June 30, 2006

Mac App's that you need

Tomorrow is my final in Latin, so what a better way to use my time than to find and play with all these nifty app's for my laptop. Here's a list of some free applications that I'm currently using, and some of them I don't know how I ever got along without them.

1. Butler: This rocks my socks off! If you don't have, don't even read on. GO GET IT! What it does is that butler takes your finder and gives you easy access from your top toolbar, and much, much more. Not to mention that you can access all your bookmarks, google, amazon, I-tunes, and on, and on from it. Like I said, get it.

2. Desktop Manager: Here's something that can keep you desktops less cluttered by allowing you to have between 4 to 10 desktops to scroll to and from. That way you can have all your latin on one desktop, and when the teacher isn't looking, you can be surfing the internet on another.

3. Backlight: takes your screensavers and uses them as your desktop background. Impressive party trick!

4. Qumana: This is a free personal blog editor. I use every once and a while, it works well and is good for it's cost...free!

5. Blue Coconut: Now you no longer have to just listen to other people's Itunes, you can take them. It's senstive sometimes, so you have to take it off and redownload it sometimes.

6. Podview: Along the lines off above, this app takes music, pic's, movies, whatever from an Ipod and allows you to look at or take it, and put it on your computer.

7. Corripio: For all those CD's and tracks you've permentely borrowed, Corripio will find all the art and covers for Itunes.

8. Delibar: Allows you to access your Del.ic.ious from the top toolbar...coupled with Butler, you'll be unstoppable.

Post your freeware that you just couldn't live without!

June 28, 2006

McKnight on Justification

Scot McKnight, author of the Jesus Creed (which is on my reading list for the summer), has written some good thoughts on justification, salvation, and reconciliation.

My thought, though, is I wonder if the authors of the Scriptures and early Christians parsed each idea so much like we do as modern Christians. It seems that the way we take apart and parse these ideas stems from the enlightenment project and scientific study methods.

I wonder if each word overlaps and contains the other, so that you cannot have one without the other. Sometimes it seems that the ideas are held in tension, such as the idea that the kingdom has come, but not fully.

June 26, 2006


Since I've started sacramental mustang, I haven't had time for too much else, even online play. So that means I haven't touched my newsreader in weeks. For fun, in class, I thought I would open it and see what we got...(drumroll please)


Looks like I won't be paying attention in Latin today.

June 25, 2006

How do you take inner city kids in the roughest, most oppressed parts of LA out of gang bangin' and drug slingin'?

That's an easy one...clown makeup and the stripper dance.

When it comes to building community, we as Americans suck. And the church, well, the church really isn't all that good at it either. Over at myfourwalls there is a conversation going on right now about this very thing that seems to escape us, but we need. We are so fragmented in our communities that we forget to connect, or we just don't know how to.

Tonight, I watched the documentary Rize, and that's a good place to look for community. What does a documentary about clown dancing or krumping in the ghetto's of LA have to do with Christian community? Everything.

Watch it.

June 24, 2006

Peace by Way of War

Derek Webb:
peace by way of war is like purity by way of fornication
it’s like telling someone murder is wrong
and then showing them by way of execution

how can i kill the ones i’m supposed to love
my enemies are men like me
i will protest the sword if it’s not wielded well
my enemies are men like me

How Much? A Spiritual Question...

Like I said before, I want and am trying to make this project of mine a spiritual discipline. In many ways it has been. I've learned some things about myself, been able to create a different community, and have had a different prayer life (and sometimes language at times).

One my mind and heart this week has been the question of how much is enough? This, of course, is not a question directed just a this project, but life, business, economics, money in general. Putting money into sacramental mustang has not been a question, because no matter what it'll be cheaper than a new car. Sometimes though, I have to stop and ask myself, do I really need that? But here's the thing, I'm not sure alot of times. When it comes to spending money is there a gray area or something. I mean, I know I point at big business and government and mock the way they spend money when so many people, nations, cultures would benefit from just a percentage of how money is wasted and used. Then, I look into my life, and see the same thing, in a way, only on a smaller scale. Do I really need those heads that will help make 70 more horses? Or that cam that will make my car sound cool? Paint? Is that just superficial?

These seem like easy questions right? Of course not! Well, then do I need this laptop? I could have just used paper for notes. My apartment? There are much cheaper units in Temple. My Dog? He eats (alot). So my question is, when is it too much? I feel like many of these decisions are guided by comfort or ease of life. Well, I need this laptop to make it easier, my apartment to be "safer," my dog, well I'm not sure on that one. Is it justifiable because I'm not spending ridiculou amounts of money like businesses can?

So, I've learned to live a little more in grace, knowing that I have so much. I've learned that it's harder for me to point fingers, when I'm not part of the solution. I've learned to be a little less judgemental on how others spend money. I've learned that the answer isn't always simple (Mary washing Jesus with that alabaster box). I've learned that my possesions aren't all that important, money's not that important, but it is a means to end.

I'm sorry if these thoughts are scattered, but the my thoughts and ideas are still being formed, I just wanted to get it out there. What are you're thoughts?

Brake Parts!

So, this week my brakes didn't come together, it was a bit disallusioning. I thought I had most of my bases covered, but of course we hit some minor and major walls. First, to install disc brakes in the rear of any car is to change alot in the braking system. One of the major mod's is to defeat the stock proportioning valve, so you can install an adjustable one and be able to control and adjust it yourself. This is important so your rear brakes won't stop before your front, making the car sling around (no fun in rain or ice). So order the plug to defeat the valve, but for some strang reason, unbenownst to my, its too small. Instead of using this plug that I paid 6 bucks for, I've decided to take the plug that came out of the valve, fill it with JB Weld, and put it back it (and pray that it will hold up against brake fluid!!!). Now, I'm just waiting for it to really dry and set for a few days.

The next problem I ran into, which was the most frustrating for the week is that the brake brackets I have for the rear to mount up my calipers don't work. Here's the deal though, the first time I put the rear end together, filled it with lube, and sealed it, I realized that I didn't have the brackets on. OK, so I took the rear end apart, again, and drained the fluid into a clean pan to reuse, put then brackets on, then put it all back together, filled it, sealed it. Then, a few days ago, I tried to mount up my rear brakes, NO GO. Wrong brackets. Well, I pulled it apart again, drained the fluid again, and will have to fill it and seal it again. I don't really mind taking it apart anymore, I mean, I'm a pro at that by now. The real downer is that the brackets that I needed cost 175 dollars. OUCH! All of this could have been avoided too, if I had known that instead of using stock lenght axles, I could have used longer axles of a 94-98 mustang. Oh Well.

The good news for the week, I have all my parts together now. All I have to do is get my parking brake handle welded together, get my front tires, put all the brakes together, bleed them, put the rear end together, and the brakes will be done!!! I have a latin test on tuesday, so I won't be able to work on the car immediately, but hopefully the brakes will be done my Tuesday night or Wednesday and that'll be a relief.

What next for Sacramental Mustang? I plan on slowing down some and taking my time with the engine. I want to clean up the engine bay, hide the wires, and paint it black where Ford missed some spots. Hiding the wires will be the trickiest part, because if I screw them up, then FIRE. Nobody wants that.

The engine has been sitting for about 1o years, so I'll have to manuelly run oil through it, but I don't think that will be too difficult. Then, I'll take the engine apart, well, the heads, camshaft, and intake are all coming off to make room for the new go fast parts.

All that's left to buy, I hope anyways, are some headlights (the lights yes, but also the whole assembly), because my car doesn't have any, and some small miscellanious parts to get her up and running. A guy in Dallas may trade my hood for a hood that I want, and maybe after doing hte firework's stand this holiday, we can get it painted.

I'll get some pic's posted when the new brakes go on!

June 19, 2006

Oh the Humanity!

So it's been quite a few weeks now since I've started my little project, sacramental mustang. I've learned some things about myself like how I have little patience for things that seem easy on paper, but don't quite come out well in reality, or how I can become so absorbed in what I'm doing...the task at hand, that my relationships with others suffer. Sometimes, I've learned, it's best to stop and just breath, enjoy it even.

One of the harder things I'm thinking about as I continue the build is how do we as theologians, pastors, ministers reach the working class, those who are consumed by their work, who are living in the practical, day to day battle of life. Sacramental mustang has forced me to think differently than I have been for the last few years. To go from theology and philosophy to practical thougth has been an exercise itself. Right now, I've been so consumed with what I'm doing that I hardly have time to think about theology, why it's important that the church emerges, or whatever. All I can think about is how much the next part is going to cost, and how in the hell I'm going to put it together. So, how do we as ministers reach those who don't have the time or thoughts for theology. More importantly, how do we build a deep faith into the lives of those who are already consumed, how can we redeem their situation, so that what they are consumed in becomes a spiritual discipline?

Overrall, I think this project has brought out my true humanity in me. I have my ups and lows, anger and joy. It's been harder and more expensive than I planned, but I guess that's life...right?

June 13, 2006

Joe? Where are you?

Of course, where'd ya think. Just in case you were wondering if blogging was a fad, seeing that I haven't really touched it too often here lately, let me say, I wish that was the reason. You see, building this car has become very consuming. So if you don't see me or hear from me, I'm right where the photo shows.

Besides working on "Sacramental Mustang," I've been doing some other things to keep busy. For the first half of the summer, I'm taking Latin 1301...lots of memorizing. I'm starting to fall behind a little because of the time I've been putting into the car (not good).

Also, I've been working really hard on the car this week, because this week is my first official week at my new job. Yes, a job. I know, I know, 2 years later. Hey, it's even in ministy, so there ya go. As of this Sunday, I'll be on board at

FBC Georgetown as the college/singles minister. I'll have to post in this later, as I'm not too comfortable in the bigger church, but it's exciting because this is a chance to minister to the age group that doesn't really get ministered to.

Charlotte and I have been keeping busy hanging out with friends. It's been exciting to build the relationships we have here at our apartment complex...because of our dog. Yeah, I call that sacramental dog owning.

I'm tired, but I love it. I pray that God gives me grace during these times, mostly because there are so many new people put in my path because of all these different things. Maybe things will slow down, but I doubt it until Sacramental Mustang is done.

June 6, 2006

Sacramental Brakes

Much of what goes into building a car is like anything else...thought and research. The first thing to be done on Sacramental Mustang is the brakes. The Fox Body Mustang is notorious for bad brakes, plus 79-93 was the year for the akward 4 lugs axles and spindles. So, right now, I'm working on gathering parts to do a 5 lug, all-wheel disc brake conversion. My dad did a great job of gathering some of the main things like spindles, calipers, and some smaller parts.

I have to to get gather 5 lug axles, rims, tires, brake lines, rotors, brake pads, a new master cylinder, and some smaller parts to put it all together. I've found some rotors and pads on ebay for a decent price, and am hoping to get some axles there too( because our local junkyard is pricy).

As you can tell, this is no small project. I have to fabricate the brake lines myself, and make sure the things actually work. Plus, I have no idea how to fix the parking brake. I found a guy up in Ft. Worth who has some rims for a really good price, although one of them is slightly damaged.

This part of the build is frustatingly slow, because I can't do anything without all the parts. So I have to spend money on everything all at once to get it going. It will be nice when I can go get my hands dirty and see some results. Even then, there's the expectation though of running into hurdles, especially when it comes to the brake lines and parking brake.

When all is said and done, the car will stop safely and on a dime. Plus, it will look really cool too!

June 5, 2006

Witnessing for Legalism

How do we make people "christian?" Why do we witness? What is a witness? Evangelism? Who does it, and how do they do it?

Recently I had a conversation, and many of these questions and ideas came up. To be honest, these things bother me. When I first became a Christian in late high school, I was broken and transformed by Christ. Through a few years of fundamental, overly conservative church attendance, not to mention this place, I lost my first love. The life Christ gave me was stomped out, replaced by legalism.

Legalism was my number one goal and I didn't realize it. Why? because I was concerned with being a good "Christian," and had to have a good witness. No matter what I had to protect my witness, and the world made me sick, secular music made me sick, to be honest secular people made me sick. Love the sinner, hate the sin...yeah right. This so easily translates into hate the sinner, until they are a good and clean Christian.

Now, well, I've changed. I love God again, I love his work, and I love people, especially those who say stuff like damn and shit, those who like a good beer, those who don't think like I do. And here's the deal, I DON'T WANT ONE SINGLE PERSON TO EVER BECOME A CHRISTIAN BECAUSE OF ME! (I know, your expecting me to say, I want God to do it...but that's not where I'm going either).

See, a Christian is a person who rearranges their life around the western, modern day church. To go to church every Sunday, to dress right, to quit smoking, cursing, stop being a liberal. Being a Christian is adopting principles and practices of men, to be like the world, but in the culture of Christianity.

Rather, God is working in this world. He speaks to people through movies, music, conversation, and much more. People outside the walls of the Christian world are thirsty for spiritual things. Everyone is concerned with the kingdom of God, whether they know it or not. Where do I come it. I'm sent by God to help others actualize and realize God in their life. Allow them to become followers of Christ in their culture, to their friends. These people become the church fluid.

I no longer need to worry about my outside appearence so much, creating constructs to follow so that my "witness" will be protected. I worry about following Jesus in my community, here at church and here at the apartments. Both need to be redeemed, both need Jesus. What does it look like? Genuine, real, ugly, broken and redeemed. Fun, exciting, mysterious, hard. It simply looks like life as a Jesus follower.


Baptist Art

Steve McKoy has two really good blogs, Reformissionary and Missional Baptist, but I love his photo's. This one is a recent that I really like.

It's good for me to find a baptist who cares about missionality within the denomination and art, like what you see above. He's not always thinking with one side of the brain, and the church needs that.

June 1, 2006

Oldham on Brown

I know I said I would quit blogging the Da Vinci Code stuff, but here's on last thing. I figured I would post something different from what I'm saying. You can hear streaming audio or download a sermon by Dr. Steve Oldham from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. He goes about proving it wrong and I like the way he handles it: he's a bit comical, corny, and weaves in the Christian story. Enjoy!

To listen you have to go to First Baptist Georgetown's site, and click on the Da Vinci Code link, then click on Steve Oldham's sermon.