Archive for January, 2011

Starbucks’ Funny Math

22 Jan


Starbucks doesn’t have the best tea, but I needed a place to finish reading a Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard prior to a discussion of it with some friends this evening, so here I am with the pictured cup of tea.

I normally buy a 1 tea bag venti (20 ounce cup for those who don’t speak Starbuckian). Starbucks had long been a chain that charged by the tea bag rather than the size of the cup our the amount of hot water they give you.  This has changed, and a Grande will now cost you more than a Tall though both only have one tea bag.

Meanwhile, if you purchase with a registered Starbucks card,  they’ll give you free refills with new tea bags. So a Tall refilled several times will use several tea bags and more water, but will cost less than one Grande with one tea bag.


Update: Apparently it depends on which batista you ask – I was just informed that I would be charged if I wanted more than hot water for my refill. Oooh, free water in America!


Monday Morning Links

17 Jan


  1. CBS Poll: 77 % of Americans want to cut spending, only 9% want higher taxes
  2. A new GOP Chairman was elected, and seems to be communicating that everyone needs to agree and just be against the Democrats.
  3. Global Warming: Dire Prediction for the Year 3000. That’s right, you only have 989 years to prepare. Be afraid. Be very afraid.


  1. The hunter shoots the ninja… the ninja beats the fox… . The Fox Shoots the Hunter… I remember that game differently.
  2. Surfers in Alaska Ride Wave… for 5 miles


  1. Notion Ink Adam Clears FCC, Ships This Week. This is the type of tablet I’ve been waiting for since one of my first blog posts, My Tablet Wish List.
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Posted in Links


The Power of Story

14 Jan

photo of a book

Stories are powerful as conveyors of truth and value. You can tell me a fact, but the truth may be better communicated by a story. I ran across this example in Genesis today.

Genesis 37 through 50 we read the story of Joseph. We’re early in the biblical narrative at this point, and not a lot has been revealed about God’s character, but a lot hasn’t been revealed yet. We enter the story in the middle east where Abraham’s son’s Isaac’s grandkids (the sons of Jacob aka “Israel”) are still claiming Abraham’s God as their God.

Joseph’s brothers were going to kill him for being an annoying and boastful little brother, but they change their minds and sell him as a slave to Ishmaelites (grand-kids of Abraham’s other son Ishmael, Isaac’s brother). They take Joseph and sell him to a powerful government official (the captain of his guard) in Egypt named Potiphar. In Genesis 39, Potiphar lifts Joseph to be his employee in charge of everything he has. The bible tells us why. Genesis 39:2-3 says “The LORD was with Joseph, so that he prospered…. When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him successin everything e did… Potiphar put him in charge of his household.”

Potiphar’s wife had the hots of Joseph and kept trying to entice him to sleep with her. He refused every day, until one day she tried to pull him to bed by his coat. He fled, but she had him thrown in jail. Back down to the bottom again. But, Genesis 39:20-23 says “The LORD was with him… So the warden put Joseph ni charge of all those held in the prison… because the LORD was with Joseph… ”

The story goes on and Joseph is put in charge of all of Egypt to save the people from death-by-famine until Joseph’s brothers come to buy food from Egypt, and after a long time of not revealing who he is, Joseph finally reveals himself and has Pharoah’s blessing to have his father and his whole family move to Egypt. As Jacob prepares to leave Israel, God speaks to him.

Jacob is about to leave the land to which God sent Abraham. This is the physical property God promised to his descendants and he’s about to leave. At the time, God was still known as the God of Abraham.  Jacob’s father-in-law had his own household gods where he lived. In Egypt there were other gods. God confirms he’s more than just a territorial spirit by telling Jacob “I will go down to Egypt with you…”

But we don’t need to be told this. We already know because we’ve seen God be with Joseph in Egypt. More than the mere fact that he’s present, we’ve watched the story unfold of what it really means for God to be with someone.

Telling the story, in fact, was a better way of communicating the truth of God being with someone rather than just stating the fact.

It seems that this should influence how I teach my kids and how I teach in ministry.

Your thoughts?


Posted in Story


Impossible to walk straight [video]

11 Jan

Without an unchanging guide, it is impossible for humans to walk in a straight line. Check out this video:

This isn’t just physical – many people spend their whole lives going in circles. We can’t walk in a straight line unless we have an unchanging object like the sun to measure ourselves against.

In your life, relationally, emotionally, spiritually, what is the unmoving target outside of yourself that guides you and that you measure yourself against?

If you aren’t watching Christ, you’re doomed to walk in circles.


To be seen or not to be seen

10 Jan

How do you reconcile the following two passages from the Sermon on the Mount?

Matthew 5

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 6

Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

I’ve thought the difference here was about who gets the glory – are my good works seen to give God the glory, or am I seeking (or accepting) people’s glory for myself.

What do you think?