Water Mosaic echoes from home

pondering the mysteries, simplicity, and humor of life

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Fall Creek Falls

Fall Creek Falls2

Fall Creek Falls

Fall Creek Falls

Fall Creek Falls

FCF Double Falls

Friday, April 29, 2005

Almost Done

I have 4 more classes left until my Masters is complete. This summer I'll be in a webclass called Systematic Theology. Dr. Hicks is tough I've heard but I should learn alot. This is my reading for the summer.

The Faith Once For All - Jack Cottrell
Theology for the Community of God - Stanley Grenz
Essentials of Christian Theology - Stanley Grenz and William Placher, eds.
Yet Will I Trust Him - John Mark Hicks
The Story We Find Ourselves In - Brian McLaren

Also Dr. Hicks is teaching a short-term class this summer (full week) on Postmodern Theologies. I really wish I could take this course because it would really help put the whole "postmodern" thing in context. The course will focus on theological strategies: Postevangelicialism (Stan Grenz), Radical Orthodoxy (Smith), Paleo-Orthodoxy (Thomas Oden), Deconstructive Theology (Carl Raschke), Postliberalism (George Lindbeck), Neo-Evangelicalism (Millard Erickson), Reformation Tradition (Michael Horton) and Anglo-American Communal Praxis (Nancey Murphy). Man, Daivd Lipscomb is turning in his grave.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Piety or Justice?

"But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness"

Throughout my life, I have tried to read the Bible. I'm not very good at it. Once I did that "Read the Bible in a Year" thing with the little pamplet that keeps you on track for a daily reading in both Testaments. I've tried to meditate when I would read. Other times I would underline important words or sentences, sometimes even paragraphs. Sometimes I would read it just to read it and feel good about my relationship with God. I would also ignore the book, but feel a certain shame for not lingering in its presences each morning or evening. I have several Bibles even though I'm not sure why that is. Some have been worn and have collected many memories throughout the years; while some have set on my bookcase collecting dusty. I like the Bible. It doesn't give me all the answers to life's mysteries, but it shows me a story of beauty.

I've stopped reading my Bible for almost a year now. Now my classes (theology) require that I read it so I do, but in regards to a "quiet time" or alone time, I quit that. Mainly because I was tired of placing my "quiet time" as a leverage to my relationship with God. If I did read and pray, I would feel close to the Divine; if not, then I shamed myself and felt guilty.

That being said, I guess I have always thought that one should focus on their own relationship with God as some sort of individual "best friend" ideal. Lately (more like a year now) I don't see that as being completely the goal (telos). Yes, I should try to draw close to God, but that is not exclusively bound to individual "quiet time." Drawing close to God might surface through me drawing close to my neighbor. Seeing them and treating them as if they were Jesus.

So when I read this verse, I immediantely think that I should pursue some sort of pious righteousness, for my own gain. But what if this righteousness didn't mean personal piety, but meant justice. Justice to my neighbor, to our environment, to economic systems, to war and poverty and genocide. Justice even to myself. Maybe God's dream (kingdom) is for justice to surround this planet, for all to be treated equally and love to reign.

I'm sure I'll read my Bible again, maybe each day, maybe scatered days. And when I do, I'll not feel as if my life depended on it.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Dave on Radiohead

Dave Matthews of the Dave Matthews Band really digs Radiohead, according to his interview in the April issue of Rolling Stone. Here's what he had to say (thanks Thomas):

"Every time I buy a Radiohead album, I have a moment where I say to myself, "Maybe this is the one that will suck." But it never does. I wonder if it's even possible for them to be bad on record.

It belittles Radiohead to describe their music as having "hooks." Their music talks to you, in a real way. It can take you down a quiet street before it drops a beautiful musical bomb on you. It can build to where you think the whole thing will crumble beneath its own weight - and then Thom Yorke will sing some melody that just cuts your heart out of your chest. There's a point on the album Kid A where I start feeling claustrophobic, stuck in a barbed-wire jungle - and then I suddenly fall out and I'm sitting by a pool with birds singing. Radiohead can do all of these things in a moment, and it drives me f**king crazy.

My reaction to Radiohead isn't as simple as jealousy. Jealousy just burns; Radiohead infuriate me. But if it were only that, I wouldn't go back and listen to those records again and again. Listening to Radiohead makes me fell like I'm a Salieri to their Mozart. Yorke's lyrics make me want to give up. I could never in my wildest dreams find something as beautiful as they find for a single song - let alone album after album. And every time, they raise their finger to the press and the critics and say, "Nothing we do is for you!". They followed their most critically acclaimed record, OK Computer, with their most radical change, Kid A. It's not that they're indifferent: It's just that the strength of character in their music is beyond their control.

Seeing them perform makes me even angrier. No matter how much they let go in their shows, they never lose their clarity. There's no point where Jonny Greewood or Ed O'Brien will suddenly look up and say "Where the f**k are we?" There are no train wrecks in Radiohead; every album and performance is wretching. God, these guys have suffered, or they can fake it like nobody else."

Friday, April 22, 2005


I usually am not one to post prayer requests or that sort of thing on this blog, but this seems fitting.

Joe, Laura, Sophia and their newly born baby are in need of prayers.

How long O Lord? Save people from oppression and let your justice break into our world. Help.

Monkey See, Monkey Do?

Evolution is looking pretty sweet right about now. Check out this article about Charile the Smoking Chimp.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Who Own's Culture

On April 7th, the New York Public Library was the site of a dialogue between Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig and Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy. The title of their conversation was Who Owns Culture. I didn’t attend this venue but read several articles relating to the event. In regards to the "illegal" free downloading of music, it seems as if Napster’s family tree includes such historical items as the player piano, Edison’s wax phonograms radio, Xerox machines, and the Sony Betamax, the world’s first stand-alone VCR, each of which raised questions of duplicating artistic products. In each case, the law sided with the “pirates,” finding a way to strike a balance between the users of new technology and the rights of songwriters and performers.

Now our “friends” on the bench have deserted the latest pirates. Instead of acknowledging the unstoppable force that is the Internet and allowing the law to adapt accordingly, Lessig observed that there is a “demand imposed by the law that the technology fit the old law,” driven by corporate interests. Over the past few years, the record industry has filed lawsuits against peer-to-peer file shares, 7,704 to be exact. The film industry, following in their footsteps, is about ready to unleash a wave of lawsuits among movie file sharers. Even Jack Valenti, of the Motion Picture Association of America equates opposing piracy with combating terrorism. Is this hyper-intense opposition to new technologies as tantamount to “DDT spraying to kill a gnat?”

If you know much about Wilco, you know that they are somewhat “pioneers” to this whole Internet streaming, downloading music idea. After being dropped by their label, they decided to use the Internet almost as a last effort to make their music available to the public. Once it was out, they toured and realized that many in the audience were singing along with these “unreleased” songs. Ultimately, they resigned with Nonesuch Records, a subsidiary to their former label, and the album that was previously streamed now has gone gold (sold over 500,000 units). So for Tweedy, he would rather have people listen to his art and dislike it, than have people who can’t listen because they can’t afford it.

What I enjoyed about their dialogue was something Tweedy said. “Once you create something and you’ve made it, it doesn’t exist except in the consciousness of the listener….That’s were it is finished. When someone downloads a piece of music, its just that until the listener puts that music back together with their own ears, their own minds and subjective experiences. Each one of you [listener] has about 50% investment in any event of music making. If you listen, you are a part of it.”So I guess the question of who own's culture would be "us."

Lessig makes a valid point that kids indulging in new opportunities born of new technologies need an environment conducive to creation. I’ve had Copyright Law in college and it was an extremely sticky subject at the time. Copyright Law in and of itself is sticky. I don’t think it has any gotten clearer. Are artists starving because their music is online for free? Maybe, I don’t know. I do know that the Internet has introduced me to several artists that I would have never heard of and I enjoy very much, therefore I have bought their albums. One thing I do know is that if Metallica and Dr. Dre (wealthy musicians) are whining about their music being “illegally” downloaded and they are not getting paid, then something is definitely wrong with that picture.


Life has been crazy this past week causing me to not be able to blog like I normally like to. In between work, writting an exegetical paper, visiting an Otologist and Dentist (separate reasons), dealing with Vertigo Tuesday (not related to U2), and planning for a retreat this weekend, I haven't had much time to blog.

I signed up for an online class that just might kill me this summer. It should be excellent subject matter (Systematic Theology) but the reading alone will be a load in and of itself. Also I'll be seeing the Shins at the Mercy Lounge on May 4. I really appreciate those who take the time to stop by and read what, as stupidious as they may be, I think about. Thanks. Well, back to the grind.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Are Christians Closet Homophobes?

In the New York Times today, there is a small piece by Juliet Macur called Standing Up After Fearing Standing Out. I’m writing about this article for two reasons.

First, my hometown of Longview, Texas is mentioned in the write up. Ahhh, I feel proud.

Secondly, and most importantly, I write this as a person who doesn’t have all the answers. I’m probably more confused than confident when it comes to life, matters of faith, what I want on my hamburger, but this story really hurts. Let me explain.

Merry Stephens is a good basketball coach, that is, she was a good basketball coach before Bloomburg High School fired her. Bloomburg, a microscopic town of 375 residents sits in the piney region of East Texas. For five years Merry coached girls basketball at the local high school. During those five years she built a championship caliber team that last year won their area, district, and regional tournament before being knocked out just one game shy of making state. Merry was considered a town hero for her coaching and the town even honored her and the team with a parade. Sounds like a typical small town, feel good story, right?

Well what most people didn’t know and tried to find out was that Merry was a lesbian. Merry kept quiet during her stay at Bloomburg in fear that her sexual preference would cause her to lose her job. She was right. Last December the School Board, in a 4-3 vote, fired Merry for unfounded allegations of insubordination. For Merry, their decision was based on homophobia, not these veiled allegations. Even though she was a great basketball coach in an up-and-coming program, many feared that she would “influence or convert” their child to lesbianism. Listen to one player’s dad:

“I had nothing against her as a person, but if I stand for one lesbian that
means I would be for them adopting kids, and my moral and the Bible doesn’t
allow that.”
So your morals and the Bible say its ok to act unjustly to someone who is different than you? To oppress them because you feel “uncomfortable” with their lifestyle? I wonder if most Christians kid themselves when they say the phrase, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” Do they (or I) really understand what that means? When someone says love the sinner, and that person they are referring to is gay, then do they really love that person or are they a tad frightened that the homosexual would love them back? Is this statement bunk of its action if people are not even willing to be their friend, for the sake of being their friend and not “converting” them? Are our churches filled with homophobes?

When my wife worked as a probation officer (not how we met), she worked with an openly gay woman. At first my wife was a tad uncomfortable around her because she hadn't spent much time with someone who was so upfront with their lifestyle. I (out of my stupidity) would try to get Jennifer to "evangelize" to her. Over time Jennifer became good friends with her co-worker and would often eat lunch with her and her partner. Finally, I soon understood that she was being Jesus to them and all I was interested in was changing their behavior. I tell all this because I am trying to be someone who loves inclusively. I'm not great at it yet, but I'm desperately trying. Personally, I don’t know the characters in this article and you probably don’t either. I hope I can be someone who loves all people and isn’t motivated by the silliness of fear. I hope that all Christians (heck, everyone) can do the same.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Lake of Fire

It seems my copy of The Last Word and the Word After That has arrived today. But, I will not begin to read it until I finish my course this semester. Plus I'm trying to finish The Powers That Be as well as The Celtic Way of Evangelism. Boy, aint I an overachiever (translation: geek).

Since McLaren's final book of his trilogy is about the deconstruction of modern man's idea of hell, I eagerly await to see how my views are corrupted by this heretical genius.

During my doctor's visit this morning, I read something very interesting in Walter Wink's book that might correlate to the subject matter McLaren is tackling. Wink talks about the difference between Jesus and John the Baptist message of judgment. In John's preaching, God is depicted as verging on a counteroffensive mission against evil in which all the wicked will be wiped out. God will, in a sense, obliterate them by fire. This should not be taken as saying JB was not important or insignificant in his role in the Gospels. Jesus, by contrast, understood judgment not as an end to itself but as a beginning. The "lake of fire" was not to consume but purify, not annihilate but redeem. Reminds me of a song Nirvana performed:

"Where do bad folks go when they die?

They don't go to heaven where the angels fly.

They go to a lake of fire and fry.

See 'em again on the 4th of July."

For Wink, Jesus roots his judgment in redemption and reconciliation, a deep theme throughout the Biblical narrative. This divine judgment is used not to destroy but awaken people to the devastating truth about their lives. Through this lens, judgment becomes not the final word on a failed life, but the first word of a new creation. And so the end for the wicked or ungreatful is the last word, but there is a word after that.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Coincidence....I Think Not

This morning I was asked the most random question I’ve heard in a long time: Is your family related to Fletcher Christian of the Bounty?

At first I thought, “OK, what’s the joke?” Then I found out this Fletcher character was a real person and somewhat famous throughout history. After reviewing his history, I became weirded out by some eerie facts of Mr. Fletcher Christian of the Bounty.

First off, Fletcher Christian was born on the same day as I was: September 25. He was born in England and soon became a sailor. He sailed to Jamaica (my honeymoon location) twice with a man named William Bligh. In 1787 a British ship Bounty under Captain William Bligh went on a trade mission to Tahiti. Their mission was to bring in something called Breadfruit for the English. The trip was troubled from the beginning basically because of Bligh's incompetence as a commander (reportedly). He had asked his buddy Fletcher Christian to serve on the crew.

During the trip, Christian was moved up from second mate to 1st mate. By the time the crew arrived in Tahiti, they were totally exhausted. Bligh ordered the crew not to cohabitate with the native women. Many did and didn't want to return to the poverty and harshness of the English people. Christian fell in love with the daughter of the Tahitian chief who became pregnant with Christian's child. They named their child Thursday October Christian (good way to remember your kids birthday), who is the ancestor of almost everybody surnamed Christian on the Pitcairn and Norfolk Islands, as well as the many descendants who moved to Australia and New Zealand. Fletcher was rumored to have either died on the island or escaped back to England.

Hollywood has made a few films depicting the most famous mutiny in history. One of which was Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), which won the Oscar for Best Picture that year. It starred Charles Laughton as Captain Bligh and Clark Gable as Christian.

I dont' know if I'm really related to this Flecther character, but this was just too weird to not write about today. I’m just waiting for Robert Stack's ghost to slowly walk out of a foggy alley wearing his brown trench coat saying, in his resonating monotone voice, “Join me for an intriguing edition of 'Unsolved Mysteries'."

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Why the Right Rules and Left Drools

Does this book really exist?

If It's Not Too Close, They Can't Cheat: Crushing the Democrats in Every Election and Why Your Life Depends on It

Nicely done Hugh Hewitt. (sarcasm) We applaud you in your ridiculous effort to let the party of faith, wealth and national security rule this country and the world. Did Hewitt get the memo that life depends on crushing the Democrats is not found in the Sermon on the Mount? Sheesh. Help us all Lord.

The Emerging Church and the Mega-Church

During my break at work, I visited a colleague of mine to shoot the breeze. Amidst our dialogue he asked me, “What does the emerging church feel about seeker-sensitive mega-churches?”

Well, I don’t know if I knew the answer, because I wasn’t sure there was a concrete answer to the question. Listening in on many in the Emergent Church conversation, I can’t define what “they” think about those contemporary program-oriented mega-churches because “they” aren’t in a particular movement but in constructive dialogue. (I use “they” adding “myself” in that realm even if I am not a pastor or minister in a church. So my voice my be bunk in the matter.) Saying all that, I can only give my assessment of the whole EC idea and my own reaction to the modern seeker-sensitive churches.

I think that some in the EC would want to pursue a more organic, monastic type of community aside from a mass gathering of individuals. A less polished, media-driven approach to worship would probably be preferred. Inclusiveness, even to women pastors, would probably be highlighted. Heck, there might not even be pastors, as the top-down structure of leadership would dissolve to a more free-forming society of followers. The Bible-Answer Man model would be deconstructed as the pastor/leader/mentor would become apart of the actual community and have (dare I say) friends among the group. “Outsiders” would not only be welcomed, but could possibly change/influence those on the “inside.” Mission would define the practices/disciplines done by the community (missiology defines ecclesiology and vice versa.) The idea of small groups wouldn’t be the end all of ideas for building community. A theology would arrive that would be Kingdom-shaped and not purely atonement-based or heaven-bound focused. Grace would probably be spoken of as pardon and power, instead of just forgiveness. Maybe people would want to see and participate in the sacred in what they already do, instead of adding another “program” to their busy schedule. Redemption would transform the ideals of economic justice, environmental concerns, human equality, politics, public and global policies, formal education and health care. The typical educational model would prove to not be the savior of learning, as more experimental avenues of learning and formation would develop. A “target” audience wouldn’t be important or even discussed as the body engages the world to bless it.

I don’t know if I answered his question or if I became more confused with myself. Either way, there is a lot to learn from our ancestors and those that have gone on before us, even in the mega-churches.

Monday, April 11, 2005


Who's on President Bush's iPod? Well if you care (and you SHOULD), NY Times reports that Bush listens to some country and 60s/70s stuff. Interesting that President Bush has songs of artists that don't like him. For example, John Fogerty's "Fortunate Son" appears on the playlist. (Ironic that Bush allegedly joined the National Guard to avoid combat in Vietnam at the time.) Fogerty was part of the anti-Bush "Vote For Change" campaign that put musical acts on stage to persuade voters to not re-elect Bush. A funny quote from the article said that "if any president limited his music selection to pro-establishment musicians, it would be pretty slim collection." Makes me wonder what would be on Clinton's iPod. Or Lincoln for that matter.

For more, go here. To purchase Clark an iPod out of the goodness of your soul, email me.

My Word Does It Again

Wow. Can I just say this was a disturbing site.

While I was in our library (at my work place) I was looking up commentaries for my upcoming exegesis paper on Ruth 4. Needless to say, I'm not thrilled to be writing 12-15 pages of redaction criticism on the levirate marriage system in the preexilic period. Yawn. As the studious person I can be, I decided to see what our library had to offer. So I find myself in the back of this dimly lit aisle, barley squeezing between book columns, trying to find books on Ruth. When I look down at the bottom shelf, I notice an interesting object in the shadows next to some books. Slowly I lean down to investigate as the foreign item comes clearer into view. Sure enough the unidentified object at the bottom shelf is a rat trap. Let's just say I didn't stick around to become acquainted with its next victim, that's for sure. Well done work place. Well done.

Friday, April 08, 2005

From David Dark

"Sooner or later, we avoid the company of people who don't buy into our chosen slogans or respond favorably to our mass e-mails, and we unknowingly define our community by the people who agree with us or who have at least learned dutifully to avoid particular topics in our company. Tragically, it can become what we mean when we think of friendship. We become our own death cult (or target market), and we feel most alive when we listen to talk radio personalities who tell us how to feel."

"America as a commodity becomes less appealing to the global village when America presents itself as a creature that only listens to itself. It's hard to appreciate a service provider that denies all negative feedback in advance of hearing it."

- excerts from The Gospel According to America: A Meditation on a God-blessed, Christ-haunted Idea by David Dark

The Shins and NPR

I love NPR. So much so that I am considering being a new pledge member. Why do I love NPR? NPR keeps me informed about the world, and they are always reporting on interesting subjects and stories you won’t find on the nation or local level. Another reason I enjoy public radio is the reports on music/artists that aren’t blasted non-stop on commercial airwaves.

Yesterday on Morning Edition, they did a short story on the Shins, an indie rock band from New Mexico. Listen. It tells of how a small indie band has had eminent success after 2 of their songs were used in the crictically acclaimed movie Garden State. After that, their music was used on several other outlets including Fox's the OC and McDonalds. Some might call this "selling out" while others (Greg Kott - Chicago rock critic) might just say they are trying to make a living. I wonder if people who love unknown bands like to claim them as their own. Thus when they are exposed by the mass public, those fans become jaded as if the band has done the unthinkable and betrayed their musical vows to them. When all is said and done the fan has left the band's supportive side with a bad taste in his mouth from the divorce. Can someone please explain why?

They kicked off a quick 2-month tour last night in Portland. Good news is that they will be in Nashville the 4th of May. Tickets are only 20 bucks a pop so hopefully I can go to their show.

Actually Nashville has some really good artists coming to town including Iron & Wine, Patty Griffin, Eisley, Trey Anastasio, Ryan Adams and Tim Reynolds. It is nice to live near a big city where artists like these come rockin down the boulevard.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The Gospel According to Salesmen and Realtors

Can churches become too commercial? Are mega-churches harmful to the communities around them? Are communities better off with large congregations or smaller groups of faiths?

After reading an article in the NY Times about churches and real estate, I began to wonder what the impact of a large growing church has on its surrounding society. Because some many people buy into the church growth myth, they need bigger and better facilities to house them all. A book that our publishing house sells is called Selling Swimsuits in the Arctic: Seven Simple Keys to Growing Churches. Here is a short summary of the book:

Adam Hamilton [author] reminds us that all of life is about sales. Whether we are in a job interview, a candidates’ debate, or a classroom, we are selling something: our skills, our convictions, our selves. The same is true of presenting the gospel to the unchurched.

The gospel is now reduced to a sales pitch in Hamilton’s mind, which will in turn help the congregation double, triple even quadruple in size at an alarming rate. Granted I haven’t read this book and never intend to, but I can’t help think of the damage this does to discipleship. If getting someone baptized or confirmed or “saved” as quick as possible so that the church can outgrow its standing facilities and have a bigger budget, then I want no part this gospel, a gospel according to salesmen.

I once interviewed at a church that talked a lot about growing its numbers in the coming year. That seemed to be the goal for the ministry staff as well as the elders and deacons. I’m all for people having hope in their lives and living like Jesus to better the world, but I wanted to ask them WHY. Is it because you want your numbers to be impressive? Is it because the minister wants to be apart of a large church and have credentials of leading such a crusade? Is it money? Is it power? Even if no one came to your church for a whole year, would you and your church call yourselves failures?

I fear that living like Jesus (discipleship) has become something of a frivolous call that has been passed up by the simple mental belief in Jesus. Churches seem more interested in building the fanciest, most technologically advanced space mortar and brick can contain than building the dreams of God on earth. An adversary in the article for mega churches coming to her community said, “Being a successful church today means being a growth-oriented, seven-day-a-week operation.” Her comment makes one assess how others are seeing what “success” means to faith communities.

Am I against church buildings? By no means. But is the building using its space for those outside its walls to better the community? Or is the church buying into the corporate American concept of consumerism, commercialism, and materialism? Has the gosple been reduced to real estate and sales? Lord help us all.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

This I Believe

Yesterday, NPR unveiled a new segment called This I Believe that will be played weekly during Morning Edition and All Things Considered. This program is a resurrection of a radio series by the same name during the 1950s. Whether it was Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson or a cab driver in Manhattan, millions of listeners gathered each week to hear the guiding principles behind each of these individual's life.

During the afternoon hour, they played their first essay from Latin American novelist Isabel Allende which she read herself. In her short 3-5 minutes, she talked openly about the slow death of her own daughter Paula and the lesson's she has learned from that experience. By reflecting on her daughter's character and generosity, Isabel arrives at her own mantra of life: You only have what you give. It's by spending yourself that you become rich.

She closed her essay with such grace and wisdom I thought I'd share it. Enjoy.

Give, give, give -- what is the point of having experience, knowledge or talent if I don't give it away? Of having stories if I don't tell them to others? Of having wealth if I don't share it? I don't intend to be cremated with any of it! It is in giving that I connect with others, with the world and with the divine. It is in giving that I feel the spirit of my daughter inside me, like a soft presence.

Tournament Pick'em Champ

The results are in and the winner of the Tournament Pick'em for this year's NCAA men's bracket is.....(dramatic drumroll).......the Hamburgaler. (Background music quietly plays Queen's "We Are the Champions") For the 3 others that did play in this extremely competitive activity, the Hamburgaler is me. That's right I smashed all you losers with a mighty 118 points. I picked UNC to win by 3 even though I had them playing Wake Forrest. My alias was the Hamburgaler because.....well.....because.....ummmm......did I mention I won the bracket. So what if I ranked 166,830 overall, I still beat the 3 sissies in my division. Tonight, I can finally sleep well. Ahhhhhhhhhhh.

Monday, April 04, 2005

The Pope and Dan Brown

While I'm not a Catholic by any means or comprehend some of their doctrines and practices, I love how many people are giving honor and remembering Pope John Paul II as a faithful man that embraced life, people and suffering.

Now that the Cardinals will gather and elect a new Pope behind closed doors in a rather secretive meeting. During my wife and I's drive to Texas, we listened to Dan Brown's initial book before the Da Vinci craze. It's called Angels and Demons. The Da Vinci Code resembles this book almost so much its scarey. Anywho, probably another good page turner, but seeing as how I didn't read it, I'll say it was a good mile turner. We attempted to listen to another book on tape, Elizabeth Peter's book, but the array of characters and confusing voices, we slept through much of it. Actually I drove so I didn't sleep but could have.