Monday, February 28, 2005

Trinity Lutheran Church Hypocrisy

I was going to post something concerning our experience at church yesterday but Michelle beat me to the punch and had already written a letter to the pastor this morning. She's speaking from a position of faith, so it gives it an even more relevant perspective than I could provide. I've included the text of that letter here:

Pastor Bolte

Yesterday, on Sunday the 27th of Feb. my family came to your church for the first time. Our son goes to your preschool and was going to be singing during the church service. I have been raised a Roman Catholic and have always attended the Catholic church until recently, when I have started taking my son to Celebration Lutheran church. I wanted a more kid friendly church for my son. Celebration does a great job of keeping the children's interest during church and they also have a Bible study class that he can attend. It's very important to me that my son enjoys going to church. I firmly believe that if my son enjoys going to church when he's little, he will go as an adult. My son absolutely loves going to church. This is something I am very excited about because my husband is agnostic. My son already knows that my husband doesn't believe in God, but his "Mommy" does. When I ask my son, he fully believes in God.

My husband is ok with me taking our son to church as long as it's a healthy atmosphere. He agrees there is a lot of good things you can learn in church. In my son's Bible study they have learning about jealousy, forgiveness, anger, honesty, love, etc.

On Sunday, it was the first time my husband had gone to church in over 2 years. We also invited a couple of our friends to go with us so they could see our son perform. I have never been so appalled with a church service. Your sermon was full of hate and intolerance. I am still so much in shock that I can hardly believe it. A man of the cloth should know God a little bit better than that. Just as people don't chose to be left handed (in fact they were once considered to be products of the devil), people do not chose to be gay. In fact in both cases, they have found that it has to do with something in the brain. Therefore, that means they were born that way, and if they were born that way then God made them that way. Unless you are saying that God made a mistake. I don't think he did. I think gays/homosexuals are God's way of testing us on how well we can love our neighbor and live in peace. Who will your church call out next, Asian people? How a church can preach about intolerance and hatred is beyond me. I was so embarrassed I wanted to pull a blanket over my head. In one service you just mentioned almost everyone of the problems that my husband has with churches. The hypocrisy of your church was very apparent. The God that you believe in must be a very hateful and intolerant God and I feel sorry for you. The God I believe in is a forgiving and loving one, and if Jesus was here today he would be crying at how little progress people like you have made.

My friends were just as appalled as me. In fact, we talked about how we needed to go to church again to cleanse us from your service. I have never felt so dirty before.


Michelle Goehring

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Anti-war Referendum

Hotel Rwanda

I know, Hotel Rwanda is not exactly the cheeriest movie to go see on your anniversary, but we decided it was time to see a "grown-up" movie. Our usual diet of movies is whatever Disney movie is out at the time (last week being the Heffalump movie).

This movie is amazing. For all of us who get so caught up in the importance of our own lives (kinda like me writing this blog ... he-he), this is a wakeup call. It tells the true story of Paul Rusesabagina. In 1994, the whole world ignored the genocide of 800,000 Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus in Rwanda. The U.S., fresh off the ambush in Mogadishu, Somalia (as immortalized in Black Hawk Down), was reluctant to intervene in the world's other hotspots. Rusesabagina, through his position as the manager of an upscale hotel in Rwanda, was able to save 1268 lives.

Don Cheadle's performance in the title role is fantastic as is the actress who plays his wife. Joaquin Phoenix and Nick Nolte are great in small supporting roles. The movies that Hotel Rwanda most reminded me of were Schindler's List and The Killing Fields (two of my all-time favorites). I highly recommend Hotel Rwanda.

I'll review Million Dollar Baby and The Aviator in future posts.

Happy Anniversary!

Thanks for 11 great years Michelle.


Friday, February 25, 2005

The Right to Die

Recent events have brought to the forefront the controversial subject of euthanasia and the right to die. Whether it's someone taking their own life(Hunter S. Thompson) or someone they love making the choice for them when they can't(Terri Schiavo), it's a polarizing subject. We think nothing of sending 1490+ young men and women to their deaths ... not to mention 15000+ Iraqis. Yet we won't allow someone (or someone they love) the dignity of making their own choice. It's even immortalized in film, Million Dollar Baby and The Sea Inside.

It all comes down to the role we want government and church to make in our lives. Ultimately, someone in power shouldn't allow their religious beliefs forbidding euthanasia to make that same decision for those who don't share it. In what is fast becoming a broken record, yet another Bush, Jeb, is using the power of his office to meddle in the power of the judiciary and, in turn, our lives.

It's a complete disregard of the secular nature of our governnment. God is ruling decisions. This is not how our founding fathers intended:

Secular Nature of Government
Founding Fathers and Religion

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

It's Great to be a Bush

Ah, nepotism is alive and well. It's sure nice to have W as a nephew. :-)

"Bucky" Bush

Monday, February 21, 2005

New Stadium Pictures

They raised the big part of the roof over the weekend at the football stadium. Alex and I took these pictures this evening.

Pic 1
Pic 2
Pic 3

Democracy in Action

We should be proud we got Bush elected. Just look at all the great reasons we elected him:

Saturday, February 19, 2005

ISU 63 -- Kansas 61

Go Cyclones!! They just beat #2 Kansas ... in Kansas!!

ISU 63--Kansas 61

New Baby Elsen

Alex has a new cousin, Kain John Emmett Elsen, from Michelle's brother Matt and sister-in-law Sheri. Born Feb. 15. Congratulations to them. And yes, the middle name John is obviously honoring Michelle's dad John.

Friday, February 18, 2005


This is pretty interesting. Tsunami uncovers underwater ancient city


Hockey season uncancelled?

So is this really going to happen? Jeremy is way more on top of this than I am. But hopefully it's true.


Thursday, February 17, 2005

Preemie Heart Surgery

This is a pretty amazing story. Alex was 10.5 weeks early. This baby was 13 weeks early and had a bad heart. What they can do with preemies any more is incredible.

Baby Heart Surgery

If anybody is looking for a good place to give money, Phoenix Children's Hospital is one of our favorite charities.


This is for you Michelle:

New Springsteen album due in April; tour to follow

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


These last few weeks have been sad for our family and especially for my wife's family. Michelle's dad John passed away after a long illness. I loved John like he was my own father and will miss him dearly. We talked of his love for photography often and he had many stories to tell of his days as a farmer and truck driver. In the weeks ahead, I will try to post some scans of some of his photo work.

Thanks to all the friends who offered their condolences and help. They meant a lot. Thanks specifically to the Eric and Joanie for watching Duchess( our pug) on such short notice.

John Elsen 1948 - 2005

First Post

Hi all. Welcome to my public journal. All subjects are open to discussion but you will most likely see politics, movies and books here. As you can tell by my web address, I lean a bit (OK, a lot) to the left. But there will be no suppression of opinions here ... so don't hesitate to post a dissenting one.

Friday, February 11, 2005


Luke Air Show Pictures

Click on thumbnails below to see larger images:

Great Eggosaurus Hunt

There was a great kids event at the Washington Adult Center downtown that we took Alex to, called the Great Eggosaurus Hunt. They had an egg hunt in the sand, various crafts tables, food, etc.

Click on thumbnails below to see larger images:


Pics from Easter here at the house.

Click on thumbnails below to see larger images: