Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Redneck Riot

Have you ever been witness to the birthing of a crazy mob? Have you ever viewed a scene on television of crazy looters or people “celebrating” a team victory, going crazy in the streets and breaking things and losing control? Have you ever wondered where that mob mentality comes from or how a riot begins? Well….twice in my life I have seen it occur (at least almost). Both times, it was extremely frightening. Not so much as in terms of scared of being there, but more a fear of how it happened so quickly, escalated so rapidly and was SO easy to be swept up in!

Both times it occurred at my tiny little Christian college in Arkansas. I’d like to say that it stemmed from some sort of social justice fervor after marching for rights of the millions being killed in Darfur, or in a protest of some silly political war….something GRAND and noble like that! But, sadly…both times it was really just nothing more than bunch of bored, testosterone ridden redneck southern boys with nothing better to do than cause trouble.

The 1st time was on a lovely spring evening. It was a Thursday and the next day was a big deal at school. It was one of the weekends they depended on all year for revenues, campus visits and recruiting. We had an event called “Spring Sing”…which was a cheesy little song and dance show that all of the social clubs ( the “Christian equivalent” of fraternities and sororities) on campus competed in. It was a big deal to many! Lots of kids worked very hard on it. As a result, families, proud parents and grandfolks, youth groups and prospective high schoolers from all over would come this weekend. The campus was cleaner, greener and nicer than ever. The school would spend weeks touching it up to paint the place a lovely picture!

Well….over in the athletic dorms where I resided, a few guys decided it would be fun to sneak out after curfew (yeah there was actually a curfew…a whole other blog) and mess things up a little bit. The plan was to involve some toilet paper, marshmallows, plastic forks and the usual prankster accessories. The idea quickly grew from a few dudes, into a literal social movement! In a week or so our dorm had amassed some 400 rolls of TP and all kinds of other fun things. It was nuts. Word spread so fast about the upcoming terror attack that inevitably, the administration found out too. They knew exactly what night it was to take place.

They began to give warnings all over campus, but quickly saw that this was doing nothing more than to actually “fuel the fire”. So, the plans continued. And finally the night came. The school was not sure what to so, so they beefed up security (which consisted of a bunch of good ol’ boys named Bubba over the age of 50). They also lined up several of the male faculty and resident assistants to block each stairwell so the guys could not leave.

What happened next was one of the craziest things I have ever seen. The guys decided they were going anyway…regardless if we had to bust through the human blockade. SO around midnight, everyone gathered in the halls, decked out in black make up, dark clothes, camos, ski masks (for fun dramatic effect) and lined up. We…I mean they  began a stomping chant and literally charged down the stairs. The eyes of the professors at the bottom were priceless! They knew they could do nothing, and out of fear for their lives quickly moved aside as some 50-100 college guys stormed the quaint little campus.

It soon became apparent that what began as a little prank was going to get VERY out of hand. Many of the guys just flipped. It was as if the 1st flick of the wrist releasing the toilet paper set off some thug mentality gene long suppressed in their DNA! The severity of the “prank” escalated at an alarming rate. Guys were jumping on security guard cars and bouncing on their hoods. Some of the toilet paper was being set on fire. The poor guards that decided to chase on foot were literally run circles around (one guy even had his hat removed, was slapped twice in the face with it and then had it placed back on him before he could even move). Then it got worse. Cars were literally pushed out of parking spaces and blocked the roads. Flowers and trees were uprooted. And then it got WORSE! The sound of breaking glass brought many back to reality. A small few lost it and began kicking in building doors, breaking glass etc…… A simple little “tweaking” of the rules had turned into a severe and serious act of violence!

Long story short, when the dust cleared there was hundreds and hundreds of dollar$ worth of damage. There were serious penalties handed out. Severe discipline was called into action!

It was so scary to see how quickly good people turned so bad! I had never witnessed something grow so out of hand in the flash of an eye. And for the 1st time I understood how things like that could happen.

As I grow older, I see a similar effect in the lives of people all around me. Things that began like a simple little prank grow to become deadly and dangerous! Maybe it began with a few pictures on the internet. Or a little harmless flirting. It was only a sip. Just one hit. Get the drift?

These same “little” things, meant to be fun turn into bigger things like: addiction, divorce, adultery, teen pregnancy etc. What was meant to be nothing became a great big pile of something! And in most cases it happened so fast, that no one saw it coming. It was never meant to take place…but it did.

Satan has mastered this act of deception. And he knows we are all simple enough to fall for it again and again. I think of the Biblical example of David…when he 1st saw Bathsheba. Do you really think at that time David said “I think tonight I’ll ruin marriages, cause a murder and a lost child”? No way! It started small but grew out of control before anyone could stop it!

Sin does that. It is a virus. All it needs is a healthy culture to grow in and it will spread like wildfire. I urge you to be careful in your lives. Before you even start, think about the consequences. Don’t get caught up in sin like David did. Stop your problem before it even becomes one.


a Brian Pannell original for your reading pleasure:

When Faith and Logic Collide

Sometimes it’s hard to understand just what I’m supposed to think
When the knowledge of your water is simply much too deep to drink
When I look at the world, and when I see its’ hurt and pain
There’s a battle that is raging between my heart and brain

Did the earth ever really flood? Are dinosaurs real?
Should the dating of a rock change the way I feel?
Is the Bible to be taken literal? Is it all analogy?
Did the death of a Jewish teacher really change eternity?

These are questions that I’ve heard. A few that I’ve considered
But through it all, your love abounds and my belief in you grows bigger

Most kids of this world can’t even eat, and in America they all grow fat
I struggle to explain the justice in a God who works like that.
And when I listen to the cries, and the tears flood in like rain
Still a battle’s raging between my heart and my brain

Was this all created in 7 actual days? Did a serpent really speak?
What am I to learn from the washing of the feet?
Did a virgin give birth? Did her son really die?
And did he truly ascend right from that hill into the cloudy sky?

These are questions that I’ve heard. A few that I’ve considered
But through it all, your love abounds and my belief in you grows bigger

Try and try I may, but I’ll never understand
For my vision is so limited and I am just a man
As for me, I choose to serve you God
As for me I’ll choose to trust
And maybe one day it’ll all be clear when my body’s returned to dust

For I could talk myself in circles, I could argue all day long
But still I can’t deny this feeling stirring like a song
That your justice WILL be served
That your grace WILL abound
And for all that makes no sense to me….. no answer may be found

These are questions that I’ve heard. A few that I’ve considered
But through it all, your love abounds and my belief in you grows bigger

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Superman.....with a heart

I hate the Florida Gators, but man, this guy is changing that. Read this awesome story. This is an athlete our kids should look up to:

Monday, August 25, 2008

Playin’ With the Big Kids

My son Jude has grown up in the most of teenagers. While many in the world may find this a negative, I have to say what a sheer blessing it has been in our life. The teens treat him like a friend. They build him up, and they make him feel special. Last night was a reminder. We had beach volleyball night after evening services. I was expecting a small crowd, but much to my delight, 26 folks showed up! It was super fun! And Jude came along, expecting to watch. The kids all invited him to play and there he was smack in the middle of the sand running around, diving, having the time of his life! To them it was nothing, just a little kid running around, maybe a little in the way even. But to Jude…it was EVERYTHING! You could not have wiped that smile pasted on his face off if you had tried! He talked about it all night, and this morning.

I remember being young. The folks you looked up to the most were the "big kids" (the teens). They were everything by which you measured fun and cool. And for most of us, if you could even get them to LOOK in your direction, it was the best day ever, much less have them acknowledge you and invite you into their world! Jude has been blessed with such a ticket. It means so much to him, and I am SO grateful. Thanks teens….Jude really truly loves you, and so does his Dad.

Friday, August 22, 2008

“…this is really happening, happening…”

Wow…..I have seen some 300 concerts in my lifetime. I have seen many bands. And now, I have seen Radiohead….and my friends, these Brits are in a class all their own. I am sure now that Radiohead is the biggest band on the planet despite not having a major radio single in more than a decade. Thom Yorke is without a doubt the greatest vocalist alive. Live they sounded both modern and futuristic at the same time. Live, they were perfect. It was a very cool Seattle summer night with sporadic rain showers, but nothing could have ruined this highly anticipated and sold-out show. I had been waiting for this show 10+ years!

The stage show was unparalleled. The set-up consisted of a large video screen as a backdrop that was split into five displays, with each band member getting his own camera angle (the sepia toned, artsy angles you may have seen in some of their videos from "In Rainbows"). In addition, there were dozens of long, skinny vertical lights resembling halogen bulbs suspended in the air and surrounding the band. These were AMAZING when the show kicked up! I could try and describe it, but words would do NO justice. PhotobucketShortly after 9:00 and a forgettable opener, the event started.

What would follow was a 2 hr 35 minute, 25-song, two-encore set that lived up to every dream I had. They played all of the new record (except "House of Cards") and threw in a great mix of older tunes as well (mostly from Kid A and Amnesiac). They kicked off the show with "15 Step", just as I predicted! Jonny Greenwood is now a new musical hero! I was thrilled with surprise with the performance of 2 of my fave oldies: "Street Spirit" from "the Bends" and "Lucky" from "OK Computer". On "SS" Greenwood not only played his guitar part for the song, but also managed to play piano with his guitar's head while simultaneously playing the guitar!

During the first encore, "Idioteque" almost caused my head to explode! It was the hardest rocker of the night to me. On the second encore (YES…there were two!) Thom finally talked to the crowd when he dedicated "You And Whose Army" to anyone who was involved with the 1999 WTO protests. I could tell you about it all, but I just cannot grasp it! We did get to see that Thom is human on one favorite moment of mine. For "Faust Arp" Thom and Jonny did a nice little acoustic number. But, Yorke botched lyrics during "Faust Arp," twice! It was brilliant and the crowd ate it up! However, the pair recovered and spontaneously broke into a brief cover of some song (I later learned it was Neil Young's "Tell Me Why"), before diving back into the song and slaying it, stripped down to a bare minimal tune. The show ended brilliantly with a hair-raising rendition of "Everything In Its Right Place". I am still speechless…………….

Here are some crappy pictures and videos from my little camera. It was AMAZING! Thanks to my buddy "PB" for making it happen.

Complete setlist:

  • 15 Step
  • Reckoner
  • Optimistic
  • There There
  • All I Need
  • Pyramid Song
  • Talk Show Host
  • The National Anthem
  • The Gloaming
  • Videotape
  • Lucky
  • Faust Arp
  • Jigsaw Falling Into Place
  • Climbing Up The Walls
  • Dollars and Cents
  • Nude
  • Bodysnatchers
  • Encore 1: How to Disappear Completely
  • Arpeggi/Weird Fishes
  • Idioteque
  • In Limbo
  • Street Spirit
  • Encore 2: You And Whose Army?
  • No Surprises
  • Everything In Its Right Place


Number 11

Want to know my favorite thing about the number 11? It is NOT that it's the 1st number we cannot represent with our fingers. It is not that it is the smallest positive integer requiring three syllables in English. Nor is it the fact that it is also the largest prime number with a single-morpheme name in this language.

The greatest thing about the number 11 is that is the number of years my beautiful wife and I have been married! Eleven years of the greatest blessign of my life. I love you Jessie

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

End Near?????

This is a new segment I will call: SIGNS OF THE APOCALYPSE

Basically I will just highlight things I have seen or heard that are JUST wrong, and surely must be a "sign". Now all of you tightwads out there :) I have no desire to discuss the "theological correctness" of this is simply a fun title, a here is today's sign:

The Jonas Brothers singing a Beatles song on a Target commercial. WRONG!!!!!!

Anyone else bothered by this?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Patch Over Our hearts

Last night our youth group had to say goodbye to a dear friend. Patrick is leaving us to move to AR. A move is always hard, but the circumstances and suddenness of this one has made it extra difficult. If you know Patrick, you know what a loss we are feeling. He is a wonderful young man, the kind of student that we youth minister’s dream about! He is so kind to others. He is amazingly giving and loving to young kids such as my own son Jude, who worships the ground Patrick walks on! He is smart and funny. He participates in everything. He respects all adults. He is a big leader in our youth group which is kinda’ small right now, and his loss will be felt, BIG TIME! I love Patch very much. I am going to miss him dearly. So Patch my friend…..Godspeed, and all of God’s blessings we wish on you. I will love you forever my friend.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I heart OR

I LOVE living here in OR, and I am a HUGE fan of the city of to all my fans and readers up there, this story is for you!


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Haddie SunShine

Our newest addition to the Pannell family is the source of much joy. Despite 2 A.M. wake ups, dirty diapers and everything in between, she is the most popular Pannell these days! This last week she has started smiling profusely (which of course could melt the polar ice caps)and now she has begun to talk like crazy. She will look right at you and just coo and caa in the cutest way. I cannot describe to you how great that child wants to talk to me!!

I wonder if God feels this same emotion when we finally break down our pride and decide to talk to Him? I like to imagine Him jumping for joy singing "they want to talk to me!"

My Kids teach me so much...We love you Hadassah


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

...a few of my favorite things:

some things that have brought me smiles this week:

The Fleet Foxes....a very dandy new band...thanks Patty

"There Will Be Blood"....I am WAY behind in seeing this movie but it slayed me!

seriously...the relay was unreal!

Once again, I know I am late, but WOW, I am half way through 1st season and cannot stop!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympic Beauty

I have truly enjoyed watching the Olympics this year. The opening was spectacular! But, in today's news a story appeared that stained them to me. A little girl appeared before the 90K+ crowd and sang a song opening night. Turns out that she wasn't the actual singer. They chose a lip syncher. She was selected because she was "cute" and the actual 7 yr old singer was deemed "too unattractive" with uneven teeth and chubby face. The general music designer of the ceremonies said "The reason why little Yang was not chosen to appear was because we wanted to project the right image, we were thinking about what was best for the nation,"… "The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feelings, and expression,". HOW SAD! When is a 7 yr. old to be judged on looks? What a sad commentary of the world we live in.

We are told daily as we watch television that we are not attractive enough. Just last night I learned that my hair was too thin, my teeth too dingy, waist too big, and skin to flawed. It is a wonder Jessie still loves me! J But daily, we are told we are not pretty or good enough, and that to be loved an accepted, we must change that.

It is my prayer that as children of God we are striving to change that! We serve the creator of this universe and He made us in HIS image! He doesn't make mistakes, but only beauty. God thinks each of us is beautiful. There will be no lip-synching in heaven! J He truly thinks you are beautiful, and loves you so much…in fact He would rather die than live without you!

Isaiah tells us God rejoices over us. Psalm 45 says He is enthralled by our beauty. Zephaniah tells u that He takes great delight in us! I am SO sorry that our world is telling little girls they are not pretty enough. But I pray that today each of us knows with full confidence…we are beautiful. We are children of God!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Family Time

What a great week we have had! We finally took a few days off and just got to be together. It was a wonderful blessing. SO this post will ONLY be me talking about our few days together….if that bores you now is your chance to leave! J So we had some friends come in from Colorado to visit so we had a bunch scheduled. Monday night we got a sitter for all 5 kids and the adults went on this thing called a "date". You should try it! It was wonderful food and terrible putt putt Photobucket but man did we have a grand time. The next morning we headed off to the coast for some fun and relaxation. It was WONDERFUL! We went to the redwoods my fave place) and visited a place called "Trees of Mystery". I highly recommended it. It is a nice hike through amazing trees and then a crazy gondola ride way up to the top of the mountain. The kids loved it too! Photobucket
After that we checked into our "cabins" in Klamath, CA. They were pretty shabby but I LOVED them. This is where my trip to Africa has had profound impact. Years ago I would NOT have been happy about these, but now…man I am glad to sleep there. It is hard to complain when you know that literally, the majority of people in the world would KILL for a "house" like that! We had a blast. We cuddled up, ate donuts and watched a few cartoons. Then we played on the cold beach. The kiddos loved getting chased by the tide! The evening ended with some great fish and chips.Photobucket

Wednesday we headed out to Ocean World. It is basically the trailer park version of Sea World J, but it's fun. The kids love it and they even get to pet a shark! Photobucket
We spent awhile there before heading out to the Battery Point lighthouse and boardwalk. Photobucket Photobucket
It was BEAUTIFUL! We got to see some beautiful views and watch fisherman and crabbers haul in their loads. We then had lunch, hit the beach again, and then headed back home.

Thursday we had a special treat! We all went on the Hellgate Jetboat trip. It is AWESOME! They fly you up the river in a jet boat over white ripples and calm waters. They jump and splash you all wet. Then they drop you off a beautiful restaurant in the woods for a great lunch. If you guys come visit, we'll totally go again! L The kids loved it (especially Jude).Photobucket


So…………..that was it. There is much more involved….I could go on forever. But I am very grateful for these few days. After a crazy summer, they were a great blessing to me! God is so good and life is so beautiful.