Sunday, December 24, 2006


Today over on Trace Elements my friend blogged about wrapping and such. It prompted a memory which I'll share here.

When I was about 13 or 14 I snooped.

There was a gift under the tree with my name on it, from Nanaan (grandma). One day when I was home alone I decided to open the gift. It was a pocket knife very similar to this one.I was blown away. My dad carried a small pocket knife, and I always thought that was cool. I knew I could not carry my knife in my pocket at school, but just the idea of me actually being an owner of a knife made me feel so grown up...

...but then it hit me: being a snooper made me feel really not grown up.

I had carefully unwrapped the gift, intending all along to put it back under the tree. As I now did so, I began to plan for the fake surprised look on my face on Christmas morning. I came to this conclusion:
snooping sucks
I've never prematurely opened a package again, and I have no idea what happened to that knife. On Christmas morning I acted surprised and I don't think anyone knew I had snooped. But I knew.

This crisp Christmas Eve morning I am struck with fresh thoughts of waiting for the right time to open a gift vs snooping and trying to find out early. I suppose the Jews of ancient Israel knew something of this waiting, as they eagerly anticipated Messiah. And I suppose that's what Advent is all about now: allowing desire to come to full fruition and allowing God, through the gift of Jesus, to be the supplier of all needs.

If Lent is about sacrificial identification with Jesus' sufferings, then Advent is about the beauty and goodness of anticipation, and (to put a bit of a Zen spin on it, I suppose) allowing now to matter a whole lot more, because of the trust and faith wrapped up in the not yet.

Enjoy today for what it is, and let tomorrow be tomorrow.


~ Keith

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Happy Anniversary!

One year ago I posted my first blog entry.

To all of you who come by to share my weird little world: thanks!

~ Keith

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Score 5 for Baby Bear

Last night I ate too much. I suppose it happens to a lot of middle-class Americans at this season of the year. This morning I awoke early, feeling uncomfortably full. Ugh. I couldn't sleep because I was too full.

I guess maybe I needed a wake-up call.

Back in February I blogged about the choice between (F)atigue or (E)uphoria. I still want euphoria more than fatigue, but I still seem to choose fatigue over euphoria a lot of the time.

This morning as I lay there some thoughts went through my head about how to further understand myself and move forward toward having the body weight I was meant to have.

What I've been trying to do since February (sporadically -- don't get the idea this has been some diligent 10 month daily thought process) is find my own natural cues for hunger and satiety.

I'm trying to learn my own natural cues; eating when I'm hungry, and then stopping when I am no longer hungry. Gwen Shamblin, in her book The Weigh Down Diet says (I'm paraphrasing here):
Hunger is polite. It whispers to you. Fullness whispers also. Learn to listen to your own body and you will begin to hear your own cues. This is difficult to do if you are drowning out those whispers with the yells of emotionally-, socially-, or clock-driven eating.
She is not the only author to write about this idea. In looking around the web this morning I found this easy-to-understand summation of the concept of "the hunger and fullness method"

Rather than focus on what the scale says, I want to focus on what the mirror shows and what my heart says when I listen to the still small voice of God whisper to me about hunger and satiety and fullness.

I've learned over the past few years I don't want to "diet" since this implies there are bad foods and good foods and that once I am "done dieting" I can go back to eating "the old way" -- which results in putting on all the weight I lost. I've done this too many times in my life.

I was skinny until 7th grade. Then I was pudgy until I graduated High School. It has gone up and down from tehre. My high weight was 250 (you don't want to see that picture!) and my low weight has been 165.

Now that I am in my 40s, I am trying to be realistic about what my "ideal weight" might be. The BMI and actuary tables say I should be around 158 Lbs. Whoa!

I've paid too much attention to the number on the scale (or the waist size) my whole life. Now I want to start paying attention to my body. But how do I gauge that? The idea of a fuel gauge showing (F)atigue vs (E)uphoria isn't as helpful as I thought it might be. I think I need a new measurement tool.

As an RN working with spine surgery patients, one of the most common questions I ask is this:
On a scale from 0 to 10, if 0 is no pain at all, and 10 is so much pain that if you had to endure it for more than 30 seconds you would simply pass out, how much pain are you in right now?
Pain is hard to quantify, though. For kids or non-English speakers, there is something a bit easier, called the Visual Analog Scale (VAS). It looks something like this:Sometimes it is a 0-10 scale, sometimes it is a 0-5 scale. Sometimes a high number is good, sometimes a low number is good. It varies a bit, since the scale is changed to best suit the environment in which it is used. What is always the same about the VAS is this: one extreme is good, but the other extreme is bad.

As I try to discern my own cues, I think I might do better with a scale that is different than simply "empty" (euphoric = good) and "full" (fatigued = bad). I'm thinking more about a continuum where both extremes are bad, and something in the middle is where I stay.

What if at one end of the spectrum I place the concept of real hunger, using the ubiquitous image of the "starving child in Africa":And at the other end of the spectrum I placed real gluttonous fullness, using the painful image of the guy from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life who eats something "wafer thin!" and literally explodes:And what if, right in the middle, is Baby Bear:
Papa Bear's porridge was too hot.
Mama Bear's porridge was too cold.
Baby Bear's porridge was just right!

Papa Bear's bed was too hard.
Mama Bear's bed was too soft.
Baby Bear's bed was just right!
What if I began asking myself this question throughout my day, especially at the various times when food is made available to me:
On a scale of 0 to 10, where 10 is feeling so full you would actually puke if you ate one more bite, and 0 is feeling so hungry you would pass out if you didn't eat something right away, and 5 is that euphoric satiated "Baby Bear" feeling of being "just right", how hungry or satiated or full do you feel right now?
Then, if I am at a 3 or less, I know my body needs to eat something, but if I am at a 4 I can wait. And if I am at above a 6, then putting food in my body would be like giving someone without any pain a bunch of narcotics!

I think that sounds more do-able. Another benefit of this scale is it has more than just two graduations. Most fuel gauges have 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 marks, so I can think of satiety as 1/2 full.

Right now I think I'm around an 8. It will be hours before I am at a 4 or less, but that is OK. I live in a country where food is abundantly available. I am thankful, and mindful not to take that for granted. God provides food for me. He is my source in all things.

As a parting thought before I sign off and go for a ride, it strikes me that my motorcycle, like most, doesn't have a fuel gauge I can monitor. I have to go by the trip odometer and fill the tank when I've gone 80-90 miles. In between Full and Empty it is mainly guess work. But if I run out of gas my motorcycle, like most, has a reserve tank I can switch to in order to get home. It is not a lot of gas: my tank holds 2.7 gallons in the main, and 0.7 in the reserve. But that is enough to get me 30+ miles.

If I begin to run low on fuel before my next meal becomes available, I have about 30 Lbs of "reserve tank" around my waist and chest area to draw from.

Here's to using my new measurement tool to whittle down that reserve tank.

~ Keith

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


I've recently reconnected with a schoolmate from Junior High & High School named Sean. He sent me a recent picture and I had an interesting experience when first seeing it. Has this type of thing ever happened to you?

If someone had shown me the picture and asked me if I recognized the man there, I would have said no. If Sean had walked up to me in the street and said "Hi Keith, do you remember me?" I would have thought about it for a minute, and then probably would have said "Ummm, no. Should I?" But here's the weird thing: knowing it was him, and therefore having the image of the 8th-grade-Sean in my head just before looking at the picture, I could TOTALLY see that it was him.

Weird how our minds work huh? Or maybe it's just mine that works that way!??!?

It made me think of a couple stories from the bible.

In John 20:11-16 a woman named Mary is distraught over Jesus' death. She was moved greatly by his impact on her life, so she is weeping at the tomb. She hears his voice, but thinks he is just a gardener. When Jesus calls her name, she immediately recognizes him.

In Luke 24:13-31, a couple of Jesus' disciples (who'd spent the last three years with him!) spend a significant amount of time with him after his resurrection, but don't know it is him. It is only later that day, in the context of eating together, that they finally recognize who he is.

So here is the most significant person in the universe, and the people who loved him most did not recognize him at all...until they had a familiar context: eating; hearing their own name. His resurrected body must have looked like him, and yet not looked like him somehow.

1 John 3:2 implies our own resurrected bodies will likewise be somewhat different than our current bodies -- but in seeing him we'll become like him. My grandparents have been dead for a long time, but mom died a just few years ago. When I see them again will we recognize each other? What 'age' will we look?

Some mysterious and cool ponderables, yeah?

~ Keith

Friday, November 24, 2006

Once upon a time...

Have you ever had to pinch yourself to make sure you're really awake -- to make sure you're not dreaming; not in a fairy tale somewhere?

I had one of those moments today.

When I was growing up I was bummed because sometimes people had a hard time remembering my name. It still happens once in awhile today. I get called Ken, or Kent, or Kevin (or Steve or Scott!). These days it doesn't really bum me out, but when I was a kid? Major bummer.

Then when I was about 13 years old I read a book which changed my life...and because of that, today I had to pinch myself. The book was called The Mouse and the Motorcycle and tells the story of a boy named Keith who befriends a small mouse named Ralph. He gives the mouse a small, red, toy motorcycle and teaches him to ride it by making a vroom! sound with his tiny mouse mouth. I thought it was so cool that there was a boy named Keith in that story, and a bright red motorcycle! From the time I closed that book I wanted a motorcycle of my own, but had to content myself with closing my eyes and imagining myself zipping around my bedroom floor on a tiny toy motorcycle.

Today my fantasy came to life!

I bought a 1986 Yamaha YX600

~ Keith
(those rips were on my jeans before I rode the bike, I swear!)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Gearing Up!

I've been shopping for gear and have been very satisfied with the folks over at i-Bike. Not only are they friendly and knowledgeable, they are just around the corner from my house!

Gary spent 2 1/2 hours with me last Saturday looking at gear and talking about bikes and riding. As a new rider, I really appreciated his helpful suggestions and insightful wisdom. I tried on a few items, and settled on this for my riding gear:

Touch my monkey!now ist the time on Schprockets where we dance, ja!Below are some better pictures of the gear I'm sporting...

Brand: Cortech
Model: GX Sportclick here for specsclick here for specsBrand: Tourmaster
Model: Caliberclick here for specsBrand: Cortech:
Model: Accelerator (warm weather)click here for specsBrand: AGV
Model: Saturn (cold weather)click here for specsclick here for specsBrand: KBC
Model: FFR (Modular a/k/a "flip-face")click here for specsWhat's that you ask? A motorcycle? Oh yeah, that. None yet, but I am test-riding one (a 1986 Yamaha YX600 Radian) on Friday.

More details as events warrant.

~ Keith

The Parable of the Bullhorn Man

From Conrad's blog -- too good not to share:

The Parable of the Bullhorn Man.

~ Keith

Monday, November 20, 2006

Glorious Ruins

This came via eMail today:

We are not what we were meant to be, and we know it. If, when passing a stranger on the street, we happen to meet eyes, we quickly avert our glance. Cramped into the awkward community of an elevator, we search for something, anything to look at instead of each other. We sense that our real self is ruined, and we fear to be seen.

But think for a moment about the millions of tourists who visit ancient sites like the Parthenon, the Colosseum, and the Pyramids. Though ravaged by time, the elements, and vandals through the ages, mere shadows of their former glory, these ruins still awe and inspire. Though fallen, their glory cannot be fully extinguished. There is something at once sad and grand about them.

look at how tiny the tourists are on the road!!!And such we are. Abused, neglected, vandalized, fallen—we are still fearful and wonderful. We are, as one theologian put it, "glorious ruins." But unlike those grand monuments, we who are Christ’s have been redeemed and are being renewed as Paul said, "day by day," restored in the love of God.

Could it be that we, all of us, the homecoming queens and quarterbacks and the passed over and picked on, really possess hidden greatness? Is there something in us worth fighting over? The fact that we don’t see our own glory is part of the tragedy of the Fall; a sort of spiritual amnesia has taken all of us. Our souls were made to live in the Larger Story, but as G.K. Chesterton discovered, we have forgotten our part:
We have all read in scientific books, and indeed, in all romances, the story of the man who has forgotten his name. This man walks about the streets and can see and appreciate everything; only he cannot remember who he is. Well, every man is that man in the story. Every man has forgotten who he is . . . We are all under the same mental calamity; we have all forgotten our names. We have all forgotten what we really are. (Orthodoxy)
(The Sacred Romance , 93–95)

From The Ransomed Heart, by John Eldredge, reading 324
Ransomed Heart Ministries

I took great comfort in this.

~ Keith

Friday, November 17, 2006

You Have My Word

For almost a year now I have been in the habit of reading Oswald Chambers' daily devotional My Utmost for His Highest.

The copy I have is from the late 1930's I think, so it is not a modern English updated version.

I like that. It stretches my vocabulary and, by extension, my mind and heart.

He often uses words or phrases which, in his day, meant something more than they do today. Globalization and colloquialism have diluted our language. For example the idea of a "mean person" has come to be only associated with someone who is offensive, cruel, or malicious. But it can also infer humble or lowly; base.

Today's reading finishes with:
We read some things in the Bible three hundred and sixty-five times and they mean nothing to us, then all of a sudden we see what God means, because in some particular we have obeyed God, and instantly His nature is opened up. "All the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen." The "yea" must be born of obedience; when by the obedience of our lives we say "Amen" to a promise, then that promise is ours.
That rings true for me, but just before that he said something else; something more succinct that really caught my attention:
The promises of God are of no value to us until
by obedience we understand the nature of God.
I'm not sure I completely understand just why that struck me, but it did.

I think it has to do with the idea of The Father's promises being absolutely trustworthy; yet Him choosing in vulnerability to hinge their fulfillment on being partnered with oh-so-fallible us, in our mysterious Holy Spirit-mediated loving relationship with fully-God/fully-human Jesus.

~ Keith

Friday, November 10, 2006

Going Shopping

Now that I've taken the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course, and the written exam (I just received my M1 license in the mail last week. They made me take a new picture, which was kind of a bummer, since the last picture I took I was bald and wearing Drew Carey glasses!!), Cathy & I have decided now is an OK time to get a first bike.

Winter is coming, but in the Bay Area there will still be plenty of dry days to get the road under my wheels, and some miles under my belt. Plus, the sooner I start using the skills I just learned, the better chance they'll stay with me!

To do that, though, I need a motorcycle!

There are always a ton of bikes available on CL, but my desire is to think this through and decide beforehand on a model or two I think would be best. Then I can spend time looking for that bike, and go from there.

I'm open to any wisdom you can pass my way re: a good beginner's bike to buy. I definitely want to buy used, and would like the bike and gear (helmet, jacket, gloves, for a start) to come in under $1500. Less would be great, but I know you get what you pay for.

The bike I used at MSF was a Honda Nighthawk 250. That was fun to learn on, but for a real starter bike to ride for a year or two, I'm leaning toward a 500-650cc bike. I prefer cruisers and touring bikes. I'm not brand conscious at this point -- my ultimate would be a nice BMW touring bike -- but I need to spend some time getting experience before I jump to a machine like that!

Take a look at the links below and then tell me what you think of the advice given and the "beginner bikes" recommended! Feel free to throw your advice my way re: buying my first bike!


See you out on the road!

The Exquisite Agony: Buying your first Motorcycle

Beginner Bikes

A lawyer's opinion

Things to consider before buying your first motorcycle

How to buy a used BMW motorcycle

How to buy a motorcycle

~ Keith

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Birthdays, Bears & Birds

For my birthday, Cathy arranged for us to stay at some friends' wonderful home-away-from-home in Northstar at Tahoe. As we were driving there, while still about 1/2 mile away from the house, we saw these cubs!

Baby Bears!
After we'd unpacked, we headed back out for some groceries. The cubs were still there, closer to the road now, and Mama was with them!

Baby Bears with Mama Bear!
Saturday afternoon at the lake. Peaceful. Tranquil. (and I swear, those noises were coming from the birds not us!)

Weird Flatulent Birds!
~ Keith

Friday, November 03, 2006


If you have the time to watch this 11 minute video, you'll be as amazed as I am at how cool this will be!

For more info head on over to Scrybe's site

~ Keith

(nods to Brett & Conrad -- I saw this first on their blogs)

(and from Scrybe's site, where they list various accolades people are doling out after they've played with it, comes this gem of a quote:
Scrybe...The bedspread whose UI where it moves softly is charming...With come to make, first is hollow and the bedspread which it does;
Beta it will dance at October month.

Translated from Korean at :)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Autumnal Beginnings

On 1st November 1965

in a U.S. Naval Hospital
in Long Beach, California

31 year-old Kittie Joan Seckel
(still mourning the death of her own father that September)
gave birth to an 8 lb 11 oz boy.

35 year-old Lt. Joseph Clarence Seckel
(having taken leave form the Navy to be with his family)
was also home for the birth of his
fifth child; his only son.

The boy's maternal Grandfather was named
Rupert Oscar Keith
(but he was known as R.O.)

His paternal Grandfather was named
Christian Wilhelm Seckel
(but he was known as Will)

They named him:
Keith William Seckel
(but he was known as Can Opener Boy)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Breathing & Becoming

Last evening Cathy & I went to a birthday party. At the party, they had a few bottles of wonderful red wine available. It was being poured from a decanter. A little while into the party, one of the guests remarked that she had poured herself a 2nd glass, this time from the bottle -- and was amazed at the difference the decanter made. I asked her, half-jokingly, if she'd poured it out and replaced it with some from the decanter. She said "No, I'll just give it some more time in the glass."

I didn't think too much about it, but when I awoke this morning at 2:30 or so, I was struck that this word-picture is a very apt analogy for a friend of mine, but also for how I would like to be.

In a January '06 post, I mentioned personal metaphors, and how I see myself as a Translator. In a May '06 post, I wrote about the process of developing a personal mission statement, and mentioned my desire to help people feel more loved, and less burdened. These two posts came back to me as I lay awake at 2:30 this morning, pondering the image of a decanter. In addition to being a Translator, and one who helps people feel loved, perhaps another metaphor for my life -- one I would like to fulfill, but have a long way to go in -- is as a Decanter. I want to be someone who, when people spend time with me, they relax and breathe and become more fully who they are; who they're intended to be.

This reminded me of yet another blog post (am I the only one whose mind is this active at 2:30 in the morning?). In his humorously titled post cob-o-lob-o-dob-o, my friend Brennan paid me compliment which (I'd like to hope) is a bit prophetic. He said:
It seems that some people can make other people into more of themselves, this is a rare quality indeed. When I am around COB I feel more myself than I was before. And that is good.
That's someone I would like to be more and more. As I was pondering this, it also struck me: this word-picture of a decanter applies to the "waiting" season of life I'm in right now. Any good soup (or good beer!) must go through the process called "conditioning" where it sits in a pot (or a carboy!) and, well, that's it.

It just...sits there. The process seems pretty boring and makes me think "Nothing is happening! Why can't I eat the soup yet? Why can't I drink the beer yet?" I could, I suppose, but it wouldn't taste nearly as good as if I waited for it to finish conditioning. It seems like nothing is happening in the conditioning process but, in reality, flavors are blending and maturing. Fragrances and nuances are being released. This takes time.

This seems to be the place God has me at the moment. In order to become fully me, to really become that Decanter, I need to spend more time in His decanter. It is in His presence I can truly relax and breathe and become more fully who I am; who I'm intended to be. And it is comforting to know that, should I get impatient and try to rush things, He does not toss me aside.

He just lets me spend more time in the glass.

Breathing and becoming.

~ Keith

(Tom Petty may have been talking about a woman instead of God, but I think he had it right)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Congratulations from DMV?

I went to the DMV yesterday.

I arrived at 4:00 pm and I waited in line less than 10 minutes.

Each of the four employees I encountered was courteous and helpful.

I paid $26, signed my name, gave my thumbprint, and had a picture taken.

I took the written exam for my motorcycle license.

I passed!

The last DMV employee with whom I interacted actually said (with sincerity!):
Congratulations! You are now legally licensed to drive
both autos and motorcycles in the state of California!

~ Keith

As a side note on DMV courtesy -- check out the Alaska DMV webcams which let you know how long wait times are by viewing how crowded each office is at any given time!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Of Sneetches & Snail Shells

Now the Star-bellied Sneetches
Had bellies with stars.

The Plain-bellied Sneetches
Had none upon thars.

The stars weren't so big;
They were really quite small.

You would think such a thing
Wouldn't matter at all.

But because they had stars,
All the Star-bellied Sneetches

Would brag, "We're the best kind of
Sneetch on the beaches."

~ from The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss

(steps up on soapbox...)

I'm saddened by how many Jesus followers in 'emerging' churches rale against the 'traditional' church as irrelevant and dead.

And I'm saddened by the number of Jesus followers there are in the 'traditional' churches who turn up their nose at the 'emerging' church as nothing more than syncretism.

(steps down from soapbox...)

I'm reading Derek Morphew's book Breakthrough: Discovering the Kingdom and appreciate an analogy he uses on page 151. (partly because it reminded me of some thoughts I have re: answering the question what is the church?)
Morphew says:

(begin include...)

The church is a structure of human relationships: brothers and sisters, shepherds and sheep, teachers and pupils, servants, exhorters, leaders and followers. This structure is created wherever the kingdom [of God] breaks into society. The life of the kingdom brings the church into being; the resulting network of human relationships must seek to contain, express, and transmit the presence of the kingdom. However, sometimes this structure impedes and even resists the power of the kingdom.

The kingdom is illustrated by the analogy of a snail and its shell. The secretions of the snail create the shell which the snail inhabits. Many shells lie empty and lifeless. As church history has progressed, God has given successive interventions of his kingdom. Each time, a shell has been created appropriate to the life of the church. But church history is strewn with empty shells where the structure remains but the life has disappeared. The kingdom perspective should cure us of a preoccupation with shells. Different outpourings of God's presence take on various modes of expression. Our eye should be fixed on the event of the kingdom. Where is God intervening? Where are his mighty deeds being performed? Where can we see the power of the age to come? Our interest in the shells should be functional. The shell is holy while the snail is there. The shape of the shell is not holy and neither is the shell once the snail has disappeared.

(end include...)

As I alluded to whilst on my soapbox, there are some today in 'emerging' churches who say "The Traditional Church (just about anything with any structure!) is just a dead empty snail shell. The only thing with any life in it is this new and elite way of doing/being church!"

And there are some today in 'traditional' churches who say "This new emerging thing is just an empty shell of syncretism & cultural conformity. There is no life there because it isn't church like we've always done it."

Both are wrong!

I think there is tremendous life in many churches who meet on Sunday mornings and have paid staff and pay mortgages, etc. (my church, Mid-Pen Vineyard chief among them!). I also think there is tremendous life to be had in a Simple Church / House Church context. The key is: the color of the shell has no meaning. It is the life of the snail inside the shell that matters.

One group says "Well, we have the real church because our shell is blue! Everyone knows green shells are old and dead!"

The other group says "No, WE have the real church because their shell is blue! Sheesh! Everyone knows green shells are the only ones that God approves of! The very idea of God living in a blue shell? PREPOSTEROUS!!!"

The truth is both groups have pretty shells and God loves them both. And either shell color could be empty -- just being blue or green doesn't make the shell full of life!

I really appreciate being a part of The Vineyard. All I've heard from Vineyard folks in various settings has been very supportive of both 'traditional' and 'emerging' models of church. The focus seems to be not so much on the color of the shell -- instead the focus is on The One who made and is still holding the shell.
The history of the church has been: Disagree. Divide. Repeat. I think a time is coming (and is now here!) when the church will disagree (on the non-essentials) and stay together (because of the essentials). If we made a list of things that make Vineyard what it is, I don't think the new expressions would lack any of those things. The differences would be cosmetic. Drastic maybe, but really just cosmetic.

In the 60s & 70s, the mainline Protestant denominations looked at Vineyard (& others) allowing hippies in church with bare feet, and using drums and guitars in church, and said:
"You want to do that and still call that church?
You are not part of us -- what are you anyway?"
Then in the 80s & 90s, those same mainline denominations came to accept Vineyard and now say:
"You still are not really part of us...
...but we accept you as
an expression of The Bride of Christ"
The picture I have in my head of what some will do in the 00s and 10s is fit into a new category where Vineyard looks at them and says:
"You are us, and we accept you
as an expression of The Bride"
-- but also asks/says:
"You want to do that and still call that church?
And still call that Vineyard?
Cool! That's OK with us!"
~ Keith

(please note for clarification: I don't think Vineyard, in our acceptance of various expressions, is better than anyone else. I'm sure there are others in the kingdom who also are open and supportive of various expressions of church. I wouldn't want anyone to think I was saying Vineyard has a star on its belly and everyone else has no star thar.)

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Restoration of Jesus

I'm almost finished reading Gary Best's book entitled: Naturally Supernatural: Joining God in His Work. It is an excellent read; reminding me what kind of life I am called to as I follow Jesus: partnership with Him.

Like John Wimber liked to say: "everyone gets to play". Gary's book has been a wonderful and refreshing reminder that this includes me!

This fits well within the context of what I have been hearing and seeing lately re: the Kingdom of God (if the idea of an Enacted Inaugural Eschatology excites you, then check out the three in-depth lectures available here in both mp3 and PowerPoint).

To whet your appetite and let you in on what is exciting me, here are some excerpts from Gary's book (ch 5: Bringing the Kingdom to People): (OK, yes, this is a long post -- but it is well worth the read, as is the entire book, of which this really is just a very small taste)

(begin include...)

Through his life and his death, Jesus countered and conquered each of Satan's strategies that had created humanity's bondage:
  1. Satan came with doubt and deception; Jesus invariably spoke the truth.
  2. Satan's goal was always separation from God through these lies; like a shepherd, Jesus' goal was to find the lost sheep and bring them home.
  3. Satan's ultimate intention was disintegration and destruction; Jesus came to bring freedom.
As Jesus' disciples, charged with continuing his ministry today, we are well advised to focus on the strategies he modeled for us...we are to walk in truth and use God's truth as a powerful spiritual laser, penetrating dungeons of deception. We are to embrace the reconciling spirit of Jesus and resist the passivity of our individualistic culture by actively reaching across dividing barriers to the marginalized. Confident in the authority that Jesus has given us to heal the sick, free the prisoners and release the oppressed, we can speak with certainty to spiritual strongholds just as Moses did to Pharaoh: "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel says: 'Let my people go...'"(Exodus 5:1).

Let's look at each of these in turn.

Jesus and Truth
And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.
(John 8:32)
First, in contrast to the deceiver, Jesus walked in absolute integrity in his relationships with others. He always spoke truth and never deceived or manipulated. He said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 16:6). Drawing a contrast between himself and Satan, the "father of lies" (John 8:44). He never told people what they wanted to hear, he told them what they needed to hear -- how to turn and be freed from their bondage and oppression. Yet his truthfulness was always clothed in unconditional love and acceptance; it was an invitation to life and hope, not simply harsh condemnation.

The Power of Truth

If we are to bring the Good News of the kingdom to the oppressed effectively, we must understand the power of the truth, base our lives and thinking on it, and be able to speak it with authority. This means cultivating an ever-deepening relationship with Jesus, who is truth embodied. It also means faithfully studying and meditating on the Scriptures, the soil of truth out of which the Holy Spirit speaks and guides (2 Timothy 3:16). With this foundation established in us, we can anticipate gifts of both wisdom and revelation from the Spirit to assist us in penetrating spiritual strongholds of deception that keep people in bondage.

Usually when people speak of "telling the truth", it is a negative experience, reminding others of what isn't and who they are not. It is usually associated with failure and rejection. Our ministry of truth is very different: It is centered on who we can be when we walk into the freedom of dependence on and restored relationship with God.

Jesus and Reconciliation

Second, whereas Satan's central intention has always been to build walls of separation (first between people and God, then between people and finally, even within their own personality and sense of identity), Jesus came to tear these walls down. "He has broken down the wall of hostility that used to separate us," is the way Paul describes it in Ephesians 2:14. While Satan's ultimate goal is hell or "outer darkness" (billions of people absolutely isolated and alone), Jesus goal is the fully revealed kingdom of God (multitudes completely united in an eternal community of love).

On our own, we could not and would not find our way back to the garden, the place of restored relationship with our Maker. God either had to reach out to us or he would have to abandon us -- there was no other way.

Ambassadors of Reconciliation

God had truly captured [Saul's] heart. His central motivation was now to respond to this love that had come to him so unexpectedly. He said: "Whatever we do, it is because Christ's love controls us" (2 Corinthians 5:14). From this point on...his consuming passion was to bring others to this same great mercy that had reconciled him.

And, Paul would say, this is precisely what God wants to bring about in all of us who have been similarly redeemed from deception and separation. God has commissioned and authorized us to act as his ambassadors of reconciliation, extending the offer of God's free gift of grace through Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18-21). When the desires of God's heart and gratitude for his kindness take root in us, this is a privilege, not some obligatory "project" for God.

We can, with all the authority of heaven, pronounce to people that God's intention is no longer to count their sins against them (total amnesty).

Jesus and Freedom

Finally, Jesus directly confronted the spiritual, physical, and emotional strongholds of Satan's rule in the lives of people.

Jesus recognized that much of the brokenness and "disease" of people is a natural consequence of a fallen world, separated from the life of God. Jesus came to reverse those consequences -- through him the kingdom and rule of God had come near with multifaceted salvation. It is not surprising that much of his ministry was directed to overturning those situations by healing the sick, restoring relationships, and supplying miraculous provision. Jesus knew that often Satan and his forces were directly oppressing and binding the lives of these people.

Freedom to the Captives

When anyone hears the Good News of the kingdom and turns to it in repentance, the rule of God comes to their aid. That is, and always has been, bad news for God's enemy. Jesus made it clear to those who misunderstood his encounters with demonic strongholds: These were clear signs that God's kingdom was present in him (Luke 11:20-22). Since we are called to this same ministry, we can expect the same kind of authorization. Jesus has commissioned us to continue his mission. We must remember that our ultimate goal is not simply to rescue people out of one kingdom. It is also to bring them successfully into the next.

(end include...)

All this, (within the context of the rest of the book, my experience following Jesus, and my place within the Vineyard tribe), strikes me as amazingly accessible; do-able!

I get to play! YEA!

~ Keith

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Sand & Stone

You may have heard this one before.

I hadn't.

I liked it enough to share with you here:

...once upon a time two friends were walking through the desert. At one point on the journey, they had an argument, and one friend slapped the other one in the face. The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand:
Today my friend slapped me in the face.
They kept on walking, until they found an oasis, where they decided to get get in the water and cool off. The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the other one came to the rescue. After recovering from the near drowning, the one who had been saved wrote on a stone:
Today my friend saved my life.
The friend, who had slapped and saved, asked, "After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand. Now, after I saved you, you write on a stone. Why?"

The other friend replied: "When someone hurts us, we should write it down in sand, where the winds of forgiveness can erase it, but when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone, so no wind can ever erase it."

~ Author Unknown

Thursday, October 19, 2006

blame orgus

Owl jamms

Owl rouge

Cadmium on chronicitron

chrome orange

Monday, October 16, 2006

No More Blogging in My Underwear

These days I'm blogging less than I used to, and the content and character of my blog posts have changed too.

When I first started blogging, I loved it because it was very cathartic. I could say what was really on my heart much like a journal or diary, but since it was public, this sort of upped the ante and made me feel I was being more transparent or vulnerable than I otherwise would be -- so I felt more honest; more forthcoming. That was a good thing for a time, but I also crossed some boundaries.

I still journal quite a bit, but keep it to myself these days. I'm finding more and more satisfaction with that, and also with sharing the insights God is showing me only to a few trusted friends, rather than the whole world at large.

It has been a process of boundary exploration for me. On the one hand I want to break free of my tendency to isolate myself, yet I also have found myself wrestling with questions re: how much self-disclosure is too much. Here is the best word-picture I can think of to describe what I mean:
If I am at home alone, or with my wife, and want to sit around in my underwear, I can do that with impunity.

If company is coming over, it is best (for all concerned!) if I get some clothes on.

If the company is close friends who're staying overnight then maybe as the evening wears on I'll go put on my pajamas and slippers and hang out like that.

But I wouldn't do that with just anybody, and if I always sat around in my underwear no matter who came over, that would be wrong on many levels.

Thinking back and re-reading my early blog posts, I now realize I (inappropriately) spent a lot of time in just my underwear. There was a certain freedom in that, but as I've thought through this I've come to see how staying fully dressed is a much better idea.

I know my blog is not read by tons of people, and that most of the people who read this stuff know me -- some know me very well. But electronic communications like blogs and eMail are rife with miscommunication since there are so many aspects missing: non-verbal cues like facial expression, tone of voice, and body language.

And the kicker for me is this -- even if someone completely understands what they are reading, I have to ask myself why I am posting it. In other words, like other aspects of life, my blog posts and other forms of self-disclosure fall under the biblical principle of "just because I can doesn't mean I should".

If I have something meaningful to say, and I want someone to know about it, I've found it is much better for myself and anyone else if I do that face to face. It doesn't mean that communication will be easy or fun. In fact, doing it "the hard way" is better in the long run than just blogging about it and hoping someone will read it and then know who I really am.

So blogging has a place in my life, but it is not a place for soul-baring. It is still a place for personal reflection, and a window into my life, head, and heart...but as you look through that window I'll be fully dressed. =O)

~ Keith

for more on the perils of blogging and the value of either not blogging at all, or being more selective in what/when one chooses to blog, there are some great links here at Conrad Gempf's blog.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Three Months Ago

Three months ago I ate some Chinese food and had a very interesting and specific fortune. I blogged about it here.

In case you were wondering, not a whole lot happened. It was a good day, and all. I'm still working through life trying to figure out what it means to follow Jesus and allow Him to change me to be more like He intended me to be in the first place.

But nothing spectacular happened today, just so you know.

~ Keith

Monday, October 09, 2006

I did it!

I passed the Northern California Motorcycle Safety Training program!

Tuesday 3rd October I spent from 6pm - 10pm in a classroom

Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th October I spent 7am - 12noon riding one of these!

Now all I need to do is go take the written exam and I'll be able to get my Motorcycle license.

Then I need a helmet and a jacket and a pair of gloves and maybe a pair of riding pants and maybe a pair of motorcycle boots, and maybe some rain gear...and I guess I also need a motorcycle!

~ Keith

Friday, October 06, 2006

Lentil Stew and Tears at Work

Last Sunday I spent time worshipping at an Episcopal church with my friends m.cellophane and evolving woman. It was neat and I felt God's presence, and my heart was moved toward a deeper faith in, and devotion to, Jesus.

On Tuesday evolving woman wrote about the journey she has been on. In that post she asks some deep, thought-provoking questions. I have no answers, and am asking some similar questions myself.

Then today I read an article on GinkWorld about lentil stew.

I want to be that kind of neighbor.

~ Keith

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I received an eMail from my sister Leslie today. She had some great insights I'm sharing here with her permission...

I Peter 5:7 "...casting all your anxieties on Him because He cares for

As I meditated on this verse earlier this week, I saw it anew. I have never really given any thought before to the word
Doesn't exactly conjure up a picture of a closed fist being pried open
one sweaty finger at a time, does it?

It's more like a fisherman
with fervor and finesse as hard and as fast as he can away from himself.

CAST your anxieties on Him------

HURL them at Him full force!!!

My sister JoAnn has a labrador that loves to catch and to play fetch. They have taught their dog to catch a ball thrown right at her face--HARD--at close range.

"Loose-E" is amazing...she doesn't flinch. She stands at attention, pops open her mouth at just the last second and PHOOMP--she's got the ball.

It's scary to watch. It's scary to throw (ask Craig!) but Loose E is ready to catch over and over and over again.

That's how it is with our burdens. It's scary to let go--to CAST them on God full force.

In our pride, we want to show others our burdens "look what I'm carrying......."

In our fear, we want to take them apart in manageable pieces, gently coaxing them out of our hands. It might hurt to hurl them.

BUT GOD DOESN'T FLINCH...He wants them.

He's ready again and again and again.

CAST them FULL FORCE at Him.
He wants them.
He'll catch them
He NEVER misses

And, unlike Loose E, He doesn't return our drool-covered burden for another go!wanting more of Him,


...good stuff, huh?
~ Keith

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins

I'm not sure whether to laugh so hard I cry, or just cry.

Watch this at your own risk.

~ Keith

(PS -- yes that is really who you think it is, singing what it says he is singing -- even "The Mind of Keith" couldn't make up something like this!)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Vacation photos!

Cathy & I had a great week in Colorado on vacation. Some of our photos are up on Picasa...
Click here to view the whole album

~ Keith

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I'm going on vacation today. I'll be gone for over a week!

It has been so long since we went away, just for the purpose of getting away, it almost feels somehow irresponsible. I'm sure I'll get over that feeling pretty quick.

My life is too full.
So is my brain.
So is my heart.

I need emptying.

~ Keith

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Feel my Pain

On Monday I was walking up an escalator at work. I was not running. I was walking. I was not rushing.

I tripped.

And jammed the middle knuckle of the middle finger of my left hand into the sharp teeth on the top edge of the escalator step.

It was a minor injury, and is healing well. But it was still an injury.

An avulsion of the skin around the knuckle.

I am OK, but I still can't play the piano.

~ Keith

Monday, August 14, 2006

Apparently I'm more like Garfield than I ever realized

I took a few Myers-Briggs type personality tests online today. Each test I took pointed to me being INFJ. Go figure!

None of these tests are perfect, and I know my identity is made up of more than these four letters -- but it was fun to do, and somewhat enlightening.

I'm wondering -- what are you? Leave a comment and let me know! If you don't know already, take an online test and find out!

~ Keith