A refreshing blend of nerd and cool.

Category: Random Musings (Page 1 of 16)

“Late have I loved you, beauty so old and so new: late have I loved you. And see, you were within and I was in the external world and sought you there, and in my unlovely state I plunged into those lovely created things which you made. You were with me, and I was not with you. The lovely things kept me far from you, though if they did not have their existence in you, they had no existence at all. You called and cried out loud and shattered my deafness. You were radiant and resplendent, you put to flight my blindness. You were fragrant, and I drew in my breath and now pant after you. I tasted you, and I feel but hunger and thirst for you. You touched me, and I am set on fire to attain the peace which is yours.”

The New Intersections

After many years of blogging (on and off), I finally decided it was time to move on from WordPress.com to my own self-hosted solution. I’ve enjoyed my time at WordPress, but with a self-hosted version of WordPress, I have the freedom to do more with my site going forward than just blogging. If you’re reading this in a feed reader, head to JasonTheDCE.com to see the new site in action.

For now, not much is changing except for an overall simplification of the site. To subscribe to the content, click the orange RSS icon or the envelope in the top navigation section. You can also find links to some of my social media outlets.

You’ll still receive the same great (well, someone thinks it’s great anyway) content and silliness. I’m still about walking the line between nerd and cool as Sue Steege likes to say.

Fish or Fishing

One of the things I love about Dona Trautwein, our administrative assistant, is that she’s always insisting I teach her to fish. You’ve probably heard the phrase before:

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

One of my unwritten job duties is fixing computers. It’s one way I use the gifts God has given me for technology to help others. Dona will often have a question about something and rather than just getting it fixed (which, by the way, is way faster in the short-run than teaching, though much worse in the long-run), she insists I teach her what I’m doing.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes it just needs to be fixed and I do it, but if it’s anything she remotely has a chance of needing to know again in the next year or two, I try to accommodate her and teach instead of just giving. She’s actually learned quite a bit since she’s been here. It’s fun teaching her because she wants to learn.

One of the things that Dona and I both do regularly is put together the worship PowerPoint slides. Dona works on Traditional and I do the Contemporary. The other day, I was watching her work on the slides when she duplicated a slide without using the mouse. As it turns out, Control-D will duplicate a slide, and I never would have discovered it if Dona hadn’t taught me. You might know this quote too:

I’ve been waiting for you, Obi-Wan. We meet again, at last. The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner; now *I* am the master.

That was Darth Vader to Obi-Wan. Hrmm… I hope she’s not Darth Vader in disguise…

Chuck Norris and the Karate Kid: Mastering Spiritual Disciplines

When reflecting on my favorite part laptop cover from the Jesus Loves Nerds post I wrote yesterday, I decided that my runner-up for best tidbit on the laptop cover was a joke about Chuck Norris. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of Chuck Norris jokes or not. It’s a common internet meme and popular culture phenomenon. Here are a few to give you a taste:

  • Fear of spiders is arachnophobia, fear of tight spaces is claustrophobia, fear of Chuck Norris is called Logic.
  • When Alexander Bell invented the telephone, he had 3 missed calls from Chuck Norris.
  • Chuck Norris has already been to Mars. That’s why there’s no signs of life.
  • Chuck Norris can win a game of Connect Four in only three moves.
  • Some people wear Superman pajamas. Superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas.

Some of the jokes are really funny. Nearly every Chuck Norris joke makes me chuckle. But there’s a problem with these jokes and Hollywood films like the Karate Kid (and so many others). We laugh about Chuck Norris’ super powers. We cheer for Daniel Russo when he wins the All Valley Karate Championship. But Chuck Norris doesn’t really have super powers (though he is super cool). And Daniel Russo never would have won that karate championship. You can’t train for a few weeks or even months and beat kids that have been training their whole life.

While writing that post, I came across a blog post about why Chuck Norris jokes are dangerous. The author writes:

Unfortunately, I think a lot of us believe that we should instantly be great at something when we first try it. Or if not instantly, we should, in a matter of weeks, begin mastering the skills. Instead, Malcolm Gladwell argues in his (excellent) book Outliers that true mastery takes about 10,000 hours. TEN. THOUSAND. HOURS.

10,000 hours. That’s a lot of time. It’s almost 14 months actually. Later in the article, she referenced an article by David Wong (How the Karate Kid Ruined the Modern World) that talks about “Effort Shock.” The relevant portion of the article:

We have a vague idea in our head of the “price” of certain accomplishments, how difficult it should be to get a degree, or succeed at a job, or stay in shape, or raise a kid, or build a house. And that vague idea is almost always catastrophically wrong.

Guess what? Mastering spiritual disciplines like Prayer, Giving, Serving and Reading the Bible are hard work. It’s going to take a while. And you’ll probably have “Effort Shock” once you get into it. In fact, you’ve probably already experienced it. Maybe you thought reading the Bible or praying would be easier than it is. But it’s not. It’s hard work. It’s a long, slow journey, not a quick fix.There are distractions, pitfalls, obstacles. The devil will do everything he can to stop us from mastering the spiritual disciplines.

Thankfully, we’re not working alone at it. God Himself is with us.

Christian Schlock: Jesus Loves Nerds

I’m not really a fan of Christian Schlock. T-shirts, posters, bumper stickers, etc. You know the ones, right? No Jesus, No Peace. Know Jesus, Know Peace. Or how about: In case of rapture, this car will be unmanned. Or maybe you prefer the cheesy replacement slogans like “Just Believe It!” (You know, like Nike? Just do it?) You also have great church sign content like: “C H _ _ C H. What’s missing? U R.”

The thing is, it cheapens our message I think. Some of them are useful witnessing tools, but too many just turn me off and I’m already Christian! What does it do to non-believers? I see some of the ones on car bumpers and feel like I was just the victim of a drive-by judgment.

Now, I like a good Christian T-Shirt from time to time. Half my T-Shirt/Relaxed wardrobe it seems is made up of just Cornerstone and Crossroads gear, our Middle School and High School Ministries at First Trinity. But some of the junk we’ve come up with as Christians isn’t even funny. It’s just plain dumb.

Of course, this is the exception that proves the rule. Every now and then, we come up with something great. Got this as a psuedo Birthday/Christmas gift from a friend. I’m not really one for laptop covers, but this one was perfect. You can buy it or see a clearer, more readable picture here. My favorite part? Tough, but I’d have to go with “Jesus has the newest iPhone before it’s even made.” Runner up? “Chuck Norris wishes he was as cool as Jesus.”

The Long Winter

We’ve managed to avoid winter for longer than usual here in Buffalo. While I love the people and area of Buffalo, I still don’t like winter. Despite growing up in similar condition in Cleveland and going to school in winter wind-happy Chicago, I just don’t like winter. I’m sure it has to do with doing my first years in ministry in the Houston, Texas area. I discovered this truth there: People don’t have to live like this! It’s true! There are places without this awful weather!

One of the joys of winter, however, is bringing out and using our favorite quilt. When we left Texas, one of my youth group kids (Sarah) took a bunch of our t-shirts and turned them into a quilt to keep us warm up north. I couldn’t get all of the shirts in the photo, but it includes shirts from several VBS’s, mission trips, our youth group shirts, staff shirts and some from Crosspoint, where Jaime worked.

Whenever we curl up under the quilt, we always think of our friends in Texas. It’s probably the best gift I’ve ever received in ministry because of all the time and love that went into making it. While I still can’t condone winter, the quilt at least makes it bearable.

Returning To …

It’s hard to return to something you did regularly in the past. I thought of it in the context of blogging, but it struck me that it’s not unlike returning to church. Often, people will fall away from the church for a bit and then feel awkward going back. Then they don’t go back for a while and it gets more awkward.

The thing is, we’d love to have (the figurative) you back! It might be weird at first, but that passes after a bit. And we’re not judging you for being away, we’re just glad to see you again!

But I’m talking about blogging, really, and my return. Hope you’re glad to see me again and not judging my absence. 🙂

Reading and Writing

One of the things about blogging that seems to be true is that the more you read, the more you write. I suppose it’s true for other forms of writing too. I’m certainly finding it to be true myself.

One of the reasons I haven’t blogged much in the past two months is that I haven’t been reading many blogs in that time period. There are lots of reasons why, but I can certainly see the truth of the statement. Lately, I’ve been reading blogs again and find myself with more to say. Huh.

Here’s a snippit from an interesting post I read the other day, from Craig Groeschel:

When I meet people from our church, they often tell me more with their words than they realize.

They almost always say one of two things:

  • “I go to your church.”
  • “I love our church.”

People who respond the first way generally just attend the church. People who go the 2nd route tend to be the church.

The spiritual connection: Are we attending or being church?

Twitter and Blogging

For a while now, I’ve Tweeted (and by extension, Facebooked) my blog posts. They’ve taken the format:

Blog // Title of a Post // Address to find it

I’m uncertain if this is a good practice. Instead, I’m going to try asking a question in a Tweet that might get people to tune into the blog. I’m trying to help people find valuable content that’s relevant to them rather than just shamelessly promoting myself.

Hopefully, if people are interested in the question, they’ll click through. If not, that’s cool too.

I’m not sure you wanted to know this, but now you do.

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