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Showing posts from February, 2010

Day 70, Avatar, Did I 'see' it? (I did but it was called...)

"So, what did you think?" is the reverberating mantra as we all stand out our cushy popcorn laiden seats and grab our mysterious trash. I didn't want to answer because I had such mixed feelings. So, after 48 hours of work, a 3.3 mile run, and a several cups of coffee, ...I think I can write something that is not completely nonsensical. Here's my try.

It took awhile for me to get passed the Ferngully, Dances with Wolves, Never-Ending Story, Star Wars, Zelda and Smurf overtures. Ferngully/Zelda because it seemed I was watching a documentary on the rain forest and how the 'great tree' held everything together in green peace. Dances with Wolves, as the new 'Kevin' be-friends a tribe and eventually goes 'en-gine' (Indian) on the United States Calvary taming the ta-tonka (Buffalo). Never-Ending Story, because who in the world can hang on to any animal and fly. Star Wars because, if you remember in Star Wars I, the Naboo people with Jar-Jar...I truly …

Day 69, Blog Wars of 2010, Craven vs. Craven.

I have had a great number of entries to the blogger thus far and feel that I am getting a little more adventurous in my writing. I have just about set a precedence of daily, leisurely, and thoughtful blogs. A good bit of daily hits... Yet, as most of you know, Jessica has just entered the same arena. I showed her around and then just like Wesley stealing the show from Whitfield, Jessica has decided to strategically steal the lime light.

Here's what I have seen in her demise to destroy my empire: I noticed her pulling out blogger maps of recent bloggers. She is constantly trying to foil my writing by bringing me desserts just as I started writing. I also notice her constantly trying to 'be nice' to me when I settled down with a pen and paper to plot my course. The other day I knew something was odd, when she said 'Do you want to play your video games tonight?'...that's just not normal.  After helping her out with the backdrop and HMTL, I figured we had an allian…

Day 68, A Landmark Day.

About 365 days ago, I was sitting at FOB Falcon in Baghdad, Iraq working of filling out one of the first forms in our adoption. I remember walking to the Chow hall talking to some guys trying to explain that Jessica and I had finally made the first real decision and now it was going to be a long haul before we see some major results.

Not to get your hopes up, we did not get a child just yet,but we are definitely at a point in the adoption that needs some celebration. At 0800 this morning, our profile is officially posted at our Adoption Agency Web site, which is where mothers can view our family profile.

This sets into motion a major thing for us. For right now, this very hour, we could be receiving a phone call that would revolutionize our family. Within a short period of time today to about 4 months (estimate) we should be matched and possibly flying back to the states to hold the new Craven. How cool is that?

Celebrate with us.

Also join us in beginning to pray for Jessica and I as…

Day 67, Conversations that Change Us: Predestination

Sunday night a good friend of mine who is a West Point Graduate, and Battery Commander (Pretty Sharp dude) said, "Hey, I have got a question for you...What do you think about predestination?" Now, in many circles this would be resolved with two likely responses.
1. "Well, I think we should just leave those doctrines that divide the churches alone and focus on what really matters."
2. "Well, I have never really nailed down what I believe and thus will continue talking to eventually change the subject."

I chose neither.

I could tell that he had really been thinking about this. This was not one of those 'stump the chump' questions. I smiled and decided I would let him fill out the question and talk his way through it. As he did so, I would smile and put a guard rail or would give him what various views were. His eyes widened as he just began to have a huge dialogue with himself. I could tell his conversation was shaking and solidifying some ideas. I …

Day 66, 11:41 PM Saturday Night, Starting a New Sabbath Habit.

I have been thinking the ole Sabbath theory through for quite sometime. Do I think that it was a law that was fulfilled in Christ? (St. Augustine's View) Do I feel that I can do 'Holy Work' on the Sabbath? Is Saturday or Sunday the Sabbath? What constitutes 'rest' from work? Can I go outside and pick up sticks without sinning? You may not think about these things, but I challenge you to look at your view of 'keeping the Sabbath'?

What does the Christian do in the 21st Century? Do you go out to eat after church? Do you drop by Wal-mart? Do you turn on the stove and cook? If you are a minister, do you think Monday constitutes a resting day? What if Monday turns into just sit around and do things that I didn't get accomplished on Saturday?

I feel that we are to do something on the Sabbath. We are to rest and recognize that the work of Jesus Christ was sufficient on the Cross and that there is no 'extra' work to be done. Therefore, we should make ev…

Day 65, I Know Why My Dad Smoked a Pipe.

About 8 years ago, I picked up my dad's old pipe and packed it full of some Half and Half pipe tobacco, got a an ole Bic lighter and fired up my first bowl. I was sitting on top of my porch roof in Seminary. It was a cold night, but I didn't care. I had had just about enough stress for the week, and just thought a little nostalgia would ease the moment.

Oddly enough. It did.

Since then, I am the most infrequent smoker known to man. I literally by pipe tobacco and forget where I put when I get home. So, if you think I am an addict or I have a smoking problem, I would gladly dismiss your accusations.

But, I will admit this. I know exactly why my dad would pack a bowl, retreat to the back porch, pet a partially retarded golden retriever, and pensively look off to a lightly traveled dirt road. I never saw him smoke out of nervousness, even though I am sure he did, ...the pipe seemed to be a 7-12 minute pause in life...a time of reflection, gathering of thoughts,...making decisi…

Day 64, The Animal was Stopped Today.

I am sure as the Titanic sank into the Atlantic, someone was regretting the word, "unsinkable." Well today, my ego sank quickly as the Ford Explorer sat crippled for the first time in over a 1 foot 1/2 of snow. A tear trickled down my face, as I realized my baby was officially stuck.

The Background: For about 3 months it has been snowing in the Land of Germany. About every weekend we get our 4 to 6 inches without fail. The temperatures edge above 30 on a hot day, but most of the time hover around 23 all day long. So, the snow has piled up in just about every place imaginable. Up till this morning, I saw all these mounds of snow as potential conquest for my Explorer. With a magical push of a button, she would transform into a vicious beast that could tear through anything. I would almost stand outside my little apartment and taunt the gods if they couldn't dish out more snow for PT tomorrow. NOTHING COULD STOP THE 4x4!

I even admit that I would have dreams of my adventur…

Day 63, Young Minister's Goals.

A Classic Craven Moment, at FOB Falcon. My impression of Billy Sunday ranting.

I think it is safe to say that I am no longer a novice to ministry. I am no expert as of yet, but I feel that I can at least encourage 'younger' minister's with this list of things to be mindful.

TOP 10 GOALS OF YOUNG MINISTERS ( in no particular order)
1. Get to know the Janitor of the church and love him to death. He will be your bread and butter.

2. People are typically not easy to read when you first get to a church/Duty Station. Don't show your cards completely.

3. Love your wife, more than your congregation. This is a safe-guard for later, and also helps establish a 'help-mate' in ministry. She will relax, if she knows your heart.

4. Give all money and financial responsibilities to a trusted elder/adult. Never pass money to anyone, simply defer, "I don't take care of that, Mrs. Smith is our financial secretary."

5. If you work with a staff, which you probably wil…

Day 62, Overly Valuing Gray, Part I

"Its not a gift, it is merely technique." Ask any artist of charcoal or pencil, and you will hear this statement in regards to what many people call, "shading." Basically, its the ability to gradually move from a black to white without obvious steps of gradation. A snooty word for it is "Chiaroscuro". That's about the only thing I remember from my Art Education degree.

But truly, with enough time and patience a student can easily learn the right cross-hatching patterns to create such a smooth well-blended surface to compete with any renown Master. I believe this so much that in my private lessons, I will spend hours teaching anyone the proper rendering of sphere on a table. Ultimately, if you can shade a sphere correctly, you can make any object appear realistic in regards to light.

In American popular culture, the ability of blending black and white to an indistinguishable gray has almost become a masterful value that is been heightened to virtuosity. …

Day 61, Back in the Saddle with Purpose.

Last night, Jessica launched her new blogger page and I am uber interested to see how far she will push herself to share her thoughts with so many. With this new challenge to our family, I feel the accountability for me will be heightened. I suppose a little 'friendly-competition' could be fostered.

So, for all of you who are reading my thoughts and see how accurately they portray our family, feel free to cross-over to the 'SHE SAID' hemisphere of the blogging world. The link is provided in my favorites blogs on the right column.

****THE REFORMED CHAPLAIN****

Yesterday afternoon, I sent off my Nehemiah Commentary to Lifeway to be looked at and prayerfully published in some upcoming Student Material that is debuting in the Summer. Although the labor of writing the material had its definite ups and downs it did stir in me a desire to do more writing, but this time in a particular field without the 'guidelines' that are attached to lesson writing.

Therefore, I am goi…