history podcasts

i am presently loving a few history related podcasts. all of them have great information and good production values. a couple are truly great and a ton of fun to listen to.

here they are:

  • the history of rome – a weekly podcast detailing the major events of the roman empire. there are 148 episodes thus far and it has only reached 321 AD. this podcast is active and my favorite by far. the info on the the roman empire is great and mike duncan is a pleasure to listen to. if you are a part of tapestry you have heard information i gleaned from THoR (the history of roman) more than you know.
  • 12 byzantine rulers – this podcast is finished. it is a wonderful, though brief history of the eastern half of the roman empire. lars brownsorth has expand the information he presented in these lectures into a book that i am looking forward to reading.
  • norman centuries – lars brownworth (the guy behind the 12 byzantine rulers podcast) also does this podcast about these amazing descendants of norse vikings. supposedly this podcast is active though there hasn’t been a new episode since may.
  • religions of the ancient mediterranean – phillip harland is an associate professor at york university. this podcast is put together from some of his lectures. good material on the ancient near east. this podcast is active. this is another podcasts that you might have heard information from if you have been with tapestry on a sunday night.

if you see me running there is a pretty good change that i will be listening to one of these podcasts.

i am a lousy dreamer


i am a lousy dreamer.

i don’t mean the above statement in the sense of vision. i am talking about real dreams … the kind you have when you sleep. some people have really cool dreams where they do truly awesome things that they could never do in real life. i think it would be a lot of fun to have such dreams.

instead my dreams have the potential to be terrific and then they end up just being lame. for example, last night i dreamt that i was in an automotive chase with foreign spies. this is obviously a great start for a dream. it would have been a truly exciting dream except that i was driving a full size passenger bus during the chase. it wasn’t some special spy bus with amazing handling and freaky cool spy abilities (like rocket launchers and oil slicks). nope, i was driving a normal grey hound–type bus with air brakes and passengers. to make matters worse the chase was in a road construction zone in a busy city and i was under orders to do no damage. so there were no amazing crashes or cool explosions. instead there was a lot of slow development of speed that was then just as slowly ended by a long period of braking. in addition to this for some reason i was also driving the bus from a second row seat. i have no idea why i was driving from the second row but it was incredibly difficult to see the road from there.

it was all very frustrating.

4 chairs

4 chairs

at tapestry we save the back row of seats for our guests.

i know this sounds a little odd but you need to understand the setup of a typical sunday evening with us. we try to set our chairs up in such a manner that almost a circleconversation is encouraged. this means our chair set-up varies from a semi-circle to completely in the round. while i love our setups i also recognize that they can be a little intimidating for a guest.

our setup can be all the more intimidating for a guest when you consider the natural tendency of people to not sit in the first row (some claim this is because i tend to “spray” people when i preach but i personally seriously doubt this). we typically set up 6-8 chairs total for the front rows (total is for both sides) and there are usually only a few people who sit in them. other rows might fill up but the front row never does. this means that the most obviously open spots are also the most intimidating chairs for someone to sit in. so we work around this by setting up 4 chairs on the back of each side of the room that we save for guests. these are the easiest chairs to get into and out of. you can come in late and leave early if a semi-circle setupyou want to. these chairs are saved for our guests in an attempt to make them feel welcome. who would have thought the back row could do such a thing?

of course, if you attend a church regularly then you probably know that the back row is usually the first to fill up. church people like the back row. we’re a little different. we save these seats as a gift for those who are our guests.

so if you come to tapestry for the first time and see 4 chairs set up in the back please know that you can sit anywhere you like but we have saved everyone’s favorite seats for you.

good movie day

andy-serkis-rise-of-the-planet-of-the-apes  LincolnLawyer_m

this was a good movie day.

adam and i went to see “rise of the planet of the apes” today and i was pleased to find out that all the good reports concerning it were accurate. i liked the original “planet of the apes” but didn’t care at all for the remake. this was a great way to expand on the story.

then this evening pam and i watched “the lincoln lawyer” based on some recommendations that pam and had received from friends and family. it was surprisingly good. really good.

you should go watch both of them now.

dennis rodman

here’s a ht to pete wilson for discussing the above video of dennis rodman’s hall of fame acceptance speech. pete wrote a wonderful post on his blog encouraging us all to not quickly judge people and instead remember that most people are broken individuals.

the part of rodman’s speech that floored me was the one regret rodman mentioned having. personally i can think of quite a few things that i would probably regret if i were in his shoes. here are a few examples:

  • the episodes of domestic violence with his wives
  • kicking eugene amos in the groin during a game against the minnesota timberwolves
  • a few of his hairstyles
  • etc., etc.

but the one regret that rodman mentioned in the speech was:

i have one regret; i wish i was a better father.

why would this be the one regret he mentions?

rodman says it is because he never really had a father in his life. since his father had let him down he wished that he would have given his kids a better situation. unfortunately, those who don’t have fathers in their lives often end up not being involved in their own kids’ lives. it is a vicious cycle. this is such a big issue for rodman that he uses the majority of his speech talking about a few of the men that actually tried to be father-figures to him. i think my favorite part of his speech is when he describes phil jackson telling him that if he wants to be a chicago bull the rodman needs to go into the kitchen and apologize to scotty pippen. father-figures encourage people to do the hard things.

my question, and the reason for this post, is i wonder how we can (i.e. CHRISTians and especially the threads of tapestry) be fathers to the fatherless in such a manner that they will be better fathers to their children? after all, psalm 68:5 says that our GOD is:

a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is GOD in HIS holy dwelling.

therefore when we act as father-figures we are following in the nature of our LORD.


i bought an elmo


IMG_1359it has only taken me two years but today i found a portable document projector (a.k.a an elmo) for $49. i’ve been looking for something that is extremely portable (because tapestry is a nomadic church) and very cheap (because i don’t figure i will use it very often) to use in tapestry every now and then.

in the past two years i’ve set up two mock document projectors. what i mean by a mock document projector is that i arranged a video feed from a camcorder that was placed over a table by attaching it to a ladder. oh yeah it was a pretty high class setup. in fact, it is so high class that i posted a photo on the left for you to see. i did this to display a couple of things that i wanted to use during a message. the flannelfirst was a flannel graph presentation of the bible story i was discussing (i have posted a photo of the awesomeness of the flannel graph to the right so you can see it and enjoy) and the second was a series of drawings that i wanted to use. i was sure that i would use it a little more if i had an easy to use projector but not enough to justify spending the $130 of the cheapest one i had been able to find.

i will, however, use it enough to justify spending $49!

it is even better considering how portable this document projector is. this elmo is meant for traveling sales personnel. therefore, it is meant to travel well. it will do great for what i want to do with it. which is to every now and then be able to break down a passage a scripture directly in front of the threads of tapestry. in other words, i want to display a passage of scripture and begin to write on it as i normally would when i am researching a passage. the goal is to display a method of studying scripture in such a manner that some threads who have no idea how to break down a passage of scripture will see first-hand how to do it.

i will probably also steal a genius trick from pam, my lovely wife. pam uses a smart pen with her elmo document projector to record the writing and audio that she is doing during lecture. she can then post her actual animated handwriting from the lecture. here’s an example. i this is is a pretty cool idea that i will have to steal for a sunday night or two. 

i am very excited about this thing getting here.