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Showing posts from May, 2012

Ohio Grown

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Late last week, I took a trip out to the church and house that I knew in elementary school. I've been collecting pictures of all the churches I knew before graduating high school--five in all--and this was the last one that I needed. It's also the only one whose picture I can't find anywhere online. Fortunately, since I don't live that far away from it, I decided to drive out and snap some pictures of it myself.

For those who haven't been reading as long, this church is the one that inspired this earlier blog post. That memory is the primary one I associate with this place, so there was a certain sense of dread and anxiety that I felt during my drive. Would anyone be there or recognize me? I just wanted to take pictures and leave, after all.

Strangely enough, those feelings lessened the closer I got. After passing over a particular road in the city closest to it, instincts and comfortable feelings from many years gone began to take over. I hadn't been out this…

Small Sips Wants to Have More Fun

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New god, same as the old god. Jan at A Church for Starving Artists reflects on how much she worships money:
Gac Filipaj  - who worked his way through Columbia working as a janitor a la Good Will Hunting – majored in classics.  After Ms. Norris noted that majoring in classics is not exactly a lucrative course of study, Mr. Filipaj responded this way:

You were born in United States and you speak money first.  . .  I’m not doing it for the money.

What are we doing for the money?  And is it worth it?

Money is a good tool for sustaining ourselves and others, but it’s a terrible god.  If it rules us – and it rules many of us – life will sour,  sooner or later.  I haven’t heard any graduation speeches highlighting this particular truth, but – really – life is much sweeter when money doesn’t control us. That line from Filipaj gets me as it gets Jan: "You speak money first." I'm as caught up in this trap as anyone else. And like Jan, I rationalize by pointing out that I hav…

Spiritually Directed

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For the first time since the beginning of October, I will get up tomorrow morning, get ready for work, take Coffeeson to preschool, and not drive to the nearby Panera to meet with my spiritual director. Last Tuesday was our last weekly meeting, and the end of my journey through Ignatius of Loyola's Spiritual Exercises.

It was a worthwhile and fulfilling experience. I had a scripture passage or other meditation on which to reflect every evening, although I do confess that I didn't observe the practice every single day. My spiritual director even told me that I get a day off a week, which I usually observed on Tuesdays since we'd have met that morning. It was the most disciplined that I've been about my prayer life for quite some time, putting anything I've done during Lent--particularly the past few years, I'm embarrassed to say--to shame by far.

There are several things with which I credit this experience.

First, the aforementioned boost that it's given to…

Pop Culture Roundup

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There isn't going to be a whole lot to this one, as I really haven't seen, read, or heard enough to warrant one. But it's the day that I do it, and I have nothing else to post, so...

We watched Ghost Hunters this past week, which featured the last investigation in which TAPS co-founder Grant Wilson would participate. They chose the bed and breakfast that Grant co-owns as a way to have a nice, relaxed time with his team and friends. They seemed to find plenty of stuff: voices, doors closing on their own, etc. And then these New Englanders, these Rhode Islanders, shared the stiffest, most awkward series of goodbye hugs I've ever seen. But really, I make fun of this show a lot for how staged the conversations always seem to be, and this just took it to a new level. Anyway, I'm sure Coffeewife and I will keep tuning in, as I don't think the show relies on the cast's personalities.

And here's a song by Dave Matthews and Jurassic 5 called "Work It Out:…

Weathered

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I sat down at the kitchen counter to observe my usual Wednesday afternoon routine: I opened my laptop, flipped open my Bible, and began leafing through a small stack of cards on which I'd jotted notes about the week's text to see what grabbed me; where the access point would be for beginning to cobble together the week's sermon.

I admit that I'm easily distracted during this process. One way or another, there is a sermon by the end of the day ready to be refined, second-guessed, and practiced. But there can be a lot of other small things in between. I'll log onto Facebook to waste a few minutes, I'll check email, I'll make a few phone calls, I'll make sure the cats have enough food. It's not the most efficient process, but I make it work for me.

On this particular afternoon, I logged onto my church's website. We post recordings of worship online, and I will usually take some time to listen to my most recent sermon. I don't always find this …

Random Meme

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I haven't done a meme in a really, really long time. So here's the latest invitation from the RevGals, which is completely random:

1.  What is the first thing that comes to your mind (right now) that you want to share about yourself. I've lost 15 pounds since the beginning of the year. In healthy ways. I always buckle down starting in January re: diet and exercise, and then after our summer beach vacation I tend to let up, then start the whole cycle over. I'm going to find ways to keep things up this time, though.

2.  What is your favorite piece of jewelry or accessory? Why?
I don't wear much. I have my wedding ring, which obvs. And I have another ring that I wear on my right hand that I got in St. Louis and that reminds me of those years.

3.  If you could have a starring role in a T.V. show/movie/series, which one would it be, and what would your character be like?
A new, made-up show or a real, established one?Meh, I'll answer both ways. The made-up show wo…

Contemplatio

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God in my pulse.

God in my blood.

God in my thinking.

God in my seeing.

God in my smelling.

God in my tasting.

God in my feeling.

God in my pleasure.

God in my joy.

God in my sorrow.

God in my confusion.

God in my eating.

God in my digesting.

God in my organs processing.

God in my brooding.

God in my learning.

God at my birth.

God in my first kiss.

God everywhere I've lived.

God in my imagining.

God present when I don't feel like it.

God in my sleeping.

God in my dreaming.

God the ground of my being, in all.

(Based on the culminating meditation of the Ignatian Exercises, also called the Contemplatio.)

I've been meaning to blog, but...

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...somebody else needs the computer right now.

Pop Culture Roundup

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Still slowly but surely reading Dark Night of the Soul. In case you were concerned or curious. This just hasn't been much of a reading year for me so far.

We went to see The Raven this past week, starring John Cusack as Edgar Allen Poe. Poe is portrayed as passionate and brilliant, but also arrogant, horrible with money, and, well, a bit of a prick. Anyway, the police begin looking into a double murder which the chief investigator recognizes as being right out of one of Poe's stories. This trend continues, eventually including the kidnapping of Poe's fiancee, which gives him much more of a vested interest in helping. The story is unique in the sense that it's historical fiction, although the overall plot of someone basing their crimes on some device (the Seven Deadly Sins, Zodiac signs, another famous killer's MO) isn't. It was interesting to Coffeewife and I because it was Poe, whom we both enjoy. The film was, predictably, a bit gruesome: you actually see th…

Smart Ministry

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When you've been in the same ministry position for nearly 7 1/2 years, you start to wonder about some things. Maybe you don't start wondering; maybe that wondering just becomes more amplified. Or maybe you were always wondering and you just keep wondering. Whatever.

One thing I've started to wonder about is whether I've been engaging in smart ministry.

What do I mean by that? I don't really know. But since I'm intending to publish this post for others to read I should probably take a stab at it.

By smart ministry, I mean the type of ministry that is well thought out; that isn't done out of desperation or poor planning or a sense that you have to rush into something before a moment is gone forever. I mean the type that gets others on board and excited so that you aren't trying to make something succeed on your own.

I've been wondering lately about my track record in this sense. I've been around the church my entire life and I like to think that …

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