It means "writings." I write things.

9:30 AM

News from the womb

Posted by Brad Polley |

I thought I would give you an update from Fetusville. We had another doctor's visit yesterday and everything seems to be going well to this point. The boy is growing at a normal rate (except for the groin region, where I am sure he is an absolute albatross).

The best part of our visit yesterday was the fact that my wife had to drink this bottle of orange liquid for her glucose test. The best way to describe this stuff is orange-tinted sugar. She had to drink it in the span of five minutes or less in order for the test to be effective. So we broke out our old bong and she tipped it back with no problem. I'm sure the boy enjoyed the temporary sugar rush as his fragile system was bombarded with the equivilent of five Snicker's bars and a gallon of really strong Kool-Aid. If he comes out with three heads and a gimpy arm, we'll know the source of the mutation.

We have about 11 to 12 weeks left (or thirty five years, which is what it seems like) until our bundle of joy arrives and our lives as we know it end. We're looking forward to it all, except for the inevitable "Hey mom and dad, I'm crying because I pooped all up my back, and somehow in my hair" moments of parenting. Oh well, you take the gutter balls along with strikes I guess.

7:44 AM

I just don't get it...

Posted by Brad Polley |

So I received something in the mail today for a youth event here in our community. It's being put on by a couple of churches and their youth groups. They're having a speaker come in and some local Christian band is doing a concert. Anyway, the flyer had a statement that sent my crap detector into overdrive. It said, "Come to something that is out of the world" (editor's note: italics used for emphasis).

Never mind the lame attempt at a quippy play on words, the message is what bothers me. Since when are we as Christians supposed to retreat from the world? The message of this flyer is clear; this event is for Christians, non-believers need not show up. I am so incredibly tired of this type of crap, I could just scream. Let me show you a passage from the Apostle Paul that applies pretty well here.

"I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people--not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world."

What part of this passage do we not understand as Christians? Oh wait, the entire second part, that's it. Paul is telling us that we cannot retreat from the world. In fact, his tone seems to suggest he would have thought it ridiculous to do so. My problem with this event is the same problem I have with Christian radio stations, Christian book stores, and Christian television. It all sends a message to non-believers that it belongs to us and no one else.

I don't understand how we can talk so much about the Great Commission, and yet we can suck so badly at fulfilling it. Jesus tells us to "Go and make disciples of all nations..." The interesting thing is that the Greek for "go" is actually better translated, "as you are going." In other words Jesus is saying, "Hey, while you're out there in the world, make disciples." We can't do that if we're constantly removing ourselves from the world in order to huddle with one another in our "sanctuaries." It's no wonder why the American Church is completely ineffective.

8:22 AM


Posted by Brad Polley |

So lent ended on Sunday. I gave up sweets for lent and it was hard, but I survived. I figured that if Jesus could be nailed to a cross, I could give up sweets for 50 days.

If I'm not mistaken, the point of lent is to sacrifice something that controls you in order to focus on God. Also, I think a by-product of lent is to try and work on an area of life that needs work. So I decided that my love handles are large enough and if they get any bigger, I'm going to look like a Christmas tree with small top, large middle, and small lower end. During lent I made a mental list of all the sweets I was going to eat when lent ended. First on my list was a Cadbury Egg. Other items included brownie with ice cream, chocolate milk, and anything emanating from the entire flippin' Willy Wonka factory.

On Sunday, my pastor handed me a Cadbury Egg at church. I proceeded to wolf it down like Augustus Gloop on a chocolate bender. I enjoyed the frothy goodness of sugar and fat until it mixed with the acid in my stomach. Keep in mind, the only other thing in my stomach was communion, which doesn't amount to a whole lot from a volume standpoint. At that point my stomach was saying something to the effect of, "I hate you, you stupid (insert long string of expletives)." I was pretty sure I was going to barf somewhere mid-sermon. At that point, I realized that my body was sending a clear warning that I was probably going to have pace myself on the whole sweets thing. At this point, I've done pretty well in that area, but it's taking everything in me to not shove my entire carmel-filled chocolate bunny into my mouth at once. I just figure my pants are tight enough and I'm not buying a bigger size to accomadate my girth.

7:59 AM


Posted by Brad Polley |

My hope drifts away as I see the last wisp of smoke disappear. You said you were the light, yet all I see is darkness. You promised the world, yet all I see is a closed tomb. The candle of my hopes and dreams has been extinguished and I'm left with nothing but a burned wick. Where did it go wrong, O Light of the World? How is it that the fire from the house of David can lose its fuel? Who has the power to extinguish God's own flame? You must have been a farce. To be the light emanating from God's own light would mean that your flame is eternal. Obviously your fire was of a different sort. A much more carnal sort. You seemed so convincing, not like the others from the past who made the same claims as you. You seemed to speak with authority, but now I know that you were just a better public speaker, more persuasive in your speech than the rest. You used smoke and mirrors and spoke in enigmatic parables. We thought you were brilliant, now we know that you were nothing more than a slight of hand artist with good people skills.

So what's left? What do I do now? I guess I'll go hide with the rest until all of this blows over. Sometimes when the light goes out and darkness prevails, the best thing to do is hide.

8:05 AM

Life, Growth, Death

Posted by Brad Polley |

The more I study the Bible, the more I realize that how no words are wasted in it. In the creation story, we read of God entering into a chaotic atmosphere (the Hebrew tohu vavohu) and bringing order to it. By bringing order to the chaos, God set up a great many systems and patterns to the world. Patterns such as, erosion, adaptation, growth, life, and death. It's the last three that I want to deal chiefly with.

If you look throughout all of creation, there is a continuity to all of it. No creature, including humans, is exempt from the natural order of things. It's almost planting time in Indiana, which means that farmers will soon plant millions of seeds in the ground an inch deep and then let nature take its course. These seeds will be "born," grow, and then die. I'm having a son, my first child, in a few months. That child will be born, grow, and then, God willing at an old age, die. The same goes for me, my wife, my family, and everyone else on the planet. We can't escape this.

This all sounds so morbid and negative, but it isnt, it's just the way God created us and everything around us. In the words of Donald Miller, "we are all just getting born, just growing up, just dying off." There's something beautiful to think about how connected to nature we really are. God made everything beautiful, but that beauty has to fade and disappear in order to give way to new beauty. I'll watch the soybeans grow in a few months, become full and green and beautiful, and then wither and die. But in a year or so, the beauty will return.

Jesus wasn't exempt from this either. He was born, lived the most beautiful life in history, then died. However, he completed the cycle by returning to beauty for eternity when he walked out of his grave. I love the fact that everything in the universe is so connected, including God being connected to it all as well.

8:09 AM

My life as a tree

Posted by Brad Polley |

I recently got back from a trip to West Virginia. I spent a great deal of time hiking and just taking in the beauty of nature. I came across this tree on one of my hikes and it reminded me I haven't been myself for about a year. Ministry has the ability to ruin a minister's spiritual life pretty quickly. I know that sounds weird, but until you've been a minister, you can't know what I mean, so I won't try to explain it.

This trip was what I needed. It gave me a chance to get away from all of the crap of life and focus on creation and the God who created it. It's amazing what happens when you take the time to get away from distractions. Anyway, when I saw this tree it made me think of what my life feels like at times. This tree is just a gigantic jumbled mess. It has numerous vines hanging on it, which go a hundred different directions. If you're a minister, you know exactly what I mean. We're almost constantly pulled in a million different directions until we don't know which end is up.

I know all of this sounds negative, but let me finish. I realized after thinking about it for some time that all of the stuff hanging on it actually lends more beauty to the tree. Without all of the vines hanging on it, it would just be a normal tree. It never would have caught me eye and made me want to photograph it. I think the real challenge of life is to find beauty in all of our mess. The key to this is to constantly remember that we are never without the Beautiful One. His beauty meets our mess and makes something unique and wonderful. I learned this past week in West Virginia that when we take time to listen, God responds and shows how beautiful he really is. Hey God, I've missed you, I'm glad to be back.

8:03 AM

I'll take one creepy picture of a swing please.

Posted by Brad Polley |

I took this picture on a cold, foggy morning in West Virginia. It's totally creepy. All it needs to complete the creepiness is two identical twin girls saying, "Come play with us, forever and ever and ever."

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