A blog whereby I motivate myself, and my readers, to punch me in the mouth.

  "Punchworthy feeds our deepest Freudian wishes!" --Entertainment

  "The consumate rocker's rocker. Charming, personable... a sucking void of inescapable inner turmoil."

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Bringing up Boys

We had a sermon today about bringing up boys. Next Sunday, we'll get one about raising girls.

I have a high interest level in what the pastor..or pretty much anyone.. has to say on both of those topics. Especially because, right now, I'm having a really hard time with my kids.

Not that they're bad kids! ..well.. Emma certainly has her moments.. In fact, it's a good thing that there are some moments of pure beauty--mostly while she's asleep--because otherwise I think I might actually die of frustration. And I'm a pretty patient guy.

No, really, I love my kids, and they're good kids. And I'm pretty sure the problems mostly reside with me. I love them more every day, in fact, which I suppose is why I become more and more aware of this issue. Rather than saying I having a really hard time with my kids, I should probably say that I'm having a really hard time with me. But I'm just saying.. right now, it is very hard.

Mostly, I feel like I am constantly having to think for everyone. .."Pick this up".. "put that away".. "don't scream at your brother for no reason and then expect him to be happy to see you".. "don't shoot toothpaste onto the wall, leave it there, and then when I ask you to please clean it up, rub it into the paint with your shirt-sleeve".. Stuff like that. Honestly, what it may come down to in the end is: If I can't get my own crap together--how on earth am I supposed to take care of everyone else's and make progress on mine at the same time!?

Like I said.. problem with me.

But the constant pressure in this area, wherever it stems from, is really getting to me, and I'm not sure exactly what to do about it. For starters, I'm working on me, rather than trying to get them to suddenly function as 45-year-olds. (which seems unlikely) Ironically, I think that's been my unconscious desire to this point--"Everybody just act like an adult!" Which is sort of a twisted version of teaching and modelling adulthood for your children. My current prayer and focus is that I would enjoy my kids more and control them less. More being Jesus--which, if you've talked to me much over the course of the last year, or even read the blog, you probably know is the one note I keep harping on. Prayers in this area are appreciated, if you'd like to offer them up on my--and their--behalves.

Anyway... now that you know I am not coming into this off any kind of pedestal...

So I listened to the sermon. And it was a pretty good one. Lots of stuff out of Proverbs, and talk about setting boundaries for boys. Teach them the rules of the road so that they won't go driving off into the ditch. Because no, they're not bright enough to keep it between the lines. (this is absolutely true--see "toothpaste" above)

And it wasn't just about controling their self-destructive tendencies, either. It was about being proactive, and teaching them to be proactive. To develop plans. No one gets up in the morning planning to drive off the road, but still, very few people get up in the morning planning not to, either.

That being said..

I didn't like it.

And here's why. (aren't you glad, 2 of 5 pages later, that you asked..?)

Rules of the road. Good.
Proactivity. Good.
Proactively planning how to keep the rules. ...not so much.

ooh.. so close!

Could we please stop focusing on what we need to do and not do in order to successfully navigate life? Could we please focus, instead, on being transformed to the likeness of Jesus? Could we please stop keeping the law, making new laws, and generally carrying out a twelve-step plan for a problem-free life?

"Life is tough!.. Marriage is tough..! Work is tough..!" says the pastor... Yes! Yes it is. And do we think that if we learn all the right moves, all the right steps, that we can somehow glide through.. the Astairs and Rogers of Christendom..? No! No! And why not? ..Because this is the axe-dance, people! The axe swings round and round, and we hop the blade over and over.. but you_can't_hop_forever. At some point you are going to time it wrong. Take all the hopping lessons you like, plan out the rhythm and cadence of the song.. heck, just try to avoid axes and music altogether! But in the end, the only things that are going to help you are a healthy perspective on pain and the ability to handle adversity with grace and beauty.

And that's what Jesus gives us. That's what being transformed to the likeness of Christ does for us. This is the beauty of the grace relationship between us and God--that even though we don't deserve it and we are powerless to achieve it on our own, God gives us Jesus.. gives us himself.. and through that sacrifice allows us to choose to hold his hand. And with his help, we do have the ability to be like Jesus. Not perfectly.. we're broken, folks, and we're gonna stay broken for a long, long time. But more and more, we have the ability to function in the same manner as Jesus.. "to be" in the same sense that Jesus did and does.

Through this transformation, through this Christ-like functioning, through this lense of God, we perceive pain. We deal with adversity. And likewise beauty, joy, and truth. This is the hope of the cross. This is it. This is what sets it apart.

We don't have to keep hopping the axe.

I can sit in any mosque or any tabernacle or spirit circle or self-actualization clinic in the world.. and learn to plan not to drive off the road. And that's great.

But I'm going to try and teach my kids to be like Jesus, instead.

I'm sorry if that's not okay with everybody. I'm sorry if that puts me on the outs with the twelve-steppers.. But that's going to be my focus, and my first goal, and if I'm going to sit and hear a sermon about how to raise kids, I think I'd like to hear a little more about this--this being like Jesus thing--because I obviously don't have it nailed down yet. This other stuff is great, it's fine.. but it just isn't good enough for me. And I don't think, really, that it's good enough for God.

I would really like to hear somebody say that, for a change.

I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

alarming social trends alert.. :-(

In the same way that emoticons have wormed their way into the
written word.. ; ] .. they are now worming their way back out of
it, and into the spoken word.

For instance.. you might say to someone, "I love this song like I
love fresh, hot pancakes! (*wink*!)"


..And you would actually say the (*wink*!)... in a twinkly,
"bing!"-ing voice.. conveying the same evil, pre-manufactured cheeriness
as the disturbing microsoft/AOL(t)(c)(r) emoticons that bombard you
in every RTF/HTML chat or email program that you innocently try
to use without being cheerily bombarded.

It makes me sad.. like someone stealing grandma's fresh-baked
apple pie.. (*frowny*).



Ron V. Wade

In the inaugural voyage of Ron V. Wade, a new feature columnette
here on punchworthy, tech gurus "Ron" and "Wade" sort out the
big, controversial tech issues of our time.

"Abort System Defragmentation" -- Yes or No?

Ron: I hate that stupid "abort system defragmentation" thing! Do
I want to abort system defragmentation..? Of COURSE I do! Why
would I not want to!?

Wade: Why would you abort system defragmentation? That takes,
like.. 20 seconds..

Ron: I mean.. why are you even ASKING me?? I could've spent that
time getting online faster, to check my myspace page and stuff!
(Incidentally, have you noticed how annoying it is that everytime
you put the personal pronoun in front of "myspace" in print, that
you have to say "my, my..."?)

Wade: ..And it keeps your computer from getting all squirrelly
and like.. running slow and stuff. You really want a total system
crash just because you spent your 20 seconds choosing "no"
instead of letting the thing run? (And yes I have, but that's
another issue, for another columnette.)

Ron: Look! I just..! I don't need some sysadmin telling me what
to do with my computer, okay? Just.. quit hassling me. That's all
I'm sayin'.

Wade: ..Whatever, dude.

Ron: Whatever.

Q & A

Wanna know how bad you can hurt your finger if you try and unbutton zipper-fly pants as if they were button-fly pants?


No. You do not.

"inspiration" or "because i haven't been blogging enough"


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Cool new blog stuff

Blogger, whereby I do my blogging, has some thing where they were bought out by google or something.. and now they offer a "new" version of blogger. A google version. Which I can only assume is almost uncomprehensibly cool.

I finally succumbed to their prodding, and "converted" to the new version.

I have no idea how to use it, but if I ever figure it out, I will do something unexpectedly cool with this blog, I'm sure.

One thing I can do is change the blog to a private thing, where I can just sign any of you up who want to read it. I might actually do that.. I hate when I write about stuff and then I can google my own name and find it (!) That's a little creepy. So if you're a reader, let me know.

Nothing new to report about life, in general. Good weekend. I could stand about a week's vacation. : -}

Monday, January 08, 2007

On the way home

Today on the way in to work, and on the way home, I was treated to amazing sunrise & sunsets. Just really beautiful purples and golds. It was like God's robes were hanging down. Just.. amazing.

On the way home, when I was listening to the local christian radio station (I know. It doesn't happen very often.) I was also treated to the following commercial:

Announcer 1: "The alarm goes off before six..."
Announcer 2: "...and you rarely get to sleep before eleven."
Announcer 1: "You haven't had a moment to yourself for weeks..."
Announcer 2: "...and yet, somehow, you keep going." {pause}
Announcer 2 again: {cheerily} "It's really something, isn't it!?"

The End

I am really not sure what to make of that. Seriously. I have no clue.

That aside... When I listen to christian radio, you can pretty much bet that I've got some serious spiritually-oriented goings on... uh.. going on. And today was such a day.

It was (and I'm sure something else will pop up between now and when I finally get to sleep--doubtless not before eleven) what I will call a "spiritually intense" day. Not bad (unless you happen to employ me to be in charge of your marketing department), but not great, either (unless you enjoy being punched in the heart by the Fist of God).

I blame Brant, and his constant encouragement to grow and learn and love and become more like Jesus and the other things of that nature... And Josh, for being there to help draw it out of me. And of course Jesus, who ,self-admittedly, can make some serious waves in the ol' pond.

It was a day full of pastoring and being pastored. Of staring into the the dark vacuum of my own soul, wrestling with God over what my next moves are, and coming to grips (not new) with my own inadequacies as a little-Christ. It was a day when I got to talk to myself, my friends, and my God about who we all are, and where we're all supposed to be headed. It was a day of inexplicable happenstance.

I am sure that God spoke through me--jumped out of my mouth when I wasn't expecting it--and also that he spoke to me. (Though I'm not at all sure yet what he meant, or what it will mean for me.)

Also, I forgot to wear my belt, and my pants kept falling down.

Yessir. It was a humdinger.

Just some of the things that happened to me today, on the way home.

Whatever turns your crank

Note: Cranky is something that we are when we think we are the most important.

It is prideful. An assertion of self.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

no new links have not

According to the free webstats service that I started using for my myspace page, "Last week no new links have not been added to your page".

umm... okay.

As soon as I parse that, using my new freeware webstat application text parser, I'll take whatever action seems appropriate.

Today we're off to Cracker Barrel to see the folks, and then jogging down to good ol' Lincoln to see the Simpsons, and meet their new house and small person.

Then we're coming home, and Deb has to go to class, and I.. I suppose.. will work on some music..?

Sure. Let's say that.

Monday, January 01, 2007

"Communion" or "Pin the Truth on the Heretic"

Yes, I've got a little time (if you don't count all of the things I could be working on), and I haven't blogged for a while, so I'm throwing some serious blog action on here. So..

I've been having this thought for a while about how we church people practice The Lord's Supper.

Basically.. what's up with the closing of eyes, bowing of heads thing?

I just.. I don't know. But I'm not liking it.

Sure hope that's not heresy!

But I just keep thinking about it. Thinking about even the words that we use.. "Communion" .. "The Lord's Supper"... well, okay.. to me those seem like "together" words. Words that would indicate participation, rather than segregation. I read the biblical account.. I try to apply what theological training I have.. I'm not seeing what says I'm wrong about this. (it's very possibly there.. but I'm not seeing it yet..)

But when the bread and juice come around, what do we do? We grab our stuff, and then WHAM!! ..down come the walls, slicing us off from the rest of the body. Well.. I don't want to close my eyes. I don't want to remember Jesus hanging on the cross. I don't want to confess my sins so that I don't partake in an "unworthy" manner.. I'm afraid that we're all doing it in an unworthy manner! I want to share a meal with my brothers and sisters.. I want to remember who Jesus is.. not how he died. I want to participate in the life of The Body, and remember the life of The Head.

So are we doing it wrong? Have we made The Supper something Jesus never intended it to be? Are we partaking in at least an ineffective or misguided, if not unworthy, manner?

G'head. Pin the Truth on me, people. I'm just asking.

Music News

I don't really have any music news. I'm afraid that's the news. : (

I just had... 9 days? ..off of work, and I didn't play a guitar even once. (unless you count "guitar hero", which I go to play for the first time!) So that's the kind of progress I'm making at the moment.

However (in case you should think I'm just boohoo-ing about it), it was a really nice vacation. One of the most relaxing I've had in a long time. I spent a lot of time trying to kill mice, and re-caulking the bathtub, and not trying to accomplish much of anything. It was good. It couldn't have been this way if I were trying to work on music. I just would have been frustrated and angry. So no, "giving up" was the best possible move for this particular time.

The challenge for me in this is to not mope about it and be upset. As I mentioned in my previous post.. I can't "manage" my results in this genre any more than any other. I can pray about it*, try to do the right things for the right reasons, and trust that it's OK with God that I don't make that "progress" by the end of my vacation. He knows, and he's not freaking out about it, so I probably shouldn't be either.

(I do think, to take it a step deeper for a moment, that this should tell me something about my life. At least this in conjunction with a lot of other experiences. In short: the way I live.. "lifestyle" or whatever.. excludes one of the things I love the most. If I want things to run more smoothly (not including my brain, which begins to rot immediately), an easy fix is to just jettison the idea that I'm some kind of musician. So I obviously need to keep working on that. I've tried to create a lot of space by opting out of a bunch of things that I am not really into--but I think I need to go another step, and actually do some things, in addition to not-doing some things.)

Aaand I've still got a few plans. I'm not giving up on anything long term--that was just this week. Apparently I enjoy the self-abuse too much! ; ] I'm going to get some things recorded here in the near future, and move them to the myspace page. Hopefully I'll be able to squeeze a couple of opportunities to play out of that. Also, I'm supposed to be doing a "sit in the corner and be a solo acoustic guy" thing for a church event sometime in February, so I need to start working on that, and I plan on hitting the Potbelly and maybe some other open mics in the coming months. Beyond that, I still have the Vox/other equipment/electric guitar player jones.. so I'm going to try and work on a few pieces of gear in the coming year. Always kind of fun.

That's all, folks! I'll continue to keep you posted.

* Interesting aside: This topic was not on the list of things from the last post. The list that I prayed about. Dunno for sure what that says.. probably a couple things. I'm just sayin'.

Welcome to Aught 7, ever'body!

It's New Year's day. I'm off work, everyone is off school. The girls are napping--recovering from a long night of frivolity and fun, and other things not-so-full of frivol but still fun. The Henry's came over last night, and we played my new boardgame "Ark of the Covenant" (nods to Dave), and had delicious pie, and some duck, and dips, and we also found out that Deb and I are Quakers. Who knew..!? After the ladies couldn't take anymore, Josh and I had a good discussion.. or at least a discussion.. it was pretty late.. about apostolic authority and things related (which would be, I think, roughly everything).

Pre-New Year's, in the hole between today and Christmas, I got the opportunity to devote a chunk of one day to meditation and prayer. First time in a long time that I've just sat down with a pad of paper, and God (and some coffee, of course), and made a list, and then just prayed it out.

I was a crazy-long list. It took a long time. At least two hours, probably more. But, it was fruitful. I felt like God had a lot of stuff to say to me about a lot of folks, and relationships, and situations.

Then, after I worked my way through it all--even as I was working through--I was kind of overwhelmed by how much there was to pray for. How much there was to be aware of. How difficult it is to keep constantly bringing all of this stuff to the front of my mind, and in front of the throne. (which is why, of course, I don't do it so often) I think this helped me remember a few important things:

1. I can't possibly control/manage all of the things that I prayed about. (If I could, I wouldn't need to pray about them.)

2. I need to remember not to try to. Not to take responsibility for outcomes.

3. If I spent more time living the details of this prayer, I could spend a lot less time saying it.

Not really a resolution. Just some thoughts for the New Year.