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Telling Secrets

faith, fatherhood, and culture

Bike Repair

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Writing Over at Tumblr These Days

Monday, July 05, 2010

Still keeping this Blogger blog alive because it has mucho history and stories in it, but I prefer Tumblr and am active over there. Come check it out and follow me--http://calebjseeling.tumblr.com.

Yes, Oh Histrionic One

Saturday, July 03, 2010

"Those f***ing people don't know what the f*** they're doing!" says my boss, her stress and vexation preceding her physical presence like a cold front as she rounds the corner into the office. "We're sending a crew to cover this event in Detroit in a week, and the f***ing organizers haven't even written a f***ing press release yet! What the f***?!"

I suppose she is my boss. I was never properly informed. The man in whose office I am sitting is the one who hired me, along with the organization's executive director. But, I've discovered that here only partial information is shared, positions flex and bend with need, and egos bear the weight of the organization, if not the actual building in which they reside. I'm not thrilled that she's probably my new boss. She is a strong, Puerto Rican personality powerhouse. I am the mild-mannered alter-ego who's superpowers have become flabby and forgotten--not Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne...more like Dan Dreiberg, the "Nite Owl" in Watchmen.

"If I was in charge," she continues, "I would have done it completely different." My "real" boss and I nod in understanding and agreement--things would indeed have been different. "Well, our ED is putting all his eggs in this f***ing basket, so we need to do their work for them. So, Caleb, what I want you to do is buzz about this event all over the internet. Everyone has to know about it. It's got to be the year's biggest f***ing event. Everyone needs to buzz about it. THEN we can boast about being the only media network there to cover it--so you can buzz about that next week. Okay?"

The facts are these: I work for a small, ten person progressive media organization. I interviewed for a part-time position and ended up signing a contract for four hours a day ("Don't go over four hours!" my "real" boss told me). Clearly what she wants requires a lot more than what she actually has me for. But I can tell by that hard glint in her eye that she expects more of my pie than what I signed up to share, and that's a confrontation I do not anticipate with relish.

After a few more self-satisfying ego props and many more "colorful metaphors," she departs from the room. The air hesitates for an instant before filling the vacuum she leaves. My "real" boss and I look at each other.

"Wow," I say.

"Yeah," he says. "Histrionics all day every day. Just stay out of the way, don't bring your ego with you, and do good work."

Sage advice.

I have the hardest time working with personalities like hers--that kind of egostokes my id, the part of me that immediately wants to destroy things, only all that comes out is rebellious thoughts, throwing a fit at my wife, and acting out in passive-aggressive ways. My "real" boss, a 40-year veteran of the media biz with a persona that reminds me of a wizened and gray Jimmy Olsen, discovered this secret of dealing with histrionic higher-ups without losing his dignity or his job.

In fact, he has befriended our whirlwind colleague--he likes and respects her, and she him. Neither requires the other to change.

Sounds like loving your neighbor, doesn't it?

So that's what I tried to do. I gave her a break in my mind, did my best to help, gave as much time as I could, and quietly refused to do more than what was okay for my family. Of course, this consistent refusal to give her more sparked the confrontation I feared. But the confrontation did not proceed as I feared it would.

During the week of the event, my boss gave speeches in our staff meetings about all of us being responsible, doing our part to put in obscene amounts of hours, blah blah. Then, after each lecture, she looked at me and asked if I could work that night. I said no each time. "Oh," she said, annoyed. I began to wonder if I would remain employed by the end of the week.

Half way through the week, my boss pokes her head into my office to check on my progress. I lean back in my chair and say things are going great. She's in the mood to talk and somehow we get on the topic of parenting.

"Have you heard of Love and Logic?" she asks.

"Definitely," I say. "That's what we try to use, but with mixed results because we don't really stick to it. My wife and I were just thinking about diving back in now that our kids are getting older."

"Oh yeah? I've used it with my kid since he was a baby. He's ten now and it really works with him. Especially when it comes to getting his homework done. It's all about choices, you know, and I really have to reign myself in so that I don't react so emotionally to his attitude. My flying off the handle is rarely constructive, as I'm sure you've seen around here."

I blinked in surprise. "My kids don't respond well either when I act like an ogre. It just makes them crazier. We had some knock-down drag-out fights with my boy about getting his school work done last year and I don't think those times made him feel so thrilled about homeschooling."

"Oh, you homeschool? That is so cool! I'd do it if I could, but I can't."

"Well, we'll see how it goes this year. My twins are starting Kindergarten, so we'll be homeschooling three at the same time."

"You have twins? Oh my God! How many kids do you have?"

"Four, all told."

"Well, no wonder you kept saying you couldn't work late. S***! All you had to say was you were homeschooling four kids and I would have said, 'F***, man, stay at home! Let me bring you some cake!'"

And so, it turns out she not only values family, she is also as generous of spirit as she is histrionic. She knows her flaws and refers to them self-deprecatingly while using them to her advantage when she needs to. And with this conversation we have come that much closer to the kind of relationship and understanding that she and Jimmy Olsen have.

I also discovered that my self-defensiveness and assumptions about hard-ass, take-no-prisoners female bosses were sabotaging what promises to be a great working relationship, and there is a lot I can to learn from her.

That day, I felt a little like Dan Dreiberg when he finally gets over himself, puts hisNite Owl suit back on, hops into Archie, and breaks Rorschach out of prison.

A little.

But without the histrionics.

The Seeling family's new adventure and an invitation

Friday, December 18, 2009

Soul-care is central to everything we do: when we host people in our home, organize events for the International Arts Movement, partner with authors to publish their books, and support couples during their labor and birth. The foundation of our calling is to follow Jesus’ example—to care for people and to nurture goodness, beauty, and truth in the world.

We are excited!
We have been invited to focus on this work full time now, essentially writing our own job description!

Our high-level goals for the next three years are to:
  • Develop a flourishing Denver branch of International Arts Movement, including establishing a Creative Hub, hosting events and exhibits, and nurturing the creative spirit in children and youth.
  • Partner with Missio to develop leaders and missional communities nationwide.
  • Join the roving care team at our church and foster soul care within our community.
  • Continue to collaborate with Colorado midwives to provide community education and excellent midwifery care to all who want it.

We believe in the importance of bi-vocational ministry, so Caleb will continue to grow his business Samizdat Creative Services and Angela will expand Womb to Grow to include midwifery care.

We are excited to see who God may call alongside us in this new season of focused ministry. We wanted to include you as we plan for the future because you have been an important part of our lives or you share our passion for revealing the beauty in all of us. We know that many of you have already been praying for us, now we ask you to consider joining us to help many others.

Please join us
We’d like to connect with you over the next few weeks to see how God may be leading you regarding our calling. It would help greatly if you would email one of us a time to chat with you. If we don’t hear from you, we’ll contact you in the next four weeks. In the meantime, would you consider us in your end-of-year giving?

We will run all our support through the Adullam Sending Network. ASN is a non-profit organization directly accountable to Adullam Church as well as the Missio national network. All donations are tax deductible and can be mailed to:

Adullam Sending Network
PO Box 2111
Littleton, CO 80161

Checks need to be made out to Adullam Sending Network or ASN. Use our account number 13453 on the memo line. You can also choose to have your support directly drawn from your account, just let us know.

We are thankful for you……and for your presence in our lives. We look forward to partnering with you to bring our city closer to God’s image for His glory.

Our best to you,
Caleb and Angela
Subscribe to our newsletter here.

5441 South Knox Court
Littleton, Colorado 80123

Angela’s info:
cell: 303.241.5170
email: angela.seeling@gmail.com
twitter: mywombtogrow

Caleb’s info:
cell: 303.358.3789
email: caleb.seeling@gmail.com
twitter: calebjseeling

Club Chaos: How to score multiple date nights with your spouse

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Club Chaos: How to score multiple date nights with your spouse

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Kill the Christians!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

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My wife and I have been fairly strict about Malachi's exposure to weaponry and the concept of death. The latter is of course more difficult to hide. Death introduced itself to Malachi through the quick and untimely demise of Sammy the Fish, a goldfish of course, which had a half-life of 30 seconds. We buried it under a tree and for a couple of weeks Malachi asked repeatedly to go see it. Finally I told him that Sammy the Fish was dead and that his body became dirt, but that since we buried him under a tree, Sammy the Fish's dirt became part of the tree. Now we will always know where Sammy the Fish is. Beautiful, right? When I related this story to Angela, she balked. I think her exact words were "Holy crap!" My mom bought Malachi a new fish, a hearty fish, a fish you hardly have to clean or feed, a Betta. Malachi named him Sammy the Fish.

About this time, Malachi started preschool. It wasn't long before he picked up a stick, pointed it at me, and said, "Pew pew!"
"What is that, Mo'?"
"It's my Pewing Thing," he said proudly. "Pew pew!"
"Oh, those are dangerous. They kill things. That means their dead."
"Yeah. Like the first Sammy the Fish."
"Sammy the Fish is in the tree, Daddy."
"Yeah, well, he's also dead. He's not alive anymore."
"I can go see him whenever I want."
"Hmmm. Well just don't point that thing at people, ok?"
"Ok, daddy. Pew pew!"

I finally had mercy on the poor kid and gave him the language he needed to talk about these things--guns, bullets, destruction, Armageddon, the wrath of God. At the family ranch, I found a BB gun and gave him a little lesson in gun safety and then proceeded to shoot the crap out of a Coke can. Turns out I'm a crack sharpshooter. Then I had him practice my safety lessons with the Buck Roger's ray gun he found buried in the toy closet.

Months pass and Malachi still has yet to see The Incredibles, Spider-Man, Batman, Transformers and other adult shit marketed to our kiddies. We capitulated in our weaponry rule a little though by buying him a knight costume complete with sword. He and Micah (the boy of the family we live with) run around slaying dragons and monsters, the roles of whom their sisters often play. Another game they enjoy involves Micah, dressed in one of his papa's oversized T-shirts, playing Jesus and Malachi invariably is God. Most of the time, the sword and battle axe are missing from this game.

One set of movies that we have let him watch is an animated series produced by Focus on the Family called the Story Keepers. It's about the early Christians who met secretly under Nero's rule and told each other stories about Jesus and his teachings. Nero is portrayed as this evil, spoiled brat--a thin, temper-tantrum throwing wimp with hordes of burly Roman soldiers at his command who chase the Christians around, burn down the Christian ghetto, throw them to the lions and gladiators, etc. Nothing shouts Kids Show! more than flaming human torches at parties and walls made of twisted naked people. Malachi sies enraptured by these videos, though his sisters now refer to them as "Maochi's Scary Show." We don't let them watch anymore.

One night, Malachi was in his armor chasing the other kids around yelling, "Kill the Christians! Kill the Christians!" I didn't know whether to cheer him on or take the opportunity to give another object lesson. So I tried to ignore it. Then things got quiet. A few minutes later I heard him tell Angela, "I killed Jesus."
"Yeah, he's died. But don't worry, mommy, he will be alive again in 3 days."

I'm not sure whether he was God or a Roman soldier at the time, but apparently Malachi knows the Gospel story quite well--the facts of it anyway. Even though he doesn't quite understand love as the back story, he has the Gospel message down about as well as many people I know. But a half-story is really a whole...whatever, and as far as I can tell, from what I hear, you either have sin and judgment and salvation from those or Jesus and love and roses. But, put them together and you have...um...

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Pruder Than God

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

When I first began to attend my church, one of the pastors was ultra-reformed of MacArthurian proportions. Let's say that he and I didn't quite agree on a number of theological, and consequently behavioral, ideas. But one of the great questions he did ask to kick off his sermon was this: "What do menstrual rags, dog s**t, gratuitous descriptions of desire, and graphic violence all have in common? Right. With all of these things and more contained within God's inerrant and inspired Word, why do His people continue to maintain higher expectations of taboo language, imagery, and content than He does Himself? Why do we try so hard to be more prude than God?"

There is of course the Pauline injunction to not cause your weaker brother or sister to stumble--to abstain from things that you feel free to do when someone else feels it is a sin. I grew up being strictly taught to avoid the APPEARANCE of evil; whether or not I was actually doing evil was moot. Same goes for saying only what is edifying, in everything giving thanks, etc. There is so much wisdom and grace in these teachings and it provides a good heart check to agitators like me.

But, on the other hand, we focus so much on the Gospel of Paul that we forget that Jesus himself did not follow these behavioral rules to the letter. Sure you can argue that Jesus really did only say edifying things and that he did only things that weren't evil, but tell that to the religious leaders of the day who considered much of what he did sin. Or to the poor Canaanite woman who he called a dog and refused at first to help.

Paul too used common and crass language--even the "s-bomb" of the day--to convey his more intense thoughts. I love to envision Paul getting all riled up as he addressed each congregation. Some say that the thorn in his side wasn't anything physical at all--it was probably his obnoxious personality. You can hear it spewing forth in his letters.

And yet the vulgarity, the commonness, the gratuitousness--all of it is still Pneuma-tic.

This is a tired issue but it remains a hot one for those choosing to follow Christ, especially from the more conservative part of the subculture, because at its core is the question of grace and love--to each other and to a hurting world.

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