Jesus Is Not On Your Team.

I have bad news.  Jesus is not on your team.

There are two teams, see.  The bad guys, and Jesus.  The crooked, depraved, self-serving, religious folks; and Jesus.

He’s not on your team.  He didn’t come for your agenda.  You can’t recruit him to your cause.  You can’t get him on board with your timeline and market projections.

In Joshua 5:13-14, we get an astonishing view of the pre-incarnate Christ.  He shows up, and Joshua worships Him (and given that the man in the story doesn’t tell him to stop worshipping, I assume that man is Jesus, whom it is OK to worship).  But the astonishing part is that when Joshua asks Jesus, “are you on our team or theirs?” (referring to the inhabitants of Jericho) Jesus doesn’t say at all what I would expect.

This is the Old Testament.  God’s chosen nation, Israel, is going to fight against a pagan city, Jericho.  I’d expect Jesus to say, “I’m on your team.  Let’s go kick some pagan butt.” And then he’d go all Jack Bauer on the other team and call in a tactical support team of angels to extract Rahab from her place like Dana Walsh (the Rahab-Dana Walsh comparison could be taken WAY deeper if Dana had repented, by the way).  He’d scream “DROP YOUR WEAPON” to the guards outside of Rahab’s place, and use the phrase “I don’t want to kill you, but I will if I have to” multiple times in an episode.

But read what he says! (mouse over the verse above to read it)  He treats the question like a multiple choice, and adds an option (c).  He’s not on either team!

Joshua saw an impressive dude with a sword, and got all strategic.  He needed a little help with the folks from Jericho.  But Jesus gently reminds him that if he wins the battle, it’s because God wins the battle.  He didn’t recruit God onto his team. Israel didn’t earn God’s favor, and they were no better than the people of Jericho.  It’s by grace that they were saved, through faith.  Not as a result of works, so that Joshua couldn’t boast.

That sounds familiar.

Potty Training in a Public Restroom.

When I first saw that positive pregnancy test roughly 2 years and 9 months ago, a lot of thoughts filled my head.  Throwing ball in a park with my son.  Teaching him how to ride a bike.  Tender moments before bed praying to Elmo.

Here’s a bit that didn’t make the mental brochure: Trying to get your toddler to simultaneously urinate into a public toilet without touching every portion of the bathroom.

We’re in the midst of what I’ve begun calling “our first attempt at potty training.”  We watched all the videos and read some books about training your child to use the potty in 45 minutes, or 2 days, or before they are 15.  The plan was to start last Monday (exactly a week ago) and be done by the weekend.  That’s now become the plan for boy #2.  Because LB decided he’d rather unload the bladder indiscriminately every now and then just to keep us on our toes.

Don’t get me wrong, we are learning his clues, and are able to keep him relatively dry during the day, nap time excluded.  It’s just been nowhere near the cake-walk the promo materials would have you believe.

But that brings us to the public restroom.  Jacq asked LB last night at the end of dinner (out with my parents) if he needed to potty.  He gave the semi-pout that means yes, and that meant I was up.  We trooped down the hall to the men’s room.

A quaint one-seater, we’ll call it.  LB walked in first, and I closed the door, turning to lock it behind us.  I turned back to see him curiously meandering toward the toilet.  I got there just in time to keep him from sticking his head into the bowl to get a closer look.

Next goal: get the pants and shoes and pull-up off.  Sub-goals:

  1. Don’t get peed on.
  2. Keep LB from lifting the lid on the toilet and letting it slam down (for the third time).
  3. Don’t lose balance and face-plant in the damp area behind the toilet i’ll call “every-man’s land.”

Having successfully removed the clothing (including correctly executing sub-goals 1 and 3), it was time to expect a miracle.  I wanted my son, known for strong-willed tantrums and excessive use of noise, to sit calmly on a toilet seat unlike any he’d ever seen (and easily large enough for him to fall through) without so much as rubbing his hands underneath the toilet seat.  And I wanted him to do all of this confidently, despite my facial expression of near-exasperation from holding him steady with one hand while keeping him from putting “toilet hand” in his mouth with the other.

But then came the moment.  He was working up from moderately-uncomfortable grumbling heading toward full-body screaming when he noticed something.  He needed to potty.  He leaned forward to see his junk over his belly, and slowly peed into the potty.

Waves of relief rushed over me (from not having any other types of waves rushing over me), until I realized that I wasn’t out of the woods just yet.  We had to sanitize the situation, get the pants/shoes/pull-up back on, and get out to the car.

To make a long story short, let’s just say the folks sitting near the door to the restroom were mildly shocked to see the child walk past the table wearing just his pull-up and a shirt.  But he didn’t notice.  He’d just peed like a big boy.

The Adventure of the Swimmie Diapers. (scatological humor involved)

I have a long, awkward, complicated relationship with swimmie diapers.  When I was in college, I was a security guard at a Holiday Inn in Florida for one summer.  One of my primary jobs was to ensure that children of diapered age were properly adorned.  I’d carry around a pink/purple stack of swimmies and approach parents and ask if they needed any diapers.  The primary problem with this assignment is that a 20-year-old single guy with no younger siblings has quite literally no idea how old kids are when they stop wearing diapers.  I probably offended three sets of parents per week, all summer.

Yesterday I developed a brand new reason to detest swimmies. We are at my wife’s parents’ house, and the pool out in the yard is, to put it mildly, a hit with the grandkids.  LB has developed a pretty good tan, despite the fact that we have slathered him with SPF 3500 baby sunscreen.

Given that we are between attempt #1 and attempt #2 of potty training, LB is rocking the swimmie diaper.  And, though I don’t think he tried, he could not have timed his first poop in the diaper any better, if his goal was to get a funny blog post about it.

After a morning of MPD, I came back to the house and changed into my swimsuit.  I had planned on playing with the whole family, but it ended up being just me and LB splashing around the pool, and having a blast.  He had a routine of climbing up the ladder into the pool, being carried screaming and splashing around it, then running across the yard to the porch, then running to the kiddie pool, and then starting the routine over.  I was in the “big pool.”  On one of his trips, I noted a new and distinct odor.  Having just dipped him into the water, I immediately scrambled to carry him out of the pool.

By the time I got him to the edge of the porch, he was screaming at the thought of no longer playing in the pool.  I, on the other hand, was doing some mental gymnastics to figure out how I was going to get his diaper off, clean the trail of sludge now running down his leg, get a new diaper, and properly sanitize the situation, all without touching him.  The dog was curiously sniffing LB’s backside, and (I’d like to think) laughing at me.

After a futile attempt at yelling for help, I decided to take the diaper off to more properly assess the situation.  It was far worse than I could have imagined, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I gagged a little bit.  I wadded the squishy mess into a ball and looked around for a suitable place to stash it.  None was apparent, so I put it on the ground beside the porch, and prayed (out loud) that the dog wouldn’t eat it.

Bad decision #1 so far was carrying LB to the porch to do all of this.  Now I had poop on the front porch, poop on both of my hands, poop on absolutely every article of clothing on LB’s body, and nothing to wipe any of it down with, whatsoever.  And did I mention I was by myself?  As I surveyed my next round of decisions, I had the sinking suspicion that there was no such thing as a good one.

I’m not sure, but I don’t think James Dobson has written a chapter on preventing the dog from eating a soggy poop-filled diaper while you hose your squealing, naked child off in the in-laws front yard.  If he has, I’ve yet to read it, and it’s too late now.

Let’s put it this way:  I am SO looking forward to the day the scrawny, clueless college kid asks me if my six-year-old needs a diaper in the hotel pool.

An Open Letter To Steve Jobs About Porn on the iOS.

Mr Jobs, I love your products.  I’m typing this post on the most dependable, well-made computer I’ve ever owned, a 2007 MacBook Pro.  And the iPhone 3G in my pocket is easily the greatest phone I’ve ever owned.

I really appreciate the well-publicized stance you have taken against pornography.  As a dad and a Christian, I cannot more emphatically state how great it is to see a man in your position reject the billions of dollars you could be making off of porn, in favor of standing up for children.  Thank you so much.

Here’s why I am writing, though.  Porn is still very, VERY accessible on your iDevices.  There are entire networks of websites out there striving to put out iPhone optimized pornography.  It’s a specific genre of porn, Mr Jobs.  I am sure you are aware of this, and I assume you are not a fan.

I appreciate that your devices “just work” and I know it must take hours of planning to make a device that is accessible to developers without becoming irreparably cluttered with junk apps that tarnish the image of a device that “just works” for so many people.

I dont know if you are aware of services like or x3watch, but those services are excellent for those of us who like the ability to hold each other accountable to not looking at porn on our mobile devices.  Currently, the iPhone versions of those two apps are “Safari replacement” browsers that are clunky, frustrating to use, and easy to circumvent.

The Android versions of those two apps are great, because the developers are given root access to the device.  They are allowed to make an app that isn’t a browser replacement, but runs in the background monitoring what sites are accessed by the device.

I know how against your sensibilities giving root access to the iOS to developers is.  But can we make an exception for an app like CovenantEyes?  I know making an official app that monitors users’ activity would have the privacy advocates screaming.  But I want my privacy invaded by friends of mine holding me accountable for what I look at on my phone.  And it would give parents a way to ensure their kids are being protected, without disabling the internet on the device!

I appreciate your time, and your heart to keep the iPhone porn free.  Now let’s really make it happen.

(if you aren’t Steve Jobs, now would be the time to retweet, forward, “like” and in any other way promote this post. Thanks.)