Showing posts from December, 2007

2007 - It Was A Year

I tried to think of a good way to blog my end-of-the-year thoughts. While I don't buy into the Most Overrated Holiday Ever, also known as New Year's (see related post), I do like to look back on how the year has gone. And as I look back on this particular year, it's been a pretty eventful one.

As I think back over this year I can pinpoint a few moments that have really stuck with me. I don't think of these in terms of entire events, but points within events. For instance, rather than point to my trip to St. Louis in May as one good moment, I would tend to think of that first few steps into Eden Seminary's chapel and feeling like I'd slipped on a well-worn shoe. It was in that moment that I'd felt like I'd come back home even if I wasn't really home. So while I could remember that entire trip as a good experience, I'd rather point to a specific moment within that experience that in a way captures the entire experience. You see what I mean?


Year-End Pop Culture Roundup 2007

Once again, we come to the final Pop Culture Roundup of the year, which features books, movies, TV shows, albums and blogs that I enjoyed over the entire year of 2007. Remember, numbers are only for convenience purposes and do not indicate any sort of ranking. Unless I say otherwise. Which I might.

Five Books I Enjoyed in 2007

1. Secrets in the Dark - This was my first encounter with preacher/author Frederick Buechner, and I was not disappointed. This collection of sermons spanning a life of ministry are honest, thought-provoking, and deeply spiritual. Buechner has left a lasting impression on my own preaching through this volume. The only thing of which I was critical while reading was his intended audience: these sermons seem to be geared toward a fairly educated demographic. But if that was the context of his preaching, then there's really nothing to criticize.

2. The Last Week - I read this offering from Borg and Crossan over Lent, and it left me with a few things to ponder. In p…

A Year-end Meme

HT to fellow tattooed pastor Lutherpunk...

1. Will you be looking for a new job? I believe not.

2. Will you be looking for a new relationship? No, I'm pretty well locked into this one. Happily, might I add.

3. New house? We've started to talk about it, but probably not.

4. What will you do different in 08? I think the rest of these questions will answer this one.

5. New Years resolution? To eat better and exercise more. You know, the usual. And maybe to get over my disdain of talking on the phone and catch up with long-distance friends and family a little more regularly.

6. What will you not be doing in 08? Huh?

7. Any trips planned? The big one will hopefully be Daytona in June. My usual trip to St. Louis is looking iffy.

9. Major thing on your calendar? The birth of my son.

10. What can’t you wait for? The birth of my son.

11. What would you like to see happen differently? I'm gonna go the superficial route here and say a Tigers World Series win and this being the year Mic…

Post-Christmas Lull

Now begins a brief period of time when there are no meetings...

...there are no visits...

...there's only one sermon and worship service left to prepare before vacation...

...there's one little bit of gift-giving left...

...there are only a few days left until the Capital One Bowl (sigh)...

...when do we take down these decorations?...

It's quiet...almost too quiet. The next few days for me, I think, should entail some reflection on Where It's All Going, or something. Maybe I'll even bust out that retreat idea I had months ago and use it as a guide.

But hey, stay tuned for a couple year-end-themed entries. It's gonna be great.

Fourth Monday of Advent/Christmas Eve

"Silent Night," the way it'll be sung in my hometown church tonight...

Stille Nacht! Heil'ge Nacht!
Alles schläft; einsam wacht
Nur das traute hoch heilige Paar.
Holder Knab' im lockigen Haar,
Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh!
Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh!

Have a blessed Christmas.

Pop Culture Roundup

I've read the first chapter of The Golden Compass. If I wasn't already familiar with the movie and the plot, I would have been all like, "what's up with these talking animals?" I'm sure it gets explained. So another slow reading week.

This week I watched Alpha Dog. It was on HBO, I had nothing else to do. This is the movie with Justin Timberlake that came out a few years ago where a group of drug dealers kidnap the younger brother of a guy who owes them money. It's based on actual events, which the movie weaves into the story with "interviews" with the "real people." According to Amazon, names and such have been changed, but the director had access to a lot of inside information on the real case, and the result is a very gritty portrayal of a group of young suburban rich kids who want to be big time and end up getting in over their heads. The world of drugs and alchohol that these characters live in is at times painful to watch, and it&…


This is a story that I'm slightly embarrassed to tell, but it's interesting where it all ends up.

I started a Myspace account last night. OMG ADD ME 2 YOR BUDDIEZ~!

I had a specific reason for doing it. I discovered through my statcounter that some guy had found an old post of mine and had made a brief post about it. I thought that he'd misunderstood what I'd written, and I wanted to respond. However, the only way to do so was to sign up.

So I signed up, with very little details added to my profile because I wasn't really interested in TEH NETWORKINGZ. But right before I hit "submit" on a reply to his post, I realized what a loser set of actions this was just to respond to a guy on Myspace. LOLOMG!!11

So I dropped the whole thing and added a little personal message to the top of the entry he misunderstood instead for all future visitors from his place.

Now I told you that story to tell you this one. I signed up for this account last night. I checked it…

Pastor Fashion

Shortly after I started at one of my seminary field placements, I was pulled aside by my supervisor and told that I "should probably start wearing a tie." He didn't elaborate too much immediately after, but when we next met for our weekly mentor-mentee pow-wow, he explained what he meant: "When I first started and I wore ties everywhere, one shut-in commented that it showed that I took her seriously." At the time, I thought this made sense. For the rest of my time there, on through the rest of seminary, and into my early days where I am now, I wore ties to all visits figuring that this "take me seriously" thing was true everywhere.

Now that I reconsider the story my supervisor told, I wonder if it was more a cultural or generational issue for that shut-in than anything else. Case in point: I switch to polo shirts for the summer months, evoking the only comment I've ever gotten about my pastoral wardrobe: "Oh...I'm not used to the pastor no…

NAMI and House: A Winning Combination

I haven't spouted much in a while about any of my favorite causes, so I figured I'll go ahead and rip one off real quick.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has teamed up with the TV show House to produce and sell a special t-shirt with the House-ism, "Everybody Lies." Actually, it'd be more accurate to say that the show is selling these and profits will go to NAMI.

Of course, if you aren't much of a House fan or don't like the idea of wearing this shirt around, maybe you know someone who is or would. So you can either buy the shirt and give it to them, or bypass the shirt altogether and just donate to NAMI.

Mental illness remains a horrendously stigmatized and misunderstood issue. This is one way to combat that stigma and get real people the help that they really need.

And There Was Much Rejoicing...

Image Michigan fans, anyway.

Third Monday of Advent

It's being posted early because my home internet is not cooperating. I'm actually writing this from the church, which I don't particularly like to do, but Coffeewife just left for work and the combination of the weather and the lack of attention to the local roads is keeping me from what I really want to be doing. So I have the time.

A friend of mine is being ordained at the exact moment that I'm typing this. Way to stay on top of things, county workers.

Worship went pretty well this morning. The little trio that I'm a part of did our rendition of The Barenaked Ladies' "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." We'd sung it a few Christmas Eves ago but figured we could dust it off and do it again. And then I got up for my sermon and totally demolished the view of Mary where she's all starry-eyed and slightly British. Ever notice that in a lot of movies based on the Bible, everyone is slightly British? Yeah, I made fun of that. A lot. Afterwards I …

Pop Culture Roundup

We watched Knocked Up last night, which we both really liked. The ads for it really played up the wacky side of the film, and it really is wacky. But what didn't get portrayed until the reviews started coming out was that this is also a pretty deep story about growing up, responsibility, family dynamics, and relationships. You probably know the basic premise by now: slacker schlub hooks up with out-of-his-league chick for a one-nighter, she discovers she's pregnant, the rest of the movie is about how they deal with it. That includes awkward gynecologist visits, arguments over the importance of reading The Baby Books, coping with the realization that you can't live the way you did before, and trying to make a relationship work for the baby's sake. That's to say nothing of the married couple in the film with two kids who are trying to power through every day while slowly bringing repressed issues out into the open. There's some really good commentary in this movi…

They're All Up North Except Me

Last night my buddy The Masked Doctoral Student called to tell me that he's accepted a teaching position at a small college in Grand Rapids. I already have a good friend from seminary living in that area. My brother is getting his Masters at a university in Detroit.

And here I am. South.

Did you know that there's a UCC church searching in Ann Arbor? Just sayin'.

Nah, it's not so bad in Ohio. There are lots of people here who like me and whom I like. Plus the Tigers assured themselves a spot in the ALCS last week. Now if only a certain school can secure a coach that eats sweatervests...

In other news, try to justify spending $1.3 million on your church's Christmas pageant.

Second Monday of Advent

I figured that I'd have babies on the brain today, and I certainly do. Early this morning we were given conclusive evidence that we are having a boy. So now I can start stocking up on baseball outfits and toys. The trouble is that we loved our chosen girl name much more than the two or three boy names that we were just okay with, so we've gone back to the drawing board for that. We bought a book of names to leaf through, and I've found one that I think we're really starting to like...or at least I do. Our goal, particularly with our boy names, has been to find something less common, but without it being something off-the-wall.

Knowing that it'll be a boy makes this whole thing a little more real, too. Before this morning, there was just this indefinite, invisible thing growing inside Mommy that we could plan a little bit for without it having a real identity or form. This morning's visit changed all of that. It adds a level of exciting/scary that wasn…

POC's Greatest Hits

I still haven't started a new book and House was a repeat. So I'm foregoing the Roundup this week to point you back to some of my favorite entries of 2007.

Thinking Out Loud About John 14:6, Part 1
Thinking Out Loud About John 14:6, Part 2

I'd been wrestling with the meaning and implications of a verse like this, so I typed out some thoughts on what the verse says, and eventually mused a little on interfaith relations and the nature of humanity's relationship to God and each other. Probably the most theological I got on this blog the past year.

The Emerging Church in Rural Ohio

This was my critique of a perceived trend in the emerging church conversation that the only and/or best places for emerging forms of church to take place is in larger cities. For all the talk about engaging the punk or hipster scenes, all the talk about meeting in coffeehouses or clubs, there didn't seem to be much of a small town or rural equivalent mentioned. This entry eventually made its way…

One way to look at it...

You Are Likely an Only Child
At your darkest moments, you feel frustrated.
At work and school, you do best when you're organizing.
When you love someone, you tend to worry about them.

In friendship, you are emotional and sympathetic.
Your ideal careers are: radio announcer, finance, teaching, ministry, and management.
You will leave your mark on the world with organizational leadership, maybe as the author of self-help books.The Birth Order Predictor Um...not an only child. I've read someplace that siblings born six years apart or more could basically count as only children, but I think that applies to the younger one than the older one. The analysis isn't too bad. They nailed my career, so they get points for that.

Bring On Opening Day

Ladies and gentlemen, the starting lineup for your Detroit Tigers...

Curtis Granderson, CF
Placido Polanco, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 3B
Gary Sheffield, DH
Magglio Ordonez, RF
Carlos Guillen, 1B
Edgar Renteria, SS
Ivan Rodriguez, C
Jacque Jones, LF

American League = pwned.

"Stuff I Hate About the Holidays" Meme

The least favorite/most annoying...

1) dessert/cookie/family food - plum pudding. The few times I have encountered it, I recall that the taste, look, and consistency all strongly resemble poo.

2) beverage (seasonal beer, eggnog w/ way too much egg and not enough nog, etc...) - I guess I'm not that experienced in specifically "Christmas beverages," because I can't think of any besides eggnog. So I'll just say that concoction where you mix sherbert, 7-Up and fruit punch. Why not just, you know, have fruit punch? Why turn it into this weird bubbly frothy unnecessary thing? You couldn't, you know, just give people a choice between fruit punch and 7-Up and then have sherbert for dessert? You had to mix them all together? You wanted that much of a taste sensation, or maybe you were that indecisive? Or, like, you could get fruit punch your first time through the line, and then when it's time for a refill, then you get 7-Up? You don't think that's, like, ex…

First Monday of Advent

Today should be the last shopping trip that we have to make. That greatly excites me, because that means for the next 3 weeks I won't have to worry about that stuff. I can instead turn my attention to sitting around in my pajamas drinking coffee and laughing at everyone else.

Yesterday was a good day. First, the worship service went very well. I'm kind of a stickler for singing Advent hymns instead of Christmas carols, although I'm not completely rigid. This being "not completely rigid" attitude in part comes from the fact that our hymnal only has maybe three Advent hymns in it. The old E & R hymnal, which we still keep in the pews, has a much better selection, but still not enough to cover four Sundays. So I end up pulling a lot of Advent tunes from the E&R and then mix them with a few lesser-known, lesser-sung Christmas carols from our main hymnal (also in part to placate those who want more Christmas during Advent). So for instance, yesterday&…

100 Things Meme

It's pretty self-explanatory. 10 categories with 10 items each. I did this one over the span of a couple days, as my attention span allowed. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention that this meme comes courtesy of Nachfolge, the newest addition to the bloglist.

I have lived
1. in five different parsonages, including right now, for a grand total of about 16 years of my 28-year existence.
2. in a duplex.
3. in the other side of that duplex.
4. in three different states: Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri.
5. in a shoe-box apartment on the campus of Eden Seminary, which seemed to shrink exponentially after I got married.
6. in a college dorm room only one out of the four years I was there.
7. in various on-campus houses the other three.
8. in a rented fixer-upper house the summer before my senior year of college with three frat brothers, my eventual wife, and one frat brother's now-ex-girlfriend.
9. next to a guy from Ghana whose apartment always smelled funny from his cooking.
10. in the s…