It means "writings." I write things.

9:47 AM


Posted by Brad Polley |

I had a weird thing happen to me this morning.  I was taking my youngest to the doctor and there was a traffic back-up on the main highway.  I decided to take some side streets through the town where I grew up and I ended up driving by my old elementary school (which is now a old elementary schools tend to be).  I drove around the back of it on some roads where I hadn't traveled in years.  As I drove, I had this flood of nostalgic emotion.  I actually almost cried.  I was telling my wife about it while we drove and she said she gets the same way when she goes to her old elementary school.  We then had a discussion about why that happens.  We basically landed on the fact that it makes us think of simpler times when we had no responsibility or care about anything.  All of this got me thinking about nostalgia and how dangerous it can be.

Nostalgia is really just an illusion.  I'll hear older people talk about "the good old days" (which is usually the 40s or 50s) and you get the impression that everything was sunshine and farts for everyone involved in those time periods.  But let's dissect this and look at it a little bit.  Would the 40s have been all that good if you were Japanese and were wrongly imprisoned in internment camps during the war?  Would the 40s and 50s have been good if you were black? What if you a woman and couldn't vote, would you consider those times to be good?  Probably not.  Even my own experience of longing for the elementary school days carries with it some danger.  Just because my early school experience was good doesn't mean it was good for everyone.  What about the young child who is molested, or the kid who is constantly picked on?It certainly isn't good for them.  One of the dangers of nostalgia is that it can cause to forget about those who are hurting and it can give us a very near-sighted view of life.  "If it was good for me, then it must have been good for everyone else," is dangerous because it anesthetizes us to people's problems, which causes us to become completely ineffective to help anyone.  You can't help someone that you can't relate to.

The second danger of nostalgia is that it can paralyze us and cause us to miss life today.  The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is a perfect example.  God destroys these two cities (and not because they were so overtly gay either, read Ezekiel 16:49), but before he does, he tells Lot and his family to leave and not turn back.  Lot's wife turns back and the text says that she became a pillar of salt.  When we long for the good old days, we are, in turn, saying that these days aren't good...or at least not as good as "those days."  If we're constantly looking backward, we become a pillar of salt.  We're paralyzed by our inability to see today as something with the potential to be good.  There's nothing wrong with remembering fond memories, but don't dwell on them.  There's life to be lived right now.       

8:15 AM

Bite Back

Posted by Brad Polley |

Hey everyone.  April 25 is world malaria day (sounds nice doesn't it?).  I don't usually spend time stumping for causes on my blog, but this is a good one, and one that is close to my heart after spending time in Haiti.  I don't know how aware you are of the malaria problem in this world, but let me give you some statistics.  

It's caused by mosquito bites
350-500 million cases of malaria each year
Malaria causes 20% of all childhood deaths in sub-Saharan Afr
90% of all malaria deaths occur in Africa - nearly 1 million people a year
Malaria kills 3,000 children every day

And the worst part?  It's totally preventable.  $10 will provide a mosquito net to put over a bed. It also provides education on prevention and medicine.  I believe it is the duty of Christians to eradicate problems like this.  This one is easy to eradicate.  Go to and make a donation to this cause.  If you're reading this and you have a youth group, get them involved and do a fundraiser.  I'm doing one this summer.

This is close to my heart.  When I was in Haiti we were helping 
with a nutrition clinic, and a bunch of children came up to us, raised their arms and wanted us to hold them.  One little girl came to me and climbed onto my lap.  I knew something was wrong immediately because she didn't seem to have any energy like the other kids.  She wouldn't smile.  She eventually fell asleep on my chest.  One of the guys on the trip was a medical student and he came by and immediately took her to the medical clinic.  She was diagnosed with malaria.  The doctors said that if she would have waited another few days, she would be dead.  Here's a picture of her.
This the face of malaria.  Please donate.

1:53 PM

Only in America

Posted by Brad Polley |

No seriously, I can't think of another country where someone would do this.  Is it possible that a video about a horse could make all of the founding fathers simultaneously turn over in their graves?  Yes, yes it is.  

Oh, and here's a picture of my face as I watched it.

I can't even begin to relate to you the number of questions that that video begs in my mind.

10:06 AM

This is wrong

Posted by Brad Polley |

America spends $250 million a day on the war in Iraq, and people in Haiti are starving to death because they can't afford food.  If you haven't seen the news reports, let me fill you in.  

Food costs in Haiti have risen 50% over the last year.  The average Haitian makes around 50 gourdes a day (which is less than one U.S. dollar).  People are rioting and looting (as I'm sure you would were you starving to death) and asking their government for change.  Their government is powerless, because they don't have any money either.  People are staving off their hunger by eating mud cakes, and yes, they are exactly what you think they are.  And our country is doing nothing.

The next time I hear someone say that America is a Christian nation, I'm going to puke.  If I had the money, I would buy plane tickets to Port-au-prince for the people who make this claim, so that they could have their minds changed about just how "Christian" America really is.  If you study Haiti's history at all, you would see very quickly that the U.S. is one of the biggest reasons why Haiti is a mess.  No Christian nation would spend that much money on violence while people around the world starve to death.  

3:16 PM

For unto us a fatty is born

Posted by Brad Polley |

At 10:24 AM on April 7, 2008 in the year of our Lord, Abram Michael Polley was ripped from my wife's womb with extreme prejudice.  He was none-too-happy about this fact.  Delivered by Caesarean Section, he came out with a giant, round head.  In the words of one of the nurses who took his vital signs, "That's one of the bigger heads I've seen in awhile."  Thanks for making me confident that my kid is a freak.  Actually, he's absolutely adorable, but don't take my word for it, here are some pictures.In case you're wondering, in the first picture, that is, in fact, my wife's open thorax.  Look at the cranium on that freak!  The second picture is the first time he opened his eyes.  

For those of you keeping score at home, he weighed in at 9 pounds, 9 ounces, and was 21 inches long.  His head circumference is somewhere in the neighborhood of planetary.  It has it's own orbit and gravitational pull.  Quite impressive.  

2:42 PM

Dear Skeptic

Posted by Brad Polley |

I am one of you.  A pastor?  Yes.  A skeptic also?  Yes.  I have my doubts just like you do.  I look at religious people (including myself from time to time) and cringe because of the hypocrisy, the violence masked as love and peace, and the intolerance masked as zeal just like you do.  You're not alone.  The Church is full of skeptics.  "What about the people who seem so certain?" you ask. Sometimes they are the biggest skeptics of them all, but they aren't comfortable in their own skin, so they create a new (and false) skin to protect themselves.  

I don't blame you for not wanting to follow Jesus.  What you see on television, the big hair, the ridiculous promises of wealth, the violence, the fake smiles, gives you a good reason not to follow.  I must caution you, however, that what you see on television isn't reality.  It isn't the truth.  Find the truth for yourself.  Don't let the messengers ruin the message.

Has religion led to unthinkable horrors?  Yes, but it has also led to many good things.  Without religion, the civil rights movement would never have happened.  Without religion, the Jewish people might still be enslaved in Egypt.  Without religion, slavery would not have been abolished in England.  I cannot apologize for my brothers and sisters throughout history that have portrayed the wrong message, all I can do is try my best to be better than the message they have portrayed.  I leave you with the words of Francis S. Collins, a world-renowned scientist and believer in God:

"The church is made up of fallen people.  The pure, clean water of spiritual truth is placed in rusty containers, and the subsequent failings of the church down through the centuries should not be projected onto the faith itself, as if he water had been the problem.  

Would you condemn an oak tree because its timbers had been used to build battering rams? Would you blame the air for allowing lies to be transmitted through it?  Would you judge Mozart's "The Magic Flute" on the basis of a poorly rehearsed performance by fifth-graders? If you had never seen a real sunset over the Pacific, would you allow a tourist brochure as a substitute?  Would you evaluate the power of romantic love solely in the light of an abusive marriage next door?  

No.  A real evaluation of the truth of faith depends upon looking at the clean, pure water, not at the rusty containers."

A Rusty Container