Friday, June 16, 2006

This post - #400 - will be my last post on this blog. I've now switched my blog over to!!! Change any bookmarks you have for my blog to that new URL.

Monday, June 12, 2006

juror #1

That's me. I can't talk about any of the details of the trial, which starts tomorrow, but I can say that it was really an intriguing experience being a part of my first jury selection process. Here were a few of the questions we were asked:
    • "Have you ever been arrested, or visited someone in jail?" - No personal criminal history, but I taught a bible study in the juvenile hall in Lincoln Heights the summer after my frosh year at Oxy. I shared that. It was in the "KL" ward - where the kids on trial for murder were. I forgot to share that. I'm also remembering the time I lived in Highland Park after my sophomore year and we called the police for one of our neighbors on a domestic violence case when the boyfriend was running around the apartment complex with a gun. I didn't remember that one.

    • "Have you ever been the victim of a crime?" - Lots of people talked about stolen cars. A few people shared some pretty crazy stories. Me, I had to talk about the shooting in front of my house 6 years ago.

    • "What do you think of gangs? Do you live or work in an area with gang activity?" - I remember hearing once that Boyle Heights had the highest concentration of gangs in LA, though there are many parts where you don't feel the prescence of gangs much at all.

    • "What is your feeling about gun ownership?" - I could tell this one would be a "swing vote" for whether or not people were excused from this trail, so I shared "thoughtfully" without oversharing.
Like I said, I'm "Juror #1," so I'll post more info after the trial is all done.


And the winner is...

...not going to be revealed just yet. Thank you all for the help - through your votes - about the URL for my new blog. I'm working on the new page this week, so I'll let you know by Friday what the results were/are as I launch the site. Stay tuned.

Friday, June 09, 2006

My 10 year reunion...

...happens this weekend. Io Truimphe!!! I've been looking forward to this for a while. Since I didn't make it to my high school reunion, I've been very eager for my college reunion. Of course there are some people that I'm excited to see that I haven't seen in a while. And while I've developed many great friendships since I've graduated, there is still something very special about the experiences I shared with folks during my time at Oxy.

But I'm also just curious to see what has come of some people. Having gone to a liberal arts college that encouraged a lot of cultural critic and talk of being "radical" and "revolutionary", I'm skeptically curious to see if & how that has actually worked itself out in people's lives after college.

We'll see.

UPDATE:Well, my skeptical curiosity was disappointed. And for the best. We had a really nice time talking with people on Friday & Saturday, most of whom we hadn't kept in touch with much over 10 years, many of whom we didn't even know that well during college. But it was really nice just to interact with a lot of really great people living pretty normal lives. My only regret was that two closest friends weren't able to travel (over land & sea) to make it. Next time, Greg & Walter.

Faith defining

Last night, while most other students on campus were moving out, or starting to party because finals were finished, our handful of students from DEEP finished up our last session for the quarter of studying the Gospel of Mark. We started in January & made our way - week to week - through about 1/3 of the gospel, examining Jesus under the microscope. Last night we spent some time stepping back from the microscope to see what picture of Jesus had emerged so far, and how Mark's gospel defines faith for us.

We talked about how Jesus is a generous servant, how he offers healing & freedom without any charge. One woman, Cori, shared, "I want to be like that, able to serve and be truly for others, because that is very difficult to do." And about Jesus as a leader who invites people to follow his lifestyle & learn from him, and who isn't afraid of failure or rejection. Another picture of Jesus that emerged in our recap was Jesus authority in forgiveness. Jenny explained it like this, "Jesus is very interested in forgiveness. It is like a gift to ourselves, to be free from the prison of bitterness and resentment. But it is really difficult to be like Jesus."

The other question that we asked about was what is faith according to Mark's gospel. I was especially encouraged by how this group of students pushed deeper than the cliche's & slogans for faith. At first, it was tempting to fill in the blank "faith is..." by saying "believing x, y, or z." Instead, we saw from Mark that faith is taking action on behalf of your friends, or depending on God by keeping life simple & free from to much stuff. Another big picture of faith was not being deterred nor determined by the crowd, as well as faith being evidenced in bringing the whole truth of our sickness to Jesus.

One of the things that stood out to me as we were doing this recap and talking about the implications for our lives, came from Davon. I gave people 15-20 minutes to do their own review, to see the picture of Jesus and the 'definition' of faith that Mark's gospel presents. And as they did that, so did I. And Davon said to me, "Your doing this, too? I thought you already had all of the answers." One of the things that I love about teaching the Bible is how much I am pressed to keep on learning.

Even though I've probably taught this particular section of Mark's gospel one or two dozen times, there is always something new that emerges for me about the character and life of Jesus. As I explained this to Davon, I could see the wheels spinning behind his eyes as his own paradigm about studying the Bible shifted from becoming an expert to becoming a learner.

new hours of operation

At least for this morning. I've been up with Isa since about 1:45am. Its now just after 4am & I think she is finally out. She had some pretty painful gas, though I'm not sure why. We introduced her to a new solid today, which she seemed to really enjoy. And that was way back at 5:30pm. But maybe it didn't agree with her. I don't know. I'm still figuring out what makes her tick.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Reading list

Books I'm on my desk - either I'm reading through them or reading some part of them:
    The Out-of-Sync child, Carol Stock Kranowitz
    Compassion, Nouwen, McNeil, Morrison
    Christian Anarchy, Vernard Eller
    One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    Slavery, Sabbath, War & Women, Willard Swartley
Books that I've finished reading in the past month:
    Manhunt: The 12-day chase for Lincoln's Killer, James Swanson
    The Da Vinci Code (reread), Dan Brown
    The Gospel Code, Ben Witherington
    The Da Vinci Codebreaker, James Garlow
Any good books you've read that you'd recommend (I especially like a good biography...)?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

FYI: Gringo

"Gringo is a term in the Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese languages used to refer to foreigners, especially those from the United States. Although its original meaning was perhaps derogatory, its usage today is not necessarily pejorative, even though it may be considered offensive by English-speakers.

The American Heritage Dictionary does however classify the term as offensive slang. In informal Spanish speech, "gringo" offers a convenient shorthand to refer to a person from the U.S... "Gringo" is almost never used to refer to people from the U.S. of Asian, Native American or Latin American origin, and its usage appears reserved almost exclusively to U.S. residents of Caucasian descent...

The term does lend itself to derogatory, paternalistic or endearing connotations, depending on the context and the intent of the user. In contrast, the term "yanqui" ("Yankee") is used almost exclusively in a derogatory way, to refer to any U.S. citizen, even those from the American South... Hispanic migrants in the USA occasionally use the term as a synonym of anglo.
More interesting than the real etymology of the word are the myths about its origins.
"A recurring fake etymology for the derivation of gringo states that it originated during the Mexican-American War of 1846-48. It has been claimed that Gringo comes from "green go" and used in reference to the American soldiers and the color of their uniforms. This is an example of an invented explanation, because gringo was used in Spanish long before the war and during the Mexican-American War, the U.S. Army did not use green uniforms, but blue ones.

Yet another story, from Mexico, holds that Mexicans with knowledge of the English language used to write "greens go home" on street walls referring to the color of the uniforms of the invading army; subsequently, it became a common habitual action for the rest of the population to yell "green go" whenever U.S. soldiers passed by.

Another legend maintains that one of two songs – either "Green Grow the Lilacs" or "Green Grow the Rushes, O" – was popular at the time, and that Mexicans heard the invading U.S. troops singing "Green grow..." and contracted this into gringo.

Another version, heard in Brazil, refers to the United States Air Force base near Natal, Brazil during World War II. The American soldiers, wearing green uniforms, would be commanded "green, go!" by their sergeants during training.

help me pick a name... please

So I need some help in selecting a URL for the webpage I'm going to set up. Can you give me your vote on one of the following options? Of, if you think I haven't found "the one" yet, give me your suggestions.

What should my new blog address be?
well... hold out a little longer.
Free polls from

UPDATE: I'm going to be taking votes until Thursday at 9pm, so don't wait. Plus, if you don't like any of the options - GIVE ME ANOTHER ONE!!

FYI: Spanglish

Apart from being a really great recent movie, "Spanglish" is a portmanteau, or a morphing of two words "Spanish" and "English". (no, duh.) According to wikipedia, "spanglish" is:
" a product of close border contacts or large bilingual communities, such as along the United States-Mexico border... Spanglish can also exist in areas far from borders, where English phrases caught in movies, television or music become mingled in regular speech.

One misconception about Spanglish is that it only refers to the typical errors made by native speakers of one language learning the other. However, although many people use the term to refer to such errors, the meaning of Spanglish is much broader, and vaguer, than that.

The term Spanglish was reportedly coined by Puerto Rican linguist Salvador Tió in the late 1940's. Tió also coined the term
inglañol, a converse phenomenon in which English is affected by Spanish; the latter term did not become as popular as the former."

My favorite spanglish word -- wateria.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Now I know my A Bee C's

Maybe I'll stear Isa towards entering the 2016 National Spelling Bee. She and I watched about an hour of the even on ESPN - yes, ESPN - this morning. The final round will be on national TV tonight in primetime.

They have to spell the word as given to them, though they can ask for more information - or just stall - by asking for the definition, the origin or etymology of a word, the part of speech, or the pronunciation. You know, words like "helminthiassis," "rhadamanthine" or "reliquiae." You knew that.

For the gamblers out there, ESPN has even handicapped the field. As a role model for her, I hope that Finola Hackett or Kendra Yoshinaga - two of several biracial girls - to makes it to the final 12. They have gotten to the 6th round with words like "borsalino," "cachinnate" and "omnilegent."

UPDATE - "C-O-I-N-T-I-S-E" - really? wow! Great shot at it, Kendra!

UPDATE 2 - "B-D-E-L-L-O-I-D" - way to nail it, Finola.

UPDATE 3 - "U-R-S-P-R-A-C-H-E" - nice. Love seeing Finola taking second. You go girl.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I'm mean in my sleep

And my poor wife is my biggest victim. Fortunately for me, she has discovered my nighttime Dr. Jeckle personality that talks in his sleep over the past 7 years of marriage. Unfortunately, unless seriously stirred from my nighttime stuper, I can be just plain mean.

Case in point - On Monday I went to bed early, just so that I could be prepared to wake up in the early morning to care for Isa, who has been waking up between 3am to 4am with allergy congestion. Vero was working late on some translation stuff, so she went to bed pretty tired.

When she heard Isa starting to cry because she was waking up, she nudged me and asked me to go take care of her.

"No, I don't want to," was my cold-hearted response.

"But you said you would. Don't you remember? That's why you went to bed early," she pleaded.

"Well, I don't want to and I'm not going to," were my final words before drifting back into la la land.

This kind of conversation alwasy gets recounted back to me in the morning, since I can't remember ever having the conversation - or any interaction - during the night. Vero is a good sport, and somehow tells me the story with laughter in the morning. But she really has to turn on the bull-dozer to shake me awake in the middle of the night to bypass Dr. Jeckle in order to access Mr. Hyde.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Prayer for the Van Riesens

I got this email today from Alex Van Riesen after having talked with Susan yesterday some about this situation. From the email and from hearing Susan's voice, this is a huge blow and a difficult situation to face. Please read through their email and spend some time praying for them:
Dear Friends,
I am sad to have to write this email. We received some hard news today. There may be problems with Susan's pregnancy. There is nothing conclusive, but we are reeling at the prospect. I will try to let you know what we know....
I've put the full letter in the comment section if you want to read all of the details. But I've included their prayer request below to help you to know how to pray for them.
I wish I could say that we were full of faith about how this is going to turn out. Given these last number of months and all that has been going on for us, we are pretty fatigued and that makes it hard to have a lot of strength for the fight. The toughest part is to not just assume that it will be the worst case scenario.

Your Prayers
Obviously, we could really use your prayers. First, that this would turn out to be nothing. That God would have mercy and spare the baby and our family a major health issue.

Second, that Jesus would help us they way he did the Father of the demonized boy. We do believe that God can heal the baby, but we are struggling with unbelief. Would you pray that God would help us with our unbelief that he can heal and that he is in control and really knows what he is doing.

We will know for sure whether there is a growth on the spine on June 12th when we do the MRI. We will not know about the chromosomal situation until June 24th, as it takes two weeks to grow the cells from the Amniocentesis. What this means is that we have a lot of waiting to do and will need the peace and presence of Jesus. Please pray for that in the midst of our waiting and struggling with God over this.

Lastly, if you are connected to any church prayer groups or other gatherings for prayer, we would love if you would ask them to pray for us as well...

Thanks for being our friends and for praying for us in this difficult time.

Love, Alex
If you can forward this to others who you know who will pray for them, I think they could really use the concerted prayer for in the coming months. Susan mentored Veronica & I at Oxy and has had a huge influence on me being in full-time ministry. She and Alex are dear people to us, so it really hurts to see them going through this incredible challenge.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Undocumented College Students - the "Invisibles"

I've been meaning to post this link for a couple weeks. The LA Times had an article in their Sunday magazine (link is to the author's site) in April on a club at UCLA for undocumented immigrant students. It's important to put a human face on the immigration debate. Here's an excerpt:

If archers and anime fans could have student clubs at UCLA, why not undocumented immigrants? They called themselves IDEAS (Improving Dreams, Equality, Access and Success) and gathered weekly, talking about all manner of frustrations: how mortifying it is to get carded at an 18-and-older show and have no ID . . . How frustrating it is when people make fun of you because you can't drive, when you can't get a license in California. How you hate lying about stupid things. How sometimes, even though you would never tell them, you blame your parents for coming here the way they did and making your life so difficult.

But the conversations usually turned pragmatic. Some administrative staff in the finance and registration offices were unaware of AB 540 and openly hostile to students whose files lacked a Social Security number, telling them that their admission must have been a mistake or that they didn't belong in college.

Monday, May 22, 2006

switching domains

My friend Abner Ramos just jumped from the small pond to the big leagues by moving his blog to Check it out.

I've been thinking about making the switch myself, but I can't land on a good domain name. I want something that is easy to remember, descriptive, as well as personal or unique to me.

All of you creative people who read this - as well as you who aren't - give me some ideas & then I'll make a contest to pick the winner.

UPDATE: 5/25 - still taking suggestions. Here are my top 4 so far, but I'm looking for 5 before I put it out for a vote:

Secrets, Lies & Conspiracies

aka - my seminar title from the Urban Youth Worker's Institute on the Da Vinci Code this past weekend. For anyone who is interested, check out my powerpoint from the seminar. I'm also going to be teaching this seminar at my church this Sunday at 6pm, for anyone who is interested. It will be slightly modified - as well as translated to Spanish - but I'll cover the same basic stuff.

And for any who still aren't sure if they should take an active engagement in understanding the Da Vinci Code - the book has sold over 60 million copies, has been translated into 44 languages, and the movie opened this weekend as the 2nd highest grossing movie around the world. Internationally, it eclipsed the opening marks for the Passion of the Christ.

P.S. If you're really interested in more info about The Da Vinci Code, read Scott McKnight's notes from lectures he is giving about it.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Personal research

I'm on my way to see the 10pm showing of the Da Vinci Code. It will probably get out at 12:30, so I'll try to report on it tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

more on the release

This week I'm going to be reposting this post from May 6th, in light of the pending release of the movie this Friday. I may add a few links as the week goes on, so keep checking back.
Worked all day yesterday to finish up my seminar - "Secrets, Lies, & Conspiracies: The Da Vinci Code & urban youth" - for the upcoming Urban Youth Worker's Institute May 18-20. I'll post my powerpoint presentation after I do the presentation, but I thought I'd share a few of the umpteen links available about the Da Vinci code.

about Facts & Errors
about Opinions
about Opportunity for Truth
about Da Vinci: news & info
about Fears & Protests
"Many Christians have become so worked up in the cultural war metaphor that they risk losing the ability to engage the culture at all." -- Darrell Brock

Images of America

I bought a book on Boyle Heights from the Images of America series produced by the Japanese American National Museum. I love stuff like this - history, photographs, etc. I should have majored in history in college. Just skimming through, I gladly realized I'm not the first person of Irish decent to live in Boyle Heights. Apparently, Andrew Boyle, whom the city is named after, was an Irish immigrant who established his home here in 1858 and founded the neighborhood in the 1870's.

Monday, May 15, 2006

the "how" of immigration dialogue

I've become a recent fan of Ruben Navarette's column in the San Diego Union-Tribune. I appreciate the way he thinks about the complexity without just over simplifying to slogans or diatribes. Just read "The ugly side of the immigration debate" and his unpacking of the blame game in "Illegal immigration is someone else's fault."

congestions, constipation = crying child

...not to mention a little sore she's developed on her rump. It has been a difficult weekend on top of a challenging 3 weeks of health issues in the McLane household. Your prayers for our health are greatly, greatly appreciated. Plus, I've got a full week with 3 days of fundraising & then the UYWI conference running Thursday through Saturday. I'm almost done with my seminar, but my sick little Isa has captured most of my attention since Wednesday, so I could use a little focus to finish.

P.S. There is nothing like your daughter crying & unconsolable to humble a man.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

similar in balding and glasses, but..

...not sure I'm on the caliber of leadership as

Rudy was running this test on his blog, so I thought I'd try it out.