Showing posts from June, 2008

Random Thoughts Separated By Ellipses

I've lost 12 pounds on the "diet and exercise" plan. I didn't have to change my lifestyle at all, if you don't count what I eat and my daily schedule. I strongly recommend it both as a new pastor and as someone who has used it with fantastic results...Nine Inch Nails gets me good and angry for my workout...Yesterday I ate Chipotle, ice cream, and a stout beer, and still lost weight. That was a freebie...

I think my new tattoo is my favorite...Maybe some day I'll post pics of all three...Kat Von D is hot...I care less and less every day whether parishioners find out that I have them...I don't get irritated at July 4th like I used to...I think it's because Coffeewife and I get to spend it together these days...

I blatantly stole this post concept from Kamp Krusty...I don't do as much blogreading nowadays...There's a lightning bug on my window...The magnitude of listening to 365 albums over the next year is finally beginning to sink in...Some day…

365 Albums - Week 1

Here we are at the end of Week 1. Here's the rundown of what I heard this week, plus a few notes at the end.

1. Plain White T's, Every Second Counts - I received this album as a Christmas present and hadn't taken it out of the shrink wrap until this past Sunday morning. This seemed like as good a time as any to give it a listen. Of course, I was well aware of their single, "Hey There Delilah," a staple on every Top 40 radio station. I'd also heard one other song, "Hate (I Really Don't Like You)," on the radio at some point. Otherwise, I'd had no contact with this band's music.

About 45 minutes later, I had become fully aware of why this band appeals to high school girls. Nearly every song features lyrics fretting about, second-guessing, pining for, or rejecting this or that relationship with the emotional depth of a 15-year-old. The aforementioned "Hate" features the study hall note-level chorus, "I really really real…

Summer Reading Meme

I've been hitting my 365 Albums project pretty hard (Week 1's selections posted tomorrow), plus my new little housemate doesn't like me to get in more than maybe ten pages of a book read at a time. So here comes the RevGals' Friday Five to remind me how neglectful I've been of my reading the past week or more.

1) Do you think of summer as a particularly good season for reading? Why or why not? I do quite enjoy sitting outside in the early evening with a book and beverage, and church stuff usually lightens up. This summer, however, hasn't really produced opportunities for the former, partially because the latter hasn't been true. Also, again, there's the matter of Coffeeson wanting me to pay attention to him. So usually, yes. So far this year, no.

2) Have you ever fallen asleep reading on the beach? I don't read on the beach, but I have nodded off while reading in bed or on the couch.

3) Can you recall a favorite childhood book read in …

This Day in History

Date: June 25, 1957
A group of church members gathering in Cleveland, Ohio

Guy: All right, everyone. We've pretty much worked everything out except one detail. What shall we call this new church of ours? I propose that, since we are a newly united church, we should call ourselves the United Church of Christ.
Second Guy: Um...pardon me for a second.

Guy: Yes, you'd like to speak to the name?
Second Guy: Yeah, about that. Don't you think that if we called ourselves that, people might confuse us with the Church of Christ?

Guy: Why would people do that? It's a totally different church.
Second Guy: Well, yes, but Church of Christ, United Church of Christ...they're pretty similar.

Guy: You answered your own question. Clearly, our name has the word "United" in front of it.
Second Guy: But people might not get that they're different.

Guy: Of course they're different. They're just the Church of Christ. We're the UNITED Church of Christ.
Second Guy: I&…

Open Forum: The Pastor With the Visible Tattoo

All posts are open for comments, but Open Forum posts especially ask for feedback from readers...
I've been meaning to write this entry for a year or so, and finally got around to doing it.

There should be no question in the minds of my readership that I am a tattooed pastor. For many, the phrase "tattooed pastor" is an oxymoron, which is part of the reason I love having them so much.

Anyway, my tattoos are not in places that people would be able to see them unless I wanted them to. And as I think about future additions to my body art, I've considered a couple places that would be more likely to be seen if I were to wear shorts or short sleeves. This raises a dilemma for me, because while I believe that tattoos open doors for me as a pastor, I also wonder what doors would be shut with a tattoo in a more visible area.
Thankfully, I came across a new blog earlier this year authored by a Lutheran pastor calling himself Lutherpunk, who does have at least one tattoo that is…


"Full Failure All American Hero" by Derek Hess

Pop Culture Roundup - Farewell Edition

I haven't read any further in my book and I haven't seen any movies this week. In a way, it's fitting that this is the last one. Seems that having a 2-month-old doesn't allow me to crack off a book a week any more. I also used to be about music the way I've been more recently about books anyway. When the shift happened, I don't know. But I'm glad I'm going back. Music has played a longer and stronger role in my life anyway. But I'll write more about that as we get into the new thing.

As I mentioned the other day, this past week I had a strong urge to listen to "Round Here" by Counting Crows, so I popped in August and Everything After, and ended up listening to the entire album as I began to remember how good it is. Coffeeson was in my arms for pretty much the entire thing. He fell asleep as I sang "Round Here." I'll have to remember that. The next day I put in Recovering the Satellites, thinking this might be a ful…

365 Albums - The Guidelines

As I prepare to embark on this musical adventure, I've come up with some general rules.

1. No albums by bands I'm already a huge fan of. I think that it'd be a copout for me to listen to a bunch of Dave Matthews, Decemberists, Gov't Mule, Five Iron Frenzy, and so on. The only exceptions to this rule are albums by these artists that I don't already own and/or that I just haven't absorbed. An example of this would be Five Iron Frenzy's last studio album, The End is Near. I often listen to the included recording of their last concert, but have only listened to the album maybe twice.

2. No compilation albums. This includes, but is not limited to, Greatest Hits, soundtracks (excluding original scores), burned mixes, samplers, etc. Sadly, this also includes live albums. I went back and forth about that one, but when it comes down to it, most live albums feature a string of an artist's hits with some other stuff peppered in. So basically, full studio a…

365 Albums - The Experiment

So I got a strong craving to listen to "Round Here" by Counting Crows this week. I couldn't tell you why, but I really wanted to. I dusted off my August and Everything After CD, and was surprised by how good I forgot the entire album was.

I do that a lot. I'll listen to an album over and over for up to several years, and then forget about it. It will sit on my shelf, unappreciated.

Everyone, it seems to me, does this to a certain extent. They "outgrow" certain music, or their tastes change, or new favorite albums overshadow past favorite albums. And sometimes, people just get in musical ruts. They listen to the same 15-20 albums over and over for the most part, with new stuff shuffling in and out every once in a while.

Note that I have not fully transitioned into the "iPod age," where you can download songs and mix them however you like, rather than entire albums. For me, something gets lost in the experience. I mean yeah, I was all about mixtapes b…

Standing Inside a Concession Booth with a Hot Dog in My Hand

Note: if anyone can name the song referenced in the title, I'll mail you a cookie.

It was a weekend that put a few things into perspective.

Friday night, a group from my church ran a concession stand at Progressive Field. The Indians invite groups in to do this as a fundraiser - we get a base amount plus a percentage on what we sell. We're signed up for 12 games total; I think Friday was number four, and the first of four games that I'll help with.

The game didn't make it out of the first inning before it started downpouring. Our group was in a part of the park (nosebleeds along the third base line up in the corner) where we could basically watch it roll in. We had some steady business before the game and during the delay...all two hours and 43 minutes of it. We were finally told to start closing down our booth, even though the game hadn't been called.

Eventually, as our group was allowed to disperse, it was revealed that the game was scheduled to start back up ag…

Father's Day + 6 Years of Marriage

I can tell you this, that if I'd married some rosy dame and she had given me ten children and they had each given me ten grandchildren, I'd leave them all, on Christmas Eve, on the coldest night of the world, and walk a thousand miles just for the sight of your face, your mother's face. And if I never found you, my comfort would be in that hope, my lonely and singular hope, which could not exist in the whole of Creation except in my heart and in the heart of the Lord. That is just a way of saying I could never thank God sufficiently for the splendor He has hidden from the world--your mother excepted, of course--and revealed to me in your sweetly ordinary face.-From Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Pop Culture Roundup

This week I started reading Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis, a book about America's "Revolutionary Generation:" Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, Washington, and Madison, and some of their actions in the earliest years of the U.S. Essentially, Ellis argues that they were far from being of like mind as they led the country's organization, and that the disagreements that they had about personal liberty vs. national oversight were thus woven into this country's fabric. I'm not too far into it yet.

I've honestly never been a huge fan of the Shrek movies. I thought that the first one was pretty good, with its jabs at Disney movies and general send-up of classic fairy tales. I found the second one to be a lot like the first, except different jabs and slightly different send-up, but basically the same schtick. I had little to no interest in seeing Shrek the Third, figuring it to be the same thing a third time around. Well, we watched it the other nigh…

Small Sips: Church as Spiritual Community, A convenient rapture website

Jan at A Church for Starving Artists writes:

When people join a church to be served instead of to serve, the church's most basic identity is diminished. And already our congregations are confused. There are churches that are basically social communities offering great opportunities for meeting new people and nurturing friendships. There are churches that are basically wholesome values communities, teaching adults and children traditional civic values.There are churches that are social services communities housing the homeless and feeding the hungry. While there is nothing wrong with nurturing friendships or teaching people to be solid citizens or caring for community needs, the church is a spiritual community in which we gather to support and equip each other to serve the world in the likeness of Christ.Jan makes a great point that churches miss too often, that being what they're supposed to be at their core: communities of Christ's disciples. The fellowship and service tha…

A Meme About Stuff

There really is more actual content coming, but I've yet to be able to sit down and compose it.

1. What was I doing 10 yrs ago? I had just finished my first year of college and was off to work in an incubator factory for the summer. It was actually one of my favorite jobs that I've ever had.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order):~Take Coffeeson to the doctor for some fun shots
~Start writing my sermon
~Take communion to a homebound church member
~Find a ride to Progressive Field for Friday
3. Snacks I enjoy:~Doritos
~Reese's cups
~Diet Mountain Dew4. Things I would do if I were a billionaire: Pay off loans, pay off other people's loans, start a Coffeeson college fund, give to NAMI and AIDS research, buy a laptop

5. Three of my bad habits:~Worrying
~Putting off returning voicemails and e-mails
~Cracking my knuckles
6. 5 places I have lived:~Farmington, MI
~Brimley, MI
~Galien, MI
~Tiffin, OH
~St. Louis, MO7. 5 jobs I have had:


Terrains of the Heart

There are places on earth that mean more than words and pictures can explain. Writer Willie Morris called them "terrains of the heart." They are the points on our personal maps where we find our treasured memories and replenish our souls. For me, that was Tiger Stadium. If you're lucky, you have such a place, too, and perhaps you will understand. - from the Introduction to The Final Season by Tom Stanton
Since reading this passage, I've been trying to come up with my own list of possible "terrains of the heart." I'm not sure what to include because the criteria are a little fuzzy to me. For instance, does the place need to hold eternal value, i.e., my soul is replenished every time I go there, even years later?

I think that it has to do with the company you keep while you're there; that each "terrain of the heart" in its physical, material form has a shelf life. Certainly Stanton wouldn't go to Tiger Stadium today and feel repleni…

Pop Culture Roundup

What better way to jump back into things than my signature flavor? Well, probably lots of things. But this is the one I chose.

Over the past week, I read two books. The first was The Final Season by Tom Stanton. Stanton is a sports reporter who went to all 81 home games during the last season played at Tiger Stadium. He chronicles not only the major happenings of the games (including every score), but also the larger events around the city as it collectively anticipates the closing of an iconic ballpark. Stanton relates historical snippets of major events and figures and interacts with many of the stadium's staple characters. He also weaves this around what he experiences within his own family during this time as he attempts to reunite his father with some long-lost uncles, and stay connected to his oldest son who has hit That Age where he starts to pull away for a time. This was a fantastic book, one of my favorites of the year so far. It's about mourning a ballpark t…

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