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"It was when I was happiest that I longed most...The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing...to find the place where all the beauty came from." --CS Lewis; Till We Have Faces

New Site

Thursday, July 07, 2005 7/07/2005 10:40:00 AM

Well that's the new place I'm at. It will be my permanent home (for now). You don't have to check this site any longer all my crashing thoughts will be there from now on.

Thx Blogspot for the good year!

C U over there.



  • Dale Swinburne Jr. © 2005
  • Please Stand By

    7/07/2005 10:07:00 AM
    Making some changes and so I've disabled comments until I complete them.

    Back to normal soon!



  • Dale Swinburne Jr. © 2005
  • Day of Independence

    Sunday, July 03, 2005 7/03/2005 01:04:00 AM
    "There are moments which can change a person for all time. And I suddenly wondered if I would ever see my snug hobbit-hole again. I wondered if I actually wanted to."

    Bilbo's Independence Day

    I appreciate America. I appreciate the freedom to practice my religion and hold the beliefs I hold. I deeply appreciate the hundreds of thousands of lives sacrificed for the furtherance of this country since it's inception.

    But I am much more a Christian than I am an American. Give me a choice between freedom of speech and freedom of soul I am going for soul every day of the week. So when we talk about Independence Day the one we celebrate to indicate American independence is woefully pale in comparison to my real independence day. Like JRR Tolkien's quote from above....there are independence days that change a person so deeply that they can never go back to the way they were.

    I had two instances recently where in conversations I was referring to the way I used to be. One conversation was with my wife and one was with a friend. As I recounted the beliefs I formerly held it was so stark and clear an image in my head. I saw clearly from the vantage point of hindsight that I used to be deeply and truly in a prison. A prison I wore as a badge. A prison I was proud of. A prison that defined who I was.

    But there came a moment. A moment full of promise. A promise of change. I felt it happen. Back then I related it to a plummet off of a cliff and now, in hindsight, that imagery was completely appropriate. There was no going back. I knew it then but I know it in a different way now.

    In those recent conversations as I perused who I was in retrospect I felt disdain. One of the questions I asked Jen was "Was I ever like that?" And without batting an eye or pulling a punch she said "Yes." without a moment's hesitation. I felt real self disdain then. Not because of the person I was. But because I can't fathom my blindness. How could I have not seen the things I see so clearly now?

    So it isn't a question of an inability to go back. I don't want to go back. I remember my hobbit-hole with disgust and can't, for the life of me, remember why I thought it was such a comfortable place to live. I do know that it would take more than an army to drag me back in there. I've tasted real freedom, real independence. The kind granted from the hand of God himself and there aren't any courts or armies or prisons or chains in existence that can trump that.

    Blood has been shed to purchase and secure my independence day. And the one who died still lives to defend it.

    So, while I will celebrate the American independence day, it really is only a shadow of the cracking, shattering, and violent moment in time when my real indpendence was purchased. And I don't wonder anymore - I KNOW I won't be going back there.


  • Dale Swinburne Jr. © 2005
  • The Genius of Jen

    Tuesday, June 28, 2005 6/28/2005 12:56:00 AM
    Jen Embossed
    There are many reasons why I fell in love with Jen about 20 years ago. I could fill a blog with the stories. But yesterday one really stood out.

    Our church got together with several others and we had a large gathering of church groups at a local park. The park always remains open to the public that day and gives us a great opportunity to get into our community. There were many people there that may never attend church but yesterday heard us singing, talking, and laughing together.

    Jen had an incredible experience. She was in the public bathroom and a 12 year old girl came to her and asked "Are you with that group of people?"
    Jen replied "Yes."
    The girl questioned "Are you a church?"
    When Jen said "Yes." again the girl opened up.

    "A few years ago I went to a church and they talked about being in a relationship with God but I never did it. Do you know how to do that?"

    Jen responded "Yes I do."
    The girl asked "Can we do it now? Here?"
    Jen had the great honor of introducing this girl, whom she'd just met, to her God.

    What really impresses me is the quality about my wife that makes her so approachable. I've seen it many times before. People that don't relate well to many people for some reason find Jen to be a harbor that can be trusted. Obviously this opens doors of incredible opportunity for her. I've seen it many times before but maybe never so striking as yesterday. I really admire that in her.

    I've often said that to take hold of opportunity it requires risk, a sense of exploration, creativity....or you could just be approachable like Jen and they just line up for you.


  • Dale Swinburne Jr. © 2005
  • Seven Times Hotter

    Monday, June 27, 2005 6/27/2005 12:01:00 AM
    fire up close

    I realized something about myself tonight (and maybe others too, but I can't speak for them). I realized that what gets me going, I mean, what gets me really fired up is conversation with people on mission.

    As a pastor I love so many parts of my job. The opportunities to do good for the world I'm in are all over the place but I think that what gets me revved up the most is talking with other people about doing things for God.

    Tonight after Prodigy we had some great discussion over a meal. As much as I enjoyed Prodigy the coup de grace of the night was definitely the discussions over that little meal in a little restaraunt in a little town in a little state about how we plan on turning the world upside down.

    So, here's to conversations with teeth....the divine kind that leave an indellible impression when u are bit by them.


  • Dale Swinburne Jr. © 2005
  • Mad Cow

    Wednesday, June 22, 2005 6/22/2005 06:06:00 PM
    Well some of you have expressed questions regarding the change of my profile pic to the left there. And I imagine some of you have simply ignored it in hopes that it would just go away. But whatever camp you are in the explanation is as follows.

    About 8 months ago I wrote a poem. Most the time when I write poetry it is because I have ideas in my head which I can see being expressed more creatively than simply writing in prose. When that happens I usually let those thoughts simmer for only a very short time before I put pen to paper and allow them to take shape on a page.

    When I wrote the following poem I had been thinking about it for about 2 weeks and finally decided that it was time to exorcise those thoughts in writing. This is what came out.

    Mad Cow

    An ocean of us
    or maybe a lake
    or a pond
    but a collection just the same

    Gathered, collected
    bound in a knot
    there is safety in our numbers

    But only safe
    if you were not
    the last one to be
    the victim.

    Herds play the numbers.
    “Here’s hoping,” say my dice,
    “Give me old age before the wolves.”

    A herd is a measure
    How much time is left?
    How many in the herd?
    What’s my number?

    Your time may be sluggish
    but it is coming.
    Then can we talk about safety in numbers?

    Deep in my bovine heart
    I know I’m not a cow
    or a steer
    as my livestock rebellion grows.

    When I joined the herd
    I was thrilled to be
    what I now despise.

    The enemy wolves circling
    with focus
    and intention to kill
    have become my prototype.

    They don’t know what milling is
    and pursuit to the death
    is their grazing.

    My contentment to be
    one of the numbers,
    prey in waiting
    has run out.

    Like a waterhole run dry
    or a meadow under-watered, overgrazed
    or a herd hunted to extinction.

    And so I’ll leave the herd
    even though
    the herd hasn’t taught me
    to venture forth.

    And with the time I have left
    I’ll go to the wolves
    the way they’ve come to me.

    More predator than prey
    with intention
    with passion
    forcefully advancing.

    No longer the targeted,
    but the “targetter”
    discontent with the “unfound lost”.

    With all my bovine courage
    I will hunt
    the wolves
    in defiance of the natural order.

    And when my time comes,
    which I’m sure it will,
    it will be as the hunter, not the hunted.

    To see the headlines,
    “The cow was killed
    by the wolf
    in self-defense.”

    And so I’ll leave the herd
    but not on my own
    because this mad-cow disease is infectious.

    If you see us someday
    you’ll know it is we
    by the look in our eyes
    and our wolf-like purpose.

    Or maybe you’ll discover
    the weathered remains
    of a small group of cows
    far from the herd.

    But those remains will tell
    no more story
    than their wolf tooth necklaces offer.

    After having written this I had the desire to have to have an image go with the feelings I had expressed. I had seen the artwork of Angela Melick and contacted her with some ideas and a copy of my poem. I was so impressed with her initial results. From my description alone she had depicted the image in my head. I am always so impacted by people's artistic creativity. I see it as such a clear picture of God's creativity. (So thank you Angela for impacting me with your artwork.) I found Angela so easy to work with even in understanding what I was trying to say in my un-artistic way. I'm sure you would find working with her as pleasant if you are interested in similar artwork.

    I am fully aware that my poetry may raise more questions than answers but questions are only the beginning of communication if they are asked. So if you have questions about what I've written I am more than happy to discuss it.

    Below is Angela Melick's depiction of Mad Cow (thank you, Angela!)



  • Dale Swinburne Jr. © 2005
  • Elastic Amnesia

    Sunday, June 19, 2005 6/19/2005 04:34:00 PM
    Galatians 1:6,7 You are already following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who twist and change the truth concerning Christ.

    twist barbed wire

    I guess after this question the Galatians kinda knew where Paul was going and he obviously wasn't happy about it. So much for saving your point to the end of the letter Paul. No, Paul wanted this out front and out in the open. A fact, I'm sure, the Galatians weren't excited about.

    And for us, how easy it if for us to sit back and point and giggle at the Galatians like they were our younger brother being scolded by the parents once again.

    We giggle, that is, until Paul turns to us with an accusing finger and shouts, "And you!..."

    The sad thing is we are guilty of this in the same measure as the Galatians were. So we can giggle all we want but we are victims of the same elastic amnesia. Yes, we forget and then we twist.

    The Galatians had been instructed in the truth of the Gospel. That faith in Jesus was all they needed but some among them had started to teach that wasn't enough and that a combination of faith in Jesus and keeping the law was required to be sure you were safe.

    But we do the same thing today. We replace the truth of Christianity, the freedom the gospel brings with a list of "Do Nots". Paul scoffed at that when the Galatians heard it and I'm sure he'd scoff at it now.

    (Gal 5:13,16) For you have been called to live in freedom--not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves.

    Let me summarize with some key beliefs of Paul's--
    • Faith in Christ brings real freedom.
    • Real freedom is never spent on yourself.
    • Real freedom always serves others.
    • A "do not" gospel is a twisted, selfish version of Jesus' gospel that brings bondage.
    • The best way to be in harmony with the law is to live in service to others.
    • The true gospel brings new life smothering the desire of the sinful nature.
    The sad thing is, 2000 years later, we still think we can add to the gospel and improve upon it. "Faith in Jesus is great but faith in Jesus and (fill in the blank) is even better." We forget and we twist. And we bring bondage.

    How about refusing to add conditions to the Gospel? How about trusting that God's plan (to smother and stifle the sinful nature with the new creation's desire to serve others) will actually work?

    Let's remember. Remember that every time we try to add improvements to the gospel we actually take chains and begin to bind. Every time we add extra steps or extra lists or extra "do nots" we add weight to their bindings. The end result is a person who is not free but a slave to self.

    Jesus offers true freedom....we have a front row seat...let's not get in the way!


  • Dale Swinburne Jr. © 2005
  • Where in the World are You From?

    Wednesday, June 15, 2005 6/15/2005 04:06:00 PM


    That's what Paul said.

    Galatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle —sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead...

    What drives us? What puts on mission? Why do we do the things we do that we feel are expressions of our faith? Who's expectations are we meeting?

    Some interesting questions that most likely can't be answered w/o some serious contemplation and soul searching. Here.

    But it has always been my impression that someday we will answer that question in an instant. Someday we will know as we are known and we will no longer believe any of the lies we tell ourselves.

    But that is then and this is now. I want to honestly answer those questions now. And any time the answer is not from and by Jesus Christ I want to change. When all the pressure from the church, my friends, my family fades away what do I do. Does my motivation die away?

    I think I know what Paul would do. He couldn't stop. He didn't need money. He didn't need safety. He didn't need security. He didn't need peer approval. He didn't need health. He didn't need his head in the end. Because he wasn't from and by any of those things. He was from and by Jesus Christ.

    Important note: Just in case you are lost with the post just below here's a little explanation. This is what happens when good friends (several in CA but other locations as well) areseparatedd by an entire country. They have to play somewhere! I assure you it is all in good fun and they are all good friends. Just don't ask Octavio about that :) Love ya man....and I mean that!


  • Dale Swinburne Jr. © 2005
  • Completely Unrelated to Anything

    6/15/2005 03:38:00 PM
    Was rummaging around my digital camera the other day and this fell out. Having trouble figuring out who this shadowy figure is. Maybe there are some distinguishing features that would help identify them? If anyone nose....er..knows just let me know.

    If you are wondering what this is all about look here.


  • Dale Swinburne Jr. © 2005
  • Pile of Fuzz

    Sunday, June 12, 2005 6/12/2005 01:43:00 PM

    My daugther, Audrey, just ran into the living room, jumped up on the couch with me and said "I made a big pile of fuzz."

    I said "What? From where?"

    Aurdrey replied "From the fan."

    I asked "Why?"

    She shrugged her shoulders and said "I like it."

    Humility. Sometimes we forget what it looks like.



  • Dale Swinburne Jr. © 2005
  • Blogging Reclaimed

    Friday, June 10, 2005 6/10/2005 04:16:00 PM
    Been involved in a 2 day conversation about blogging and the church. By church I don't mean the local structure you just thought of but the group of people passionately following Jesus.

    The conversation consists of people from all over the world, from the USA to Scotland to China. We are wondering if blogging and the internet isn't the next tool God's followers can use to forcefully advance the kingdom of heaven. Instead of just being a repository of deep thoughts or list of current events we think blogs can be vehicles to spread the good news creating communities of faith all over the world.

    Some of the links to the left are some of the people that are in the conversation and helping to move it forward. The church just can't sit back and let tools to advance God's kingdom slip through our fingers. The time is just too short.

    What can you do? Start a blog. It's just one more way for you to go into all the world!

    If you doubt it's effectiveness check this out. Unrest in China.

    Here are some incredible quotes from it.
    • Photographs of the apparent aftermath -- showing wrecked vehicles and dented police helmets -- have since appeared on several Weblogs.
    • One reason they are heard about at all is the growing profusion of other information outlets -- most notably the Internet and the rise of blogging -- that enable these stories to slip through the fingers of the Chinese censors.
    Imagine the impact of these statements. Right now you have the ability to relate to people whom you have no legitimate chance of ever meeting face to face. The only thing stopping us is us.



  • Dale Swinburne Jr. © 2005
  • Amazing Growth and Opportunity

    Thursday, June 09, 2005 6/09/2005 09:54:00 AM
    Was reading a blog I have been frequenting in the last several weeks, Brent Pittman, and he linked to a very telling article regarding the population growth in the US. The population growth in the last year in the US was 50% Hispanic. And that is even though only one out of seven people in the population are Hispanic.

    Just further reinforces my drive to get Spanish under my belt. I just wish I could do it faster :/



  • Dale Swinburne Jr. © 2005