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Showing posts from June, 2012

Pop Culture Roundup

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Coffeewife gave me Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter for Father's Day, so I enjoyed it as vacation reading this past week. The author, Seth Grahame-Smith, presents the story as his being given privileged and unprecedented access to Lincoln's personal journals detailing his battles with vampires that he not only fought in his younger years, but that determined his actions as president, including reasoning behind needing to win the Civil War and giving the Emancipation Proclamation. I found it incredibly enjoyable and engrossing, and the author did a masterful and imaginative job of weaving his story with real historical events. I look forward to seeing the movie, although I'm anticipating complaining about what they'll have changed, left out, or added.

We watched The Muppets this past week, starring Jason Segel as Gary, a guy with a muppet for a brother named Walter who is the Muppets' biggest fan. Gary and his longtime girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) take Walter along o…

Small Sips Hugs Like a Champ

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Well, actually... Brian shares a pic that has nothing to do with anything. But still, just, I mean look:


SATB. Nadia Bolz-Weber recently shared thoughts on how worship music is sung in her church, and congregational singing in general:
One of my non-negotiables going in to starting a church was that congregational singing be the primary musical expression of the gathered people of God. Not a band. Not an organ. Not a singer-songer writer strumming guitar chords. But the congregation itself.  Singing together means breathing together.  It means creating harmonies that cannot exist when we sing alone.  It builds community and sustains us in a way that nothing else can.  The liturgy booklets at HFASS include the actual music.  I know, very old fashioned of us.  I think churches musically infantilize people when we assume that because they “can’t read music” that they can only manage lyrics projected on a screen. I myself cannot read music.  But I can figure out that when the note goes up,…

Being Out There

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There are many cycles and patterns that mark my year, that set a rhythm to how I live and how I plan my days. My family's schedule and the church's schedule are the two main ones. There is the liturgical calendar, which helps me observe spiritual traditions and practices and remember the stories of my faith. There is the college football schedule: the regular season in the fall, bowls in early and mid-winter, the lead-in and fallout of National Signing Day in February, spring practices, the long anticipation of a new season in the summer, and back to the beginning.

One that I suppose I don't acknowledge as often is my diet and exercise routine.

I can break this down into two main parts of the year. We begin in January, when I realize that with the beginning of a new year comes the countdown to our annual trip to the beach, some 6-7 months later. This realization causes me to begin carving out time to climb on to my elliptical machine a few times a week and begin monitorin…

1500

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This is my 1500th blog post.

I thought about doing something extra special for it, like the question thing I did for posts 900 and 1000, or some kind of retrospective linkfest to past posts that I really really like. Or maybe I could figure out some sort of other gimmick based on the number 15 that I could use, but I couldn't really come up with anything and 15 items of anything in a blog post would get boring after like number 4.

In all this racking of the brain, part of me just wanted to post a picture of a bunny with a pancake on its head and move on. Maybe I'll just get it over with, I told myself, so that I don't have to meet any expectations regarding such a milestone.

Above all else, what I didn't really want was to write some sort of "oh what a great journey it's been thanks for reading you guys" thing, because it would have been forced and artificial and I wouldn't have cared about writing it and you wouldn't have cared about reading it. …

Pop Culture Roundup

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We watched Underworld: Awakening this week, the fourth installment of the Underworld series. After taking a break so that the third movie could tell the origin story of the vampire/werewolf feud, Kate Beckinsale is back as Selena, who very shortly into the movie is captured and cryogenically frozen by humans, the new foe of both species. She is eventually able to escape, only to find that she has a daughter, who is of great interest to everyone for various reasons. As Underworld movies go, it had some great effects and action sequences, was sometimes a little heavy on the gore, and never let the pesky plot get in the way too much so that we could focus on the two groups either fighting or sexily brooding. Mindless entertainment.

We also took Coffeeson to see Madagascar 3. I'm not sure we ever saw the second one, but I digress. By this point, the foursome of animals are trying to get back home to their zoo in New York, with help from their lemur and penguin friends (inasmuch as the…

Shepherding the Shepherd

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Last week, I attended the Shepherding the Shepherd conference hosted by the UCC 2030 Clergy Network. Even though I'm so many days removed from the event now, I think that I'm still basking in the afterglow a little.

First, a word about Boston: you guys are cool. We stayed on the campus of Boston University, which is pretty close to the downtown area. I loved the feel of the neighborhood, and I soaked up the college atmosphere. I like to think that I could still pass for a 20-something college student, but I may be seriously mistaken on that point. Anyway, it was great to be back on a campus again and to be able to soak in a little of that ethos. It also seems like everybody jogs there. Good for you, Bostonians, being all health-concious.

So. The conference. A good friend from seminary and I arrived together to register, where we were greeted by several people I've only ever known through Facebook or elsewhere online, one or two people I've met at General Synod, and so…

Vintage CC: There Is No Magic Bullet

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From October 2010. I'm at the Shepherding the Shepherd conference of the 2030 Clergy Network this week, and led a workshop on the general themes of this post yesterday as part of this event. Keep in mind that this was written about a year and a half ago, and feel free to adjust numbers accordingly.

In the middle of my 7th grade year, my family moved to the place that I've called my hometown. For the previous five years or so, we'd lived in the parsonage next to a rural church in the same county; I'd basically come up through elementary school during that time. I'd already experienced two moves (three really, but I have no recollection of the first one) by that point.

Five years is a lifetime for a person at that age. I'd basically planted roots for myself, had made some good friendships, had come to love the freedom of the wide open spaces in which our house was located. It really did seem like I'd lived there forever, and my secret hope was th…

Small Sips Makes People Act Funny

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Yeah, but that's only what YOU think. This piece showed up recently at a blog called Everyday Theology:
We have individuals (products of the enlightenment) reading a text that was written in a communal framework (a product of a communal society). That provides a fundamental discrepancy that will never be resolved. It will always provide a disjointed experience and thought process that lacks continuity.

Let’s not pretend that we can think another way. We are heirs of the enlightenment – this is our operating system. We can download a new program like ‘christianity’ but it is operating within the individualist code. Talking with my friends who are from non-European descent (Native American, Pacific Islands or certain Asian communities)  it is clear that there is no simple conversion that an individual can undergo and simply start thinking in communal terms. We are cultural creatures and this is our culture.

It shows up when we read the Bible. It shows up when we talk of gover…

Pop Culture Roundup

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I've been reading Dark Night of the Soul. Like, actually reading it! For real, you guys! I must say that the language is quite a lot to wade through, and the points he tries to make seem to blend into each other. I don't know if I'd do better with this book in a few years or what. Anyway, I have been getting a lot out of St. John of the Cross' basic points about purgation of sensual religion in order to gain a deeper trust in and love for God. This is a lifelong journey, I would think, as what pleases and comforts the senses can so easily be returned to as something familiar and safe. My point about this book, I suppose, is that for me trying to read too much of it in one sitting tended to cause my eyes to glaze over, but I do like the ideas at its heart.

We went to see Pirates: Band of Misfits the other week as a family outing. We meet Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant), who has for years wanted to win Pirate of the Year. Rivals such as Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek) and Black Be…

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