Showing posts from October, 2008

Take Time for the Meme

1) Your work day is done and the brain is fried, what do you do?  Lately it's involved a glass of wine, plopping on the couch, and vegging out to whatever Coffeewife has turned the channel to.  Or, like this past week, if she isn't really paying attention I've switched it over to the World Series.  All of this also takes place after Coffeeson goes to sleep, too.

2) Your work week is done and the brain is fried (for some Friday, others Sunday afternoon), what do you do?  Sunday afternoons usually feature Chipotle for lunch.  It is my great meal of culmination...unless Coffeewife is working that day, in which case I need to wait until Monday.  Then lately I've been switching on whatever football game is on, though usually I don't care about the outcome...I just like the sight of well-executed plays, which I more than likely didn't watch the day before.  But if the Lions are playing I'm not seeing that anyway.  I'm also half-paying attention to the game bec…

Happy Reformation Day


Pop Culture Roundup

It's a special Thursday edition.
We watched Iron Man this past week.  I'd always known of Iron Man the superhero, but for me he wasn't on par with many of the other popular characters who've been made into one or more movies.  I just wasn't as into him.  That said, this was an excellent introduction and overall movie.  Robert Downey Jr. stars as Tony Stark, a free-wheeling egotistical technical genius who runs a weapons manufacturing company.  After experiencing being held hostage and seeing his own weapons in use, he has a change of heart about his lifestyle and purpose, eventually creating his Iron Man suit.  I don't want to give away too much of the plot otherwise, but again this was a solid intro that certainly left the door open for sequels, and that presented excellent discussion on the purposes and morality of war and defense.
As it turns out on Entourage, Ari decided not to take the studio head position in a twist that I think is good for the series.  Giv…

The Community at Worship

This Sunday is All Saints Sunday.

It is also a communion Sunday.
We also have a baptism.
This means that my sermon only needs to be maybe 3 minutes long.
I'm sure that there will be a very mixed reaction to how this service will go. At some point, I may face the question of why the baptism was scheduled for this day. Or perhaps people would prefer to look at the baby instead of listen to me talk for 15 minutes.
What might be right for you may not be right for some. Apologies to the Facts of Life, but that's the nature of worship. On any given day, a service can be a wonderful epiphany-producing moment for one person, but it may have been the most awful, target-missing experience for the person in the next pew.
I'm tying it all together on Sunday by talking about how baptism, communion and All Saints are all meant to happen in community.
Some of the community may like it. Some may wonder why so much has to happen in one day.
What might be right for one, may not be right for ot…

But wait, there's more...

With less than two weeks to go before the election, Focus on the Family has to get in a few fear-mongering parting shots to get people to vote against Obama. So they concocted this Letter from 2012, which chronicles all the horrible things that an Obama presidency will bring, based on the reading of "established trends." These include:

- The Supreme court leans liberal, 6 to 3.
- Terrorist attacks have occurred in 4 US cities.
- Christian doctors, nurses, counselors, and teachers have either been fired or quit.
- Iran perpetrated a nuclear attack on Israel, drastically reducing the size of its borders.
- Pornography is freely displayed.
- Inner city violent crime has dramatically increased due to gun control.
- Russia has occupied 4 additional countries.
- Gas tops $7 a gallon.
- Euthanasia becomes commonplace.
- Blackouts occur throughout the country.
- Homosexual marriage becomes law in all 50 states.
- Campus ministries, Christian adoption agencies and Christian schools nearly ceas…

Oh. Come. On.

Stop Obama's family from practicing witchcraft on McCain!
And again, I pray...

HT for the article goes to LutheranChik.

Pop Culture Roundup

I've finished the third Sandman book, Dream Country, and have moved right on to the fourth, Season of Mists.  I haven't made it too far, but as I recall this is the volume where Lucifer gives Hell to Morpheus in some kind of elaborate way to screw him over.  I don't remember the specifics.  I guess I'll just have to read.
Entourage saw Ari being offered a studio head position after the former boss had a heart attack.  This was the same studio head who had blackballed Vince a few seasons ago...coincidentally.  I think I'm too hard on this show sometimes.  Anyway, Ari isn't sure that he wants it until he gets caught up in a demanding moment at his office (including Jeffrey Tambor in a hilarious cameo).  The episode ends with Ari telling Vince about the offer, and Vince being unsure of where that leaves him.  The development with Ari is one of those major things where I wonder how much further the show can go.  If Ari gets this job, he can put Vince in whatever mov…

My Most Ridiculous Wedding Experience Ever

Let me tell you about the wedding I officiated this weekend.  I'm calling it My Most Ridiculous Wedding Experience Ever.  And while I'm only 4 1/2 years into my ministry career, it'll be hard to top.
Right, so I've been meeting with this couple off and on over the past few months.  It was the groom's second marriage, the bride's first.  They've been together for 10 years or so already, and they have a 6-year-old son together.  But they wanted to formalize things.  And to that end, the bride.  Took.  Charge.
My first clue as to how this past weekend would go came during one consultation session when she basically took the UCC Book of Worship ceremony, metaphorically ripped it to shreds, and then finally said, "I'll send you copies of what I want read."  Other than my homily and one prayer, I basically had the entire liturgy handed to me.  I wasn't put off by it, really.  I made some suggestions about placement of the various pieces and explai…


Earlier this week, I published my 900th post.

At some point very recently, this blog also saw its 100,000th pageload.

We're just all about the milestones this week.

Thanks for reading and...uh...pageloading.

Well Said

"I consider myself a Christian, and as a consequence I don't consider myself to be at war with anyone...I do not identify in any degree with the kind of loud, mass-market certitude that is thought of as religion in some quarters now."-UCC member and novelist Marilynne Robinson answering Newsweek's question regarding portrayals of spirituality in her new novel, "Home," the follow-up to her 2004 Pulitzer Prize winning work, "Gilead."

From UCNews

Pop Culture Roundup

I'm back into the Sandman books, now at Volume 3, Dream Country.  I'd forgotten about some of the stories told here (it's been three years since I last read these), but this volume isn't a connected story...instead it's a collection of individual stories about some of the past adventures that Morpheus has been on.  In one, he takes the form of a cat.  In another, he has Shakespeare commission a play (Midsummer Night's Dream).  I remember not really liking the cat story, so I skipped it.  I vaguely remember the Shakespeare story, but I haven't delved into it yet.
I caught Recount on HBO the other day, which is all about the fiasco surrounding the 2000 election.  It chronicles/dramatizes each side's approach and game plan and takes time to explain the arguments that each uses.  It goes through what "hanging chads" and "dimpled chads" are and why they were a problem, and it brings to light some events that may not be as widely known, suc…

They Called an Ohio Number

I just listened to a voicemail from the Missouri Democratic Party inviting me to a rally for Obama under the Gateway Arch this weekend.
I probably won't make it.  It'll be a little out of my way.
That's actually the second time this year.

Deep Breath...

So in case you missed it, I was at the Michigan-Toledo game this past Saturday that ended in Lopata missing a chip-shot field goal to cement the first ever U-M loss to a MAC team.  And the collective face of 108,000 people, hopeful about going into overtime and eventually salvaging this near-Appalachian State debacle a second before, began filing out of the stadium while the Toledo football team celebrated with their corner section of fans in the far endzone.
As I slowly made my way out, I overheard two older men--perhaps they were alumni, but I really couldn't tell--proclaiming the season over as they went over the remaining schedule and tried to come up with even one possible win.  And they blamed the coach.  They even blamed that final missed field goal on him somehow.
My brother and I had our own thoughts.  We did question some of RichRod's decisions.  We saw McGuffie attempt to run through a gauntlet of Toledo players in what seemed like play after play after play after pla…


In celebration of my 900th post, I made a request for 9 questions for me to answer. Here, then, is a somewhat long compilation of those questions and my answers. Note: I've corrected a few minor spelling and grammatical errors from the original comments.
1. Over the course of 900 posts, what have you learned about yourself, your ministry, and your family - not necessarily in that order - that has simply amazed you? I'm not sure if this a blogging-specific question, as in, what have I learned while writing these 900 posts, or whether it's a more general question about what I've learned during the time frame that I've written the blog. I've certainly used this blog to work through some things. Well, I guess there's no need to separate the two aspects of the question. Here goes...
Myself - I've learned that I'm not as over certain experiences as I thought I was, particularly experiences related to spiritual abuse by trusted people. That theme has p…

This. Is. Awesome.

Internet mogul guy Jay Walker has an amazing personal library. Here, have a look...

One can only dream.
HT to Brant.

Pop Culture Roundup

I've read all of Recreating the Church this week.  It's actually a very short, easy read, but at the same time it's probably one of the most concise and well-stated books on the state of mainline churches and denominations that I've read.  He hits on the "perfect storm" that has been throwing churches for a loop for decades: change in American culture that they haven't kept up with, organizational structures that older, "joiner" generations established and love but younger ones don't, and a general anxiety that keeps organizations from changing and updating themselves.  Hamm talks about the role of the leader in changing the system, as well as the need for denominations at national levels to adapt as well.  He especially points out the need at all church levels for not just technical change, but adaptive change as well.  Here, UCC folks, see if this sounds familiar:In my own denomination, I spent a lot of time and energy seeking to downsize …

Where I'm Spending My Saturday

Toledo shouldn't be too difficult, so hopefully it'll be a good time.

Nearing 900

Not too long from now, Philosophy Over Coffee will see its 900th post published.

It's hard to believe that I've wasted that much time on here.

I could wait until 1000 to do something like this, but I totally wanted to rip off what Scott is doing at his place for his 700th.

So, for my 900th post...I'll answer 9 questions. First come, first served. As long as it doesn't throw my semi-anonymity into something less than that. I'll also be selective about questions pertaining to the church I serve. Anything else is pretty much fair game: favorite color, where I like to vacation, thoughts on gas prices, whatever.

So have at it.

Mental Illness Awareness Week

October 5-11 is Mental Illness Awareness Week:In 1990, the U.S. Congress established the first week of October as "Mental Illness Awareness Week" (MIAW) in recognition of NAMI's efforts to raise mental illness awareness. "Bipolar Disorder Awareness Day" (BDAD) is held each year on the Thursday of MIAW.

MIAW and BDAD are NAMI's premiere public awareness and public education campaigns. They link the organization's over 1,100 local affiliates across the country.

MIAW has become a tradition in NAMI. It presents an opportunity for all three levels of NAMI--national, state, and local--to work together in communities across the country to achieve the NAMI mission through outreach, education, and advocacy.In terms of both funds and education, mental health issues are far from being high on the priority list of every state in the union, if this 2006 report from NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) is any indication.  
Actually, Ohio is graded as one of th…

Pop Culture Roundup

I'm between books at the moment.  I need to start Recreating the Church in preparation for my Association's upcoming fall meeting, which will feature the book's author and will be centered around the themes contained therein.  I must say that it's been very heartening to me the past few years that these types of conversations around the church relating to a changing culture are happening at the wider settings of the UCC.
TV-wise, it's still mainly been True Blood and Entourage.  For me, there's a huge Sopranos-shaped hole in my Sunday evenings.  True Blood is okay, but it's definitely not the same.  I mean, obviously there's a huge disparity between a mobster-themed show and a vampire-themed show, but besides that, it certainly doesn't grab me like The Sopranos did.  And I really don't watch many other TV shows regularly.  I haven't even been keeping up with new episodes of House, Terminator, Bones...I just haven't had the interest.
This w…

"Call to Action Regarding the Proposed UCC National Board Restructure"

There is a petition located here that UCC members are being encouraged to sign in opposition to the proposed restructuring of the various national boards into one overarching near-90-member (!) board.  This gets a little long, but here's the reasoning:The next generation of the United Church of Christ will inherit the newly proposed structure. We have concerns and our voices deserve to be heard. Will you join us as we seek to assist in charting the course ahead?

Originated September of 2006

The mission of the Joshua Generation Leadership Team, supported by the Urban Ministries, of the United Church of Christ seeks to:

Provide training in which we recognize, develop, nurture, empower and educate relevant vanguard leadership for the 21st century Church and community with an intentional focus on Urban Ministries.
Create a network which serves as a group of innovative, motivated and courageous leaders who seek not only to witness or advocate, but to also bridge the past a…

Fair Trade Month

October is Fair Trade Month. Fair Trade is important because conventional "free trade" often leaves farmers and artisans living in extreme poverty, sometimes even facing malnutrition and starvation when world market prices swing dramatically. These are the conditions that have led in some cases to the use of illegal child labor, including child slave labor, and to the use of unsustainable environmental practices such as cutting down trees in the rainforest.

Fair Trade, by contrast, ensures that farmers and artisans are paid a living wage, and that the products they produce aren't made in sweatshops or by exploited child laborers. Fair Trade also promotes production techniques that will not harm the environment.
Now how can supporting that be a bad thing?

"Well, workers in those countries are just happy to have a job at all. They won't strive for something better." Okay. So we'll keep their morale nice and low so that they never imagine that something b…

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