It’s a day of links!

When God Hides His Face: an amazing article that recently appeared in Time magazine comparing a Nashville couple and the trials they’ve recently gone through to the story of Job. Sounds a bit far fetched, but Time did an amazing job. It’s reprinted on

Dulce de Leche Caramel M&M’s: Mars is now marketing M&M’s for Latinos. Why is this important? Well, it’s not really, it’s just fun for all those M&M aficionados.

Retro Desktops: Check out these old school desktop images. Just when you were getting bored with the most cutting-edge desktop, now you can just go retro.

Artists Should Visit the Used Bookstore

Anyone who wants to become an author or musician needs to venture into a used shop at some point in their life. In the used book store and used CD shop the writer or musician will discover just how lasting fame can be. Used shops are chock full of societal cast-offs, yesterday’s flash-in-the-pan, the would-be nobodys, and the did-be somebodys that just aren’t that big a draw anymore. Even the ones that are a big draw get cast off every now and then.

It’s a simple reminder that the world is not an easy place. If you can actually land in the limelight, the world has a short attention span.

What Does God Expect?

Sometimes I wonder what God expects from us. Does he really expect me to love my neighbor? Does he really expect me to follow him and get it all figured out? Or does he expect me to have some questions, to have some misgivings, to have some doubts?

Did God expect us to make such an organized hodge-podge of unorganized denominations out of his preferred way of life? Is this really what God expected?

Sometimes God confuses me. Sometimes all I can do is shrug my shoulders and walk on.

Where does it go when you flush?

When you turn on the faucet, where does the water come from? When you flush the toilet, where does everything go? When you plug something into the outlet, where does the electricity come from. When you buy an cereal at the grocery store, where does those oh’s come from?

We’re a little disconnected nowadays. We don’t even realize what’s under all the asphalt and concrete. We grow grass and think it’s natural. We let fumes escape into the air and don’t think about where they go or what they do. We eat foods with all sorts of chemicals and never bother to think if it’s okay. We poor chemicals onto our lawns and then sit the kids free to think, never pausing to think what’s seeping into our water.

I don’t mean to be an alarmist. I’m not much of a tree hugger. But these odd little inconsistencies worry me. What would happen if one day power didn’t come from the outlet? What if water didn’t come from the tap? What if the grocery store ran out of everything? Would we even know what to do?

We’re so modernized and technified that we’re completely clueless.

Strange world.

Billy Graham, Loans & Mr. Rogers

Just a word of warning: It’s random day today.

Have you ever been to a Billy Graham Crusade? Neither have I. But now, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, you can watch an exclusive Billy Graham Webcast. That’s right, for the rest of the month of July, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is offering footage from the recent Louisville Crusade for the online public. Do I sound like a used car salesman yet? I kind of feel like that’s the only way to hype something my employer is doing.

But seriously, if you’d like to check out a Billy Graham Crusade, you can watch one online. It’s kind of a mesmerizing event. I’ve heard so much about this Billy Graham guy, and now you can actually see what he does. And realize how old he is. As added incentive, I’ll throw in a free air-freshener. Okay, I really won’t. But can see performances from a pretty impressive list of bands, including dc Talk, Kirk Franklin, Third Day, Michael W. Smith, Jennifer Knapp, and more. So take advantage of this opportunity, they’re going fast.

On another note, I’m beginning to realize the magnitude of debt that college has brought upon my head. Thankfully my wife and I are both gainfully employed somewhere along the poverty line. You know you’re rolling in it when one of you is a teacher and the other works for a nonprofit. Please laugh along with me, I find that laughter releases endorphines which trick your mind into thinking you’re not dreadfully poor. And if you’d like to contribute to the Kevin & Abby Are Po’, Pee-oh, Po’ Fund, please make all checks payable to cash and stick them under the door.

(Note to Mothers and assorted people who think they are mothers: Abby and I are not really dreadfully poor. We’re just making light of our loan situation so it isn’t so depressing. If we actually find checks made out to cash stuck under the door, we’ll have to discreetly cash them and pretend we don’t know what you’re talking about. Which could be very embarrassing for everyone involved.)

Ah. That’s better. Don’t we all feel much better about the “L” word?

On another completely different topic, I’m beginning to realize that there are some Christians in this world who really impress me. Mr. Rogers is one of them. He was on Nightline tonight and we caught the tale end of the report. The guy shows the love of Jesus to this world in such an amazingly effective way.

There’s very few Christians like him in the world, and whenever I come across one I just want to stand there and scratch my head. It may be borderline hero-worship, but I try to keep some levity to it. Bono would be another one of those Christians. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be another. They seem to me to be people who really understood Jesus, and acted upon it, in a way I never seem to be able to. They have both my awe and respect. They made and are making an impact on society in a way the church doesn’t seem capable of doing. I think every once in a while you need people like these to remind the world of greater things.

Dear Invalid User

I used to think that computers were great for everyone. Everybody should run out and get a computer and put the wonder machines to work. Grandmas and Great Uncles should learn how to e-mail and check up on the weather where their grandchildren live. Ah the computer age.

That’s what I used to think. Then I started answering e-mail at my job. I’ve come to the conclusion that people are idiots and shouldn’t be allowed to own a computer unless they’re thoroughly trained, preferably in a rather demeaning way so they understand the power of the computer geek.

My biggest beef is with AOL users. It seems the prerequisite for joining AOL is that you have absolutely no brains in your head. It doesn’t help matters that AOL makes things difficult. In normal e-mail programs links are highlighted and you can simply click on them to launch your Internet browser and check out the website a friend sent you. Not in AOL. The links don’t work. The only way to make them work is to use HTML e-mail, which is an even bigger nightmare. You would think AOL people would be aware of this problem and so learn how to copy and paste links.

Copy and what? That’s right, most of the idiots don’t know how to copy and paste. It’s rather frustrating. Part of my job is to explain to them how to copy and paste. One person wrote me back thanking me and praising me for teaching them how to copy and paste. They said they’d been copying and pasting all day. Wow. One person even thanked me for taking the time to write out the instructions for how to copy and paste. They were amazed I took so much time to do it. One of these days they’ll realize I just copied and pasted the instructions.

It seems there’s a lot of not-so swift people on computers. I had one person write in and say tell me our computer called them an invalid user. I was tempted to start my reply with “Dear Invalid User…” Today someone replied to my e-mail with “Dear Kevin of Webmaster…” This month we’ve been giving away The Prayer of Jabez. Someone e-mailed me about the free offer and the subject line said “The Prayer of Jezebel.”

I suppose I shouldn’t be so hard on people. Computers aren’t exactly intuitive for everyone. This evening one of the elderly people in our building stopped my wife and I and asked us to help her find the address bar. One of these days some snot-nosed kid will be laughing at me when I can’t figure something out, so I guess I should be nice. But sometimes you need to vent your frustration. I’m tempted to write a book.

Generation YME?

You know what I really dislike? Being categorized in an age bracket. Baby Boomers. Generation X. The Millennials. There’s all these strange, fluctuating categories of people roughly defined by the year they were born and a few stereotypical demographics like feeling a need to belong or rebelling against the status quo.

Rarely do they acknowledge that people are, for the most part, individuals. Also, they seem to forget that generations really don’t mean a lot anymore. After all, teens graduate from high school every year. The population is fairly fluid from seven months to seventy. There aren’t well-defined generations of people my age, people my parents’ age, and people my grandparents’ age. The result is that some of us are left out.

Like me. I was born in 1979. By most estimates I’m too young to be a Generation Xer, and too old to be a Millennial. So what the heck am I? Screwed? Or just an overlooked demographic, which really isn’t a bad thing.

Isn’t it great what broad social marketing trends can do?

I wasn’t going to be caught dead at a Christian-rock concert.

Guess who’s on the cover of Newsweek? Christian music fans. Best quote from the article:

“The only thing I knew about it is what was on TBN, you know, that crying channel,” says Ben Cissell, Audio [Adrenaline]’s 25-year-old guitarist. In high school, he listened to Bad Religion. “A guy on my soccer team used to wear an Audio Adrenaline T shirt and tried to get me to go to a concert. And I was like, ‘No way, I’m not going.’ I was a normal kid in a public school. I wasn’t gonna be caught dead at a Christian-rock concert.” By his sophomore year, Cissell converted to Christianity and began playing with the very band he

St. Croix State Park

Hear the hum of the mosquito, smell the smoke of the campfire, feel the grit of the sand on your hot dog. Ah, camping. Last night my wife and I took our first official camping trip. It was a one-night trial run, since neither of us come from a long line of camping experts. My dad laughed when I told him we were going camping.

There’s nothing like Dinty Moore Beef Stew cooked in the can over the fire. Especially when you top it off with s’mores. We went to St. Croix State Park and didn’t really do a whole lot. Which I think is exactly the point of camping.

My favorite part was watching the other campers. One guy brought a giant inflatable couch. I guess he’s not into roughing it.