It means "writings." I write things.

9:18 AM

Miscellaneous information on the boy

Posted by Brad Polley |

I thought I would give an update on Ezra, because I have a few pictures and whatnot to show off.

He had a good thanksgiving weekend with his grandparents and all of my wife's 3000 cousins and aunts, and uncles, and former roommates, and anyone else that decided to show up and eat. On Friday we took him to a dairy. Doesn't sound all that exciting, but I'm a nerd and that kind of stuff fascinates me. The dairy was huge, beyond huge actually. If you ever drink Dean's or Kroger brand milk, you are drinking milk from this dairy. Anyway, it was cool and I got to carry Ezra in his Mini-me carrier. Here's a picture:

That picture actually reminds me of something I've seen before. Oh wait, here it is:
In other news, I laugh hysterically every time Ezra yawns. He gets these creases in between his eyes and his eyebrows go diagonal. I guess the best way to describe how he looks is with picture associations, so here goes. He looks like a mix of this:
and this:

Finally, he had his first go around with Rice cereal yesterday. To say that is was funny would be a gross understatement. This picture should pretty much sum up the experience.


Or at least he liked the 1/3 of a teaspoon that actually stayed in his mouth. This may be my favorite picture of him. Anyway, that about brings you up to date on the life of the boy. More updates in the coming days, weeks, months, years.

4:53 PM

What was Jesus really like?

Posted by Brad Polley |

Sounds like a strange question for a minister to ask, but I'd really like to know. We get a glimpse from the gospels as to what he was like (i.e. loving, compassionate, full of grace, accepting, etc.), but I want to know more. Did he have a sense of humor? I would think he would have to, because if he didn't, he would have killed his disciples after about a year with them. Was he nice? We generally like to think of Jesus as nice, but frankly, some of the stories of him in the gospels show a man who said scathing things against the Roman Empire and against the hypocrisy of the religious leaders of Israel. Did he do stuff as a kid to earn the anger of his parents? Probably.

I've been thinking about all of this recently because I've been reading a book by Christopher Moore entitled, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. It's a fictional retelling of Jesus' life as told by his friend Levi, who is called Biff. Firstly, if you're a stuffy Christian concerned with correct doctrine, don't read the book. You'll miss the humor in it (of which there is plenty), and just get mad. I've read the book twice now and I like it because it causes me to think about what Jesus was like, especially as a kid. My guess is that he was mischievous like any other kid. He probably pulled pranks on his friends, had a boyhood crush, etc. Thinking of Jesus in this way only makes me love him more. I love to contemplate the human side of Jesus; the side that struggled with temptation, got into trouble as a kid, had his heart broken by his friends, that kind of stuff.

Don't get me wrong, I'm impressed by the healer Jesus, the Jesus who could walk on water, the Jesus who could rise from the grave, but I'm more impressed with the Jesus who touched lepers because he loved them and ate in the homes of those who were hated by society. Think about Jesus as a human being, not just as divine, and I think you'll find a Jesus that you never knew.

1:01 PM

The unknown of doubt

Posted by Brad Polley |

I remember leaving Bible College over four years ago and thinking something to the effect of, "I'm not sure I believe much of anything that I was just taught." I was raised in an environment where it wasn't really encouraged to express doubt about God or anything in the Bible. This lead me to reject basically all of science and, in fact, saw science as a natural enemy of Christianity. Maybe I didn't reject all of science, just the parts that disagreed with my particular ideology. I wasn't just raised in an environment where it wasn't safe to question, I spent four years at Bible College where it wasn't safe to doubt and question either.

Basically, all of this led me to a point in my life where I looked out at the world in which I resided and realized that the faith I had carried with me for so long didn't really work once I started using my brain. I was lucky enough to have my brother and another really good friend dealing with the same sort of thing. Realizing that we would most certainly be branded as "liberals" (as if that's a bad thing or something), the three of set out to develop a faith that went beyond the fundamentalism we were all taught was true. I started realizing that the Bible, far from being an answer book (which is how it was presented to me my whole life), was really a book of questions. The more answers I sought, the fewer concrete answers I found, and the more questions I ended up with. Seeing as how my entire livelihood is based on teaching the Bible and being some sort of a pillar of strength and confidence, this naturally scared the crap out of me. Ministers aren't supposed to question, they aren't supposed to have doubts, they're supposed to have all of the answers.

Four and a half years later, I'm still searching, still doubting, still questioning. I feel like I'm playing a game of cat and mouse with my Creator, a game of divine hide and seek. The thing that scares me is the unknown of my whole situation. There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to doubting and searching in the spiritual realm. I have no idea where my journey is going to lead me. Will it lead me to having to choose another career path? Will it lead me to dismantle everything I've ever known to be true? Will it lead me into the arms of God? I have no idea. Time will tell. There a few things I have found to be true in my searching. There is a being out there named Yahweh and he won't stop loving me no matter how hard I try to distance myself. This Yahweh is mysterious beyond anything I can comprehend. There was man named Jesus who walked the earth a couple of thousand years ago and he lived an amazing life of love and acceptance, which ultimately led to his enemies killing him. I believe that his resurrection brings me life everyday. Aside from these few truths, a lot is still up in the air for me.

10:45 AM

Poop, pee, and puke: thoughts from a new dad

Posted by Brad Polley |

So Ezra turns four months old this week (I like how I made that sound like a gigantic milestone), so I thought I would spew out some thoughts on the whole "being dad" thing. Actually, come to think of it, it is a big milestone seeing as how I somehow killed a Beta fish in six days while I was in college. From everyone I talked too, that's pretty hard to do, so naturally I was a little nervous about taking care of a human.

To start things off, I'm not sure how he's gaining any weight as much as he lets fly using various methods. There isn't a more helpless feeling than hearing him burp and looking around, only to find that there isn't a burp cloth in sight. God have mercy, this kid pukes more than a college binge drinker. He also loves to wait until he has a clean outfit on to unleash said vomit. He also pees more than a ninety year old in a nursing home, not to mention the fact that he poops more than his grandfather after thanksgiving dinner. Given all of these factors he should weigh somewhere in the range of 3-3.5 pounds, however, he's somewhere in the ballpark of 15 pounds.

Secondly, I love being a dad. Ezra has a smile that melts me, which is all well and good until he gets to the age where he figures out how to manipulate me with that smile. Anytime I've having a bad day, he seems to give a smile at just the right time to cheer me up. He's growing up too fast already. Part of me wishes he would stay this age forever, because he's the sweetest kid in the world, and I know he's going to go through the "terrible twos" (which, incidentally, aren't nearly as terrible as the "threes"), and he's going to grow into a teenager that tells me he hates me from time to time, and so on and so on.

Thirdly, I hate that my job takes me away from my family almost every night of the week. Seriously, in two weeks, we had one night at home. Last week, I was only home before 9:00 pm on one night, that's after going in at 9:00 am. I'm burning out and I hate it. I'm neglecting my family and I hate it. Sometimes I wish I had a job where I knew I was getting off at 5:00 and I could leave it and just be home for the night. Sounds nice. Someone who's new to our church asked me last week if what I did what a full-time occupation. I didn't know whether to laugh or punch him in the face. I laughed, in case you were wondering.

Anyway, those are some of my thoughts on parenthood and whatnot. As I learn new things, I'll lovingly pass them along to the masses.

Politicians are a bunch of babies. Seriously, if I see one more political commercial, I'm going to scream. Far from helping me choose who to vote for in this year's election, all of the negative campaigning has made me want to stay in bed an extra hour instead of going to the polls. I remember a time when political commercials were used to let you know what a candidate thought about certain issues. I haven't seen one commercial for this election that has dealt with what a candidate believes, they've all been about nothing more than smearing the name of their opponents. I'm tired of it. Republicans and Democrats are guilty of it. They're all jerks, they're all corrupt. I'm so glad that I've chosen to not align myself with any party, because I would be ashamed to be aligned with any of them. All of these politicians are making a mockery of our country. They're accomplishing nothing, all they're doing is calling each other names and bashing one another like they're part of a junior high clique. I deal with this crap enough in youth ministry, I don't need to deal with it every time I turn on the TV.

8:24 AM

Pensive Musings

Posted by Brad Polley |

Here's some stuff I'm thinking about right now.

1. Can I possibly get any fatter?
2. Is there a more annoying singer than James Blunt?
3. How do you get a group of self-centered teenagers to really follow Jesus?
4. How did Jesus get a group of self-centered teenagers to follow him?
5. As a pastor, will I ever be able to read the Bible for enjoyment, and not just to get a teaching out of it?
6. Why is it not acceptable to be neither a Republican or a Democrat and be a Christ-follower at the same time?
7. How can a person be pro-life and not even blink at the fact that our country is responsible for killing untold thousands of Iraqi civilians?
8. When it comes to eating stewed prunes, is three enough, or four too many?
9. How can Christians speak out against gay marriage under the guise of preserving the sanctity of marriage, when the divorce rate among Christians is over 50%. Is that what sanctified marriage looks like?
10. Does listening to Simon and Garfunkel make me a pansy? Actually I'll go ahead and answer that one...yes it does.