Archive for October, 2009

WCW Wrestler takes on the ROM!

My father-in-law

My father-in-law

Here is part two of Sgt. Craig ‘The Pitbull’ Pittman taking on the ROM. (Did you miss the first video? It’s right here.) We had a blast filming these; he’s heard me rave about the ROM since I started using it earlier this year. (I think he was impressed that I’m getting any kind of regular workout; probably one of his greatest disappointments when his daughter & I started dating in the 1990s was how his precious little girl – scion of two Olympic athletes! – was seeing, not quite a 98 pound weakling, but someone who didn’t have much athletic attention span. The ROM is changing all that.)

The Sergent (that’s how I thought of him as a teenager; the first time I took his daughter out, with some of our mutual friends, he said to me & the other guy with me – “You take care of these girls, and bring them home on time – otherwise I’m going to have fun playing with your carcasses!”) has had an illustrious career, beginning with Olympic and Marine wrestling, continuing with Japanese Vale Tudo fighting, and culminating in WCW wrestling. These days? He lives the quiet, sedate life of a law enforcement specialist in Florida. You don’t want to mess with him.

With that said, the ROM gave him quite a run for his money – as you can see in the video! What I appreciate about the machine is how it matches the level of athleticism and energy you put into it. It’s gentle enough for my dad – who’s no physical slouch himself, but has back problems – and yet can wear out a world-class athlete.

And me.

(To see my complete ROM health & fitness journey to date, go here!)

Guzzling Some Godka – Altered States & Permanent Traits of Spiritual Consciousness

GodkaIntegral musician, actor and all-around hilarious guy Stuart Davis has just filmed a short commercial hawking the latest in potable ancient-future altered states of (higher) consciousness – Godka, or psilocybin-infused vodka.


StuartAbsinthe what?

I wonder if he’s met our pals John Crowder and Benjamin Dunn – or John Scotland and Emerge Wales and Red Letters crew, for that matter?

Have you missed John since my interview with him last year? He’s YouTubing up a storm…here’s one of the latest, on ‘spiritual exercises’…

In a perfect world, John Crowder and Stuart Davis would get along like gangbusters. Stuart does for sex – on his bleeding-edge Sex, God, and Rock & Roll – what John does for drug culture. Crowder Baby Jesus Toke

If you missed it last year, here’s my six-parter looking at the Pentecostal/charismatic avant-garde, kicking off with Charismatic Chaos or (Holy) Spirited Deconstruction?

…and leading into a five-parter dialogue with Mr. John Crowder himself:

Part I Crowder Blue

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Good times.

What do you think of spirituality and altered states of consciousness? What I’m thinking these days is inspired by and summed up nicely in a piece entitled Mystical Experience or Unitive Seeing? by integral Christian contemplative Cynthia Bourgeault, in Richard Rohr‘s Radical Grace magazine. Money quote (though I could easily take the highlighter of my life and highest aspirations to the entire article):

The word “mystical” is almost always immediately coupled with the word “experience,” and a mystical experience becomes something that you have—or want to have, anyway. It becomes a sign of God’s special favor—a kind of spiritual “peak experience”—and circumstances promising to deliver that experience are eagerly sought after: from sacred chanting and Eucharistic devotion to Sufi whirling, solitude in the desert, or peyote. In the usual way of looking at things, it is an altered state of consciousness, ecstatic, something that takes you far beyond your usual self, a straight shot into divine consciousness.

What’s so bad about that?

Well, nothing, really. [Mike’s note: And I’d want to emphasize that I agree 100% – there’s nothing wrong with ecstasy and spiritual peak experiences! In fact, I could really use one right now…John, if you’re reading this, could you email me a toke of the Holy Ghost? I’d like Jesus on the mainline, please!] But from the point of view of real spiritual growth, it’s an immature state— a “state” rather than a “stage,” in the helpful language of Ken Wilber. A state is a place you go to; a stage is a place you come from: integrated and mature spiritual experience. It’s true that a mystical experience can indeed be a sneak preview of how the universe looks from the point of view of non-dual consciousness. And it’s true that this consciousness does indeed operate at a higher level of vibrational intensity, which at first can overwhelm our normal cognitve systems. But the point is not to squander this infusion of energy on bliss trips, but to learn to contain it within a quiet and spacious consciousness and allow it to permanently bring about a shift in our operating system, so that unitive (or non-dual) perception becomes our ordinary, and completely normal mode of perception.

Amen and amen. I’ll drink to that.

ROM By-the-Numbers: October 18

Falling Weight!

Range-of-motion results this week:

  • Overall weight: 256
  • Bodyfat: 29.4%%
  • Muscle: 33.9%

A pound a week? I’ll take it!

For the whole (health) story-to-date, go here!

The Fun Theory In Action

…simple yet profound. For more, see The Fun Theory.

(Thanks to Peter Bell!)

ROM By-The-Numbers: October 10

Range-of-motion results this week: Slow & Steady

  • Overall weight: 257
  • Bodyfat: 29.6%%
  • Muscle: 33.7%

Slow & steady is winning this race!

For the whole (health) story-to-date, go here!

Pirates, Heretics, and The Fidelity of Fidelity

TricksterClaiming the crown for the most interesting theological blogologue this month (and showing that British folks can generally disagree much more agreeably than we Americans*) is a fascinating conversation on tricksters, consumerism, tradition, spiritual piracy, revolution, orthodoxy, heresy, and much, much more. Here’s a roundup lifted from chief provocateur Kester Brewin:

Well first actually, read Kester’s original series. Then…

Richard Sudworth’s original repost

Pete Rollins’ counter to Richard

Richard’s counter to Pete

Pete’s return

Jonny Baker’s middle-way reflection

Maggi Dawn’s thoughts [ 1 ] [ 2 ]

Mark Berry’s thoughts

Simon Cross’ thoughts

Jason Clark’s contribution

Mike Radcliffe’s thoughts

Bill Kinnon’s (rather cantankerous) thoughts on Jonny and Richard’s thoughts

Tractor Girl’s thoughts

Backburner’s thoughts on piracy and the economics of information

Ben Edson’s thoughts

Whew! Seriously, folks, this is some good readin’. I still don’t know where I come out in all of this, but I couldn’t imagine a more engaging group of people to (dis/)agree with.

Lemme know if I’m missing any weigh-ins. Perhaps I’ll post my own, once I’m caught up on my studies

*Note: I’m talking about in relationship to general US political/spiritual internet chatter, not the American (and Canadian) folks who weighed in on this particular discussion!

Celebrity ROM I: And My Father-In-Law Is…

So I got my father-in-law in the garage recently to try out the ROM for himself. He can be a bit picky as to his choice of workout equipment – after all, he’s a Marine, Olympian, WCW, and international wrestling veteran. Who is he..? Watch and find out, my friends!

For the whole saga-to-date, go here!

Four On Tour

This just came across my desk this morning; I thought I’d share…

The U.S. of A – October 5, 2009 – It’s a bit unlike anything you’re familiar with.  As 4 on Tour puts it, “We are 4 singer/songwriters making good music in a mainstream culture that doesn’t believe Christians can make good music.” And it’s true.  As our post-modern culture progressively shy’s further away from all things religious and faith-based, 4 on Tour wants to change that…or at least share good, quality, authentic music to anyone who wants to listen.

Pennsylvania artists Hiram Ring, Brooke Annibale, Joy Ike, and Garrett Heath are hitting nine cities in nine days.  Their tour spans from Philadelphia, PA to Nashville, TN to Toledo, OH, covering cities where at least one of the members has visited in the last year. In a recent write-up, 4 on Tour told Port Clinton News Herald, “As Christian 20-somethings living in the 21st century, we’re noticing that young people do not take the church seriously anymore … because the church as a whole has not found a way to be relevant to modern-day issues. We want to be relevant in our music-making.”

Show attendees in any of the nine cities can expect an eclectic mix of blues, folk, jazz, and soul played primarily on piano, guitar, djembe and harmonica.
For more information visit: or follow the group at

Oct 3 – Busboys & Poets -Washington, DC
Oct 4 – Peculiar People House Show – Greensboro, NC
Oct 5 – Bongo Java – Nashville, TN
Oct 6 – TAZA – Cincinnati, OH
Oct 7 – St. Paul’s Lutheran Church – Toledo, OH
Oct 8 – Shadow Lounge – Pittsburgh, PA
Oct 9 – Wheatland Presbyterian Church – Lancaster, PA
Oct 10 – Circle of Hope – Philadelphia, PA
Oct 11 – The Light Gallery – Baltimore, MD

See also the Wrecked For The Ordinary interview with Joy Ike.

ROM Experiences: 30 Years in 30 Days

ROM in RoomIt’s October 1, 2009 – in 30 days I’ll be 30 years old! Truth be told, I haven’t felt like a twenty-something in years, at least not the kind that marketers market to – getting married and having a child probably effected that. As you know, this year I’ve been using the ROM, a high-end workout machine that boasts a complete cardio, strength, and fat-burning workout in just four minutes a day. I’ve been more consistent by far in using the ROM than any other workout regimen I’ve attempted in my life. With that said, there have been some setbacks (more on these this month). Even so, Jeff V. from Maryland (remember him?) continues to be a motivator and fount of practical wisdom for me in my unfolding ROM journey. When I asked him for some advice for myself, other ROMmers, and potential ROMmers, here is what he told me:

Keep up the efforts on the machine. I think the key to positive results is committing to the machine each day. Every now and then I’ll catch myself taking it easy during the 4 minute effort. Then I push it (I mean what the heck, it’s only 4 minutes, right?). I believe the key is making a full effort each time you get on the machine.
Each time I do the upper body, I do one set of 40 crunches and two sets of curls with 25 pound dumbbells. Each day I do the lower body, I do one set of 40 crunches. That’s it. Total time spent each day working out is 6 minutes. I weigh the same. I have the same muscle mass as 6 months ago. My pecks look a little more defined. Overall, I’m fully toned. I can eat a barn … and I sleep well each night. One other side effect … I haven’t had a cold or any type of sickness since starting the ROM 6 months ago. If I feel a cold coming on, my body shakes it off before lunch time.
I live in a condo. My little one bedroom unit is too small for the machine. So I added the ROM to our gym. I’ve got 30 people trained up. They’re all believers. There are also a fair number of folks who still sweat it up on the tread mills (all caught up in the rat race of pushing it, sweating it, all while being plugged into their iPods, watching the TV monitor, and reading the Washington Post … all at the same time). They all look so busy.
I roll into the gym each morning like I’m on vacation. No stress. No rush. No debilitating physical effort. No huge commitment of time. In at 6:50 Am. Out before 7:00 AM.  After 6 months, you’d think the folks sweating it up (and investing so much TIME and effort each morning) would have a more open mind to the ROM … especially after seeing with their own eyes the fact that I’ve maintained a high level of fitness.
Thank you, Jeff. You continue to be an inspiration. Here’s to 30 days – and 30 more years – on the ROM!

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    My Writings: Varied and Sundry Pieces Online

    Illumination and Darkness: An Anne Rice Feature from Burnside Writer's Collective
    Shadows & Light: An Anne Rice Interview in MP3 format from Relevant Magazine
    God's Ultimate Passion: A Trinity of Frank Viola interview on Next Wave: Part I, Part II, Part III
    Review: Furious Pursuit by Tim King, from The Ooze
    Church Planting Chat from Next-Wave
    Review: Untold Story of the New Testament Church by Frank Viola, from Next-Wave