is your dna in it?

photo used by permission of the weding couple (the schoberts) and photographers (the oberstadhs)

i just finished listening to an npr “talk of the nation” episode called “a guide to an insanity-free, practical wedding” and it was pretty good. i don’t do a ton of weddings but i do officiate a fair number. over twenty years of ministry i guess i have officiated 20-30ish. this is enough ceremonies for me to have seen quite a few wedding ceremonies of varying complexity and cost.  i am pleased to say that i am proud to have been involved in all the weddings that i have officiated. i do however believe that much of what is encouraged in many wedding ceremonies goes against creating healthy marriages. here are some of the wedding myths that i believe actually work against successful marriages:

  • it’s the best day of your life – when our boys were young i used to teach them to shout at the t.v. when they saw a commercial that was a blatant lie (which is the majority). they would shout as loud as they could “that’s a lie.” this myth is something that i would hope my boys would shout at. if your wedding day is the best day of your life then you probably have a terrible marriage. our wedding day was a wonderful day of celebration but it isn’t the best day of my life nor do i believe it is pam’s best day. the commitments we made to each other on that day SET UP the best days of our lives.
  • you’ll only do this once so you should spare no expense – i hear this as an excuse to over spend on a wedding ceremony. i have news for you, if you over spend on a wedding ceremony and more importantly what is good for you to spend then you probably won’t just do this once. supposedly the average cost of a wedding in the u.s. of a. is $26, 542. lavishly spending to start a marriage can’t help strengthen a marriage when arguments concerning money are a leading reason for divorce. why start off a marriage with money issues?
  • 3 months salary on an engagement ringreally? come on folks. this is absurd!

there are a ton more lies i could talk about but instead i really want to focus on your dna being in the ceremony. i think things and events that are important to us should have part of us in them. they should reflect who we are and should have our finger prints all over them.

the most beautiful weddings i have been to or been a part of have often been the least expensive ones. the weddings were so amazing because the couple’s, and their families’, fingerprints were all over it both literally and figuratively. the wedding reflected who they were and such reflection is very costly though money is rarely a part of such cost. the thought, labor, and time are the cost. these ceremonies involved great creativity and amazing effort both from the couples and from their families. the time and effort made the wedding ceremony something that they did together, which is a wonderful way to start a marriage. in my opinion money often serves as a pale substitute for such creativity and effort. when that happens it is usually someone else’s dna that is to be found in the ceremony.

i think my favorite part of the podcast i mentioned above is when the guest tells people that they should spend the majority of their budget on parts of the wedding that reflect them rather than just spreading it around. she tells the story of a couple who spent all their budget money on a swing band. they saved money on everything else, pot lucking the meal, etc., etc.,  so that they could splurge on the music and dance the night away. i think it is a great idea. know who you are and put the focus there. maybe you love photography so you put the money on the images, or you love people eating together and so you focus the budget there, or you focus on any number of other things that reflect who you are. it is smart to direct your resources. once again this helps to make sure the couple’s fingerprints are present.

well planned ceremonies that reflect a couple’s nature are a beautiful thing to witness. the creativity and effort of such weddings are a thing of beauty.

SSIDE NOTE – thanks to the schoberts and the oberstadts for the use of the above photo.

got to love easy repairs

i promise to post other things than just fred the sentra repairs. right now i am just posting a quick aside concerning the quick fix of the cruise control.

i love quick fixes.

i tried tried the cruise control today and it did’t work. the main power and setting controls worked fine but there was no actual cruise control. in other words, i could set the speed but it wouldn’t hold it. i don’t know a ton of car repairs off the top of my head (that’s why i have a haynes and chilton manual for the sentra) but i do know that such circumstances usually mean a bad vacuum hose. i popped open the hood checked the hose end by the cruise control module (black box on the firewall by the driver’s side door) and it was good. i then checked the hose end connected to the actuator (a round black plastic object connected to the module via the vacuum hose and connected by a cable to the throttle) end of the hose only to discover a crack in the hose. i clipped off 1/4″ of the hose and reconnected it. problem solved.

if only everything was so easy to fix.

fred has new tires

for those of you keeping up with the development of fred the sentra today he received two new, balanced front tires and new windshield wipers. this means that fred is now able to handle highway speeds. previously the front tires were bald and unbalanced and it made for an interesting ride at 70 mph, especially in snow, which is why i had only taken him on the highway once. that one time was enough for me. as for the windshield wipers i am a fan of decent wipers and rain x. i can live with a car that might break down at any moment but i can’t handle one with terrible windshield wipers.

next is fixing the exhaust system which should happen this weekend.

SIDE NOTE – i found this forum post concerning the rebuild of a 92 sentra. it is a lot more than i want to do to fred but still has some useful in it.



pam and i just finished watching “hanna” and it must have been a good movie because pam not only watched it but made comments concerning the plot. it has to be a pretty good action flick for my wife to remain interested. i was just impressed that the hero (or more correctly heroine) of the movie is a 16 year old girl. there are not many movies where a 16 year old girl kicks everyone’s butt. the movie is basically a bourne identity movie about a girl. i think they did a pretty good job with it.

what is a disciple?


last weekend i spent a few hours with devon s  flying to rome, new york to officiate his wedding. we talked about quite a few things but ended up focusing on asking what is discipleship. you see i believe that to a large extent the modern western church has misunderstood discipleship. i believe we have primarily understood discipleship as an intellectual exercise. we have treated discipleship as a series of bible studies.

please don’t get me wrong. i think studying the bible is VERY important. i love bible study and i know it is very important but i do not think being a disciple of JESUS CHRIST is merely studying a lot. i would actually describe that as a mild version of gnosticism. a very generalized description of gnosticism would be that salvation comes down to the right intellectual knowledge (i.e. gnosis). i fear that much of the modern church has become gnostic in its practice of making disciples. using aritotle’s “ends and means” studying seems to have become an ends rather than a means.

studying should be a means for reaching the aimed for end which is following CHRIST. the problem is that far too often studying is treated as the aimed for end. instead i believe the biblical example of disciple making comes back to JESUS call to HIS disciples which was “come, follow me.” following is the goal or end. knowledge helps in following. studying is important for following but it is never the ultimate goal. following is.

at tapestry we try to focus on following and doing things to help people follow HIM.

so here are the basic instructions for what we do.

  1. In what ways have you been a testimony this week to the greatness of JESUS CHRIST with both your words and actions?
  2. How have you experienced GOD in your life this week?
  3. How are you responding to HIS promptings?
  4. Do you have a need to confess any sin?
  5. How did you do with your reading last week?

it is basically derived from neil cole’s life transformation groups. i think it does a wonderful job of helping us to focus our studying on being better followers. it helps us keep our ends and means in line.

SIDE NOTE – i think that the modern western church would do a better job of making disciples of JESUS CHRIST if we asked “what is a disciple” more often than we ask “how do we make disciples.”

help me put eric in his place :)

IMG_2029pam and i have pretty much always viewed cars as merely transportation. we take care of our autos and try drive them until they can’t reasonably be fixed any longer. we’ve done this to all but one of our cars – a 1998 ford explorer that was a lemon. my 1998 mazda 626’s transmission died recently and it was sent to salvage. the 626 was my car, which is basically the family beater. it was my “throw the canoe on top and go fishing” car. since the 626 died i needed to replace it because i have to continue fishing.

eric & natalie were nice enough to sell me their 1992 sentra which i hope to fix up. of course, eric said that i would probably be better off buying a different car considering the money he thinks i will need to put into the car to fix it up to the level i am considering. he thinks i will have to put $1,000 to $2,000 in the car. i on the other hand think i can fix it up to very respectable for less than a $1,000.

IMG_2006here’s the work that needs to be done to the vehicle

  • replace front exhaust tube (rusted out)
  • new tires for front and rear (basically bald)
  • replace power steering pump
  • general maintenance

and the work that i want to do to it is

  • body work (there are a couple of sections that have rusted out)
  • paint – both for protection and looks
  • add roof rack for my canoe – difficult because the car is a coupe
  • replace broken radio
  • add fog lights – i’m not sure why but i really like fog lights

now i wonder if any of you would like to help me prove eric wrong by helping out on the improvements. i.e. i have a thule 400xtr roof rack that doesn’t presently fit the sentra – do you know someone with a thule 400xt roof rack that would like to swap? or do you know someone who has ever painted a car (i’m considering painting my own car – its a beater after all but it still needs to be approved by pamela). or do you have a car stereo wasting away in your basement?

i’m viewing this as a challenge and i will definitely taunt eric when i succeed.

small airplanes & snow

i know that flying is statistically safer than driving and i am not afraid of flying BUT i am not the biggest fan of smaller commuter planes. this is basically because of the fact that i can feel turbulence much more dramatically when i am in a small plane.

i fly to syracuse, new york today to officiate devon s’s wedding. we would have the first decent snow storm of the winter season on the day that i am flying out of central wisconsin airport on a small commuter plane. i’ve never flown in any plane while it was snowing, let alone a small plane. this should be interested.

SIDE NOTE – i think i have adequately freaked my mom out now. i did at least keep the video for this post calm 🙂

can i have your empties?


i’ve developed a new hobby … well i guess it is a hobby. actually i’m not sure if it is a hobby or not. i do know that it enabled me to make a few CHRISTmas gifts and that my dad wants a few more. i’ve learned how to cut and sand beer bottles into 10 oz tumblers.

the photo above is of 5 that i finished before supper tonight. two are for my dad, two are for my brother, and the 5th is for eric g. i need to make some more because my dad swears he has five friends and therefore needs six glasses. i’m not entirely sure about this because i find it hard to believe that my dad could have 5 friends. 😉

making the glasses is more difficult than you would originally think, or at least more difficult than i originally thought, for two reasons.

  1. modern beer bottles are very thin and therefore glass cutting is not easy on them.
  2. you have to find bottles with painted labels instead of paper, since the paper labels will wash off with use.

i guess there is a third difficulty and that is that i don’t drink alcohol and therefore don’t have any beer bottles lying around. so if you have any beer bottles with painted labels on them i would really appreciate you giving them to me rather than throwing them in your recycling bin.

convicted by this american life

i’m listening to this week’s this american life episode concerning the making of electronics in china. while it deals with a plant that primarily makes apple products it mentions that many other companies do the same thing. i’m not an apple fanboy but if i was i would have a hard time justifying it after hearing this. you should go listen to it and then we should do something about it.

one of the things i love about being nomadic

one of the things i love about being a part of a nomadic church (i.e. a church that does not possess a building) is answering the question that invariably occurs whenever i am with a group of pastors and we have a “round robin” introduction. when i say i am a part of tapestry someone usually says “now where are you guys?” of course, i know that what they mean is “where is your church building,” but i still enjoy saying “well i guess right now we are here and 40-50 other spots across town.”

after they look at me confused i tell them that we gather at washington elementary school.

SIDE NOTE – as an alabama fan i probably should say something about the BCS national championship last night. i will say two things 1) ROLL TIDE! 2) while i am thrilled that BAMA won the national championship i am also very ready for the BCS to change. they are supposedly going to make some changes. we’ll see what happens.