A digital commonplace for a Regular Guy called Charlie Pharis

Month: November 2006 (page 1 of 2)

More Christmas Music, More Christmas Baking…

The pound cake turned out really, really good! That’s the first “real” cake I’ve ever made! A Southern Living recipe and some Alton Brown know-how…makes for good cake!

Anyway, now my favorite Christmas music of all is playing, and the Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars are in the oven!

The rain has stopped, the lovely and gracious “Mrs. Just Charlie” will be home in a bit, and we’re probably going to hit the early bird special for dinner!


Happy Birthday to C.S. Lewis…

Featured today on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac

C.S. Lewis was born in Belfast, Ireland (1898). He said of his childhood, “I am a product …[of] books. There were books in the study, books in the drawing-room, books in the cloak room, books in a bedroom, books piled as high as my shoulder in the attic, books of all kinds reflecting every transient stage of my parents’ interests, books readable and unreadable, books suitable for a child and books most emphatically not. Nothing was forbidden me. In the seemingly endless rainy afternoons I took volume after volume from the shelves.”

Lewis’s parents were Anglicans and took him to church as a boy, but he found religion cold and boring. He preferred pagan mythology: Irish, Norse, and Greek myths he read in storybooks. He created an imaginary country called ‘Boxen’ and wrote stories about it. He said, ‘My early stories were an attempt to combine my two chief literary pleasures — ‘dressed animals’ and ‘knights in armour.’ As a result, I wrote about chivalrous mice and rabbits who rode out in complete mail to kill not giants but cats.’

He began teaching philosophy at Oxford, where he met J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien was a devout Christian and Lewis was an atheist, but they shared a love for mythology. They took a long walks around the Oxford grounds, debating the existence of God. Tolkien tried to persuade Lewis that the story of Jesus was a myth but that it had also actually happened.

The morning after one of those walks, Lewis went with his brother to the zoo. He said, ‘When we set out [for the zoo] I did not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and when we reached the zoo I did. Yet I had not exactly spent the journey in thought. Nor in great emotion.’ He became the most prominent Christian apologist in the world. He recorded a series of lectures for radio, which were broadcast in England during World War II, and many people gathered around their radios to take comfort from his ideas in the midst of bombing raids. The lectures were collected into his book Mere Christianity (1952).

But he is best remembered for the seven books in the Chronicles of Narnia, which he started publishing in 1950. Lewis decided to write for children, even though he never had any children himself and had never had any strong relationships with children. He wanted to give children what he had gotten himself from fairytales when he was a child.

C.S. Lewis said, ‘You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.'”

“The Ghost of Ministry Past…”

That’s what Mississippi pastor Tony Lambert said haunts too many of our churches and leaders today.


Lambert was speaking at THE Seminary’s Layne Lecture Series. Check this great quote…

It has never been God’s will for ministry to ever become a snapshot. No, God wants it to be a continuing, streaming video.

And this one, about leaders leading by example…

If the leader is not leading by example, then, I’m telling you, there’s going to be trouble all through the organization, whatever it is.

“We Wuz Robbed!”

And that’s how my day started…what kind of day have you had?

Let me fill you in on the details…

I went to sleep on the sofa last night watching Prison Break. (What happened at the road block in Albuquerque?)

Anyway, I woke up at 4:20 a.m. today, and I noticed that I hadn’t turned off the Christmas lights on the front porch, so I opened the front door and turned off the lights. As I did, I noticed there was some guy standing in the street down at the end of our driveway. I thought it was a bit weird that somebody would be on the street at that time, but I just chalked it up to the fact that he probably had a good reason to be out and about.

I stood there and watched as he slung some sort of bag over his shoulder, got on an old bike, and pedaled noisily, but nonchalantly off down the street. I went back into the house, and since it was time to get up anyway, I went ahead and got started on my day.

The lovely and gracious “Mrs. Just Charlie” got up, got ready, and headed off to work. I didn’t even mention the guy to her, figuring it was no big deal.

An hour or so later, I started to head out for the YMCA, and when I got into my truck, I noticed the laptop bag that had been in the passenger floorboard was no longer in the passenger floorboard.

And that’s when it hit me: More than likely, it was my laptop bag the guy on the squeaky old bike had slung over his shoulder as he rode off down my street!

So, I called Cherokee County’s finest, and the officer showed up, wrote out a report, and all that jazz. (Right in the middle of writing the report, he got a call about somebody’s burglar alarm going off in our neighborhood.)

Apart from that whole “feeling violated on my own property” thing, “Mr. Squeaky Bicycle Guy” got the raw end of the deal. As I told somebody later, that computer is about two or three notches below “Piece of Crap” on the scale of notebook computers. But still, it’s a sickening and deflating feeling to start your day off with a robbery.

So that was my early morning. Hope your day has been better than that!

Tuesday Night Unwind, 11.28.06…

After a long day that started early this morning (more about that in the next post!), what better Unwind than the classic Vince Guaraldi Trio and the soundtrack from A Charlie Brown Christmas? Which, by the way, comes on tonight. In about an hour and a half. And I’ll be watching it. Because no matter how old I get, no matter how less sophisticated the animation gets year after year, no matter how crass and commercial the culture is around us, I’ll probably still wipe a little dust when Linus gets on the stage and tells the Christmas story…

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown. Good words, Linus, my friend. Good words, indeed…

Never Fails…

See, it’s not just that Tech had a banner year that seems like all for naught tonight.

It’s not just that playing for the ACC Championship next week now seems anticlimactic.

Heck, I don’t even really have a dog in this fight at all.

But you know what it is? You know what really gripes me about games like this?

The fans. Georgia fans, in particular.

I’ve mentioned before in this space that I don’t really have anything against Georgia. Their mascots have been bred and raised by a whole family of my fraternity brothers. I’ve even liked most, if not all their coaches and players. I even pull for them when they play against the outsiders. I like it when they win their other big games.

But it’s their fans. Their obnoxious, loudmouthed, overbearing fans. That’s it…

Good game, Dawgs. Go win the ACC, Jackets. Wait till next year (he says for the umpteenth time in a row!).

Style Notes…

OK, sue me…I was reading the December issue of GQ, and I came across the “M Noted” feature written by Michael Hainey. It’s a little piece entitled “Untucked, Untied…Uncool” about guys who think they’re Joe Fashion, but who really aren’t.

Here are some interesting quotes…

If you think wearing an undone dress shirt the size of a tunic makes you look young and hip, think again.

I’m not saying I don’t support a guy’s desire to wear roomier clothes. Or to not tuck in his shirt. But the point is to dress like a man who has some self-respect. Like a man who looks in the mirror.

What’s more, you have a responsibility to dress your age and your status. We all do. Otherwise, you go from Maloof to Magoofball.

Coffee with Craig Groeschel…

I had coffee with Craig Groeschel this afternoon.

Well, actually I had coffee with Craig Groeschel’s book Confessions of a Pastor which was in the mail at the office.

I got it out of the mailbox at 11:45 a.m. and headed to my table at my other office. I finished the book at about 1:30 p.m.! Couldn’t put it down. It really grabbed me and spoke to some issues I’m facing in my own life and ministry. Now I’m going to spend the next little while going back through it with a new Moleskine and sharp Black Warrior, a little more deliberately this time.

Here are a couple of quotes from the quick read…

  • You’d think that becoming a “man of the cloth” (whatever that means) would have shaken the deceit right out of me. But as a young pastor, I simply turned pro. (p.9)
  • Somewhere on my journey…I forgot that God called me…not to be like a pastor, but to be like Christ. (p. 10)
  • I had become a full-time minister and a part-time follower of Christ. (p. 11)

I’m starting the slow read with Chapter 3, which is titled…

Most of the Time I Feel Incredibly Lonely

…and includes this quote…

So you create impossible standards for yourself and daily put on your best performance for others. The show must go on. And so does the loneliness. (p. 65)

If you didn’t get in on the giveaway of this book, let me urge you to run, not walk and pick it up as soon as you can.