templa la vida

living this life in the light of jesus christ

Month: February, 2008

The Thing About God Is

God moderates life. You used to go to a temple to meet with God. And even then you had to have a priest do it for you. And he had to be “perfect” or God would smite him and his trembling fellow priests would have to drag him out of the Inner Room by a rope.

The thing about God is, He shook things up. Now, thanks to my brother Jesus, I am the temple. And so are you. God meets each of us in our hearts — our hearts are the new temple.

Life is our chance to find God, meet with Him, and work out our place in His kingdom. It can be really easy. And it can be really hard.

But life is here, in our faces. And it’s too easy to just play it all off as an accident.

So dig in. Find out what God has prepared for you. Certainly there’s a better story lined up than the one you come up with on your own. Think of Bruce Almighty. Wouldn’t it be cool to have God’s power at your fingertips? What would you do with it?

Asking God for advice is the best place to start. And since he has a direct connection to the deepest part of your heart — whether you believe it or not — you can communicate with Him immediately. Just by thinking about it.

And in the marketing coup-of-all-coups in the self-help department … it’s totally free!


The Dreams of Men (and Women)

I sometimes tease my wife.

“That’s it, I’m selling all my long pants and shoes and we’re moving to …”

Pick a location. Usually we’re talking tropical climates or pastoral locales. Maui. Mexico. The highlands of Scotland. The Irish countryside. That sort of thing.

During my more lucid moments I simply think about a cabin on some land in a remote part of the Pacific Northwest.

Leah and I are fans of J.R.R. Tolkein’s big fantastical adventure trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. While the story ties in spooky evil and violence, vicious monsters, and massive beasts in magnificent array, it’s the simple life of the Hobbits that draws us in. Build a home, mind a few animals, grow some food, drink some ale. Sing. Dance. Eat. Drink some more ale. (“It comes in pints!?”)


Thanks to a helpful chap who made his own Hobbit house, then posted photographs and step-by-step instructions on the web, I can have my oft-dreamed cabin in the country. But it would be more than just a cabin in the country, wouldn’t it? The form of the thing, the being underground — in the ground — would sweep you away to Middle Earth, and the lands of Tolkein’s adventures. Better than Mexico, Maui, or the island nations of northern Europe? Probably not. But closer to home, at least.

Check it out at http://www.simondale.net/house.

As If You Needed Another Reason …

Here’s a fresh perspective on why you should buy an iPhone. I thought it was cool that I could find pizza on a whim in a city I’m unfamiliar with, or watch a chapter of The Curse of the Were-Rabbit while I’m waiting in line at the dentist’s office.


But I never thought of using my iPhone to figure out if I’m maybe about to head down the devil’s own Black Diamond. Perhaps I need to get out more.

Community is a Gift

A story Joseph Lekuton tells in this brief (about eight minutes) presentation reveals what I think is the true gift of God that community is. Mr. Lekuton is a member of the Kenyan parliament. Whose life trajectory is amazing, which he explains in the presentation.

I wanted to embed the video, but WordPress, at the moment, does not support universal embedding from video sites; rather, just a few. But click this link to go to the presentation.

I’d like to know what you think about what it means to be the eyes, or the legs, or whatever. Post your comments!

Breaking Bread v.2

Leah and I took a rest in Portland this weekend, hitting the Stumptown Coffee Roasters and Powell’s City of Books adjacent to the Pearl District. We woke Monday morning and took off on foot looking for a great place for breakfast.

Some say the increased use of the word “bistro” is suggesting too much, and that the true attitude of the bistro can only be delivered in Paris. Nonsense.

We pulled up at the Everett Street Bistro in the heart of the Pearl District with our appetites in high gear, which is good, because the fare in plentiful and yummy.

Patrons are wedged in pretty tight, but the white paint, tall windows, and high ceilings make it bearable. Plus there’s a hint of Europe in sitting near enough to the neighboring table to hear an entire whispered conversation.

Our waiter, J.C., embodied the Bohemian atmosphere of the place, complete with tattoos, black-rimmed glasses, and not-really blonde hair. He came swashbuckling up to our table.

“How we doin’?” he inquired, expectantly.

“Good, man, how are you today?” I shot back. Leah and I smiled at him.

“Workin’,” he said, smiling back and moving his head on his neck like a pigeon. “Workin’ and twerkin’.”

“Cool.” I finished. It was going to be an interesting experience, even if the food sucked. Which it patently did not.

We ordered coffee, which comes from Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Leah just looked at me. “Twerking?” she said, with the end upturned like a question. I widened my eyes and shrugged, which is all I could really do. Come to find out, twerking is like shaking your butt while you’re dancing. It has it’s origin in the word “footwork.” Get it? Twerk.

Anyway, while J.C. was shaking his butt bringing us coffee refills, we enjoyed a brunch-type-thing of corned beef hash (for me) and a beautiful looking ham and cheese and egg pannini (for Leah).

We’ll be going back. Wanna come with?

Aural History

I’ve been listening to music since I was a little guy. I was probably five years old when I got my first plastic little record player that played the 45 rpm records you could buy for less than a dollar. I’d sit in my bedroon for hours and listen to my stack of songs over and over again.

Later I got my music from the radio through a silver Motorola the size of one of those old chalkboard erasers. On warm summer evenings, safe on my pastoral country farm in central Illinois, I could stay up late enough for the multitude of radio signals to fall silent, making way for the juggernaut WLS-AM from Chicago. The music from another world, tinny and thin, but thick with magic and promise.

Later, as a teenager, I moved to that big city of the big shoulders and found the magic going deeper with FM album rock stations and no commercials, like now there were fewer people peering in.

Listening to music is like smelling flowers. Or maybe more accurately, it’s like looking at flowers up close, detecting the texture of each leaf and bud, peering into the blooms to discover new worlds of detail. Music is like so much of nature, which seems at first to be random, but when you look up close, down deep, you find that everything God created works together in some knit-together way. Music is knit like this – and it’s like math, random yet orderly, turbulent yet predictable.

One more thing that it is: it’s a gift God gave us to express something inside us that is otherwise inexpressible, yet it’s a powerful force that tells us something, too. Inexplicably, lyrics written by a stranger, when they’re wrapped in sound waves, might become our own story, one we can access even if we are a thousand light-years removed from the truth of it. Only God has the power to connect us all in such powerful ways.

A Good Year

This was a good year for movies. We try to get out to see all the big blockbusters, plus the smaller films we think will intrigue us, move us, or take us away to another place.Here are the 10 movies, released in 2007, that I liked best:

1. No Country For Old Men

This engaging story stuck in me like no other ever has. I started the book, then broke to see the movie at around Chapter 4, then read the rest of the book. Joel and Ethan Coen, the ingenious brothers who wrote the screenplay and directed the picture, stayed remarkably close to author Cormac McCarthy’s narrative. Even the dialogue was spot on across most of the movie. It feels as real as any movie can.

2. There Will Be Blood

Daniel Day-Lewis becomes Daniel Plainview in a way I’ve never felt an actor do, weaving in chilling behavior that captivates.

3. Ratatouille

Anyone can cook! Leah and I could watch this one every evening, snuggled on the couch together.

4. Atonement

Vast. And vastly entertaining filmmaking. I’d love a new ending, though.

5. Into the Wild

Powerful true story about the life of a young man searching for … something. Sean Penn puts the compelling story on celluloid, but Emile Hirsch lays down a heart-wrenching performance – the hardest-to-watch film I’ve seen all year. The lump in my throat still hurts when I listen to Eddie Vedder’s soundtrack.

6. Gone Baby Gone

A harsh, violent, ugly story; well-told by director and Ben Affleck. Based on a book by Dennis Lehane. Story-telling doesn’t get more raw than this. If you haven’t been there, don’t go.

7. Hot Fuzz

Unabashed, irreverent, unlikely, and fun.

8. The Bourne Ultimatum

Nobody kicks bad-guys’ butts like Jason Bourne. Wait. Which ones are the bad guys?

9. Juno

A charming tale with a slightly sordid side. A kind of a modern-day Say Anything, but not quite as smart.

10. Disturbia

The title is a play on the word “suburbia,” in which too much time on one’s hands can be a bad thing. It’s a good, old-fashioned teenage thriller, that’s a lot of fun. Leah and I had a great date night watching this one.

The ones that got away: (I have a lot of catching up to do.)

The Kite Runner
American Gangster
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
August Rush
We Own the Night
Away From Her
Lars and the Real Girl
Across the Universe
The Darjeeling Limited
Michael Clayton
In the Valley of Elah
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly