A digital commonplace for a Regular Guy called Charlie Pharis

Month: September 2004 (page 1 of 3)

Planned Lives vs. Prepared Lives…

I’m re-reading one of my favorites, Leonard Sweet’s A Cup of Coffee at the Soul Cafe. He talks about wasting opportunities for greatness – a somewhat common theme in our lives, I’m afraid. He uses the story of the five foolish bridesmaids and the five wise bridesmaids to remind us that we need to be ready when “our moment” comes along. There’s this great quote…

“Why is it we can’t see, much less seize, all the opportunities passing by us? Why do we let greatness pass by? Maybe it’s because we want to live planned lives, whereas the Bible teaches us to live prepared lives.”

I think it’s a matter of the heart to be prepared for whatever comes along, whenever it comes along. God has some pretty incredible plans for our lives if we can let go of our own pre-planned and pre-packaged agendas long enough to get on His timetable.

Lord, help us be prepared…

Definitely a Coffee Day Here…

We’re not getting any of the direct onslaught of the remnants of Hurricane Jeanne, but it is one of those damp, windy, yucky days that drives you straight to the coffee shop or the coffeemaker – or both!

I love these goodies about the dark, sweet, strong nectar of the heavens…

“This coffee falls into your stomach, and straightway there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move like the battalions of the Grand Army of the battlefield, and the battle takes place. Things remembered arrive at full gallop, ensuing to the wind. The light cavalry of comparisons deliver a magnificent deploying charge, the artillery of logic hurry up with their train and ammunition, the shafts of with start up like sharpshooters. Similes arise, the paper is covered with ink; for the struggle commences and is concluded with torrents of black water, just as a battle with powder.”

-Honore de Balzac, “The Pleasures and Pains of Coffee”

And this one…

“Given enough coffee, I could rule the world.”

-Author Unknown

Bob Dylan, Regular Guy…

I suppose a lot of folks kind of considered ol’ Bob Dylan the icon of a rebellious generation.

In an excerpt from his new book, Dylan says he just wanted to be a regular guy.

I love this: Dylan never wanted to be “some Big Bubba of Rebellion.”

“In my real life I got to do the things that I loved the best and that was all that mattered – the Little League games, birthday parties, taking my kids to school, camping trips, boating, rafting, canoeing, fishing,” he writes.

So…What Happened to “Straddling the Gap?”

Nothing, really. Just a name change. Just because…

I was thinking about that whole “one foot tenaciously stuck in modernity, and tentatively grasping for a postmodern toehold” stuff, and the longer I thought about it, the less I liked it.

The new name? Well, I had lunch with one of our guys the other day, and he asked, “Just what do you want to be called? Pastor? Reverend? Preacher?” I said, “What about ‘just Charlie?'”

That just sort of fits where I am right now.

The picture? No, that’s not yours truly on the telephone pole. It’s a picture of some guy on the telephone pole, waving. I found it by Googling for “waving guy” or something like that. Played around with the colors, added the text, and away we go!

Got comments? Got ideas? Don’t really care? Let me know…

Oh, and I’ll have the archives and links back up in just a jiffy!

What’s In the Bag?

I was Googling for something completely different this morning, and I found this blog article about what people are toting in their totes. Then I looked over at mine…my Eddie Bauer messenger bag, with one missing clip.

Just for kicks and giggles, and because I’m getting more interested in simplifying and cleaning out, I decided to take a look in my bag.

First, I weighed the crazy thing! As it sits right now, it weighs an incredible 22 pounds! Mind you, that’s not including a laptop computer. That’s just books and junk! Hardly what one would call “portable” and “mobile!”

Here’s a quick inventory…

Outside flap, zipper pocket:

  • User’s manual for cell phone

Inside flap, zipper pocket:

  • The Imitation of Christ
  • The Book of Common Prayer
  • UPS shipping receipt for a wedding gift from June 2004
  • Revlon nail buffer stick

Main compartment:

  • Day-Timer planner, 8.5 x 5.5 (approx.) size
  • Holy Bible, New Living Translation (Premium Slimline Large Print edition)
  • Shackleton’s Way
  • Dangerous Intersections
  • Why Leaders Can’t Lead
  • Flannery O’Connor Collected Works (Library Copy)
  • The Organized Executive
  • The Effective Executive
  • Organizing for the Creative Person
  • Reimagining Spiritual Formation
  • Good to Great
  • Simpy Strategic Stuff
  • Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done
  • one penny

Inside “file folder-size” zipper compartment:

  • “Civic Art and the City of God: Traditional Urban Design and Christian Evangelism” article printed from Web
  • Seth Godin blog articles about “the echo chamber” printed from Web
  • Esquire (October 2004 issue)
  • GQ (August 2004 issue)
  • Men’s Health Best Life (September/October 2004 issue)
  • Zagat supplement to Esquire (Fall 2004 issue)
  • Chapter 6, torn from Paul Powell’s Death from the Other Side (used in a funeral message)
  • “Listening to God” (anonymous article)
  • printed prayer guide from our midweek service, dated July 7
  • North Central News (Association newsletter, July 2004 issue)
  • advertising articles from MUST Ministries (dated June 2004)
  • Community Assessment Profile (demographic information) for 3- and 5-mile radius of Stonecrest Baptist Church
  • various state convention “ministers’ mailing” stuff from June 2004
  • LeaderLife (Summer 2004 issue)
  • Fast Company (July 2004 and August 2004 issues)
  • hard copy of email about church announcement to be included in printed bulletin, dated August 30, 2004
  • mortgage information folder
  • God With Us music book
  • Stonecrest Deacon Family Ministry folder
  • phone number list, dated August 23, 2003
  • file folder with notes about various subjects and receipts
  • God With Us CD
  • one quarter, three nickels, two pennies

WOW! No wonder I feel like I’m carrying weight of the world on my shoulders. Sometimes I am!

I wonder why I jam all that stuff in there and carry it from place to place.

First, it’s probably symptomatic of my general unorganized laziness. If I throw it in the bag, it’ll be somewhere out of sight. But it’s probably got something to do with my wanting to look like I’m important/smart/somebody/whatever.

What’s in your bag?

Oh, I’m culling through the pile right now. An update will follow…

“I’m Doing All Right by Myself…”

I’m reading Flannery O’Connor. In her classic story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” there’s this exchange:

“If you would pray,” the old lady said, “Jesus would help you.”

“That’s right,” The Misfit said.

“Well, then, why don’t you pray?” she asked trembling with delight suddenly.

“I don’t want no hep,” he said. “I’m doing all right by myself.”

Boy, if that’s not a picture of our unchurched culture! But I’m afraid it too often is a picture of the church culture, too.

What Are We Going to Put in its Place?

I’ve been thinking lately about what we do after the change for which we long finally comes. What happens then? Do we change the things that need changing and then just leave the ruins? What do we put in its place?

Well, a couple of folks that I read every day are thinking along the same lines, and are very challenging and helpful to me right now.

Randy Bohlender, the “Right Reverend Burning Man” himself (thanks, Chad!) has some interesting and timely thoughts about the current fad of cynical detachment, and what to do instead. His thoughts are like a clarion call to all of us – younger than 30, and old geezers like me – to step up and “say something.” And to say it like we mean it, like it’s worth saying.

Chad Canipe, in between preparing for ordination and tracking down obscure British streaming radio broadcasts, blogs about moving forward, past the discuss-and-process stage into a Nehemiah-like action phase.

And Todd Hunter is right in the middle of proposing some positive alternatives to to mere deconstruction.

Good stuff, all!

And me? I’m flying in my taxi…no, wait!

Me? I’m just trying to take it all in, so I can put it back out there in a helpful way.