Sunday, October 31, 2004

The Sequence of Events from Thirty Minutes Ago Until Now...

12:45 a.m.-- Driving home from Austin with Jason asleep in the passengers seat, I make it into Waco.

12:47 a.m.-- Coming around the corner past the Hwy. 6 Exit my eyes catch a glimpse that makes me curious. The tower on the Baylor campus is lit green. "Huh," I think to myself, remembering the tour I was given a few years back when I became employed at the university where they told me that a tower lit green marks a victory for a Baylor athletic team.

12:48 a.m.-- I brush the previous thoughts away, knowing that Baylor played Texas A&M and there was no way in hell they won. I attributed the green light to one of the many other fall sports that I'm probably not aware of.

12:51 a.m.-- After dropping Jason off I notice that there are many students out and about at the restaurants around campus. Many are walking around the streets in what seems to me like a celebratory mood.

12:53 a.m.-- Still not believing that Baylor's football team could beat A&M, there, nevertheless, are chinks beginning to be chipped away from the armor of my cynicism.

1:00 a.m.-- I arrive home and check the internet to discover that, alas, Baylor DID in fact beat Texas A&M on the gridiron tonight.

1:01 a.m.-- Knowing I have to blog something, the inner war begins to go on in my head. The conversation went like this:

Craig's better judgement-- "Let them have their fun."
Craig's sinister judgement-- "You have to say something."
Craig's better judgement-- "C'mon Craig, let it go. The people who read your blog already know how you feel about Baylor. You don't need to state the obvious by creating some clever post."
Craig's sinister judgement-- "But it would be so fun. And it's TRUE!"
Craig's better judgement-- "Craig, some of the people you love the most hold Baylor University dear to their heart."
Craig's sinister judgement-- "Yeah, but your voice needs to be heard. You have been wronged by this place-- TWICE! You are the oppressed!!"
Craig's better judgement-- "Let it go, seriously. Could it be that you are jealous of being on the outside of all of that celebration and you just have to spoil their party? You don't want to be that person, do you?"
Craig's sinister judgement-- "Why not?"
Craig's better judgement-- "Because you are better than that."
Craig's sinister judgement-- "No I'm not."
Craig's better judgement-- "Yes you are."
Craig's sinister judgement-- "No I'm not, and shut the hell up," beating Craig's better judgement into submission and typing the following words at 1:27 a.m.
Congratulations Baylor! You beat Texas A&M! I'm so proud of you!! It must feel great to finally be 6-63 in Big 12 play. At this rate the already financially strapped university will probably go under because of all the goal posts you are tearing down. Must feel great to have to tear down a goal post after winning your 6th Big 12 game out of 69. Maybe that will be the salve that cools wounds of your ailing soul. My guess is that, looking back on it, it will be seen more as the shot of tequila needed to dull the pain.
I really should have listened to my better self. But, what's a person to do?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Hitting the Hay...

I'm going to be early tonight so I'm going to bypass a long post. I'll just write one more sentence after this one.

I just watched Larry King Live where the first half had about five ministers from differing theological persuasions (Max Lucado, Jessie Jackson, John MacArthur, some liberal Catholic and some just plain ol' liberal) discussing issues regarding church and state and the second half had Tommy Lee talking about his life, his new book, and his reality show and I honestly can't think of a single hypothetical circumstance in which, given the choice, I'd rather hang out with any of those Christians over Tommy Lee because he was fun, kind, gentle, and just seemed seemed like a good person.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Meeting up Again...

From the beginning I have tried to make my blog as transparent and about who I am and where I am at a particular time in my life as possible. I have dabbled a little in creative writing, poetry, and quite a bit of political commentary. But the things that generate the most response and are the most therapeutic for me are the random postings of what I did on a particular day and what I thought and felt throughout the course of those happenings.

The advantage of this type of blogging is that those who are around me, those who are an immediate part of my life, can read my posts and say “Yep, that’s Craig,” but also know that I am so much more than what I can write within a thirty minute period of time. The disadvantage is that I am taking a huge risk that someone who is not a part of my immediate world will read my words and say “That’s Craig,” but will have no other frame of reference from which to draw a mental picture of what type of person I am right now.

For example, someone could read my posts from Saturday night and reasonably come to the conclusion that I have an alcohol issue. Truth is, I have moderated my views on alcohol quite a bit over the past few years. And, after a few years of tweaking, my actions regarding alcohol have moderated as well. In the past two months I’ve probably consumed 5 alcoholic beverages, max.

You could also scroll down and find a handful of f-bombs peppered throughout my posts and conclude that I have a potty mouth. Truth is, I have moderated my views on language that can be considered offensive. And, after a few years of tweaking, my language…. Oh, who am I kidding. I have a potty mouth.

Why am I writing this? In trying to promote Kyle’s book to everyone in my contact list I have reconnected with some friends that I haven’t seen or spoken with in years. Knowing (and happy) that I’ll renew a relationship with some of them, they are bound to find my blog (since I like to put my address on my emails.)

So to my old friends that I hope and pray will, in some way, become a part of my life again, I say this: I am a different person than who I was 2, 5, 10 years ago. I hope you are as well. I have different passions, different friends, different ideas, different direction. You can look at my words and decide (as some have in the past) that the October 25, 2004 Craig just isn’t as good or spiritual or the same as the Craig you once knew. You can put me on your prayer list (which I hope you would do anyway) and ask God to restore me (i.e., make me a theological conservative again.) You can "remove your endorsement" of me (as has been done.) Or you can rejoin me on this path I’m on.

I am still just a person stumbling after God. There are people with me who I love deeply who are stumbling as well. At one point in my life, possibly when I was walking in closer proximity to your world, I thought I had my feet firmly to the ground, eyes set like stone toward the goal. It made me feel closer to God to speak in stronger terms. But I was just stumbling then as well.

If you want, you can stumble with me. The invitation is open.
The Great Divide...

The cover of this week's Time magazine, last week's U.S. News and World Report, and the discussion topic at Pizza-Politics- and Prayer last week was of the idea of a polarized America. The theories are legion. Some say we are on the verge of civil war. Some say there is no real significant ideological divide in this country. And of course there's a million mediating views.

My belief is that deep down we are all closer than we think we are but have long ago picked teams and have planted our feet firmly in concrete in order to defend our team, logic and reason be damned. I could go on about how others do this, but this post is primarily an indictment of myself, not others. (Although I'll begin with an andectdote that is pointed at others.)

I was in the breakroom today and was horrified at the things I was reading, so I shared. Time magazine was telling some of the more vitriolic methods being used on the ground campaign for President. Republicans sent a flyer to Arkansas and West Virginia that read "If Kerry wins, the Bible will be banned and men will marry men." Democrats sent a flyer to Tennessee that had Bush looking like he was running in the Special Olympics that read "Voting for Bush is like running in the Special Olympics. Even if you win you are still retarded."

Lord, have mercy.

When I read the former to a left-leaning coworker this person's comment was "Yeah, like a devout Roman Catholic would ban the Bible." When I read the latter the comment (with a chuckle) was "That's kind of funny."

You see, this person has chosen sides and things that, under any other circumstances, would be funny to this person is not funny when directed toward this person's team. And things that, under any other circumstances, would be considered horribly offensive are kind of funny when directed to the other team.

Alright, now for the three fingers pointed back in my direction.

Under any normal circumstance I would be paralyzed at the thought of the amount of American (and Iraqi) casualties going on in Iraq right now. Under normal circumstances I would have serious concerns about choices this administration has made in environmental policy (nods and a thank you to Coleman and his girlfriend.) Under any other circumstances I would be critical of an administration that doesn't seem concern with a balanced budget.

But I have chosen sides and fear spoken dissension of any kind might sway others away from my team or, even worse, I might decide to change my mind.

Remember that thing our youth ministers read us about the Fellowship of the Unashamed and how we have made our decision, planted our feet, and won't turn back? That might be good when it comes to our commitment to being a follower of Christ but is a load of crap in any other circumstance because it closes the possibility of anything, no matter how true or logical or right, changing your direction.

Fear not my Republican friends, I'm still voting for Bush. I believe that I work hard for my money and should be able to keep as much of it as possible, as long as the government has enough for the military and provisions for those who absolutely cannot provide for themselves. I believe the abortion debate should be framed in terms of protecting life rather than protecting someone's right to make a horrible choice. I believe that a democratic Iraq could revolutionize the world and that U.S. military might can be used for good. I really do believe that John Kerry calculates his positions with the political winds in mind. I really do believe that he is a "Massachusetts Liberal." I don't disparage him for being what he is, but I do believe his core beliefs are out of touch with the common American citizen.

But if Bush is re-elected I want a reckoning to occur over the disaster in Iraq. I want a direction change. I know the administration can't speak in those terms now because the other team would use even an admission of mistakes (that they say should have occurred) as a reason for attack. I also know that regardless of what good Bush does for the environment and for civil rights, it will never be acknowledged by the environmental and minority groups (religious or otherwise.) But I want environmental and civil rights issues to be addressed.

Ronald Reagan was a great president because of what he did in his second term. Knowing he would never again have to win the support of the American people, he made tough decisions that may have been unpopular, but which were good for America. I trust Bush will do the same.

If Bush loses? I'm a Cowboy fan. I can handle being on a losing team with my eyes closed.

Saturday, October 23, 2004


So instead of drinking a lot and going to bed, as suggested in the previous post, I ended up drinking a little and watching "Saved!" again and this time the thing I thought about it was that the movie is all about God's extravagant Love as expressed through very messed up people on every end of the theological spectrum. The final quote...."So you ask yourself What Jesus would do… I don't think anyone knows that for sure, but I know one thing. We're going to try and find the answer to that question together…" nails me and makes me happy to be in this with you.
October 23, 2004 (A bullet post...)

-- It may be hard for those of you who only see me at weddings and bachelor parties to believe this, but I don't really drink alcohol a whole lot. A Margarita here and there, maybe three a month.

-- Tonight I'm probably going to drink like the wedding and bachelor party Craig.
-- It's because I'm lonely, a good lonely, I guess you'd say I'm alone and it's good to be alone sometimes.
-- It's good to be at a place in my life where I can say it's good to be alone sometimes.
-- I'm still going to drink myself to sleep. But don't weep for me. I've got Emmylou Harris and Damien Rice in my years tonight.
-- I consumed 5 Krispy Kreme doughnuts today but ran 4 miles. I hope they offset each other.
-- Tomorrow I'm going for 6.
-- Miles that is.
-- I started writing another book last night. Oh, I've never finished writing a book, but I've gotten two pages into writing many books. I'm quite prolific on writing the first two pages of books.
-- I should win a Pulitzer for best first two pages of unfinished books.
-- Hey, don't be offended at my post about you not blogging enough. It's ok. You don't have to be as big of a nerd as me.
-- Right now I'm listening to Hootie and his Blowfish.
-- Tell me Hootie doesn't take you back to a particular place and time.
-- Tell me Hootie doesn't make you want to put on flannel and drive around Marshall, TX in the pouring rain in 1997.
-- I dare you.
-- Yep, I've set you up for a sarcastic comment.
-- I'm ready for it.
-- As I'm ready for that sweet elixir.
-- Blessings.

Friday, October 22, 2004


There are 168 hours in the week.

I spend 40 hours a week working. About 10 doing church stuff. Probably around 20 just keeping up with friends. Generally 56 sleeping. Usually 6 or 7 pushing play on the Wiggles and wrestling and tickling and pushing on the swing and changing diapers for the three greatest kids in the world (have I ever told you about them?) Put me in front of the television for 12 and that leaves me with 33 hours to spend reading and looking on the internet. Working in a bookstore provides me ample reading material, out of which probably consumes about 15 hours of my week That leaves me with 18 hours that I spend blogging and relying on a canon of about 10-12 blogs of good friends to keep my eyes moving and my mind occupied.

Blake Edwards-- 14 days without blogging.
The Table Man-- 2 days without blogging. (He's in Hollyweird right now, so I guess I can undertstand.)
The Table Man's Spouse-- 4 months without blogging. (For crying out loud.)

The Theologian-- 2 days without blogging. (Sure to make liberals and unregenerates happy, but not me.)
Robert-- A week without blogging.
Mark-- 7 days.
Starla-- 7 days.
Tom-- 11 days.
Ben-- 6 days. (Understandable because of the loss of his grandmother. But his track record before that isn't a good one.)

Myles and Cory are about the only people I can depend on these days.

C'mon people. I'm laying myself out there day in and day out writing senseless sentimental bullshit and political commentary that surprises no one. Am I the only one who cares about this semi-anonymous relationship between blogs?

I don't even know why I try anymore.

Thursday, October 21, 2004


I'm generally an early to bed type of guy. But I'm rarely this tired at 9:30 p.m. I'm not sure why. I woke up late today (around 9:00 a.m.) and worked a normal shift. Anyway...

An admissions counselor from East Texas Baptist University, my alma mater, called today and invited me out to lunch. His name is Blake and he was in town visiting prospective students and alumni who help out here and there with recruiting. It was great visiting with him. We have several common friends and it was good sharing stories. It was also good talking to someone who knows the places I know. But mostly it was good remembering from where I've come.

Hard to believe it was nine years ago that I entered ETBU. Initially I did not want to go. I had visited the campus as a high school student for a couple of camps but didn't have a desire to attend. I knew people who went there. They were weird. I didn't want to be weird. But my best friend from high school started to get interested in it and so I started to get interested in it.

At this point in the blog I could go in about 17 different directions about ETBU life..... Driving home every weekend the first year, being secluded, experiencing thinking for the first time, being close in proximity to my grandmother, yada, yada, and yada.

All those yada's and blah, blah, blah's add up to a huge chunk of who I am. A huge chunk that I decided a couple of years ago not to run away from like many ex-ETBU'ers do. I could have gone to Baylor and perhaps had a more stringent theological education. I could have gone to UT and been exposed to more healthy ideas about culture and society or I could have gone to A&M and been a part of something bigger than anything in all the world.

But I chose ETBU and as a result I have memories of sitting in a circle of people praying to the God we gave our lives to, of Beth spending evenings by herself working math problems-- for fun, of teasing Brent about sleeping with Dr. Cone because he was the king of the biology department and she was the single middle aged professor of the biology department, of that cold Sunday morning during the holidays when I was the only student in town and walking from my car in the parking lot of that little country church and hearing the sounds coming from inside that by any standards other than the standards of The Kingdom would have been out of tune and horrible but through which God appeared to me in one of the greatest convergences of earth and heaven I've ever known, of friends named Jason and Jason and Robert and Blake and Susan and Casey and Mark and others who for a year made each other the center of each other's world and taught me about the rhythyms of being together, and of looking back in wonder, and of a lunch on one of the most random of days with a new friend bound by God and circumstance.

I guess we choose what we choose.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The Book...

It was a long day at work, I'm extremely tired and have no words to share. Except that I didn't want to go to bed without letting you know that the copies of Kyle's book arrived in the Relevant Warehouse last week and should be landing in the Barnes and Noble Warehouses later this week and should be available at your local store next Thursday. Please go out and by a copy to show your support for Kyle, who is one of my best friends. I promise I'll write more on the book later, but for now a picture will have to do...

Monday, October 18, 2004


-- Well, I guess it's official. I'm a legend. A trailblazer. As the Table Guy pointed out in a comment on The Theologians blog, the bullet points have taken off and I've been credited with the revolution. My job is complete. I have something to be remembered for.

-- The bullet point resonates because aren't all our lives really, when it comes down to it, bullet points? Sure there are grand themes and paragraphs and plots and character development but, in the end, our lives are lived out in small increments. It's why Ann Lamott believes the short story is one of the greatest art forms, because our lives are played out in short stories.

-- I started reading my first bit of fiction from Ann Lamott last night, Joe Jones. It's started out as I expected, amazing. She is the master of metaphor and description.

-- I've been feeling like the fat cells are making their way back into my body lately. The eating hasn't been as good as it could be.

-- I did, however, just finish running five miles, my longest ever.

-- You'd tell me if I were gaining wouldn't you? I'm not quite sure I want you to. Perhaps I do, perhaps I don't. I'll get back with you on that one.

-- Probably because the death of Ben's grandmother made me think of my grandmother, my dream last night was extremely peaceful. I dreamed (or is it dreamt?) about the twenty miles of countryside between Henderson and Carthage and how peaceful it was driving through it because I knew I was about to get a hug a pinch on the leg and a big old glass of the best sweet tea in the world and a few hours on the porch listening to the wind and watching the birds. Sweet, sweet memories.

-- I wrote this thing for church a couple of weeks ago about how remembering is really re-membering. Taking something that was a part of your life and reintroducing it to your life.

-- Sermon went well, although Kyle told me I might have been a bit too harsh on the fundamentalists and I didn't believe him until I remember talking about how some people were too addicted to being martyrs and offensive and how some people are freaks, although the freak comment was meant to be a joke because it was in reference to myself.

-- Anyway, I got an email from someone I don't know telling me they almost cried in the sermon. Could have been the first time I ever made anyone cry, except for the time I pushed Spike Prieto down in the fifth grade.

-- It was the first and last fight I've ever been in.
-- Except for the time I hit Stanley Phelps for saying he killed one of my puppies.
-- And there was that fight Brent and I got into in college over the last quarter in the apartment.
-- I'll have to tell you about that one sometime.

-- About to go hang out with the coolest, most radical and Jesuscentric youth minister ever, the Table Guy who is down with the G-O-D!

Sunday, October 17, 2004


It didn't come to Waco (not surprisingly,) and I've been extremely busy since it's release on DVD a few weeks ago but tonight I finally got to see "Saved!" and everything everyone told me about how amazing it is was true.

More than just an indictment of the American Evangelical Sub-Culture, Saved! is a mirror into how hard and complex it is to be not only a teenager but to be a human living in a very messed up world with very messed up emotions seeking out a God and people who will love you regardless. The people who made the movie did an amazing job of making me care for, and wish the best for, every character, including the Christian bitch Hillary Faye.

I know the movie is hyperbole-- but it's not extremely hyperbolic. With just about every character I could think of about a half dozen names of people I know who fit the bill and with every ridiculous Christian slogan I can remember my self mouthing something similar.

The movie convinced me of two things. The first is that every church should require their youth ministers to spend at least five hours every week with unwed pregnant teenagers and the fathers, homosexuals, someone of a different faith or none at all, and an outcast from the youth group in a non-agenda laden meeting where the minister does nothing except hang out with and do his/her best to keep their trap shut and listen. (Of course I'm exaggerating, but you get the point.)

The second thig I'm convinced of is that the further Christianity moves away from loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself... hell, I don't know what I'm writing. I'm just as guilty of not loving God and my neighbor as much as these caricatures of Christian freaks.

Now I'll be cynical.

Why is it that the more suburban, the more slick and pre-fab, the more wealthy, the more corporate and business-like and wrapped up in popular management principles churches become the more hateful and fake and freakish they become? I'm just talking.

Reading several websites devoted to Saved! confirmed my suspicions that the response from a majority of evangelicals who fit the caricatures in the movie was basically "Oh, I know people like that and we are not like that. We keep it real." The funniest thing about some of these sites are that they could have just as easily been written by the students of Eagle Mountain High School.

Wow, I've done enough finger pointing for today and I'm tired. I wanted to have a cool inspirational post about this but it's faded into something else so I feel the best thing to do is to stop and hope that I've sparked some good comments that'll breed good discussion. Please, if you've seen the movie or if you haven't, comment.

Here I go.


Friday, October 15, 2004


I've had a secret for years now that I've been terrified to share for fear of the great shame it may bring upon my life. The reason I'm stepping forward now is because I realize I'm in very good company.

As I was reading yesterday the standard bearer of integrity in journalism, the great bastion of fair and accurate reporting, Star Magazine, I came across an article that brought hope to me because it made me realize I share the same affliction with the former Mrs. Cruise herself, Nicole Kidman.

I'm afraid of butterflies.

There, I said it. I cannot stand to be near a butterfly. I don't know what it is, but butterflies just are not right and they terrify the living hell out of me. Those wings are so thin and yet are controlled by the body of something that used to be a caterpillar and you never know what it's going to do next or what it's thinking and this world would be much better without butterflies. Yes they are pretty. Yes they make an easy craft project for people who love folding and cutting paper. No, they should not exist and I will not rest until every last one of them stays away from me for the rest of my life.

Perhaps Nicole will join me in my quest. We both could have strategy meetings at my house over dinner and a nice glass of Dr. Pepper. But no butterflies.
Fly Into the Window...

This is by no means an original occurence for I have read other writers share this exact same experience. But as I was sitting here working on my sermon a bird flew into the window and upon collision backed up a little and tried to fly in again and eventually learned it's lesson and landed on the window seal, but kept looking in on me.

What do you think God is trying to tell me through this obviously God-Controlled occurence? Maybe that I should go toward the window?

All this happened within the past three minutes.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

A Poem to Many People All At Once That Probably Doesn't Rhyme but, at Times, Might...

Do you know how much more confident I am now than then?
Do you know that my silence is not passive, but active?
Do you know that I'm glad for those times and pissed about them at the same time?
Could you conceive that I really don't care, but still love to talk?
Do y'all know how that celebration saved my life?
Do you know how much the song resonates?
How about "A Few Good Men..." Do you know that I STILL haven't seen it, and probably won't?
Do you know how, if I had had the guts, that I would have called you motherfuckers in '96, because that's what you were?
Do you know how much you threaten me?
Do you know what I cry about?
You, and you and you and you and you, do you know how YOU saved my life?
Do you realize understand the power of happy tears?
Do you know that I meant it?
Did you know I missed you?
Do you know I miss you?
Can you possibly understand how your humor gives me life.

Maybe I'll tell you.
But probably not. I'll just let you try to decipher.
Good Luck.

Random Thoughts...

I've got seven minutes to write until I have to leave the house to go to work. Considering the fact that I'm not dressed yet, make that four minutes I have to write.

About the debate last night: Another draw, in my opinion. Kerry actually became a little more likeable to me. Actually, I 've always thought he was fairly likeable but that it didn't come across. If he's elected I can handle it. I'll disagree with many of his policies but I don't think he's the boogey man, like many of my conservative friends do.

I do have a problem, however, with how he answered the faith and abortion question. He basically said that he is a man of faith, a Catholic, and implied that he believes in the Catholic position on abortion (unsaid was that the Catholic position is that abortion is murder.) But he didn't want to force his personal beliefs onto legislation. He then went on to say that his faith affects is policies on poverty and "social justice" (the buzzword for liberal christians.) My question is this: Why do you allow your faith to affect how you handle one set of policy issues, but not abortion? My theory: The things he already believes in, he then allows his faith the "speak to." Those ideas where his faith is in opposition to his political beliefs, well those are "personal views."

Real quickly, I think Bush had his best performance last night. There were a few instances where he was confusing and not clear with his answers, but for the most part he presented his view of the world and was very convincing. And on the faith question, he made no bones about the fact that his faith affects his policy decisions.

Gotta go, wish I had more time.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Funny New Blog...

In case you missed the Table Guy's comment, check this out.

I've been asked to preach this Sunday on Acts 17, where Paul reasons with the philosophers on Mars Hill. Any great nuggets of manna from heaven from my deeply theological friends on this one? I'll take what I can get (but I can't promise I won't discard it once I realize it doesn't fit into my theological scheme:) )


Tonight is the last debate and I'm kind of glad. Believe it or not, I'm ready for this to be over. I'm still digging all the pundit shows and still enjoying talking about it, but I'm ready to know who is going to win so I can get on with my life.


I'll be writing more about this later, but I wanted to give you a heads up on three books that are coming out on October 28.

1. Dave Eggers, author of "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius," and "You Shall Know Our Velocity," will be releasing a collection of short stories titled "How We are Hungry." Eggers is a master of quirky sentence structure and is one of the top five writers on my list of favorites.

2. Gordon Atkisson, aka Real Live Preacher, is releasing a collection of his blogs and musings in the book "" There's a link to his site on my page and I absolutely love his stuff.

3. My pastor and good friend Kyle Lake's book "Understanding God's Will; How to Hack the Equation Without Formulas" will also be out on the 28th. I've read it and it's extremely good and I'm extremely biased but I still think it's extremely good. I'll be writing more about this soon, but I've got a favor to ask of all of you who do not live in Waco. Please walk into your local Barnes and Noble (this is important-- any other bookstore WILL NOT DO!!) and request that the store shortlist 5 or 6 copies of this book. They will know what you are talking about. If they can't find the title, give them this ISBN: 0974694266.

More on that later.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The Week...

It's a busy week. I've got midshifts on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, so the beginnings and endings of all three of those days are pretty much eaten up. On top of that Kyle asked me to preach this Sunday, so I'll be doing that. The only preparations I'll have are in the mornings and evenings (except for Wednesday, which will be reserved for watching the last debate,) and all day Friday, my day off.

Beyond that, though, things are going well. The weather is nice, I'm in good moods, and people are blogging again.

The busyness has eaten into my workout routine. After this week I need to get back in the saddle.

Well, that's all I've got. Be blessed.

Monday, October 11, 2004

That Dreaded Hour...

Mark's post today helped clarify in my mind a thought that is probably quite universal. How you began to handle social situations in junior high, such as table selection in the cafeteria, in all likelihood signals how you relate to people as an adult.

Mark approached the situation very differently than I did. (And, interesting enough, Mark and I are very different people.) Mark's Modus Operandi initially was to insert himself at the cool table and lay low, hoping to eventually become a part of the group. After recognizing that the cool table wasn't all it was cracked up to be he then chose to eat in solitude which eventually gave way to his being the table that others migrated to. His experiences helped him provide a safe place for others to relax and be themselves.

I was not nearly as brave as Mark.

Fearing I wasn't quite up to snuff with the cool table I made a very tactical decision to bypass it and aim instead for the "second tier" of cool. This afforded me the position of not being a dork or nerd (although my table definately had a couple of those,) but it also made rejection less likely.

Ours was the great middle table that provided space for upward, or downward, mobility and the membership changed often. We were a dropping off place for those who fell out of favor with the cool table and a goal to be reached for if you were simply not cool at all. In the case of the former we were either a place for the formerly cool to lick their wounds and prepare to venture back up a notch or a place where people realized that status was bullshit and not worth the time to cultivate. For the latter ours was a place to either prepare for the next step up or to realize that status was bullshit and not worth the time to cultivate.

I'm proud of my choice. What I'm most proud of is that I chose to stay. The prevailing mindset said I should have strove higher. My youth ministers said I should have reached down lower. But I stayed. I saw people moving up and people slipping down. But every now and then someone or another, tired of the traveling, would pull over on the side of the road and plant their lawn chairs next to the two or three of us who had been there for a while. The company was good and refreshing. Our status was clear-- we were us.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Faithful Poet...

Just in case you read my blog but don't check out my links I wanted to encourage you to check out my friend Blake's blog over at FidePoeta. He has been sharing some of the most moving poetry I've ever read and it's worth your time.

Until a couple years ago when I read Bird by Bird and was introduced to the blog phenomenon by Christy Crothers I never gave writing a serious thought. I wrote a few emails a week and signed my name on checks and credit receipts. But beyond that, nothing.

When I started my blog I made a conscious decision not to archive my posts. This makes it to where, if you were so inclined, you could scroll all the way to the bottom of this page and see what I've written from Thursday May 2, 2002 until today. It's fun to look through it. I feel I've grown as a person and grown as a writer since then. In fact, I believe that much of the instability in my life (moving around, anxiety) from high school graduation to moving to Waco was settled a little by the creative outlet of writing.

It's good to have a creative outlet and it's good to look back at the years. But mostly I keep writing because so many of you keep encouraging me to. So, thank you for encouraging me. Your kind words make me want to take this more seriously. So the next week I'm going to try to get back to daily posting, regardless of what I have to say. I'm following Ann Lamott's principle that if I keep writing a bunch of crap eventually I'll start seeing nuggets of gold.

All that to say, hope you don't mind wading through the crap with me.
The Spirit is in the Circumstance...

"I don't believe that heaven waits for only those who congregate. I'd like to think of God as love. He's down below, He's up above. He's watching people everywhere. He knows who does and doesn't care. And I'm an ordinary man. Sometimes I wonder who I am. But I believe in love. I believe in music. I believe in magic. And I believe in you."

Don Williams, "I believe in You."


On Friday the sun was shining. Saturday morning, overcast. Saturday afternoon brought a steady mist that eventually morphed into an equally steady rain that gave way, once again, to a heavier steady mist later at night. Overcast today, as well, until evening came and the clouds parted. And, most importantly, that cool breeze I've been preaching for weeks drove into Waco this weekend like a big ol' Truck-O-Joy. Not jump out of your chair and run around the room yelling "Elvis Lives!" with your hands flailing about type of joy, mind you. But, rather, sit in your favorite chair with your favorite people drinking your favorite drink listening to your favorite album type of joy.

Thinking I'd be driving to East Texas this weekend I went ahead and took a vacation day on Friday. Travel plans changed, but my three day weekend plans didn't. I spent Friday morning hanging shelves in the church nursery, writing a thing for Sunday morning, and meeting up with Harris and Val for lunch at Camille's, the new sidewalk cafe' in the Central Texas Marketplace. While waiting for them I spent a long time on the phone with my prodigal friend Jason Fortenberry.

The afternoon had me driving out to Hewitt to watch the kids while Jen went grocery shopping. (Have I ever told you about those kids?) Avery kept trying to scam me out of some candy, Sutton was jumping off of everything that he could climb on, and Jude informed me that he is, in fact, Buzz Lightyear.

My good friend Robert came in from Atlanta (TX) Friday evening. I hadn't seen him since the wedding and I was extremely excited. He, Jason, and I went to see Friday Night Lights (after eating at Chile's with Daniel) and the movie was every bit as good as the book, even though it chose to focus on a narrower scope of themes.

There could not have possibly been a more perfect day than Saturday, the day I spent with about ten of my closest friends in the world. After a long morning of cooking breakfast for Jason and Christy, Daniel, Robert, and Blake and Karla (who drove up from San Marcos), we all headed out to Woodway to watch Avery's soccer game and to keep our eyes on Sutton and Buzz Lightyear. The guys then headed out to Cameron park for a couple of games of football that was separated by at least thirty minutes of rule making and halted by the steady mist I mentioned earlier, while the girls hung out at Starbucks on campus to study and read.

The next few hours had us eating lunch at Chili's, playing dodgeball at First Baptist, and waving at a plane that was flying low which was quickly identified by my eyes as Air Force One.

By this time it was getting dark. With Robert and Blake driving around talking, Daniel at home, and Karla still studying, Jason and Christy and I took advantage of the rain-at-sunset-on-a-cool-October-evening vibe that suggested one thing and one thing only... a nap.

After saying bye to Blake and Karla, who had to get back in order to rest up for a run this morning, we headed to Gatti's then back home where the evening waned and we all ended up asleep in our respected places. I woke up and watched First Touch on television where Jason (who matters more to me than he could possible know) threw down in his sermon. After that I bid farewell to Robert, headed to church, had Sunday School, participated in our alternative service where I read the little piece I had written. Today has been spent at home watching football and napping.

My guess is that if you have made it this far in the post you are probably one of the people mentioned in it. For who else would want to read about my weekend, no matter how awesome it was?

I write all this not to tell you how the days have been, nor to empty my mind of facts. I write this, to echo the author of 1 John, to make my joy complete. My spiritual development, throughout my life, is stunted when I try to zero in on "where I am with God" and tweak this and readjust that, but grows exponentially when I recognize the cumulative effects of sitting around telling stories and random hugs and communion with my church family and naps in the vicinity of friends and meals and thinking about God with a non-analytical agenda and spending a Sunday afternoon in solitude reflecting on the rest He brings.

Wish I had something better to tell. But this is all I have.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Waking Up...

How about a little post-nocturnal free writing blog to start your Friday?

I woke up less than 4 minutes ago and made a decision to blog, instead of watch the news or check email first thing.

My dreams consisted of having an event at Barnes and Noble where Ray Charles would perform and LeAnn Rimes would read her new children's book at story time. Instead Oprah showed up and started leading the crowd in exercises, but by the time we started this we weren't in Barnes and Noble again but outside of the State Fair of Texas. I was with friends that I don't know and their mom, who was actually the mom of a girl I had a crush on in high school. We were going to go see a movie in Dallas but were talked into going to the State Fair, against my reservations because I had very little money. When we walked into the fair I decided to go into the bathroom. When I entered the bathroom I used it, walked out of the bathroom-- but at this time I was no longer in the State Fair but at First Baptist Church of Chandler, the church I grew up in, and I was alone, exceptfor a janitor (who in real non-dream life is a maintenance guy for Lochridgle Priest that does stuff at B&N.) I walked around and was excited because I hadn't been in the old church building since they built the new one. At one point I started crying because I was missing my childhood and how things were when I started walking around and peeked into the office to see the current pastor (who in real non-dream life I don't know) kneeling in prayer for his sermon he just finished (it was a Saturday,) so I decided to walk away. I went into the sanctuary and noticed (now, in retrospect-- but not in the dream) that every other part of the church was bigger than I remember but the sanctuary was just a little big bigger than my room and I wondered how so many people used to fit in such a small place that I thought was so big when I was a kid. A lady was sitting in a corner in the back and I walked back and asked her if she knew where the wedding reception was, because at this point in the dream I guess I needed to be at a wedding reception. She told me it was across the street and asked me if I knew the Kerry's, John Kerry was the one getting married. I told her I did (I guess, in my dream, that I did) and realized that I wasn't wearing a shirt. So I went to the wedding reception where there were people from Chandler who didn't know me, even though I knew them. I came across Moriss and Linda Taylor who were the parents of my sisters best friend growing up. Linda cut my hair until I became too cool for it and started going to Tyler to get my hear cut. (She couldn't do a mullet as good as the Tyler people could.) Linda finally remembered me and told me (in a kind voice) how much she relied on my business and how, once I stopped going, she had to shut down.

At which point I woke up.

I wrote it down because I didn't want to forget. If you were excited about a new post from Craig, sorry.

It was a dream.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

(Note: This post isn't all about politics. So if you're bored with it, scroll down.)

The V.P. Debate...

I weighed in on last weeks debate, so I guess I'll go ahead and make a habit of it.

I came in from a meeting at church this evening about 2/3 of the way into the debate. From what I saw I was determined to call it a draw. Both Cheney and Edwards showed a clear understanding of the issues and were fairly affable. I thought both were very respectful of the other and didn't do anything out of the ordinary.

But at the end all of my favorite Talking Heads on MSNBC (you know, the people who tell you what to think,) were telling me that Cheney was the clear winner. I didn't believe them and actually looked down at the channel to make sure I hadn't accidentally switched the station to Fox News.

And then the clips of what I missed came and I realized that the John Edwards I had walked in on was a John Edwards that had been decimated and outclassed and out smarted for over an hour by a master of stating a case succinctly and convincingly.

Earlier today I was trying to articulate a post to myself about my frustrations with political and theological arguments, but I couldn't find the words. Howard Fineman, the Managing Editor of Newseek, put what I was thinking, and what would have taken me dozens of paragraphs to articulate into one simple sentence....

"John Edwards' performance tonight was nothing more than an emotion in search of an argument."

It's quite daunting when I stop and realize that everyone, myself included, is full of so many emotions that we are in search of an argument.

- Kerry/Edwards feels the need to be the anti-war candidates, so they search for an argument to try and cover over all of the former positions they had.
- Bush/Cheny feels the need to justify going to war, so they gloss over the horrible things that are going on in Iraq right now.
- The religious right feels the need to "protect" traditional marriage, so they modify their views on messing with the constitution.
- Liberals feel the need to look compassionate, so they try to make very difficult foreign policy matters look like black and white issues, such as the U.S. reaction to what is going on in the Sudan.
- I feel the need to justify my support for Bush, so I talk in great humanitarian terms such as "bringing freedom to the Iraqis," when the truth is I don't really care about the Iraqi people any more than my progressive friends care about the Sudan.

I think healthy discourse includes being able to recognize your own inconsistencies as much as, or more than, you recognize your opponents. Which is where I think Cheny hit a homerun tonight in dealing with the questions about gay marriage. It's clear that his position is in direct conflict with that of the administration, so he chose to allow Edwards to attack him, he took it, then declined the opportunity to defend himself. That's not the evil Cheney that has been portrayed. That showed class and respectibility.

(I feel the need to wrap up, because this is getting long and I'm getting tired, but I haven't written much lately.)

The Iraq War Question...

To repeat myself over and over again: The Dems have no foot to stand on when it comes to this argument. They have consistently modified their views on the war to reflect the changing political situation.

1. Kerry voted for the Iraq war resolution ( He is, of course, now saying that he voted to authorize the president to go to war after certain conditions were met. Seriously, how dumb is that. If there are conditions attached to your authorization, then the only intelligent thing to do is vote against the resolution, wait until the conditions are met, and then, based on whether or not those conditions were met, vote for or against authorizing the president to go to war.

2. During the summer and fall of last year Howard Dean appeared to be the great savior of the Democratic party. He was energetic, progressive, and staunchly, unapologetically opposed to the war in Iraq-- no strings attached. Kerry, needing a win in Iowa, became Howard Dean and voted against war appropriations.

3. Kerry stated in early '03 that anyone who doubts the world is not safer without Saddam Hussein lacks the credibility to be president.

4. In the first Democratic debate Kerry made the following comment: “I said at the time I would have preferred if we had given diplomacy a greater opportunity, but I think it was the right decision to disarm Saddam Hussein, and when the President made the decision, I supported him, and I support the fact that we did disarm him.”

Seriously Democrats, if you wanted a candidate against the war you should have voted for Howard Dean. But I am so sick of this bullshit about how Kerry has been consistent in his Iraq policy.

Alright, I'm done with that...

I tell you, I had a wonderful weekend with Blake and Karla. Saturday morning we woke up to a huge thunderstorm and did nothing be eat breakfast and lay around and talk for the entire morning and part of early afternoon. I'm so glad I went down. I was reminded why I love Blake so much and, subsequently, why I have a new friend in Karla.

The Time...

It's almost 1:00 a.m. I'm not sleepy and could write forever, but I fear I've rambled on and have lost half of those who started reading from the beginning.

I'm doing well, had the day off. Spent time this morning running, watching television and surfing blogs. Had Ben, Jamie, and Kyle over for lunch. Spent the afternoon doing church stuff-- working on putting cabinets and hooks up in the nursery, working on writing a little thing for our alternative service this week. Had a nap in the chair this evening, then went to alt. service meeting. Working tomorrow and Thursday, but am taking Friday and Saturday off. Fingers crossed, Robert and Brandon and Blake and Karla will be in town this weekend and we will be in the best place in relation to each other-- together.

Overall life is going well. I do miss "Ed" though and if you make fun of me for missing a television show like it's a real person I'll dismiss you as a loser, say horrible things about your character, and drop you as a friend.


I leave you with something I quoted from back in February:

In a world of danger and uncertainty, the world of possibility is a beautiful place. The world of possibility does not mean we naively put our trust in the unfathomable and act foolishly. The world of possibility means we are open to the possibility that extraordinary things can and DO happen. I've certainly been made a believer of such through the recent happenings here.

No matter how transient, I think that's something to embrace, not snicker at. We're all aware that nothing gold can stay. Come May the final knell may ring for our favorite show, and with it, sadness may ensue. That too, disappointment, is part of the world of possibility. What is and what should be rarely merge as one. In the rare event that they do, let's take notice, not cynically disbelieve...

What is beautiful about the world of possibility is that it renews hope. Without the world of possibility - what do we have left?


Friday, October 01, 2004

Before I leave, a few bullets for you...

-- I need to work on updating my links and listening to stuff. I'll work on that next week because, frankly , I'm a little tired of the Brad Paisley cd and am no longer reading those books. Been jamming to Keith Urban for the past week or so and am in the middle of three new books.

-- But! I did get a new link added. Mark Penick has finally decided to join the revolution. Check his blog out, unless you don't believe in hell.

-- I'M GOING TO SEE BLAKE AND KARLA!! YEAH!!! I'll be back late tomorrow night. Got to work in the nursery on Sunday morning and work on Sunday afternoon.

-- Remember that cool breeze I spoke about a few weeks ago? It's coming people! People get ready, it's coming!! Colder weather will bring about a blog Renaissance on the part of Keg, (Sutton and Jude's name for me.)

-- Be blessed. Be happy. Be relaxed. Be with each other. It's what God wants, trust me. She told me.
About Last Night's Debate...

Kerry won. Hands down. He was sure of himself, confident but not cocky, on the offense but not offensive, Presidential. The President, on the other hand, stumbled with his words much more than can be attributed to his folksy style, diverted attacks by practically changing the subject, and seemed to let anyone in the world who didn't already know that it was way past his bedtime.

With that said....

Bush, however, in my opinion, was the clear winner of the night because he did what he has done since running for governor the first time-- He let his position be known and put in a way that anyone could summarize in three statements. 1.) Sepbember 11 changed the world and the way the United States has to protect itself and I, no matter how popular, am making the tough decisions to prevent war from happening. 2.) The war in Iraq is "Hard Work," but we're sticking with it. 3.) My opponent changes his view as the political situation changes.

What can you say about what Kerry said? Well..... "I authorized Bush to use force to remove Saddam Hussein because I believed the intelligence but I think it was the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time but I'm still going to try to get other people to help us fight the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time because Bush has given up on Bin Laden and I made a mistake about saying that I voted for the appropriations before I voted against the appropriations and, oh yeah, I'll be a leader that other world leaders can follow even though I questioned the integrity of the interim Iraqi Prime Minister and this war that I authorized the President to fight was the wrong one at the wrong place at the wrong time and I didn't authorize it."

If this were a real debate, Kerry hit a homerun. But it's not a real debate. The modern Presidential debate is nothing more than two candidates stating what they've been stating for months, just in closer proximity to their opponents.

I know where Bush stands.
I, being a somewhat intelligent person, understand where Kerry wants me to believe he stands, but I'm not sure which place it is.