Wednesday, April 25, 2012

hoping to be a better 'tweeter' than blogger

find me.  follow me.  @jmthune

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

insert catchy title here

Last weekend Ashley ran a half marathon in Des Moines.  She is only 5 months removed from having her first kid.  What a rockstar.  I, of course, was more than willing to wheel Kota around in her stroller while sipping on a warm cup of coffee and trying to figure out whether the race day map that I was given was in fact of downtown Des Moines.  It was, and we were able to see mom cruise the homestretch, receive a crappy little medal, and steal dad a few Myoplex protein drinks before all was said and done.  After processing the day in her right mind, I think that Ashley concluded that running 13.1 miles was in fact the easy part.  It was getting up at the crack of dawn, driving to Des Moines, finding a place to park, feeding the baby, and getting a good pre-race pee in that proved difficult.  Like so many of the sages will tell you (and tell you, and tell you), "having kids changes everything." Thank you dear sages.

Meanwhile, back at Veritas, there were 5 people who were about to get baptized. Each one of these stories is so unique, so authentic, so compelling.  God is at work.

Baptisms - Oct 16th 2011 from Veritas Church on Vimeo.

One of these stories is Raquel's.  Pretty sure it's worth 10 minutes of your time.

This is my God story - Raquel from Veritas Church on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

in case you missed it

Here are two videos from the greater Veritas/Salt community.  1 has purpose.  And 1 has...well...less purpose.  Or does it?  You be the judge.

Adoleo - Waiting for You. from Gabriel Noll on Vimeo.

N. O. B. L. E. from Veritas Church on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Veritas's 1st year

After a lengthy hiatus, I have returned to the blogosphere.  And...

I am conflicted about this post.  As usual my friend, colleague, brother, Mark Arant has beat me to the punch on this (btw, he is a much better blogger than I am -; but I digress.

Last Sunday Veritas turned 1 year old.  It's hard to believe; even harder to quantify all that God has done.  But "strangers have joined us...they have attached themselves to the house of Jacob" (Isaiah 14); and we have been privileged to be a part of it.

Here's a glimpse at what we've seen:

One Year Anniversary of Veritas Church from Veritas Church on Vimeo.

Makes us all wonder:  what will God do next?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Confessions (1)

A few nights ago I had a very hard conversation with my wife.  It went something like this:

"Ashley, I have something I need to tell you," I said.

"I hate it when you start a conversation like that, it makes me nervous," Ashley replied.  "Do I really want to know?  What is it?"

The pit in my stomach was formidable now.

"I'm not sure how to say this to you," I continued.  "'s something you need to know."

"Just tell me Jeff!"

There was no turning back now.  It was time to come clean.

"Okay...I've been listening to Country music," I admitted.

The look was one of utter disgust.  And to be honest, I deserved it.  I'd been the Saul of 'Country' my entire life.  Dismissing it, disparaging it, persecuting all who listened to it.  How could people enjoy this!?!?  It was so simple, so corny, so lame!!!

And then (seemingly overnight) - 1) I had a kid - 2) and looked at the world - 3) and became a hypocrite.

(Back to the conversation)

"WHY!?!?  Why would you do something like that?  What are your reasons?" Ashley demanded.

Here's why - and believe me this reasoning is riddled with holes.  But I started to imagine family vacations, working in the garage with the radio on, taking Kota to soccer practice - and the content of the music that very well may end up shaping her life (our lives).  And here's what I've come to realize...

Observation #1:
Country music's primary audience - it's intended audience - is people who are in loving, committed, monogamous relationships.  That's what they're singing about, that's what they're working toward, that's the goal.

Hip Hop's primary audience - it's intended audience - is people who are in casual, non-committed, 'loose' relationships.  Hence the multiple references to 'booty', 'hoes', and 'creeping in the club' (holy crap I sound old).

All I'm saying is that I would take my daughter to a Kenny Chesney concert; but I'd never take her to a Ludacris concert.  I've been to one of those.

Observation #2:
Country music produces happy thoughts, pictures, emotions in me.  There remains a real, a simple, a true innocence about life (and all that comes with it). Of course this does include some major "cheese" - which my cynicism pounces on like a pack of cheetahs on a baby gazelle.  But more often than not I find myself carefree, buoyant, thankful when listening to it.

I remember often ridiculing my college buddies for their small-town naivety (they of course loved Country).  Maybe the truth was that I wanted to see the world like they did all along.

It seems to me that the only genre that does as much (or more) to inspire this outlook - is worship music.  And don't get feisty, I'm not giving these the same value - but they may be just a few of the influences that my dad would throw into the 'edification' bag.

Now I could be wrong, but listening to bands, artists, performers - exalting their libido, rattling off their sexual exploits, talking about their cash-money-records - these may not fit into that bag.  But...those beats are hott (and yeah I used two t's).  Kota just rolled her eyes at me (and she's only a month old).  

Observation #3:
Country music (prepare now your exasperated cringe) - Country music tells great stories.  I remember driving Tim Aalsma's Chevy Blazer to class when I was a freshman at Northwestern - making sure the windows were rolled up tight as I put Kenny Rogers "The Greatest" single into the CD player.  It tells of a little boy whose unyielding optimism - takes his ongoing failure - and turns it into his greatest success.

Life is a collection of stories - ones we move in, breath in, exist in (someone write that down).  I suppose that I'd like my little girl living in the chapters of a Country song - with family and chivalry and romance - rather than in the pages of Pop - with skin and sin and weekend benders.

I'm not really sure how to end this post.  I don't think I see myself wearing wranglers, or watching rodeo, or even searching Rascal Flatts on i-tunes (can't stand those dudes).  And so maybe Country music is just a mark, a symbol, a sign - one that points to the reality of being a father - and wanting a safer, a softer, a more innocent world for my daughter to live in.  Or...maybe I'm just a big puss.

Friday, June 3, 2011

highjacking real forgiveness (Salt blog June 2nd)

“I’ll forgive, but I’ll never forget”

I’m not sure where this phrase, this idea, this sentiment comes from – but I’m quite sure it isn’t Biblical. 

In Matthew, Chapter 18, Peter (the official spokesman of the 12) asks Jesus a rather pointed question:  “Lord” he says, “how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him?

There are a few things that sort of ‘stand out’ – in the way that Peter phrases this inquiry:

1) He clearly makes a very sharp (and self-righteous) distinction between him and the offending party.  How so?  First, by his ‘ordering’ of the sentence.  Second, by his contrasting of specific behaviors, patterns, character.  Look at it again:

“How often shall my brother sin against me….AND…how often shall I forgive him”

2) Immediately following this simple but leading question – Peter gives his own response:  “Up to seven times?” 

Translation:  “Check it one time JC – your boy is killing it.  He goes above and beyond what most would consider ‘righteous’.  Am I right?!?! Now, give me some love – let it be known who’s setting the tone for your followers.”

3) Why does Peter settle on 7?  Why not 5 – 13 – 29?  Simple – 7 represented accomplishment, completion, perfection.  This harkens back to Genesis and the creation of the world.  7 is God’s number right?  Peter is just preempting Jesus’ response with the right, the Sunday School, the gold-star answer.

Jesus’ reply, response, standard – like we’ve seen throughout Matthew’s gospel – raises the proverbial bar…exponentially:  “I do not say to you, up to seven times…but up to seventy times seven.”

BOOM!!!  “Peter…I love you bro, but you’re a Christian Butthead!”  (Okay, maybe that’s more Mark Arant than Jesus). 

Jesus (gracious, patient, calculating) gives an answer that raises up and chews up and swallows Peter’s answer whole – and then he colors it in via story.  A king, a slave, an exceptional debt.  No means to repay it.  And looming consequences.

But wait.  This king – he offers compassion, release – he forgives the debt. 

This slave, this pardon, this second chance.  Certainly he will go out rejoicing – it will change his life forever – he will pay it forward – right? 

And yet…it doesn’t – he doesn’t.

On the other side of the same situation - he is harsh and stubborn and unwilling to forgive.  Only (and here’s the rub) this isn’t the same situation at all. 

This evil slave owed the king Ten Thousand Talents.  Check the margins of your Study Bible people – just One Talent adds up to more than FIFTEEN YEARS of wages. 

Verse 28 says, “But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him A Hundred Denarii; and seized him and began to choke him saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’” 

A Hundred Denarii adds up to – get this - One Day’s wages!

Of course in Jesus’ story – God is the compassionate king – the One who, when dishonored and devalued and wronged…immeasurably – chooses to forgive…immeasurably. 

And we (His sinful, His debt-incurring, His helpless slaves) must do the same - even though, it will never be the same.  A Hundred Denarii simply can’t compare to Ten Thousand Talents

Jesus’ last statement of this chapter is sobering.  He says, “My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”

‘From your heart’ is more than telling.  To say that you’ve ‘forgiven’ – but that you will ‘never forget’ - what does that communicate about the condition of your heart?

The king forgives, and then he forgets, and so must we – seventy times seven.