It means "writings." I write things.

9:40 AM


Posted by Brad Polley |

This is the most amazing football play in the history of the sport. Even if you don't like football, you can appreciate this.


8:21 AM

A good waste of a couple of minutes

Posted by Brad Polley |

Here's a site where you can find out what the number one song in America was on the day you were born.

The #1 song on the day I was born? "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" - Rupert Holmes. You may not recognize the title, but the lyrics, "If you like Pina Coladas, and gettin' caught in the rain..." Wow, and to think that I turned out straight, given the fact that I was born on a day when the #1 song in America was one of the gayest songs ever written.

3:05 PM

I don't roll on Shabbas

Posted by Brad Polley |

I'm reading The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel. I'm starting to realize that I haven't had a true Sabbath in months. The purpose of the Sabbath isn't just rest, it's to center ourselves on the Creator. In Heschel's words, "The Sabbath teaches all beings whom to praise." In my words, it's not just a day off, it's a day up. We're always defined by what we do. If you don't believe me, listen in on a conversation between two people who have never met, and see how long it takes for someone to ask, "So what do you do?" The Sabbath is a reminder that we aren't defined by what we do, but by who we belong to. We cheapen the Sabbath when we make it a purely physical experience. It's about soul care, and, frankly, my soul could be better. Here's what Heschel says about it.

"Six days a week we wrestle with the world, wringing profit from the earth; on the Sabbath, we especially care for the seed of eternity planted in the soul. The world has our hands, but our soul belongs to Someone Else. Six days a week, we seek to dominate the world, on the seventh day we try to dominate the self."

I can't leave my job behind. I have a day off most weeks. But even on my day off, I can't disengage from what I do. I'm constantly thinking and worrying about the people I minister to. For the Sabbath to truly be holy (set apart) as God intends it to be, we have to leave the world behind and focus on who we are. We have to set apart a time for God to be the center, and for him to be the center, everything else has to fade away. I believe the health of our souls depends on our ability to disconnect from our world and connect to the One who created it all. That's what the Sabbath is...a disconnection for the sake of connection. We will never find the wholeness we desire without Sabbath.

11:41 AM

So a Hindu gets it...

Posted by Brad Polley |

...but, for some reason, Christians don't. I saw this quote from Gandhi today.

If you want to smell the aroma of Christianity, you must copy the rose. The rose irresistibly draws people to itself, and the scent remains with them. Even so, the aroma of Christianity is subtler even than that of the rose and should, therefore, be imparted in an even quieter and more imperceptible manner, if possible.

The Christians that I know who are doing the most for God's Kingdom are also the quietest. You won't find them on Larry King defending their faith, you won't find them writing scathing editorials to newspapers who they deem "liberal." You find them spending time with people, loving them in the best way they know how, and smelling an awful lot like Jesus in the process.

1:26 PM

Things I've read...are reading...will be reading

Posted by Brad Polley |

Sorry for the silence recently. I just haven't had much to say. Anyway, here's a list of things I've been reading...just read the title, you get the point.

Everything Belongs - Richard Rohr
This book is amazing. I read it quickly. It deals with how everything in life is there for a purpose, including all of the crap we deal with. He spends a great deal of time dealing with suffering and pain, and how these events in our lives are necessary for maturity and growth. We seek all the time to bury and remove any bad thing from our lives, but without the bad, the good is essentially meaningless. Not exactly a light read, but incredible.

Adam's Return - Richard Rohr
This book deals with male initiation rites in cultures throughout history. He spent years studying these initiation rites and their purposes. Rohr basically lays out why men today have so many issues; they've never been initiated by an older man or community of men. For every reason why Wild at Heart by John Eldridge sucked, this book was good. Eldridge's book was all about making surface changes, this book gets at the internal issues that cause men to stop being men. Good read...if you're a dude.

The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
This is a novel about a family who goes to the Congo in the 1950s to be missionaries. The father is one of these preachers who were so prevalant in that time period. He was domineering to his family and anyone else, including the people he was trying to "save." He was completely ineffective as a missionary because he didn't listen to the people he was there to help. He had his way, and no one else's mattered. I'm only about halfway through this one, but it's great. It does lose a point with me because it has that annoying "Oprah's Book Club" sticker on it. Geez, I can't stand her.

His Name is One - Jeff Benner
For anyone who likes language, and is especially interested in the Hebrew language, this book is a must read. Every chapter has at least one "Aha!" moment. He basically deals with all of the names in the Hebrew language for God. He talks about how we have mistranslated many of these names into the English, which has led to a lot of misunderstanding of God's character. One particular instance blew me away, and it would freak out any biblical conservatives. The name "El Shaddai" in Hebrew is translated into english as "God Almighty." However, the literal translation of the name is "mighty teat." Yes, I said "teat," as in a female animal's ummm...milk bags. So the ancient Hebrew people saw God as a loving mother who nourished her children with milk. So much for the male dominated culture who refuses to believe that God has female qualities. There are many other moments of brilliance in this book.

9:01 AM

Further adventures in church sign reading

Posted by Brad Polley |

I saw a dandy yesterday.

"The wages of sin is death. Repent b4 payday."

Oh, how the people will flock to that church this Sunday, flogging themselves with reeds in penitence the whole way...

9:55 AM


Posted by Brad Polley |

The book, not the year. Anyway, I'm reading 1984 right now. I read a few years ago, but I didn't really grasp the significance of it. I thought the book was "good," but I didn't really find it unsettling or revolutionary. I'm finding it increasingly hard to read it this time, however.

If you know nothing of this book, I'll give you an incredibly brief synopsis. It's essentially a dystopian fantasy written in 1949. It tells of a world in which no one is free and everyone is under the control of the Party. There is no history, no free thought, no freedom, only the Party. If the Party says that something exists, it exists and always has. If the Party says that something doesn't exist, it doesn't exist and never has. If the Party says that two and two equals five, then it equals five and nothing else. The book follows a man named Winston who is questioning all of this, but is eventually arrested for his wrong thoughts. The Party then tortures him into submission. Read it for the all of the other details, it's a fascinating book.

I've found myself being very uncomfortable in my reading, which isn't like me. I've been trying to figure out why this book is affecting me like it is. The I figured out the reason: it's inhuman. The whole idea of this society is to reduce people to an animalistic existence. They seek to destroy a person's humanity so that they will obey. So why is this unsettling? Because free thinking and the right to make our own choices is what makes us human, and to think about a society where this is impossible is sickening at best.

In Genesis, at the very beginning of human existence, God gives people the choice to do what they want. He tells Adam and Eve, "You can eat anything you want, just don't eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil." He tells them not to eat of it, but it's not like he puts a shield around it or anything. They still have the choice to eat of it, God is basically telling them that if they make the choice to eat from it, then everything will be screwed up. As humans tend to do, they make the wrong choice, eat from the tree, and everything goes south. God endowed every human with the capacity for free thought and choices. Not every thought or choice leads to life, but nonetheless, he gives us the right to choose. The fact is that God had to put that tree there because he knew that without choice and free thinking, people could not be human. Without choice, there is no way to love something or someone.

What is really eating at me is how many churches seek to control the behavior and thoughts and choices of their people. I could name a few of these churches within 10 minutes of where I sit typing this. They have good intentions (I think), but what they are really doing is turning their people into something less than humans. If we are told what to think about God and we blindly lock-step to what we're told, then it is impossible to really love him in a deep way. When free thought is taken away, as it is in a lot of churches, then we're robots, and robots have no capacity to feel and love. If anything, a churches main goal should be to find ways for people to be fully alive and fully human. by restricting what someone can think or believe, we're telling them that there is no other choice but to think like we do. Thus, we render them as something less than human. Any thoughts?

9:52 AM

Horrifyingly funny

Posted by Brad Polley |

Watch this video from the National Geographic channel. The thing I find funny is the narrator's voice. It's like a Saturday morning cartoon narrator, but he's describing baby seal pups getting slaughtered by whales. I find it comical, maybe I'm just sick.