Showing posts from June, 2006

GalPals July 4 Meme

I've generally been anywhere between indifferent and soured when it comes to 4th of July activities. I rank it with New Year's which, if you know me, means that it's ranked pretty low. But I figured the GalPals have a meme that caught me in the right mood and I'm always willing to give holidays I don't like another shot. So here goes...

1) Do you celebrate 4th of July (or some other holiday representing independence?) Yeah. I eat a hot dog, watch some fireworks, and get up the next morning without much change in my life at all. This is off to a bad start. Maybe I shouldn't play. But yes, I celebrate, but without much flag-waving or pomp. I'm just not into patriotic holidays, aside from the excuse to eat and be with people. That's really the main reason I don't care that much about July 4th.

2) When was the first time you felt independent, if ever? I think it was when I learned how to tie my shoes. I didn't have to run to my parents to …

Pop Culture Roundup

This week was a radical departure from books about giving up material possessions and emerging churches. I picked up Ric Flair's autobiography, in which he details his rise through training and being groomed to become a 16-time world champion in the NWA, WCW, and WW(F)E. His stories of life on the road and backstage politics are the most interesting (which is why I think fans read wrestler autobiographies to begin with), along with his true feelings about some of his co-workers. Of course, if you're not a wrestling fan, you probably won't care. Even so, hearing about the business on the other side of the curtain might interest you.

Last week I went to see Cars, which I didn't have much of an interest in seeing until I was invited by someone else to tag along. I can't say that it's really appropriate for young kids, not for any content reasons, just because the story seems to move at a slower pace than other Pixar films. It is a cool homage to different auto-stap…

Odds and Ends

~Last night I dreamt that I went to see Nacho Libre. If you haven't seen it yet, look out. There's a live karaoke part during the beginning credits hosted by a black drag queen. For never hearing the song before, I held my own pretty well.

~I know of two local fireworks displays around where I live. Neither one are actually on the 4th. This will be the first 4th in a couple years where neither of us are working...hold on...when SHE isn't working. I haven't worked on the 4th of July since my job at Wal-Mart.

~It's 7:40 in the morning. I'm drinking coffee, and bouncing up and down (you should see it) to DJ Sammy. It's gonna be a good day.

~My boy over at Jeremiah's Field got called to a church a few weeks ago after a harried year of searching. Depending on the area of the country--'red'/'blue,' Good Old Boys Network in the Association, specific polity requirements, etc.--you really can end up being at it for a while. I'm happy t…

Clubbed to Death

My wife likes club music. I got her an iPod for her birthday this year along with a gift card for iTunes, and she has spent it with great vigor. She's the pop princess of the house (the cats thought they'd like the Pussycat Dolls but felt hurt and misled), so we've got a lot of current radio hits on the computer: Bo Bice, Howie Day, Rob Thomas (blech), Nick Lachey (seriously), Natasha Bedingfield, and Pink. She's also downloaded a few songs from Rent, but thankfully none of them are that song about minutes to love or whatever. And the rest is club music. She's downloaded a few staples, a few covers (there's a club version of Don Henley's 'Boys of Summer' that I like), and Rob Dougan's 'Clubbed to Death' at my request (watch the scene in The Matrix where Neo sees the chick in the red dress and you'll hear it).

Well anyway, all of this is to say that over the past four years I've come to like club music. In fact, I've come…


After a week that had a lot more turns in it than I expected, I return to this silly little place for more rants, commentary, links, and whatever else.

What I've been thinking about the past week is probably more appropriate to circles of non-cybercolleagues, not really for any privacy reasons or anything like that, but because there is something gained there that the blogosphere and online fora and chatrooms and listserves don't really offer. So you won't get much on why I took my little leave of absence. Instead, I offer one little story that really turned out to be the catalyst for this whole thing. You can do with it what you will.

I sat in my office last week, punching in hymns for the month of July on my handy Excel spreadsheet. On one of the Sundays, I plugged in 'There Is A Balm In Gilead,' a sweet traditional favorite that I honestly don't remember us ever singing since I accepted the call here. It was about two seconds after I typed in the hymn w…

Silent Time

The last time that I tried to take a break from blogging, I cut it short early because the timing didn't seem right. Well, it seems right this time. I've been going through this weird thing in my heart and mind lately, wondering about my focus and mission, as well as the focus and mission of my ministry setting. So for the next 7-10 days, POC goes silent so I can pay better attention to that.

See you in a little while.

Pop Culture Roundup

I started Thoreau's Walden this past week. I'm finding that this is a book that I have to take slow. Thoreau packs so much into each paragraph that one can't rush through it without missing a lot. So I'm reading the first chapter, 'Economy,' in which he suggests that it's easier for people to acquire things than to let them go, i.e., land, a house, and so on. He has the gall to suggest that clothing is to keep warm and not to adorn ourselves. He suggests that people get their hands in the dirt a lot more. He states that we shouldn't be slaves to other's opinions of human worth according to how well we perform at our jobs. It's Fight Club in the woods and without the fighting.

I watched Walk the Linelast weekend, and had mixed feelings about it. The acting is superb, and the story is fascinating. We of course are treated to Johnny Cash's humble beginnings to his sudden rise to his falling into womanizing and drugs to his redemption (at …

In SBC News...

While a pastor in the UCC, I feel an obligation to at least be mildly aware of what is happening in other denominations. This is in order to have some sense of what brothers and sisters who choose a denomination (in an increasingly post-denominational America) are facing in their churches. The blogosphere is helpful for that, because I've come across a handful of Southern Baptist blogs that I like to visit and, outside of a mention in Christian Century (or a shameless dig during our own General Synod...which doesn't even count), I might not hear about the goings-on in their church.

Well, it didn't take long for the SBC bloggers to start reacting to the election of a new president during their big Synod equivalent convention this week. Internet Monk offers one such reaction. Monday Morning Insight reports on it as well. While he hasn't yet, I'm betting Steve McCoy will offer a reaction eventually since he was there.

There really seems to be a lot of buzz over this el…

Odds and Ends

~I've put up a LibraryThing banner in the sidebar, which will randomly display ten books from my list. This morning, The Gospel According to the Simpsons was sandwiched between The Divine Comedy and Bruce Campbell's autobiography. I love it.

~I've had a fresh batch of visitors over from Monday Morning Insight the past few days. Here's my official welcome to you, if you read anything besides the megachurch rant.

~For anyone who blogs or journals with regularity, have you ever read over what you wrote a year ago at this time? It can truly be an eye-opening experience. In a journal entry from a year ago, I was asking questions that I'm just now beginning to answer for myself. I thought that was cool, to see evolution of thought and self.

~I'll be married four years on Thursday. To say anything else about it would make it sappy. Okay, maybe I'll get a little sappy. But not today.

Yet Another Review of Driscoll's 'Reformission Rev'

Yesterday, I picked up Mark Driscoll's Confessions of a Reformission Rev, and finished it earlier this evening. If you're unfamiliar with Driscoll, he's the pastor of the 5000-member Mars Hill Church in Seattle and is affiliated with the emerging church (as opposed to the emergent church, which he deems the 'liberal' expression of the emerging church, except it's not the emerging church, it's the emergent church). Well anyway, my prior experience with Driscoll is threefold: I first encountered his style in an extremely heated commentary/rant posted on the Christianity Today blog where he called Brian McLaren and others 'homo-evangelicals' because of their sympathy with the struggles of homosexuals. That was just the first sentence. It got even juicier after that. This encounter eventually led me to a few of his sermon podcasts on the Mars Hill website, which are at least 45 minutes long each and a cross between stand-up comedy and Calvinist theology…

Pop Culture Roundup

I read through In Parables by John Crossan this past week. It's a very thin book, though Crossan's style is a little more dense than some of his buddies (Borg, Patterson). Crossan first gives his thoughts on the characteristics of parable, differentiating from allegory and suggesting, as has Patterson, that parables hardly, if ever, turn out to be simple moral example stories. Instead, they communicate something about the kingdom of God, a reality that in some sense is already here and not yet here, whether it's how God is establishing it, what happens within it, and so on. Crossan divides the parables into a few different groups: advent, reversal, action, and so on, seeking to differentiate between foci within them. My only critique is that I have questions about his attempts to reconstruct the 'original form' of each parable. I can see well enough how he may think certain elements added by the early church (I share some suspicions), but the original form that he …

POC vs. Gigantor, Part 2

A few weeks ago I decided that I probably shouldn't post every day so that people who visit here less frequently don't miss something. I was also in a funk about posting here in general. I don't know what happened since then.

Right, so when we last left a certain rant against the local megachurch, the blogosphere had begun to respond in surprising and constructive ways. In part, it was surprising because it was constructive. It was also surprising because it showed that my blog constituency extends beyond simple agreement. Not that I write for agreement (remember UCC Leakgate?).

So the post got linked and the responses came, and in case you didn't read them, here's a summary and some response of my own. I am going to attempt this while minimizing the felt need to defend my own ministry:

~'Don't blame the megachurch for your problems.' This one is easy: true. I know of no church that would blame a bigger church for their being small, other than perhaps accu…

POC vs. Gigantor, Part 1

An entry that I wrote last week has caused quite a stir. The blog Monday Morning Insight picked it up and it's been quite a conversation piece over there. While I find the comments generally constructive, some commenters decided to render judgment on my ministry and my church in the process, which I found unfortunate. I don't deny that my attitude might need a tune-up, but some took liberties to fill in the blanks where they are simply unaware of what is happening beyond what I wrote before.

Here's what I wrote in response:

"Thank goodness for statcounter or I'd have no idea this conversation was happening.
First, thank you to all who have commented, especially for the generally constructive nature of such comments.

Now, while I cannot respond exhaustively at this time, a few points I want to present and then if the mood strikes me I'll add more later:

~What was written was written out of a passion felt at a specific moment yet, as acknowledged by both the title of…

Yes, Heading to Hartford

A little while ago, it looked as if the UCC was going to move its 2007 General Synod and Ginsu Cutlery Demonstration out of the Hartford Convention Center. Well, it looks like they are the Civic Center.

From the Hartford Courant:

The United Church of Christ will keep its 2007 national convention in Hartford, but it won't be held at the year-old Connecticut Convention Center as all had hoped.

Instead, following a last-minute intervention by Gov. M. Jodi Rell, the church will hold its event at the decades-old Civic Center, keeping its people, and their money, in Hartford.

"They told me that the governor wants very much to make this work, and that they will be taking care of the $100,000 fee for the Civic Center," said Edith A. Guffey, associate general minister of the United Church of Christ. "It's a very generous assistance, and we're very appreciative of it."

Also, a hat tip to UCCTruths.

The big problem that others have pointed out and with whic…

Hammer Time

MC Hammer has a blog. As far as I can tell it's legit.

In fact, it might even be 2 legit 2 quit.



RealLivePreacher has written one of the best essays on preaching and worship that I have ever read:

There is a time in every worship service when I become a child for a few seconds. It only lasts a moment or two, but that's all I need.

It happens right after the sermon is finished. Can you understand this? It is finished. It is over. I lived a week waiting for this sermon to be born. When the time came for it to be delivered, I entered the world of sermons, a world that includes me, the text, the people, and the words coming out of my mouth. It is a time of absolute focus. You enter that world and no other worlds matter. In this regard, preaching is almost like a drug. It takes away whatever else is in your mind. In this regard, preaching is also very dangerous for the one doing it.

Is that enough to intrigue you? It gets better. You really should read the whole thing.

Greg points us to a post on a blog called Postmodern Negro, who points out something about The Da Vinci Code that mak…

Okay, I'll Play

The GalPals have a meme posted every Friday and invite group members to participate. It's Saturday, but who cares? It's my blog. This one has to do with summer movies, so I decided to play for the first time ever. Each of these questions is inspired by a different movie:

1. If you were a mutant, what ability would you like to have? (think superpower)
I've always wanted to have the power of invisibility. Of course, I would be tempted to use it for eeeeeeeevil rather than good, but I think all the eeeeeeeevil reasons are why I'd want it to begin with. So maybe I should just choose something else.

2. Tell us about a memorable road trip you've experienced.
I've taken road trips to Daytona the past few years...we've driven all night, playing music, ingesting large amounts of caffeine. And then the first thing we do when we get there is jump in the ocean.

3. Do you enjoy solving riddles and working on puzzles? If so, what kinds?
I really like word puzzles. There's …

P.O.C. Gets Published

You may or may not remember a satire entry I wrote a while back entitled Culture Warriors UNITE!! Well, if you don't, you can't read it now for legal reasons.

On a whim I submitted it to a Christian satire magazine called the Wittenburg Door (with some alterations), and I heard back from them today that it has been accepted and will be published in their next issue.

This sounds like a good excuse to purchase and devour part of, or perhaps even a whole cake.

Pop Culture Roundup

I'm still reading Gilead, which sees the narrator question the motives of his best friend's son whenever he brings up theological issues. The narrator speaks to every pastor's skepticism about questions that seem antagonistic or insincere in nature. He long ago gave up trying to 'prove' God or a specific concept of God to someone else, citing it as a futile exercise, especially to one who just wants to argue or prove you wrong to begin with. While the main focus of this story is the narrator's relationships to his family, his church, his friends, there is quite an amount of musings included about spirituality, human nature, and the role of pastor in community. And last week, I screwed up the time setting a little...this book spans the first part of the 20th Century. I'm sure that correction was very important to you.

I wrote this part of the Roundup last Sunday night, shortly after I saw X-Men 3. If that doesn't certify me as a net geek, I don't know…

Paranoia or Legitimate Beef?

Near the middle of May, my little church up on the hill hosted a Family Movie Night to raise funds for the local Relay for Life. This wouldn't just be sitting in a room around a TV...this would be projecting a movie onto the side of the church or, in case of rain, onto a wall of the sanctuary. We advertised it around town, particularly on the local cable announcement channel and on our sign, explaining what it was and to bring blankets or lawn chairs.

As it turned out, it did rain that night, so we held it indoors. No big deal. The group chose Madagascar for our family-friendly movie, which I'd never seen and thought to be absolutely hilarious (the penguins alone are worth it). We ate pizza, we had fellowship, AND we raised money for a good cause. A few of us decided afterwards to try the outside deal again sometime, perhaps later this summer, and advertise it better.

Well, yesterday afternoon I had to drive past the local Gigantor Church which, as luck would have it, is actuall…

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