Renaissance Festival

Spent yesterday afternoon at the Texas Renaissance Festival. A mostly good time was had by all. The boys complained some about having to walk around so much, which was a bummer for their parents.

I took a bunch of pictures which are on my .Mac home page. I love my camera. Even though these are really just quick snapshots, a lot of them look really good. The picture to the right just kind of amazed me. It was taken from the back of the auditorium with my lens zoomed all the way out to 300 plus digital conversion. Yet the flame is caught in perfect freeze frame.

The boys both did this thing where they jump on a trampoline with elastic cables attached to them. They can get probably two stories in height with a little help from the guys working the booth. Camera performed flawlessly at catching them in mid air.

Of course there was lots to take pictures of. What are some of my favorites. Mmmm…My favorite light is this one of a young maid with a beautiful face getting paint applied. Though mother daughter princesses was beautiful golden hour light, but a little dark. Best pose has to go to viking/demon guy. Best hottie picture? Toss up between the two girls, one in black, one in red, and the woman from the photo booth atop her horse.

Best costume? Can’t really even award that. I like the dark elf.

Most surprising spectacle? The women getting flogged/spanked outside the welsh pub. We walked up the place next door because they offered the boys free candy. Then the guys was talking the woman into bending over, further and further. I thought it was some kind of birthday spanking. But then he went to work on her butt with the leather flog in the picture. Wish I’d gotten a picture of the expression of pain on her face. I did catch her friends surprise.

Most scandalous picture? What was under the scot’s kilt (Of course I’m glad since I was taking a picture). The Mrs. decided I need a kilt. So next year I will probably go as a scotsman.

What did I go as this year? A monk. Actually forgot to take a picture of all of us in costume together. Suanna took a picture of me right before we got in the car.

She went in a bodice, long skirt and boots. She actually wore that outfit the other day on a date and I commented it would work great for Ren fest.

My eldest went as a monk, and my youngest as a knight or nobleman. Micah had shed most of his costume pretty early on because of the heat. Elijah, like me, shed the shirt we were wearing under our robes and did OK.

OK, .Mac just pissed me off. Turns out you can’t link directly to a particular picture. I’ll spend some time today and pull together a bunch of php code I’ve got in a couple of places and make a portfolio site of my own. Sorry till then.

Chain-mail Bikinis

OK I need to rant a bit about something that happen at work. We have a Friday get together right before work is over. At that I mentioned I was going to the Renaissance Festival. My boss went on this triad about how they bill the Renaissance Festival as a family thing and then let in people wearing little chain mail bikinis. “At the door they should just say, get the F*** out of here.” That comment was so typical. Here he is saying it it poor morals to allow children to see a woman in something that is acceptable at every beach in America and using the most vulgar of words in front of ladies to do it.

I’ve given up trying to understand him. He’s a nominal Catholic, who holds to very conservative values, but swears like a sailor all of the time. Personally I don’t swear that much – though my vocabulary has deteriorated since I’ve been working here – because I think it lacks class. And I cringe whenever I hear it in front of women. Maybe I’m just old fashion.

And just to spite him I made sure I got a couple of chainmail bikini pictures.

Written while listening to Fields Of Grace by Darrell Evans from album iWorship Next
Written while listening to Thank You Lord by Don Moen from album iWorship Next
Written while listening to Thank You Lord by Don Moen from album iWorship Next
Written while listening to Majesty by Caedmon’s Call from album Wow Worship


Looking out my office window this afternoon I’ve seen weather. Grey fluffy clouds then stringy, scary looking blacks one passed over, shedding only a little rain. I looked beyond the black clouds and saw grey sky. If the scary clouds don’t dump on us we should be good, I told myself.

Two minutes later I look out a torrential downpour as the grey turns out to be a wall of water.

A couple of minutes later I’m looking at blue skys, with the wall of water in the distance.

Welcome to Texas weather.

Despite all of our technology, we can barely predict the weather and in no way control it. And occasionally it queues up and kicks our asses just to show we can’t even protect ourselves from it.

Gives you a little perspective.

Short Films

Arkham Films. OK the iSuck and Bitch 2.0 films are just wrong in a SouthPark kind of way. (BTW I mean wrong is a really funny way :>)

Some of their other stuff, like Human is cool. (R rated).

Great productions values. These guys understand light and composition.

Why did Jesus have to die?

In his book, Moral Lessons, Richard Selzer MD, writes: “I stand by the bed where a young woman lies, her face postoperative, her mouth twisted in palsy, clownish. A tiny twig of the facial nerve, the one to the muscles of her mouth has been severed. She will be thus from now on. The surgeon had followed with religious fervor the curve of her flesh; I promise you that. Nevertheless, to remove the tumor in her cheek, I had cut the little nerve.

Her young husband is in the room. He stands on the opposite side of the bed and together they seem to dwell in the evening lamplight, isolated from me, private. Who are they, I ask myself, he and this wry mouth I have made, who gaze at and touch each other so generously, greedily? The woman speaks.

“Will my mouth always be like this?” she asks.

“Yes,” I say, “it will. It is because the nerve was cut.”

She nods and is silent. But the young man smiles.

“I like it,” he says, “It is kind of cute.”

All at once I know who he is. I understand and I lower my gaze. One is not bold in an encounter with a god. Unmindful, he bends to kiss her crooked mouth and I am so close I can see how he twists his own lips to accommodate to hers, to show her that their kiss still works.”

– via The Ragamuffin Gospel, chapter 6

Jesus had to die to conform God’s lips to our twisted life. We can only understand the quality of love in terms of sacrifice. So God set it up that he could make a sacrifice so big we’d understand the enormous quality of his love for us.

In the title, I’m not referring to the standard question of “Why did Jesus have to die?” that most Christian are answering. This question with the answer so our sins would be forgiven. Or to atone for our sins.

I’m referring to the question of why did God set it up this way. Why did God make the rules so that Jesus’ death would some how make up for our sins. Couldn’t he have found a way other than sacrifice and blood?

I think the answer is yes. But in so doing he would have had to change how we experience love.

I’m not sure our understanding of love only being in terms of sacrifice is a reflection of God’s love or our fallen nature. But God’s desire to show us just how much he loves us is why Jesus had to die. And the more horrible the death the greater the quality of his love in our eyes.

Jesus couldn’t be an elder.

Last night I was up late. I actually went to bed early, but woke up again with this crazy idea I needed to write down all the churches I’ve been to since I was married.

So I got up and did it. Then when I tried to go back to sleep I had three insights into God stuff. Unfortunately I didn’t write them down and only remember 2.

One was that Jesus wouldn’t qualify to be an elder at my church. He’s not married and that’s on the list. He has no kids and that’s on the list. But finally his answer to this question – that all the elder candidates had to answer – would disqualify him in way too many people’s eyes.

Do you or your wife have any personal habits/traits that could harm your influence as an elder? In other words do you do anything that is going to shock and upset people.

How about hanging around with prostitutes?(Luke 7:37) Or people that are part of fringe groups bent on overthrowing the government?(Simon the Zealot) How about providing wine at a party to people who were already drunk?(John 2:10)

I think if I ever have to answer such a silly question I’m going to say. “Well, one of my favorite things to do is go to Hooters drink beer and eat chicken wings. And I think the most beautiful thing God created are women and I get great joy out of looking at them.”

As an aside for the record, so you won’t think less of me, I think Hooters has mediocre wings.

I understand why that question is there. But the scandal of Jesus’ conduct during his time on Earth would insure he’d need to tell people things they wouldn’t want to hear on that question.

The other insight is in the next post. Why did Jesus have to die?

God loves you

God really, really loves you. He loves you a lot. God’s love is greater than anything we can imagine. You can barely compare it to the strongest love we have here on earth.

God loves you when you are bad. God loves you whether you love him or even believe in him. You can be an atheist and he still loves you. You can be a prostitute and he still loves you. You can be a middle ages fat guy and he still loves you.

I don’t love you enough to sacrifice one of my children just to show you how much I care. Guess I don’t really care about you that much. But God does.

This love is really the core of the Gospel, or good news. We Christians spend way to much time worrying about changing behavior. We should spend more time worrying that people don’t understand – really deep down understand – that God loves them.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

That’s one of the things I learned while reading Ragamuffin Gospel.