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Highly Recommended

Just wanted to give you two recommendations:


  1. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell – This is the first book I have read by Gladwell and was thoroughly impressed!  Outliers examines our underlying assumptions about success.  We often think that people are successful because of hard work and/or talent. Gladwell would agree that is certainly part of it but far from a complete picture of what makes certain people successful.  In a book that examines everything from 19th century tycoons, Canadian hockey, and even his own personal story, he argues that success has as much to do with lucky breaks, cultural heritage, and even what generation an individual is born as it does with natural ability.  I read this book in a week and cannot wait to pick up Gladwell’s first book, The Tipping Point.
  2. Slumdog Millionaire – Incredible!!!  100% deserving of the Academy Award for Best Picture!  I am really excited about this new wave of foreign films coming into the US.  SM does a great job of displaying the gap between the wealthy and poor and the lack of human rights in different areas of the world (in this case India).  Excellent film!

Slumdog Millionaire

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Chattanooga II

Top of Rock City

We have had a great time the past couple of days!  On Wednesday we spent the morning driving around the outside of Chatty and went to an enormous used book store.  In the afternoon we went to Rock City, which was a lot more fun that I had imagined.  The trails were fun and the views were spectacular!  For anyone going, however, I would suggest avoiding Fantastic Caverns, I looks like an inverse Disney universe created by and for people tripping on drugs!  It was full of painted gnomes being lit up by blacklights.

Anyways we spent more of the afternoon at Coolidge Park on the river.  It was a beautiful evening and they had some event going on so there were a lot of people hanging out and throwing discs.  That night we ate at a great little pub called the Pickle Barrel.  We loved it and now refer to it as the Seitz bar because I am pretty sure my friend Chris would have loved the place!  The fried pickles are amazing!

Yesterday we had breakfast at the only restaraunt in downtown that served breakfast, Blue Plate.  When we arrived we were the only ones in the house and I am pretty sure we were served by the owner.  So we had a nice quiet breakfast, first class service, and an excellent view of the river!  Oh yeah, and the food was great!  I had an omelet with cheese, avacado, and Maytag blue cheese (which was much stronger than I had imagined!).

Today is our last day in Chatty.  We plan on going to another coffee shop and a few more book stores we haven’t visited yet.  Then we are going to visit the Hunter Museum of Art and play the afternoon by ear.

Coolidge Park


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Amber and I are in Chattanooga this week for vacation and we are so excited!  We arrived this morning and it was snowing so I had to pull the car over so my wonderful wife could get out and play in it!  So far we have walked up and down Market St., explored the northshore a little bit, and have checked into our hotel.  We plan on just driving around the city for the rest of the day to explore and then we are going to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner (I know, why go to a chain, its kinda cheesy but its cheap! I think wings are like 39 cents each!).

Here are a couple of phots so far of us freezing our butts off!

Amber in the Snow

Walking Up Market St.

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10 Things I Learned from “Killing Cockroaches”

I finished reading Tony Morgan’s Killing Cockroaches a couple of weeks ago and have been meaning to get this up.  Morgan works for Newsong Church in Anderson, South Carolina and wrote KC about leadership.  To be honest, the best part about the book was the way it was written.  I love the fact that it reads just like a blog!  No chapters or subheadings, it just flows from “post” to “post”.  As for the content, here are:

10 Nuggets from Killing Cockroaches

  1. Tony loves to shop at the Buckle!
  2. I am glad I was not around any church basements in the 1980s to hear Burning Heart!
  3. Personal invitation beats church marketing any day.
  4. Attitudes are contagious, and it should come top down.
  5. The vision must be clear.
  6. Be careful not to load people down – make sure what they are doing in the church is helping them to grow, not burn them out.
  7. Always watch my step in the shower!
  8. Be vulnerable in your messages.
  9. Vision cannot be delegated.
  10. Flip books are fun!

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More Books!!!

Earlier I listed a couple of books that I had received for Christmas.  Following are the rest of the books that I received and hope to read in the coming year:

  • How (Not) to Speak of God by Peter Rollins – already read this one since I got it!  It was excellent and my friend Chris and I plan on creating a discussion group at Starbucks to read through it together and discuss it.
  • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky – A book that has been highly recommended from several friends.
  • Simply Christian by N.T. Wright – Brad, a friend of mine, has always been a fan of Wright’s so I have wanted to get into his writing.  This may have not been the best book in which to accomplish that goal, but it’ll do.
  • What Would Jesus Deconstruct by John Caputo – Caputo is one of the premier continental philosophers in the U.S. and has always been recommended by one of my former professors.  Speaking of which…
  • Interstices of the Sublime by Clayton Crockett – Dr. Crockett was one of my Religion professors at University of Central Arkansas.  In this text he brings together three modes of thought:  psychoanalytic theory (Lacan & Freud), continental philosphy (Zizek), and theology.
  • The Tangible Kingdom by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay – As I think I have said somewhere on this blog before, I find missional ecclesiology and theology to be very refreshing and challenging.  I am also interested in it because Hugh Halter is involved with Church Resource Ministries, an organization that I have a lot of respect for and would enjoy being a part of (Nieucommunities, who Amber and I went to Vancouver with, is one branch of CRM).
  • Creating a Poverty Free World by Muhammad Yunus – As wierd as this sounds, I have become fascinated by the world of economics.  I still absolutely hate math and numbers, buy when I listen to men like Yunus and Jeffrey Sachs I genuinely believe we have the ability to end poverty if we can get over our greed and move beyond consumer capitalism (I emphasize consumer because I still believe that capitalism is a good system, but can be very destructive in its current form).  Yunus is the founder of Grameen Bank and is one of the men responsible for the micro-lending revolution in third world countries.
  • Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw – My wife and I had the privelege of hearing Shane and Chris speak in Orlando.  When you read this book or hear these men speak you must call into question the role of Christians in politics.  What role do we play?  Why do we constantly seek political power?  And a myriad of other questions.  Perhaps the most challenging book on Church and Politics out there!

So these are the books I will be reading over the next year along with the other two that my wife bought me that I mentioned before Christmas and some other that I have not finished yet (The Divine Conspiracy – hopefully I will make it through that over the summer).  Hopefully I will blog through a few of them because I would love to get some input from others on some of the ideas I will be engaging.

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To Write Love On Her Arms

Last night my friends and I went to the Heavy and Light show hosted by To Write Love On Her Arms at the House of Blues in Orlando.  The show was excellent and would have been worth missing the Chargers game even if they had won!  TWLOHA is a non-profit in Orlando that gives hope and help to people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.  They work closely with bands and often tour spreading their message of hope and love in Christ (though they don’t push it, they let the bands do that!).  If you have never heard of them I strongly suggest that you read their story over at their site.

So here was the lineup:

Zach Williams – opened the night and I was thoroughly impressed!!! I am becoming a bigger and bigger fan of acoustic folk music and Zach’s music will definetly draw me further down that road.

Josh Moore – another acoustic folk man,  Josh bounced around everywhere in the show and was full of energy all night!

Anthony Raneri – the frontman of Bayside brought a different style to the stage.  Much more acoustic punk than folk, he brought more energy to the crowd with some of his faster songs that I know my friends and I were looking forward to.

Dustin Kensrue – THE REASON WE WENT!!!  Since I have lived in Florida we have seen Thrice play twice and now we got to see Dustin play some of his acoustic solo work.  Come All You Weary is one of my favorite songs by Thrice and he opened with it! Great move!

Aaron Gillespie – I am not too much into UnderOath or The Almost – both bands that Aaron is involved in – but he was amazing!!!  Aaron was so full of energy, completely ADD up there!  Extravagant at the end was incredible, his passion and love for Jesus just flowed (as Christiany as that sounds).  The other cool thing is that my friend Chris had a conversation with him in the middle of the show!  Chris yelled “I saw you in Johannesburg” and they talked for a couple minutes – Aaron from the stage and Chris from the crowd!

Jon Foreman – I loved that Jon did not play by himself, he brought in a couple others to play the cello and drums.  Great performance, crowd loved it!

I think the guy Jon had playing the drums was Aaron Weiss from mewithoutYou!  Can anyone confirm that for me?  Chris and I couldn’t get that thought out of our heads the whole night.  Hopefully those boys are recording another album right now!

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Those close to me know that I always ask for books for Christmas. Its nerdy, I know, and I think it annoys my wife, but I do it because I get stocked up for the following year. So Amber bought me my first two books:

  • Foolishness to the Greeks by Leslie Newbigin – I always encourage my family to buy me used copies and this one is used.  I love it because it is full of underlined sections and commentary by the previous owners.  Newbigin argues that Christians must now approach the western world as a mission field.  The book was written in the 1980s and from what I can gather from other books I have read on the subject, is one of the foundational books for missional theology and the missional movement.
  • The Great Giveaway by David Fitch – Fitch is one of my favorite bloggers.  I remember the first time I found his site he had a post up about politics and Zizek, which in my mind, any pastor/theologian who engages Zizek in a constructive way is worth respect and worth reading.  The book is essentially about how the modern evangelical church has given away so much of what it means to be the church (be it to big business, parachurch organizations, psychotherapy, or consumer capitalism) that it has become barely distinguishable from other societal institutions.

So these are the first of hopefully many that I will be reading in 2009!

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