Sunday, November 28, 2004

If you start on a new post, save it as a draft, and publish it at a later time, it is placed in the date order from when you started. Therefore, I need to draw your attention to the fact that I have a post that I just published, but which shows up under last Thursday....

Saturday, November 27, 2004


--I've been working on something about my Thanksgiving but haven't had the time to finish it. Actually, I haven't had the motivation. All of you who read are away and when I don't think someone might look at my blog within the next few minutes it's hard for me to get moving.

--Yesterday I got to work at 6:00 a.m. to prepare for Black Friday. I stopped by Wal Mart to pick some things up and it was crazy. When I drove into the B&N parking lot there were hundreds of people waiting outside of Circuit City. I'm thinking Adbusters should choose a more practical day to have the "Buy Nothing Day." It just makes them look silly. Why not choose March 4?

-- Today I work from 3-close.
-- Tomorrow, no morning UBC service. I've gone to Calvary for the past two or three years on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I think I'll continue the tradition.
--Ben is preaching tomorrow night and I'm looking forward to hear it.
-- Aaron, why did you delete the controversial post?
-- I got an email from Jessica Varner today letting me know that she heard from Benji (her husband) and that he is doing alright and in good spirits. It looks like his company of Marines will be leaving Falluja by mid-January. Keep praying for his safety.
-- Ran 4 today. Should have done twice that to work off the incredibly sinful amount of eating I partook in on Thursday and yesterday. Yesterday was worse than Thanksgiving.
--Last Tuesday Kyle, Jen, and I took the kids to see Santa. It was wonderful. Avery loved it and the boys were horrified and screaming bloody murder. We loved it. It was at it should be.
-- I'm stressing out over Christmas presents. I think people are getting tired of books. Not sure what direction to go in this year.

Thursday, November 25, 2004


I sometimes like to think of the Nash family of East Texas as a blue collar and not quite as influential or educated version of the Kennedys. You know, those people who live up there in New England? This is due partly to the fact that there are so many of us. For the most part we call home the stretch of East Texas that runs across U.S. 31 from Longview to Chandler. If you've driven that road you know there are hundreds of backroads that jetison off the highway and into the woods. If you go down any of those roads you are bound to run across someone with Nash blood. As a family, unlike the Kennedy's, we don't really hold any sway over world affairs, or any other affairs for that matter. Mention one of us by name in East Texas and you'll probably hear something like, "Yeah, I know that Nash. I think. Was he the one who..." Usually they have the wrong Nash, but the fact that the name rung a bell means something, I guess.

Another reason for the connection between us and the Kennedy's is the tendency to gravitate toward a patriarchal figure to provide direction and comfort. They had Joseph, then JFK, then RFK, and now Teddy. When there was a death or a tragedy or a question or anything that required rallying around a central figure, they looked to that person. For us, that person is my Uncle Johnny. To everyone else he is John Nash (not to be confused with the Beautiful Mind John Nash.) To us, he is Uncle Johnny.

It is at Uncle Johnny's farm that we had Thanksgiving this year, as we have for the past 30 some odd years. (Damn, another reminder that I'm 30.)

I think I've mentioned this before, but we have a huge family. There were 9 children birthed from Cecil and Ruby Nash: Sonny, Bo, Johnny, Sister, Jackie, Jerry, Ruth Ann, Tommy, and Dottie. Those nine begat another twenty six. Twenty six first cousins-- all ranging in age now from 22-45. Now many of us (not me) are having kids of our own. That's a lot of Nash's.

I could go in many directions with this post, but I think I'll go here.

I noticed a Nash family trait this week that I think is present within me. The Cardindal Nash Rule? Don't offend. Do whatever is necessary not to offend. This is how you can tell that my mom, while she has done the theological correct move and taken the Nash name, is not, by blood, a Nash. Mom starts immediately talking about politics and how it would have been nice if Kerry had won. Everyone tensed up, but mom kept jabbering. Dad looked at her and said "Now Pansy, why did you have to bring that up?" Pansy is a Coleman. Coleman's don't mind offending. Actually, they don't set out ot offend, but they just talk talk talk talk, and are oblivious to whether or not they offend.

Get a bunch of Nash's together and for the first hour or so it is fairly quiet. No one talks because no one wants to be seen as a loud mouth and no one wants to accidently say something that might offend.

Aunt Dottie enters and gently starts telling stories. Innocuous stories, but fun and wholesome stories. Stories that tell of people who have wonderful hearts but who do stupid things. Uncle Johnny will then start telling stories about people he meets or with whom he worked with. Before long, everyone is having a fun time, yelling across the room.. "Hey Diane, remember the time?" or "Tommy, whatever happened to...?"

Before long everyone is comfortable because everyone realizes, "Oh yeah, this is my family. We can be ourselves here.

And, in some ways, this is how I deal with people. The Nash gentleness has been passed down to me. But so has the Nash reticence towards offending. I'm a peacekeeper, but not someone you want to look to to solve a conflict.

Another interesting thing about this Thanksgiving, and I'll close with this. (Like the preacher talk?) When I was a kid we lived for holidays because it meant we would get to go to Uncle Johnny's and ride on his tractor and go out to see the cows. We're all a little old for that, but there are new litters of young'uns running around. I got a kick out of my little second cousin Jonah (Sherry's, oldest daughter of Ruth Ann, son.) As Uncle Johnny was eating Noah walked up in his shy (unnofensive, now that I think about it) way and asked Uncle Johnny, "Are you almost finished eating?" Johnny had promised him they'd go out to see the cows. "In a minute, Noah." "Ok." Noah goes out to play near the barn as Uncle Johnny finishes he plate. When Johnny gets up from his chair, Noah walks up, "Are you finished Uncle Johnny?" "Yeah, but I'm going to get a piece of pie." "Oh, ok. Just one piece of pie?" "I don't know, I might get more." "Ok, two pieces of pie then we'll go out and see the cows?"

It was more hilarious than I'm able to convey here. I'll end by saying this (and copying a line from Myle's blog.) I love my family. They are weird and quirky, but I wouldn't want any other family. In so many ways they are a mirror through which I see myself and my hopes and dreams and all those things imbedded within me that will never be loosed, and frankly, that I would like to keep with me.

I'm as upset at myself as the next guy about my recent lack of posts.

But fear not readers!! When I finish typing this I'm on my way to Chandler for the annual Nash Family Thanksgiving on Uncle Johnny's farm.

And I'm coming back with stories.

Monday, November 22, 2004


Last night was the annual UBC Thanksgiving Lovefeast and, for the fourth year, I made the turkey. And I think I kicked ass with it this year. Spending time with that bird every year is always a wonderful experience for me. Seriously. I normally begin getting all the things together about mid-week, spend Saturday evening preparing the bird, then all day Sunday cooking it. I really do put quite a bit of love into it. Until, that is, it's time to carve it. From midweek preparations all the way up to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday the thoughts that are seriously going through my head go something like-- "This church is the most important thing in my life right now. My heart is full of so much love for the people here that I feel sometimes that it might, in fact, break. I love being able to cook for them." Then around 6:00 p.m. that bird comes out of the oven looking beautiful. I then get frustrated because everyone else is having a grand old time conversing with each other while I'm stuck cutting the turkey and I'm thinking "Damn ingrates. I've been slaving over this thing for a weekend and no one even OFFERS to cut the turkey for me." I realize at that point the flip-flop of feelings that must go on within the hearts of parents on a daily basis.

But, eventually, someone always walks beside me and senses my frustration and takes over the knife duties and my heart, once again, is warmed. (This year it was Matt Singleton. Thanks, Matt!)

Then I walk around and see people laughing and hugging and watch the kids go from table to table where they are doted on and fed and I realize that I am where many people long to be. In a community where there's no such thing as "doing church." We are not seeking after the latest methods or trying to be the next big thing or trying to prove anything to anyone. We are sharing our lives with each other.

I'll cook a hundred turkeys for that. Carve them as well.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Lacking significant inspiration, I give you bullets...

-- Anyone ever notice how Democrats talk about affirmative action as a legislative possibility, while our President practices it as a reality? Out of the windfall of new high level appointments this week only one, National Security Advisor-elect Steve Hadley, is neither a woman, minority, or both.

-- In related news, the new White House Counsel, replacing Al Gonzalez, is Harriet Miers, a close family friend of Jordan Browning, one of my friends. My seven degrees has shrunk considerably.

-- Every spiritual anecdote doesn't boil down to a discussion of election vs. choice. Those conversations on my friends blogs, while necessary, are too tiring for this aging man.

-- This past weekend I read Patton Dodd's "My Faith So Far: A Story of Conversion and Confusion." Never has someone else's memoir mirrored my life like this one. From the time of graduation from high school to the timing of entering a Christian university, to the timing and specifics of dealing and struggling with Charismaticism, I feel like this guy is my "other." ("I Heart Huckabees" reference.)

-- Holidays are a double edged sword. On the one hand there is UBC Thanksgiving Love Feast, Nash family Thanksgiving at Uncle Johnny's farm, holiday music and Christmas eve with the Herrings/Slatons/Chantals. On the other hand too many people leave town, leaving me lonely.

-- In honor of Mark Penick, who has yet to deliver other promised blogs, I give you my "Blogs to come" list.
  • The possibility of running for public office.
  • Country music.
  • 1993-1998.
  • Being fat. Being not quite as fat.
  • My sister and how "A Few Good Men" altered the course of my family.
  • Seasons of life and being content.
  • Red Bud road and the Dogwood Trees.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Just Stuff...

Wednesday night I lay down at 7:30 to take a nap. Woke up at midnight and wondered if I should get up and do something. Decided against that and went back to sleep until 5:50 a.m.

Last night I went to bed at 11:30. Woke up at 3:30 and was wide awake. Considered staying up and pretending to be a monk or a soldier who had done more before 7:00 a.m. than most people do all day. Decided against that and went back to sleep until 7:30 a.m.

Yesterday after work and a run and a haircut I came home and spent three hours working on two separate writing projects that drained me emotionally and had me in a teary eyed slumber wanting to call everyone in my cell phone and tell them how much "I love you man!" I didn't. I probably should have, but I didn't.

Not much else to tell. Looking forward to the holidays. The weather is perfect.

Thursday, November 11, 2004


I've just been informed that one of my good friends and coworkers from ETBU, Benji Varner, is involved in the Marine siege of Falluja. As of yesterday he is doing ok.

Please say a prayer for his safety.

With Love,

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

New Additions...

I've backed up my whole blog on a disc in order to make it safe for me to tinker with it a little.

A few additions to my links...

Robert, a friend from ETBU, is one of my absolute favorite people in the world. He has an unmatched sense of humor and a heart of gold. I wish he'd move to Hollywood. He'd be HUGE. I also wish he'd move to Waco, but that's neither here nor there.

Nathan, another ETBU'er, is a good ol' boy (in the best sense of the word) who is just getting his blog started. Looking forward to reading his stuff and interacting with him.

Among the Ruins, is the thoughts of an acquaintance from my first couple of years in Waco. This guy is brilliant and full of insight.

The Iguana is a coworker and an amazing writer. There are many things he shares that I disagree with, but nothing he writes ever fails to engage me and make me think hard about what I believe.
Potentially final election thoughts in the popular bullet form...

-- Bush got 51% of the vote. 23% of all those who voted called themselves evangelical Christians. Of that 23%, about three quarters went for Bush, a quarter for Kerry. If my math skills are correct, this means that 17.25% of Bush's votes came from evangelicals. In other words, evangelicals won the election for Bush.

-- But, this also means that 82.75% of all Bush voters were NOT evangelicals. This dispels the myth that some would have us believe that if you voted for Bush then you automatically attend Antioch or Prestonwood.

-- I stand by my earlier statement. The Dems would have won if they had put forth an anti-establishment, anti-war, candidate like Howard Dean. I know the polls of likely voters probably showed otherwise. But if Dean were the candidate there would be a greater flux of likely voters. I'm not endorsing Dean, I'm just saying I think he would have been the better candidate because people wouldn't have a hard time deciphering what he believes.

-- Bush won simply on the fact that he connected with people. Kerry didn't.

-- Out of all the voters for each candidate there were three types: a.) The stupid, b.)the ignorant, c.) the well informed. I think a healthy Christian response to those who voted different from me is to assume "c." is the case and that I just disagree with their conclusions.

-- 2008? Who really knows. Hillary-- probably will run. Remains to be seen if she can moderate her views on government enough to win in the south, (which, by the way, has proved a necessary component of any Democratic win for the past 25 years.) Barach Obama-- obviously is the rock star of the Democratic party right now. Remains to be seen if he can compete financially with old Democratic stalwarts.

-- I personally don't think the Democratic leadership is open enough to having a candidate make it into thier upper ranks that can win an election. As closed minded as the Republicans are made out to be, there is not a single nationally visible Democrat who is pro-life. Oh, there are pro-life democrats, but none of them are given a voice.

-- For the Republicans? I think an almost unbeatable candidate would be Bill Frist of Tennessee. He's pro-life, but is also very active in sojourners-type moral issues such as the AIDS epidemic. He isn't a polarizing figure, either.

--Well, I'm done with that stuff. It was a fun election year, but I'm glad it's over.
Indulge me in a couple more election related posts, then it's all over. I promise. (I'm sure you don't really believe that. I'm not sure I believe it.)...

So here's my problem with Sojourners.

Their campaign and petition titled "God is not a Republican. Or a Democrat," was meant, I think, to express the opinion that God would not endorse either political party. But does anyone actually believe that Sojourners wished to be a nonpartisan voice in an election year? I believe they weren't endorsing any particular candidate about as much as I believe that the Southern Baptist Convention wasn't endorsing any particular candidate.

I think I've mentioned this before, but I had never heard the phrase "Social Justice" used by so many people until I moved to Waco. "Social Justice" is the progressive Christian's fancy and authoritative words for what many Christians do on a daily basis-- love God and love their neighbor.

I know people who devote their lives to feeding the poor and hungry. I know professors from college who see and act upon the call of God to be good stewards of the environment. If you were to show them the Sojourners Petition their response would be a kinder version of "Alright, thanks. Are you done wasting my time now? I've got people to feed and things to do."

People genuinely doing the work of Christ do not need some gimmick to prove to the rest of the world that they are different than the Religious Right. I hope that my life and actions, and the life and actions of my faith community, would be such that I wouldn't have the need to try and distance myself from people like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.

Sunday, November 07, 2004



a.) I have tons of motivation to write, but nothing much to say.

And sometimes

b.) I have tons of stuff to say, but no motivation.

The past few days have been "b."