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?


I’m going to take a wild guess and say that readership will go down this week.  You’re busy with your Christmas get-togethers, your last-minute shopping, your high-society boiled custard tastings.  And of course, many of you are off work this week, and it’s a well known fact that this blog is accessed most between the hours of 9 and 5.

Editor’s Note: You completely made that last one up, didn’t you?

I think so.  But regardless, I’m not going to spend a lot of time blogging this week.  So with the exception of one relatively serious Christmas Day post, you’re going to get a series of snippets I’ve had on the back burner for a while, but never included in this blog.  It will be fast-paced, much like Gaston’s 2.5 Minute Tuesdays.  That way, you can check in with the blog but still get back to your life.  (As a matter of fact, this intro is going to be longer than today’s content.  Go figure.)

Up first: this picture of a real live cake picked up from a real-live bakery:

Good luck, Suzanne!  Sorry your party was lame.

The takeaway: 

  • Listening is important.
  • Writing stuff down is important.
  • But sometimes, common sense trumps it all.

…okay, in full disclosure it’s my only Christmas gift so far, but I gotta tell ya, this will be sure to make the top three.


Believe in God Breath Spray




Thanks to Leanne, my First Impressions director at the Cole Mill Campus, for (a) knowing my sick and twisted sense of humor, and (b) acting on it.  This is going to look awesome next to my Jerry Falwell bobblehead.

Someone once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  I’m thinking that this person had kids.

In our house, we experience insanity roughly every 29 minutes.  It usually comes in the form of one child doing something to annoy another child, which results in the offended child actually repeating the behavior verbatim so he can demonstrate what it was that annoyed him so badly.

Being the voyeuristic blog reader you are, I’m sure you’d like an example.  Being the accommodating blog writer I am, I’m happy to oblige.

Let’s say that Child 1 is engaging in an activity that requires intense concentration, such as watching Drake and Josh.  Never mind that the child just watched the same episode an hour before on one of the other 72 Nickelodeon channels that has somehow invaded our TV set.  Never mind that this is only one of two Drake and Josh episodes that have ever been produced.  Ever.  It’s as if the producer said, “Hey, let’s create a TV show that has zero plot, whiny stereotypical characters, and all the elements of entertainment that would cause a parent to want to take one of those old fashioned cheese slicers and slowly kill themselves one centimeter at a time.  And let’s only create TWO episodes so that there’s no variety whatsoever!”  (To which the other producer replies, “And then let’s create a spinoff from the most vapid character on the show, and that series will only have ONE episode which airs 24 hours a day!”)

So anyway, Child 1 is watching the episode entitled Drake And Josh Get Into A Fight But Then Realize That Even Though They Are Step-Brothers, They Really Make A Good Team, But Not Before Drake Signs A Deal With A Major Record Label And Then Gets The Girl.  Child 2, deciding that the house is entirely too peaceful, will then enter the room, walk right up into the Personal Space of Child 1, and say, “AYYY-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-whoop-whoop-WHOOP.”

This gets the attention of Child 1, which is surprising, since up to this point not even the house burning down around him and live unicorns prancing past the couch can tear him away from the exciting portion of the episode where Josh finally finds a girl who will return his love, but then Drake steals her away.

Then Child 1, obviously annoyed, proceeds to move towards whatever parent is closest, and he says, “[Insert Child 2’s name here] just came up to me while I was minding my own business and he goes* ‘AYYY-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-whoop-whoop-WHOOP.’  That’s so annoying!”

(*Important note: my children apparently never “say” anything.  They always “go” something.  They must be more mobile than I give them credit for.)

While the parent in question is pondering the oddity of a child repeating what annoyed him mere nanoseconds ago, Child 3, who had previously been spending time in western Montana, suddenly feels a disturbance in the force and materializes on the scene, where he immediately inserts himself into the conversation:

“You mean [insert Child 2’s name here] went ‘AYYY-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-whoop-WHOOP.’?”

Child 1 then replies: “No!  You never listen!  He didn’t go, ‘AYYY-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-whoop-WHOOP.’  There were three whoops, as in ‘AYYY-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-whoop-whoop-WHOOP.’  And it’s so annoying.

And that’s my life.  I’m sure that there’s some sort of parallel that I could now draw for guest services within the church, but frankly I’ve just annoyed myself so much that I’m going to go find my cheese slicer.

Next Page »