#17. Celebrating Seattle

Macgyver

First things first: Song of Sloman got its first Seattle reader this weekend! This has been a long time coming, and we even did a special blog post reaching out to the Northwest. So thank you so much whoever you are. You are greatly appreciated.

Number two: The title of this post allowed me to use my favorite form of alliteration.

Number three: My wife gets incredibly giddy when I offer to make dinner for the week. Admittedly, I am a slacker, but I justify this by telling myself that she receives joy by serving me in this way and making most of the meals. Regardless, I’m quite certain that she knows in the back of her mind, there is a solid chance that the food will taste horrible. Even farther in the back of her mind, there is probably a paralyzing fear that what I make will cause her to become quite ill. (I may have under cooked some chicken once when we were still dating that she graciously and foolishly ate any way.) But somehow she manages to push these things aside and full-on embraces the idea that I may one-day become a culinary god (little “g” for humor and borderline heresy) that will not inadvertently poison her.

So I am preparing four meals this week. Look forward to a picture and short description of each in the coming days. I will have to MacGyver a way for the food picture to cleverly represent the over or under-arching theme of that day’s post. (I loved watching MacGyver growing up and even more love using him as a verb.)

What was your favorite 80’s TV show? What is a word that you wish was a verb? (Please use it in a sentence.)

 

#16. Celebrity Apprentice

Donaldtrump

After yesterday’s teaser, I’ll just get right to it. I did not meet Donald Trump on Wednesday. But maybe for just a fraction of a second, you thought I did. I did meet a celebrity though. Jon Acuff is a great author, speaker and blogger. He was speaking at the Catalyst Conference here in Dallas this week, and since his new book Quitter released Wednesday, he was doing a book signing at a local mall. Here’s how it played out…

A few weeks ago I found out a couple in our church home group knew Jon Acuff. His dad was a pastor of a church in Massachusetts where our friends used to live. Our friends were actually very close with Jon’s family and spent many years watching him grow up in the church. I found out about the book signing and immediately alerted my friends that Jon was coming to Dallas. (I figured they would like to see him, and I figured it would get me a few more precious moments of side hugging.) Much to my delight, I got much more than a side-hug.

Jon_acuff

My friend suggested that we grab dinner with Jon and his publisher representative after the signing. So of course we took him to get some stellar Tex-Mex at Anamia’s. It was great getting to know him and sharing some jokes. Our friends not so subtly commented that we were home group leaders at The Village where Matt Chandler is pastor. No big deal. And of course he was extremely impressed by my wife’s appearance on Oprah, but that story is for another post. By the end of the very late evening, we were sharing full frontal hugs and tweeting back and forth on into the night.

So now we are BFF’s, and he’s probably going to ask me to guest post on stuffchristianslike.net. I’ll accept of course, and his readership will double over night. Then we’ll end up writing a best-selling book together and tour the country talking about how God brought us together for such a time as this. And Michael W. Smith’s Friends are Friends Forever will loop continuously in the background. Man, this is going to be sooo sweet!

 

#15. Getting to the 2nd Drink

2_glasses

Holy cats! It’s Theological Thursday! I was getting ready to write this post and realized I would either have to put some crazy spin on my original topic to effectively Jesus Juke you right out of your chair, or I could push it to the highly volatile Friday post and live on the edge. Ah… you know me too well. Of course I’m going to literarily run like a madman to edge of a precipice, because this blog is the only place I have the courage to do so. (Spoiler alert tomorrow’s post will feature a celebrity encounter.)

So then what’s on tap today you ask? Thanks for getting me back on point. I love word pictures and often find myself painting elaborate portraits that suck me in like the black hole inside Dyson’s unparalleled Ball Vacuum. OK, back to drinking. I’m sure you guessed based on the title that this post would discuss liquid consumption, and if you did guess that, then you are absolutely correct. A couple weeks ago I stumbled across an interesting concept while hanging out with a friend. We were waiting for our wives, who were taking a painting class, and killing time by patronizing a local establishment specializing in the dispensation of adult beverages. An abundance of time (3 hours) led to an equally appropriate and responsible ingestion of fluid. This was a fairly new friend, and having not spent copious amounts of time together, we spent a good bit of time learning about each others histories and interests.

This encounter came to my mind the next evening at our Church Home Group while we were discussing our relationship with God. We were trying to reason how best to move from more superficial interaction with God (praying about the weather, our food, even tough decisions or disease), to a deeper level of intimacy and understanding (praising God for who He is and what he has done, grasping His character and loving Him passionately). I related the previous night’s events, attempting to communicate that only through time spent, could we hope to truly open up and reciprocally delve deeper into another person’s life. After floundering around the idea for a few moments, the following phrase tumbled out of my mouth. “We need to get to the second drink.” (Let’s put that on a t-shirt… “Get to the 2nd Drink.” or maybe “I want seconds.”)

The second drink is where the surface conversation ends and the good stuff begins. All too often I don’t invest the time necessary to uncover the truly good stuff. You could argue quality over quantity, but I would challenge all of us to strive for both.

So what random phrase have you given philosophical meaning to? What great t-shirt ideas have you had? Or maybe the best question is… Are you drinking enough?

 

#14. Stupid for Seattle

Seattle

So let’s just get it out of the way. The only reason that Seattle made the title of this post is because I’m fishing for Northwestern readership. Song of Sloman has a strong base in the Midwest and Texas and a surprising number of views on the east coast and in the L.A. area. I suppose I could have referenced some obscure city such as Waldport, Oregon, but let’s be honest Waldport probably doesn’t have the geographical clout of a place like Seattle or even Portland. So anyway… enough about Seattle and on to the Stupid.

Monday night I did something that made me look, and even worse, feel incredibly stupid. I’m all geeked up right now, because Jon Acuff (www.stuffchristianslike.net) is coming to Dallas this week to speak at the Catalyst Conference and also to do a book signing for the release of his new book Quitter. I’ve been telling a lot of people about it, put it on my calendar and even though my wife has been sick, got a couple people to go with me. So Monday night I left work a little early, rushed home to get changed and picked up my almost as enthusiastic companions. Walking into Grapevine Mills Mall, my nerves were starting to get the best of me, but I was still excited. As we walk into the bookstore, my first instinct to look for the crowd was squashed by the realization that there wasn’t one. One of my companions proceeded to ask a cashier where the book signing was taking place. The employee looked at us like we were complete morons, or maybe that’s just what I felt like. He then stated that there was no signing tonight, but that there would be one on Wednesday for a new book called Quitter.

How could I have made such an obvious error regarding something I was so highly anticipating? I got planner punked. So sorry for wasting your time. Sorry for taking you away from an evening with your kids. Really sorry you had to ride all the way over here with me in my embarrassingly hooptie-esque Mazda. Wait! How did I go from making a scheduling mistake to bashing my ride that I just touted as a blessing in my previous post? The devil! I know its you satan. You lose. I love my hooptie-esque Mazda and refuse to be embarrassed by it. Ha!

After all that my companions were very gracious. They simply said, “No big deal. We’ll come back Wednesday, and we can drive. It was great spending time with you.”

I don’t act very graciously toward others when they waste my time. Even if I put up a front and act like it’s no problem, I often find myself silently berating them for the inconvenience.

How stupid or gracious are you?

 

#13. What a Weekend

Broom

Something crazy happened this weekend. I have been blessed in ways most of my college and high school friends have not. Sure I have an incredibly encouraging, respectful, loving & above all God-honoring wife. (Bonus: She is amazingly beautiful!) I have a great family with supportive and sacrificing parents, a great brother to physically and verbally spar with, and four grandparents that are still alive and have spent the majority of my life spoiling me rotten (as all grandparents should). I have a diminutive but extremely athletic dog that thinks he’s the most dominant animal on four legs. I have a 1993 Mazda 626 that just rolled 190,000 miles that I have been driving since I was sixteen blessing me for many years without car payments. I breezed through college in a mere five and a half years, received a degree in Architectural Engineering, and have been working at a great company with great co-workers for the past 4 years. I probably go to the best church in the entire country and get to hear the best communicator in the whole world preach amazing sermons about humility and boasting in nothing except Christ crucified.

But I’m not talking about any of those things. I’m talking about being blessed by living in Dallas, Texas. I’m talking about knowing the surpassing joy that the God of the universe has placed me in His country. Texas is an amazing place. And the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is currently about as close to being a Sporting Mecca as you can get. I know they haven’t done anything spectacular in the last few years, but the Dallas Cowboys are still America’s Team. The Texas Rangers just went to the World Series last year and then started this season nine and one. And then there are the Mavericks, my beloved Dallas Mavericks, having won 50 games or more for eleven consecutive seasons. If you aren’t into sports or specifically NBA basketball, you may not have heard, but this weekend they swept the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers out of the playoffs. (I think Dallas also has professional hockey and soccer teams, but that may just be a rumor.)

Mavs

During this playoff series a local radio guy had been talking to L.A. Laker, Shannon Brown. Brown had mentioned several times how the Lakers were just beating themselves. Ben Rogers took the opportunity to ask if it was possible for a team to sweep themselves, and the following is priceless audio gold.

Shannon_brown


Shannon_Brown.mp3

Being the obvious Mavericks-homer that I am, I want to give the Mavs their due respect and say “kudos” on a job well done. Congratulations on a dominate display of basketball prowess. However, I must immediately return to that which has gotten us to where we are today, and once again don the metaphorical sackcloth of skepticism. So MFFL’s (Mavs Fans For Life) unite and join me in my vigilant and cautious pessimism. Because we can’t keep winning unless we believe we will lose.

#12. Recovery from Rejection

Rejection

Not posting today due to the disatrous hit to my ego last Friday. I just need some time. I’m not sure how much time. Probably not much. I might actually just have family in town and a lot going on this weekend. Or I might be devastated. It’s hard to say.

#11. Something Old, Something New

Ipad_typewriter

So I’ve decided, inspired by my recent blog-crush, www.stuffchristianslike.net, to institute Theological Thursdays. This will be different than Jon Acuff’s Serious Wednesdays mostly because it’s not Wednesday. Now I know what you’re saying… “This blog is going to turn all serious and boring, and I won’t find myself laughing out loud for hours the way I used to after reading your witty witticisms.” As much as I appreciate that well-meaning, but back-handed compliment, I want to assure you that while I commit to going a little deeper on Thursdays, I am simultaneously committing to be equally dry and sarcastic or light and fluffy, every other day of the week. I could even start naming other days like Satirical Saturdays or Whimsical Wednesdays, but admittedly, I don’t think very far ahead, and I’m pretty sure I would just end up writing myself into a literary corner.

Without further ado, I was reading my Bible at the local Starbucks this morning, still crawling my way through 2 Corinthians at a tortastic* pace, when I realized the text was speaking on a topic that has come up in a few recent conversations. I was a little stunned, but then looked around and thought, “This is a God thing. He does this sort of stuff all the time. Act natural. Be cool.” Verses 9 and 10 seem to be speaking clearly about Old Covenant verses New Covenant.

Now some people argue that the Old Covenant no longer applies to our lives, that the New Covenant has replaced it. I can kind of see that. But other people say the Old Covenant is just as relevant as ever and should be followed strictly. But there are a lot of things in the Old Covenant that don’t make sense and that may not apply for a more “modern” or “advanced” culture. These verses helped to make some sense of this tension for me.

 9For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. 10Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it.

These verses point out that the New Covenant far exceeds the Old in glory. So much so that the Old appears to now have no glory at all. But don’t miss this part. The Old does still have glory. It still has relevance and significance, but the New takes priority. The New is given surpassing precedence. I thought of it this way: If I learn a piece of truth and then later on learn another truth that is even greater, does the first truth cease to be truth? Not at all. If it ceases to be truth, then it was never truth to begin with. In fact it was only a theory at best, and the God of the universe does not operate on theories. If I learn how to work a high level, extremely complex math problem that takes pages of hand calculations, and then six months later, I learn how to work the same problem using a calculator taking only a fraction of the time, does it invalidate the truth of the original process, or does it only eclipse it with such utter simplicity that only a fool would continue to struggle when a better way has been provided?

So what’s the application? What happens when the New fails to address, simplify or eclipse something Old? I believe we pray about it. I believe we place it against the backdrop of the entirety of scripture and weigh what makes sense. I believe we seek trusted biblical leadership that we have willingly and joyfully placed ourselves under. In the end I suppose I haven’t reached a single concrete conclusion, but it doesn’t seem prudent to completely disregard the whole of the Old Covenant because of its inferior perceived value relative to the Ministry of Righteousness.

Was that too deep? Did I drown in a sea of metaphoric ignorance? Maybe next Thursday I’ll pack my water wings.

*Tortastic is derived from tortoise, referring to anything exceptionally slow-moving.

 

 

#10. Rhythm and Rhyme

Cat_in_the_hat

Everyone loves Rhymes. They’re catchy and easy to remember. The repetition of entire syllables is pleasing to the ear. It is foundational to poetry, and thus finds it’s way into countless melodies that make up the music we listen to. Rhyming is rhythmic, identifiable, smooth and undeniable. But I get bored with Rhymes. They come too easy and often sound cheesy (See what I did there?). Then again, it could just be that I was over exposed to Dr Seuss as a youth (OK, that was a stretch).

Either way, from time to time, I find myself drawn to what I believe is Rhyme’s more subtle and sophisticated literary cousin, Alliteration. I literally love Alliteration. I’m often obsessed to the point that I can’t control myself. Sometimes starting sentences without it seems surprisingly simple. Other times I can’t put two words together if I try. But I’m always on alert for the alliterative apex. That occasional occurance of phonetic formation when alliteration is achieved with dissimilar letters. All of this to say, I’m an Alliteration Addict.

But enough about me. What’s your slippery slope? Do you have a gratifying grammatical gimmic?

#9. An Apology and an Observation

Apology

The Apology:

To whom it may concern (the 13 people who originally read the previous post & anyone that may read it in the future): I am sorry and deeply regret offending anyone implicitly or explicitly by posting a picture of the Royal Crown Cola logo immediately following the blog title “Royal Failure?”. This was irresponsible and poorly planned. I would also like to apologize to Royal Crown Cola International for what I’m sure caused a major downturn in sales this past weekend. I would also like to lend my own personal endorsement to Royal Crown Cola, having always believed it to be a product of terrific quality and taste. And I would like to further endorse Babe’s Chicken Dinner House (http://www.babeschicken.com/) here in the Dallas area, for its superior cuisine as well as for serving Royal Crown products.

The Observation:

This observation is really two-fold. The irony of the previous post is that the title may have been prophetic of its own existence. Stated another way… All of my previous posts had achieved about 50 viewings in thier first 24 hours after posting. The aforementioned 13 in a 3 day period feels like failing royally. The second part to my observation is this… Posting on Friday night is a terrible idea. People have better things to do than putts around online during the weekend. But as soon as Monday rolls around, everyone sitting in their cubicles is looking for something to distract them from their gray walls while they wait for 5pm.

If you blog it, they will read. (During the week at least.)