December 2008

I long for the day when I can Oprahfy the literary world.  I love to read, and I love to recommend my favorite reads to other people.

Oh sure, some people read a lot more than I do.  J.D. has been known to read the complete works of Friedrich Nietzsche while watching a single episode of Saved by the Bell.  I heard an interview with Nelson Searcy a few weeks back that said he had already read 240+ books this year.  Nerd.

But still…I dig reading.  So here’s my top five picks of books I read this year, and I’d recommend you read them, too.


In case you’re new around here (and a lot of you are), 2008 was the beginning of days at Connective Tissue.  The blog launched on July 8…and as of today we celebrate the whopping 80th post (if this were a wedding anniversary, I’d be celebrating with diamonds and pearls.  And I’d also be dead.).

First, the readers’ choice awards:

And now…my non-scientific, off-the-cuff picks for the most notable posts so far.  Enjoy your trip down memory lane…

I’m still hopped up on figgy pudding and Christmas presents, so I’ll be easing back into the blogging world this week.  Here’s a preview:

  • Tuesday: a look back at my top post picks of the first year o’ blogging.
  • Wednesday: a review of the best books I read this year.

But today…today I’ll take you behind the scenes of Connective Tissue (that’s the name of this blog…really, pay attention).  Today I’m going to give you some of the strangest search terms that people have used to find this little corner of the blogosphere, along with my commentary in parenthesis.  And no, I’m not making any of these up:

  • Top two search terms: Kirk Cameron and Sphenopalatine Ganglioneuralgia.  (I assume that was because of this post and this one.  I wonder how ripped off people felt when they landed here?)
  • Palin shoe shine  (Make it extra glossy?  You betcha.)
  • Head covering and Baptist people  (Because we’re all about putting the fun back in fundamentalism.)
  • ike y gustav (maybe from my Spanish-speaking hurricane watchers?)
  • How to build a church sound booth (I heart Home Depot.)
  • I’m so confused :( (Imagine how they felt once they read my insane rants.)
  • What doesn’t man to keep fit (I think they wanted a “how I can to not make a bad grammar sentence” blog)
  • Do people keep their tissue up their sleeve? (Your mom keeps her tissue up her sleeve.)
  • Our homechurch booty (Must…fight…urge to comment.)
  • Did Mel Gibson eat corndogs in Braveheart? (Yes.  Didn’t you catch his battle cry for “MUUUUUUUSSSSS-TAAAAARD!”)

My  new year’s resolution: use more obscure terminology in my posts, thereby drawing more strange search terms.  To get me started, I’ll leave you with the following: abscond, sasquatch, rutabaga, pendulum, färfegnugen.

Yule Blog Week continues today…a series of really short posts that will help you get your blog fix and get back to Christmas.


A couple of weeks ago I waxed rather poetically about Christmas songs I could do without.  Part of the rant included the question of the true identity of “figgy pudding,” which I would have bet was a made-up dessert if ever there was one.  

Enter blog reader and First Impressions team member Kiani, who showed up this past Sunday morning with a Gladware container full of the figgy goodness.  Yep, in true Kiani fashion, she saw a way to solve the problem…and then solved it.  I’m talking research the recipe, buy the ingredients, bake it, and deliver it.  Whoa.

My opinion?  Tastes like a Fig Newton and spice cake.  It’s actually pretty good.  I’d say it’s figgalicious.   

Thanks Kiani!

This morning, thousands of people who call the Summit home will wake up to a rather traditional Christmas.  We’ll sit by the tree, spend time with family, and open the latest gadget or must-have item.  It will be Christmas as usual…we’ll read the story of baby Jesus and celebrate his birth.

This morning, over forty members of the Summit will wake up to anything but a traditional Christmas.  There won’t be a tree.  Family will be far away.  The gifts they give will fall more along the line of practical than extravagant.  And although they’ll celebrate Christ’s birth, it won’t be Christmas as usual. 

These forty are the heroes of the Summit: our international church planters.

These are people who have chosen to give up the creature comforts of a life in the states.  Some of them live in less than ideal housing.  Some have electricity for only a certain number of hours per day.  Most live in constant danger of being discovered and kicked out of their countries.  All have said goodbye to family, to friends, and to any semblance of a normal Christmas.

Yesterday morning I was reading the prophecies of Jesus’ birth as told by Isaiah.  In chapter 52 I saw this verse with fresh eyes, and I couldn’t help but think of my friends overseas:

The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. (v. 10)

I know some of our church planters land on this blog occasionally.  If today is one of those days, please know that Merriem and I are praying for you and your families today.  We pray for your Christmas celebrations: that you’ll have the opportunity to invite neighbors and new friends to hear the story of the Savior.  We pray for your families here at home: that they will understand the sacrifice you are making.  But most of all, we pray that you will continue to help the ends of the earth see the salvation of our God.

Church planters, we love you and are thankful for you.  Have a very merry Christmas!

If you’re a member of the Summit family and would like to leave a message for our church planters, feel free to do so in the comments section.

Yule Blog Week continues today…a series of really short posts that will help you get your blog fix and get back to Christmas.

This week you’ll no doubt be coming into contact with spiritual skeptics: friends, family members, that weird uncle who always smells like cranberry sauce…and the thing that they all have in common is (a) they know you’re a Christian, but (b) they don’t know what that means.

Although this video is a little long for a really short post, I think it captures the essence of what Christianity should be: persuasive, not preachy.  Compelling, not condemning.  Invitational, not confrontational.

Watch Penn (of Penn & Teller fame) expound on a recent encounter with a Christ follower.  And the ask yourself: what will your family see this Christmas?  About Christ?  About your relationship with him?  And about your concern for them?  

Do they see what you see?

Thanks to Shannon for tipping me off to this!

We continue Yule Blog Week today…a series of really short posts that will help you get your blog fix and get back to Christmas.

Although these are not original with me, I think they’re pretty stinkin’ hilarious:

1. Schizophrenic – Do You Hear What I Hear?

2. Narcissistic – Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

3. Manic – Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and…..

4. Paranoid – Santa Claus is Coming to Get Me

5. Obsessive Compulsive – Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells…

6. Attention Deficit – Silent night, Holy ni… oooh look at the froggy – can I have a chocolate, why is France so far away?


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