Posted by: pastortomtypes | October 18, 2007

So, what ARE you supposed to do with this used TP?

Well I made here to Quito.  Andrea and I are having a ball.  This place is awesome!  We are at 9000 feet elevation, and I am used to sea level, so it´s a little difficult to breathe here.  they say it will get better soon.  I hope so because we are going to a 12000 foot high mountain manaña.  Andrea is so happy here and her friends are all awesome.  We all had lunch today and laughed and got to know one another.  Sometime you will have to ask me about the spanish class I sat in on today.  Let´s just say I wished I didn´t know that much spanish at that moment.    Already the food here has been great.  Very different customs and tastes, but fun to explore.  I am sorry, but I will never get used to the rule of not flushing used toilet paper.  I guess the water pressure isn´t strong enough in the country to handle it.  OK,  don´t think I´m an American snob or anything, but I am appreciating American infrasturcture today.  

I had a huge layover at the airport and then some nincompoop in a pilot´s outfit said that they switched my flight to a gate at another end of the airport.  This was Miami airport.  the sign on the walls tell you how long it will take you to walk or in my case – run to that exit.  When I got there they told me a mistake had been made and the actual gate was right back where I started and that they plane was loaded and ready to leave the gate.  The sign on the wall then said 20 minutes walk / run.   Well, I got to the gate and they had the nerve to be angry with me for being late for my flight.  The gate attendant said¨: What,  did you stop for a beer and lose track of the time?”  I had a mixture of emotions at that moment in time.  I wanted to hit her – I wanted to cry – I wanted to find that pilot and give him a sucker punch.  But I just smiled and prayed for Jesus to help me love these people.  I got on the plane and lo & behold there was that pilot greeting people.  He saw me and ran into the cockpit.  Fearing a flight marshall might tackle me and arrest me I decided to take my seat.   Ahhhh! the joys of flying.

I read this awesome book on the plane and in the various airports :  Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne.   You HAVE GOT to read this book.  His style is edgy and he pulls no punches, and you probably will look at your world differently for a while, but I found it compelling on many levels.  I don´t completely agree with him, and it almost feels like heresy to say it, but go ahead and give it a read.  Let me know what you think.   Got to run.

Tommy from Quito

Posted by: pastortomtypes | October 14, 2007

Leaving soon for Quito

Well, this may be my last blog till I get back from Quito.  I leave this Wednesday and will be there till the 26th.  I am looking forward to seeing Andrea and letting her show me her world – or at least her world for the past 3 months.   If you feel inclined to pray, I was not able to get my eye surgery scheduled before I leave, so my vision is not that great, but I am trusting that I will still be able to enjoy our time together there in Quito. 

You know, it’s amazing what advances there are now in the medical field.  I will be having outpatient surgery on my eyes where they will literally cut a hole in the side of my eye, suck out the lens behind my iris, and insert a new lens and attach it at 4 spots to the eye muscles so I can focus both near and far just as my original eye focused.  All this will be done and I will go home, rest for 24 hours and be right back at work.  It amazes me.  The doctor said there will be minimal discomfort, not unlike haveing a fine grain of sand in my eye for a while then it will gradually fade away.   Isn’t God incredible that he allowed man the knowledge to do this?  I don’t see it as any less of a miracle that God would work through an eye surgeon than if He miraculously healed my vision.    I have two surgeries (one on each eye) on Nov. 2nd and the 16th.

 I am bringing some awesome books with me to Quito to read thanks to your suggestions.  I’m especially looking forward to reading Shane Claiborne’s “Irresistible Revolution”.  If I get to an internet cafe I will blog while I’m in Quito. 

Posted by: pastortomtypes | October 6, 2007

Sabbatical & Blurred Vision

Well, I went to the Optical Surgeon today because I have been having trouble seeing unless I am looking straight ahead.  I thought it was my glasses, but the doctor said I need to have eye surgery to correct the problem.  This is what they are going to do:  They cut a slit in the side of my eyeball and inject a solution that turns the lens (which usually has the consistency of jello) into a liquid and then they can remove it.   Then they insert a permanent plastic lens through the slit.   Of course I assumed they knock me out for this surgery, but NOOOOO, all they give you a sedative.   A lot of good that’s going to do!  Man, I can hardly wait for this wonderful experience.  This is all hapening on October 12th, next Friday.    I wanted to get it done before I go to Equador to see Andrea.   It would be a bummer if I couldn’t see all the wonderful things she’s got planned for me. 

 A funny thing happened at the Optical Surgeon’s office.  Have you ever had your pupils dilated?  Those of you who have had it done know it’s no picnic.  They put a series of drops in your eyes including this yellow sticky gunk.   Then you put your chin in this “chin holder” (is the best I can describe it),  At this point your pupils are so dilated that the smallest amount of light is painful.  Anyway, with your chin in this stirrup the nurse shines this bright light into each eye.  Naturally, you body had an involuntary response and you try to close your eye or move your head away.  At this point the “male” nurse starts to get an attitude with me and says:  “Mr. Britton, do I need to strap your head to the chin support to keep you still?  We normally just use that for children.” Now if you’ve ever been in this position you know that this nurse is literally sitting on a stool with his legs spread, very close in front of me so he can look on the insdie of my eyeball.   I had one of those out of body experiences where I thought wouldn’t it be funny if I kicked him right at that moment?  I could say it was an involuntary thing OR  “At least I didn’t move my head or blink my eye!”    Thankfully, I didn’t act on the impulse, but I was sorely tempted.

 I am officially now on Sabbatical till the end of October.  The first part of my sabbatical I am going to do research for a new “recovery ministry” that we are starting at CLA.   I’ve already begun the research, but this first part of my sabbatical will give me ample time to present our church with a well researched program to meet the growing needs for people in recovery from alcohol, drugs, and sexual addiction.  We also hope to start a smoking cessation group as well.   This is a huge undertaking in our church, but long overdue given the size of CLA.   Beginning November 1st we will start with one or two groups for men struggling with sexual addiction.   The program will grow from there.

Posted by: pastortomtypes | September 25, 2007

What price – Academic Freedom?

No doubt you’ve heard in the news about President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaking at Colombia University in New York.    I read an article from the New York Times today on line that was praising the President of Colombia for having the courage to support the Iranian President’s right to speak here in the US.   Having worked in Higher Education for over 20 years I often came face to face with both sides of the Academic Freedom debate.  Today, when I was watching the news and reading the paper it all came flooding back in the form of the question I raise in my title:  What price – academic freedom? 

 You see, I agree that our right to free speech is quaranteed and SHOULD be guaranteed and preserved by our Constitution.  I also believe that in a free society varying views on conroversial subjects should be allowed to be heard.  The only problem comes when we try to live by the letter of the law and not the spirit of the law.  When we emphatically support ALL free speech – no matter how controversial – we conveniently forget that it is impossible to be totally consistent.  The proof is that in a free society we still have some absolute values that we impose on all our citizens that may disregard their rights to free speech.  For example; you can not use your free speech to yell “fire” in a crowded theatre without punishment of imprisonment.  Perhaps a better example would be that the same institutions that exhault academic freedom under our constitutional rights would also ban what they call “hate speech”.  Hate speech has been interpreted to include any pro-life speech and any anti-homosexual speech.  Christians have long been the targets of liberal academic censors who would silence Christian beliefs and views on the grounds that they are “intolerant.”  

So,  when I see the President of Columbia  University standing his ground on international television I think it somewhat lacking in integrity and truth.  At best it is hypocritical.  At worst it is extremely dangerous to our very national security.   Why is it so dangerous?  Because allowing this known terrorist to freely air his views on our land and in our schools, is in some way saying that his hate-filled, inhuman views may be correct in some people’s minds.   On other issues we have come out clearly saying that certain views are NOT acceptable to be aired.  This terroist’s views fall clearly in that category and no policy on academic freedom – no matter how liberal – should ever be allowed to be misinterpreted to protect the right of a madman to spew his hatred and make a mockery of everything we stand for as a free nation.    The President of Columbia and all who agree with him should be ashamed of themselves and should beg for forgiveness of all those Americans whom they have offended by their liberal elitist thinking.  They do not speak for freedom of speech, they speak for their own liberal agenda and their over inflated intellectual snobbery.    Intellectualism without moral restraints makes robots out of men and women with the best of our intellect as the final word.  Well, I believe we are humans, made in the image of God, whom I believe is the author of our moral codes and biblical values that this country was founded on. 

Posted by: pastortomtypes | September 24, 2007

I’m going to Quito to see Andrea

Well, I decided I would take part of my Sabbatical and fly to Equador to visit Andrea.  We were on Skype tonight working out all the details.   She is getting homesick and I have missed her very much so we are going to have some quality father/daughter time together.  Since I don’t speak the language I will be leaning on her pretty much for all the communication.  I have always wanted to learn Spanish – maybe this will really give me the bug for it.   One of the things we will do together there is visit an orphanage.  I’m going to see if maybe I can minister in some small way there.  I know I won’t be there long, but at least I can get a feel for what missionaries do in orphan work in 3rd world countries.  It has always been a dream of mine to work with orphans.  We will see what God has in store.    I will have lots of time while Andrea is in classes and studying to catch up on my reading.   One book I’m going to read is the controversial book:  Kite Runner.   Do you have any suggestions for other good books to bring along? 

Posted by: pastortomtypes | September 5, 2007

What I learned on my Birthday

Yesterday was a good day for me.  Lindsay and Dana greeted me in the morning with warm wishes and affirmations of love.  Then I got an e-mail from Andrea where she listed 53 things she loved about me.  Then at supper time we went out to eat with the Sebastians and they went around the table expressing how they felt about me.  I have to say that it truly was difficult to hear these things because I know how much room for improvement there still is.   However, as I pondered the day I came to a realization.  Of all the wonderful things they said about me there was a common thread – each one of the attributes had something to do with how I made a point to value each of them in my life.  The things they commented on were the ways and times that I placed their needs above my own, or the times where I made it clear to them just how special they were to me.  Each time I did that, they felt significant and loved and encouraged.  And if you know anything about people you will know that these are the basic needs in all men, women and children.  Of course I give God the glory for working through me, but I have to say that my hope and desire was to “be Christ” around them.   I have long maintained that when we simply strive to be Christ around people,  that the Christ in us reaches out to them.  People can feel that and they respond to it.  I believe they are strengthened by it.   When I leave people’s presence I want them to miss being with me – or more specifically – being with the Christ in me.  The only way that happens is when I step aside and let God…

 Now, I must be quick to add that I do not always do this right.  Oh how I wish I did !  It is those failures that I remember on days like my Birthday when people say such wonderful things.    I know that I am only human, but I really do want to be more like Christ every day.  I want people to always feel closer to God when they are with me because I’ve stepped out of the way and let the Christ in me minister to them.  This is the goal of my counseling, and with my family and friends.  Oh dear God let it be true of me with all people you place in my path.

Posted by: pastortomtypes | September 1, 2007

Empty office, a wedding & some new clothes

Well, Pastor Tony’s office is now empty.  Man, it is so sad to walk by and not see him in there with music blaring, students laughing, and him typing away on his lap top.  I will forever miss stopping by to see the latest blog he found or something funny on UTube.  I am thankful he and the fam will be around a year or so so we can stay in touch.  Staff meetings will never be the same.

We all went to Brittney Kapp’s wedding yesterday.  It was really nice, we had a great time at the reception too.  Lots of dancing !   It was funny to see all the Pastors dancing with their wives – that’s a rare sight you can be sure –  It sort of blew my mind actually.   I thought that Andrea would have loved to have been there and she and I would certainly have danced to a few songs.   I hear she’s learning some new dances in a class she’s taking in Equador – maybe she can teach me some new steps when she gets home. 

 I bought some new clothes with birthday money today.   My daughter said my jeans had to go.   So I went to Gap and a guy we knew named Adam waited on us.   I told him I wanted to look more modern, but not like one of those 50 year olds trying to look 25.  He smiled and helped me out.   Lindsay approved of my choices.  At least I don’t look like a 53 year old trying to “grow old gracefully”.  Blecht!   Who wants that?    So my birthday is Tuesday and I will be 53.  Wow.  I remember when my Dad was 53 – he seemed so old to me.  At that point in his life he had raised 7 children and he had 4 grandchildren,  he had served in the Air Force in WWII, he successfully ran 2 businesses, and was off to Minneapolis to run a retreat center.  Whew!   now I don’t feel so old.   You know, when you reach your 50s you start to wonder about your life and how you’ve invested it over the years.  It doesn’t make sense to have a lot of regrets in my opinion.  I think it makes more sense to look back and thank God for the many blessings He’s given.  I think it also makes sense to look forward to how you can use all those experiences in life to bless others.   So on this anniversary of my birth I remember the words of CS Lewis who said:  “Don’t ever have on your tombstone the following carving:  “He had the experience – but missed the meaning”.  So go ahead and live life on purpose – I know I plan to. 

Posted by: pastortomtypes | August 25, 2007

Mighty Men

I was re-reading Mark Batterson’s book:  “In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day” (awesome book by the way – you should all read it) and I started thinking about this character from II Samuel – Benaiah.  Anyway, this guy ends up as one of King David’s “Mighty Men” because of facing his own “lion in the pit”.  It all got me thinking of these huge Hollywood epoch films that people (especially men) love to watch.  You know, older movies like Sparticus and Ben Hur, and more recent films like Braveheart, Gladiator, Troy, and newly released “300”.   My wife attending this film is akin to me going to a “chick flick” – ain’t goin to happen.    Do you ever wonder WHY these films appeal to men so much?  I haven’t seen “300” (I think it’s got some typical Hollywood sexual ratings boosters in it), but I read an extensive review in the paper where the reviewer was asking this same question – why do men like these films so much? (the reviewer was a woman by the way – she obviously just didn’t get it.)    I’ve got my opinion as to why we guys like these films, but what do you think?  I’d love to hear from some women too !   Just some food for thought.  Have an awesome day everybody.  I’m going out to mow the lawn when the heat index is over 100 degrees.  I can do it!  Arg!

Posted by: pastortomtypes | August 24, 2007

Grumpy

Sometimes my wakes up grumpy, and sometimes she just lets me sleep in.   Yes that’s the way that joke goes.  Anyway, I woke up in a grumpy mood today.  I think the weather has a lot to do with it.   I can handle a day or two, but a whole week of crappy weather starts to get to me.   I need sunshine.   Have you ever wondered why our moods are better when the Sun is shining?   Have you ever wondered why people suffer depression most at the wee hours of the night?   I believe it has to do with light and darkness.   Darkness is where we hide things.  When the light comes into darkness it illumnates all that we had feared.   The same is true of our spiritual lives.  We hide fear and sin in the darkness of our souls and Jesus wants to shed light into that darkness and illuminate all the dark places to show us that there really isn’t anything to fear at all.  To quote FDR, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”    I learned a long time ago the value of a little accrostic on fear:  Fear stands for:

F   false

E   evidence

A  appearing

R  real

So, the next time you feel fearful – about anything, why not remember this little accrostic?  It certainly has helped me.     Well, even though it’s gloomy outside I am going to go sieze the day.    Have a good one.

Posted by: pastortomtypes | August 18, 2007

Vacation’s almost over

I hate that feeling you get just before returning to work when you’ve been on vacation.  It’s like when you return home after being away for a while and everything seems just a little unfamiliar.  So I lay in bed and have to force myself not to think about work, and how awful it will be to get through all the e-mails; especially the junk e-mails. 

I have had one of those vacations where I think a lot.  Floating around in the pool for hours can give you a new perspective on life (as well as a bad sunburn).  Mostly, I was thinking about CLA and how much we need God to send us good people to fill Tony’s shoes and Pastor Dwayn’s.   This is a “God thing” to be certain.   So much prayer is needed to keep it in God’s hands. I hope you are praying.  You can be certain of one other thing:  God wants to build on the labor Tony has invested in the Youth.   So if you are reading this blog, know that God expects to take you to the next level in your personal walk with Him.   Hey, it may mean that you are pushed beyond your perceived limits, but that’s what growth is all about.    I have an idea:  Why don’t you get crazy with God and ask Him to give you the courage to do something for Him that you haven’t ever done before?  What have you got to lose?  C’mon, use your creative brain that He gave you to come up with something really cool that you could do for God.  Pray about it and ask Him to give you an opportunity to actually do it.   You are awesome !  I believe you can do it !  Let me know how it turns out.  Who knows; it might become contageous.

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