Friday, July 15, 2005


Just some real quick bits and pieces before the maelstorm of the weekend! With three morning services to get them in, Sundays are a bit of a marathon -- and that for a man whose spiritual gift is the ability to sit on the couch and not move for long periods of time. Or, as my wife says, I am the only person in the world in imminent danger of being overrun by a glacier. Compared to me, sloths are jittery.

Check out my son-in-law's blog ( Josh Graves is a great fellow and a future star in our tribe.

In the last two weeks three books have absolutely captivated me. Jon Krakauer's "Under the Banner of Heaven" has a great deal to teach all of us who were brought up in authoritarian faiths. Giles Milton is one of the most interesting historians alive today and his "White Gold" is just the latest window on an untold story in our past. This book deals with the enslavement of European and American whites by the Islamic states (principally Morocco) between 1500 and 1790. It reads like a thriller and is one of the best sourced history books I've read in years. The third book is one of the most important books of our time and the odds that it will get wide publicity are nil, for its subject does not strike people as interesting. The book is by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner and is entitled "Freakonomics." Get this book! I will quote from it from time to time. These geniuses ask questions nobody else ever thought of such as "What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? How is the Ku Klux Klan like a group of real estate agents? Why do drug dealers live with their moms?" And many, many more. And they answer the questions!

I will be interviewing some folk and calling some others as Rochester church continues to search for a youth minister and a worship minister. It is amazing how hard it is to find good people, and then talk them into moving north of Detroit, and then convince them that having me as their pulpit minister will not (probably) scar them for life.

And lastly: my record continues! I have a perfect record in not making great financial choices! Three years ago I bought a Ford Excursion. It is a fantastic vehicle in every way except for the fact that the V-10 gas engine burns a tad of fuel. Like 20% of the output of Venezuela. I recently went online to see what it was worth today and found that it had lost 50% of its value due to the recent surge in gasoline prices. Yes! I would hate to think that I might have made a good buying decision. That would ruin my reputation. For a guy who is often thought to just work one day a week and it still takes ten men to carry his money -- I can't seem to find much of it laying about the place. Good thing, too, or I might start confusing this place with heaven.

Cheers, God bless, and I'll talk to you about something more specific next week!


At 7/16/2005 09:31:00 AM , Blogger Josh.Graves said...

I'll trade you the Dodge Spirit for the Excursion and a car to be named later...just kidding.

As soon as the Saudi's step up the price of gas will go down and you'll be in a mini cooper in no time. You're the only guy I know who could go from an Excursion to a Mini.

I'd love to see the NRA sticker on a Mini...that would be too much :)

At 7/16/2005 10:52:00 AM , Blogger Billy D said...

"Or, as my wife says, I am the only person in the world in imminent danger of being overrun by a glacier."

Hahaha... beautiful.
I have an Xterra, and it just chews through gas like Pac-man eating dots.
I also, apparently, have the only Volvo in New England without a Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker.

At 7/16/2005 10:57:00 AM , Blogger Scott said...

"Jon Krakauer's "Under the Banner of Heaven" has a great deal to teach all of us who were brought up in authoritarian faiths."

One of the books you commented on was John Kraukauer's "Under the Banner of Heaven." This is a great book about fundamentalist Mormons. I would highly recomend it. The big Mormon church whose headquarters is in Salt Lake City do not recognize these fundamentalist groups. In fact they were somewhat upset when Krakauer's book came out. The fundamentalists practice polygamy which the LDS used to practice but has since given it up. The fundamentalists practice things which the LDS used to practice. This book shows the inconsisties of the Mormon religion. Truth never changes but Mormon doctrine has changed. There have even been many changes made to the book of Mormon. Krakauer's book helps to expose the dangers of the Mormon religion.

Maybe I am reading your comment all wrong Patrick, but I was curious about your statement you make about this book. You state this book "has a great deal to teach all of us who were brought up in authoritarian faiths." I know that you preach for a church of Christ and many of the people who visit this blog are members of the church as well. I was wondering who the "us" was? Surely you are not comparing those of us who grew up in conservative churches of Christ, as you did, with those who are a part of the fundamentalist Mormon faith. The fundamentalist Mormons (or even the LDS) are far more different than those who are members of the Lord's church. We obey nothing but the Bible and use it as our authority in religion but the Mormons follow after the teachings of men. Perhaps I am taking your statement the wrong way and you can clear everything up for me.

At 7/16/2005 11:02:00 AM , Blogger Hoots Musings said...

What I gathered from Patrick's comment was the C of C of old was like, "shuttup and don't question anything, because this is the way it is."
At least, that is how it was for me growing up. Toxic Faith...another good read.

At 7/16/2005 11:22:00 AM , Anonymous Rachel said...

I'm reading Freakonomics it's a good book. =)

At 7/16/2005 01:14:00 PM , Blogger PatrickMead said...

Scott, I appreciate your question, giving me the opportunity to clarify. Krakauer's book uses the fundamentalist Mormons to illustrate how blind faith and arrogance combine into something where two plus two can equal eight. As I've previously stated, I still believe a great majority of what I was taught years ago, but I have abandoned some of the arguments that were casuistric or reeked of scholasticism and replaced them with -- I hope and pray -- more honest arguments that treat Scripture with more respect and honesty than I did previously.

Any blind adherence to old arguments and old ideas without an open, humble heart willing to examine the evidence again and again can turn us into distant cousins of the fundamentalists Mormons, the islamofascists, etc. No one I know wants that to happen.

May Christ increase, and may I and my ways decrease. May I look more and more like Him each day until the blessed day comes when I disappear and He is all who remains.

At 7/16/2005 04:21:00 PM , Blogger DannyHSDad said...

Excursion: well, you've done better. We bought an Expedition by cashing my stock option which was worth at least 3 times more one year later while the SUV was worth 20% less. That is, by waiting one year, we could have bought 2 new Navigators.

I've also heard of a Dell employee who did something similar and his pile of junk could have been a million dollars, instead (grin).

Morals? Don't buy new cars, and let a winning stock (options) continue its run up.

As for big vs small cars, that's all matter of risk management. I'll have to blog on this, one of these days....


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