ye olde blog

Apr 22, 2010

This blog has moved.

I will from now on be posting here.

Sorry if this is inconvenient for any of you (You can still follow me via Blogger on my new Wordpress page)..... this is a step to a) make my blog more readable and "grownup," and b) to increase the convenience of my internet-stuff (now I can do everything through my Hootsuite).

Thanks and I hope to continue having conversations with you over at the new site!

Feb 27, 2010

i repent

{Video below on Youtube, only version of song I could find online (for free, of course). Coffeehouse version of original, which is sung by the inalienable Derek Webb:}

i repent, i repent of my pursuit of america's dream
i repent, i repent of living like i deserve anything
of my house, my fence, my kids, my wife
in our suburb where we're safe and white
i am wrong and of these things i repent

i repent, i repent of parading my liberty
i repent. i repent of paying for what i get for free
and for the way i believe that i am living right
by trading sins for others that are easier to hide
i am wrong and of these things i repent

i repent judging by a law that even i can't keep
of wearing righteousness like a disguise
to see through the planks in my own eyes

i repent, i repent of trading truth for false unity
i repent, i repent of confusing peace and idolatry
by caring more of what they think than what i know of what we need
by domesticating you until you look just like me
i am wrong and of these things i repent

Jan 18, 2010

Video and thoughts on Haiti, from those who truly know.


Within hours of hearing about the Haiti quake last week, I was amazed and mortified to learn that the president of the RCA (my church family)'s General Synod (our big annual gathering), James Seawood, was in Haiti at the time of the quake, scheduled to be in Port-au-Prince at the time, alongside an entire delegation of RCA lay and ordained leaders. (I had the privilege of meeting and conversing with Rev. Seawood just before the Synod meeting last year, after he had met with the Seminarian Seminar of which I was a part. I believe I also met there Rev. Andres Serrano, a Dominican pastor who was also part of the Haitian delegation.) Soon word got out that the delegation had survived and had made its way to the Dominican Republic, and was en route to return to the U.S.

The RCA has posted video and thoughts from Rev. Seawood accessible from their main web page... he had taken video footage just moments after the quake... it is remarkable footage of the confusion, fear, and anguish that survivors felt in those initial moments... and it also places you into the shoes of the delegation as they struggle to try to find a route amidst the chaos.

Moments after Haiti Earthquake from Phil Tanis on Vimeo.

Read his reflections on the entire ordeal here, also found on the RCA website. Amazing stuff.


Wyclef Jean, one of the world's most famous Haitians, has an organization called Yele Haiti through which he has long been trying to provide hope and healing to a nation devastated by poverty. Now devastated by the erratic and inexplicable forces of nature (no, NOT by a curse, Mr. Robertson...), Yele Haiti and Wyclef are leading a public charge to take necessary action to bring hope and healing yet again.

Earlier today Wyclef hosted a live press conference... it's being recast right now, and they might play it a few more times, so see if you can catch at least pieces of it....

"This is the only time people are going to see my country"

"We (Yele Haiti) has always been on the ground..."....

"There's a problem that we have to the next few days... the security issue amongst the people... where the communities are hostile because of the (lack of) food... so on Saturday...we'll be leaving again for Haiti....the reality is that you have at least 400,000 people underground ..... for every success story that you see, there are another 40,000 that are buried..."

He calls for a massive exodus outside of Port-au-Prince, to facilitate the cleaning process of the city and to take care of the people... and calls for another countries to help lead this, and to provide tents that will eventually develop into new, 21st-century communities... fascinating stuff.


Sojourners' blog today features a post from Kent Annan, co-director of Haiti Partners--another organization committed to helping Haiti for years, and has lived for many years himself in Haiti. He addresses the feeling that many of us have... "Why Haiti? Why a country already devastatingly poor?, suffering for years already...." He even references the psalmist who famously addresses this sentiment with the words, "How long, oh Lord?"

His response to this is both difficult and wise-- we (as those who do NOT know what it is like to be there, to be from there, or to have lived there) would do well to hear it:

"Finally, I’ve been asked often, when working in Haiti and then during these past few days, how do you keep any hope? My answer, which is burrowed deep in my bones through the privilege of living with, being friends with, watching the courage of, and working alongside many Haitians, is that if they haven’t given up hope, we have no right to. Today I saw on CNN Haitians walking the streets of Port-au-Prince singing hymns and praying.

We’re people committed to be on the side of God’s hope, even on seemingly hopeless days. We’re people committed to be on the side of people in Haiti–not just right now, but for the longterm. "

Ways to spread the hope:

1) Text donations: Text YELE to 501501 to donate $5 to Yele Haiti
Text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross
(no, neither of these are scams.)
2) Donate:
-to Red Cross
-World Vision
-To Reformed Church World Service

3) Make medical and hygiene kits and submit them to the RCWS. Find a guide on how to make them here. Right now relief and life-saving are still the focus, and water and medical supplies are among the biggest needs... but as Annan reminds us, we also need to think about how we can CONTINUE to help Haiti head towards recovery in the months and years ahead... so let's not forget about them. Just as people in Louisiana are still recovering from Katrina in many instances, so it will be in Haiti, only on a much larger scale.

Jan 8, 2010

Look what I found!

From Found this on a local news site.

Be in a room where you won't be embarrassed if someone hears you laughing uncontrollably, mixed in with a good number of "ews," "WHATs???," and "You gotta be kidding mes!!!"

I can think of one or two childhood photos that would qualify for this site, I think....

View at your own risk. Eat no more than a light lunch prior to viewing, and wait at least 30 minutes.

Dec 28, 2009

our whirlwind oahu tour. Now in kauai.

Yesterday we arrived in Hawaii for a family vacation in Kauai with the in-laws!.... we had about 5 hours to kill during a layover in Oahu and we, Amy and I, the world adventurers that we are, decided to not spend that time sitting in the airport, but instead to rent a car and see as much of Oahu as we could!

'Iolani Palace in Honolulu

Well, a whirlwind tour wasn't exactly our plan to begin with... the plan was to see this, the 'Iolani palace... and we did, as you can see.... from the outside. Closed on Sunday.... along with most of the downtown area of Honolulu. (Should've gone to Wakiki.)

Us world travelers, who travel sans map nor GPS nor compass, had no idea what to do from here... luckily we randomly stumbled upon the Aloha Tower area by the wharf... and enjoyed heat-lamped pizza overlooking the shipyard. Smartly, we picked up a map at this point. Not-so-smartly, we picked up a surfing map.... which tended to leave out minor details, such as street names... and added little things also, such as nonexistent roads.

Hananuma Bay

We decided at this point to throw caution to the wind, and to drive around the entire peninsula to the east of Honolulu .... This was our whirlwind tour of Hanamuna Bay pictured here.... we paid a buck to get into the parking, parked illegally on the side of the lot, ran to as close as we could get to the bay without paying out the eye sockets, and took the above pic.

The plan to drive around the peninsula, however, was soon thwarted, as we discovered that the road that's on the map that loops around and connects back with the interstate, doesn't exist. Yes, I know it looks like a major road on the Google map, but trust us. It's not there. It's all cliffs on one side, ocean on the other. Beautiful, but not about to help us get back to our plane on time, which was taking off in 90 minutes. Yes, and we're on what seems like the other side on Oahu. With no clue where we are and a deceptive map.

We decided to backtrack, and Amy and I pulled together, combining our skills of acute observation, and impulsive improvisation... and found a route back. Somehow, we made it back to the airport with an hour to spare.... and then my lovely wife managed to lose her purse.

Yes, in the haste of not wanting to miss our flight, Amy left her purse somewhere, either in the rental car, or the shuttle, or somewhere. After a series of unsuccessful calls and even with Amy jumping back on the shuttle to go back to the rental car place (all the while the clock is ticking), we were SOL. Thankfully Amy had her passport in her bag, so she still could board. But then Amy, after having gone through security, suddenly conjures up the bright idea to call her Blackberry from her mom's phone. And a nice National car rental man, furiously trying to find Amy in the airport, answered, and sent the purse through security. 40 minutes before the flight, and the Amy-Josh duo, purse and all, were safely on their way to Kauai, along with the rest of the Lunde clan.

The takeaways here?..... 1) ALWAYS have alternate ID available. 2) All roads in Hawaii eventually lead to where you need to go... but 3) Don't trust the surfing maps. And finally, 4) Amy and I took another step in learning how to trust and lean on each other in times of crisis. It's my belief that "mini-crises" like this one, that pale in comparison to the grand scheme of life, are training for the real crises that we will undoubtedly face at some point.

Now in Kauai. Hoping for a more relaxed pace on this island.

Dec 21, 2009

herd mentalities.

Article: 300 Reindeer die tragically in Sweden

No, this isn't the beginning of a sick joke. It actually happened. Apparently the reindeer, herded by members of the indigenous Sami people, were making a biannual crossing over a frozen waterway and for some reason, the lead reindeer turned around. It sparked a wave a confusion from the herd. As one official said, "the herd started to run in circles on the ice...Pressure increased so much that the ice broke."

What's more is that despite the near-holy status of reindeer to the Samis, a Norwegian energy company "offered" to use the near 300 reindeer carcasses to produce biofuel... a sensible, environmentally-friendly and responsible solution to the modern mind, but to the Sami mind, it is cold, heartless, and disrespectful.

Not sure why I was fascinated by this article today. Maybe b/c reindeer (the real ones, not the flying ones) seem like pretty amazing creatures. Maybe b/c it highlights the tensions between modern and pre-modern sensibilites, and challenges us to consider what the ethical response is in this situation...

Actually, risking insensitivity to the situation, I think I'm fascinated with herd behavior... and the different ways of looking at the same story....

Some might read this story and think, "Wow! If only the lead reindeer did not get mixed up, then all the others would not have become so confused, and the ice never would have broke." From a simplistic perspective, the lead reindeer is the easy one to blame.

Or, you can perhaps wonder what spooked the lead reindeer in the first place... what was it that made her/him turn around? What fear was provoked? Fear of the unknown? Hearing a family member call for help in the back and trying to respond? Or, maybe the lead reindeer's actions were misinterpreted by the rest of the herd... He just needed to scratch his leg, and everyone else thought he was signaling the end of the world.

Maybe the lead reindeer did get spooked.... then in that case, why didn't the reindeer continue to trust the herders that were leading them? They had led them through treacherous ground safely thus far....

Then, the thought of how quickly a little confusion became utter chaos is also fascinating... how one's actions (or their misinterpretations of them) ripples through the crowd until it becomes a massive wave, uncontrollable and unstoppable... and eventually leads to profound loss.

And of course, then there are the fuel producers...responsible that they "may" be, yet also appear poised to jump in and profit from the tragedy... It's almost as if they were lying in waiting to profit from the herd's self-destruction.

I guess it might be strange to gather all of this from just a simple article about drowning reindeer. Then again, perhaps the behavior of reindeer, and the people around them, aren't just restricted to their little corner of the animal kingdom.

Dec 16, 2009

claus or not?

New blog post on Relevant re: Santa

I've had some interesting discussions with my wife lately about the whole Santa Claus thing--- whether or not to tell your children that there is a magical guy that flies around once a year, bouncing from rooftop to rooftop, sneaking into people's houses via chimney and WD-40.

This article is from a Christian perspective; as a Christian I tend towards thinking the whole Santa thing is a bad idea to begin with. I know that makes me a big fat killjoy (it wouldn't be the first time), but the reason has nothing to do with a sense that Santa is not the "reason for the season" or distracts from Jesus....

My main issue is teaching a child that something is real, and then saying it's not. The guy in the article argues that teaching about mystery is good for children--- I agree; it's good for adults too. But when the jig is finally up, and Santa is exposed as a fraud, how then do we treat the mysterious in our world? As a fraud, I would expect! We learn to mistrust the fanciful and wondrous (especially when those in authority purport those ideas) and that keeps us from either accepting the possibility of spirituality at all, or we make religion into doctrines and dogmas, because, well, there's no mystery in that.

Oh yeah, the marketing kills me, too... how we spend 140 billion on Christmas EVERY YEAR, when even just a fraction of that amount could end world hunger/poverty/lack of clean water/lack of education/treatments/etc.etc.etc.....

Santa was supposed to teach us about the spirit of giving, and now he's a marketing tool, invoking nostalgia for more innocent times... such as, back when we believed in Santa...the magical and mysterious...

Maybe we can find a way to teach our children about giving and love in another way during the holiday season, and instead find ways to invoke real mystery and awe in our everyday lives, throughout the year.

Dec 7, 2009