news release [Jan. 24, 2005]

For Immediate Release
from the Office of the Press Secretary for the House Mackay

Let it be known throughout the domain, and let it be heard far and wide, the youngest son of John and Lori Mackay has yet again found himself a girlfriend. Girlfriend is a noun that means "favoured female companion or sweetheart" according to
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Them's big words. The House Mackay would request that paparazi and news media give the couple space and room to allow the relationship to flourish. All requests for comment may be directed to the office of the Press Secretary. The Lord and his Lady were heard to have said "Matthew's got a girlfriend, Matthew's got a girlfriend" in tones not unlike those used in first grade when mocking a friend. There is no further comment from the family at this time.

Thank you.

Andrew Mackay,
Press Secretary and Public Relations Guru
The House Mackay
...cause Mackay means Sons of Thunder, and we ain't messin' around.

Manu Forte


the heart is a liar

Hello friends. I've been thinking about my heart lately. I'm not quite sure what sparked it, but something today made me start to think about my heart and the way it is. Scripture says that the heart is deceptive above all things. Desperately Wicked. Desperately. That's a big word. A heavy word even. Man alive, I think we need to discipline our hearts. We have these songs and books and cliched slogans that tell us to follow our hearts. (Napoleon says: "That's what I do.") There's a problem with all that, cause sometimes our hearts run away with us. I guess it's easier for me to acknowledge it when it's not happening. My little brother has acknowledged it too, and maybe it's a family trait, but if I survey the last 3 years, I've had a ridiculous amount of shallow crushes. And, while most of them didn't last long, it's not a good thing. It's evidence in my case of a heart that tends to flit. Flit is a girly word that means jump from object to object. That's not a good thing for a heart to do. It displays little faithfulness. It needs to change. How do you whip your heart into shape? I just don't know. All right, that's enough despairing, bleeding heart crap from this kid. Peace out.

disclaimer: the above piece is perhaps a bit of an overstatement; the writer realizes that a lot of his petty crushes over the years were pathetic, and wishes that they'd never happened. That being said, the heart is always an interesting beast.


independent music

Hi guys,

I've been listening to some music tonight, and I've realized that independent musicians really do beat the pants off most of the ones who are signed to the labels (with the few exceptions of artists who do their own thing inspite of a record deal, like Derek Webb). I thought i'd draw your attention to some cool musicians who sell stuff on the net and give away free songs too.

Andrew Peterson. He looks precisely like one of my good friend's boyfriends. Bonus points if you can tell me who. This guy writes PHENOMENAL stories. He's so good. He does a Christmas musical every year. If you have high speed and want to watch andrew play great songs along with a bunch of his friends, go to the livefromstudiob website, and click on the watch this video link. This is phenomenal music. Oh yeah, if you buy one of Andy's CDs from his website, guess how much of the money he gets? Not just fifty cents or something, the whole proceeds go to him. That's cool.

Andrew Osenga. This guy isn't foreign to the world of having record deals - he was the front man for a cool band called The Normals, and now he plays with Caedmon's Call... he's pretty phenomenal. What's neatest is that he's got this thing called "The Drawing Board" and he gives away rough cuts of songs he's working on. He's great. Listen to him. And oh yeah, if you buy one of this Andy's CDs from his website, again, he gets the proceeds. That's cool too.

The cool thing about the above two guys is that they don't exist in a vacuum. They're musicians, and they like good music too. So, if you click on their links pages on their respective web sites, you'll find (I just made a consistency issue, I technically mispelt website earlier by putting it together—technicalyl wrong, but envogue, and then just now I split it, which is technically proper) a list of musicians that they listen to/play with / hang out with. And the whole thing continues, cause those people do the same thing. That's community. These folks are REAL artists. They rock. And their music is pretty darn good, too.

All right, that's it for me... for now.


while the world turned

now playing: Shane and Shane, Psalm 118. They're pretty talented.

Yes, whilest the rest of us led our pathetic, normal life, 25 extreme guys were potentially fulfilling their destiny... who would receive a rose and who's egos would be shattered? Thats right folks, I just watched about 7.8 minutes of the bachelorette. Wow. Thats really just about my only response. All of those guys suffer from one of three things: they're either 1) convinced that this is their chance to get their 15 minutes of fame, 2) in it for the money, or 3) as one of my favorite professors would say, Delusional. Cause seriously, this chica, whatever her name is (jen, I think), has been through this before - she KNOWS it doesn't end up with a successful match. Either she's in it for the money or she's there to extend her 15 minutes of fame to 20. And those poor chaps who really believe they have a chance are being duped.

We are a world OBSESSED with ourselves. You see it on dating shows like this and you see it on American Idol and its knock-offs... especially when they show the clips of people who are awful - notice that everyone seems to share one trait: confidence that they really are the best, and can win this thing. There's still something to be said for someone who is self-aware AS WELL as self assured, or instead of self assured, or something. Cause, lets face it... we're not all cut out to be actors or pop music stars / starlets. But you know what, not everyone's cut out to be a welder or an editor or a pastor, or whatever. Man alive! But, we're all so programmed to believe in ourselves, to be self-confident. Really, aren't we sabatoging ourselves? Anyway, I'm sure that I've got reruns of survivor to watch or something. I'll catch you guys later—if you get your own reality show.


All Points Bulletin: Sugar Bandit on the Loose

This is a notice from the office of the director for home security.
Current warning level: hot pink. Everybody loves hot pink.

This memo is intended to inform the public of a growing menace known as the Sugar Bandit. He was brought to our attention by one of our operatives, codenamed Agent Mom. Agent Mom reports that the Sugar Bandit leaves sugar all over the counter and floor. What could cause someone to do such a heinous thing? The only thing we can think of is a sick, twisted mind. We've run a psych profile, and it seems likely that the sugar bandit is a Male, possibly Caucasian, probably in his early 20s. He should be regarded as armed and dangerous. Or sickeningly sweet. The public is advised to pass any and all tips along to our tip number: 1 888 bandito. If you think you know who the Sugar Bandit is, do not approach him... he could inflict harm at the slightest provocation. Beware the Sugar Bandit.

Thank you. This has been a public service notice.

My name is andymack, and I approved this message.


hero (plural)

Dear Friends,

This will not be a long blog post. This is just a quick note to say that I'm finding a lot of human life consists of evaluating, then re-evaluating and adjusting. Generically, that is true. Specifically, today it is true of what I view as heroic. By definition we think of heroic as a one-time, out of the blue action that really kicks butt. Like Hulk Hogan lifting up Andre the Giant, or that guy beating the chess computer, or a fireman saving a kid from a burning building, and stuff like that. What I realized tonight is that it's not the one time act that makes those people heroes. It's the persistence that gets them there. I realized this as I woke my dad up to go to work. My dad isn't the most athletic guy, my dad isn't the fastest... he might be the craziest, but that's another story. But my dad has, for the last 11 or so years, spent his life with kids who are like he was once -- young, deaf, alienated a little bit from their families by communications barriers. Kids who need role models and authority figures who are encouraging but not afraid to establish boundaries either. My dad is one of my heros. Sure, he can't leap tall buildings. He can't lift a billion pounds over his head. He can't even beat me in a mercy fight any more (but keep that on the down low). But day in, day out (or, as it goes currently, night in, night out), he does what he can to help his community, the deaf community, develop. At the same time, he provides for his family, loves us, and even spoils us as much as he can. So, stop looking at heroics in terms of one-time acts. Start thinking about it in terms of patient, persistent people. I think it's more accurate.


thoughts from a man smarter (and possibly more verbose) than I

Dear friends,

I'm currently trying to read David Wells' second book on modernity and it's impact on the church, God in the Wasteland. I recommend him if you want a big brainful of thinking. This thought has occupied my brain off and on for the past few days; I thought maybe you guys would appreciate it too.

"... A curious paradox involving the way in which biblical other-worldliness provides the leverage for Christian this-worldly pertinence. It is only those who are "not of this world" in their inner being who have the reason and acquire the fortitude to resist the charms and allurements of the world and who, for that reason, are able to be culturally pertinent. Those who are cognitively and morally dislocated from worldly culture are the ones who are driven to change it; those who are comfortable and at home with it... are often so beholden to it as to find dislocation from the source of their blessings most uncongenial." (david f. wells, God in the Wasteland, Ch. 3)

How 'bout that? I think he may be on to something. Although, I did just figure out that he's post-mil. I guess that doesn't prevent him from having something to say. ;-) Think about it. Tell me what you think. Maybe we can interact on this one a bit. That'd be cool. Do you think that culture is absolutely so tainted that unless we're dislocated from it, we're smitten with it? I leave it with you.


refried...coffee? and songs I haven't listened to for months

Yep, I'm sitting here drinking refried... okay, okay, reheated... coffee. It's not that bad. Man, enough sugar and anything'll taste good.

Go and watch this - warning for my dial-up friends, this is a long download. I'm going to tell you what it is in a second anyway, so you may want to forgo it. The rest of you, go watch it.

I will confess that it is true that I way overplayed a certain song by Derek Webb a couple of years ago at KLBC. My poor friends who don't necessarily love his voice (the rest of us who do love his voice could listen to it a million times). Anyway, I hadn't listened to this song for a while. Tonight, I was sitting here contemplating the way I am, and my sinfulness, and how I have no apparent love for God's grace some days. And, i went on over to Donald Miller's web site (the link above) and watched the video he put together. It features scenes from Romeo and Juliet put to Wedding Dress by Derek. It starts out with the hypothesis that Shakespear's play was an illustration of the truth of reform theology. (Sidenote: I don't think that Will intended the play to be interpreted that way, but who cares.) And—as much as I don't like Romeo and Juliet—I couldn't help but see the illustration. It's a beautiful illustration. And it's very relevant especially for those of us that seem to at times make theology a dead carcass of irrelevance. So, next time you listen to that song, think about the truth of it. I know I will.


Figurin' life out

You know, it's funny, but somehow January 1 inspires in us (or in me at least) a desire to figure life out. There's a perception that somehow, during the night between December 31 and January 1, the whole world regenerates, or becomes new, or something. Not that that's a bad thing. After all, who couldn't use a second chance? This date that we've arbitrarily (as far as I can tell) set as marking the New Year gives us that opportunity. A new year is a good thing. It's also a little bitter sweet. For me, it involves looking over the past year and seeing where I've failed spiritually, relationally, even physically (darn those 15 extra pounds I'm carrying around). I've spent over a year without a significant committed relationship (unless you count me and the boys, who should all be committed). Have I learned from that? Sure, probably a little. But have I learned everything there is to learn? Not as of yet. I've watched families fall apart. I've watched families join together. I've visited family in the hopital. I visited the hospital once for myself (and to Dr. Buntington, thanks for your help). I've laughed. I've cried. I laughed a lot more than I cried, but I inherently don't cry very often. The past year seems to have been shorter than any year in my memory. It was actually a day longer than most of the ones I remember. I'm more confused than ever by girls, but maybe, just maybe, through everything I've done and been through this year, i've learned more about myself. That is worth it. Maybe I've learned more about who God is. That is more worth it.

If I could wish for anything in 2005—for myself and for you, my friend—it'd be that in 2005 we'd believe God to be who He is. I think that every other time in my life that I've used the term "it's probably my biggest problem" could be summed up in that statement. I just don't believe that God is who He has revealed Himself to be. If I did, all those other things, like discipline, faithfulness, obedience, joy, graciousness, and so on, wouldn't be at all a problem. Okay, Okay, wouldn't be as much a problem.

So, until I see you next :

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."
(Lamentations 3:22-24, ESV)

You don't have to wait for January 1st to come back around before you can get a new start.