Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Open-Ended Questions

Beth has been reflecting on her first year at a new appointment, and how her sense of call has changed over the past few years:
I find myself, in many ways, back at square one when it comes to discerning God's call on my life. Obviously, I still feel called to the ministry of ordained elder! But for so many years, including most of my time in Oneida, going through the candidacy process and seeking ordination was the way I was answering God's call. Now, I'm ordained, and that part of answering my call is thankfully completed. But now what? I believe God is always calling us - and I'm struggling to discern God's purpose now, and how I respond to that. I'm struggling to balance what I want to do with what I think God might want me to do. What does ministry look like for me in the next 5 years, 10 years, 1 or 2 years? I feel like these are open-ended questions right now. I'm used to having a plan and answers, and I don't have many right now, and it is a position I'm not comfortable in. So, I'm discerning.
After nearly four years of ministry in one place, I can relate to this.

When one first feels a call to ministry, a lot of the pursuit of that call is initially about fulfilled requirements: what do I need to do? What initial steps do I need to take? Who do I need to talk to? From there, it's off to seminary or to talk to one's equivalent of a Church and Ministry Committee, or one may speak to the agency or institution most closely related to what one feels called to do. One is chiefly occupied with these preliminaries just to "get in the door," so to speak.

Once one is in the door, the call begins to change. One begins the transition to more of a hands-on discovery phase.

For instance, if one feels a call to local church ministry, becoming a pastor is far different from being a pastor. While seminaries offer varied amounts of field education (which, depending on the supervisor and context, may or may not be a helpful tool), one learns far more about who they are as a pastor once they begin serving a church. One learns about gifts and growing edges; develops one's passions and discovers the foci in which one is most interested.

That's what I find so different about my own sense of call as a pastor over the past four years. I entered local church ministry simply wanting to be a part of a local community of faith; to preach, to teach, to minister to those in need. I did have certain areas of church life for which I had a more driving passion: besides preaching and teaching, I've felt a natural pull toward helping develop a congregation's sense of mission and service.

Four years out, the above passions have not abated. In addition, however, I've discovered just how much it bugs me that younger people seem so disinterested in faith issues, and I tend to blame the medium - I wonder what can be done differently in order to better engage youth and young adults and to keep that need at the forefront of the church's collective mind.

I've discovered my own appreciation for diversity in worship style. I always had this in some sense, but in recent years have discerned that for me, it's no longer about "traditional" and "contemporary," but about pulling from the best that the entire spectrum has to offer.

As a pastor, I've become much more aware of the limitations that the institutional church places on itself, and how it can contribute to a dispassionate atmosphere. If a church bogs itself down in, or sees itself primarily in terms of, administrivia, then members aren't going to feel too excited about those truly more foundational things that the church is meant to be about: faith, discipleship, service, etc.

I've also become much more aware of just how full people's schedules are. Surprisingly, congregants have things like "jobs" and "families" that limit the amount of time that they may devote to church activities. That leads to another issue, over whether anyone should see what Jesus wants of us in terms of "church activities." And all of this has affected the hows, whens, and whys of what I encourage the church to focus its energies on.

My sense of call is certainly not what it was four years ago, and I'm fully aware that it will continue to evolve. The above issues, as Beth notes, affects what I believe I'll be called to do and be in the next 1-2 years, the next 5, the next 10. Interestingly enough, I imagine that even as I answer that call, I'll be discovering gifts, growing edges, passions that will keep me discerning far into the future.

The open-ended questions will always be there. It's probably more of a matter of answering them as best one can from one moment to the next.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Programming Notes

1. Actual content coming soon.  There's been an inordinate amount of pictures, videos, quotes, and memes on here lately.  But there are some real entries coming.  Coming up: thoughts on the evolution of one's sense of call.

2. I now have a MacBook.  It has GarageBand on it.  If I acquired a microphone and an online host, I could do a podcast.  Hmmmmm....

Friday, September 26, 2008

Pop Culture Roundup

I continue to read Hearing God's Call, although I think I have what I need for my workshop.  Johnson has plenty of helpful things to say about what's involved with the struggle, the role of others in confirming one's call, and so on.  What has remained the most helpful for me is his analysis of the "anatomy of call," which I'll go through the day of my presentation while using my own call story to illustrate each point.  That sounds like a good blog post...

We watched
Enchanted the other day.  Coffeewife has a major thing for Disney movies, and if you need to be reminded what this is about, a cartoon fairytale couple from an archetype of the old school Disney feature films become trapped in real life New York.  Hijinks ensue, including the princess rallying the city animals (pigeons, rats, cockroaches) to clean an apartment with a song.  Actually, that part was pretty funny.

For some reason, we got sucked into watching
VH1 Top 100 Songs of the '90s.  I guess we were just in the right mood to watch pop culture talking heads making semi-funny comments about things.  But being that the '90s are such a beloved decade for us, we also had some curiosity about what songs would end up on the list.  That's also why I posted "Sabotage" the other day.  Otherwise, there was a solid mix of grunge, late-decade teeny-boppers, Eminem, Vanilla Ice, MC Hammer, "Baby Got Back," and our #1 song?  "Smells Like Teen Spirit," of course.  One talking head called Nirvana "the Beatles of our generation."  Come on, really? 

I've still been listening to Death Cab for Cutie's
Plans.  Also, Beck's Midnite Vultures.

Around the web...I actually haven't done a lot of blog reading this week.  So just pick one on the sidebar.  It's all good.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Quotable

"In all our praying and searching and setting forth guidelines for discernment, let us never forget that discernment is not certitude; it is understanding according to the best of our ability. True discernment always leaves room for faith. Certitude doesn't require faith, and God is always desirous of faith. Our discernment points the way, suggesting how we should decide and act, but we act in faith, not certitude. God gives no guarantees about the outcome of our discernment, but he will be with us on our journeys and will teach us through our mistaken turns. And his divine fingerprints will mark our lives." - Ben Campbell Johnson, Hearing God's Call

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Relient K - "Forward Motion"



whoa-o...for so long it seems i knocked it down, yeah it got knocked down

whoa-o...and the heating bill went through the roof
whoa-o...and the wall i knocked down was the proof
that my landlord needed to kick me out

i got evicted now i'm living on the street
my spirits lifted...oh wait, that wasn't me
too many turns have turned out to be wrong
this time i learned that, i knew it all along

when car crashes occur
then i'll be what you were
when i see what i should
when i see that it's good (that it's good)

to experience the bittersweet
to taste defeat
then brush my teeth
experience the bittersweet
to taste defeat
then brush my teeth

cause i struggle with forward motion
i struggle with forward motion
we all struggle with forward motion
cause forward motion is harder than it sounds
well everytime i gain some ground
i gotta turn myself around again
it's harder than it sounds
well everytime i gain some ground
i gotta turn myself around again

whoa-o...i've been banging my head against the wall
whoa-o...for so long it seems i got knocked out. yeah, i got knocked out cold
whoa-o...and the medical bills went through the roof
whoa-o...and the scar on my head is the proof
that i'll still remember this when i get old

i got evicted now i'm living on the street
my spirits lifted...oh wait, that wasn't me
too many turns have turned out to be wrong
this time i learned that, i knew it all along

when i grasp the concept
then i'll sleep where you slept
when i know i need help
when i allow myself (allow myself)

to experience the bittersweet
to taste defeat
then brush your teeth
experience the bittersweet
to taste defeat
then brush your teeth

cause i struggle with forward motion
i struggle with forward motion
we all struggle with forward motion

cause forward motion is harder than it sounds
well everytime i gain some ground
i gotta turn myself around again
it's harder than it sounds
well everytime i gain some ground
i gotta turn myself around again

cause i struggle with forward motion
cause i struggle with forward motion
we all struggle with forward motion

[in background:]
(cause forward motion is harder than it sounds.
well everytime i gain some ground
i gotta turn myself around again
cause forward motion is harder than it sounds
well everytime i gain some ground
i gotta turn myself around again)

cause i struggle with forward motion
cause i struggle with forward motion
we all struggle with forward motion

cause i struggle with forward motion
cause i struggle with forward motion
we all struggle with forward motion

A Fall Meme

Playing the Friday Five a day late. Five things you like about fall...

1) A fragrance - fallen leaves after a rain.

2) A color - There'd be something irritating, even to me, about answering maize and blue. So my answer is maroon and gold, mainly because they're fallish, but also because I particularly think of my college days when fall comes around and these are my frat's colors.

3) An item of clothing - I love me some hooded sweatshirts, and the chance to break them out again, particularly if there's some kind of open flame involved with things being roasted, is a chance that I treasure.

4) An activity - walking around the church cemetery, hearing my feet crunch through the fallen leaves, and taking in the view of the multi-colored forest at the end of the driveway.

5) A special day - the first day of the baseball playoffs, Halloween, the anniversary of a friend's death, every Saturday that Michigan is playing, Thanksgiving, the anniversary of my first day at my church...I can't pick just one. Fall beats the crap out of summer. The end.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Pop Culture Roundup

I've started reading Hearing God's Call, which is about exactly what you would think it's about. The main reason that I picked it up is I'm actually leading a workshop on call discernment in a few weeks, and it was recommended as background. It has been very helpful, particularly when Johnson describes the "anatomy of call," which includes such things as the role of emotions, the dialogue that happens with oneself and others, finally embracing it, and so on. I could easily pinpoint each of these elements in my own call story.

We keep watching True Blood, although I missed a big chunk of this past week's episode due to Coffeeson beginning "sleep training." From what I can best gather, the main character, Sookie, is developing a friendship with the local vampire, to the alarm of pretty much everyone else. She brings him home to meet her grandmother, who is equally excited about their town having such a being in their midst. Sookie's brother is the voice of rationalized prejudice, uttering lines such as "There's a reason things are the way they are," referring to laws limiting vampire rights. It really is an interesting take on such issues, even if it comes off as corny at times. What's equally interesting is the presence of a gay character to whom no one seems to give a second thought. People in this universe don't direct their prejudices at any kind of human differences.

We also watched Entourage, of course, which featured Vince trying to find a script for his big comeback. The entire episode this week was about Vince becoming more driven: his buddies express surprise that he's reading scripts at all (he used to just go off of whatever Eric told him), and he later barges into Ari's office to tell him that he'll do whatever he needs to do. This season seems to show Vince becoming more of a "player of the game," as it were, rather than his more non-conformist style from previous seasons.

On Sci-Fi this week, they aired a marathon of the show Tru Calling, which features Eliza Dushku as a morgue worker who is asked by some of her corpses to help them. Then basically she lives days over again to prevent these people from dying. Jason Priestley plays the Angel of Death, who tries to work against her and provides a lot of the philosophical side to the show as he argues against messing with fate. Zack Galifianakis (in a role he later discloses he hated in The Comedians of Comedy) plays Dushku's morgue colleague in the comedy sidekick role. Coffeewife and I both liked it, though since Buffy and Angel ended, Dushku hasn't had much luck on TV. What's that? Tru Calling originally aired on FOX? Oh, that's why. Hopefully her new series does better. What's that? Her new show is also on FOX? Never mind.

I listened to Trey Anastasio's Shine this week. It's very Phish-like, which should surprise no one.

I've also been listening to Death Cab for Cutie's Plans. It's more mellow than I remember it being, but I've needed mellow this week so that's okay.

Around the web, check out a vintage post by Michael Spencer entitled I Hate Theology.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Watch Your Language

Scott is never one to mince words...
to my emergent, missional, incarnational friends

enough already.

the labels have become redundant. once upon a time we tried to start something that was free from such labelling, only to succumb ourselves. no one outside the cultic bubble even understands what you are talking about anymore. they care even less.

missional? what church believes it isn't missional? from baptists to buddhists, everyone on the religious bus believes they are touching their community. the term is meaningless and vague.

incarnational? know any english? i can just imagine you telling your neighbours your church is trying to be incarnational... imagine the blank stares. and again, what church is going to admit they are not trying to live christlike in their environs. isn't that kind of the point?

emegent? are you emergent or emerging? does it really matter? i thought you didn't like labels? i am floored the amount of time that is wasted defining and redefining the labels and dotting the i's.

seriously, get a real job.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Music Meme


1. Of all the bands/artists in your record collection, which one do you own the most albums by?
If we're just counting studio albums, it's a tie between Dave Matthews Band and Five Iron Frenzy at six apiece.

2. What was the last song you listened to?
"Unite" by The Supertones...I was feeling nostalgic, and I forgot how much I loved this album

3. What’s in your record/CD player right now?
Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd

4. What song would you say sums you up?
At this moment I might say "Who Needs Sleep?" by Barenaked Ladies


5. What’s your favorite local band?
The Black Keys are from Akron, so I'll say them.


6. What was the last show you attended?
Dave Matthews Band, July 30

7. What was the greatest show you’ve ever been to?
It's still SkaMania, fall of 1998. The Supertones, Five Iron Frenzy, and The Insyderz. My theology has diverged from some of these guys, and two of them aren't even ska anymore. But I can't remember a concert when I was moved as much as this one.

8. What’s the worst band you’ve ever seen in concert?
Not a band, just a guy. A local guy, even, named Steve Miracle. The clunkiest, most uninspired set of garage-level covers I've ever heard.

9. What band do you love musically but hate the members of?
"Love" and "hate" are such strong words. I like vintage Metallica, but the members have gone so corporate lately.


11. What show are you looking forward to?
Relient K, October 31

12. What is your favorite band shirt?
A black long-sleeve shirt for a St. Louis band called Dionysia. Just their name on the front and their symbol on the back.

13. What musician would you like to hang out with for a day?
Reese Roper, former lead singer of FIF

14. What musician would you like to be in love with for a day?
Petra Haden, violinist for The Decemberists

15. Commodores or solo Lionel Ritchie?
No.

16. Punk rock, hip hop or heavy metal?
Punk

17. Name 4 flawless albums:


Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon

Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde

Counting Crows - August and Everything After

The Decemberists - The Crane Wife


18. Did you know that filling out this survey makes you a music geek?
Good.

19. What was the greatest decade for music?
1966-76. That covers The Beatles' studio stuff, vintage Zeppelin and The Who, and Dark Side of the Moon, among other things.

20. How many music-related videos/dvds do you own?
Three, and that's two too many.

21. What is your favorite movie soundtrack?
Garden State

27. What was your last musical ‘phase’ before you wised up?
Christian rock.

28. What’s the crappiest CD/record/etc. you’ve ever bought?
Tenacious D. Three good songs and a bunch of "comedy" skits.

29. Do you prefer vinyl or CDs?
I've meant to start a vinyl collection, but that'd also require a turntable.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Open Forum: A Question for OSU Fans (And Other CFB Fans, If You Care)

Open Forum posts especially ask for feedback from readers...

Okay, first off, both our teams sucked this weekend. And as much schadenfreude as I enjoyed Saturday night, it was still after an ugly, rainy craptastic UM loss where the Wolverines spotted the Irish 21 points in the first four minutes. So this isn't to gloat, because if one factors in Michigan's performance, there's nothing to gloat about.


Second, my apologies that the blog seems college football-heavy right now. It's that time of year. I do have other stuff on my mind that I'll write about soon.

Now, to my question. You might think it's kind of weird. And I'm honestly looking for opinions and not asking it to be a jerk.

Do you think that Jim Tressel's days as head coach are numbered?

Not, like, just another year or two necessarily. He has a near-spotless record against UM, he's led OSU to three NC games.

He's also lost two of those NC games, badly. And it's interesting to read national media analysis of the USC game, as they mention cupcake scheduling, the Buckeyes getting pantsed by ranked non-conference opponents when they're finally on the schedule, and Tressel's style of play being predictable unimaginative play-calling.

That last criticism was being leveled at Lloyd Carr his last few years as UM coach. And for a while it was tough for him to win bowl games, too. He went out on his own terms, but the talk was there to be sure. I can recall a player on a Carr-era UM opponent after they beat UM, commenting that they were the same on the field as on the film.

USC QB Mark Sanchez said something very similar after Saturday's win.


I just can't help but see certain parallels here.

A non-football example: when Mike Hargrove was manager of the Indians, he constantly had them in the post-season, but with no World Series titles to speak of. Cleveland eventually decided to let him go.

Big Ten titles are nice. Beating your arch-rival is nice. But with some of these other criticisms and the struggle to win The Big One...what do you think about his job security in the next few years?

Or maybe that's too alarmist. There's plenty of that attitude in Ann Arbor right now, too. Believe me.

Anyway, just curious.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pop Culture Roundup

I've finished the second Sandman. I'm not sure what to really say about the last few chapters. He tracks down all the escaped dreams, and there's a bit of a complicated resolution that requires knowing things from the first book that I'm just not up for explaining.

At this point, I have two books that I basically need to read for Association-related things. The first is Hearing God's Call, a book on discerning call that a colleague recommended as background for an event I'm leading next month. The second is Recreating the Church, a copy of which is being sent to every Association church to prepare for the program and discussion at our fall gathering. The author, Dick Hamm, is going to be there to run us through some of the basic concepts in the book. I really need to start these.

This past Sunday, we watched the premiere of a new show on HBO called True Blood. If you haven't heard of it, it takes place in a small southern town and in a universe where vampires are looking for equal rights alongside humans. Humans exhibit a lot of fear and prejudice about the idea, vampires try to move beyond stereotypes. But, of course, there are bad apples that re-affirm people's fears. Think X-Men, only with vampires. Neither Coffeewife nor I are sold on it yet. Some of the acting is sketchy, and some of the dramatic moments just came off as silly. In the show's defense, I think that it's aware of its own campiness factor. We're committed to watching a few more episodes before completely judging it.

And, of course, Entourage is back. When we meet up with the crew, Vince has exiled himself to a 24/7 party on a beach in Mexico while the reviews for Medellin start to come in (hint: they're really bad). It's even disclosed that the film has been sent straight to DVD. So things aren't good for Vince. The guys eventually convince him to come back to California to jump-start his career. I think it'd have been more fun for Vince to refuse a little more; maybe take part of another episode to convince him that this is what he should do. Unfortunately, the show tends toward the quick and clean, so I'm sure that by the end of the season, he'll be back in the spotlight.

Around the web, A Church for Starving Artists reflects on seminary field education. I just thought that the Eden types who read this might find it interesting.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Overheard

Scene: the Coffeehousehold. Coffeewife is talking to her sister on the phone about the Twilight book series, of which she is a huge fan.

Coffeewife: ...[Author] Stephenie Meyer said that the reason she builds up to the fight scene in Breaking Dawn and then breaks it up before it happens is because she didn't want it to end like MacBeth, where everybody dies at the end.

Coffeepastor: And that's why MacBeth is a classic, and the Twilight books are stupid.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

For one night only...

There are some who argue that this Saturday night, I should root for Ohio State when they play USC.

The argument goes that an Ohio State win makes the entire Big Ten look good, as the conference has taken a lot of flack due to its teams regularly losing to Pac-10 and SEC opponents (see: the last two Rose Bowls, OSU's tanking of the last two NC games).

So the Buckeyes beating the Trojans makes the Big Ten look stronger. Thus, even though I am a Michigan fan and thus am obligated to hate all things OSU, I should put aside the rivalry for a few hours for the sake of the conference.

Um...no.

Here's the thing. As a UM fan, I have not had a good decade. The Wolverines have only beaten the Buckeyes once, in 2003. Since moving back to Ohio, I have never enjoyed a UM win over OSU. And I've heard about it. A lot.

It's been quite a while since the John Cooper era, and Ohio State fans have forgotten what that sort of misery feels like. In fact, aside from choking the past two Januarys and that lone UM win in 2003, they've had little to feel miserable about.

While those NC games brought them back down to earth a little, a USC win during the regular season that keeps them out of that game to begin with would be even better.

(As would, unlikely though it is, a surprise upset by UM in November thanks to an OSU team perhaps looking past them...but I digress.)

An Ohio State win would look good for the conference...but it'd still be an Ohio State win. And I'm sorry...we just can't have that.

So for one night only...


...I'll be rooting for this goof's team.

It'll be especially needed after possibly the ugliest UM-Notre Dame game ever.

Go Trojans. But really, Go Blue.

Nip It In the Bud

Before you get the e-mail forward with the shorter version, here's Obama talking about people trying to paint him as a Muslim in its true context.



HT to Street Prophets.

Related entry: Knock It Off, You Morons

Friday, September 05, 2008

Pop Culture Roundup

I haven't had a whole lot of time to keep reading Sandman. Yeah, not enough time to read part of a comic book. Dude...seriously. Actually, it just hasn't been the medium of relaxation to which I've turned lately. Nevertheless, I have managed to read another chapter or two: most notably one where Morpheus and his sister Death (he has six siblings including Desire, Despair, Destiny, Death, etc...Morpheus' D-scheme name is Dream) overhear a guy in a pub talking about death being a sham: no one has to die if they don't want to. So Morpheus asks Death to let him go and he makes a standing appointment with the guy every hundred years to see what he really thinks about this not-dying thing. It's actually one of my favorite stories from these books.

I recently watched I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, which I hadn't had a strong interest in seeing. But it was on HBO and I was home with Coffeeson, so I figured why not. Kevin James plays Larry, a widowed firefighter trying to ensure that his kids will receive his pension if something happens to him. After saving his fellow firefighter Chuck (Adam Sandler) in a burnt-out building, he calls in a favor for them to pretend that they're a gay couple so that he can put Chuck down as the pension recipient. The theme of tolerance is certainly there, but I was more struck by the theme that these guys would do anything for each other, as close friends but also as firefighters. In one scene where the other guys in the firehouse are acting especially antsy about Chuck and Larry's relationship, Larry reminds each one individually how Chuck has helped them through some major situations over the years. It's that theme that causes Chuck to agree to doing this for Larry to begin with.

I've only heard one new album the past few weeks: Feast of Wire by Calexico. This was another one of those that I picked up at the library on a whim, and another one of those where I was pleasantly surprised. Calexico has a kind of folk sound that in places reminds me of The Decemberists, but they also employ rock, country, and even some electronica. They're very eclectic, which is usually a plus in my book.

WWE's next pay-per-view, Unforgiven, is in Cleveland this Sunday. I thought about it. I really did. Maybe I still will. I dunno. The thing is, the gimmick for the main matches sounds dumb. So I probably won't.

Around the web, one of the bloggers I've followed around every time he begins a new space has moved yet again. Check him out now at The Gifts of God.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Community Organizers and Actual Responsibilities

I have a bone to pick with Hockey Mom Regular Jane Sarah Palin. That bone has to do with the fact that she really doesn't sound like that much of a Regular Jane to me. At least, not with this nifty quote from her ROUSING EXCITING DOWN HOME SPEECH~! from the other night:

Palin, 44, contrasted her experience as a self-described “small-town mayor” with that of the Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois.

“Since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves,” Palin said. “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities.”
Really, Ms. Palin? Is that your opinion of community organizers? That they don't really do anything; have no real responsibilities? I mean, I get that it's a 7th grade-level attack at Obama, and bravo for whomever was reminiscing about climbing the rope in gym class when they came up with that gem. But I find it laughable that you think such a quote is going to help paint you as the average ordinary populist that you want to present yourself as.

You see, I actually know some community organizers. I've worked alongside some of the people that you just dismissed as irrelevant, lazy, irresponsible, and not having real experience. And I can tell you that they're anything but.

I've met some of them in inner-city Philadelphia, where community organizers are running soup kitchens and homeless shelters. They stop randomly to talk to people who need a place to stay and get to know them. They run AA meetings and cook meals and make pleas to stock food pantries.

I've worked with them in the Camp Washington neighborhood of Cincinnati, where they host weekly cookouts for the neighborhood kids, organize groups to clean up vacant lots and abandoned houses, and run thrift stores.

I've worked with them in Berea, Ohio, where they load up boxes of food to take to impoverished households. They regularly share meals in these families' homes to keep up with how they're doing and what they need.

I've worked with them in New Orleans, where they rely heavily on church groups to come down and do a lot of the rebuilding. I've seen them run from site to site delivering power tools and other supplies. They coordinate churches for these groups to stay in and match skills to needs.

That's to say nothing of the mission church pastor in Akron, the Habitat for Humanity staff in various Ohio counties such as Wayne, Medina, Summit, and Stark, the Heifer Project International farm in Worcester, Massachusetts, and my own ministerial association as we try to keep up with the demand at our own food pantry (which, by the way, has become nearly unmanageable as of late...will your policies help those our organization serves?).

So not only have you pooh-poohed so many people whom I've seen work long hours to meet their communities' needs, organize volunteers, keep their stress levels in check, and work sometimes on shoestring budgets, you've just dissed me. With a single line that was probably approved solely for its Obama Zing Factor, you've minimalized the efforts that thousands of organizations and individuals across the country are making in their own contexts to make life more livable for those less fortunate.

I shudder to think that anyone would find you as being truly "for the people" after such a comment.

But hey, it was a funny dig. Ha. Ha ha.

No. Not really.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Notable Notes

~Coffeeson's baptism went very well. It was a little strange to be standing on the opposite side of the font making the promises rather than prompting others. We had a full house all weekend long, with over 40 friends and family milling around at one point or another. A seminary buddy came down to do it (and I still feel bad about not giving really any other seminary buddies enough notice...your invites were seriously addressed, just not stamped...I suck). It was good to see him besides. If it hadn't been for said over 40 friends and family, worship would have been low attendance-wise.

~Michigan's offense looked at times like they were still running practice drills against Utah. The defense made adjustments and looked a lot better in the second half, but the offense was every bit as shaky as people figured it'd be. I have more faith in Threet than Sheridan at QB...just open up the field for him and let him rip (Exhibit A: the bomb pass to Hemingway for the TD). 2009 recruiting looks good already, with two mobile QBs and a bunch of other offensive skill guys. Gotta give RichRod time to work. Still, the thought of five years of futility against OSU sucks.

~I think I want to learn the bass guitar. I mean, seriously learn it. I know some basic garage-level stuff, but I'd like to go deeper. If you ask me why the bass, and not guitar or drums, I don't really have an answer for you. There's something about creating lines and runs, the uniqueness of the instrument (how many set out to learn guitar or drums instead?), the special creativity that it entails...I just think it'd be fun. Right now I'm weighing whether to actually take lessons, which would

1. Get me out of the house,
2. Provide accountability and discipline,
3. Allow me to interact with other musicians,

or to buy a few books and do it on my own, which would

1. Enable my impatience,
2. Let me go at my own pace,
3. Keep me locked up in my basement with no other musicians,
4. Enable any ADD-related tendencies that I may have, which will cause me to forget about keeping up with it after a week or so.

You can see which one I think is the better option.

~There's been a dog hanging around our house for the past few weeks. The past several days, Coffeewife has purchased dog food and toys, and this afternoon she took her (we checked) to the vet for a check-up. I don't want a dog. I'd want a dog if I had one or two less cats. And in some ways having a dog is like having a second baby, only with fur and a tail. At least cats are all like, "Did you fill my food dish? Yeah? Okay, you can go now." Dogs are all like, "Wanna play? Wanna play? Wanna feed me? Wanna jump around? Wanna play? Wanna go outside? Wanna go inside? Want me to jump on you? Want me to try to eat your food? Wanna play? Want me to do anything that isn't leaving you alone?"

~Coffeeson is teething. I can't deal with both that and a dog.

~I'm so happy that it's fall. The leaves are already changing. It feels great.