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too much of a good thing…

can be too much, obviously. It’s cliche, it’s tired, it’s trite, but it’s also true.

So last night I had a Rocky Patel Battalion.  The Battalion is much like The Edge Corojo, but bigger – almost twice as big.  I’ve had several of this cigar before but I’m starting to think that with this cigar too much of a good thing isn’t good.  For example I absolutely love orange juice, have loved it my whole life and I’ll drink it all day long – think Michael P. Keaton – but one time during high school I got quite a bit carried away with screwdrivers (we’ll save the blog regarding underage drinking for another day) but after that bingeful night I couldn’t drink or even smell orange juice for several months.  My mother even started to notice and would comment but I just tried to pass it off as a stage. Haha

Back to the Battalion…so I bought this Battalion in NW AR and lit it up when I was sitting at a local saloon in Little Rock as a toast to myself for a very good day in sales.  Now last night very well could’ve been an anomaly; it could’ve been a combination of: I was tired from driving back from NW AR, or what I had eaten before getting to the local saloon, or even the pairing of the beer I was drinking while smoking the cigar, but last night I felt like I was trying to smoke two Rock Patel The Edge Corojos (second favorite cigar) at once.  It was just too much of a good thing. So that’s all I have for now, but just wanted to pass along some thoughts on the Battalion. I’ll keep smoking it and see if my attitude on it changes…it probably will.  Overall, it’s a good smoke, but I’ll spread out the goodness by just buying two The Edge Corojos and smoking them separately.

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Posted by on December 10, 2009 in cigars

 

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upcoming blogposts from yours truly…

I’ll be posting some thoughts on the movie “planet 51”, our all or nothing society, a conversation between a friend and I on if the Bible is absolutely everything we need, and some more on word intentionality and of course some good cigar and beer recommendations.  I just need to find some time!

First recommendation: Rocky Patel Renaissance cigar.  I had this over thanksgiving with my brother in law (he enjoyed his first ever Rocky Patel the Edge) and I must say this cigar actually can give the Edge a run for it’s money; although it is a little more expensive $12.50 vs. $8.50. It was a very smooth draw, has a little bit of spice and is just as tasty as the Edge; you could consider the difference between these two cigars as Vino’s Pale Ale to Diamond Bear’s Pale Ale – if you never have had either of those you don’t know what I’m talking about. sorry. 😉  The Renasissance has an Ecuadorian Sumata wrapper and a blend of Ecuadorian and Nicaraguan filler.  I also employed the use of my bullet cutter for the first time and I think I’m now a convert to the bullet cutter.

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2009 in culture, midrash, theology

 

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so happy together

I think I have everything linked together…kinda cool…kinda scary…but at least y’all can keep up with what’s going on now in my world via almost every possible connection.

iPhone – check

twitter – check

facebook – check

blog – check

life outside of technology – …will have to get back to you on that one…

But for now – go enjoy some good food, good beer, good wine, and a good smoke…might I recommend a nice Padron or Rocky Patel, The Edge specifically.

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Hearsaywhat?

Amongst evangelical christians it seems we are manufacturing consent (amongst fundamentalists)/dissent (against paradigm-pushers).  This is my posting on it.  It is rather lengthy.

Wrongly or rightly I’m a contrarian – I’ve always been that way.  Maybe it’s nature that imbedded it within me, but in having two older sisters I’m thinking it’s more nurture – I was provoking reactions at it’s most enjoyable.  Fast forward to the present and I’m a protesting-Protestant who protests the old tried and not-completely-true ways of the Christianity I grew up learning and living.  The old way was founded in modernity and in the enlightenment, and it’s purpose was to classify every piece of information contained in the Bible so it was all nice and tidy and made perfect sense to the masses.  The ‘correct answers’ were contained in some file box that we could reference when someone had a question.  Ummm…not everything in the Bible makes perfect sense if you ask me.  I feel comfortable with the mystery in the Bible and not understanding every verse.  If we as Christians reclaim the mystery and accept the mystery of the Bible then we can live with more graciousness and humility and not arrogance and pride of know-it-alls. (That’s not the only benefit of reclaiming mystery, but I’ll save that for another blog)  Today I have more questions than answers about Christianity and I’m ok with that.

Labels.

Labels are sometimes frustrating. But they are what they are, so allow me to attempt to muse on: biases affecting information, some common misconceptions about a particular label, and finally what that particular label means to me.  This will not be an all-encompassing dissertation, but just some quick tidbit thoughts to point out.  Maybe it’ll help clear up some ignorance on the topic, maybe it won’t.

The particular label:

Emergent

What a fun, hopeful, controversial, threatening, divisive, and misunderstood word these days in the world of theology.

Nebulous.

As much as I might try to ‘explain’ emergent thoughts and tendencies it won’t be wholly accurate because emergent is a very nebulous label.  Imagine light shining through a prism. You can see countless reflections of beautiful colors shining on a wall that look different when looking at it from different viewpoints.  But there are certain key components which allow the reds, blues, yellows and greens to shine beautifully – the prism and the light.

Biases come into play.

I’ll be explaining why I appreciate emergent from my viewpoint – my bias.

I was in jury duty the other day and the defense attorney started his voir dire (jury selection) by saying, ‘we all have biases’.  This is an absolutely true statement.  As much as we may try to put our biases aside and be objective our biases still come up and cloud our interpretations.

The oh so cheesy statement of, ‘let go and let God’, is meant to say  that God acting is and doing as he pleases separate from our interaction, which is true, but the saying also includes us interpreting his actions of what he’s doing.  Let me try explaining it this way.  Sometimes people say, “Let’s just allow the scripture to speak for itself”. My response would be, “Ok, that’s cool…but we still have to interpret the scripture.” Our biases always come in to play.

All that to say that, our biases will cloud how we view a topic.  I think these biases have played a major part into some of the misconceptions of emergent.

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble.  It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” – Mark Twain

Say it ain’t so, Joe.

Misconceptions – we are lazily ignorant.

After 9/11 a Viet Nam veteran went to a local Target store and asked if Target would like to support a local Viet Nam war memorial with a monetary donation.  The local store declined and then soon after an email was fired all over the place, by an un-named source, saying that Target is against the military. (you might remember receiving an email about this)  At the time emotions ran high for our military and it looked very bad for Target and was not a beneficial p.r. scenario. The actual situation was that to receive a donation an organization needs to go through their corporate office. Bureaucracy? Yes, but very similar to other corporations. Against the military? Not necessarily.  The point is, is that the email was fired all over the place without people checking the actual facts.  This is similar to what I hear from some of my friends (and from some I’ve been de-friended) about emergent.  Reading one book by one ‘emergent author’ does not give you enough information for what emergent might believe.  There are many different beliefs.

People now side with Martin Luther and even named a denomination after him, but when he was asking his questions and making his public declarations he was viewed as a heretic…so either we’ve figured God out completely (that’s some mighty powerful kool-aid) and have nothing further to add to the painting or we are now no longer allowed to ask questions and proffer statements about God and continue painting our beautiful faith.  I, myself, want to add to the painting.

Don’t dismiss an idea because it is new or unfamiliar to you.  One of my favorite books is, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”, by Thomas Kuhn. Buy it, read it, appreciate it.  This speaks of how we react to paradigm pushers; I’ll just say we don’t react warmly, nor with open arms to people who challenge our worldviews.  We fight the new ideas because we don’t like change, we like to be comfy and be sure of what we know.  The Sun is the center of the universe.  You’re a heretic.  Say it ain’t so, Joe. The world is round. You’re a heretic. Say it ain’t so, Joe.

What concerns me is when people form finite, unchangeable opinions off of hearsay about emergent.  People are obviously free to form their own opinions about different topics.  But what aggravates me (not only about theology, but all areas of life) is when bad information and incorrect information is disseminated as fact. Sometimes people are too lazy to find out all the information.

Another common misconception is that emergent is unbiblical.  I can’t disagree with this more.  I’ve heard Brian McLaren speak in public – he was completely Biblical.  I’ve heard Doug Pagitt speak in public – he was very biblical.  I’ve read Rob Bell’s writings – they are very biblical.  I’ve read Tony Jones’s writings – they are very biblical.  I’ve read Tony Campolo’s writings – they are very biblical.  Part of this references back to our biases.  But just because someone has a different biblical worldview than yours because they interpret the Bible differently does not make it unbiblical.  They just might not completely share the same views on Biblical interpretation as you.

Emergent being beautifully inclusive – and why I want to be included.

With all the authors and innovators in emergent sometimes it’s hard to speak of emergent b/c there are many varying degrees of belief.  Take me for example; I’m a bit of a paradox – I’m a conservative GOP’er but would also label myself as emergent because of the complimentary nature of beliefs within emergent.  For more specific information on why I value complimentary beliefs see my posts titled, “calcio and an open mind”, “playing frogger with a nebulous endline”, and “harmoniously dissident orthodoxy”.

Politically, I have a friend who is as liberal as I am conservative.  I have another friend who is in-between us.  So we’re all on different levels politically and a bit theologically but we’ll sit at Creegan’s enjoying beer and cigars and still revel in the powerful, merciful God we serve.

Verse to ponder on Romans 2: 14, 15

I believe in hell, some within emergent do not, but I’ll be damned if I’m so narrow-focused on my beliefs to not allow C.S. Lewis (if he were alive) to teach at the church I’m attending solely because he’s an inclusivist. (which I think I am an inclusvist if it were not for it being a label)  We need to learn that while we might not particularly agree with someone that we can learn from them and they can help us grow in our faith.

Instead of expounding further since this has been a very long post, (but it was asked for by some people) I will sum things up by saying that I appreciate emergent thoughts because it allows me to say, “I believe in hell and here’s why. I know you don’t believe in hell and you’ve told me why.  We’ve never traveled to hell so we don’t know everything that goes on after death.  We worship God. God loves both of us.  I am an inclusivist (even though I’m not a fan of that label) and here’s why. I know you’re an exclusivist and you’ve told me why.  We’ve never died so we don’t know everything that goes on after death.  We worship God. God loves both of us. Emergent values context in biblical interpretation instead of willy-nilly picking verses out to make us feel good. I value context in biblical interpretation instead of willy-nilly picking verses out to make me feel good.  Emergent values learning from others – including Catholics, Lutherans, Buddhists, etc.  I value learning from others – including Catholics, Lutherans, Buddhists, etc.  Emergent revels in the mystery of God.  I revel in the mystery of God. Emergent recognizes and appreciates grey areas.  I recognize and appreciate grey areas.  Emergent compliments me and I believe I compliment Emergent.

I still don’t like labels, but I love God.

Even though I will probably always be a contrarian I still value the genius of Calvin from ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ when he said, “Provoking a reaction isn’t the same thing as saying something significant”.

Cigar recommendation – I have a Rocky Patel Olde World Reserve staring me in the face that I think I’ll have later tonight.  I’ll check back in and let you know how it is.

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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out of touch

Ok, so I’ve been a bit out of touch recently due to…nothing really other than having a serious case of writer’s block.  I made a quasi-promise to a friend that I would blog over some mis-perceptions about emergent beliefs and leaders.  There are some disturbing thoughts (disturbing to me at least) about the emergent movement where I believe most people are just shooting from the hip and judging ignorantly, but I will try to elaborate more on later.

For now, if you have the opportunity to bring up, download, or rent the West Wing episode , “Five Votes Down” you will not be disappointed, it is the one of the most hilarious West Wing episodes ever.  Toby is getting razzed and harassed by his fellow staffers after making $125,000 from a $5,000 investment and President Bartlet is a little loopy after taking strong pain meds.  West Wing  was such a great series and I miss not having new episodes but I’m reliving the good ol’ days by recording the series on Bravo.

Cigar recommendation – I can’t stress enough how good of a cigar The Edge, by Rocky Patel is; go out get one and enjoy it.

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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…playing frogger with a nebulous endline…

ol school video games

old school video game

So it’s springtime in Arkansas which means alot of rain…and I do mean alot.  Just this past Sunday (Easter Sunday) I got soaked on my way into church…a new church that I was visiting.  More on that in a second.

Right now, it’s late and I’m sitting in my living room enjoying a nice cabernet sauvignon, listening to the Grateful Dead, Jim Croce, and Bob Dylan (among others), occasionally glancing down and to my right at a Krakauer book that is begging me to pick it up and knowing that when I do pick it up it never betrays me into boredom – although I’m only about 30 pages in it’s a very compelling read.  I’m also thinking about alot of things/issues going on in my life right now.  Let’s see…I have a perplexing insecurity about my job even though last month I hit 118% to goal.  I now find myself not leading midrash which is something I brought to Arkansas from St. Louis (where it was wildly successful, and in this instance # of people showing up does not constitute success, although there were bunches of people showing up) and lastly, well not really lastly, but the last I’m willing to discuss in the blogosphere is that I am also looking for a new church home…which is corollary back to the previous mentioned item of midrash leadership.  The church I was attending and I have a difference of opinion in some theological matters, which for sake of brevity I will not go into.   The leadership of this church and I realized that our visions and ‘needs’ are heading in different directions and to respect each other we need to part ways. It was a mutual decision we both agreed upon and I’m fine with this and actually the leader and I are still friends.  What surprised me and honestly perturbed me was his decision to retain midrash and theology on the rocks at his church.  Maybe it’s an issue of pride, but maybe it’s also my concern that midrash/theology on the rocks will take on a form which mimics this church’s values which are some of the reasons that concerned me enough to not remain at the church. Not that their values are necessarily wrong, because they’re not, but midrash and theology on the rocks is a different bird in that it needs special leadership to have it’s mission plug along in a  proper, functional, compelling manner. Granted, there is not a midrash/theology on the rocks manual for how to do things correctly, but there are, in my mind, easily identifiable things not to do which might not be as easily identified to others.  Beyond that it basically boils down to the fact that I’m upset in the leader’s desire to retain midrash and theology on the rocks when truth be told it was my brainchild to start these two things in Little Rock. And honestly, I’m not happy about the decision and he’s aware of my feelings because we had a long respectful conversation about this but at the end we both disagreed.  At the same time I won’t bitch and moan about it b/c I have enough other friends who are eager to start something of our own whether or not it’s under a new banner or not. So we shall see what the future holds for ‘midrash’.

Because of all of these issues colliding all at once at terminal velocity I feel as if I’m playing frogger with a nebulous endline of where I’m supposed to end up.  But you know what…in my adventurous, analytical spirit…it’s also kind of fun. Maybe it’s more like Q-bert and I need to labor to try and make it to the top…I always liked Q-bert better anyway…and plus I had a sleeping bag with Q-bert on it.

“Perhaps we had become a little arrogant with our fine new technique of ice-claw and rubber slipper, our age of easy mechanical conquest.  We had forgotten that the mountain still holds the mastercard, that it will grant success only in its own good time.” – Eric Shipton “Upon That Mountain”

pimpin the Q-bert

pimpin' the Q-bert

Ok, cigar suggestion.  This past weekend I went with some buddies to Cregeen’s and I had a Rocky Patel, ‘The Edge’ and I must say it was a very good cigar. It’s a maduro if not bordering on robusto.  And it was a very smooth cigar – it was about $7 if my memory serves me.

The wine I’m enjoying while I write this is Root 1 – it’s a cabernet sauvignon from Argentina.  It’s fruit forward, spicy, smooth velvety finish but also enough tannins to remain true to it’s cab grapes. It was $11.99 – a very good wine.

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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