Wednesday, January 31, 2007

chick perspective

It's always refreshing to get the female side of things.

Read Agent Wife's current report on Obi-Wan.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Daze of Our Lives (revisited)

Since Obi-Wan’s release from the hospital last week, he been in the worse shape I’ve ever seen him in.

His legs are weak. And his feet are in terrible pain due to a mix of his diabetic status and age.

Add it all up and Obi-Wan cannot walk anymore. Not even with a walker or cane.

He cannot go into his kitchen and make his own meals anymore. Everything he needs must be br
ought to him in the living room (meals, porta-potty, etc).

To my surprise Nurse Gollum retired over the Christmas break. And she hasn’t been around much since. And now there’s a new nurse, Nurse Esther. She’s trying to figure me out. I’m trying to figure me out too.

Meanwhile, every person in Obi-Wan’s sphere of friends and family is trying to get him into a nursing home. And sometimes I wonder if they’re right.

He doesn’t want to go into a care home. And I wouldn’t want to be in one myself, so I’m not making any suggestions. But I am posing questions to him that will hopefully lead him to the decision that only he should make.

But Obi-Wan needs almost every little thing done for him now. And it’s physically impossible for me to be there 24/7. Thankfully, he has a new home care worker in the mornings and she helps a lot.

I can only imagine what it’s like. Having a sharp, strong mind but a body that’s failing.

He’s so desperate to go be with the CEO.

My selfish side would like to have him around some more. Like the good ole days when we’d eat fried fish and play dominoes at the dinner table.

But my communications to the CEO have been different lately.


An end to his suffering.

I’ve never prayed for a friend to pass on.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

so you want to be a secret agent (pt V): evangelism

The word evangelism scares me.

It brings me back to my childhood where I attended a Saturday breakfast at the church of christ I grew up in. After breakfast, we were all assigned into teams of two or three and went door-knocking in the local neighborhood.

Even at the tender age of 11, it was painful and embarrassing. Door-knocking was a dismal failure. So impersonal. So sales-pitch-ish. So “us vs. them”. (shudder)

But to criticize door-knocking at age 11 would be the equivalent to pledging allegiance to beelzebubba from the pulpit.

Secret agents generally work incognito. They take Jesus’ words in Matthew chapter 6 pretty seriously. When you give to the needy, don’t try to be seen. When you pray, get out of sight. When you fast, don’t announce it and for god’s sake don’t try to LOOK like you’re fasting.

Secret agents evangelize by doing things, yet not making a scene. They rarely talk or announce anything.

If there’s some menial task that needs to be done for someone else, just do it.

Serving others speaks louder than 1000 damn street preachers or tract passer-outers.

(also see Fletch & G13's recent posts on similar subjects)

Friday, January 26, 2007

post office

The fair mother city has two post offices. The downtown branch has the most interesting, thus enjoyable clientele, so they usually get my business as opposed to the PO in Little Dallas (aka Abilene’s south side).

The federal building which contains the downtown PO takes up the entire northeast block at Pine and N. 3rd. This facility was originally built in the 1930’s (I think) so it has some fairly ornate structure that is absent from most buildings in the fair mother city.

Such as the front steps.

The main entry to the building (by N. 3rd) that faces Pine Street has these grandiose but short series of steps. Like a mini version of those seen on the Supreme Court, NYC apartments or Sesame Street.

For as long as I’ve resided in the fair mother city (since 1989...half my life) these steps have been a notorious venue for the homeless, desperate, panhandlers, and those deemed “undesirable”.

Back in my college days of the early 90’s, there was some mentally handicapped guy who sat on these steps all day and sold newspapers. His sales approach was hilarious. He’d single someone out of a crowd, usually the least confident person, and yell, “hey...HEY” over and over until they paid attention to him. It was funny.

Even my all-time favorite curmudgeon of the streets Momo has been known to camp out on the steps to offer his bird flipping abilities and personalized insults to postal customers.

But mostly, whenever one approaches the downtown PO and sees a quasi desperate-looking person by the steps, you know that person is asking for cash.

One woman once asked me for cash to buy herself some feminine products. Which totally caught me off guard since I was ready to find her food since that’s usually why people ask for money. “What? You want...tampons?”

But the mildly disturbing thing about the downtown PO is the handicap entrance. More specifically: the non-handicapped people like me who often who use it.

It’s located about 25 feet from the main entry facing N. 3rd. So...It’s near the main entry, but around the corner.

I’ve witnessed numerous perfectly healthy, non-handicapped people use the handicap ramp entry to blatantly avoid the panhandlers.

It’s kind of pathetic, but such is life. I’ve done this myself on occasion. Enter the building the easy way without having to face the reality of poverty and desperate-ness.

Help me CEO.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Obi-Wan update 01.24.07

Obi-Wan is home from the hospital, in what could be his shortest hospital stay ever: 7 days.

He's doing well, but his legs are weaker than ever before. It's getting dang near impossible for him to walk around, even with his walker.

He has an electric wheelchair for going out around the neighborhood and maybe someday for use in his house (if he ever lets me rearrange his furniture).

But we really need a regular push wheelchair that can fold up and fit in the Millenium Falcon's trunk for when we visit his doctors, etc.

Any of you locals got any leads on where I might aquire such a wheelchair for next to nothing?...please contact me on the agent hot-line.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

same as the old boss

There are situations in life that we flee or escape from...all to find ourselves jump right back into a similar situation without our knowing.

I got burned out from Christian music and praise and worship stuff a long time ago. Part of it had to do with going undercover and blending in with the locals. But mostly there was something lacking in the Christian stuff by way of injustice or even relevance. And Christian music by and large really sucks.

So I found topics that appeal to my faith delivered via prophecy on classic rock radio.

One of my favorite prophetic bands, The Who, sings a song about keeping your eyes open to the same-ole same-ole. Or rather...the Empire that wants to rob us of our imagination and soul. It’s summed up in the last line:

Meet the new boss...same as the old boss.

Grab your guitar and play just like yesterday, then get on your knees and pray: don’t get fooled again.

Monday, January 22, 2007

excerpt from ABV

“Then he will say to those religious jackasses on the left, ‘Hope you enjoy hell! I mean, hey:

I was damn near starving...and you sent me to some half-assed church food pantry for some canned goods.

I was thirsty and you said ‘There’s a water fountain at the library’.

I was lonely and cold and you sent me down to the Salvation Army, where I almost got stabbed.

I needed you sent me to another bureaucratic church-run non-prof machine that made me fill out personal information on a stack of forms...just so I could receive some garage-sale reject clothing.

I was sick AND in prison...and you sent me a freakin’ chaplain??!? Why? That guy doesn’t even know me!’

And the guys on the left answered, ‘Lord, when did we send YOU away to these great helps organizations? I’ve never seen you...and I’d never forget that face of yours.’

He will say, ‘I AM the POOR. If you do it to them, you do it to me. Case closed.”

*(Matthew 25:41-45 from the Agent B Version)

Friday, January 19, 2007

lead role in a cage

Recently I did something I never thought I’d ever do. And that’s show up at a local joint with my 10 caliber and play at an open mic night.

I’ve tried making a go at my former musician identity in recent years, but the opportunities for my act were few and my past demons were strong.

I figure this open mic night would work for my slow and steady re-entry into that hot tub known as the gigging circuit.

This place was filled with like 99% young college students. Which means none of them knew of me since I haven’t played much since 2002. That was more than fine with me. Fresh start, I suppose.

All went well. The young crowd was far more attentive and responsive than I expected.

There were several others there playing too that night, mostly singer/song-writer types. One kid played a unique performance of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”.

That got me thinking of Jack’s recent post on a line from that song that goes “did you exchange the walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?”

I am convinced that there was a necessary period of my life to lay low and get out of the public spotlight in everything I do, including music.

But getting back “out there” in the gig universe has been difficult.

My music is a warring of sorts, and I let the enemy talk me into being a caged hero of nothing in recent years.

I think I’m finally getting released.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

allow me to introduce...

...the newest agent in the local agent network (and the one I'm closest to).

After much prodding by me (and even a few comments by Jack), Agent Wife finally gives us her own agent reports via her own blog.

Agent Wife is no stranger to this blog world. Not only is she a frequent commenter here and a few other places, but she actively maintains a blog by her real identity (it's mostly cute photos of our kids, etc.) which isn't an appropriate outlet for agent reports. Anyway, she explains all on her first post.

Please go visit the agent wife files. Make her feel welcome.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Obi-Wan update

FYI: Obi-Wan went back into the hospital today due to his messed up legs and feet.

My kids are beginning to think he lives there.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

so you want to be a secret agent: Part IV - disciple

The word “discipling” won’t pass the spell check on my computer. Maybe that says something.

Jesus tells us in his great commission to go make disciples of all nations.

Current church lingo has popularized the actions of “making disciples”, thus “discipling” in recent years. I suppose this is a good thing.

Question: is “discipling” just another euphemism for making people church members?

Are we to make people clones of ourselves? Or clones of the one who resides in us?

What are people becoming disciples of? The Sunday morning social club or jesus?

I’m all for “discipling” if it means showing people the one who lives within us...and if we’re humble enough to accept the jesus who may live in them.

More often than not, my neighbors have showed me the ways of the CEO by their actions and life.

Obi-Wan has lived a simple, generous, god-fearing life much of his 89+ years on earth. I am a disciple of the one who resides in Obi-Wan.

The Sanfords (although not professing Jesus…yet) have taught me more about the poor widow giving of her all (Luke 21:4) than any church program or membership group. It would not be a huge stretch for the Sanfords to join in the kingdom of the CEO. They’re almost there.

Monday, January 15, 2007

the b-day files

Despite the icy weather, I had a killer birthday gathering yesterday.

Since my favorite Chinese dig is temporarily closed (yup, no peking duck until their new building is complete) we decided to throw a party and invite neighbors and friends.

Agent Wife cooked a turkey, plus I BBQ’d chicken, beef strips & bratworsts. And of course, a cooler full of Fat Tire, 1554, Blue Moon Belgian white, and something called “Ugly Pug” ale (which was OK, but it ain’t no 1554).

We invited over 50 people, but due to the ice we had three households of neighbors, all three members of the local agent network (thanks for coming!), and my friend Grandma Nelly (who shares the same birthday).

That just means more beer and BBQ for me the rest of the month. Oh well.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

to such as these

It is fun being the dad of a 2 year old.

This is not a sarcastic statement. I mean that.

Agent Offspring #1 (AO1) is starting to talk to and about Jesus on his own initiative.

A few days ago we attended the funeral of a woman who founded the izzy group ministry. Not understanding death, we explained that the woman went to be with Jesus.

On the way there, he kept saying, “See Jesus. AO1 see Jesus”, he said.

“I don’t know. We might”, I said.

I missed about 95% of the service due to AO1’s discovery of a playroom nursery. Plus, I had to change the worst dirty diaper in his 2 year existence.

I’m sure Jesus was in that playroom or diaper somewhere.

Then yesterday, our next door neighbor Freida Sanford called with two enormous boxes of wheat bread to give us. She must have got some killer give-away deal from the food bank. She knows how to hunt out deals like that.

We managed to spread it around some of this great provision to a few friends and neighbors.

AO1 calls it the “Jesus toast”.

Then last night we had another fish fry at Obi-Wan’s. Good eating. In the middle of dinner he kept saying “Jesus...hos-bo” over and over.

Earlier that day, Agent Wife and the kids and another friend went to visit Betty Cherry at the hospital.

“Did you see Jesus at the hospital?”

“Yes. Jesus...hos-bo”.

Yeah. It wouldn’t surprise me if Jesus was at the hospital. That’s one of the places I’d expect to find him.

CEO: please teach me to see things the way AO1 sees things.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


“God helps those who help themselves.”

What a load of crappity-crap crap.

According to my heavy intellectual and thorough research (5 minutes on google), the above phrase is the most quoted bible verse that’s not in the bible.

One site claims that the author of this quote is Ben Franklin.

This quote is also about as polar opposite of various biblical verses as you can get, such as Jeremiah 17:5-8 and Matthew 6:25-34. So I figure this quote couldn’t be the ways of the CEO. Why would he oppose himself?

Jesus didn’t trust in his own flesh by going out and fishing to feed the massive crowds. He instead took some kid’s lunch and trusted the CEO to provide from that.

However, I am not endorsing sloth or laziness by opposing this pseudo verse. There’s plenty of ammo backing anti-sloth, like Proverbs 26:14-16.

Even Paul (author of much of the new testament and former terrorist) boasted of working with his own hands and recommended others with The Way to do the same. And I don’t know if “working” means being employed. More like earning one’s keep in every situation in life. Such as if you’re staying at someone’s house, pitch in dammit! Contribute to the entire collective. Don't camp out on the receiving end.

Most middle-class/wealthy christians use the above quote, as well as Jesus’s “the poor will be with you always” to avoid serving the poor. Thus, creating further “us vs. them” insulation with the poor.

What a crock.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Mr. Buckley

Agent Wife and I are definitely back in the saddle as it were. The last two days found us shuttling around (and in Agent Wife’s case, interpreting French) some friends to their doctor appointments. And with one car between the two of us, and with two babies, it can work.

But the real unique moment of the day yesterday came when I had reason to visit Mr. Buckley (my racist neighbor).

I’ve only mentioned him a few brief times in these reports.

A couple of days ago, I had the kids out in the double stroller. His 83 year old rotund body came hobbling out of his house carrying two wrapped Christmas presents for my kids since we were gone for the holidays.

Mr. Buckley and his wife have always given our kids gifts at Christmas. Very sweet of them.

I’ve been resenting the fact that I haven’t spent much time with him this year. But he’s so difficult to be around.

Despite Mr. Buckley’s extreme negativism in life (everything is “gawdam this” and “bastard that”) he’s a terrible listener. I don’t have anything in particular to unload on him, but talking to anyone who won’t let you get a word in or constantly interrupts you is one of my personal pet peeves. Die to self, I guess.

So, I usually avoid being around him since I know I’ll get sucked into being the solo audience of a 45 minute bitch-fest.

But yesterday I had to deliver a thank you card. And I was dreading it.

It’s pathetic of me to want to avoid him since I really am concerned for his eternal well-being. Mr. Buckley doesn’t know the CEO, he’s 83, in poor health, and he’s my neighbor.

One time we got on the subject of death. So, very undercover-like, I ask him what he thinks happens when we pass on.

“Oh...I guess if you’ve been good you go up there (points to the sky) and if you’ve been bad you go down there (the ground). Hope I’ve been good.” Then on to the bitch-fest.

Hope? That would suck if all you had was some vague hope and no relationship with the creator. I pray for him often. But...I can’t stand being around him. CEO, help me.

So yesterday while giving him the card, I somehow stumbled upon an interest of his: coin collecting. This would be easy. I’m not a coin collector, but I like looking at them. And I have a bizarre agenda of populating the local currency with dollar coins (Susie B’s and Sasquatch-something). Dollar’s the Canadian influence, I’m sure. I’m looking forward to next month with the release of the new presidential dollar coins.

So before I knew it, we actually had a decent gathering that wasn’t gawdam-this or bastard-anything. We looked at various coins of his. And I traded for a couple of those state quarters I’m hunting for my father-in-law.

Some guy named Joe Aldrich wrote a book calling moments like this “lifestyle evangelism”.

Glad I finally found something that would make visits with Mr. Buckley more painless.

Monday, January 08, 2007

satellite photo

The KGB have discovered my private whereabouts from last week.

Friday, January 05, 2007

token reflections

Slowly getting back into the agent gig.

My dear friend Obi-Wan is alive and kicking. He fried us catfish tonight. We’re definitely back home.


2006 was the year of “wait”. And waiting for exactly what, I don’t know. But why should I know. The CEO is the CEO. And I am not.

I don’t find it a coincidence that over the holidays I receive a book that has not only inspired me, but somewhat confirmed my life as it were. Irresistible Revolution could be the latest trendy Christian book for all I know. And its author might be the next “cool” Christian for youth group kids to look up to. I don’t know.

But I do know that as I’m reading this book I’m thinking…hot damn, this is what I’ve been doing all along. And I never really knew what I was doing or if it was called anything.

I still refrain from calling my agent life by any description other than “agent”. But, I guess it’s nice to read a book and realize that I’m far from being alone.

Christianity sucks. I do not care for the church I’ve known growing up either. And I despise the American dream and lifestyle of consumerism. It's godless.

I, Agent B, am publicly renouncing any association with these.

And it’s nice to know there are others on similar journeys.


On January 1, 2006 I posted my dream for The Table. I also posted various reports on The Table as it progressed throughout the year.

The reports stopped. There was nothing to report. The dream still exists.

But now after reading the Claiborne book, the dream may slightly shift. Only slightly. I’m not ready to report details.

And I do feel that we already have The Table in existence. We had The Table at Obi-Wan’s tonight, for example.


2006 brought much fear into my life as I struggled mentally on how bills would be paid and my family would be fed each month. And yet, here I stand as one whose bills are paid and my family has not gone hungry. Lillies of the field and bird of the air, my friend.

I am growing more and more into faith that the CEO has me in this place to trust him. I will no longer trust the criticisms of man, surroundings of my nation, and the influence of family.

Monday, January 01, 2007

packing bags

We are scheduled to leave Canada later this week, thus return to duty in the fair mother city. It has been an excellent 3-week break and we wouldn't trade it for anything. But we're looking forward to coming home.

I neglected to report that Obi-Wan returned home from the hospital on December 13, the night before we left. So we got to spend one evening with him. I have called him every 4-5 days or so during our vacation. He seems to be doing well, but very lonely. Thankfully, our neighbors the Mackey's had dinner with him one night.

There's a few reports brewing in my head for future posts: much of this Claiborne book that I am consuming has become inspirational if not reassuring that I'm not nuts (a matter of perspective, I guess). Also, the "so you want to" series will continue as I didn't intend for them to be left so abruptly. Maybe a reflection on this past year, especially in light of my January 1, 2006 post (The Table is not, nor will ever be a dead dream).

All that to say, I'm looking forward to getting more discussions rolling. But it may be a few days or a week from now.

Keep in touch.