"I asked for a car; I got a computer."

Looking for a commentary that uses big words and ponders the deeper meanings of various topics? Well...you've come to the wrong place. This blog is all about extolling the greatness of Christ, the joy of marriage, the rollercoaster ride called parenthood, the supremacy of the 1980's...and doing all of it at a fifth grade reading level!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A Visit From Soul Force

When I came back to work for ACU nearly three years ago, I recognized very quickly this was not the same university I graduated from in 1992. The landscape had changed (we actually have trees on campus now!), the student body had changed (barely 60% of our students are from a Church of Christ background), our academics had changed (for the better!), etc.

And society had changed as well.

One can't turn on the radio or television without being inundated by the homosexual agenda. Every sit-com has a homosexual character; the media bombards us with gay rights activists and there neverending quest for equality and acknowledgment of the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender (LGBT) community.

In 1992, the thought of a group promoting homosexuality on the ACU campus was farthest from my mind. On Monday, the LGBT community made its appearance on the ACU campus. As an employee of the University I won't share much of my personal thoughts of what happened...though I would invite you to read a synopsis of the day's events on the ACU website.

One thing that DID happen was I had an opportunity to spend over an hour visiting with a young lady named Jamie. Each of the "Equality Riders" made themselves available to answer questions and have an open dialogue about anything and everything...so I, along with three other students, took advantage of the opportunity.

Jamie is 28 and hails from Seattle by way of Milwaukee. She works with mentally ill adults in a privately-owned institution. She has a sweet disposition...but seems very sad. Even though she claimed she was happy in the lifestyle she was in, I got the sense that wasn't the case. Maybe it was because she felt like a caged animal at the zoo -- everyone come and look at the lesbian! But maybe she was missing something.

All of the students struggled for questions to ask her...so being the "old guy," I started asking her about growing up in Wisconsin, her experiences in school, her family, and her relationship with God. She was your average American teenage girl -- enjoyed sports, dated boys, and hated school. She had a decent home life, but wasn't real close to either parent. She has one brother who works for the CIA; he's been in Iraq since the beginning. She told us all about the struggle she went through with her sexuality -- trying so hard not to be a lesbian...almost to the point that it killed her.

All of this was interesting...but I was intrigued by her response to my "relationship with God" question.

I had heard that each of the "Equality Riders" were Christians; Jamie was not. In fact, many of them were not. In Jamie's case she has been experimenting with a lot of world religions. What that means I have no idea! But she struggled to share exactly what spirituality meant to her. "I guess if someone wanted to say I was 'acting like a Christian' I would take that as a compliment. Most Christians seem pretty nice -- kinda like you guys," was her only response to Christianity. She enjoyed Chapel -- she thought it was neat that a community of people would get together once a day to praise together.

The group I was with saw that as an open door. I was searching for the right words to witness to her, but I felt inadequate. A couple of the students began chiming in as well -- talking about how much God had done for them. But in the end I felt like Paul talking to King Agrippa. I had so much to say...but I had only a short time.

I and one of the students asked to pray with her...but she said that was kinda weird. So instead I spent time in prayer last night for Jamie.

Monday, March 27, 2006

My New Favorite Team

Is there anything greater (in the world of sports, that is) than the NCAA Basketball Tournament?

Let me help you answer that question. "NO!"

And the great thing about it is that every year something crazy happens. This year, it's the craziest of the crazy with George Mason advancing all the way to the Final Four as a Number 11 seed!

While that is exciting to me and to basketball fans all over the world...what is MOST exciting to me is who DIDN'T make the Final Four. That would be Dickie V's favorite team (Duke) AND the evil empire from the weirdest city on the planet (Texas).

And who do we have to thank for that? Why, the same team managed to knock both of these pestilences from the face of the basketball earth!!

So let's give a hearty "GEAUX TIGERS" to the bayou bengals from LSU! Thank you for allowing me to see a beaten-down J.J. Redick looking for a place to cry. Thank you for turning P.J. Tucker, the self proclaimed "Punisher" into the punished!

Three cheers for "Big Baby," Darrel Mitchell, and the rest of the gang!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

He Said WHAT?!?!?!

I distinctly remember walking home from school one day when I was in the fourth grade. I was anxious to get home and visit with my dad about my day at school. Something fascinating had happened.

I heard the familiar sound of my dad's Volkswagen Beetle pull up in the driveway, so I dashed to the front door to welcome him. He scarcely had time to do anything before I exclaimed, "Dad I gotta talk to you!" Dad was puzzled by my statement as I very rarely insisted on visiting with dad one-on-one.

We walked back into my room. My dad walked through the door, and I asked him to close it. Instantly his curiosity was peaked...and I could see beads of sweat form on his forehead. He looked at me with inquisitive and nervous eyes.

I was sitting on my bed, both hands clenched as I searched for the right words to begin our conversation...but nothing was coming to mind. So I began simply, "Daddy?" As I spoke my right fist unclenched slightly as one finger...THE finger...extended to it highest position, "What does this mean?"

It was like watching air escape from a large pool toy. My father's face sunk as he now searched his mind for the correct answer. He thought for a moment...then said simply, "Well, it means the same thing as f*** you." Thinking he had handled that well, my father's confidence returned quickly. But victory was snatched quickly from his grasp by my follow-up question. "What does f*** mean?"

For an hour my father and I covered every single detail involving vulgarity, swearing, and sex. You name it - we talked about it. I walked out of that room a new man. I also emerged hoping the day would never come when I had to explain such things to my son.

On Wednesday I was on the phone at work...when the other line rings. I see from the caller ID that Robin is calling me, but I'm not a point where I can get off the phone. Next my cell phone rings. It's Robin again, but I still can't answer. Then my desk phone rings again...and again it's Robin. Thinking that something might be wrong I answer the phone. "You need to talk to your son," she said. I told her I was on the phone and would call her back.

This has happened before...and it usually consists of my oldest son not wanting to clean his room...OR Noah (a.k.a. "Legion") trying to eat his baby brother. I was not the least bit prepared for what I was going to encounter.

Robin answered the phone, and I ask what today's mishap is. I hear the immortal words that no father ever wants to hear: "Do you know what your son said?" Instantly I flashed back to the fourth grade. "Good Lord," I thought. "PLEASE don't let it be the queen mother of all vulgarities." I'm jolted back to reality by my wife's voice.

"Elijah walked up to me and said, 'Where the hell is my hockey stick?'"

Not as bad as I was anticipating, but still something that needed to be addressed. "Here's your son," she said, obviously disgusted by her oldest son's behavior.

I hear lots of crying in the background; the sort of crying that results from spending many minutes in "time out." After I get Elijah calmed down I do my best to explain to him why that's an ugly thing to say. I'm then forced to put on my detective hat.

"Where did you hear that," I asked? All of a sudden I realized I wasn't prepared for an answer. "What if he heard me say that," I wondered? Granted, I've been known to play a PG-rated round of golf or game of basketball...but I've never said anything like that in front of my kids.

Or have I?

"I don't know," came the reply.

"Well," I began, choosing my words carefully, "you've never heard DADDY say that, have you?" The pause on the other end of the line seemed to last for an eternity.

"No," came the reply. YES!!! VICTORY!!!

But my curiosity was peaked. "What about Mommy?"

"No." I'm relieved by that answer as well...although an affirmative response to that questions would have proved EXTREMELY entertaining.

After minutes of interrogation and going through our entire family tree, I came to the conclusion that Elijah must have heard it on TV and figured it was just another way to emphasize a question.

So I've cleared yet another parenting hurdle...and I've began working on a script for the "where do babies come from" question.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Man's Worst Fear

Warning: The following is rated PG for adult subject matter. Reader discretion is advised.

Admittedly, I fear many things. I refuse to go swimming in the ocean for fear of getting eaten by a shark. The idea of getting on a boat of any kind makes me nauseous. I am terrified of snakes. Though I'm a seasoned traveler, I pray fervrently every time I board a plane and recite Psalms 23 during every takeoff. I believe in ghosts...and while I'm not afraid of them, I can make myself sick over the anxiety of possibly encountering one (remind me to tell you about my encounter some time -- and no, it's not a "ghost story").

While I, personally, fear all of those things...there is one fear that every single one of us bears in common. It's the fear of something so heinous, so unpredictable, and so terrifying that we dare not speak about it in public. While it has never happened to me, I was on-hand to witness this unfortunate set of circumstances as it preyed upon one of my co-workers. This person shall remain anonymous to save him from the guilt, ridicule and shame that accompanies such misfortune. Instead, I shall refer to him as "D.P."

Aaron Burtch, DP and I were in Houston for ACU recruiting purposes. Instead of staying in a hotel on our Houston visits, we are privileged to stay in the home of one of our trustees, Mojo & Holly Lewis. Mojo is a world-renowned cosmetic dentist, and his home is immaculate. While there, Aaron, DP and I are given free reign of their upstairs. Each bedroom has its own bathroom, so we rarely see each other until it's time for us to depart on our next mission.

On our first morning, both Aaron and I were downstairs in the kitchen visiting with Holly over breakfast. David had disappeared upstairs to shower and finish getting ready. As we're visiting Aaron notices that a box of cereal that is sitting on the bar has slowly started to move...as though it were drifting at sea. Intrigued by this phenomenon, Aaron starts moving toward the bar to get a closer look...when he notices that the cereal box is, in fact, drifting on a small pool of water.

He quickly realized the water is not from a spill on the bar. Instead, the water has dripped through the light fixture hanging from the ceiling...a light fixture that happened to be directly beneath the room that DP is staying in.

I sprint up the stairs and knock on the door to the room that Pittman is in (oops, I mean "DP). No response. I knock again. Still no response. Thinking he might be in the shower I open the door...and I'm greeted by a horrific sight.

A frantic (and naked) DP, holding several towels, is staring in disbelief at the toilet in his bathroom. I quickly assess the situation, but DP's sorrow-filled proclamation confirms my fears: "I overflowed the Lewis' toilet." (A more accurate term would have been "clogged," but that is a detail better left for another time.)

I turn to go back out the door when I hear Holly and Aaron coming up the stairs. Holly, remarkably calm at the fact that her guests are flooding her kitchen, asks, "Is it the shower?" I cast a glance of despair towards Aaron. His face sinks, and he plugs his ears with his fingers as I solemnly reply, "Uh, no."

Holly wheels and returns to the kitchen anxiously searching for antiseptic. I call to the fleeing Holly, "We'll need a plunger," as Aaron and I both return to see if we can be of any assistance to David (oops, I mean DP). He is now down on all fours desperately trying to keep the tsunami he has created from reaching the carpet. Aaron and I sit there dumbfounded, overcome by both the situation and the resulting "aroma."

Moments later there's a knock on the door. Holly has returned with both a plunger and a laundry basket. We pass these materials onto DP and quickly exit the room to help with the downstairs clean-up process.

It's at this moment that Aaron and I realize we are running extremely late for our appointment...and DP is nowhere near being ready. Holly, overhearing our exchange, says, "Tell David to give me the towels, and I'll finish cleaning up down here."

God INSTANTLY vaulted Holly Lewis to the highest ring of Heaven. This woman was volunteering to clean the soiled linens resulting from a clogged toilet. About 10 minutes later a fully dressed DP emerges with a large laundry basket filled to the brim with "gross" towels. Holly, the mother of 5, grabs the towels from David without thinking twice and tells us to hurry on our way.

Needless to say for the next two nights that we were at the Lewis' all three of us made the trek down to the local convenience store when Nature called.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Elijah has this fascination right now with age. The moment he sees someone he proudly volunteers, "I'm five...but I'll be five and a half in May." If the conversation were to stop right there it wouldn't be so uncomfortable...except that he quickly transitions in wanting to know how old the other person is. I've tried to explain to him that not everyone is as giddy as he is about his age.

The other day he asked me when I was going to be 40. Thinking this was a great opportunity to work on subtraction, I helped him work through figuring out how long it will be until his 36-year old dad will be 40. He did a great job...and then proudly proclaimed, "Daddy, in 4 years you will be Over The Hill!"

WHAT!?!?!?! Where did that come from?!?!?! While I did get a chuckle about that, I encouraged Elijah to not inform other people that he meets that they are over the hill.

THEN...last week Elijah and I were driving to the grocery store, and we saw Rita Harrell walking. If you don't know Rita, then you are missing out on one of the truly special people that walks God's earth. She works down in the Volunteer Center here at ACU. Her husband has been suffering with Alzheimer's for many years, and she has cared for him tirelessly.

In addition to this she's an avid walker...and that's where Elijah and I saw her. I waived to her as we drove by, and she waived back. So Elijah asked, "Who is that?" I told him who she was...and his next question was, "How old is she?"

"Well, I'm not sure," I said. "She has a son my age, so I guess she's about grandma's age."

Elijah, fully cognizant that Grandma is 62, exclaimed, "Wow, she's old...but she's very pretty." So I took the opportunity to share that with Rita yesterday...the "pretty" part, not the "old" part.

So if you ever need some brutally honest reaffirmation give me a call. I'll be happy to hook you up with my 5-year old.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Moments of Minutia...

...because I haven't written in FOREVER!!!
Once again, I made a fateful late night trip through the channels before going to bed...and another great movie from the '80s was on. I was pleased to see that the Sci-Fi Channel had chosen to spare us another gore-fest, and opted for the greatness of "TRON." Man, I LOVED that movie!!! Granted, with today's animation and special effects it's a wee-bit outdated...but it's also a bit prophetic with some of its messages.

It also rasied the question: How did folks survive without Windows?
A new ice cream place opened up near the ACU campus a few weeks back. It's called "Third Rock," and it's WONDERFUL! It really gives our local Cold Stone Creamery a run for its money. Best of all, they have some great music and videos playing inside the place.

I took Elijah and Noah to get ice cream after Bible Class on Wednesday...and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" had just started. So instead of getting in the truck and driving back home, I introduced my two oldest sons to one of the great movies of our time (and yes, this was a censored version of the movie)...including the great line, "I asked for a car, I got a computer."

Elijah especially liked the part when Cameron is wrestling with the proposition of going to pick Ferris up: "He'll keep calling me; he'll keep calling...uh...that's it! I'll go, I'll go, I'll go, I'll go! S***! G*******!" Fortunately, this was censored appropriately...but unfortunately I think Elijah saw the similarity between Cameron and his father.
It's Spring Break here on campus for the students. Gee, I wish I still got one of those!!!!!
Thursday at 10:00AM begins the greatest three week span in sports. 65 teams will be battling it out for the 2006 NCAA Basketball championship...and as long as it's not Duke or UT I'll be a happy guy. More on that in the coming days.
In two weeks, a group known as Soul Force will be making a stop on the ACU campus. If you want to read more about this group you can check out their "Equality Ride" website. This is not the proper forum for me to discuss my views on what is going to happen on this campus. All I ask is that you PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE pray for our students, for our administration, and for the members of Soul Force that will be here to visit with our student body.

That's all I got!