It means "writings." I write things.

1:03 PM

It's a...well you can probably guess by the picture

Posted by Brad Polley |

We went to the doctor yesterday to find out what sort of species my wife is gestating, and this picture is the first thing we see (literally within 2 seconds of the scanner thing hitting my wife's abdomen).
When we showed this picture to one of the nurses, her words were, "Oh my." Yes indeed. It is a proud moment in the life of a father when your fetal son can evoke a statement like that from a nurse, simply from the size of his genitalia. It is my hope that my tripod son will excel in some kind of sport, but I guess if he doesn't, he always has a nice future in porn to fall back on. I also like the fact that he's totally mooning the camera. He is his father's son. Display your Bobbydangler for the world to see son, you've earned the right...oh, and don't flaunt it in front of your brother, he can't help the hand he was dealt. Incidentally, he's already been asked out to four proms. Here's another picture:

It's like he knows something. Why is he smiling? One can only speculate. Given the above picture, I think I have my guess. Also, he's weighing in already as bigger than usual. I also have my theories as to why that is...and you can probably guess my theory. People have asked us if we've thought of any names yet. Yes we have and here's what we've landed on:

World, we re pleased to announce to you Leviathan Hefner Polley.

2:37 PM

The Bible as story

Posted by Brad Polley |

Hear me out on this before you make any rash judgments about me. I'm not necessarily endorsing anything here, I'm just spit-balling on something I've been thinking about. The Bible, at its best, is enigmatic and difficult to read. I also find large parts of it to be boring. Sorry, I know pastors aren't supposed to admit this, but I'm just being honest. Every pastor feels this way, they just won't admit it (ever read the book of Numbers with an "edge of your seat" type of excitement? I didn't think so.).

I've been trying to figure out why I love to read novels, but find it, at times, difficult to read the Bible. It hit me today...when I read the Bible, I'm wondering the whole time whether or not what I'm reading is factually true. While doing this, I first have to unpackage history, then try to decide through evidence if what I'm reading actually happened, then I try to find its meaning. It's completely exhausting, and by the time I get to the second step, my mind is mush anyway. When I read novels, I'm not worried about whether the events in the book coincide with history, I'm just sucked into the story.

I read Les Miserables recently. When I read it, I wasn't spending time worrying about whether Jean Valjean (the main character, for those who haven't read it) was real, I was just captivated by the beauty of his story. I found great truth in that book, and I wasn't even looking for it.

Let me give you an example from the Bible, Noah's ark. There's constant debate about whether or not a global flood really happened, and frankly, there's evidence to support both arguments. When I read that story, the whole time I'm thinking, "I wonder if this really happened? What if it did? What if it didn't?" In doing this, I miss the whole point of the story. God was fed up with the wickedness and lack of love of humanity (quite disturbing actually), and he decided to wipe out all of humanity. He looked down and saw a good old man named Noah, and he decided that Noah, along with his family, would save mankind by building a huge boat in the middle of dry land. Humanity needed a savior, God gave them Noah. All of this is easy to miss if we're constantly having to spend time proving the historical truth of everything.

A note to all conservatives everywhere: the Bible doesn't have to be 100% historically accurate to be true. I believe that no truer document has ever been penned in the history of the world. It's assessment of humans is right on. It's look at the human condition is true. Our need of some sort of salvation is true. The way it speaks of Jesus' life is true and right. The Bible is true even if Goliath wasn't really 10 feet tall. The story of it is what matters. The truth is found in the meaning of the stories, not the historical accuracy of the stories.

Is the Bible historically accurate? A lot of it has been proven to be so. But we also have to admit that some of it has not been proven as accurate, and we have to be okay with that, because there's deeper meaning to be found in the narrative. It's still true. It's still beautiful. And it's still the greatest story ever told.

11:08 AM

Just like Tommy Lee...

Posted by Brad Polley |

...but without all of the STDs.

2:14 PM

Commies and Jesus

Posted by Brad Polley |
12:14 PM

Pillars of salt

Posted by Brad Polley |

"But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt."

For those who don't know, those preceding words come from the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. God tells what appears to be the only good family in either town to get out of town on the double, because he's going to destroy it. His messenger tells them not to look back. Lot and his family leave, and then it happens, Lot's wife looks back and becomes a salt lick.

Seems a bit excessive doesn't it? Seems a little harsh for a woman to become like stone simply for looking back as the life she knew was destroyed in a hellish explosion. Is it possible that there's something else going on here? A bigger truth? A bit of metaphor?

I sat in my office last week as a high school girl fought back tears as she described a good friendship that had dissolved. She's been pouring a ton of time into trying to salvage the friendship, and the other person just doesn't seem all that interested. She said, "I just wish it was like it used to be." Ah, the cry of every human being. We've all felt that way. We've all longed for "the good ole' days." We've all spent time trying to re-create the past. This girl had become a pillar of salt. Her life is at a stand still because she was doing nothing but looking back. She's incapable of living now, because she's trying to live then.

You don't really think that the 50 year old guy who buys the Porsche on a whim is really just buying a Porsche because he wants one, do you? We call it a mid-life crisis, but really what it boils down to is he feels like his life is over, so he tricks himself into believing that he can regain "the glory days" by purchasing a shiny sports car. Instead of living now, he's living then. Pillar of salt.

What about the 50 year old woman who dresses like a teenager? You don't really think she dresses that way because she likes the way the clothes look, do you? She's convinced that her best days re in the past, and that she can't look 50 and be beautiful. So what happens? She injects her face with botulism, shops at Abercrombie, gets a boob-job, and wears insane amounts of make-up, simply so she can live in the past. She's immobilized by her age. She's trying to stop time, so that she can re-live her glory days as a cheerleader. She lives then, so that she can avoid the sagging and wrinkles of now. Pillar of salt.

I'm kind of tired of nostalgia. I think it immobilizes us. I call it the "Uncle Rico syndrome." In Napolean Dynamite, Uncle Rico is constantly living in his past. He even says at one point, "Don't you just wish you could go back; do it all over again?" We can't live in two places at once. We either live life now, or we live it then, we can't do both.

Your old life is over. What happened in the past (good and bad) is gone. Shake the crust of salt off of yourself, turn around, and start moving ahead. There's too much life to be had now to focus on the life you had then.

12:17 PM

The most irrelevant man in America

Posted by Brad Polley |

This award goes to The Rev. Pat "Mr. Potato Head" Robertson. Calling this guy "reverend" is like calling Britney Spears a musician. I watched a video of an interview he did on Fox News. It was all I could do to get through the six minute segment, all the while choking back my freshly eaten Tendercrisp sandwich from Burger King.

This guy's a total lunatic. He was being questioned about his endorsement of Rudi Giuliani, who is at least as much of a flip-flopper as John Kerry was and is. Rudi has been married like 57 times, which religious conservatives like Robertson can't stand. His kids hate him and refuse to endorse his campaign (so much for the biblical principle of a leader having control of his household). His track-record as mayor of New York was absolutely pro-choice (I don't think I need to tell you where the religious right stands on that one). He's also, in the past, been in favor of gay marriage (see above parenthetical statement). All of a sudden, Giuliani is pro-life and against gay marriage, vowing to appoint Supreme Court justices who think that way as well.

So the interviewer asked Robertson how he can endorse someone with a track record like Giuliani's, when you supposedly espouse things like pro-life viewpoints. Robertson, instead of answering the question said this, "It really doesn't matter what your belief is if the courts nullify what you do." In other words, his entire "faith" is based on what laws the Supreme Court passes. The answer isn't to teach people to live like Jesus and let the Holy Spirit do it's work in people's lives, it's to legislate their behavior. What a hopeless load of crap. He's basically saying that Christians can't do anything to slow down the abortion rate until the Supreme Court decides to overturn Roe v. Wade. Thank you for once again proving to me Mr. Robertson that you don't read the Bible.

My other favorite part was where the interviewer read Rudy's track record on these hot-button issues, then asked Robertson why he thought Rudy was telling the truth when he said he would appoint conservative judges. Robertson said, "I'm just taking him at his word." Here's what I find interesting; Robertson didn't take Bill Clinton at his word when he said he was sorry for his indiscretions, but he'll take Rudy at his word when he says he'll appoint conservative judges. Mind-blowing.

I'm so tired of Christians endorsing people simply because they're Republicans, while cursing Democrats as unholy and anti-American. It's just sickening. If you're going to accuse Hillary and Obama of flip-flopping on issues, then you can't possibly give Giuliani the Republican nomination for President.

Pat Robertson is a joke. At no time in the interview did Robertson mention anything Christian. The whole thing was political and about judges. Thank you, Pat, for showing us what weak faith looks like and showing us just how irrelevant you are when it comes to anything political.

10:02 AM


Posted by Brad Polley |

I've been thinking a lot lately about adverstising. I'm putting together a teaching for my students for the future concerning this topic, so I've been noticing more and more ways that advertisements control us. After a good deal of study and observation, I've come to the conclusion that most advertising boils down to this goal:

To show you a turd and convince you that it's a diamond.

I'll give you an example. There's a sign at the local McDonald's here in my town that is marketing the McRib sandwich. If you've ever seen, or, God forbid, tasted this crap, you know what a culinary abortion it is. So the sign says, "A true Southern taste, Sweet Tea and a McRib." Apparently the south tastes like a mixture of high-fructose corn syrup, pressed horse meat in the shape of ribs, and cheap barbecue sauce. If I was from the South and saw that sign, I would burn the restaurant down and not have any regrets.

Do you see what they're doing? They're marketing an idea. When seeing that sign, you're supposed to have an idea in your mind of sitting on the front porch of your plantation house, watching your slaves pick cotton, while you sip from a tall, cool glass of home-brewed sweet tea, awaiting your barbecue feast. You may think that's far-fetched, but it's exactly what they're trying to accomplish. The hope is that you'll succomb to this idyllic setting and, in turn, spend your hard-earned $5.50 on this garbage.

Marketing a turd, all the while convincing you that it's a diamond.

Here's the works. How often have you bought something because of the commercial, only to get it home and find out that the "diamond" you bought is really only a giant pile of intestinal love fluff? We've all done it.

I think it's time that we stop succombing to the marketing campaigns. I think it's time that open our eyes and expose this stuff for what it is. We need to stop letting them convince us that we need this crap when we really don't. I declare war on the advertising industry, who will join me?

10:58 AM

Interesting passage

Posted by Brad Polley |

In Colossians, Paul says that, "Christ is all, and is in all." What are the ramifications of this?

2:27 PM

"Let justice roll on like a river..."

Posted by Brad Polley |

I don't know if you've heard or not, but a Republican Senator by the name of Chuck Grassley is investigating the use of funds by a number of television evangelists. I'm all for this, in fact I hope they bust every one of them in the name of Jesus (that wasn't sarcasm by the way). This morning, Creflo Dollar, one of the pastors being investigated, was on the Early Show defending himself. Firstly, the fact that his last name is Dollar is just too much irony for a mind to handle. He said that he wasn't sure why Senators are investigating these things when the IRS does it all of the time. He also said that none of the money given to his ministry (note the word "his" before ministry) has been misused. Let it be noted that Mr. Dollar drives a Rolls Royce. Maybe the money hasn't been misused, but he sure has missed the point. I seem to remember Jesus saying something about not storing up treasures on earth, because they won't last and they will inevitably become rust and dust. So Creflo, you may not ever have to answer to the US Senate, but you sure will have to answer to Jesus as to why you own a Rolls Royce while millions of people die every year because they can't even afford a bowl of rice. Have fun.

11:10 AM

Dear Colleagues...

Posted by Brad Polley |

God doesn't care how many people are in your church. He doesn't care how big your budgets are. The size of your steeple doesn't matter to him. He's not impressed by your music. He thinks your leadership meetings look more like a meeting of investors in a corporation than a church meeting. He thinks you've sold out to American consumerism and called it "evangelism." Political power is not what he intended his church to have. He wants you to know that democrats can be Christians to.

So what does he want? He wants justice. He wants love and compassion for everyone, even the people who are the most hostile to you and your cause. He wants a better world. He wants you to stop preaching doctrine and to start preaching things that are going to actually transform people. He wants your heart. It may mean a smaller church, but it will also mean a stronger church. He wants you to take the words of his son Jesus seriously. He thinks that if you do this, you will find peace and find the real reason that the Church exists.


2:31 PM

The older I get...

Posted by Brad Polley |

Am I old enough to use a phrase like that? I think that phrase is a bit misleading. Ususally when people use this phrase, they are about to expound some great piece of wisdom. I'm not so sure age has anything to do with wisdom. I know some pretty clueless 70 year olds, who I would classify as anything but wise; and on the other side of the coin, I know very wise people who are in the their 20s and 30s. I think wisdom has to do with seeing. It might be that the older we get, the more we stop to look around at things a bit more, thus leading to wisdom, but I don't think age is the necessary component to wisdom.

I spend my life studying. It's a huge part of what I do. Preaching is an artform, and art, at times, takes a great deal of preparation and thought. However, I started thinking the other day about how much I know and how much I wish I didn't know anything. I watch Ezra play at home. He sits on the floor and I'll see his eyes light up at something he's playing with, and he'll look at me and say, "Ooooohhh" while holding said object up to me. Everything's new. Everything's wonderful. Everything blows him away. There's nothing better than being with him when he sees something he's never seen before. He'll point as if to say, "Hey mom and dad, did you see that!?" I must admit that in my mind, most of the time I have to answer no. I didn't see it. Why? Because I'm too busy, too jaded. I've seen it a thousand times. A tree is a tree is a tree. A dog is a dog is a dog. I realized something today. God is teaching me through my 1 year old son that by "knowing" too much, I really don't know crap.

Here's what I mean. Jesus tells us in the gospels that unless we become like little children, we'll never see the Kingdom of God. In other words, we'll never see where he is and where he's working. The more we learn, the less we see. The less we see, the less wise we really become. I'm not advocating that we all become a bunch of unlearned morons, all I'm suggesting is that we realize just how futile our learning can be. Maybe we're not learning in the right way. Here's a quote from Gordon Atkinson along these lines:

"The fruit of the tree of knowledge nourishes the soul, but it has a price. Once you have tasted it, you can never see with the eyes of a child again."

Take stars for instance. When you're a kid, stars are amazing. They twinkle and dance, they are mysterious and far away. As an adult what do you see? A big far away ball of flammable gas. Admit it. Where's the wonder?

This has to be what Jesus meant when he said we must become like little children. God's fingerprints are everywhere, we're just too "wise" to see them. Maybe instead of prefacing our wise statements with "the older I get," we should instead say, "The more I see..." Spend some time around a child, especially a toddler, and you'll realize very quickly who the wisest person in the room really is.

3:30 PM

Morbid thought of the day

Posted by Brad Polley |

We're all going to die. Really. You, me, that guy, all of us. I've been thinking about this alot lately because we've had a couple of people in my congregation get some very bleak news from the doctors regarding cancer. A woman in our church heard the words, "There's nothing we can do" this week from the doctor. How true.

I think the reason we struggle with death is because we secretly think we're immortal. We're not. Doctors and medicine don't help either. You watch the average medical commercial and you get the feeling that you'll be around forever. This is why it tears us apart when we lose someone close to us, because it violently slams us back into reality. "If he died, then I guess I will too." Think about it. Have you ever gone to a funeral of someone you loved, looked into the casket and thought, "That'll be me someday." I bet you have, but maybe at a deeper level.

Medicine is an illusion. All doctors know that all they exist to do is to delay the inevitable, and maybe lessen the pain as your life slips away. Maybe we would have a better grasp of reality if doctors, upon bringing you out of the womb, said to your parents, "There's nothing we can do." They can't. Don't get me wrong, I think doctors have their place. They can, at times, give us a few more years with our loved ones. I'm just wondering if all of our medical advances interrupt some part of the natural order. By the way, I'm not having a bad day, I've just been thinking about this lately.

12:52 PM

Halloween adventures

Posted by Brad Polley |

Ok, so there was nothing adventurous about Halloween, but the title sounded nice, so I used it. You know how sometimes you start out with an idea, and that idea at the time sounds good? You know how sometimes when you start to think about those ideas, they start sounding maybe not so good, but you're too far into the idea to start over? Case in point, my son's Halloween costume. My wife and I were trying to find a costume for Ezra when we stumbled across a totally adorable Asian silk outfit. "What a great idea," said my mind. "We'll dress him up as martial arts type guy or something."

The closer Halloween got, people started asking us what we were going to dress Ezra as. I found it harder and harder to explain. We found him a pair of toy Sais (small weapons used by Raphael of Ninja Turtles fame) to carry around as well to round out the outfit. Here's the end result, minus the Sais (the mall where we took him trick or treating had a "no toy weaponry" rule that we decided to follow.
Behold, we dressed our son as an Asian stereotype. A painfully adorable Asian stereotype, but an Asian stereotype nonetheless. I did feel better when I saw an equally Caucasian girl dressed as a Geisha, complete with eyeliner to make her eyes look...well...more Asian. I didn't feel quite so racist.

My wife decided to dress up our other child, who happens to still be in the fetal stages of development. Here's the result of that one.

I'm not going to lie, when she showed this to me, I laughed for like five minutes. And finally, I leave you with a picture of Ezra after he decided to waltz into Victoria's Secret by himself.

Mandy says that he only went in to pet the fake pink doggy, but I know better. I'd like to think he was driven by a deeper, and more primitive force. You know, the force that he can't seem to take his hands off of when we change his diapers. I rue the day when I will have to explain to him the ins and outs of the secret that Victoria is hiding.