Kevin dressed up as a burrito. Mmm... burrito. (photo by Matthew Taylor)

As you can tell from the picture, I had a serious business lunch today. Chipotle was handing out free burritos if you came in dressed as one. So there you go. That’s an attempt at lettuce, cheese/rice (take your pick) and a pinto bean or two spilling out of my always enormous Chipotle burrito.

Believe it or not, of all the people at Chipotle who knew about the free burrito deal, I most resembled an actual burrito. Most people just wrapped something in tinfoil and called it good.

Hey, free food is free food. Get yourself some tinfoil and head on over to Chipotle (assuming you’ve got one).

Buy him out boys!

MSNBC is reporting that Microsoft fired a blogger for posting a Mac photo. (link via Steve)

Apparently the employee was a temp working for Xerox who posted a picture of G5s being unloaded at Microsoft’s headquarters on his personal blog. All the details aren’t clear, but the story underscores the difficulty for bloggers of balancing professional concerns with personal ones.

I’ve often dealt with this, especially concerning my employment at the BGEA. I could tell you some stories. I’ve also hesitated in what I say, especially when it comes to certain major organizations (sometimes more than others).

Of course unemployment is a great solution to those disclosure concerns.

Happy Melloween

Since this will be our first Halloween in our own house, we thought it would be appropriate to carve some pumpkins.

Homestar Runner & Strongbad

Homestar Runner carved by Abby

Strongbad carved by Kevin

Homestar Runner & Strongbad hanging out in the window.

It’s been a while since I’ve carved pumpkins, but it’s a lot of fun. For those of you totally out of the loop, we carved Homestar Runner and Strongbad, the stars of the best web site ever. Their Halloween cartoon is usually one of the best, and that’s what got me hooked (look in the Toons archive, under Holidays).

That Yaconelli Guy

According to a statement from Relevant magazine, the owner and co-founder of Youth Specialties, Mike Yaconelli, was killed in a car accident last night. If you don’t know Mike Yaconelli, he’s kind of a round, bushy-headed guy with way too much energy and enthusiasm. From what little I knew of him, he put that energy into creative ways to move the church forward and encourage youth pastors. The guy was a little out in left field, and that’s exactly where most Christians should be.

This is quite a loss, especially for his family, the church he pastors, and Youth Specialties. I guess God knows what he’s doing, but it never quite makes sense to us.

Unfortunately, I didn’t know Mike that well. I heard him speak a few times at the lone Youth Specialties conference I attended, and I always tried to read his columns when I could. I snatched up one of his books, Messy Spirituality, of course I’ve yet to have time to read it. I’ll probably dive into it next, furthering my tradition of reading about famous people posthumously.

I also e-mailed Mike a few times and interviewed him once in connection with One Life Revolution. Last I checked, the project had raised more than $700,000, but that’s only money. What’s more important is the people who were motivated to become involved and do something. Mike was quick to point out research showing that only 3% of evangelicals felt like helping to fight AIDS was a worthwhile venture. I think God has used this latest effort Mike was involved in to change some minds on that issue.

All of this while the hills around San Diego are burning.

Fat Like Me

Tonight I caught portions of Fat Like Me, an ABC special about obesity. The real kicker of the show featured a slim, self-confident girl strapping into a “fat suit” with full make-up and walking into a new school.

The girl described it as “walking into hell,” and hidden cameras showed kids in the school mocking and ignoring her. It was an crushing look at the mean spiritedness of people, and an inside glimpse of how incredibly brutal is to a person’s self esteem to be overweight.

The show was also a wake-up call about the dangers of obesity and the importance of exercise and nuitrition. I was suddenly reminded of my forgotten exercise regime.

In the Name of Love

I just received the complete track/artist listing for In the Name of Love: Artists United for Africa, the U2 tribute album I mentioned last week:

Jars Of Clay – “All I Want Is You”
Sixpence None The Richer – “Love Is Blindness”
Nichole Nordeman – “Grace”
Toby Mac – “Mysterious Ways”
Audio Adrenaline – “Gloria”
Pillar – “Sunday Bloody Sunday”
Chris Tomlin – “Where The Streets Have No Name”
Tait – “One”
Delirious – “Pride”
Grits – “With Or Without You”
Todd Agnew – “When Love Came To Town”
Sanctus Real – “Beautiful Day”
Starfield – “40”

As an interesting side note, the packaging is being designed by Steve Averill from Four 5 One Design, the company that’s done just about every U2 album.

While I’m glad to see a final song list, and I’m very eager to hear what this sounds like, I still have lots of questions. What happened to Switchfoot? And where are the Newsboys? Both are on Sparrow records (the label releasing the album), so it would be no problem getting them for the project. Switchfoot has been mentioned before in connection with this project, and Newsboys have been known to perform “Running to a Stand Still” in concert. Hmm.

I’m also still curious to know what bands you’d like to see cover what U2 songs.

Work, damn you!

Today I finally got around to tinkering with the snowblower my neighbor is letting me borrow this year. She broke her wrist a while back and has never been able to start the thing since, so it’s just been collecting cobwebs in her garage. She said if I could get it started I was more than welcome to use it this winter. I’m all about free stuff, so I took her up on the deal (and offered to snowblow her driveway and sidewalk if necessary).

After a call home to dad, a trip to the hardware store, and about three other trips to get the oil, gas, and a gas can (not in that order), and about 45 minutes of tinkering, the Toro Snowpup started. I’m pretty inept when it comes to motorized stuff (the guy at the hardware store showed me where I could adjust something with a screwdriver, and I asked what that actually adjusted, knowing full well that I wouldn’t understand what the carburetor does anyway), so I’m pretty proud of myself. I didn’t even have to swear.

That’s two handyman projects in three weeks. Not to shabby.

Heretic in the House

I don’t exactly get along with James Dobson and Focus on the Family. For the record, our worldviews are fundamentally opposed. At least that’s what they told me. I dared to suggest there might be a logical endpoint for the command to multiply and fill the earth. Apparently I’m wrong, and that means I’m a heretic.

I’m OK with that.

So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that I disagree with other things Dobson stands for. With fundamentally opposed worldviews, it’s bound to happen. But I guess I’m still surprised. I naively think we can all just get along.

This time around it’s gender roles. I’ve heard about the views espoused in Dobson’s Bringing Up Boys before, but this time it really sunk in. Dobson belongs to the old school of gender roles, where men are men and women are women. Gender roles are sharply defined, and crossing those lines is a “straight” path to homosexuality. Apparently dads are supposed to wrestle with their boys, stock their toy boxes with play guns, encourage them to play sports, and — I wish I was making this up — shower with toddler-aged boys to show them what a penis looks like. If a father fails in those things, the boy is bound to be gay.

T-ball was the extent of my childhood sports career, I rarely wrestled with my dad, and I definitely didn’t shower with him. While I did play with plenty of guns, that’s only 1 for 4. I must be three-quarters gay. My wife played with G.I. Joes as a child, so our marriage is pretty much whacked.

This is the kind of 1950s mindset that firmly divides domestic chores from manly tasks. This is the mindset that declares men as the only fit breadwinners and women as the only fit nurturers. This is the mindset that squeezes people into boxes that don’t fit. This results in non-athletic boys (like myself) and non-girly girls feeling unnatural, like something is wrong with us.

This is the mentality that in part crippled my parents’ marriage. Rigidly defined roles left the overwhelming housework to my mom while my dad sat back to be served. It goes deeper than that, but anyone could see the tension it caused.

This is the kind of mentality that leads to (gasp!) homophobia. I’m not condoning homosexuality, but it exists and you have to face it. Washing dishes and playing sports has little to do with sexual orientation. Homosexuality is a deeper issue than mere gender roles. You’d think we could get past the manly pride stereotype.

I know Focus on the Family and James Dobson do some great stuff. They stand up for some important causes and do good work. But sometimes they support things I just don’t understand. And what really baffles me is how many people give Dobson and Focus on the Family unwavering, unquestioning support. Unfortunately, ideological lemmings exist on throughout the spectrum.

Avert your eyes, he may take on other forms.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m inept at interacting with non-Christians. I like to think I have it all down. I shake my head at those sugary, over-the-top evangelistic efforts that just make people squirm. I know better than that. But I don’t have much of an alternative. I can stand on the sidelines and scoff, but what am I really doing? I’ve immersed myself in Christian culture for so long I’m practically unable to venture out.

High school and a few jobs I’ve had since have been my most intensive interactions with people other than Christians. College, my first job, my current work, and 98 percent of my hang out time are all with Christians.

It’s kind of sad, really. I have this great faith I say I want to share with everyone, but I only interact with people who are in the club. I think this is an attitude we propagate as well. After attending a Christian school, how many people end up in Christian businesses? I don’t mean to slam Christian businesses or colleges, I’m just wondering. It seems incredibly important for us to get out of ghettos sometimes, to brave the public schools and universities, to teach in the public schools, to write for the mainstream magazines, to walk the halls of the biggest and smallest corporations in the world.

I know lots of Christians who are doing it, most of my friends in fact, I’m just wondering about me. What’s my role?