Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Wii Addiction

This weekend we went to Nashville, Tennessee, for a counseling conference. We stayed with our good friends, Justin and Brandy, and let our dogs wrestle all day (they have a 100 lb. Labradoodle, and we have a 70 lb. golden retriever). Justin and Brandy recently acquired a Nintendo Wii, and I fell in love.

I’m not sure I can explain it to you, but this is the future of gaming It was the most fun I’ve ever had on a gaming system. I bowled, boxed, played golf and tennis, and raced trucks. I even created a Mii (a Wii character) that looked so eerily like me that I almost became him. You basically have a sensor remote that you control everything with—you pretty much have to stand up and move around to play.

Now, I have a problem…I want one like you wouldn’t believe The guilt this is producing is ridiculous. They are around $300, which is not bad for a gaming system these days, but when did $300 become “not bad” for anything like this. I can’t get one, but I want it so bad. Perhaps I should adopt a child so I can get one for him or her—this obsession is getting ridiculous. I’m taking it one day at a time. I don’t need one…Monica would leave me…I don’t make any money to buy one…I would have to get a bigger TV if I did buy one…the list goes on. I can live through this addiction, although I wouldn’t be opposed to anybody here in Memphis that would like to get one and let me play!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Lent—Not the Stuff in Your Pockets

No, we don't go to an Orthodox-type church, and we don't use a lectionary, but Lent is a spiritual celebration that I believe can be useful. Unfortunately, I can't give you book, chapter, verse, neither can I do command, example, necessary inference for Lent or any holy-day. I just see a lot of potential in my life for this time. Monica and I looked up some info about Lent last night and we've decided to do it our own way.

Pop culture Lent consists of not having something you really like for forty days. During these 40 days you praise yourself for this abstinence and tell your friends about it. Especially in the Land of Excess, there are 7,352 things we can give up and it won't really matter. We want to do it different. We want to abstain from some things, but also add some spiritual disciplines to our lives. This is a time to look for God's purpose in Christ's death, and subsequently, a time to look at your purpose as a human in light of this death. Lent is a season of confession and repentance—getting back to God.

Monica is brilliant. She came up with the idea of changing several parts of our lives and working on others. As silly as it may sound, we are both going to read The Purpose Driven Life (some of you might be rolling your eyes right now), study certain scriptures together, and dedicate ourselves to praying together everyday. This is a small step for many, but a huge step for us. We are giving up several things in order to help others (Isaiah 58 is our basis for this) during this time.

Orthodox or not, I think this can be an extremely valuable time for Christians to refocus on our spiritual lives. It is not hard to say, "One day we'll start being more spiritual,"? but it is really hard to decide on that day. This is the day for us!

One of today's readings in the Lectionary is Isaiah 58:1-12. Read it only if you want to be challenged.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Reading Books and Writing Blogs

I just finished two books for my Family Therapy class and I have to write a “process” paper on them. For all of you not in the touchy-feely type majors, a process paper is the equivalent of a book report. You still fluff your way through a process paper, but you fluff based on how you feel this book impacts you or may or may not impact your practice (or should I call it a ministry since I go to a seminary). I actually take these papers seriously because I am still fairly impressionable and naive, and the books I read often mess me up. Especially when you read about certain schools of therapy written by the founders of those therapies, it is hard for me to remain objective—their passion for their theory makes me want to believe it.

Without making this a long blog, which I am against, because people don’t read long blogs (they just say they do), I’ll just say Change by Watzlawick, Weakland, and Fisch and The Tactics of Change by Fisch, Weakland, and Segal through me for a spin. These guys come from early in the Family Therapy Movement (which many probably never knew existed) with some radical ideas. One main idea they have is divorcing their therapy from focusing on why something happens (“tell me about your mother” stuff) and focus on what is happening (what are your attempted solutions that keep failing). They find that more often than not, the problem is maintained by faulty solutions, and finding a new solution outside the usual set of unhelpful solutions is key. For you math or science nerds, their basis for a lot of this is the Theory of Groups and the Theory of Logical Types.

What does this all mean? Not much to anyone but me. Poor Monica has had an earful lately, especially when I start to apply this theory to theology, and even worse, to our marriage. For example, the other day she got mad because I did not answer her, and I told her it was because she wasn’t asking the right question (this is bad application of the theory on several levels). She’s heard enough about paradox, reframing, and mathematical theory to last her a lifetime. And yet, she listens like it matters, and that makes me feel good. In fact, she is so smart, because she uses these new theories against me.

Alas, this is a long blog after all. However, the remedy for a long blog is obscure quotes at the end, which is about the only part I read in long blogs.

“While we pursue the unattainable we make impossible the realizable.”—Robert Ardrey

“The uncreative mind can spot wrong answers, but it takes the creative mind to spot wrong questions.”—Antony Jay

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Last night at some point, the tool chest in the back of my truck got jacked, literally! Not jacked as in stolen, but with the use of a jack, it was popped open and the contents were stolen. How do I know it was jacked? They left the jack in the back of my truck...I hope they don't want it back. Now, I have to give them some props for creativity, although, I am sure this is an old trick.

We have a neighborhood watch program and it works like this—every night, somebody comes by and makes sure your car doors are locked, and if they're not, they make sure there is nothing in your car a thief might steal. In fact, about a year ago, I left my doors unlocked, and my car was "checked"? by this neighborhood watch.

All things considered, my truck was parked in the street, which makes it fair game in Memphis, and all they borrowed was the new air tank I got for Christmas from my parents—I'd used it once. I will probably purchase another and not leave it in my tool box. Also, they were not tidy thieves, they threw my ropes out on the street. To quote Mary Kate and Ashley Olson's character on Full House, "How wude."? Well, at least I got a jack out of the deal and the thieves will make about $10. The best thing is it confirms my belief that nice things really mean nothing. So, to my wife's delight I come to this conclusion—we should now spend our money on abstract pleasures, like vacations or marital therapy smile that do not fit into truck toolboxes.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

John Mayer Concert

We had a blast Friday night! John Mayer was playing in the FedEx Forum and we had great seats. We decided in December that this would be our Valentine's present to each other (even though I still have to buy flowers and take Monica out to dinner). This is our second time to see him here, the first being at the Botanical Gardens down the street where he was playing with Herbie Hancock.

What can we say about John? For 2 hours he blew us away with his music. Seeing him live gives you a better appreciation of his mad vocal and guitar skills. He played his classics, like No Such Thing, Georgia, and Your Body is a Wonderland, as well a lot of stuff off his new album, Continuum, including my favorite, Gravity. Monica's favorite was Slow Dancing in a Burning Room, which was the finale.

Nothing really funny happened. We had a mini-fight when Monica decided I needed to get up and get her a beverage, but I eventually did my husbandry duty. We decided that they make the air really dry in arenas so you get thirsty. Anyway, John was incredible and it was an awesome Valentine's Day present.