Seeing Ourselves In The Best Light

A few years ago I posted about the beginning of my first unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). Every now and then I get comments on older posts, such as my post concerning CPE. I received such a comment on this old CPE post. Since, I don’t want to encourage some of the internet wackos I have my blog setup where your first comment has to be approved by me before it will display on my blog. After you have one comment approved by me all your future comments will automatically display on the blog without me having to approve them. So this individual’s comment was put in the waiting to be approved category for me to look at the comment before I allowed it to be posted. I decided I wasn’t going to approve it but thought I would save it to blog about later.

Here’s the comment:

It’s very hard to get a unit of cpe because providers are so few and programs are limited to just a few students. It’s highly selective as well. I felt as if I was rejected for being too old & too Christian. Being over qualified is another possibility for being rejected. I’ve smelled pc & felt discrimination at 2 providers now. I’d be a fine chaplain but I can’t get in. Does all chaplaincy have to be ACPE?

When I was a workman’s compensation adjuster I was training to trust my gut when something seemed off and look into it until I was satisfied. This comment set my gut off. It’s tone just didn’t seem to reflect that the world (read CPE) was actually out to get him, rather than him being rejcted for CPE for possible legitimate reasons. So on a lark I decided I would find out what I could find about this commenter. Thankfully this commentor left some information by which I could track him down. I am also related to one of the best stalkers in the world (hi mom).

I searched around and quickly found some of his comments on other websites. I also found his twitter profile.  Here are the last two tweets from this commentor.

His other interactions, that I found, were similar to the tweets above. Maybe it is just me but I kind of feel like this commentor may have a little difficulty relating to people who are different from him. Perhaps that is why he wasn’t able to make it into two different CPE programs.

We do tend to see ourselves in the best light. I’m sure this commentor thinks he could be an instrument of comfort and hope to all sorts of people, and maybe he could be in real life interactions (after all, the only experience I have with him right now is through viewing his online interactions as a spectator – maybe he is completely different in real life). My democrat-loving commentor isn’t alone in this behavior. We all join him in this behavior (though hopefully for most of us not to the same extent). It is so much easier to just blame someone else, rather than consider our own possible faults.

The ancient Delphic maxim “know theyself” is hard work. Blaming someone else isn’t. Though one leads to continual improvement and the other just pacifies for a little while.

Yes I Own A Gorilla Costume

I can’t tell you the number of times it has come in handy owning a gorilla costume. Seriously, my boys and I have gotten a fair amount of use out of it. You should get one for yourself and you will suddenly find lots of uses for it that you never imagined.

Tomorrow it will come in handy as part of my “Trunk or Treat” setup for giving the “thread” kids at Tapestry a fun memory before church. I have the whole thing worked out in my head and just need to finish a few of the decorations for tomorrow, which is the perfect thing to do while watching college football.

Here’s hoping that this doesn’t actually backfire and accidentally scare the kids. I can see some kids on a counselor’s couch years from now explaining why he is scared of church because of the gorillas that obviously live in churches. Additionally to this fear Eric G is trying to convince me to do the message for the church tomorrow while in the costume. As much as I would enjoy doing that I figure it is probably best that I not to do so.

SIDE NOTE – I thought it would be funny to have the song where Gwen Stefani spells out “bananas” playing in the background. Apparently I had never actually heard the song other thank her spelling bananas and saying she isn’t a hollaback girl. After listening I think it is best not to have it playing in the background.

SIDE NOTE – for those who might be wondering what it looked like, here is a photo from today.

Clive Likes the Theology

The price of the book has really jumped.

I believe Jürgen Clive may have taken being named after a German theologian and an English religious thinker to heart a little too much. The photo above shows what he did to my copy of Fleming Rutledge’s work “The Crucifixion” when I left it as “low-hanging fruit” in my suitcase from my last trip. Since hardcover copies of the book are presently selling for $289 on Amazon I don’t think I will be replacing this any time soon.

I’m all for Clive devouring theology (especially good theology, because Dr. Rutledge’s book is excellent) but I wish he would do so a little less literally.

Dr. Rutledge, Clive liked your book so much he drooled a lot. Of course, he drools over everything, but I am sure this was special drool because of your book.

Butt Fedora

I’m not one to curse. At one time in my life I was (boy was I), but then I turned 16 and I decided that I really didn’t like using curse words or vulgarities. They don’t really bother me when other people say them. I was a workman’s compensation adjuster in a shipyard when I graduated from college. You really haven’t been good and cursed out till you have told a shipbuilder that he won’t be receiving his workman’s compensation next week because you have denied his claim. When you can receive that salty word slapping and remain calm then you can handle most things in life. So like I previously wrote, I’m not usually bothered by other people cursing (except if you are very vulgar in public in front of children or using the Lord’s name in vain just to get my goat), but I don’t use them myself.

Except for one phrase that makes me laugh. I might not say it out loud but I think it a fair amount. The phrase is “ass hat” and it makes me laugh every time I hear it used. I don’t know what it is about the phrase (the picture of an ass hat, the sounds of the words together, the perfect description of the stupidity that just occurred in front of me), but whatever it is I love the phrase. However, I still don’t say it out loud.

That’s why Pam and I developed another word phrase to take the place of ass hat. We now say that someone is being a butt fedora. I may actually like butt fedora better than ass hat. The original phrase is more succinct but butt fedora (that was fun) brings up a more vivid mental picture in my mind. It is a wonderful phrase to describe someone who has done something incredibly dumb.

That guy keeps on driving in the left lane. What a butt fedora!

See, it works. Makes me smile just to think of it. I hope you have a day with few butt fedora interactions.

I’m Not Saying I’m Warren Buffett But …

Come on Southwest Airlines (LUV) you’re keeping me down.

A while back my brother and I signed up for the Robinhood app which allows for commission free stock market trades. Our dad belong to a group of friends who got together each month, played penny ante poker, and made small stock market trades together. They called it the yenom club. “Yenom” is “money” spelled backwards. It was always small amounts of money because the whole thing was for fun. I don’t know if they ever actually made any money (or yenom) but I remember them coming to our house every so often and playing poker. I assume they actually invested too.

So Ken and I decided to do some small investing through Robinhood and then we could brag/trash-talk a little back and forth concerning who is doing better.  Right now he is kicking my rear. Ken won (via a “refer a customer get a free stock” thingie) a free share of Apple stock.  Since this is just fun money one free share of AAPL (worth $157.10 as I write this) is a huge hurdle for me to overcome. I too “earned” a few free shares, but the highest value of any of my free shares was $4. Ken is going to have to do some truly terrible investing and I am going to have to do some remarkable investing in order for me to catch up to him. But catch up to him I will!

If I can only find a few more shares like ZAGG I’ll be able to catch up to him. This wonderful little stock has increased in value 105%. So while I’m not saying that I am Warren Buffett, I am saying that I successfully picked a stock that doubled in value in less than 5 months. Of course, it will probably all go to pot next week.

At least I am smart enough to place my retirement elsewhere.

SIDE NOTE – I have been having a blast doing small stock purchases with Robinhood. I believe my brother had been having fun too. My retirement is through index and mutual funds, so it is fun to own some individual shares of companies I like. If you want to try it and would like a free share (I get one too and thereby you would help me to get a little closer to beating my dear brother) you can do so through this referral link.

SIDE SIDE NOTE – if you aren’t saving for retirement please begin to do so. The earlier the better.

SIDE SIDE SIDE NOTE – if you haven’t frozen your credit since the Equifax hack please do so. You can find instructions from Clark Howard on how to freeze your credit here.

Nation Demands More Slow-Motion Footage Of Running Basset Hounds

Thanks to Adam I saw this post on The Onion (and then several other friends who brought the article to my attention). Apparently our nation is in dire need of more slo-mo running basset videos. I would completely agree with this sentiment.

To quote the article:

“We’re calling for a dramatic increase in the number of slo-mo videos featuring droopy basset hounds racing toward the camera,” said Montana resident Peter Tomsett, echoing the sentiment of all 323 million Americans who declared it was urgent that they see curtains of skin flapping, ears waving back and forth, and drool slopping everywhere as the dogs bound through a field at a fraction of their real-life speed.

I thought The Onion just did satire? I say this because I see absolutely nothing satirical about the desire to see more slo-mo basset running videos.

I’ll also add that there should be an increase in basset moaning videos too. If you’ve never heard a basset moan then you have never heard the sound of utter contentment.


I made one of the best decisions concerning worship in all my years of ministry this year. In January Tapestry began dismissing from our worship gatherings with all the “threads” singing the doxology.

I can’t believe that I wasn’t ending every gathering with the Doxology in every ministry situation I ever led. To all the youth and churches I have helped lead through the years I apologize. We should have been ending every meeting and gathering by signing the doxology.


Because it serves as a reminder that all creation does praise God and that we should live out lives that praise God.

Pamela made this wonderful typography for our house.


Ending the gathering with the doxology reinforces that the creation that surrounds us and the people and events we interact with during our days praise God. In the end, even our evil acts will not have have the last word but will speak of the mercy, grace, and love of God. All things will praise God. When we remember this we look with eyes that are focused on seeing the work of God surrounding us. We can’t help but see His blessings flowing because we have been reminded that they are all around us, even to be found in the valley of the shadow of death. The Doxology serves as a focus reminder – hey you’re leaving the worship gathering, now continue to look for how God is praised around you.


While all things, events, and people will praise God the Doxology also reminds us that we should choose to praise God through positive action, not just praise God through proving that His love will win out. We have a choice. He has commanded those who follow Him to live in manners that praise Him and therefore we should and can choose to do that which proclaims His worthiness. We want to be among those that praise God by doing that which brings joy to His face. The Doxology serves as an exit command – hey you’re leaving the worship gathering, now go and praise God.

I’m not saying that every church should dismiss itself with the Doxology, rather that I am glad that we at Tapestry do now and that I wish I had been doing it all the years that I have led ministry. I should have started it when we started Tapestry … if not long before. It is such a great reminder before I walk out the doors.

Saints versus Packers

Last week Noah asked “Do you think we could get Saints v Packer tickets?” I didn’t really hold out any hope for getting any at a price that I would be willing to pay (after all I am a little cheap), but then Pam sent the word out and Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone. Suddenly we were able to get really good tickets for face value. Best tickets to a Packer game I’ve had. Thanks Pamela … and Rodgers’s collarbone. Go Pack Go … even when they lose.

Funniest moment of the day was when we parked and Noah thought “That voice sounds familiar.” We turned around and discovered that our of 73,000 paid spectators and who knows how many additional people who had not paid to be there we had just parked right beside one of his professors from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. Small world moment.

SIDE NOTE – I heard good things from Tapestry’s morning worship gathering today. I love being a part of a group where I don’t have to worry about not being there and in fact things may go better when I am not there. 🙂

SIDE SIDE NOTE – yes I wore a Bama hat to a packer game. I had on Packer apparel otherwise.