won’t cost the taxpayers a dime,” Friedman said. “Its retired people with the most love, wisdom and knowledge to give come back to the public schools and teach shop art, music, vocation and life experiences.”

    Re: News wars become blog wars weighed in on the blog wars between Frontburner and The Observer:
    This morning in D Magazine's online Blog Front Burner, D Editor Tim Rogers complained of the Dallas Observer's Jim Schutze's reporting on the Trinity River as so bad it had to be biased. Said Rogers:
    "But Schutze is so far off-target on the Trinity Project that it gives me the fantods. He's so wrong that I find it hard to believe he's doing it by accident. Honestly, I'm troubled. Just doesn't make sense."
    Schutze was so incensed that he responded on the Dallas Observer's Unfair Park Blog.
    "Tim Rogers posted a long item today on the D magazine blog FrontBurner accusing me of writing deceptively about the Trinity River project. Some personal innuendo was made, which I will get to at the end of this way-too-long post."...
    Even in the good old days when the Dallas Morning News and the Dallas Times Herald were battling to the death you couldn't have gotten this kind of real time exchange. Blog wars are a lot more fun.

    Friday, September 15, 2006


    People Newspapers has started a new weekly paper in Oak Cliff. Not gonna lie - it looks good.

    How interactivity and multimedia can help the new

    Poynter has a good list of how interactivity helped media cover 9/11 this year.
    MSNBC's "9/11: Five Years Later" displays an interactive section of audio personal narratives and a feature on the controversial ABC docudrama.
    CNN sought for user-response in compiling "America Remembers: The Faces of September 11." This site tells some of the personal stories, documenting "the actions, reactions and perspectives" of 10 people connected with the attacks in various ways. Included in this list is Tom Burnett, 38, who was on the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 that went down in Pennsylvania.
    CNN Pipeline is providing a free trial to its service that includes video from the network's original coverage of 9/11 in its entirety. The real-time broadcast takes place from 8:30 a.m. to midnight.

    News wars become blog wars

    From Poynteronline:
    Remember when there used to be newspaper wars in many towns? When competing publications went after each other? Not just trying to get the best story, but dissing the other guy in print? If so, you're a core newspaper reader and probably a lot closer to death than birth. Here in Dallas, we're getting back some of that, but in blogland.
    I wonder if Walker and I can find something to duke it out about.

    Yup, there might be a cemetary nearby

    Construction crews working on the Tollway have found two caskets in recent days. I would bet there's a cemetary burried somewhere in them parts.

    Radio is dying

    The Dallas Observer says broadcast radio is dead. Well maybe not just the Observer, but The New York Times as well.
    Gonna happen; just a matter of time. CBS is selling off stations; Clear Channel might have to as well. Anyone with an iPod, XM or Sirius or access to an MP3 blog and a CD burner can tell you that much. And, no, ain’t no schmuck in the world dumb enough to buy into “HD Radio,” which is the world’s most meaningless phrase behind, “No, really, I will definitely call you tomorrow.”
    For someone passionate about radio - that sucks. But good thing we're doing Orange Noise online.

    Friedman in DeSoto

    Independent canidate for governor Kinky Friedman was in DeSoto today as a keynote speaker for a chamber of commerce event.
    During his keynote address at the luncheon, the one-liners remained but Friedman has developed his message on several points since he began his campaign for governor last year.
    Referring to a photograph of himself drinking a Guinness beer, “the drink that kept the Irish from taking over the world,” while riding in a St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dallas, Friedman said he “did drink the Guinness but I did not swallow.”
    On his age, Friedman said, “I’m too young for Medicare and too old for women to care.”
    On immigration, Friedman asks, “who would Jesus deport?”
    On gay marriages, the 61-year old bachelor says he supports the issue, “I want them to be as miserable as the rest of us.”
    On school prayer and the 10 commandments, Friedman said students should be allowed to believe in something and he’d “hate to see the 10 commandments after the Legislature gets a hold of them.”
    On the Internet, Friedman said “I don’t use the internet -- I think it’s the work of Satan.”
    Friedman said politics as usual and his love for Texas brought him into the campaign.
    “I’m the only candidate running that has no political experience whatsoever,” Friedman said. “But I love Texas. I don’t like the Republicans, I don’t like the Democrats, I love Texas and I don’t like what’s happening to it.”
    Friedman pointed out that Gov. Rick Perry, independent candidate Carole Strayhorn and Democratic candidate Chris Bell have 89 years of politics between them.
    “That is exactly what the founding fathers did not want America to become,” Friedman said. “I think its time we have non-politicians as governor. Look at what the current governor has done. He’s decided not to have tolls on new toll roads until December. He’s got 1,500 troops on the border and we’ve just been informed that they’ve got weapons with no ammunition. Not even like Barney Fife with one bullet. Of course as long as the Mexicans don’t know this I guess we’ll be OK. They’re there for show.”

    Look for full coverage in Sunday's WDL.

    All to familiar?

    Bad boys, bad boys, whacha gonna do?

    From Dallasblog.comSay, here's an idea - if you have some unpaid traffic tickets, you may want to think about making arrangements to pay them before 5 p.m. today. And getting a receipt. That is, if you want to avoid one of those scenes out of 'Cops' where your neighbors and family get to see you hauled off to the hoosegow. Because starting tomorrow morning, bright and early, cops and marshals all over North Texas are going to be rounding up anyone with an outstanding warrant for class C misdemeanors, most of which are traffic-related.Follow the link to find out more.

    Jonathan and Laurie

    Jonathan and Laurie
    Originally uploaded by Jdblundell.

    She's standing on a fireplace just to reach my height and it's still one of my favorite pics.

    Fellowship Church shares church plant success

    Ed Young's Fellowship Church just opened their Miami campus with over 600 people in two Sunday services.
    Over the weekend we celebrated an incredible movement of God during the Fall Kickoff at our Fellowship Church Miami Campus. After weeks of community outreach and preparation, we were excited to welcome over 600 people in our two Sunday services during the official grand opening weekend.
    Opening this campus has really taken us back to our roots as a small church when we started in an Irving, Texas office complex with 150 people. We began with an even smaller base in Miami and have already experienced amazing growth. And though things are definitely different in a small church, the underlying approach we use for all five of our campuses remains the same. We're employing creativity and personal interaction to reach out and touch one life at a time.
    The blog entry at Creative Pastors gives a rundown of what they've found helps and works. I think the main thing to take away from it is that personal relationships make a huge difference.
    Thanks to CMS for the heads up.

    Some other related links:
    How the Internet is Changing Denominations - Minimal design, but some interesting thoughts about technology changing the church.
    Come As You Are - "To say that Mars Hill is just a church is to say that Woodstock was just a concert."
    88% of Teens Leave Church After High School - The stat keeps coming up--when are churches going to do something about it?
    Another Church Talks About ... It - You know, it. As in the birds and the bees? - Gotta love the site for this new church plant.

    Thursday, September 14, 2006

    Two for one today - another ethics question

    Many cultures practice excision (excision is a permanently disfiguring procedure that is sometimes called female circumcision and is a permanent loss of sexual pleasure). Upwards of 150 million women and girls world wide are estimated to have undergone ritual cutting. Estimates suggest that roughly 200,000 women who have been excised have moved to the United States. While many people in this culture say that the practice is "barbaric," in the cultures where it is practice a number of defenses are given for the practice.
    How do you think we should morally evaluate the practice?

    EDIT: Note, the practice is done willingly by adults.

    Today's ethics question

    In Eskimo cultures (in the past) female babies liable to be killed and this was permitted simply at the parents' discretion, with no social stigma attached to it. Also, when older people were too feeble to contribute to the family, they were left outside in the snow to die.
    Basically the Eskimo society had little respect for life.
    They killed the babies because the Eskimos lived in a harsh environment, where food was in short supply. A fundamental Eskimo thought was this: "Life is hard, and the margin of safety small." A family may want to nourish it's babies but unable to do so. Eskimo mothers would nurse their infants over a much longer period than mothers in our culture...for 4 years or longer.
    So even in the best of times, there were limits to the number of infants one mother could sustain. The female babies were the ones that were killed b/c the males were primary food providers.
    So today's question is: Eskimos practiced infanticide (usually with female girls) and also that they sometimes left the elderly in the snow to die. How do you evaluate the practices morally?

    I want to be ruined

    I'm really excited about the new encounter blog because of great posts like this...
    Ruined: "Just recently I was doing a lesson in which I mentioned the fact that one of Jesus’ leadership qualities was that He “ruined” peoples’ lives. Well, actually, He ruined people to their former lives - they were never the same again. Beggars became workers, postitutes became women of virtue, tax collectors became generous, and lepers became party-goers. And those who knew Him best? The influence of Jesus was seen by even their enemies - Acts 4:13 - and the conclusion they drawn is that it was Jesus’ influence that made the difference! I want to be ruined like that! I want to see Jesus ruin me to some bad habits and maybe some of my less than stellar character flaws. Unfortunately I don’t think I get to choose what Jesus works on. Zacheus (a wee little man was he) only wanted Jesus to recognize him, but instead he got a lesson on grace and generousity! So I’m trying to be open to Jesus’ ruining power - even if it’s going to take me places that I don’t expect. I pray (reluctantly) that Jesus will ruin me thru this year!

    Softball update

    Well for those of you wondering, the Broken Lizards (yes that's our name) won our first game of the season last night 18-4.
    We played against the James Hardie crew and I think they may have had more fun than we did thanks to a pre-game "celebration."
    I believe we had three in the park home runs, a steal from third to home (while I was at bat) and numerous doubles and tripples.
    I personally went 2 for 4 with a double and a single.
    I fouled out on my second at bat and popped up past 2nd on my third at bat.
    With the clock at zero and our team having two outs, I made a great slide at home, only to have the umpire call it out so he could let the home team bat and end the game.
    My raw leg thanks him for the call today (hint of sarcasm there).
    Our next game will be next Wednesday agains the Dirty Dogs at 9 p.m.
    Then I get a few weeks off as I head to Nigeria.
    My first game back will be on the 18th, when we face James Hardie again at 7 p.m.

    The death of a newspaper comments on the continuing saga of newspapers gone bad/dead:
    Writing obituaries is a crummy entry-level job at a newspaper, and no matter the circumstance, a depressing one. So it gives me no pleasure to write one now:
    Our Newspaper Is Dead.
    Argue if you wish that this is a temporary period of "transition'' -- what with long-time employees being asked to exit the newsroom with a shoebox of money under their arms and their tails between their legs -- but during such a troubling time, shouldn't the Dallas Morning News still crank out something resembling a must-read major metropolitan daily? OK, guys, so you lied about circulation and you've misled a few advertisers and your ownership seems more interested in real estate than in journalism and much of the heart and soul of your staff has been amputated, but. ...
    Aren't you neverthless requires to produce a paper that motivates me to care about it?

    When church signs suck/stink

    I know I know, some of you are still offended by the word suck so I gave you an aleternative in the title. Sorry if you are offended.
    Anyways, on to the post. has a great post on when church signs stink.
    It's a great list and I agree whole heartidly. There's a church in my neck of the woods that constantly tries to be funny or confusing or something on their sign. Yet I don't ever recall seeing an annoucement about what's going on at the church and I don't even remember seeing service times on the sign.
    One of the first impressions that a church gives a passer-by is its church sign or marquee. In recent years, it has become chic for churches to quote presumably pithy sayings on these church signs. It is my assessment that most of these church signs "suck" (by CMS' definition of the word), especially when taking the "Church Marketing" perspective.
    Either way, read and enjoy the list.

    Oh crap my feeds are gone

    I just opened my RSS reader and all my blog feeds are gone. I don't know what happened, but do you realize how crazy that's going to make me today?
    Guess I'm trashing this program now and going to use Google's reader unless someone has a way better solution.
    Now's the time to get your feed back on my daily list. Leave them as a comment below.
    In the long run I guess this could be a good thing, it may reduce some of the feeds I read everyday.

    Wednesday, September 13, 2006

    Softball starts again 2nite. 8 pm. Awesome.


    Mobile Email from a Cingular Wireless Customer

    California to raise minimum wage

    California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill Tuesday to give California one of the highest minimum wages in the nation.
    The law gives more than 1.4 million people an increase of 75 cents an hour in January and an additional 50 cents the following year, boosting the rate from $6.75 an hour to $8.
    With the new law, California joins Massachusetts as having the nation's highest minimum wage.
    Massachusetts also will boost its rate to $8 an hour by 2008 after lawmakers were able to override a veto this summer by Gov. Mitt Romney.
    Looks like all those homes on the beach will start costing a whole lot more now.

    The Treadmil Dance

    The Treadmil Dance

    I think I'm late on this one, but this is a great creative music video by OK GO.

    Oh... I can't wait

    Skinny models banned

    Walker sent along this link.
    The world's first ban on overly thin models at a top-level fashion show in Madrid has caused outrage among modeling agencies and raised the prospect of restrictions at other venues.
    Madrid's fashion week has turned away underweight models after protests that girls and young women were trying to copy their rail-thin looks and developing eating disorders.
    Walker wants an Amen. I say Hoorah!

    Susan Combs signs up

    A couple Susan Combs for State Comptroller have started popping up around town. They look really good. So far I'm impressed with the signs I've seen.
    Jim Pitts has a great sign (he's had it for a while now).
    Chuck Beatty has a great red, white and blue sign.
    And Susan Combs has a great blue and silver sign.

    Today's ethics question

    Today' ethics question: How is it that we judge practices in other cultures as undesireable without simply applying our own standards?

    Pope weighs in on secularism

    Pope Benedict XVI weighed in Tuesday on the delicate issue of rapport between Islam and the West: He said that violence, embodied in the Muslim idea of jihad, or holy war, is contrary to reason and God’s plan, while the West was so beholden to reason that Islam could not understand it.

    Horn calls for utility fund changes

    Democratic candidate for State Representative for District 10, Kerry Horn, has joined with AARP and others in calling on the state legislature to stop the “raiding” of a fund established to assist Texas’ working poor, elderly and disabled pay their utility bills.
    Horn said the raiding is a “breach of trust” and is calling for the Legislative Budget Board to use its authority to make spending adjustments between sessions of the legislature to restore available funds.
    “The legislative leadership has used this dedicated fund as a piggy bank that can be raided and depleted, to fund whatever they wish, with apparent disregard for the Texans eligible to be assisted by the fund,” Horn said.
    The low-income discount program was created as part of the state’s electric deregulation effort of 1999 and was established through fees collected by residential electric providers from residential electric customers
    At one time, more than a half a million qualified Texans received discounts of 10 percent or more on their electricity bills.
    Since the initiation of the program, successive legislative sessions have reduced the funds in the program to fund other budgetary requests in the general fund.
    Yet utility companies have continued to collect the fees from residential electricity customers to send to the program.
    There are now approximately $256 million of non-allocated funds in the state’s treasury designated to a program the Legislature has not funded.

    U2 at Abby Road

    U2 is back in the studio again at Abby Road Studios - made famous by The Beatles and are working with producer Rick Rubin.
    Tuesday, September 5th
    London, Abbey Road Studios: birthplace to most of the Beatles records, and countless other classic albums from Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ to Radiohead’s ‘Kid A’.
    Larry and Edge have flown in from Dublin, Bono from France and Adam, already in the city, has taken the short drive across town. Waiting in the control room is the instantly recognisable figure of Mr Rick Rubin, a producer whose musical pedigree stretches from Justin Timberlake to The Mars Volta, from Johnny Cash to Metallica. Rubin met up with the band earlier in the summer down in France and word is that some of what was written and demoed then will be recorded properly in the coming days.
    Whatever the heritage of the famous Studio 2, it wasn’t the spirit of the sixties blasting out when U2 showed… it was seventies punk. Barely had the band arrived than they were into a cover of ‘The Saints Are Coming’, a 1978 hit for The Skids.
    ‘The saints are coming, the saints are coming.
    I say no matter how I try, I realise there's no reply’
    Larry tells us they spent most of the day on this and were still working in the small hours of Wednesday. Green Day are arriving in a few days to work with them on a cover, a collaboration to benefit Music Rising.

    Wednesday, September 6th 06
    Back in the studio this afternoon, a late kick-off but now working on a new U2 track. Taping, as we used to call it, is briefly interrupted when Paul McCartney and Beatles producer George Martin drop by. U2 and McCartney were last in a London studio together in the summer of 2005, rehearsing ‘Sergeant Pepper’. Then playing Live 8 to a billion people next day. Bit of a moment to see Macca sliding down the bannister of the stairway from the control room to the studio floor. This place is like his second home. Then U2 got back to making music… and on into the night.

    Thursday, September 7th 06
    U2 were again at work by early afternoon, this time on a track that sounds like a U2 classic with an instant hook and a mesmerising chorus.
    ‘Bono had demoed it in Dublin,’ explains Larry. ‘Then brought it to the band and even in its most basic form you had the feeling that something special was going on.
    ‘It felt that maybe this time we were not going to be pushing a rock up a hill as we do a lot of the time with new material.’
    Another late night finish but the vibes are good.

    Friday, September 8th 06
    Bono often talks of U2’s approach to creating new material as ‘songwriting by accident’. But there’s nothing accidental going on today. Adam, Larry, Edge and Bono are seated around the control room chatting to Rubin who sits on a sprawling leather sofa. They play back their latest take and go through it passage by passage.
    Bono has three quarters of the lyric written out on a large pad of white paper – alternative stanzas scribbled alongside the main theme. Two key lines in the verses are missing – to which Bono is la’ing and humming on each take – and it needs some kind of pay-off at the end. It’s a song with no name at the moment.
    Larry suggests hearing the first half of one verse segued into the second half of the next. Edge comes up with a missing line - using the world ‘apologise’. If you’re a rap star, says Rick, who knows about rap stars, you get extra points for getting a four-syllable word in your song. Lyrical ideas fly round the room with Bono scribbling them down. Every now and then he goes to the mic, the engineer brings the track up and he tries out a new line. Edge lays down some backing vocals. Larry and Bono swap Oasis anecdotes while Rick talks bass-lines with Adam. Edge scribbles another pair of lines on the back of an envelope.
    By early evening Abbey Road has emptied of musicians, engineers and producers but U2 are on a roll. By ten pm many of the missing elements in the song have been added. Everyone listens back again. Nowhere near finished but now with a complete lyric, a new opening and a different ending.
    ‘It’s been a good day,’ says the singer. ‘This is one that could take the roof off! Let’s call it a night.’

    Tuesday, September 12, 2006

    Cool Music Tuesday

    If you haven't heard David Barnes, be sure and check him out.

    Thoughts on 9/11

    From Mike:

    For those of you who don't know Rabih, who wrote the following piece, he is not a professional writer or journalist, but always had a good handle on poetry. This is not poetry, but possibly poetic in its timing and clear, clean approach and timing. It went to my blog right away.
    Regardless of your feelings on 9/11, this is a very good read.


    My Dear Friends from America,

    I'm writing to tell you that my thoughts and feelings are with you and the American people on this special day that marks five years since September 11. Today is day of remembrance, of meditation, of emotion. Though the whole world was affected by the events of 9/11, and in many ways a new world order came to be as a result, on this day my thoughts are with the three thousand and more families whose lives were changed. Everything can be rebuilt but the loss of a loved one is forever. On this day I also take a moment to stand up straight and give salute to the oh so brave men and women who against all odds rushed to the scenes that people were fleeing and risked their lives to give a helping hand. I recall the words of our Lord: "Greater love has no one that this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). Theirs is story of courage, of bravery, of unquestionable love. They are real heroes.
    Today is an important day for us, the alive and the capable. An important day for you, especially as Americans. It is a day of judgment and accountability. As we reflect on the memory of the lost ones, as we stand before their graves, we ask ourselves: What have we said and what have we done so that those who died did not do so in vain? Has it been right? Has it been enough? It is a great feeling of inner void to stand before those who have sacrificed their all, willingly or not, and to look into the eyes of the heroes who gave their all, realising that we could have contributed more. September 11 lies two weeks before memorial day of the fallen soldiers of the Lebanese Forces. Every year I stand somberly as I count my overdues. Those of you who have had the chance -- or have made it point -- to visit Normandy Memorial Site in Northern France, which lies only a few hundred feet from one of the D-Day beaches, would perhaps know what I'm talking about. For two hours, I did not utter a single word. At times I found it hard to stand up as the overwhelming sense of respect kept bringing me to my knees. There is no raised Lebanese flag and no Lebanese soldier in the earth of this site. They fell for a war not fought in my country or for the liberation of my country. They fell in a war that ended almost two generations before I was born. But they laid their lives for principles that define my being: freedom, sovereignty, dignity, justice, human rights, and peace. That is enough for me to hold myself and my conscious accountable before their deeds, as I believe any responsible and aware citizen of the free world should. Those who died in September 11 were not in a war. They were not in battle for a just cause. They did not volunteer to die. Death was wickedly brought upon them by those -- independent of race and religion -- who chose to revolt against the principles of the free world. They are the victims and the martyrs of those principles, and as such we owe them a lot. Today is a day when we question what have we done? What have our governments done? I am not the person to judge, right or wrong, the results of the American government, the Lebanese government, and the many other nation's governments "war on terror". Only time will tell. But as I reflect on this day, I ask whether we would have accomplished more and given back more, had our governments, motivated by our individual and collective intentions, instead fought for "a commitment for justice and peace". These are my thoughts at least, which I share with you.
    The reality is that September 11 happens everyday in many countries of the world. We are all responsible for stopping September 11 and not letting it happen ever again, for the memory of the fallen, for ourselves, and for our children and their children.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you, America.
    Rabih El-Khoury

    Monday, September 11, 2006

    encounter podcast

    Be sure and listen to the latest podcast from encounter.
    We celebrated our one year anniversary yesterday and Brian gave another relevant message over gaining a cutting edge with our faith.

    encounter podcast

    As of right now, if you do a search for encounter in the iTunes music store, we're the featured podcast along with ABC. So subscribing is even easier.

    And if you're not into podcasting, feel free to just listen to or download the Mp3 of the message at:

    Horse Sense: Insights for U.S. from Saudi Success Against Terrorism

    Relating a story about Saudi Arabia and its war on terrorism is, to some extent, easier than doing the same thing for the United States and its involvement in the war on terrorism around the world. In the Saudi case, it really is more straightforward. Although the United States has generally been successful in its war, we have become increasingly overextended. Since 9-11, the U.S. has been successful strategically—we’ve toppled two hostile regimes and prevented further attacks on American soil, but we have also stretched the armed forces thin and placed serious burden on available resources, such that, our capability is limited to respond to other natural and man-made disasters. We are, at least potentially speaking, mired in at least one area. Moreover, the results of our international foreign policy are mixed at best, in terms of people’s perceptions abroad about us. We may not care so much what the French and Germans think, but they’ve been allies in the past, and we’ll need and appreciate their help in the future. We sure would like them to supply troops instead of us in Lebanon today, for instance.
    In the Gulf War, the first president Bush put a coalition together, as much for money and resources as for men and military hardware. Saudi Arabia financed a huge portion of our cost back then. The current war in Iraq, from a cost standpoint, is almost entirely born by us. The billions of dollars the U.S. outlays each year, is negative from an economic standpoint, in terms of vulnerability to recession and the ballooning budget deficit and national debt. Acknowledging important qualitative differences, including international responsibility, I would nevertheless contrast our situation with the Saudis this way: they have been able to consolidate their regime and security system without overextending it, and they are also winning the war on terrorism within their borders. Further, Saudi Arabia’s standing among Arab neighbors has not taken the same kind of hit ours has with our friends. Economically speaking, high oil prices have also sent cash there, which the Saudis are properly utilizing for investments in infrastructure, for improving education, and for modernizing their security apparatus.
    Since January 2005, there has been a continued, virtually uninterrupted improvement in the security environment of Saudi Arabia. Two years ago, for instance, it was not safe or advisable for an isolated Westerner to be touring about the capital city of Riyadh. The situation is far safer (if not quite advisable) today—statistics bear this out, and the feeling is palpably better on the street. And here is something else that experience fighting the terrorists has taught all credible observers; namely, militant extremists in Saudi Arabia are not even a significant percentage of the population. It is in fact a deviant few who are causing the trouble, and that is a very hopeful situation for us in the United States. What it means is that America’s war on terror must not be interpreted as a war on Islam. That would be the worst mistake we could make. Indeed, terrorism in most religious quarters of Islam is considered an affront to that religion. Many Americans are aware the Wahhabi sect is prevalent among Sunnis in Saudi Arabia, but they have mistakenly taken that to mean that all Wahhabis favor violence and hate Westerners. The notion is utterly false. Wahhabis are conservative adherents within the Islamic faith, and the philosophical and religious roots are much older and deeper than Al Qaeda-brand terrorism. The political birth of Saudi Arabia hinged on a broad Wahhabi religious appeal to the purification of Islam and getting back to true faith, as it were. This is comparable historically to the involvement by religious puritans, both Catholic and Protestant, zealous in their adherence to faith, who also took up arms for political causes. Contemporaneous and peaceful political participation by Christian fundamentalists also comes to mind. Almost no adherent of the so-called ‘hard Christian Right’ in the United States (labeled so by media) recommends or condones shooting abortion doctors, no matter how firmly these same Christians detest the practice of abortion. The point is not that Christianity and Islam are the same things—they are not. But neither does religious conservatism and violence go hand in hand necessarily. Wahhabism and violence aren’t inevitably linked either, particularly in modern political context.
    In late 2003, we withdrew combat troops from Saudi Arabia, a move “pitched” by the administration as shifting troops to where they were needed more. Notwithstanding, the Saudis had asked and needed this to happen, because this removed what was for them, politically speaking, generating violent opposition. Counterintuitive perhaps, the security environment improved between 2003 and now. It has become excellent during a period of diminished U.S. troop presence, which provides at least some food for thought concerning the region: it does not always mean things will get better if you station troops in a location. Likewise, it does not always mean things get worse if and when you withdraw them. There are some in government and politics I believe, who have ideological agendas and axes to grind, and who encourage misunderstanding and demonizing of a large swath of Islam. We have enough enemies, however, without inventing any or encouraging more of them to work harder. Peace rather than incessant, generations-long war can be the realistic goal of a visionary American foreign policy. It can be the result of informed, artful diplomacy. Peace can and should be an object of defense planning and military alliances. Peace ought to be a chief political aim of all good government, just as it is the natural longing of man’s immortal soul. Peace is a tenet of American political conservatism and classical liberalism, because war breeds big government and restricts and injures liberty. It is also part of the Reaganesque political faith that there should be peace through strength. Preemption followed by insistent, stubborn human will, whether based upon misinformation, disinformation, myth or shibboleth, amounts to something else entirely.
    Wesley Allen Riddle is a retired military officer with degrees and honors from West Point and Oxford. Widely published in the academic and opinion press, he ran for U.S. Congress (TX-District 31) in the 2004 Republican Primary. Article based and expanded on remarks made to the Temple Kiwanis Club, 15 August 2006 at Temple College. Email:

    In memory

    Ground Zero
    Originally uploaded by Jdblundell.

    Today is 9/11. Five years after tragedy struck the World Trade Center and Pentagon. What do you remember about that day?

    Blogging the commissioners court

    Not much going on so far - but I'm blogging LIVE from the Ellis County Commissioners Court meeting this morning.

    Saturday, September 09, 2006

    Loss at the end

    Christopher Newport wins 15-10. UMHB QB Josh Welch lost the ball before throwing into the endzone.
    It was popped up and caught by a CNU player. End of game.
    UMHB falls to 0-1 and CNU goes to 1-1 for the season.
    UMHB will face Sul Ross next week in Alpine.

    Balls inside the 1

    UMHB is down 15-10 against CNU. 1:35 left in the game.
    UMHB has the ball on the half yard line. First and goal.
    UMHB can win it with 1:37 left.
    Go CRU

    Are you going to heaven?

    CBN has published a video posing the question, "Are you going to heaven?"
    Dispells some of the beliefs about earings and noserings in the church ;-).

    Thanks to Andrew for the tip.
    Check out Ezekiel 16 and Genesis 24 and see what scripture says about nose rings.

    Andrew is taking a blog-fast

    Andrew is taking a month long blog fast in September.
    I think he's got some great reasons. I'll miss his thoughts, but I respect his decision.
  • Because I feel that a new season is upon us and I need to take a breather before plunging in. If i dont, I may miss this new season through laxity and the curse of routine sameness. Does that make sense??????
  • Because after my 5 year blogiversary I decided to take an extended break and rethink my blog. But it never happened and I feel like I should have.
  • Because I Do suffer from blog addiction and blog fasting is a way for me to kill the old man and crucify him again - allowing God the opportunity of resurrection in his way.
  • Because I have travelled FAR TOO MUCH in the last 3 months and I want to be around for my family this month. I also need to do non-blogging tasks like reading, writing, administrating and emailing and i dont want to get distracted.
  • Because my blog is old and tired and not nearly as much fun as it used to be. I want to be re-inspired and invigorated.
  • Because I have an idea of how blogging should be and I want my blog to catch up to my vision.
  • Because I have been SELFISH in my blogging recently, concerned with building my own blog and tracking my own progress rather than being a resource on other people's blogs.
  • Because the quality of my blog posts has decayed and I am posting fewer poetic posts [a sign of good spiritual health] and fewer thoughtful theological/missiological posts [a sign of rigorous thinking in my head] and I need to raise the bar.
  • Because I have become infatuated [again] with my stats and my blog authority and google-ranking - a form of idolatry and narcissism that can only be harmful.
  • Because my blog is becoming institutional and I want to OWN it again - as a whole-life blog and not a way of fulfilling other peoples expectations.
  • Because my blogging world is more complex, involving a number of blogs, and I need to think on how to bring all these worlds together
  • Because I want to PURGE my site of the thousands of visitors who are jumping in without any history and would do better reading someone else's blog written by someone who has the time to explain the basics.
  • Me, my girlfriend Laurie and Matt

    Me, my girlfriend Laurie and Matt
    Originally uploaded by Jdblundell.

    Me, Laurie and Matt at the engagement party.

    Laurie and I at an engagement party

    Laurie and I at an engagement party
    Originally uploaded by Jdblundell.

    We went to Allison English's engagement party last night. Great time by all. Congrats to Allison and Daniel.

    Body of Doris Phillips found

    JoAnn Livingston
    Daily Light Managing Editor

    The body of 81-year-old Doris Phillips was discovered by the Ellis County Sheriff's office late Friday night at a location near Bardwell, off of Farm-to-Market 984.
    The sheriff's office has been processing the scene throughout the night and will hold a press conference later this afternoon.
    The family has been notified.
    Officials were notified by family members about the missing woman after the Reagor Springs resident could not be reached at her home on Tuesday, July 25 and July 26.
    Phillips lived by herself on Old Church Road between Ennis and Waxahachie, near the Texas Motorplex.

    Look for more coverage later as details are released at

    Friday, September 08, 2006

    From a good friend

    How do Christians define "holy" and "holiness." What makes something holy to you?

    e-Bible now open to the world

    From email this morning: Now Open To The World

    Dear beta user,
    It's Team here with an exciting update for you. As of today, the website is open to the world! We've been working hard to make the very best Bible search tool on the web. Today we graduate from the beta stage and want to thank you for the part you played.
    Maybe you haven't logged in for months or maybe you logged in yesterday. Either way we invite you to visit today as there has been a complete overhaul of the features, look and functionality.
    Be sure to also check out our latest blog post for more specifics on all the changes that have taken place.
    I don't know that its the fastest search engine for the Bible on the web, but it may be one of the coolest looking and is uses a lot of Web 2.0 technology to improve sharing thoughts, comments and ideas on scripture. Take a few minutes and check it out for your Friday afternoon entertainment.

    The encounter

    My church, encounter, is now blogging.
    Yes the entire church is. Well, no not really, but you can imagine what it would be like if they were.
    We're still working out a couple kinks with Wordpress, but otherwise the leaders in the church have begun posting already.
    Check them out and drop them your thoughts, comments and concerns.

    The encounter blog

    Thursday, September 07, 2006

    Five things I'm listening to today

    5. The Village Church's podcast
    4. Johnny Cash - We'll Meet Again
    3. Johnny Cash - Walk the Line
    2. Johnny Cash - Hurt
    1. White Stripes - Seven Nation Army

    Re: School funding

    It seems my idea about increased advertising dollars at our state's public schools wasn't very popular.
    But here's another idea, from former State Comptroller John Sharp.
    Sharp recommends negotiating with Oklahoma and Louisanna to have them give the State of Texas, 5 percent of their casino revenues - considering the billions of Texas dollars that go to both states in their casinos.
    In exchange for the 5 percent of revenue, Texas will promise to never open casinos in our state.

    American V

    Laurie and I finally watched, "Walk the Line" Saturday night.
    I've been dying to watch it for a while, but my DVD purchases have been limited lately and I never rent DVDs anymore.
    Needless to say, I thought it was great. Go watch it if you haven't.
    Since Saturday I've been listening to a lot of Cash's music. Especially his American V and IV CD's.
    He recorded both of the CD's just months before he passed away, along with "My Mother's Hymnal" another great album.
    The music is very raw and honest on both American IV and V. Cash really brings new life into the songs he recorded. Knowing his history and life they really bring out the meaning behind the songs previously recorded by other arists.

    Wednesday, September 06, 2006

    Why should you be blogging?

    Brian Bailey has a link to a great podcast with former Microsoft employee and world renown blogger, Robert Scoble.
    Scoble was recently interviewed by one of his new Podtech co-workers. If you've ever wanted to hear a quick and clear case for blogging, this is it. Scoble presents an engaging, enthusiastic, truly heartfelt argument for corporations and organizations to embrace blogging and join the conversation happening all around them.
    "If I don't find you, you don't exist."
    As he shows, blogging is a powerful tool that allows you to talk to Google (marketing and search results) and to the people who are part of these word-of-mouth networks.
    If someone told me I had 15 minutes to convince them of why blogging is worth doing, this is what I would want them to hear.

    Listen to the podcast.


    From email:
    NEW YORK - A public school teacher was arrested today at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square, a slide rule, and a calculator. At a morning press conference, Attorney General John Ashcroft said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-gebra movement. He did not identify the man, who has been charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.
    "Al-gebra is a problem for us," Ashcroft said. "They desire solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They use secret code names like 'x' and 'y' and refer to themselves as 'unknowns,' but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, 'There are 3 sides to every triangle.' "
    When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, "If God had wanted us to have better Weapons of Math Instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes." White House aides told reporters they could not recall a more intelligent or profound statement by the president.

    Five blogs I wish were updated more often

    5. The Emergent Dyslexic
    4. MM Blog
    3. Soaring With Eagles
    2. Sojourners Jaunt
    1. My dad's blog: Passage to Higher Ground

    Five political/news blogs I read everyday

    5. Capital Annex
    4. Pink Dome
    3. Right of Texas
    2. Unfair Park
    1. Frontburner

    Creationism v Enviromentalism

    Eric emailed me the link to an article in The New Republic a few days ago, but I'm just now getting a chance to read the whole thing.
    It's an open letter to pastors from a scientist:
    Still, for all the positive signs, I remain puzzled that so many religious leaders have hesitated to make protection of the Creation an important part of their magisterium. Pastor, help me understand: Do they believe that human-centered ethics and preparation for the afterlife are the only things that matter? Do they believe that the Second Coming is imminent and that, therefore, the condition of the planet is of little consequence? These and other similar doctrines are not gospels of hope and compassion. They are gospels of cruelty and despair.
    You and I are both humanists in the broadest sense: Human welfare is at the center of our thought. So forget our disagreements, I say, and let us meet on common ground. That might not be as difficult as it first seems. When you think about it, our metaphysical differences have remarkably little effect on the conduct of our separate lives. My guess is that you and I are about equally ethical, patriotic, and altruistic. We are products of a civilization that rose from both religion and the science-based Enlightenment. We would gladly serve on the same jury, fight the same wars, and sanctify human life with the same intensity. Surely we also share a love of the Creation--and an understanding that, however the tensions play out between our opposing worldviews, however science and religion wax and wane in the minds of men, there remains the earthborn yet transcendental obligation we are both morally bound to share.
    Do Christians and evangelicals have an obligation to care for the planet and worry about enviromental concerns? And if so, why have we not in the past? Does it revolve around the "liberal enviromentalist wacko" and "conservative tree killer" labels?
    Take a moment to read the article and let me know what you think.

    encounter band online

    If you haven't been to the encounter website lately check it out. Many changes are happening.
    Along with a total redesign, the site now offers a podcast of the weekly messages and downloadable songs from the encounter band's first CD - recorded live during encounter services.
    Be sure to check it all out and tell your friends.
    We're also finishing up the final details/kinks with an encounter blog that should launch within the next week or so.
    Very exciting stuff going on over there. If you're in our neck of the woods (Waxahachie, Texas) and don't have a church home, come join us every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at the Waxahachie Civic Center - on the corner of Highway 287 and I-35.

    Monday, September 04, 2006

    Ready for some DIII football?

    This Saturday marks the first "official" week of DIII football and it should be an exciting year.
    My boy Chris Allman is covering the south region for
    Be sure to check him out and send him some love.
    It will be a great read all season long.

    Orange Note

    Thomas has put together a new mix in anticipation of Orange Note (the new working title for our radio and video stream).
    We hope to have a full programming schedule for the radio end in the next few weeks. Once the radio is up and running like we want, we'll start working out the details for the TV end.
    So far we've got some great programming lined up I think.
    Check out Thomas' new mix. Let us know what you think.
    We'll also be launching a new music store later today or tomorrow to help support the ministry.
    If you want to listen to the very random audio stream now, visit and click on the listen page.

    The Crocodile Hunter is dead

    An icon of the animal world is dead this morning. The man known to the world as "The Crocodile Hunter" has died during a tragic marine accident. Steve Irwin, Australia's one-of-a-kind crocodile king, was filming an underwater documentary on the Great Barrier Reef in northeastern Queensland when he was killed by a stingray barb. Cathie Schnitzerling, News Director for Channel Ten Australia spoke this morning about the emerging details.
    "It is a very rare accident. We are in shock"
    Irwin was famous for his enthusiasm for wildlife and catch phrase "Crikey."
    He is survived by his American- born wife, Terry, and their two children, Bindy and Bob. Irwin was 44.

    Sunday, September 03, 2006

    Encounter impact

    With Encounter's one year anniversary coming up next week, we sat down with some folks from our church and let them tell us about their experiences at Encounter.

    Blundell and Perry

    Blundell and Perry
    Originally uploaded by Jdblundell.

    I had the very unique opportunity to meet Texas Gov. Rick Perry and hold a one on one interview with him Sept. 1, 2006.
    Not going to lie - I heard the guy speak before the interview and the man can preach.

    Perry puts focus on growth, immigration

    Perry puts focus on growth, immigration

    By JONATHAN BLUNDELL Daily Light staff writer

    AUSTIN — With Labor Day, comes the unofficial start of the November campaign season and with four opponents vying for his residence at the governor’s mansion, Gov. Rick Perry doesn’t appear to be the least bit concerned.
    In fact, with two write-in candidates in 2002, the field was just as broad.
    Perry took home the win with 57.8 percent against Democrat Tony Sanchez (40 percent), as well as Libertarian Jeff Daiell (1.4 percent), Green Party candidate Rahul Mahajan (.7 percent) and write-ins Elaine Henderson (.04 percent) and Bill O’Neal (.02 percent).
    While his 2006 opponents carry much more name recognition than his 2002 opponents, Perry’s war chest and polling numbers show a majority of the state is still behind the Republican governor.
    As of the latest filings, Perry still leads the money race with $10.3 million in his campaign coffers.
    Independent candidate Carole Strayhorn has $8.9 million awaiting her use, Democratic candidate Chris Bell has $654,500 to work with, Independent candidate Kinky Friedman has $491,000 and Libertarian candidate James Werner lags behind with $1,300.
    Many political strategists believe that with five candidates running, 38 to 42 percent of the vote could win.
    Perry still remains at the top of the polls, but his numbers have declined as his opponent’s name recognition increases — yet he is still the only candidate to remain above 30 percent in this year’s campaign polls.
    The former state representative from West Texas, agricultural commissioner and lieutenant governor said he was surprised only four candidates were running against him.
    “I was surprised there weren’t 10,” Perry said. “It’s a great job. In fact, according to the man who held it before me, it’s the greatest job in the world. My goal is to get more votes than the next closest person and win the election. I’m a results-oriented person, not a process-driven guy. There are plenty of people in the political world, consultants and media who like to spend a lot of time, ink and intellectual effort on the process stories. That’s fine but I only have so many hours to focus and work in a day and I’m real goal-oriented. So my goal is to win the election so I can continue to make a difference in people’s lives. How we do that, and what the score is, is for someone else to deal with. I cannot make a difference if I come in second.”

    State growth

    After being sworn in as governor on Dec. 21, 2000, Perry has served six years as the state’s highest elected official and with that experience, Perry believes the greatest issue facing Texas in the next four years is the state’s continued population growth.
    “Without a doubt the greatest issue is the number of people we’re absorbing into the state — the population growth,” Perry said. “It’s a two-edged sword, people move to the state of Texas because there’s a great business climate, there’s a great opportunity for them to better their lives. Toyota thought it was a good enough business climate to invest $2 billion here. Samsung thought it was a good enough business climate to invest $3 billion in Austin. Texas Instruments thought it was a good enough business climate to invest in a $3 billion microchip plant. Obviously, that is an ever growing list and since June 2003 we’ve seen 630,000 net new jobs in the state. There’s a reason for that. We have a fair tax structure, balanced regulatory fund, fair legal system and we continue to invest in our public schools, in our public school teachers and in our children. Therefore, we have a skilled workforce. All those things collectively tell job creators that this is the state you want to be in. We’ve got one of the fastest job rates both percentage- and number-wise in the country. And it’s not because we have real pleasant weather in August.”
    To deal with the population challenges Perry is calling for continued improvements to the state’s infrastructure.
    “It is a multi-pronged view that you must have,” Perry said. “There’s dealing with transportation infrastructure — which is the reason why four years ago I laid out a plan to deal with the congestion, air pollution, safety issues and the Trans-Texas Corridor subsequently became statutorily the law of the land if you will. And now it’s being constructed.”
    Perry touted the TTC as the first plan for the state’s transportation needs in the last 20 years.
    “For 20 years there were people who looked at it and just scratched their heads and said, ‘Well, we’ll try to keep up and keep these roads open that we have,’ ” Perry said. “But there were no plans to create new infrastructure in the state. Economic growth as well as degradation of our environment and degradation of our citizen safety was about to become very pronounced in this state.”

    Education funding

    Along with transportation, Perry said there must also be continued improvements to the state’s education-based infrastructure.
    “Obviously the building of infrastructure in higher education (will help),” Perry said. “We’ve got more kids going to college than we have ever before and you would think that was because we have an increase in the number of people into the state. But the fact is from 1999 to 2005 we’ve had a 21 percent increase in the number of kids to enroll in college while we only had a 10 percent increase in population.
    “We’re really encouraging and helping students through student aid type programs. The accessibility and affordability of colleges is improving. I have delivered $1.8 billion for facilities with tuition revenue bonds for new facilities. What we did for K through 12 was extremely helpful as well. There are $1.3 billion in new dollars flowing into public schools and there will be $2 million new dollars in the out year. That is substantial money flowing into education. We also have a $2,000 across-the-board pay increase for teachers and a merit pay program that will allow some teachers up to $10,000 a year. It’s the largest merit pay program in America.”
    While Perry touts the recent budget changes during this year’s special legislative session, his opponents are using the changes to attack him.
    An e-mail was mailed this week to teachers across the area and state accusing Perry of forcing the Texas Retirement System to make drastic cuts in teacher pensions.
    Perry said the e-mail was completely false and was nothing more than a political attack.
    “We asked every agency in the state to come up with ideas to cut their budget,” Perry said. “That’s good public policy. It’s a good process to go through. I hope you do it in your life. From time to time you say, ‘I’m going to re-evaluate everything I do here. Do I really need NetFlix? Do I really need 186 channels? Do I really need to be driving this car? Do I really need to be making these expenditures in my life?’ And there are things that must be paid for. ‘I’ve got to pay my rent or mortgage’ or ‘I’ve got to pay the car payment.’ Some of those are a must. There are things out there, whether you’re in the state government or private sector that we’ve got to take a look at — and people do too.
    “I’m sorry if I’m passionate about this, but it greatly disturbs me that a group who’s supposed to be looking after the best interest of the teachers would blatantly use a political statement 60 days before the election in an absolutely false way. As a matter of fact I would challenge them to send a letter to all their teachers and show them how I supported the Teacher Retirement System in 1999 and again in 2001 with funding increases — my bet is they probably don’t.”
    Perry said if the TRS presents a budget seeking to cut teacher pensions he will ask his board members to find other ways to make cuts.
    “I will ask my board members to take another look at it and see if there’s any place administratively or in some other way, form or fashion that they can make some reductions,” Perry said. “It’s not lost on me that state agencies play the political game too. ‘Oh, they want a 10 percent cut? Well, how do you like this, governor? Let’s cut the one thing that people are passionate about.’ I’ve been doing this for 22 years and didn’t fall off the pumpkin truck last night — at least not on my head anyways.”


    Perry also continues to support the TAKS test, while each of his opponents have come out against the current system.
    “There’s nothing wrong with teaching to the test, it’s a curriculum,” Perry said. “The fact of the matter is that we are teaching a curriculum and then we are testing on the curriculum. When I was a kid in school, that was considered to be a standard practice and frankly we’ve gotten away from that. Now we are back to using a curriculum-based test to measure what our children know. And guess what, our children are performing at a higher level than they have historically. We are performing at a higher level nationally. As late as last week we even showed progress on SAT scores.”
    According to the College Board, the state’s SAT scores stayed the same or were raised on both verbal and math areas from 2004 to 2005.
    “My point is, I’m a defender of accountability,” Perry said. “I’m a defender of the TAKS test. As it is, it’s formulated to teach a curriculum and then to test that curriculum. My opponents, it appears, it’s sometimes hard to figure out what they’re for, they’re pretty good at saying what they’re against, my instinct and my gleaning through their ramblings is that they would be for going back to the old days of social promotion where you sure don’t want to make anybody feel bad about having to take a test or feel bad about not making the grade, so let’s pat them on their back and send them on to the next grade because we sure don’t want to make them feel bad. Then they step out in the real world and get slapped down by the reality of the real world. The real world does not, quite frankly, care how you feel. The real world is going to be a test and I want our children to be prepared for it rigorously. Not just be prepared but succeed in that highly competitive world.”
    Perry sees the need for accountability because he believes students should be prepared for competing in the global community, not just a regional or district community.
    “When I graduated from Pan Creek Rural High School in 1968, my competition was the 12 other people in my class,” Perry said. “By and large it was a very regionalized competition. When my son graduated from college this last May his competition was graduating the same day in Tokyo, Japan, Istanbul, Turkey, London, England, Beijing, China. Our children are in a global competition in a worldwide marketplace. And for us not to give them every tool to compete is to fail them — and it is a tough competitive world out there. I understand people’s concerns, but the fact of the matter is that no one has laid out a better concept to raise the bar for our children and be able to measure and diagnostically test. We have revolutionized over the past six years, in the state of Texas, the tools that are available to help kids perform at a higher level. And I’m proud of that.”
    And while accusations abound of teachers only teaching students how to pass the test and not the curriculum itself, Perry said that policing of those teachers should come from their peers and their schools.
    “I hope they’re teaching the curriculum. If they’re not, there’s a problem there,” Perry said. “And the local school needs to be addressing a teacher that is shortchanging those students. Quite frankly, by not teaching the curriculum and only teaching the test — I’ll be real honest with you - if we have teachers who are doing that, they ought to be brought up and that brought up is not a term that’s positive. There needs to be a little self-policing by the principal and the other teachers because they’re frankly hurting themselves and the reputation of the school by doing that.”


    As for illegal immigration issues in Texas, which has the largest Mexico/U.S. border, Perry said the federal government must first secure the border before moving on to other issues.
    “You cannot have a legitimate, intellectual, constructive debate on immigration policy until you secure the border,” Perry said. “We’ve shown the federal government how to do that. We have invested substantial state dollars and used Department of Public Safety, Parks and Wildlife and all of our law enforcement assets in coordination with the law and the federal border patrol and our national guard in a way that’s been highly successful.
    “It’s been identified by those border sheriffs - these are all Democrats, keep in mind, these are not people who share my political party - they have stood up and said this governor really gets it about securing the border. Operation Linebacker and Operation Rio Grande have been highly successful in reducing the amount of crime by upwards of 70 percent on some of the sectors of the border.”
    Once the border is secure, Perry feels the real debate can begin.
    “If the federal government is serious about securing our border and they will come to Texas and we’ll show them how to do it,” Perry said. “Then we can have an appropriate debate on immigration policy. Do we need a guest worker program? I happen to believe we do. Can you structure one that will address the work needs in Texas and the United States? Absolutely. Are we going to have an amnesty for these 11 million people? No, but we can have some type of alien resident program where these people are identified, they come out of the shadows, they pay taxes and they are given the ability to move between the two countries appropriately. But you cannot do that until you secure the borders.
    “A fence or wall won’t work. You can’t even get a dam built in parts of Texas because of the environmental impact. Can you imagine a 1,200-mile wall? The environmentalists would go nuts. So there are probably some places in the highly urbanized areas along the border where fences help to control the illegal flow. But the fact of the matter is that a 1,200-mile obstruction of any type is unreasonable and unrealistic both in cost and time and reality.
    “They’re passing legislation in California and Arizona to make it illegal to burrow under the border. I’m kind of like, ‘Duh. That’s going to stop them?’ Some of these laws get passed because they make people feel better but they have absolutely zero impact on reality. And they asked, ‘Don’t you have a problem with people burrowing under the border?’ I said by and large no, because it’s a long way because of the river.
    You’ve got to burrow a long, long way.”

    Standing by his record

    With Election Day just more than 60 days away, Perry said his record will speak for itself.
    “I’ve got a record that I’m very proud of and I want people to look at my record,” Perry said. “The other folks frankly don’t have much of a record and they really haven’t laid out many ideas about how they would improve the state of Texas.”
    Pulling from President Ronald Reagan’s campaign, Perry said voters in Ellis County and Texas should ask themselves if they’re better off today than they were four years ago.
    “Is the economy in Ellis County better today than it was four years ago? Are the decisions this governor made over the course of the last four years good and will four more years tend to make it better?” Perry asked. “And I would suggest to them yes. Whether it’s on transportation, economic development, public schools, kids’ chances of opportunity, kids going to college - all of those are positive for the citizens of Ellis County.”