Things My Students Have Said About Me

Actual comments my students made about me on a recent survey:

  1. the balder the better
  2. exuberant, zany, wacky, over the top
  3. Unique, John Stewart meets the apostle Paul.
  4. prone to shouting in high pitched voices
  5. pedagogic connoisseur — appreciates good teaching and apt quotes.
  6. occasional diarrhea of the mouth
  7. …unconventional
  8. wonderfully inappropriately humorous, great at coming up with mathematical‐scientific analogies for facets of spirituality (balloons and 2nd derivatives anyone?), best at representing Jesus on film

It’s great to feel loved. And mocked.

The Big 1–0

I remember seeing a sermon series once titled “Marriage: Closest Thing To Heaven, Closest Thing To Hell.” Brilliant title.

Ten years ago at this time I had just finished hiding my car from my groomsmen to prevent any untoward pranks and was at First Assembly of God in Lafayette, LA getting ready to be married under the auspices of Eric Treuil (who was using the authority invested in him by God and the state of Louisiana).

Three quick memories:

  • Paula was very beautiful in her bridal dress.
  • I began fidgeting with my ring while still in the sanctuary, a habit I’ve continued to this day. I don’t know why, but whenever I’m thinkig about something I’ll either spin it around on my finger or take it off and put it back on a few times. Whatever the cause, you can see me doing it on the wedding tape as we recess out of the sanctuary.
  • I had a pile of eclairs as my grooms cake courtesy of high school buddy George Byron Noel. He’s a really good chef and my cake was delicious (as my brother can attest, since he ate approximately half of it 🙂 ).

We headed out on a honeymoon that included a stop in New Orleans and culminated in a stay at Southern SALT (now known as the Uprising) where I will be preaching in just a few days. It’s funny how things seem to come full‐circle sometimes.

10 years. Much closer to heaven than hell by my reckoning.

Happy anniversary, Paula. I’d marry you again in a heartbeat.

Introducing Alexander Davis

Alexander Davis was born 11/17/2006 at 12:24pm after a very quick labor (from the time Paula began to push until the time he was completely outside was four minutes). He weighed 6lbs and 7oz and was 19.75 inches long.

Our plan is to refer to him as Xander (instead of the full Alexander or the briefer Alex). We’ll see how it takes. Dana seems to like it, so that’s a plus.

We’re still deciding about the middle name. We’ve got it narrowed down to three and we want to sleep on it before making our choice.

I’m too wiped to type much more now, check back later for more details. Until then, enjoy the photo gallery.

As The World’s Number One Speaker On The Subject of Humility…

Off-Road Disciplines: Spiritual Adventures of Missional Leaders (J-B Leadership Network Series)As the world’s number one speaker on the subject of humility, I’d like to draw your attention to a book in which I am a recurring character.

Earl Creps has just written Off‐Road Disciplines, a book for church leaders trying to navigate all the change our culture keeps throwing at us.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I am quoted many times throughout the book. If you have never read yourself quoted in a book before, let me assure that it can be disconcerting.

There’s no way I can be objective about this book. It’s written by a friend and almost all the recurring characters are friends.

So I will simply say that I enjoyed it and I think I would have enjoyed it whether or not it was by a friend. It’s just filled with fascinating little snippets.

The History Channel recently offered me part of the answer in a documentary about the researchers who devote their lives to discovering Atlantis. These passionate and sincere people consider themselves consummate professionals in their field. They employ expensive, high‐tech equipment and sacrifice the respect of mainstream science to live on the perpetual verge of one of the greatest discoveries of all time. Spurred on by an ancient text (Plato, in this case), they spend years surveying vast stretches of ocean in a quest to assemble clues to cataclysmic events in the distant past. The disdain of their scientific peers only increases their fervor by making these faithful into professional martyrs. Sometime before the last commercial on the TV program, I grasped the parallel to the post‐Christian experience of the Church: ancient texts, outrageous theories, huge expense, persecution complex, and a passionate devotion to things that matter only to insiders. (page 21)

I have to believe I would find that gripping no matter who wrote it. Or consider this simple evidence that demonstrates a truth I have long believed but been unable to show data for:

…in a survey of magazine indices I found that the first references to postmodernism in Christian periodicals did not appear until four to thirteen years after the first references are indexed in secular journals.

That’s the most concrete, data‐based illustration I’ve ever seen of the culture lag in which the church is trapped.

Plus he coins two phrases that I love: “overchurched underachiever” (so busy with church stuff they have no time for real stuff) and “orthodoxy creep” (a tendency to doctrinalize every opinion).

Anyway, on to the important stuff: me.

My first appearance in the book is on page 45:

After hearing a talk supported by PowerPoint, Glen (half my age) said politely, “I thought you had a degree in communication.”

Ouch. The words hurt Earl the first time and me the second.

I am featured again five pages later: “Glen helps me with technology and the Internet.”

My best role, however, comes in the chapter on humility.

No, really.

A [ministerial] life representing an attitude of “I know!” “You’re wrong!” and “You need me!” serves as what my friend Glen calls a “blocker,” standing in the way of the spiritually hungry rather than motivating them to investigate Jesus further. (page 83)

At last, I am portrayed as the humble sage I know and love.

So I’ll stop quoting from the book before I paint myself in an unflattering light again. 😉

Oh, You Have One Of Those…

Dana has been potty training lately and she’s getting quite good at it. She’ll be playing with her toys, minding her own business, when all of a sudden she will leap to her feet and sneak/bolt towards the bathroom. After successfully depositing solid matter she will emit a triumphant cry: “I went poop!”

It’s quite charming, really.

Yesterday one of our friends, Jen, volunteered to take Dana in for the day while Paula was on bedrest. Things were going just fine until Dana pooped in her pants without showing the slightest interest in Jen’s bathroom.

Dana needed some cleaning to prevent a rash, and when Jen brought Dana to the bathroom Dana stared at the toilet and then said slowly to Jen, “Oh, you have one of those.” 🙂

Assumptions. As my friend Fraser used to tell me in high school, the word assume makes an ass out of you and me.

For the record, I am assuming the etymology of that comment traces back to donkeys and not to sphincters, otherwise it might be construed as a vulgarity. My thoughts on cursing, vulgarities, and expletives are a little complicated, but the bottom line is that I try to avoid offending people with the words I choose without becoming bound up in silly rules (such as erasing the word ass from the dictionary because one of its uses is a synonym for posterior). Plus the ensuing pun (resulting from the juxtaposition of poop and hiney) would be too awful even for me.

Back to assumptions: Dana assumes Jen has no potty and so she excretes wherever she happens to be. I assume God has no opinion about my decisions and so I don’t pray to receive guidance.

Bad assumptions lead to stinky situations.

Paula in Hospital, Everything OK

Yesterday Paula began to feel contractions, and her doctor decided to put under observation in the hospital.

She gave Paula some medicine to stop her contractions, and so far it seems to be working. She estimates there’s still a 60% chance that our baby will go full term.

In any event, it looks as though Paula will be on bed rest right up until Baby Davis appears sometime in the next few weeks. Or days. 😉

We’re already at the point where Paula can deliver with very little danger to the baby, so this is more about optimizing conditions rather than trying to preserve the life of our child.

Bottom line: Paula is fine, baby is fine, Dana is confused, Daddy is frazzled.

Daddy Can’t Handle The Truth

While eating breakfast this morning, Dana said, “Your bottom is saggy, Daddy.”

Bewildered, I think I said something on the order of, “Huh?”

At which point Dana began chanting, “You can’t handle the truth!”

Over and over.

I didn’t think I’d have to put up with this sort of mockery until her adolescence. I certainly didn’t expect it from a two year old.

I need to tell my ego to buckle its seatbelt — it’s going to be a rocky ride from here on out.