Hipstamatic basketball

Tonight is our basketball league finals. We won the first game, and now we’re on to game two. The finals happen all in one night so we have to wait around for the next game.

Wish us some luck and energy. It’s hard to get these old legs moving fast sometimes.


A miracle in the alcohol aisle


My dad just sent me the above image.

The original header said, “Praise the Lord! Miracle in the Alcohol Aisle.”

Anyone in a wheelchair reaching for top-shelf booze is alright by me.

Definitely worthy of the blog. 🙂


Electronic Blast from the past!


This morning, I got an email from Kristy, an old friend whom I worked with in high school. The email said she tagged me in a photo.

I furrowed my brow and thought, “If this is one of those cheesy pictures in which she tagged a thousand other people in plus me, I’ll be … REALLY angry.”

I surfed over to Facebook to find the above shot of me playing the bass guitar.

Look at those brown, chicken legs!

Back in high school, my brother Jon had a band. Jon was (and still is) a singer/songwriter.

Jon’s main influences came from bands like U2, which often integrated Christian lyrics, but they were primarily secular with a secular audience.

After Jon graduated from high school, his goal was to have a successful band. Jon and his band went through a couple bass players. And they finally thought, let’s teach Jer how to play. In my sophomore year of high school, I became the bass player for a band called “Creamy Velour.”

Creamy Velour was the name of a character in a poem Jon wrote about a guy who went to heaven. Even if that’s not where the name came from, that’s what my mind is telling me.

The moment the band asked me to play, I went into perfectionist mode. I scraped up some money. I bought a bass guitar and a bass amp. I practiced all the time. I grew out my hair trying to look the part. The shot above is pre-long hair.

We didn’t have any gigs lined up except for playing for friends at first.

One day at a party, I met a guy who was starting a small club. I told him I was in a band, and we ended up getting booked for our first gig. We moved up to better venues throughout my career with Creamy Velour. Once we played at a biker bar using equipment that cost more than my parents paid for our home. Another time we drove five hours to Myrtle Beach, flyered around the main boardwalk, played a gig, watched the headliner and drove back the same night. It was brutal, and possibly one of the funnest nights of my life.

Carpe Diem 

Playing bass in Creamy Velour was my glory days. I loved it. My modus operandi while playing was “This could be my last time ever to perform on stage, so give it all you got.”

I loved being on stage, and before I knew it, all the shyness that I had growing up floated out the window and I became a stage junkie. I tried to be as entertaining as anyone I’ve ever seen on stage.

The demise of my music career came when I met my first girlfriend one night at a Creamy show. A Creamy groupie brought a friend named Wendy one night, and after the groupie accused me of liking Wendy, we started seeing each other.

After high school, Wendy was going to go to college, and she influenced me to go off to college too. Otherwise, I would have stayed home and gone to a community college, stayed in the band, and probably never moved away from home. When I told the band about my plans, they fired me. I have a fiery temper, and back then, it was even fiery-er.

There are some very embarrassing moments I’m not proud of. One time, my brother promised me that I could play one song with the band on stage at a show before going off to college. I arrived at the venue with my best friend and Wendy ready to play my supposed last hurrah. I went in  Jon told me the band changed their mind and I wouldn’t be able to play.

I ended up getting on stage while they were playing and yelling profanities and hate to the entire band, all through tears and snot flowing from my eyes and nose. Expressed anger is embarrassing.

Creamy Velour went on to become pretty popular in a local-scene kind of way. They recorded at CD that is still up at iTunes (listen here). Jon was somewhat of a celebrity, and still is. He plays for his church. And lots of people schedule their church visits around when Jon sings or not.

Painted reality 

Playing in Creamy Velour painted my view of creativity and professionalism. We put a lot of effort into making it, and being a part of quality work makes being a part of other collaborations an issue. When I work in groups, I expect everyone to bring as much professionalism and perfection as Creamy Velour. More often than not, it renders my experiences empty and unsatisfying.

It also painted my view of secularism. Secularism was demonized in high school, and yet I discovered that the way to artistic professionalism was to avoid divisive things like religion and aim at universal truths like love, pain, and simply entertainment for the sake of entertainment. Nobody wanted the guilt involved with church while out on a Friday night. They wanted to listen to fun music, with fun bands.

What it takes to make it is often taking what works and assimilating your personality into it. This mentality goes against what I was taught, which was, “Do God’s work no matter the cost to your personal gain. Failure on earth might mean success in heaven.”

If that is your view of the world, let me be the one who tells you, “Success in heaven and failure on earth is what it is … it’s a failure. A failure is failure no matter how you paint it. No matter how you spin it.”

I recommend aiming for success now.

A message about homosexuality from Gwyneth Paltrow

Tina is on a email list for a newsletter from Gwyneth Paltrow. Tina forwarded me one of them this morning, and I wanted to pass it along to you.

Tina says that the newsletter usually features things Paltrow is interested in including cooking, traveling, etc. … you know, Paltrow is the Oprah of digital newsletters.

This one is about Paltrow’s views on “Homosexuality in the Bible,” and it’s followed by other people’s views on the same topic. Take a look if for no other reason but something to think about.

Here’s Paltrow’s view:

A few months ago, in the heat of the tragic teen suicides that came about from intolerance of homosexuality, I saw a man on television who was apologizing for wishing death on gays from his facebook page. This member of an Arkansas school board was contrite for the violence in his words, but maintained that his values pertaining to homosexuality would remain, as he felt homosexuality was condemned in the bible. This concept, while foreign to me, is interesting, as it used to justify so much judgement and separation in our society. When my daughter came home from school one day saying that a classmate had two mommies, my response was, “Two mommies? How lucky is she?!” What does it actually say in the bible that will cause some people to be upset by my line of thinking?

Happy pride.


Read on


Long-form quote of the evening

You will find this quote at the end of this article about the historicity of Noah’s Flood.


It is time for Christians to admit that some of the stories in Israel’s primordial history are not historical. It is ok to concede that these stories were crafted in a pre-scientific period and were designed to offer ethical answers to questions of why and not questions of how. Christians and Jews must concede that the Bible can still be “inspired” without being historically or scientifically “inerrant.” As the early church father Origen explained regarding the preservation of empirical truth within problematic documents edited by human hands, “the spiritual truth was often preserved, as one might say, in material falsehood.”14 Simply because a factual error exists in the text of the Bible does not mean that an ethical truth or principal cannot still be conveyed. It is time for Christians to concede that “inspiration” does not equal “inerrancy,” and that “biblical” does not equal “historical” or even “factual.” Some claims like the flood and the six-day creation are neither historical nor factual; they were written to communicate in an pre-scientific literary form that god is responsible for the earth. It is time Christians conceded that there was no flood. It is time for Reformed Theological Seminary to concede that Bruce Waltke has a point.15 It is time for groups of evangelical amateurs to stop making sensational claims about discoveries they did not really make. And it is time for people to stop looking for Noah’s ark.

It’s not there.