Showing posts from July, 2008

July, July

It's really quite fascinating how our own perceptions color our memories the way they do.

I had this blog post all planned out to gush over how thankful I am that July has finally come to an end. And mercifully so. I was going to write about how it just seemed to take forever. I was going to go off on how boring and long and dead it was; how it was the month that just refused to end and how every day was just another horribly slow experience in running on the hamster wheel toward the much more interesting month of August and season of fall.

On some level, that is true. July is not the most hopping month by any stretch at the church. In fact, it is the least hopping. There is no hopping. There is standing still. It made for some excruciatingly dull office hours at times. Planning ahead was what I used to invigorate my spirit. Creating deadlines and tension for myself really helped me through at times.

To aid in what surely was going to be this cathartic release of pent-up ho…

Well, crap.

Pudge is now a Yankee.


Why not the Angels or the Cubs or Brewers or some team in contention who aren't the Yankees?At least then seeing him in a different uniform would be somewhat bearable.

Thoughts Barely Related

Last night, I worked my second of four games in a Progressive Field concession stand. For those who missed it, my church is doing this as a fundraiser - 12 games, base rate for everyone who works + percentage off what we sell. The Tigers are in town this week, and I originally wasn't going to work this one because I wanted to attend as a fan...and then I realized what a copout that probably was, and I ended up working.

Our booth was right behind home plate last night. I'd leave the booth to restock peanuts out front just in time to see Pudge throw the ball back to Rogers, maybe 200 feet from me. Before the game, I watched Magglio and a few others take batting practice. The Tigers lost 5-0...Rogers wasn't his best by any means last night. If the game had even been the slightest bit competitive, I'd have regretted working instead of watching.

I made a lot of popcorn last night. I made A LOT OF POPCORN. And I got pretty sick of the smell of hot dogs. That didn'…

365 Albums - Week 5

29. Joss Stone, Introducing Joss Stone - I remember the first time I heard Joss Stone. It was on some VH1 concert show paying tribute to female artists, and she did a cover of The White Stripe's "Fell in Love with a Girl" (except she'd altered "girl" to "boy") in a '60s/'70s R&B style. I think she was only 17 or so when that happened, but she had some powerful pipes and knew how to carry herself. I liked her style. This is her third album, filled with that same R&B/soul sound that I'd heard in that first listen.

The music, first off, is probably what I like the most. There's a certain modernization of the classic sounds she's obviously inspired by, with almost a hip-hop feel to some of these songs. Common appears on "Tell Me What We're Gonna Do Now," celebrating a relationship and wondering what more they can do together. "Bruised But Not Broken" was inspired by the death of a friend, refle…

Sort of an Explanation

I'm really glad that my last entry, all of one line, evoked such a great response. I'm thankful for the feedback that people offered. Some got pretty passionate, which is always a good sign.

I attended a workshop a few years back when this quote was uttered. I certainly can't take responsibility for it. I've been pondering it ever since, questioning its truth, wondering how it applies to me.

The context of the quote was a discussion on "medium-sized" churches, or "pastor-sized" churches. For those unfamiliar with this term, a "pastor-sized" church is one where the pastor is the determinant of the congregation's rhythm, the central figure around which the rest of the church rotates. Contrast this with the "family-sized" church, where a few "power families" are the determinant, or a "program-sized" church where a ministry team is the determinant. The "pastor-sized" church is of a certain size …

Critique This Statement

"If all the programming that you start at a church falls away after you leave, that's a failed pastorate."

Weekend Fun

This was one of those weekends that I just had to write about.

I had a wedding on Saturday. And frankly, I've had a string of good experiences with weddings this year. This was no exception. I enjoyed working with this couple. They've basically known each other their entire lives, and there was little doubt in my mind that this wouldn't just keep getting stronger.

The ceremony involved a cast of thousands: six on each side besides the couple, three musicians, a humongous extended family. When I asked the families to stand in support of the couple, a good quarter of the packed sanctuary stood. I had a feeling that the place would be full - the family is well-known and loved in the congregation, and there were a number of friends presumably from college and earlier there as well (she was in a sorority, so that helped, too).

The other notable thing about the ceremony itself was that they requested that most of the chancel furniture be removed. Our chancel can be pretty …

365 Albums - Week 4

22. Mike Doughty, Golden Delicious - Doughty is the former lead singer of Soul Coughing, which was a moderately successful band in the '90s. I'd seen them listed as opening for DMB on a couple tours, but had never actually heard their music. On my 23rd birthday, a friend took me to see his acoustic solo show in St. Louis - at the time he was promoting his acoustic album, Skittish, which includes a cover of Mary J. Blige's "Real Love." A few years later, he released Haughty Melodic, which is as excellent an album as I've heard: straight-up acoustic-based rock.

On Golden Delicious, Doughty is branching out a little. On "I Just Want the Girl in the Blue Dress to Keep on Dancing," there is the distinct sound of record scratching. "More Bacon Than the Pan Can Handle" is a funky, goofy, rock/hip-hop track of weirdness (I just thought it was funny). Doughty doesn't seem to take himself too seriously, and obviously had a lot of fun making…

A Blog Name/Blogging Meme

1. So how did you come up with your blogging name? And/or the name of your blog? Philosophy Over Coffee is something I always list on "interest/hobbies" sections for internet username profiles. It made it on my ministerial profile, too. I figured that it'd work as a blog title, too. Plus I like the vibe that it gives, like I'm just talking/typing in a coffeeshop, shooting the bull.

2. Are there any code names or secret identities in your blog? Any stories there? I just have Coffeewife, Coffeeson, the CoffeeInLaws, Coffeeparents, etc. They're pretty straightforward. Every once in a while I refer to one of my alma maters as Small Town Varsity Blues High School...because if you didn't play sports, you didn't matter.

3. What are some blog titles that you just love? For their cleverness, drama, or sheer, crazy fun?
A Church for Starving Artists - because it really does feel sometimes like artists are starving in the church
Michigan Against the World - becau…

Help the Wittenburg Door

It was revealed on Facebook (yes, I'm on Facebook...we can laugh about that later) that The Wittenburg Door, a Christian satire magazine of immense hilarity, has suspended print publication due to financial strains:

As some of you know, the print publication of the Wittenburg Door has been temporarily suspended. We have a revamped website - if you haven't already subscribe to the free newsletter, so you can be kept apprised of the latest humor bits posted on the website.

Harry Guetzlaff, one of the major forces behind putting out the Door, is now in hospice care. Robert Darden, Sr. Editor of the Wittenburg Door (print version), went to see him and has this report:

He is very, very thin and spends most of his time in bed. The doctors really, really want him to eat and sit up (and even occasionally walk around), but he simply has quit eating. Says food hurts and makes him feel worse. Of course, he can't go home or continue chemo unless he's stronger a…

Church Cancels Gun Giveaway

Alternative title: The Downside of Trying to Be Relevant...
An Oklahoma church canceled a controversial gun giveaway for teenagers at a weekend youth conference.

Windsor Hills Baptist had planned to give away a semiautomatic assault rifle until one of the event's organizers was unable to attend.

The church’s youth pastor, Bob Ross, said it’s a way of trying to encourage young people to attend the event. The church expected hundreds of teenagers from as far away as Canada.

“We have 21 hours of preaching and teaching throughout the week,” Ross said.

A video on the church Web site shows the shooting competition from last year’s conference. A gun giveaway was part of the event last year. This year, organizers included it in their marketing.

“I don’t want people thinking ‘My goodness, we’re putting a weapon in the hand of somebody that doesn’t respect it who are then going to go out and kill,'” said Ross. “That’s not at all what we’re trying to do.”

Ross said the conference isn’t all abou…

365 Albums - Week 3

15. Bob Dylan, Time Out of Mind - After being pleasantly surprised by Blonde on Blonde, I thought I'd give Dylan another go. And again, I was quite taken by his work. Released as recently as 1997, many critics consider this album one of his best. His voice is noticeably raspier, taking away some of the nasal half-talking style that I like imitating in my spare time. It's also very melancholy. However, Dylan has this way of constructing his songs that showcase his poetry and arrangements without making his own voice the center of everything. If one is able to focus on the words and music without distracting themselves with preconceived notions about this or that, I think there's a good chance that they can better appreciate Dylan...just as I have been able to do.

"Love Sick" carries a double meaning as Dylan sings, "I'm sick of love; I wish I'd never met you/I'm sick of love; I'm trying to forget you." The singer is simultaneously s…

Fully Human

Michael Spencer (aka The Internet Monk) has been on sabbatical for a good chunk of the summer, and has recently begun writing about some of his experiences and realizations that have come out of his time away. He begins by sharing a conversation he recently had with a woman whose husband is beginning to wrestle with his identity after considering leaving the ministry:
I told her that I was on much the same road as her husband, and that I’d had
many of the same feelings of panic and confusion at the loss of familiar anchors
and markers. I wasn’t sure where it was all going to come out, as I was just
beginning to learn how to navigate without so many of the assumptions that had
guided me for 30+ years of ministry.But I told her that I wasn’t afraid. I wasn’t afraid to be myself anymore. I
wasn’t afraid of the consequences of following Jesus to the places of honesty
and vulnerability. I was no longer afraid of the religious systems and their
custodians that had alway promised to give me securit…

Small Sips: Sabathia, Sports fans can be really dumb, Wings at Wrigley

An all-sports Small Sips...

At least the Cavs still have Lebron, right? Right?: As was rumored the other day, C.C. Sabathia is off to Milwaukee...

The Indians have agreed to trade the ace Sabathia and two lower-level minor leaguers for a package that includes top prospect Matt LaPorta and other minor leaguers, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.The deal is contingent on the paperwork and medical records, the paper reported.Sabathia went 19-7 with a 3.21 ERA to win the AL Cy Young last season and would give the Brewers another power pitcher to pair with Ben Sheets as Milwaukee tries to make the playoffs for the first time since 1982.The big lefty is 6-8 with a 3.83 ERA for the Indians, but has also been plagued with a lack of run support. In nine of his 18 starts, Cleveland has scored two runs or less for him.Sabathia could make his debut as early as Tuesday for the Brewers against the Rockies.Story problem: One of your best pitchers has a losing record, but it's mostly be…

365 Albums - Week 2

8. Soundgarden, Down on the Upside - Soundgarden was my favorite band from the "grunge era," though the case could be made that they weren't strictly "grunge," whatever that really was anyway. My copy of Superunknown was a casualty of the Great CD Bonfire, one of the albums that I've since missed the most. After I'd more or less switched over to a strict diet of Christian music, the news of the band's breakup my senior year of high school caused feelings of longing for those former days of "secular" listening and feelings of guilt for having those feelings of longing. But I've written enough about that sort of thing for a while.

Anyway, I honestly didn't analyze the lyrics too much for this one. I was just happy to be listening, while at the same time pondering (and fuming over) the full extent of the above realization. "Pretty Noose" and "Burden in My Hand" were already familiar. On the whole, it's a…

Just so you know...

I edited my Bonfire of '96 post, and deleted the "Ellipses Commentary" post.

I feel better about the edited post, and I obviously had some stuff that I needed to sort out. Well...I think it's sorted.

Thanks for reading Philosophy Over Coffee, and Happy 4th.

A July 4 Meme

In an effort to lighten the mood, here's the GalPals' Friday Five...

1. Barbeque's or picnics ( or are they essentially the same thing?) When I think BBQ vs. picnic, I think that the major difference might be that a BBQ is held in someone's backyard while a picnic might be at a park or pavilion. Or maybe it's all just semantics. I do prefer hanging out at someone's house or hosting more than the pavilion, though.

2. The park/ the lake/ the beach or staying at home simply being? Just a get-together at my or someone's home is enough for me.

3. Fireworks- love 'em or hate 'em? Probably just "like." It's nice to cap off a special day with them, but I don't go nuts over them.

4. Parades- have you ever taken part- share a memory... When I was in 7th grade, I marched with the band and was assigned the cymbals. I remember having to switch my hand positions every few minutes because the straps kept cutting off circulation to my finger…

The Great Bonfire of '96

Update: After a little more careful evaluation and reflection, this post has been modified a little.

During the summer of 1996, I attended a Christian rock concert that would help nudge me into the most serious questioning of what I believed that I'd ever experienced.

Up until that point, I'd been a preacher's kid who took a lot of faith stuff for granted and I was dating a girl who kept encouraging me to ask the serious questions (in retrospect, one of those serious questions, implied, was "Are you going to heaven?" I think she was trying to "get me saved"). This encouragement was beginning to permeate, but it was really that concert that did it.

Brian White and Justice. Ever heard of them? Probably not. That's okay. Think of them as a very poor man's Christian Bon Jovi. A couple of them even had mullets. Anyway, they sang a song that night called "Living in the Sight of Water," where a guy walks in circles in the desert not knowing tha…