The World According to kcillini77

September 26, 2006

Brinton Update

Filed under: Family — kcillini77 @ 7:05 am

We took Brinton down to the Plaza Art Fair on Sunday, which is where the first two pics were taken. He is able to hold his own bottle now, which is a big help when we are trying to get something else done. So far he’s been healthy, is sleeping through the night, and is just a lot of fun. Of course it’s easy for me to say that since I don’t stay home with him all day. I know he has his moments 🙂

In Grandpa's lap

Mommy and me at the art fair

My momma dresses me funny

Holding my own bottle

Shhh!  I'm Sleeping

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September 23, 2006

Mmmmm….beer.

Filed under: Christianity,Food and Drink — kcillini77 @ 7:33 am

If you are around me for an appreciable length of time, chances are you will find that I am a fan of beer. Not your average, everyday, corn and water tasting Bud and Miller products, but craft beers made with exceptional care and flavor. Knowing that I am a Christian, this oftentimes confuses other Christians as to my “level” of spirituality. Maybe I’m a seeker who has yet to discover the evils of alcohol, or maybe I’m a “backslider”. Among non-Christians, there has been confusion as well occasionally due to the fact that so many Christians they have known have been anti-alcohol. Ironically, that very subject has occasionally led to opportunities for me to discuss the meat of Christianity with non-Christian friends over a beer.

The way I’ve opened, I’m sure this sounds like I am attempting to justify something I enjoy and try to bring others with me. That’s not ultimately my goal at all. There are many reasons for someone to decide not to drink in today’s society, and reasons for them to encourage others not to drink as well. In our world of gluttony, many who drink jump immediately into a pattern of abuse as they can’t ever come to grips with how much is too much. Some have a chemical predisposition to alcoholism. This leads to all sorts of problems – drunk driving tragedies, crimes committed while intoxicated, and unwanted sexual encounters just to name a few. All of these horrible things, however, are not caused by alcohol itself. They are caused by intentional abuse of alcohol and by the release of inhibitions that allow someone to do what was in their heart already.

As Christians, the standard by which we live our lives is the Bible, given to us by God for instruction and revelation. Many teetotalers and pastors who rail on the evils of alcohol use scripture as a sword on this matter. But the fact is that they have chosen the verses that sound the most like their positions on the matter. I strongly encourage everyone to follow the link and read this overview of alcohol and the Bible. Read it with an open mind. Lay down your preconceived conclusions and try to examine this issue with virgin eyes and ears. Read the whole thing, because it will cover many of the questions you have, including the argument of the “weaker brother”. The goal is not to get someone who is against the use of alcohol to run out, buy a six pack, and experience what they’ve been missing. In fact, it’s not to encourage use of alcohol at all. It’s an exercise in looking at the whole of scripture to find out what the Bible really has to say instead of reading our thoughts into it.

If you read the overview, and you are against alcohol use, you are free to remain firm in your convictions. Just know that when you are warning others of the consequences of alcohol use, you should speak from personal experience or the experiences of others that you know. The Bible supports you in warning of abuse of alcohol, and you may point to those verses, but don’t use the Bible to support an idea that God desires all people to abstain from alcohol. If you go that far, you lose your credibility because the Bible does not support you.

If you read it, and enjoy alcoholic beverages, as I do, you are not off the hook. The Bible does provide clear warnings against abuse of alcohol, and we always need to keep those verses at the forefront of our minds. We are to always be of sound mind and body, and intentionally allowing anything to interfere with that is sin.

September 20, 2006

Lost Sheep

Filed under: Family — kcillini77 @ 9:32 pm

I got a call at work today shortly after lunch. It was Jennifer (my wife, for anyone who doesn’t know us).

“You have any vacation left?”

“Uh, why?”

“Champ went out the garage door and I can’t find him.”

“How long ago?”

“About half an hour.”

This is certainly unusual. Champ (our dog, again for those who don’t know us) will sometimes run out the door when presented with the opportunity, but is too much of a “people dog” to stay gone long. I wasn’t too thrilled with the prospect of using vacation time (which I’m running out of) to search for a dog I was sure would show up by the time I got out to my car, but Jen sounded like she really needed the help, so I talked to my boss and left work.

Two hours in to walking around the neighborhood, yelling his name, calling animal control, and putting flyers up, I started to think that we may never find him. He isn’t the type of dog to just meander through the neighborhood. He would have been distracted by a neighboring dog or cat, or any person in sight. The fact that no one we talked to had seen him led me to believe that he had to have been picked up by someone. The question was, what would that person do with him? I even started thinking that someone may well have just snatched him from the yard.

Have you ever lost something that meant a lot to you? We’re not the type of family with a dog that lives better than we do, but our currently neglected dog was, for the first part of our marriage, our “practice baby” and he has a way of showing us what unconditional love is (even if what he’s really expressing is something entirely different – it’s how we interpret it that counts). It’s not a perfect analogy, but out there looking for him, I started to feel like the shepherd in the parable looking for his lost sheep (and with his current hairdo, that part makes sense). I couldn’t just sit. I had to keep walking around the neighborhood, even as I started to think it was hopeless. Jen offered to drive around. I sat as she drove me to one mailbox and then got out and walked. I had to be out there walking.

And then, four hours into the adventure as I was putting up a sign at one of the last unadorned mailboxes in the neighborhood, I heard barking. I’d heard barking all day as I was walking, but this sounded familiar. Was it? Could it be? I walked toward the noise and saw a woman opening her garage. She said, “That’s not my dog.”

I asked, “It’s not a poodle is it?”

“Yeah, it’s a little poodle.”

As I said Champ’s name, he cowered a little, thinking he was in trouble for leaving us. I picked him up and gave him a big hug. The woman and I couldn’t figure out exactly the mystery of how he ended up in the garage. The theory involves her husband leaving the door open with his car in the driveway, and then driving off shutting the door with him inside. Doesn’t matter. He’s back.

I carried him back to the house and set him on the ground just in front of the garage Jen was cleaning so he could run in and surprise her. She looked up, yelled, and started crying. As I hugged her, I was obliged to join in.

champ1_resized.JPG

September 18, 2006

Does God Want You to Be Rich?

Filed under: America,Christianity — kcillini77 @ 10:59 pm

It’s probably already off newsstands, but if you get a chance, read the cover story in Time Magazine’s September 18, 2006 issue. Somewhat surprisingly, it does a good job of getting viewpoints from both sides of the debate and presenting some of the more common scriptures cited by people in both camps. I challenge anyone to mull over the case presented by those who think God is some kind of cosmic ATM based on convenient readings of assorted verses. I think even a cursory reading of this article, the verses presented, and the quotes from proponents weighed against an understanding of God’s nature as presented in the whole of scripture will lead you to this conclusion: Those who use the pulpit to give people in poverty false hope for riches in this life and pad their own pockets with donations from these same people are nuts at best – liars, manipulators, and frauds at worst. Instead of finding a way to twist Luke 6:38 (“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” NIV) into a promise of a Cadillac for the family gives their food budget to the church, they should be reading carefully over the whole of scripture, which says plainly that our reward is not here on earth. True, the pleasures of this life are gifts from God – a foretaste of what is to come in the new heaven and the new earth, but they are not what our hope is based on.

In the Time article, one of Joel Osteens parishoners, after describing how he’s on his way to a six figure income, and plans to have 25 acres with a pond, ponies, and a dreamhouse says, “I’m dreaming big – because all of heaven is dreaming big. Jesus died for our sins. That was the best gift God could give us. But we have something else. Because I want to follow Jesus and do what he ordained, God wants to support us. It’s Joel Osteen’s ministry that told me. Why would an awesome and mighty God want anything less for his children?”

This family may end up with a dream house. They may not. God allows riches for some, and relative poverty for others. Unless you pick and choose the verses you want completely out of context, God never says he will reward your faithfulness with the kind of riches that this churchgoer is dreaming of. In fact, Jesus cautions that riches make it hard for us to enter heaven, expressly because the tendency is to place our hope in these things and not on him. An awesome and mighty God wants eternity in heaven for his children, not (necessarily) a six figure income.
The preachers who are lining their bank accounts with bad theology derived from esoteric readings of scripture should take a few minutes to ponder a passage that isn’t too hard to understand:

Matthew 7

21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Sept. 18, 2006 Time

September 15, 2006

Awww, yeah!

Filed under: Blogroll,Food and Drink — kcillini77 @ 9:39 pm

If you build it they will come. The first free-standing Chick-fil-a in Kansas opened yesterday in Olathe. We didn’t camp out like some people did to be there on the first day, but we braved the lines out the door and the traffic jams tonight (Seriously. It’s not just fast food.) It’s years overdue, but finally here.

Heaven on a bun

September 14, 2006

Free Derek Webb!

Filed under: Music — kcillini77 @ 11:05 pm

If you haven’t heard it yet, do yourself a favor and go download “Mockingbird” for FREE at freederekwebb.com.  Derek was formerly in the band Caedmon’s Call.  Musically, he seems to be always trying something new with mixed results, in my opinion, but lyrically he is very challenging and thought provoking.  Pay special attention to the songs “A New Law” and “Rich Young Ruler.”  Have at it, kids.

September 11, 2006

Brad and Angelina – Freedom Fighters!

Filed under: America — kcillini77 @ 7:47 am

This is going to be quick, because I really need to get to work and 435 is down to 2 lanes at one point due to construction. But I had to mention this. While getting my traffic and weather 411 this morning I was also told the “news” that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have announced they will not be getting married until ALL Americans have the same right. I just had to laugh. Here’s a couple that has ditched all previous marriage commitments to go on to the next “true love” taking a moral stand on the issue of marriage. Now, don’t misunderstand my point. I realize that divorce is not unforgivable, and the fact that these two people have been divorced and gone on to other relationships does not make me any better than them. But the ridiculous stand they are taking to keep themselves from another bond of matrimony further illustrates that gay marriage is not an issue of equal rights for all. It is wholly based on a misunderstanding of marriage in the first place – a redefining of marriage as a matter of convenience. Marriage, to those pushing for the legalization of ALL marriages, is saying “I’ve fallen in love with this person, and until I fall out of love with him/her/it, I want to share their company benefits and have a better tax situation.” Of course the financial aspects are inconsequential to international movie stars, so with an understanding of marriage like that there is absolutely NO reason to get married, and the opportunity to demonstrate apparent compassion for those who cannot enter into such a legal status presents itself to them.

Anyway, time to hit the road. Enjoy your day.

September 10, 2006

The positive gospel

Filed under: America,Christianity — kcillini77 @ 6:49 pm

I’m confused. The Bible I am reading is full of real life. A mixture of a wonderful message of grace and love poured out by Christ, with the harsh reality of a life we all live that is full of pain, suffering, disease, and sin.

So why, when we live in a real world, and the Bible itself addresses a real world, is “Christian” literature and music categorized almost exclusively as “Inspirational”? Seriously, take a look at the sections of your megamart that cater to your average John and Jane Churchgoer. The section may even be called “Inspirational”. The descriptions of the books and songs are filled with words like “inspiration” and “positive”. Modern American feel-good psychotherapy packaged for Christian consumption screams “Your Best Life Now!” Anyone passing these sections of the local Wal-Mart or stumbling into a Christian bookstore is bound to view following Christ as a commitment to thinking good thoughts, being happy, and escaping or avoiding tough circumstances.

It’s not just our literature. The “family” movement of American Christianity promotes a culture of escapism. Rather than asking us to engage our culture, it asks us to pull our kids out of public schools lest Johnny be confronted with kids who cuss or a homosexual teacher.

This is a blog, and I am promising thoughts here, not always well-reasoned conclusions. All I’m saying at this point is I see a large disconnect between the gospel as presented in scripture and the gospel as largely presented in evangelical, right wing America. I’m on a journey, seeking to follow the Christ of scripture in the culture of America. It’s a tough road to hoe. The thoughts I just presented are not new thoughts to me, but quickly posted as I start this blog to introduce you to where I’m coming from. As I have some insight or question, I’ll try to share it here. Hopefully we’ll learn something together.

Welcome to my new site.

Filed under: Uncategorized — kcillini77 @ 4:27 pm

Xanga was getting old and I wasn’t updating it often.  I found wordpress and decided to give it a try. Check back soon for some real posts.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.