Sunday, January 27, 2008

How Can We Get Your House?

A funny 82-yr old lady approached Rachel and me today while we ate our scrumptious goodies at the grocery store. Feeble yes, but also spry and with an ascorbic wit. She is the kind of person who feeds pigeons and talks about the good old days in the Great Depression, when everyone in her Minnesota town came together as a social collective to help one another. She mentions she lives alone in Alki (beach-front area of W. Seattle). She laments her lonely life and blesses us as our conversation is therapeutic to her soul. Eventually, after we pry ourselves away from a 30-second conversation that somehow stretched into 15 minutes, Rachel and I walk back out to the car where I tell Rachel, "the whole time she was talking at us, I thought to myself, 'how can we get her house!'"

Domino's Pizza Tracker

We have a new best friend - the Domino's Pizza Tracker. The other day we were tired, hungry, and possessed nothing in our fridge except eggs and mayo. Pizza sounded good, so we decided to give Dominos a chance. We're glad we did! You can now order your pizza online with:
  1. all of the coupons right on the website, one click away,
  2. an incredibly user-friendly pizza topping arranging tool thing (it's hard to describe), and
  3. the ability to pay online with your credit card.
But the very best part of the experience was after you place your order. Domino's takes you to the "Pizza Tracker" where you watch your pizza being topped, baked, boxed, and delivered. Within 30 minutes of pushing [place order], and 10 minutes after the pizza tracker displayed "delivery," the pizza was at our front door. Amazing!

Image borrowed from T&S

Video Church

New trend, or just really bad luck?

In our "no surrender" battle to find a church in Seattle, today we stumbled into a second church where worshipers (hereby referred to as "spectators") stare blankly up at a big screen projection of a pastor's giant head - located 10 miles away at the "main campus." Even more oddly, the video feed wasn't live, but a playback from earlier in the morning. The A/V guy at the back of the sanctuary literally pushed the [play] button and the pastor's image appeared on the screen (with a little blue caption for a few seconds: DVD begin).

We were immediately disheartened, as a normal, traditional churchgoer might be. Is this not normal, or are we just really out of touch with modern evangelistic trends? For one, if we wanted to see a pastor's mug projected onto a screen, we would have stayed home and watched Joel Osteen in the comfort of our living room. For another, the entire purpose of church is to fellowship with other believers. Like Dietrich Bonhoeffer said from his Nazi jail cell (paraphrase): "you should be lucky to go to any church (you could be in jail like me)." Bonhoeffer emphasized the importance of fellowshipping in a church. But how can you truly fellowship when the people around you are agog, jaws open and eyes glazed over at the screen atop the stage? I dunno... I guess it works for some. For us - who don't consider ourselves spectators or voyeurs - it's back to square one in the church search. This experiences makes us understand why so many people don't go to church.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Churches in Seattle?

Do you know of a good church in Seattle? We thought we'd use our public blog to ask this important question. I know Seattle isn't known as a religious place, but over 3 million people live in the greater area - there's gotta be something here! We've lived here for about 8 months and have visited over a dozen churches. One very popular church we visited showed the pastor literally projected onto a screen (he was preaching from a remote location north of downtown). Another church we visited was way out of our comfort zone: shouting in tongues, people falling down, "spirit-led" laughter, and an indoor water baptism all in one hour. So we're feeling pretty isolated, and it isn't because we're not trying to integrate ourselves into the community.

We don't think of ourselves as picky people when it comes to churches, but maybe we are (?) ... We're just trying to find a church where they teach and study the bible - not preach a topical message that applies to a select downtrodden few and ends up turning the Good News into a therapy session.

Finding a church is hard when you're new to the area. Too many churches have denominational and philosophical baggage. We love the following churches. They are alive, hip, not lame, and not a tacky production:
  • Medford, OR: Trail Christian Fellowship, Applegate Christian Fellowship, Rogue Valley Fellowship
  • Portland, OR: River West Church, Athey Creek Christian Fellowship
  • Austin, TX: Gateway Church

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Why are our presidential candidates decided by random people in Iowa and South Carolina? That's lame. Obviously, the same goes with the general election. Why are our presidents only elected by people in Ohio and Florida? The electoral college and primary systems are really, really ... really, super lame. I think the democratic processes in China and Iran are more transparent. This isn't a political statement, just an observation.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

To Me, Christmas Means...

Family _ Fellowship _ Coffee _ Food _ Drama (ask Chris for endoscope pics) _ Giving more than you receive (negative cash flow) _ Board games _ Rescue Christmas CD _ Crowds _ Activities _ Anticipation

Every year, Christmas means something slightly different. When I was younger, my dad and uncle stomped on the roof yelling, "ho! ho! ho!" to signal the advent of the blessed day of gift receiving. If only we could maintain that same level of excitement - but alas the older you get, the more other attributes of Christmas move to the forefront (like board games and coffee):

Pressos. A fantastic little manual espresso device. You can only find these on eBay now. Jeanne and Chris influenced Rob and Rachel to get one, who influenced Katherine and Jerrod to get one (not shown here). Andy and Joanne have the third one shown.

Chris says it better than I can explain

Rachel and Jackson with Mike and Laura's Yorkshires (Murphy and Abbie)

Andy, home from Florida, shows the love

Friday, January 04, 2008

An Unsettling Trend

This blog's gradually decreasing number of posts has unsettled more than a couple family and friend voyeurs. Rachel and I recognize this. We see an unsettling trend between busyness at work and number of compelling things to write about. We'll try to write more fascinating tales of our lives as they arrive (including, possibly a Christmas update?), but in the meantime, here are a couple of deep thoughts to ponder:

Deep Thought # 1: Maybe we should praise single motherhood and teenage pregnancy. Brittney's little sister's bun in the oven should be a celebration, not a scandal. I applaud anyone with the conviction and grit to bring a new baby into this world in spite of the cultural climate that tolerates terminated pregnancies over actual childbirth. Maybe I'll write to James Dobson and tell him he needs to convince religious leaders to preach tolerance and celebration of prostitots and their big bellies. For another reason, the natural (non-immigration) US birthrate is very low, and the more children we have, the better off will be our future economy. The next time you see an unwed teenage mother, give her a high-five. Think of the many times more numerous teenagers (and their parents) who believe shame trumps a baby.

Deep Thought # 2: I'm disturbed by the trend of parents to teach their children to "do what you want" and "follow your heart." As a result, little kids decide they want to be artists, musicians, bartenders, counselors, and sociologists. At the same time, children in India and China are influenced by their parents to become needed. Science and math take a little extra effort, and children need to be encouraged by their parents to look harder at these "hard skill" classes.

Here's a secret, until I was in college, I wanted to be a musician and a teacher. I was going to be the best band director in Texas, and my loving parents encouraged me to be the best director I could be. But the world is a tough and competitive place. I analyzed the future and realized it probably wasn't what was best for me or my future family. Several years later, I'm an analyst. Rachel's an analyst too! As a kid, who says, "I want to be an analyst when I grow up!" But the truth is, it's very cool indeed! Rachel and I get to look at numbers and tell stories with them. Those stories influence business leaders and change processes and strategy.

My prayer is this - that parents will teach their children to do what is best for society, for America, or for their future families. Not necessarily for what children think is the most fun or the easiest path to a mediocre level of success. Be patriotic! Teach your kids to love math, science or a trade!

Final Thought: Not a deep thought, but based on last night's results from Iowa, I think it would be totally rad if the presidential race was between Obama and Huckabee / McCain. It would be the first time in my brief existence that I would be excited no matter who won!
(See Chris, we keep telling you that we're "independent" not "liberal")