Friday, April 30, 2010

Two things


There's a brilliant post by Lyndsay Rush that you need to read. Especially if you've ever felt like this:
I feel like my thoughts are a pre-school classroom. There’s paste and glue everywhere and it’s snack time and the kids are pulling each other’s hair and screaming at the top of their lungs and the shy kid just wet himself.


There's just over 25 hours left to the Wordplay Contest.

Enter it.

You know you want to.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Because really, what's cooler than being mistaken for a misunderstood figure from church history?

Every year, a nearby community celebrates Tulip Time. This year, it begins Saturday.

Even though we live less than 30 minutes away, we avoid that town during Tulip Time as much as possible. (Edited to add: It's not the event that I can't handle, it's the crowds. Blame seven years battling LA traffic.)

But maybe some year I'll go to the festival dressed up as John Calvin, and wear a sandwich board with the doctrines of grace painted on it, and when people look at me funny I'll be like, "What?! It's TULIP Time, right?"

OK, that idea may be even weirder than dressing up as Martin Luther for Hallowe'en.

Although it might be a great opportunity to explain that Calvin himself didn't come up with that system, and that the so-called "five points of Calvinism" were actually written by others 55 years after Calvin's death.

But explaining the difference between Calvin's concept of sovereign grace and the five points attributed to him could be a little tricky, since it's been misunderstood for centuries despite the efforts of people far smarter than I.

So maybe I'll just stay home and celebrate Tulip Time with one of these:

Note: Just a few days are left for the Wordplay Contest
enter today!


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Wordplay Contest!

If I could say a few words, I would be a better public speaker.
— Homer Simpson

As pre-announced yesterday...

Announcing the first ever
Wordplay Contest!

The theme:
Life coaching. Because a colleague and I were talking about it yesterday.

The instructions:
Write a paraprosdokian about advice, or giving advice, and submit it via the comments of this post.

Entries should be G- or PG-rated, and will be judged on originality, creativity, humor, and technical merit. (In other words, it's completely subjective.)

The deadline:
May 1, 2010, 11:59 p.m. EDT

The prize:
A $5 Coldstone Creamery gift card!

Here's one to get you started:

I was walking down Fifth Avenue today and I found a wallet, and I was gonna keep it, rather than return it, but I thought: "Well, if I lost a hundred and fifty dollars, how would I feel?" And I realized I would want to be taught a lesson.
Emo Philips


Friday, April 23, 2010

Especially for the word nerds in the audience

Last night I shot an elephant in my pajamas.
How he got in my pajamas I'll never know.
— Groucho Marx

My friend Rachel recently dedicated part of a blog post to a form of wordplay called the paraprosdokian.

I like all sorts of wordplay, but there's something about this form I find really amusing (aside from its unpronounceable name). It probably has something to do with my early exposure to Groucho Marx, who was a master of it.

Writer Lyndsay Rush is also fond of paraprosdokians and uses them to dispense helpful advice:
  • Don’t put all your eggs in a basket, instead wait until they hatch into ducks and put them all in a row.
  • Roll with the punches, and the homies.
  • Keep your chin up, it makes you look skinnier in pictures.
  • Keep your eye on the prize — especially if it is hidden inside a piñata and you have a bat in your hand.
  • Live like there is no tomorrow, Sing as if no one can hear, Love like you have never been hurt, Dance as if the Macarena never went out of style. (Lyndsay may be a little obsessed with the Macarena.)
So I'd like to host another contest, to see who can come up with the best paraprosdokian.

As with last year's haiku contest, the prize will be a $5 gift card to Coldstone Creamery. (Hey, we may be on a tight budget here at mosaicsynapse, but we will always get behind a really good sundae. And then it will return the favor.)

Watch for contest instructions coming soon!


Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Prodigal

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the parable of the prodigal son.

I've had some experience with my own prodigal son, and friends have encouraged me to minister to other parents who are walking through the same heartache. For a variety of reasons, I've been hesitant to do so.

But a couple of weeks ago, I sang The Prodigal (from Sovereign Grace's Sons & Daughters project) during a church service.

Backed up on piano and vocals by my once-prodigal, now-returned son.

The Prodigal
words & music by Meghan Biard and Ryan Biard

You held out Your arms, I walked away
Insolent, I spurned Your face
Squandering the gifts You gave to me
Holding close forbidden things

Destitute, a rebel still, a fool in all my pride
The world I once enjoyed is death to me
No joy, no hope, no life

Where now are the friends that I had bought
Gone with every penny lost
What hope could there be for such as I
Sold out to a world of lies

Oh, to see Your face again, it seems so distant now
Could it be that You would take me back
A servant in Your house

You held out your arms, I see them still
You never left, You never will
Running to embrace me, now I know
Your cords of love will always hold

Mercy's robe, a ring of grace, such favor undeserved
You sing over me and celebrate
The rebel now your child


Sunday, April 04, 2010

Why the Resurrection matters

"If the Cross is the defeat of the old king, the Resurrection is the enthronement of the new."
— J. R. Daniel Kirk, A Resurrection That Matters

The Maker of the Universe
words by F.W. Pitt; music by Phil Keaggy

The Maker of the universe,
As Man for man was made a curse.
The claims of Law which He had made,
Unto the uttermost He paid.
His holy fingers made the bough,
Which grew the thorns that crowned His brow.
The nails that pierced His hands were mined
In secret places He designed.

He made the forest whence there sprung
The tree on which His body hung.
He died upon a cross of wood,
Yet made the hill on which it stood.
The sky that darkened o'er His head,
By Him above the earth was spread.
The sun that hid from Him its face
By His decree was poised in space.

The spear which spilled His precious blood
Was tempered in the fires of God.
The grave in which His form was laid
Was hewn in rocks His hands had made.
The throne on which He now appears
Was His for everlasting years.
But a new glory crowns His brow
And every knee to Him shall bow.


Saturday, April 03, 2010

Eric Jay

April 3 is my older brother's birthday. This year, it's his 55th.

It seems strange to think of him as middle-aged. In my mind, he's forever young. The last birthday he celebrated was his 21st.

In September of 1976, he got behind the wheel after an evening of drinking. With his roommate in the passenger seat, my brother took a sharp turn too fast and rolled his Mustang down an embankment.

He died at the scene. (His roommate survived the accident, but died after several months on life support.)

This is just one part of my family's legacy with alcohol.

I was 14 when the accident happened, a few weeks into my freshman year. On the plus side, I guess, it kept me from experimenting with alcohol throughout high school. (Which is not to say I didn't do some experimenting... just not with alcohol. Proving that even smart kids make dumb choices under the influence of teenage logic.)

My brother was the golden child, everyone's favorite, and his death devastated my family. My parents, already in the midst of an ugly divorce, found new ammunition to use on each other. My three remaining siblings and I coped as well as we could, but our world had gone grey.

His death blasted a gaping hole in our lives, and we've tiptoed around it ever since.

Even now, more than three decades later, I remember his face, his voice, his laugh.

I remember his artistic talent, his athleticism, his musicianship... his impulsiveness... his sense of humor... his temper... his love for the kids on the swim teams he coached.

And I feel cheated of the time.

I still miss you, Rick.


Friday, April 02, 2010

The Power of the Cross

The Power of the Cross
written by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend / performed by Kristyn Getty

Oh, to see the dawn
Of the darkest day:
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men,
Torn and beaten, then
Nailed to a cross of wood.

This, the pow'r of the cross:
Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath —
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see the pain
Written on Your face,
Bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Ev'ry bitter thought,
Ev'ry evil deed
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.

This, the pow'r of the cross:
Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath —
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Now the daylight flees;
Now the ground beneath
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two,
Dead are raised to life;
"Finished!" the vict'ry cry.

This, the pow'r of the cross:
Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath —
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death;
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.

This, the pow’r of the cross:
Son of God — slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.