Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Blog Change - Take Note

For all three people who read this (that means you Mom!), I've officially switched my blog over to www.dustinbagby.wordpress.com

Do We Really Need Another Article About Rob Bell?

Rob Bell. The name instantly ignites polarizing emotions within churches and conversations. Some people LOVE him and have made pilgrimages to Mecca (Grand Rapids) to hear him speak on his own stage. Others DESPISE him for what is interpreted as misleading people from “historic-orthodox Christianity (is their one version of this?)”.

He’s had quite a year in the news. I’m actually surprised that he has received this much press, especially from the secular news media. However, I suppose the media thrives on controversy, so what is better than a young, hip pastor questioning the Evangelical Christian faith which the media loves to hate. I was more surprised to see the news of his departing from Mars Hill from secular sources. I imagine they’re connecting the dots in the sense of: Controversy=Resignation. Which may or may not actually be the case.

All we really know is what he’s written in his official statement that he’s decided that it’s time to leave Mars Hill for the purpose of writing and teaching to a broader audience. He’s starting that venture by moving to L.A. which I find to be a curious choice.

My most cynical self wants to make a statement like: “Gone are the days when pastors hear God calling them to live in pallid conditions to proclaim the good news to native tribesman who may or may not kill them. Now pastors are growing large churches and “hearing a call” to move to an affluent celebrity-saturated city and leave the difficulties of pastoral ministry to live off of royalties of books that without the weird spacing would amount to about a mid-length term paper.” Is that cynical enough for you?

My most understanding self wants to cut the guy a break. “Who KNOWS all that has led up to this decision and where it will lead. Who am I to judge his motives? What do I know about what God has in store for him? Any attempt to write on this is fairly speculative and will fall short and possibly even misrepresent what is going on.” Is that TOO gracious?

I’ll admit that maybe I’m over-thinking this, perhaps I’m misjudging his motives or being overly critical. But regardless, the feeling I’m left with in thinking about Rob Bell’s trajectory is disappointment. Why? Because the inherent message is the typical American dream mindset of I’m sure God wants me to be “reaching a wider audience”, “expanding my influence”, etc. And the assumption is, this is not possible WHILE being a pastor in a local church. Somehow either the church administration or association hinders the influence of this one individual.

(Which I think if Augustine teaches us anything it is that while he may have resented the burdensome amount of time that many of his pastoral and administrative tasks took, he was still able to write more works than you will ever read AND be quite influential).

In my more negative moments I speculate Rob Bell’s departure doing a few things:

  1. His leaving makes those who have faded from a local expression of church because it’s “hard” to be in community with such a diversity of people feel vindicated for their decision. In fact, it almost makes it virtuous. "We TOO have left our church to make God’s message of love known to a broader audience." (To which I would ask: “who are you telling about Jesus?”) It also remains to be seen how leaving Mars Hill will lead to him teaching to a wider audience.
  2. Rob Bell will continue to embrace his identity as a “celebrity preacher”, tour, write books, make lots of money and be a guest on Dancing with the Stars in 5 years (God forbid that show still exist). And ironically, those that are most judgmental of celebrity-ism, the misuse of wealth, and the lack of serving the poor in the church will still LOVE him.
  3. The motivation to reach a wider audience is a dangerous one at best. When musicians aim at this, it typically involves compromising musical integrity and putting out any number of songs you hear on popular radio. I would hate to see that same kind of compromise happen with Rob Bell’s theology and teaching (although some believe it to be too late for that). Obviously, controversial books sell and make A LOT of money. It’s a temptation for every pastor and writer to put out what is appealing to our modern sensibilities and tells us what we want to hear.

However, in my more optimistic, hopeful moments, this is where I hope it all leads:

  1. When Rob Bell moves to Los Angeles, he gets connected to a local church where he is committed to living his life of faith in community with other people. People he can serve, encourage, and challenge, and who will serve, encourage, and challenge him back. No one, even Rob Bell is beyond the need for community in terms of coming to maturity in Jesus.
  2. I also hope he continues to creatively teach people about Jesus. I have been personally encouraged and challenged by a number of Mp3’s and conference sermons from him in the past. I hope to continue to benefit from those.
  3. I would love to see Rob Bell write a book that is not founded and marketed on controversy, but is founded on solid and substantive theology and exegesis. He clearly has it in him, someone just needs to show him how to create footnotes to cite his work. :)

Some of you may be wondering, why does it matter what you want him to do? Honestly, it doesn’t. What this event does bring up is something of a much more personal nature as someone who is committed to the local church.

The question I am forced to ask myself is: What would I do if I had this same opportunity? (don’t laugh) If I was financially secure (due to book sales or anything else), would I continue to do ministry in the local church? Would I persevere through the difficult seasons and challenging people? Or would I head for greener pastures trading in the complexities and headaches of ministry for something more attractive and potentially less challenging? Devin Vaughn asks me these kinds of hypothetical questions ALL THE TIME. “If Deschutes Brewery offered you 150,000 dollars to come brew for them, would you give up ministry?” (As you can see, his hypotheticals rarely resemble reality). But he’s looking for my bottom dollar. He’s essentially asking, “How committed are you to this thing? How much do you believe in it?”

I would like to say that I would trust that Jesus is right; that His body comprised of odd-balls, sinners, addicts, children, saints and all the rest is worth investing and rooting myself in. I also know that I don’t always feel this way. Ask me this question on a Sunday afternoon after a particularly humbling morning, or after a particularly frustrating interaction and I may quite a different disposition (ask my wife).

But we do need to ask ourselves the question: Is participating in the local expression of church ‘worth it’? If we are seeking to be people who are growing in love, forgiveness, compassion, patience, kindness, etc. is there a context more fitted to do that than the local church? If everyone has a price, what is yours? When does church become too “hard” to be worth it? Or when does something else become too attractive to stick around? These are hard questions, but they’re helpful in gauging our own level of commitment to Jesus and His family. And if for nothing else, I believe these kinds of questions are worth another tiresome article on Rob Bell.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Should we always strive to be "authentic"?

Authenticity has been a buzz word in church circles for the last 10 years (at least?). It is one of the most sought after and prized “virtues” in the Christian community. Are you being authentic? Are you being true to yourself? Are you being genuine?

I understand the drive to increased authenticity in the church. This clearly comes from a reaction against the phoniness that we’ve felt and experienced in our past church experiences. People get dressed up, they put on a smile, the answer to “how are you doing?” is always “GREAT!”, etc. WIth a tiny bit of intuition and a small period of time, it's easy to know when people are being phony. And life is simply too short to be a part of a church where people fake their way through life.

Therefore, to strive for more honesty among fellow Christ-followers makes sense. But in our quest to be authentic at all times, it's not long before you’ve got to ask the question: “What if your authentic self sucks?” Or “Is it always helpful for you or for others to be authentic?” If in this present moment I'm genuinely a very greedy or lustful, or _________________ person, what good does it do me to embrace authenticity?

First, I have concluded that there are times when it is not healthy for you to be authentic with yourself. Generally speaking, simply camping out on how you feel gets you nowhere, but usually leads you deeper into the rut of whatever that feeling may be.

For instance, in the church context what do you do when you don’t feel like worshipping? What many people do is they simply "be authentic" to how they feel. They sit down and don’t make any kind of effort to do anything that their “self” doesn’t feel like doing. I don't feel like standing, so I'm not going to stand. Maybe next week if I feel like singing praises to God, I will. If not, I won’t. And that is often admired as a virtuous act of the genuine self.

But is that the best thing for you? (or others?). I’ve come to conclude that it is not helpful for either. In fact, in scripture we get a much different sense when people don’t feel like worshiping. For instance, David in Psalm 103 infers that he may have been in a place of not feeling like worship.

But rather he preaches to the inmost depths of his being trying to stir himself up, to invigorate him to worship:

1 Praise the LORD, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—

He’s literally talking to himself, commanding himself to praise the Lord. How does that happen? By not forgetting his benefits. And then he goes on to recount all of the benefits of God’s loyal love. And in this way, he initially is listening to what his heart is saying. Presumably that is “I don’t feel like praising God.” But he does more than just listen and accept what his "self" is telling him. He actually goes the next step and preaches truth to his inmost being. He is telling it, “This is why you should feel like praising God.” He’s contemplating on God’s covenant love (specifically what that love tangibly cost) UNTIL he feels like praising God. We however tend to make the mistake of waiting it out, or rather anticipating that someday in the near future we may feel like worshiping God again. But there is another way that the Psalmist models for us beautifully. Should you be genuine with yourself and listen to what your heart is telling you? Yes, absolutely. Should you stay there until it changes? Definitely not. You can actually change how you feel.

Second, there are times when it is not healthy or helpful for OTHERS for you to be authentic.

For some authenticity has become an excuse to air their grievances with humanity, with the church, and with themselves with no restraint and in a way that is hurtful, vindictive, selfish, and obnoxious. They come and puke up everything they’re feeling and leave the rest of the community sitting around smelling the vomit on the ground (metaphorically speaking of course!). They are slaves to the whims of their feelings and thoughts and show no restraint or thoughtfulness to what may be inappropriate in regard to context or relationship.

I have known people who have simply taken it for granted that it is always best to be honest about what they’re thinking and feeling EVEN when it is hurtful to other people. Their philosophy is, “Shouldn’t I be able to be honest with Christian brothers and sisters even if it’s hurtful or blunt? Shouldn’t they simply understand and have to forgive me?”

The simple answer is “No, you cannot.” I cannot even begin to understand how such a self-centered and narcissistic view has any merit in the body of Christ. It’s the attitude (thankfully not all that common) that I should be able to be myself and everyone just has to deal with it. I can assure you that there is nothing healthy or helpful about this approach (for yourself or for others).

In his letters to the church, Paul uses strong words in regard to your actions like “restrain, abstain, repent, correct, rebuke, etc.” Those are not words that are anything close to synonymous with “just be yourself, everyone has to deal with it.” No, Paul assumes that there are times when you being yourself is the worst possible decision in terms of other’s edification. And in those cases we must give up our right “to be ourselves” FOR the sake of others. (read 1 Corinthians for an entire test case of this).

Sometimes, out of discipline, you simply have to strive to be better than your current-self. The question of course is, when is it best to be transparent and when is it best to show restraint?

I think the answer to that is found in the nature of the relationship. Not all relationships are meant to be in the category of “intimate”. Intimate relationships are reserved for those few, close, meaningful relationships that you have with 1-3 other people including a spouse. The fact is, not everyone needs to or even should know everything about you. That is not healthy for you or anyone else. Unfortunately, in the past the church has given the impression that if a relationship isn’t moving toward intimacy, then it is failing. That simply isn’t true. (You can read further about that in The Search to Belong by Joe Myers.) Coupled with “authenticity” being one of our generations greatest virtues, the myth that all relationships should be intimate drive us to give more details about ourselves to others than are healthy or profitable.

A few questions to ponder as you wonder what is appropriate to disclose:

  • Will this be helpful to those who aren’t quite as far along in the journey of life as I am?
  • Is this going to be something that I regret or am ashamed of?
  • What is my motivation for talking about this? Am I simply venting or vomiting?
  • Am I talking about this struggle because it has become part of my identity?
  • Should I share this with trusted friends first?

Do I want to revert back to a state of peer-plasticity? No, of course not. In the church community at large I want to be as honest as I can allowing that it is beneficial to myself and to others. There are no cut and dry rules for this. It takes maturity and wisdom to understand when your authenticity is helpful, and when it is not. Many frustrations and feelings I reserve for those few who know me the best so they can lovingly guide, support, and even correct me. The wisdom of course comes in knowing the difference between what is healthy and beneficial and what is not.

This is a wisdom that we learn in community. What this means of course is that we will get to practice forbearing with people who have overstepped what is healthy and profitable in terms of genuineness and allowing others to do likewise for our own misjudgment.

[The truth is, it is possible to be authentic, or true to myself in the church community without being a distraction or a hindrance to other people. And so this article is a response not so much to the pull to be authentic, but to the misunderstanding and misappropriation of the act itself.]

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

2011 - Pt. 1

The first half of 2011 has been better than I could have imagined. This year I feel like I've accomplished some things that I've been pursuing for a long time. I feel like I have reaped the rewards that come with discipline as well as have experienced some things I can only attribute to the grace of a good and loving God.

First, Kelli and I have recently found out that we will be having our second child in late March of 2012. (if you're offended that you found out about this on my blog and not from my mouth, all I can do is preemptively apologize!). I am very excited to have another kid and see how he/she contrasts with Gram. Everyone says this, but I cannot even IMAGINE what having a second child will be like in terms of love. How can I possibly love another child as much as I love Gram. He's been one of the greatest blessings in my life. Everyone says that the second will feel the same. I will trust their opinion. :)

Second, I was blessed to receive a full year of tuition thanks to the Marvin O. Johnson Educational Ministry Scholarship as I begin the Th.M program at Western Seminary. I received my M.Div at Western and am going back to start some post-graduate work to experience and devote myself to some more research oriented work surrounding historical theology. I feel incredibly thankful and blessed to have received this honor and look forward to working hard in the program. This fall I'll be focusing on Augustine as well as the New Perspective on Paul/Canon.

Third, I've lost 25 lbs. this year, most of it coming off in April-June. This is something I've been vowing to do for the last several years. Since college I have had little discipline in terms of eating and exercising. In high school I was an athlete and everything came easy. After college, I started to put on some weight and exercise became miserable (no doubt thanks to the regular 1am Dominos pizza + unlimited soda). This year Kelli and I have drastically changed our diet (much thanks to our wonderful doctor: Maureen Mays). It wasn't a fad diet and it wasn't unhealthy. We simply removed sugar from our diet and started eating smaller, healthier portions. (I have a copy of the menu if you want it). Running and playing basketball feel about 50x easier now that the weight is off. I went from barely being able to run a mile, to running 3 miles after three times out. I feel great. Related to that, my Triglycerides are below normal (131) for the first time, possibly in my entire life (hard to say). This is something genetic that has plagued my family for generations and it feels good to catch it early and start to change the pattern. If you're name has a "Bagby" in it and you're reading this, it would be wise to get yours checked out!

Fourth, I'm thankful for fantastic friends. While I have felt incredibly blessed and victorious in certain areas, it has also been a year marked by new challenges, experiences, and difficulties. In light of that, I'm not sure what I'd do without such a supportive wife (a better pastor's wife I cannot even imagine!), some very close friends, and a wonderful home community. In the last few years I have learned the value of choosing the right partner for a life of ministry. If you are single and pursuing pastoral ministry of any kind, one of the most important decisions you will make is who you marry (assuming you are pursuing marriage)! I might write more on this later.

Fifth, Kelli's parents, who are both retired, have decided to spend a good part of the year in Portland. I know that many couples have in-law conflicts and such but I am blessed to have a generous, thoughtful, and loving family that I've been welcomed into. I look forward to Mike and Lisa sharing life with us (and I know Gram does too!).

Honestly, this has been a fantastic year. I am learning, growing, and changing. And while it is clear that I have a lot of room to grow and I'm becoming aware of some of my deficiencies, I'm thankful for where God has brought me in my life.

I've also realized recently that ALL of this could change in an instant and so I do not want to take any of this for granted. I look forward to Pt. 2 of 2011 with optimism, but more, a trust that no matter what happens, God is with us.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Doc Henderson

Dr. Marion Henderson (known by his students as Doc Henderson) was one of my professors in my undergrad at Lincoln Christian University. He taught the Gospels, my fifth semester Greek class, and Revelation. During my college years (1998-2002), Doc was already well along in years and had apparently been teaching since the mid 1800's or something like that, but he was still going strong. I remember he usually (if not exclusively) read from the gospels in his class and at chapel from the Greek text. (Something that I will probably never be able to do). Not having been around my alma mater for almost 10 years, I have since wondered what Doc is up to. Any other LCU grad knows that Doc's greatest desire in life was to hear the words "Well done, good and faithful servant" at the end of his life. So when I heard what he is doing now, I shouldn't have been surprised.

Recently a friend of mine (Josh Peigh) heard news that Doc Henderson is now in a nursing home. Anyone who has transitioned an elderly grandmother or grandfather to a nursing home knows how painful and difficult it is for everyone involved. To live your entire life as an adult, having your own home, possessions, and independence, and then having it all taken away from you is something I cannot imagine. In fact, it seems that many people simply cannot bear it. It's a painful parting with the only way of life they have known and can lead to bitterness, an obsession with the "good ol' days", and little focus on the life that lie ahead.

So naturally, I wondered how Doc Henderson would take it. Josh texted me last night about what Doc is doing in his nursing home: he's teaching the gospels to the other residents! While most people have given up on a meaningful future at this point and prefer to focus on the past, he still believes that the ministry God has given him is not over! I am amazed and inspired by this wonderful man. I hope that I am half the follower of Jesus that Doc Henderson is if I make it to my 90's!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

A Word on Sleep (Via 1885)

"A person should never be waked except in cases of urgent necessity. When a man falls asleep he is in a shape for repairs. All the intricate machinery of his body is being overhauled and put into order for next day's work. Nature knows what the tired body needs. She lays it on the bed, surrounds it with the refreshing air of night, covers it with darkness and lets the man rest. "Tired nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep," visits him, and as the hours pass by his energies are renewed, his strength comes back, and when the daylight steals through the window, he opens his eyes and feels like a new man. If he is early to bed, he awakes correspondingly early. Now, who will go to that man's side an hour before he opens his eyes and say to nature: "Stand aside and let him get up; he has had enough rest!" Nature will say: "You can take him, if you will, but I will charge him with an hour's loss of sleep, and I'll collect out of his bones and nerves, and hair and eyesight. You can't cheat me, I'll find property to levy on." Nature is the best book-keeper in the world. You may over-draw, but you must pay back, even to the pound of flesh."

Courtesy of "Northern Messenger" October 15th, 1885

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

A Key Problem For Universalism

If all people are recipients of the justification that Christ's death merits (as Rom. 5:18-19 is used by universalists to suggest), then where are the current fruits of that salvation in the lives of all? Is salvation simply something to be experienced or received in the future?

I hear universalists say things like, "all people are saved, they just don't know it yet". But that would imply that being "saved" has no implications, benefits, or tangible results in the present lives of those who are saved (but don't know it). This makes what happens in salvation very transactional and lifeless. Essentially, we've got a ticket to heaven, we're on the list, even though we don't know or understand why we're on the list, and as a result, it means relatively nothing in the here and now.

Further, how does one enter God's realm when ones whole life has been lived in rebellion toward God coupled with the lack of the heart transformation that Jesus suggests is crucial to truly experience the Kingdom of God (both presently and post-mortem)?

To me the proponents of universalism (even of the evangelical flavor) have a one-dimensional gospel that is about getting into heaven when or after you die. Ironically, I thought we've (the church) started to understand that the gospel is much more holistic than that. It at least appears to me that universalism is taking a step backwards into an outdated, transactional soteriology that really doesn't change anything until we enter the realm of eternity. Bummer.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What are you doing for Easter?

This is a question that I get asked every year, from those inside and outside of the church that I pastor. "What are we doing for Easter?" I always want to reply, "I was thinking we would worship the risen Lord. It seems appropriate on this day."

But what people really want to know is, "What kind of fireworks are we going to be setting off?" "Are we giving away a car?" "Are we paying people 10 dollars to come to our service?" "Is anyone going to be rolling in with a tank?" Or simply fill in the blank with any gimmicky attempt that you've heard churches try to get people in the doors since apparently a risen Savior and new life just isn't drawing people anymore.

And unfortunately as a pastor, you FEEL this kind of pressure. I'd like to be able to prepare a sermon like I normally do, with prayer and study and reflection. But you can't help but feel the pressure (possibly imagined) that people are expecting something BIG, even in your sermon. And so there's added stress to write a GREAT sermon. The biggest problem is, I'm not the one who decides which sermons are "good" and which sermons aren't! Typically, most of the ones I think turned out mediocre, God uses in a powerful way. Dallas Willard says that the most important thing that happens in a sermon is what God does with the words after they leave your lips and before they reach the listeners ears. I think that's a powerful thought and makes "trying harder" on a sermon because it's Easter seem kind of silly.

I like to follow up the question "What are we doing for Easter?" with, "What would you like to see us do?" The answer is always the same, "Uh, i don't know."

The impulse that that Easter service should be special is natural seeing that it is the biggest redemptive event in the Christian story. I understand that. But HOW should it be special? Should we have lots of "special" music? Should we have videos and laser light shows? What do people want? I really don't know.

But what I want to suggest is that if you want the Easter service to be special, come ready and prepared to worship the God who gave his life for you and then conquered death so that we may have new life. If you've participated in dying to yourself during Lent for the past 40 days and come prepared to engage in worship with your entire self as you "come to life to the reality of God", you can expect a special Easter service.

In light of that, I am rejecting the outside and imagined pressure to do something BIG. Because honestly, until I can think of how I can do something bigger than what Jesus did on Easter, any attempt to do something BIG is going to look pretty pathetic by comparison.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Summer Reading 2011

Never too early to start that summer reading list, right?

What's on yours?

Bright's Passage - Josh Ritter

The Pale King - David Foster Wallace

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Michael Chabon

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - Dave Eggers

The Beach - Alex Garland

Martin Eden - Jack London

Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk

The Border Trilogy - Cormac McCarthy

Here I Stand; A Life of Martin Luther - Roland Bainton

Finding Our Way; Leadership for Uncertain Times -Margaret Wheatley

Failure of Nerve; Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix - Edwin Friedman

The Truth Shall Make You Odd - Frank Honeycutt

Sunday, April 17, 2011


My vacation in Florida is over. :(

We realized early on in the trip just how much has happened in our lives in this place.

In college, some college buddies and I drove down to Clearwater three of the four years for spring break. This was my first venture to Florida. Jon Hentrich knew a youth pastor who let us sleep in the basement of their church building making it rather affordable. In this church building we also staged a very late night mock church service that we regrettably recorded and would probably get us all fired at most churches. That video still exists somewhere. :)

My senior year of college I spent 6 months in a preaching internship at Journey Church in Tampa. It was a very memorable and formative time in my life. A month later, Kelli, who was just a college acquaintance at the time moved to Tampa to take a job with Impact Ministries and pursue her MBA . Little did we know 5 years later we would be getting married in St. Petersburg and spending our first year of marriage in Tampa working for Journey and Impact at the University of South Florida.

All that to say, we have a lot of history in Florida and it was nice to be back and remember so many of them.

Some of the highlights of this trip (in no particular order):

1. Gram swimming (and pretty much doing anything else). The longer he is here, the more comfortable he becomes in water. For whatever reason, he doesn't care for the beach or the sand, but loves the pool. He also got to take his first trip to the aquarium where he spent more time walking up and down the stairs than looking at fish. Maybe next year...

2. Rum Runners. When you find a good rum runner, you plant yourself for a while. This is an amazing beachside drink that is hard to overestimate. Light rum, dark rum, blackberry brandy, banana liquor, orange juice, pineapple juice, grenadine, and a cherry. Are you sold?

3. Celebrating Kelli's birthday at Shor restaurant. King Crab Legs, Red Snapper, Grouper, Wine, dessert, scotch....mmmmm. A bit of a splurge that we’ll pay off someday. Well worth it.

4. Tampa Bay Rays vs. Minnesota Twins. John Volstedt has a friend that works for the Rays and was able to hook Kelli and I up with a few free tickets. Out of respect to my friend Rob Grant, I was rooting for the Twins, but Johnny Damon hit a walk-off in the bottom of the ninth that ruined Rob's day.

5. Hanging with Adam Randall at the Dunedin House of Beer. Good to catch up with Adam and experience a good Florida beer bar. 40 taps of mostly east-coast microbrews. Adam is also one of my most talented friends and a great musician. Click here and listen to "Hope is Your Last Visitor" and "Bodies and Souls".

6. Visiting Journey Church. This was the church that I did a 6 month preaching internship in. At the time we were meeting at Gaither High School, but in the last few years they built a building which we got to see for the first time. There are still many people there that we've known for years and who we love greatly. I am always struck when we go back and visit how little time seems to have passed even though it has been 5 years. There's some good people at Journey. How do I know? Because they heard some pretty lousy sermons but encouraged me nonetheless!

7. Knowing that capable and gifted Evergreeners were coordinating and leading the gathering at Hawthorne in my absence! I hope they did good, but not TOO good. :)

8. Getting to do some pleasure reading. More specifically, Douglas Coupland's Generation X, Michael Chabon's Manhood for Amateurs, and Jack London's The Road. One day I even came up with a summer reading list that I'll post soon.

9. Moe's. This is a burrito place that actually had a location in Beaverton for a very short stint, but for some reason Beaverton folks don't know what's up, so it closed. The sour cream flows like cheap wine and the sweet tea....oh the sweet tea.

10. The Sun. It was about 85 and sunny EVERY DAY we were here. Amazing. I almost forgot what it was like to have that many sunny days in a row!

Back to Portland....

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Odds and Ends 7

In less than 40 hours we will be sitting on the beach in Clearwater, FL soaking up some sun for an entire week. I plan on leaving my iphone off, no computer, no distractions from vacation. So if you're waiting for a return phone call or email, you won't get it! :) See ya when I get home.

To gear up for our vacation (and celebrate Devin's upcoming 30th Birthday), we (Kelli, Gram, and myself) spend a lovely evening up at a condo on Mt. Hood with the Vaughns. Nothing like sitting outside in the hot tub while it's snowing! I suppose it would have been more romantic if the one I was with would have been my wife rather than Devin, but win some, lose some. We were expecting Gram to go into "vacation sleep mode" which is when he wakes up screaming every 1 1/2 hours, but he slept extra-ordinarily well, which I hope is a good sign for next week in FL.

Speaking of Mt. Hood, we ate at the Ice Axe Grill in Government Camp and sampled all of their beers and I've got to say that I was impressed! I appreciate the fact that they were all beers in the 5% range. I'm tired of only seeing beers on tap at Portland establishments that are 6, 7, or even 10% alcohol. I want to enjoy a beer and relax with friends, not feel like going to sleep at 7:30pm. As Mark Sherwood wisely pointed out (as a fellow home brewer), it's much tougher to create a beer that tastes just as good at 5% as it would at 7%. That's very true!

See ya in a week!