Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Hamburger to Die For

Last night, my wife and I were watching TV and scoffed at a commercial that advertised a new quadruple-layered chocolate cake apparently available now at Publix. It's not that I'm the picture of health; my scoff was, rather, a response of disbelief at the blatant advertising- and America's shameless acceptance- of what was, perhaps, the most deadly-looking mass of gluttony I have ever seen. The commercial woos you in: the icing, thick and smooth, slowly caressed by the knife of a baker whose fiendish grin betrays his secret knowledge that this will most certainly kill whoever eats it. Everyone knows that Americans have horribly unhealthy eating habits, but are we even trying to hide it anymore?

With that said, allow me to be a complete hypocrite: I love Five Guys Burgers and Fries and will glady stare death in the face if only I can taste one of their fresh, juicy, double-stacked burgers with a side of cajun fries. As a matter of fact, I would eat there every day if it weren't for the nagging aches I get in my chest when I'm finished.

If you haven't been to Five Guys Burgers and Fries... seriously, go. Take a defibrillator, but go. Experience the best burger for your buck anywhere. For those of you in the Ft. Lauderdale area, there's one in the 17th Street shopping plaza (East of US1) near Moe's and another in the Publix shopping center on Atlantic Blvd. and Rock Island in Margate.

Indulge yourself. Try their double-stacked burger with all the free toppings you can fit in your mouth, a beverage, and their famous cajun-style fries (the regular fries are good too, but I promise you'll like the cajun better). Whatever you do, DON'T click this link before you go:

Monday, March 10, 2008

"Come on Down!"

Today was my day off, so I caught an episode of The Price is Right while I trudged my way through a stack of long-neglected bills. The bright, classic game show colors, the pencil-style microphone, and of course, the WAY over-zealous contestants make The Price is Right one of my favorite game shows- especially on a lazy morning like today. For an example of a crazy contestant, I give you exhibit A:

Well, we all knew that Bob Barker's retirement would spell "face lift" for the favorite game show of senior citizens everywhere, and some of us were even optimistic that his replacement would bring it a timely shot in the arm for the younger audience as well. But after watching 3 or 4 episodes with Drew Carey as the new host, I've abandoned my optimism for the singular thought, "What in the world was the network thinking?" He is simply a terrible host for this show.

If you're ever home around 11:00am on a weekday, watch Drew Carey on The Price is Right and tell me if he doesn't appear to be mocking the whole experience- the show, the contestants, and even his coveted new position as host. There's no passion. No joyful lift in his voice when the wheel starts spinning toward "$1.00." Not even a smile or enthusiastic wave when Rod (or whoever it is now) says, "A new Carrrr!" None of that. Just a smug look that says, "That's right, I just got a massive pay raise to watch these idiots win toaster ovens and bedroom sets for an hour every day."

If you've seen the show recently, tell me if you feel the same sense of abandonment from father Bob, or if you disagree with me entirely. Maybe I'm being too hard on the guy, I don't know.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


This morning I received an e-mail forum from a good friend and fellow musician where he asked the group to respond to various critiques regarding the purpose and place of elements like instrumentation, style, and technology in churches' corporate worship services. His overall observation had to do with the age-old debate and general disunity that exists among churches' worship music. I think his e-mail can be fairly summarized: "Whether it's a rock song or a Bach concerto, it's my responsibility to worship the Lord with all my heart." The numerous responses are too lengthy to post here, but in summary the issues they tackled were: 1) the distinction between private and corporate worship, 2) music reflecting the culture in which you worship, 3) the issue of worship services looking like a big "rock show" and not much like a worship service, 4) worship leaders being diverse in their musical content, and 5) whether or not we should use some instruments in the worship service that are tied to ungodly purposes or memories of sin.

Below was my response. I hope it makes sense out of context. I invite your comments as well.


Not to over-simplify the problem, but for the sake of brevity, it seems to me (and playing off of many of the responses already given) that this “divided church” is the result of 1) misguided worship leadership, and 2) selfish worshippers. That’s not to say that all churches “divided” operate in those extremes, but I would argue that all churches gravitate toward these poles- some, by the grace of God, less or more than others. Leaders forget their followers for their own idea of what’s best and worshippers forget the body of which they are a part; that is, Worship Pastors can tend to view the quality or style of the music (for example) as more important than the people they are leading, and the worshippers can tend to forget that Sunday morning is not intended to be their own, personal “in-the-closet” time of worship. There’s a sense in which the corporate worship experience is a selflessly shared responsibility between the Worship Pastor and the worshipper, where each one sets aside his or her own “preferences” for the good of the body. I think this is what [Nancy] was getting at...

[Our unity in worship] is easier said than done because it really has very little to do with the content of our programs and everything to do with the Holy Spirit breaking pride and selfish motives in our hearts. Thus, the conversation continues- not as a quick fix, but as the Holy Spirit slowly works sanctification in each worshipper's heart.

With that said, I also wanted to weigh in on at least one of the other questions raised:

Saxophone? Drums? Electric Guitar? Saying nothing of preferences: “Yes, yes, and yes.” For every vile memory the Enemy has attached to those instruments of death (before knowing Christ), our Redeemer intends to use those same instruments now to cultivate life (since we know Christ). Isaiah 2:4 says, “He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” It’s a picture of God turning weapons of war into tools of the harvest (as opposed to simply throwing the sword away in an effort to forget that the war ever happened).

If the electric guitar was, in a sense, a sword of the Enemy when you were at war with God, then God’s desire is to turn that “weapon of war into a tool for the harvest”- to see many come to know Him. God has a heart for redemption; He loves to take the standards used by the enemy in our past and to raise them again to new purpose for His Name. So, with that in mind, it seems appropriate not to discard the music that came out of the 70’s, but rather to redeem it for God’ Name.

Thanks for including me in this discussion. I look forward to growing in my knowledge of Him through our conversation.