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Showing posts from December, 2005

Best of...My Favorite 2005 Posts

Last week Gavin asked bloggers about their favorite 5 posts of 2005, where he will nicely compile them for us here.

I spent a lot (read: way too much) of time reading through my blog posts today to finally get to this project. I've liked my posts more of late than when I first started blogging - feel like I'm getting into a rhythm, and have a better sense of reading. I'm glad Gavin suggested the project - I think it is always good to reflect on where we've come from. I've been keeping journals since I was in fifth grade, and looking back on them assures me that I do change over the years, and grow in maturity. Back when we were warring in Iraq the first time around, and I was in elementary school, I mentioned Hussein in one sentence and soccer practice in the next, and my latest crush in the next. Perspective...

So, best of 2005?

In chronological order -
* My survey on pastoral calling and the post with a summary of responses received.
* My thoughts on serving communion

Christmas: Reporting In

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I certainly did. Today we had our extended family gathering at my mother's house, and for the first time in a long time, managed to get most of the crew - aunts and uncles and cousins and grandmothers - there at the same time. I think we had 25 people at my mom's house. It was crazy, and tiring, but fun. Everyone stayed late. I'm lucky to have my extended family all living in New York State, and I feel blessed that our family, for the most part, is pretty close.

I'm pleased to report that we had a fairly decent crowd in church on Sunday morning. Not record-breaking, but about what we get on a holiday weekend like Labor Day. It was actually a nice, relaxing, but spirit-filled worship experience, at least from my perspective.

On Christmas Eve, we had two worship services. At our early service, the highlight was the lighting of the Christ Candle. A young couple was doing the reading, and their two-year-old wandered up from the back …

What to do with Santa

Today I ran across this article on cnn.com about the TV show Everybody Hates Chris, the show about Chris Rock's childhood. Apparently, some folks are upset because on a recent episode, the Mom reveals to her daughter that Santa Claus is not real. "Come here," the mom says, "let me show you something. I'm taking you to the toys ... Santa doesn't come down the chimney. We don't even have a chimney. We have radiators."

The complaints - well - if you know anything about Chris Rock's style, then I'm not sure why you would let your child watch his show. But aside from that, I've been thinking -

What do you do with Santa as people of faith? Mythreebrothers and I were raised on Santa, though I found out the truth from an older cousin when I was five. But my mom has said in recent years that if she had to do it again, she wouldn't teach us to 'believe in' Santa Claus. Her reasoning? Parents spend so much time trying to get their kids to…

Person of the Year

Time magazine announced its Person of the Year (people, actually) the other day, honoring Bono and Bill and Melinda Gates. Interesting combination, isn't it? (Ps - you have to watch an ad to read the whole article for free.) I guess I appreciate that the people making the cover at least are making it for trying to help others.

What do you think of the selection? Who would you have named as Person of the Year if you were in charge? Who is your favorite well-known person of the year? Who is your personal person of the year?

Ringing the Bell

Today I spent some time with other church folks ringing the bell for Salvation Army at Wal-Mart. It was about 15 degrees out today in Central New York, and I ended up with a chill that was hard to get rid of for the rest of the day, and a sneaking suspicion that my throat is a bit sore, despite my attempt to bundle up today. (I'm usually not the coat-wearing type.)

Aside from the cold, I had a good time ringing the bell. The Salvation Army has a theology more conservative than my own, but I really admire the hands-on work they do. The other day I ran across the quote, ascribed both to Charles Dickens and Mahatma Gandhi - not sure which is correct - "There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread."

At least in my community, the Salvation Army is the group of people of faith who runs the soup kitchen, has a food pantry, provides emergency shelter, helps people connect with the right social service agencies, hands out than…

Convenience and Myself

Last week, I wrote about convenience and the church. Should the church try to be convenient for people in order to bring them the gospel?

Convenience. Convenience makes the world go round. Every week it seems you can find some new advertisement for a product that you should buy because you will have the ability to throw it away sooner than usual. Mops? Disposable. Digital cameras? Disposable. Cell phones? Disposable. Why buy one when you can buy them over and over again and create some garbage in the process?

I listen to books on tape all the time when I drive. I travel a lot, and books on tape help the time go by much faster. I typically listen to 'lighter' fare than I would read in printed form - John Grisham, Maeve Binchy, Mary Higgins Clark, Janet Evanovich. Most classics, most 'heavier' literature isn't quick-paced enough for keeping my attention while driving - with notable exceptions like the good-in-any-medium Barbara Kingsolver. My local library only has a l…

Review: The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Yesterday I went to seeThe Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe with my brother and sister-in-law. (You can read my brother's shorter, less flattering review here.)

I love the Chronicles of Narnia. I reread them every year or so - I always enjoy them. I know that they are children's books - more so than Harry Potter - these books are short, quick reads, and meant for children - younger children. But I find them fascinating to read as an adult - I love the way C.S. Lewis likes fiction. Lewis' theology isn't exactly my cup of tea all the time, but sometimes I think in his fiction he lets his theology run a little wilder, a little more free. So I love the imagination in the Chronicles.

The movie is - OK. I thought, as I was watching, that if you were an adult seeing the movie, you wouldn't like it unless a) you had kids with you or b) you were a big fan of the books. (Side note - so glad they appear to be doing the movies in the original publishi…

Convenience and the Church

I've been thinking a lot about convenience lately. And I've been thinking about Church on Christmas Sunday this year. A lot of people have been posting about it - Ben Witherington and BroGreg are just two. Apparently, the idea of churches closing on Christmas of all days is such good news that it has made CNN.com's front page - story here. (thanks for the heads up Mom.)

The conversations about churches being open for services or not ask questions about convenience. Should the church try to be convenient for people? Or should the church push to be counter-cultural and sometimes, then, non-accommodating? Or something in the middle?

These questions don't just apply to Christmas services, but to the life of the Church as a whole. This Christmas, we've moved our Christmas Eve late-night service an hour earlier, and our Sunday morning service an hour later, in an effort to both give people some family time and get them to church on Sunday morning. But I admit, I'm high…

Words from Jim Winkler

GBCS has recently started a weekly "Faith in Action" e-mail update, which you can sign up for here. In this week's edition, Jim Winkler makes a statement in response to concerns about whether the views he expresses are meant to speak for the whole church, and about the tone of his response and opinions. I found it thoughtful. You might want to check it out.

The Nutcracker

Every year for as long as I can remember, I make a trip near Christmas time to see a production of The Nutcracker, the ballet by Peter Ilich Tschaikovsky. These days, I actually usually make three trips to the show - once to see all the girls and boys from my church, once to go to the production I've always gone to, and once to another company's performance for good measure.

Today I saw the production that all my church members are in. Because of my schedule this weekend, I had to go see one of the "school performances" during the day, where children from the area come to see the ballet as a field trip. I've done this before, and it is risky - hundreds of elementary school kids on a field trip aren't always in the mood to see a ballet.

But, happily, I had a great experience. The kids were so well-behaved, and it was fascinating to sort-of watch the ballet through their eyes. I was thinking of the part in Finding Neverland where J. M. Barrie invites the children…

from Soup Questions - Questions from Inside the Actor's Studio

I've been meaning to comment on this post from Jason's Soup Questions for a while. He asks us to answer the questions that James Lipton asks each actor on Inside the Actor's Studio. So here's my responses:

What is your favorite word? Love.

What is your least favorite word? Any words that demean others.

What is your favorite sound? Really good a capella choir music.

What is your least favorite sound? Fingernails on chalk-boards.

What is your favorite curse word? I plead the fifth. When I'm driving and I'm by myself, I can get a little road-rage going. It's not pretty.

What turns you on? Social-justice activism.

What turns you off? Meanness.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Something in theatre. Make-up design maybe.

What profession would you not like to participate in? Anything medical. I have a great fear of being responsible for the physical well-being of others.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you reach the P…