Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bits and Pieces

I am in Washington, DC for the rest of the week at the spring meeting of the General Board of Church and Society, so pretty soon you'll get to hear my usual meeting reflections, lucky readers!

For now, a few thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head with not enough to them for individual posts:
  • Mini-review: I recently listened to Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer on audio CD. What a fantastic book! I highly recommend it. The main character is 9 year-old Oskar Schell, who is trying to cope with life after losing his father in the World Trade Center on 9/11. I found myself literally saying, "Oh!" out loud while listening, because there are so many simply deeply moving scenes.
  • Mini-review: I also recently saw In the Land of Women with my mom. The movie stars Meg Ryan, Adam Brody, and Kristen Stewart, and focuses on Brody's character, Carter, who tries to get some direction for himself following a breakup. I wasn't expecting much - a light movie to enjoy - and certainly it wasn't an Oscar-contender or anything, but I thought it was better than expected. It was strange to see Meg Ryan not as the romantic lead exactly, but as the older woman - the mother - and I thought she gave a good performance. Stewart is fine as the brooding teenage daughter, though the girl is seriously skinny - distractingly skinny, worrisomely skinny. Brody - cute, ok.
  • Last weekend I had a meeting (Camps, Conferences and Retreat Ministries - CCRM) at one of our conference camps, Camp Aldersgate. I grew up going to Aldersgate (located in Brantingham, NY, in the foothills of the Adirondacks), loving it, packing my bags weeks before camp, and eventually was on staff myself as a lifeguard. But I was remembering - when I was hired as a lifeguard, I wasn't actually certified as a lifeguard. They had to send me to one of those one-week intensive lifeguard training things. And in fact, I wasn't even a very good swimmer when I was hired as a lifeguard. But once I was hired as a lifeguard, I became a good swimmer. I knew that to even begin the crash-course, I would have to start with a 20-lap swim, which I definitely couldn't do at the time of hiring. So I switched from my regular gym class to the beginning swim class at my high-school, and the teacher just let me swim laps while she gave everyone else lessons. I just swam and swam, and she would give me occasional tips on form, etc. So by the time I started work, I was ready to be a lifeguard. I don't know - I guess I was reminiscing as I was looking out at Pleasant Lake, and thinking about how sometimes we need to be asked and expected to do something before we can learn to do it, and know that we can do it. Does that make any sense?
  • VA Tech - I've read so many good reflections on the VA Tech tragedy, and keep feeling like I should write about it too, but the truth is that I have no idea what to say other than that it is a horrible, tragic event and I'm so sorry for all the people whose lives are impacted by it. Andy B. at Enter the Rainbow had some insightful thoughts to share, so I direct you there.
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