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Showing posts from December, 2010

Fare Thee Well, 2010

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And so another year comes to a close. I thought I'd take a couple minutes to look back on 2010 went. Here are the highlights:

~SLAPPIN' DA BASS! - I resolved to start taking bass guitar lessons this year, which I started pretty much the first week of the year. After at least a month or so of tremendously awkward and stunted playing, I started to get the hang of it. Now after almost a full year of lessons, I've been able to build upon my modest and scattershot musical knowledge and can at least technically call myself something other than a pure garage musician. I love that feeling, and I love the creative focus that doing this has given me.

~Five Years Ordained - I celebrated five years of ordination this past year, way back in January. I've made it a point to listen to or watch that service every year, though I don't think I'll always need to do that. One thing that I've always thought about regarding that service has been the imperfections of it: the…

Year-End Pop Culture Roundup 2010

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We've come to the final Pop Culture Roundup of 2010, which of course means my top lists for the year. Categories are numbered just because.

Five Books I Enjoyed in 2010

1.Turtles All the Way Down - Gordon Atkinson, aka Real Live Preacher, published his second collection of RLP essays, this time inviting readers not only to suggest which ones to be included, but basically to help in the editing and publishing process from beginning to end. This book has been every bit of influential on me as his first, as he explores topics of faith, church, fatherhood, and life in general. He fleshes out a few Biblical stories to explore what could have happened in more detail. One of my favorite essays describes a character called the Caganer, which I happily shared with my church leading up to Christmas (I'm not saying any more...you have to look it up). This collection was every bit as thought-provoking, engaging, and irreverent, which are all things that I appreciated about his writing.…

"World, Interrupted" - A Reflection for Christmas Eve

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Luke 2:1-20
Matthew 2:7-12

A married couple climbs into bed one night. Maybe it's a snowy night like what we've seen here recently. Their day has been full, and tomorrow will be as well. Maybe he has an early morning presentation he wants to be well-rested for. Maybe she's had a long day and wants to get plenty of sleep before starting another. Quiet settles in, the two of them get comfortable. But then, suddenly, the wife speaks into the silence.

"My water broke."

Whether or not you've been through this yourself, maybe you can imagine what happens next. There is no more silence, no more settling in. Instead, the lights are flipped on. They both scramble to find clothes to put on. The husband grabs the pre-packed bag that's been sitting by the door for weeks and goes out to warm up the car. The wife eventually makes her way out as well, and they zoom off to the hospital as fast as legally possible.

Once at the hospital, they meet a crowd of medical …

Stephen Colbert and the Liberal Jesus

I wouldn't stick a political label on Jesus, but Colbert provides some good words here:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30cJesus Is a Liberal Democratwww.colbertnation.comColbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogMarch to Keep Fear Alive

Fourth Monday of Advent

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I've seen several Christmas miracles this week. They probably don't really qualify as miracles, but that's what I like calling them.

I visited a shut-in who lives in an assisted living facility that is easily the nicest I have ever seen. It is a converted mansion, with a wing of small apartments added on. When I go to visit this person, I usually do it on a Friday afternoon, particularly because they host a wine and cheese reception at that time. So we usually hang out for a little bit, go up to his room for me to serve him communion, and then I drop him back off in the lobby where his lady friend waits patiently for him.

I visited this past Friday. We'd already taken care of communion for the month during a prior visit, but I'd forgotten to deliver his offering envelopes so I made an extra trip. Another church member who usually visits him on Fridays was there as well. And while we talked, an older couple came down the hall and maneuvered to an available couc…

Hint Fiction: Something is Changing

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This was his favorite shirt, until one day the thought slipped his mind.

Pop Culture Roundup

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I'm continuing to read The Girl Who Played With Fire, where Lisbeth is now suspected of a triple homicide. The book explores more of her past, which has a connection to what happened. Yet again, the book seeks to raise awareness as much as tell a story, this time focusing on the sex trade and exploitation of women to that end. Just as much, however, as the media seek to get as much mileage as they can out of the murders and the hunt for Lisbeth, they skew, distort, and just plain make stuff up. But of course, perception is reality, and people don't know the difference. I think that that's just as important a commentary.

We watched A Charlie Brown Christmas this past week, thinking that we would sit together as a family and Coffeeson would want to watch Snoopy. He lasted for a couple minutes and then wanted to do other things. Charlie Brown is one of those Christmas traditions that I look forward to, and this year it was a bit of a harried experience. Regardless, Lin…

Vintage CC: I Was Watching

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From March 2008, provided as backstory for the entry posted yesterday.

I’m a preacher’s kid. Before you go assuming things, I’m a preacher despite being a preacher’s kid. Some people might think that my career choice is the natural thing based on my upbringing. You see, I had seminary classmates with some very colorful, rich, at times painful stories leading up to their calls to ministry. By the time people got to me and heard the famous initials, “P.K.,” they thought they had me all figured out.

I’m not mad at anybody for their assumptions. Looking back, I should have told my story sooner. Still, if you think you know why a preacher’s kid entered the ministry him- or herself, you probably want to ask them just to make sure.

So having said that, here are a few things that you need to know about preacher's kids and the ministry.

My father’s ministerial career was what you might call a mixed bag of experiences. He can tell you the story way better than I can, so I won’t bother with …

Redeemed Places

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They've been tearing down the building where I attended junior high. My brother sent me a text on a windy Friday morning, and I made it a point to drive to my hometown within a few hours to see how much they had done. I recall actually having a tightness in my stomach on the way there...the car couldn't move fast enough, as if they'd already be finished and the brick and mortar cleared away before I could see it.

At that point, they hadn't done a whole lot. The gym, cafeteria, and lobby were all gone. In fact, a partial wall of the gym was still standing, complete with "Welcome to [Hometown]" stenciled on the brick. I'd parked and walked around the area, getting as close as I possibly could in order to snap a couple pictures.

The picture above is their progress as of last Thursday. I have to say that it's a much more satisfying image for me than the ones I'd taken almost a week earlier. I imagine that the site is just a pile of bricks at this…

Third Monday of Advent

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A colleague recently posed the question on Facebook whether it was truly possible to preach four sermons about waiting with any sustained creativity and energy. I think it was asked in the context of expressing relief that one Sunday would feature her church's kids putting on a Christmas play in lieu of a sermon. I could relate to that question, because I've asked it myself. Some years, trying to find something new to say about Advent themes can be a challenge, especially since the overall theme of Advent boils down to waiting, preparing, waiting some more, having patience while we wait, hoping and waiting, waiting for peace, joyfully waiting, etc., etc., etc.

My colleague's observation crept back into my consciousness late last week in the midst of a different experience.

It was late afternoon. The sun was already beginning to sink toward the horizon and darkness had begun to settle in. I'd finished my tasks for the day, had set my bag on the bench outside the offi…

Pop Culture Roundup

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I finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and found it highly enjoyable. Lisbeth is quite a unique heroine: she's incredibly distrustful of others, has little to no sense of social pretense, and has a practical philosophy that doesn't take legality or others' feelings into account at all. She'd been run over by the system while growing up, and feels no obligation to give anything back to it now that she's older. Besides that, the story repeatedly calls for an increased awareness of the abuse and exploitation of women...while the stats given are usually specific to Sweden, it's not to hard to imagine those stats appropriated to other parts of the world.

So, I liked Dragon Tattoo so much that I moved right on to the second book in the series, The Girl Who Played with Fire, which picks up right where the first left off. Lisbeth is spending some time in the Caribbean, Blomkvist is still dealing with his newfound Woodward/Bernstein-like status. But then a few …

Think about it this way

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HT to a colleague who writes at Rethinking Youth Ministry.

Second Monday of Advent

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When you walk into our house, the first room immediately off to the right is our dining room. When we sat down to look at layouts and to plan to have our house built, the woman we were working with was slightly surprised that we wanted one; apparently, dining rooms are more rare in newer houses. It reflects another shift in the culture where more families are realizing that they just don't have many meals that necessitate such a room, so many opt not to set aside such a space. Instead, more and more families have more informal spaces off of the kitchen where most meals are shared. And we're actually no different. We've had two meals in that room: this Thanksgiving, and last Thanksgiving. Otherwise, that room doesn't get a lot of use. But Coffeewife had been given her grandmother's dining room set, and we needed someplace to put it, so we have a dining room.

Regardless of how often it's used for its stated purpose, it's a pretty nice room. The furnitu…

Sweet.

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Corrections

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Courtesy of David Hayward, aka The Naked Pastor:

Pop Culture Roundup

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I'm still reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Sure enough, Blomkvist and Lisbeth are working together on the decades-old murder case, and since they're beginning to turn up new evidence, people are taking exception to what they're doing. I don't want to give much more of the plot away, but this has really turned out to be an engrossing read. There are a lot of subplots that I wasn't always sure would weave together well, but Larsson has done a fine job doing so. My only gripe at this point is how seemingly every female character of appropriate age throws herself at Blomkvist. There is logic behind each, but it seems like a tired plot device after a while.

We watched Scott Pilgrim vs. The World this week, starring Michael Cera as Scott, a Canadian slacker who plays in a band and is dating a high schooler. His life radically changes when he falls all over himself for a girl named Ramona, a free spirit with a lot of baggage. That baggage comes in the form o…

Michigan Football 2010: An Armchair Assessment

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What does it say about the state of your favorite football team when, the day after they play their biggest rival, the only comments you get from fans of the other team are expressions of pity or sympathy?

That's what I got on Sunday. "I felt sorry for you yesterday." "Sorry that happened." "I'm just not going to say anything. I could, but I won't." At one level, that probably says something about the rivalry itself, which has been decidedly one-sided since 2004. I honestly don't remember what a victory the last game of November feels like anymore. And I worry that I'm developing some sort of Stockholm Syndrome-like thing about it...like I'll totally freak out when Michigan actually wins and I won't be able to handle it.

But I get the feeling that it says much more about the state of the program as a whole. One could argue that, regardless of the final score, the games between Michigan and Ohio State '04-'07 were …