Tuesday, April 27, 2004


Well, I read Rebecca Blood's book The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaining Your Blog. I like the book and I like the Author's style too. I think, however, I am not interested in maintaining a "filter" style blog.

I tend to be too conservative. I stick pretty close to my own corner of the internet. I read a few blogs on a regular basis, but I limit my time to explore. I like to link to interesting articles, but it takes such a long time for me to compose decent remarks (I am pretty fussy) that I don't even do that often.

The PBGs' path was originally an expose of my experiences in running.

Things have drifted a bit recently. I am focusing more and more on the process of blogging and attracting attention and less and less on the important matter of my spiritual growth. The PBGs have told me time and again that the web stuff is simply a distraction.

So if you'll excuse me, I have a job to go search for.

On the other hand, I still like blogging. Maybe I'll get one of those sites that allows you to divide your posts into categories. That way, I can have PBGish thoughts and web-linky thought and keep them separate.

Tell me what you think. If you know how they do that, leave me a comment.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Give us this Day...

On my lunch break, I took a stroll around the building. With the wierd weather this year, I wanted to enjoy the lack of wind and sunny skies. Nice and warm.

On a whim, I sub-verbalized a "prayer" of thanks giving to God for giving me so much in my life.

Of course, God didn't make a sunny day just for my pleasure. She would have made it sunny anyway. But God also brought me to the point where I was able to be glad to experience the day.

Those of you who are parents will probably understand that we give to our children not because we need their praise. We don't feed, clothe, bathe, shelter, ..., (we don't want to be here all night) them because we want them to make us cute little statues in school. We do it because we love them unconditionally. We forgive their mistakes. We love them because of their imperfections.

God's love it like that too.

That helps me feel more comfortable about thanking God. God doesn't demand my thanks. Every parent knows that a child's 'debt' is not repaid by strips of burlap, glue, tissue paper and pipe-cleaners. It is repaid with a look, a touch, a smile and just the fact that they are who they are.

That they are growing to be who they are destined to be.

So in your life, do your best to make your God proud of you. Not for his praise. Not as a repayment of the goodness you have received. Not even for the praise you might receive from God's other children. But simply because it is the right thing to do.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Pressure to Change

6.4 Km, 30:27.36, Sunny 3°C, light wind

Ran by myself today on Neal's School route. I pushed myself much harder than I would have prior to running with Neal (approx. 7 min & 37 sec per mile!).

I guess in a way, I am pushing myself to be a better Christian too. My friends down south would probably say that I am getting a healthy shove from God too. Can't deny that. It would be tough to pull this old camel through a particularly tiny needle eye without some spiritual assistance.

Looking back on my spiritual quest, I am amazed. When I look back on my marathoning path I am equally amazed. I wouldn't say I was in bad shape before I started running. It is just that I am in so much better shape now.

Then there is my quest to be a good group leader. There are loads of a few skills I don't posses that are necessary for being a good leader:

  • planning skills
  • organization skills
  • ability to call people on the phone (remember my phone phobia?)
  • administrative experience

Well I guess I have a bit of all of those skills. Pushing myself to do these things is what makes me stronger in these areas. God's support helps me to face what I would ordinarily shy away from. Having a Godly purpose makes the doing easier and the 'pain' worth it.

Heck even the pain doesn't seem all that awful.

One final note. I am under immense pressure and stress. But my attitude is still relatively positive. Thank you everyone, Mo especially, for your support

[editor note: I want to bring the running back to the PBGs' Path by listing the run stats at the top like my earlier posts.]

Friday, April 16, 2004

Unclean Spirit

I learn more from preparing for a Sunday School Rotation than any other time.

Parable of the Empty House -- taken from Jesus Christ and the Christian Life: Vignettes of Truth

When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but it finds none. Then it says, "I will return to my house from which I came." And when it comes it finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.

Matthew 12:43-45

Here, vividly if grimly, is dramatized the peril of the uncommitted life, of one who may have had a genuine religious experience of forgiveness and deliverance but who does not follow it up with the positive acts and discipline of discipleship. The cleaned house needs to be occupied by the Holy Spirit.

I think this is an answer to the discussion I had recently about why "just being a good person" isn't enough. If your house is empty, who knows what will take up residence. If you do not know where you stand, you open yourself to drifting without purpose and conviction. Who knows what 'demons' will 'possess' you. Drug addictions, workaholism, sex addition, depression,... there are lots of demons we employ when our lives are empty and without purpose.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Between a Bunny and a Hard Place

Tonight, Mo and I read an article in the paper about Easter becoming too commercialized. This all-too-familiar rant appears for almost every holiday season now. It is almost as predictable as the changing of the seasons. While I agree with the sentiment, it has definitely lost a lot of its bite for me.

But it did get me thinking.

Having recently been to the Passion of the Christ, the contrast between Bunnies and Blood is very much at the forefront of my mind.

On one hand there are those who want to shock you into believing. They want you to believe that God will be angry with you if you don't acknowledge that Jesus died a horrible death on the cross because we are intrinsically sinful from birth:

BBC news reported at the end of March on a mock crucifixion, complete with fake blood and gore that shocked shoppers and bystanders in the town of Reading.

Here is another article about the same story in the Guardian:Gory crucifixion makes town's shoppers cross

And on the other hand, there are whole stores set up to sell us Jesus' merchandise:

Devine Treasures is a store that is having a sale on Easter paraphenalia. I checked out the rest of their site and found a plethora of religious items for sale. Crosses, plaques, plates, crucifixes, statues, angles, music boxes etc. Why don't they set up a temple, get some money changers and sell some indugences as well?

It is the Golden Calf that we pay homage to, not God or Jesus.

So it isn't just secular society that is selling Jesus down the Via Dolorosa.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Not your Every-Day Rat food!

I just couldn't resist quoting this little gem from Ms. Frizzle's blog:
You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.

-Anne Lamott

While I am not big on hating anybody, I am moved to think about who my 'created' gods, the PBGs, hate. LOL.

I also got a giggle from her lab rat story about infrequent blog posters. I hope the PBGs Path is on the Frizz's visitation list.

Internet Hand of God

I have knowingly put my hand into a hornets nest. My post Yes, but am I a Christian? has attracted attention from the USA bible belt. No fur has flown yet, but I fully expect that someone will see my attitude as blasphemous.

I assure you that my intent is far from blasphemy. When I use the term "Pop Bottle Gods" or PBGs it is really a placeholder for the God we all hold so dear. Due to my past non-involvement with organized religion, my PBGs were an access point that I found less threatening and more palatable during my spiritual awakening. They (the PBGs) allowed me to have a dialog with the divine that would not be possible in any other way. Through this conversation, I have become more involved with our church (through the grace of God) and I have far less discomfort with the term "God".

As I have written elsewhere, I have a knee-jerk reaction to the word "jesus" (lower case 'j' intentional). I continue to have associations between jesus and evangelical-born-again-Christians. The negative connotation stems from the secular world's general disdain of all things religious. It also stems from the witness attempts by groups such as the Mormons (more formally The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), Jehovah's witness, and others.

Now that my own attitudes toward my own spirituality have changed, I am less dismissive of these witness attempts. I am less vulnerable because I am more comfortable with my own faith. More importantly, I am more able to discuss intelligently with witnessers the merits of their position. Sometimes I can even leave them with thoughts about their own beliefs.

After all, I have just as much to learn from these children of our common God as they do from me. The details of their beliefs are different from mine. But that doesn't make them less human, nor does it make them less my neighbors in God.

Join the discussion! I now have my TrackBack thingy working.

Thank you Ron Shank for your prayers and your plea to potential "blaster" to hold back. I am indeed, as you say, "called by God". I do not know where God leads me, but I do know the place I go will be far grander than the place I would have gone with out Him/Her.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Yes, but am I a Christian?

On one of my blogrolled sites, Susan says Is He a Christian? From her description I am not at all sure that I would qualify as a Christian. So I left her a comment to see what she thinks. I hope she responds either on her site or mine.

Susan, if you are reading this, check out my PBGs introduction page. My journey has been pretty non-standard to this point and I wonder what you think of it.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Spam Report: Is It A Stroke?

Do you get emails from friends and relatives that say, "Pass this on to everyone in your address book"? Most of my acquaintances know that I don't respond to these and I usually don't forward them either.

But when I do get them, I don't just delete them. I am usually a little more proactive about the "spam" I receive. I like to inform myself about the messages I am sent. (Hence my "Spam Report" series) Then, if I find something dangerous or interesting, I send a reply to the person who sent me the email. Sometimes I tell them they are propagating a hoax. Sometime I tell them that they have been tricked.

To my surprise, the latest "pass it on" email I received from my brother contains valid advice that is based on fact rather than fiction! The email concerns three warning signs of stroke:

  • ask the individual to smile.
  • ask him or her to raise both arms
  • ask the person to speak a simple sentence

You can read more about it here