The Dictionary of Evangelical

Dear friends,

A while back I shared some of my favorite passages from The Book of Evangelical. Well, funny story: I was at a yard sale last weekend and happened upon a rare copy of The Dictionary of Evangelical. Naturally, I snatched it up. I had to share.


Latin dictionary

Continue reading “The Dictionary of Evangelical”

The Six Christian Songs

In 1996, Rich Mullins described the current trends in worship as “Shallow, mindless, stupid, and perfectly harmless, at best.” It’s gotten worse since then. I had a chat with our pastor yesterday when I realized that there are really only five Christian songs being written anymore.

Seriously. Five.

Then I started crunching the numbers and getting rid of outliers and realized there were actually six.

1. How Great is Our God

This song is all about how great and awesome God is. Usually the purpose is to tell God how great God is, as if in spite of God’s greatness, God turned out to be all shy and humble and not actually know how great he is. Sometimes it’s to tell other people how great God is. Christians believe we hold exclusivity to this claim, and so do Muslims. I wrote about this a while ago. Chris Tomlin wrote most of the songs in this section.

How Great is Our God, by Chris Tomlin (the titular song)
Forever, by Kari Jobe
Show Me Your Glory, by Third Day
How Great Is Our God, by Chris Tomlin
Holy is the Lord, by Chris Tomlin
God’s Not Dead, by the Newsboys
Everlasting God, by Chris Tomlin
Indescribable, by Chris Tomlin
You Are God Alone, by Phillips, Craig, and Dean

2. I Don’t Deserve You

The lyrics to this song tend to be along the lines of “You are so great, I am so small, I am so short, you are so tall.” It basically wallows in how stupid / wicked / evil / sucky we humans are and how only God can save us. Casting Crowns wrote most of the songs in this section.

You Won’t Let Go, by Michael W Smith
Back to You, Mandisa
Hello My Name Is, by Matthew West
Don’t Deserve You, by Plumb
Who Am I, by Casting Crowns
East to West, by Casting Crowns
Voice of Truth, by Casting Crowns

3. I Will Praise The Lord

This song LOVES to praise the Lord. It’s consistently either singing the first song (How Great is our God) or singing ABOUT praising God. Chris Tomlin wrote most of the iterations of this song as well.

Back to You, Mandisa
He Reigns, by the Newsboys
I Lift My Hands, by Chris Tomlin
Sing, Sing, Sing by Chris Tomlin
How Can I Keep from Singing, by Chris Tomlin
LifeSong, by Casting Crowns
Blessed Be Your Name, by Matt Redman

4. I Believe No Matter What

You know this song. All sorts of bad things are happening in your life, and you cling to Jesus like the last strand of hope… err. rope. Whatever else is going on, when this song plays, you know it’s going to be all right, in spite of everything.

We Believe, the Newsboys
God’s Not Dead, the Newsboys
Press On, Building 429
All The People Said Amen, by Matt Maher
Not Gonna Die, by Skillet
My Lighthouse, by Rend Collective
We Won’t Be Shaken, by Building 429
My Hope Is In You, by Aaron Shust
Walk by Faith, by Jeremy Camp

5. Amazing Grace

In a few minutes of searching the internet and my brain, I found no less than three different (new) iterations of Amazing Grace. I’m sure there are more. This song also includes other hymns that have been adapted and updated. And “Amazing Grace” is really just the old-school “I Don’t Deserve You.”

This Is Amazing Grace, by Phil Wickham
Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)
How Sweet the Sound, by Citizen Way
Lead Me To The Cross, by Chris and Conrad
‘Tis So Sweet To Trust in Jesus, by Casting Crowns

6. Your Name Is Awesome

This song is about God’s name. The obsession is kind of weird. Like, if a 15-year-old girl obsessed this much about her boyfriend’s name, she would probably be in the psych ward. This song is just a rehashed “How Great is Our God.”

I am, by the newish David Crowder
The Only Name (Yours Will Be), by Big Daddy Weave
Your Name, by Phillips, Craig & Dean
Great I Am, by Phillips, Craig, & Dean
I Am, by Mark Schultz

These Six Songs Are Only One Song: How Great Is Our God

These five songs really all boil down to one. There has only been one Christian song written in the last thirty years, and that song is “How Great is Our God.” Everything else is derivative.

I realize that there have been other kinds of Christian songs written, but these are the only ones that get really popular. Rich Mullins was a spectacular songwriter, but the only song that he wrote that you know is called “Awesome God.” Seriously.

Free movie tickets!

In which Kristen and I try to get free movie tickets in exchange for test driving a car.

When Kristen and I opened our new credit union account, we noticed a coupon for two free movie tickets if you test drive a new car at any of the dealerships on a list. Now, Monsters University just came out, and Kristen has been dying to see MU since last year, and we’re between jobs, and money is tight. So we found a car that looked promising at one of the dealerships on the list. Promising because she really could use a car once she gets a job, and I haven’t taught her to drive stick yet.

So we drove off to the dealership. As our luck would have it, the car we wanted to look at was in the shop in the back of the dealership getting repairs done. “You can’t test drive it tonight,” said the salesman. “Wanna come back tomorrow?” We agreed on a time to meet him. No test drive, no tickets. Strike one.

But just around the corner was another dealership on the list! We drove down and met a salesman. We told him our price range but didn’t really like anything he had available in our range. “Come back any time. We’ll get a lot more over the weekend.” No test drive, and therefore no tickets.

Frustration was building. It was getting later, and the dealerships were going to be shutting down. “Let’s just test-drive a new car,” I said. There was a Honda dealership across the street. We compared the name to the list and drove over. We fared much better. “We just want to have a look around first.” We browsed. We looked. The salesman gave us a closer look and let us in.

We found one, finally, miles outside of our price range. “Would we be able to drive it around the parking lot?” Kristen asked. The salesman hopped in the back and Kristen drove to the office where the salesman photocopied our driver’s licenses and picked up a license plate. We weren’t really fans of that car, so we sat in a Kia and test-drove a Civic, which we kinda liked.

The time came. We went into the building. The salesman sat us down with his sales manager, who told us what the car was worth. We told them the truth, that we couldn’t afford it, but that maybe when we got jobs and had more money we might like that car. We talked about leasing for a while, but it was still obvious that we couldn’t afford it, not now.

The salesman got up to get us his card, and I handed him the coupon from the credit union. He walked off. I smiled at Kristen. Finally. Our tickets were as good as ours. He returned without the tickets.

“I was talking to my manager, and…” Things had taken a turn for the worse. He showed us the list and pointed to the name of his dealership on the paper, and then to the name of his dealership on the wall. They were not the same. We had misread the name, and they weren’t even part of the offer. Strike three.

Kristen and I walked out. I was grinning because it was all so dumb. We’d struck out three times.

We gave up, went to the theater, and paid for our own tickets.

The next day, we went back to the first dealership and test-drove the car we’d seen online. We liked it. The salespeople were relatively high-pressure. They offered us a ridiculously low price on our potential trade, which magically increased by 150% when we told them it wouldn’t work.

Eventually we told them that we weren’t going to buy today and asked for our movie tickets. The salesman went to talk to his manager and came back with a coupon for a couple free nights at a hotel. He said they were all out of movie tickets.

After we got home, I did a little digging around on the internet. The dealership had paid $99 a year  for the right to print off an unlimited amount of those free night at a hotel coupons, and if 33 people use those in that year, they get it all back.

I ripped up the “free movie tickets with a test drive” coupon and threw it in the trash.

Buying a Couch

I knew when I took out the trash this morning that today was going to be the day that we bought a couch. I could sense it. I just had no idea how difficult that would be.

2:11 I get a text from the guy who was selling it. Kristen and I had both agreed that we wanted said couch. I tell him that we wanted to come look at it. So far, so good.

2:30 We arrive to look at the couch. It smells kinda funky, but it seems clean of all pests and clean overall, and the price is right. We tell the guy that we like it, and would he please hang onto it for us until we can stop at an ATM for cash, then go to Lowe’s and rent a pickup truck because we don’t have one or know anybody in Colorado Springs who has one. He says he’ll wait. So far, so good.

3:00 We arrive at Lowe’s, halfway across town and hop on the kiosk to rent a truck. It’s super-cool because this lady named Taylor talks to us with this videoconferencing kiosk thingy. We give her our information and agree to the terms and conditions. A guy gives us a $15 off your first rental coupon, which she applies to our account. Score! She gives us 5 minutes extra to go find the truck. …So far, so good.

3:15 We’re out in the parking lot looking for the truck. It is frickin’ nowhere to be found. The lady from Lowe’s looks very confused. She has no idea where that truck is. We drive all over the parking lot looking, and even go around back. She starts making calls.

3:40 We’ve given up on finding it, and I’m on the phone with Hertz. Apparently, someone else has rented the truck that we’ve rented, and they still have it, and that’s why it’s not there, but it’s due back by 4:00. “Do you want to reserve it for then?”

“No,” I tell him. “4:05, just to be safe.”

4:10 There is still no truck. I call Hertz again. The guy says he’ll call the people with the truck and find out why they’re not back yet, because they should be. I ask him to call me back.

4:20 “I couldn’t get ahold of them.” I tell him to make the reservation for 4:30 and if they’re not back yet, we’ll cancel.

4:30 This is getting really old. I call Hertz and cancel. I ask for a credit of some kind, in case hell freezes over and I ever decide to do this again. Then I start looking up numbers for U-Haul.

4:45 I call U-Haul. They definitely have a pickup truck, at a comparable price. “We’ll be there by 5.”

5:00 The line at U-Haul is a mile long.

5:15 It’s been 2 hours and 45 minutes. I’ve been keeping the guy up-to-date, and he agrees to wait. Finally, at

5:30, We have a truck.

5:45 We pull in front of the guy’s house, ready to pick up our couch and give him his… Dangit. We forgot to stop at an ATM. Why does this stuff seem like it only happens to me?

6:00 This is ridiculous. We found a Wells Fargo, but we pulled into the (not-marked-at-all) main lane instead of the ATM lane. We can’t turn around, we can’t back up, and the way to the ATM lane is, predictably for today, blocked. We pull into a service station with a sign that says “ATM INSIDE!” Kristen suggests I get some gas while she runs in and withdraws the money.

6:05 One space clears and I pull in to pump. On the wrong side, of course. Kristen comes out. “The ATM is broken.” Fortunately, Wells Fargo is right next door. I text the guy with the couch. “Ten more minutes isn’t a big deal.” We’ve kept him waiting half the day, so why not?

6:15 We get back to the guy’s house and load up the couch. Finally. But he doesn’t have any change whatsoever. We just give him the extra $5, and he promises to mail  us our change. We hope he does.

6:30 Back to the apartment with our couch. I return the truck. Everything’s fine. We’re both starving. Little Caesar’s is $5 for a large pizza, but Red Baron pizza is $2.99 at Safeway. After we haul the couch in and Kristen dumps half a box of baking soda on the stinky couch, we’re on that pizza like baking soda on a… ya know.

6:45 I thought the tall triangular building was Safeway. Clearly (now) it was Ace. It wasn’t a very helpful place. I drove back toward Safeway and asked Kristen why she didn’t tell me where it was. “I thought it was obvious!” Clearly it wasn’t to me. We go in through the left doors.

7:00 The line at checkout takes forever. We left our Safeway card …somewhere… and our number isn’t in the system. We snag one from the lady behind us and drive back to the apartment before something worse happens, like getting pulled over for speeding. Speaking of which, at least that didn’t happen.

7:25 The timer goes off. We ignore it, but we made it. The pizza was fine. Actually, it was pretty delicious. Thank God.

And now we have a couch. A very expensive couch, time-wise. But a couch nonetheless. Thank you for tolerating my little story.


This morning Ree left the office with a headache. She left me a list of things to buy at Lowe’s. So I asked Andrew to come with me, and we took a maintenance truck down to Lowe’s. It was a very manly truck. It was very dirty, filled with random tools (which were also dirty) and the radio was set to an 80s rock station. Also, the speedometer didn’t work. We felt very manly indeed.

We arrived at Lowe’s, that awesome place where men go shopping. We walked in like we owned the place and headed over to the lumber section. We had to get a special big blue cart to carry our lumber. I found the 2x4s and 4x4s and 4x6s and the sheets of plywood. Andrew pushed the cart by himself. He said it made him feel manly. We got a lot of wood.

We checked out and I pulled the truck around, and we loaded it up. The bed was just the right size to load up with 4×8 sheets of plywood. It was almost as though it was designed for manly men like us to load our manly truck with wood. We attached a red flag to the back of the truck, and I told Andrew that I needed to blog about this experience and how manly it was. Continue reading “man”

Professor Optimism Quiz

NEW ENTRIES! Scroll down to Edit March 22, 2011 for  Goetz, Welker, Eilers, Lynch, Michelson, Clifton, Dekker, Hartle, and Ballinger!

Note: The following is NOT a transcript of actual interviews. It is a caricature of a few of my professors. Add your own to the end 🙂

Is the glass half-empty, or half-full?

Professor Latino, Digital Tools and Media Management:

The glass is half-full. But it doesn’t have enough lighting. And have you tried duplicating it in Final Cut Pro yet?

Dr. Bordeaux, Chemistry:

Well, technically, the glass is neither half-full nor half-empty. The glass can hold 300mL of H2O and it is currently holding only 139 mils. And that won’t be on the test, it’s just something I thought you might find interesting.

Professor Leeper, Intro to Digital Media Arts:

I’m not going to make a judgment call about whether the glass is half-full or half-empty. That’s something I want you to figure out on your own. You don’t really have the right to say whether the glass is half-full or half-empty until you’ve experienced it for yourself. And really, I think we talk way too much ABOUT the glass and don’t spend nearly enough time listening… to the glass… itself. We’ve talked enough; it’s the glass’s turn. I’ll get your comments on the blogs.

Continue reading “Professor Optimism Quiz”

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