Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rendezvous Interview: Week 3

Here's this week's video interview (I haven't uploaded last week's yet ... but will soon).

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Yup ... Musical Slideshow

I wasn't here for Two4Two last week. Here's what I missed:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Now in Germany...

My uploading has begun to go south. So I'll stop with these photos for today.

This picture is from Austria, not Germany, but I wanted to give Carol a peak at the place where her son, Mark, once found himself on thin ice (he broke through). Don't worry. It isn't deep.
This is a passage under the castle in Tuebingen.

This is Steph and Chirs, part of the Globalscope team and wonderful city guides.

My favorite pic so far.

This Dr. Beth, the interim director of the institute and ANOTHER Beth who established the Tuebingen Globalscope team.

A view of the city.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Okay ... there is ONE meeting picture.

I've got more pictures to post, but this is will have to do for now. My time in any one place is kind of short. I'm in Tuebingen, Germany now. But here is a sample of the past two days. The pictures are out of order, but quick is better than chronological right now.

Vienna is full royal palaces (and such).

I was pleased to run across a fellow Beeson Pastor in the middle of Vienna. Paul Clines was a student 10 years before me. We had never met. Good thing he wore the shirt!

Aaron is on guard duty.

Back at Haus Edelweiss

We went to Baden before Vienna. This is the house where Beethoven wrote the 9th Symphony.

It really is a beautiful time of year to be here.

Drs. Bruce Shields and Peter Penner.
Here's the meeting to discuss the merger. Left to right: Wye Huxford, me, Bruce Shields, Peter Penner, Julie Yeats, Tony Twist, and Donna Pohr. The discussions went well and I'm hopeful that the future of the EES looks bright.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Arriving in Austria

I'm here! My luggage isn't, but that's not all that unusual. By the time I'm done wearing what I have on now ... hooo boy!

You are welcome to my new blog entry. I'm pretty sure this sign, though, means "Please don't enter." It's the door of a monastery here in Heiligenkreuz. I walked down to the monastery and took a few pictures.
But first, Haus Edelweiss and the TCM property for training pastors in Eastern Europe (and points east). There are students here from all over the area. I had breakfast with a couple from Moldova. I had supper last night with Dr. Peter Penner, who teaches here. He is German, but with some former Soviet-bloc raising (I think Uzbekistan) .

In this pic, left to right, we have Wye Huxford (stateside director of EES), Bruce Shields (president of EES), and Tony Twist (president of TCM). This is soon after we arrived.

Haus Edelweiss is as Austrian (actually, the house is of Bavarian style) as they get, I suppose. It was originally built as hunting lodge in the late 1800s. When TCM bought it, the building had fallen on hard times.But it looks great now. The building on the left is part of the original purchase. The building in the back was built in 1988.
The original house has residence upstairs, dining facilities on the main level, and a classroom downstairs.
Now to the monastery at Heiligenkreuz ... this is a view from outside the walls.
This is the view of the surrounding houses.
This is just a gate inside the monastery.
And now to a monument that commemorates the plague. These things are in just about every population center...
The prayer chapel and one of the main buildings. I'll try to post more later, but now it's time for Sunday morning worship here at Haus Edelweiss. It will be a wonderful experience, I'm sure. I'll be hearing German, Russian, and who knows what else.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

You Saw It Here First

Tonight's the night for Two4Two's return. The theme this year is "Attending". The first video is on attending God's glory and it stars our own Colin Blowers (thanks, Colin).

Thanks, thanks, thanks, to Matt Buckner for graciously providing his time, talent, and equipment for the making of these videos.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Two 4 Two returns!

Oh how I wish I had taken more pictures when I first arrived at Grandview! I went back as far as I could for some of these pics. If you're new to Grandview, your kids aren't in this slideshow. Sorry. But you will see some fun old shots of our kids.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

On Burning Symbols

The government of the United States of America has appealed to churches and church leaders to condemn the Dove World Outreach Center (ironic name when compared with their current purposes) for their International Burn-a-Quran Day.

I'm only too happy to comply. I would condemn this action even if our President made no such request. I am confounded by any Christian who interprets the gospel as a call to badger, instead of love, our enemies. You see, at the very core of our faith is the belief that Jesus died for us while we were yet sinners. At the very core of our faith is a sermon in which Jesus tells us to love our enemies. At the core of the Apostle Paul's teaching is the call to bless those who curse us.

If we Christians believe in absolute truths (and I do) then we need to keep loving our enemies in the canon of absolute truth. If the cross is at the center of our faith, then so is blessing those who hate us.

That's my foundation for not burning the Quran. I have no other foundation than that one. I understand Terry Jones' frustration with the Islam community and their symbols. The truth is that factions of Islam are mixed up in the violence. If I were to view the problem from the standpoint of self-preservation, tribal-preservation, and national-preservation then I would be on board with Jones.

And that's my frustration with our government's appeal to the church. On what basis do they want our cooperation? On the basis of national preservation? That's the very ideal that is driving Jones.

Is it on the basis of respecting others? Okay, but I grew up in a time when hard working people and veterans were being told to shut up and let agitators burn the American Flag. I was told by the government and the media that I would be an obnoxious rube to be offended by the act of flag burning. I was told not to be so sensitive. It's only a symbol.

When Serrano (editorial remix, Thanks, Tom) the submerged a crucifix in urine, photographed it, and called it art I was told to relax (didn't tax money help to underwrite that one?). He was just practicing the American tradition of free speech. I was told to quit being a religious bumpkin, grow up, join the 20th century.

I've been conditioned from a young age to let people burn, piss on, and demean any and every symbol in the name of tolerance, maturity, and enlightenment.

Now they want me to speak out? Okay. I'll speak out.

Please don't do it, Terry Jones. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth who offers grace to all of us despite our sinfulness, please don't attack your enemies. Love Muslims. Bless Muslims. The nature of the Gospel you proclaim demands it.

Let me add this, though:

Please, Mr. President and Mrs. Secretary of State, be just as vocal regarding the powers that be in our culture, ask them to stand up against people who unnecessarily attack things that are sacred to Christians. We're growing weary of being demeaned at every turn while being asked to be the pillars that keep our critics in place.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Nerd Alert (but I'm cool with that)

I really like living in Johnson City, but we're not exactly known for our museums (well ... we're not exactly KNOWN). That's not to say we don't have an unknown gem, however. My daughters roll their eyes and think I'm crazy whenever I recommend people visit the Brick Museum at General Shale Brick.

General Shale Brick is a major player in the commercial brick market and their headquarters is nestled in the N. Roan split (go right, like your heading to Bristol). They have a nice new brick (surprised?!) building.

Their patio has a nice view of the mountain range east of Johnson City.

In their lobby they have three display cabinets filled with ancient bricks from all over the world (and from all over history). You should check it out. It's free and it only takes a few minutes.

You'll be treated to a 10,000-year-old brick from the walls of Jericho. Those indentations were made in order to give room for mortar to help secure the bricks in place. Those are 10,000-year-old finger prints!
This "hog-backed plano-convex brick is from a pre-pottery neolithic settlement found beneath the city of Jericho. It's the from the oldest brick wall ever found.
This brick was made by the Roman soldiers who destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

You can read the tag on this one.

This brick is "scored" with fingers as well. It was found in a church called "St. John's" in Ephesus, Turkey (it's 1400 years old).
This brick dates back to the time of King David in Israel and was found in a Philistine fortress in Ashdod.

If you get the chance, stop by. Unless you hate history and archaeology, you'll be glad you did.