Thursday, July 19, 2007


As I've shared with some of you already, I am once again preaching this week. In a strange twist from the usual routine, however, I was asked by the elders to speak out of Hebrews Chapters 1-2. The passage in short talks about the supremacy of Jesus Christ, which is the direction I am going with the sermon, but the writer of Hebrews places this discussion in context of Jesus' superiority to angels. This got me thinking about the subject of angels, demons, and those other supernatural elements of our faith that often get short shrift in the Churches of Christ. A few weeks ago in the restoration history class I am teaching at VRCC, I talked about why I think this happens, namely that our movement begins with the Enlightenment philosophy that emphasizes reason and therefore has little room for things that are not easily explainable, but I wonder if we as a movement are backing away from this philosophy. So, what are your views on angels, demons, and the like? If you claim to believe in these things, does it go beyond a mere intellectual assent to their existence? Do angels, demons, etc., affect your faith in any substantial way?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Doing the Right Thing for the Wrong Reasons

Courtesy yourbartender

Well, it's about time that someone posted on this blog, and it's WAY past time that the rest of the P.E.A.K. take up that responsibility! So let me take a crack at this and see how it goes.

Many of you know I work at a company that's in the educational technology business. We make products that help kids perform better at math - you can say that with pretty hefty certainty, because there's plenty of actual independent research behind it. (Of course, there might be competitors that make products that do the same thing to some degree, but that's usually not mentioned.) One of the ways that my company promotes their products is to go into a school that, overall, is performing poorly at math. We provide the students with technology, and provide the teachers with training - all free of charge. The results are usually dramatic and astonishing - students perform markedly better at math, and teachers are more excited about teaching than they ever have been before. The district sees all these results and immediately green-lights the purchase of more technology and training, which can result in even more kids performing better at math.

Of course, we don't do this just to give everyone warm fuzzies. Every single metric is measured, researched, and published on the widest scale possible as a "case study" or "model district." The idea is that other districts in the same boat will see themselves in the example, and become moved to purchase our company's technology.

Now before I get too far, let me say I'm completely glad when anyone purchases what we make. After all, it pays my salary! And let's all be honest with each other - kids performing better in math is a good thing, right? Even if one kid can succeed and improve their future, isn't that worth any cost? Who's to say that one of these students turned on to math isn't a future Nobel Prize winner, computer science genius, or influential economist?

So here's what it comes down to: Can you do the right thing for the wrong reason? Is it still a good deed if you do it for completely selfish reasons? Should we praise the philanthropic efforts of a company out to make a profit?

Discuss away!

Monday, April 30, 2007


I thought that we had a fairly interesting Home Team meeting last night. We talked about being willing to listen for and follow God, even when it brings us out of our comfort zone. We started by asking a pretty compelling question, that I thought I would bring to this forum. What is the smallest decision you ever made that turned out to deeply affect you? You never know how a seemingly insignificant choice could shape your future, so what choices have you made, and where have they led you?
I know my life was irrecovably changed one day by being in the wrong lane on West Roundgrove Road. Shortly after moving here, I was headed to work at what was then Mail Boxes Etc. and wound up in a far right lane that turned into a right turn only lane. Through God's working, a car kept me from getting over, and I was forced to take the right turn. In extricating myself from this situation, I chose to cut through the Meadowglen plaza shopping center, and found to my surprise the Vista Ridge Church of Christ. The best wrong turn I've ever made. What choice have you made, and how has that choice affected you?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Be Square!

Jennifer took this picture when she was in Japan last year. For some reason, it always makes me laugh. I can't imagine that making a square watermelon changes the taste of it at all. It is simply a matter of appearances (as well as the inevitable fact that squares are easier to stack and thus transport than the odd spherical shape watermelons usually come in).
I wonder if we are like this sometimes. There is a natural way in which we are supposed to grow and develop, but the world forces us to take a different shape. The very structure of life dictates that we become more selfless, from the days of an infant when our whole world is comprised of our needs, to those first lessons of sharing, to the point that some of you find yourselves at, where you must yield your wants and needs to those of the new life in your midst. Despite this the world tells us to becomes more selfish, to take care of number one regardless of the pain it causes others. Everything in nature tells us that beauty and youth and appearance are transitory and fleeting, but the world tells us to celebrate these things and place utmost value on them.
How do you stay round in a square world?

Monday, April 9, 2007


First off, I really want to thank Jennifer, Kelly, and Eric, who proved themselves to be really good sharers. If you haven't yet, feel free to respond with your own "Better know a VRCC'er". I reall y like it when we get to know each other better.

To encourage that spirit of sharing, let me open up about something. Jennifer and I are so not prepared to be parents! We were given the opportunity to babysit little Kaleb Wages who, if you are not familiar with him, may be the best baby I've ever come into contact with. I've rarely seen him cry, and he seems incredibly comfortable with strangers. So, Jennifer and I assumed we were getting an easy assignment when Rachel mentioned that they needed a babysitter. "Easy" might be an over statement. Now, don't get me wrong. Kaleb was still the perfect baby, crying only when he was hungry, which is the most natural of reactions and one I employ quite frequently myself when I don't get lunch as quickly as I like. Still, I was unprepared for the physical and mental concentration that it takes to care for another life, and needless to say I have a new found respect for each of you who devote yourself to a child (Good Luck, Swan!). Long story short, Jennifer and I love all of your kids, but we are not ready to have any that we can't give back at the end of the day.

The picture to the left is from our NC Spring Break vacation, which I find myself reflecting on more and more as the TAKS test approaches (five more days to get my kids ready). As I have mentioned on my personal blog, flying a kite was one of the most restful things that we did while in Kitty Hawk, but it got me to thinking about the analogy of a kite. In order to make a kite fly, you have to hold the string very tight, for without that tension, the wind will not catch the kite and it will fall to the ground like a rock. However, the art of kite flying is also in knowing when to let go of the tension and allow the kite to soar. There is a balance. If I do not use enough tension, the kite will not fly. If I keep constant tension, the kite will never be free to ascend. I think this is like life. Without some sort of tension pulling at me (pressures of work, obligations of church, bills, "honey-do's" from Jennifer), I always crash by becoming directionless, staying in bed or wasting away in front of TV. If there is too much tension, however, I am only hovering and not soaring. I lose creativity and purpose, only surviving to the next chore and not recognizing the beauty of life. The art is in balancing the two, I guess. Right now, I could use a little less of the tension and a little more of the soaring. How about you?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Relaxing and "Better Know a VRCC'er"

The picture above is of a sign hanging in the great room of the vacation home that Jennifer and I rented over Spring Break. I tried with all of my might to live by the rules of this household (relax, relax, relax), but found it more difficult than you would imagine. Even in the midst of this peaceful time, I found myself counting the moments to the next thing on the schedule, mourning how much there was left to do before our time in paradise expired.
I've re-experienced this problem as of late. The last two nights I've slept horribly, waking up every couple of hours just long enough to confirm that I still have some time to sleep, anxious that my time was slipping away from me.
So, I guess my question is, what do you do to really relax? How do you avoid this dread in the midst of your peaceful moments that those peaceful moments are inescapably fleeting?
On a completely different note, I thought it would be interesting to try and get to know each other better. Many of us have been friends for years, but how well do we really know one another? So, I wanted everyone to post one thing that almost no one knows about you. I'll go first.
I have two siblings, an older sister and a younger brother. As with everything about me, though, there is a story. My brother is actually my cousin. Before the inbreeding jokes start, let me explain. My brother Steven is the son of my mother's brother and his now ex-wife. When Steven was five years old, his parents divorced, but both realized that they would be unable to care for Steven on their own. Therefore, my parents adopted him. I am ten months older than he is, which led to a great deal of confusion for those who grew up around us, especially since Steven kept his last name. So we are the twin brothers who look nothing alike and have different last names.
That's enough sharing from me. Now, it's your turn.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Do Your Work!

I guess I'll try to stir up a discussion, and I'm sorry if this is too teacher-y, but I think some of us might be able to relate. I'm struggling with a certain population of the 8th graders I teach, and thought it might make for some healthy discussion. I have about 15 kids who are really smart. They have got all of the academic skills you need to really excel at school, but they are all failing, and failing miserably.

The reason for this is that they are not doing assigned work. There is no doubt that they are capable of this sort of work because when I stand over them menacingly and refuse to move until they put pen to paper, they can knock out the work with breath-taking speed and accuracy. There is, however, a prevailing notion among this group that says that their capability should be sufficient. In other words, the fact that they could do the work if they wanted should outweigh the fact that they refuse to do the work.

I guess the question under discussion, therefore, is where does this attitude come from? If you are so capable, why hesitate to do what should be so easy for you?

Monday, February 26, 2007


It seems appropriate as the first poster here to discuss why this blog exists. The question is kind of ironic in a way, as many of us may be asking that same question about ourselves. Why do we exist? What is humanities role in a world that is too often characterized by pain, loss, and suffering? This blog exists, in many respects, to address this larger question which each of us have asked ourselves in the darkest moments of our personal journeys.

A Peak is the highest or most important point of something, as in either "the peak of the mountain" or "the peak of my political career." The authors of the P.E.A.K. Brothers thought this term was apt because we want to discuss with you the highest and most important things in this life. Things like family (whether that word has a positive connotation to you or not), friends, and God. We believe that as we ask the important questions, we will find truth by sharing with and learning from one another.

Thank you so much for finding this site, and I hope that you will feel free to comment whenever you have a thought.