29 January 2006

Potty Training

The boy is just about fully potty trained, just a few more episod. es but pretty much all finished. I had a brilliant idea awhile back: use the advanced methods of dog training on the oboy. This idea emerged while listening to Terri Gross interview Jon Katz. Jon was going on and on about positive reinforcement as a way to "train" his dog in three days. I thought and figured out that three dog days are the equivalent to 28 human days. So imagined a boy fully potty trained in less than a month! But then a dude at church told me that not every year of a dog's life equal one human year. Some years it is only 3 while others are 10, depending on the activity of a dog's life. Next time perhaps.


I just listened to Marketplace Money and heard a link to the book, The Number. I am now putting up a link to his blog.

I am looking forward to retirement, even though it is a full 34 years away. Sometimes the wife thinks I talk about retirement too much. But thanks to MMBB and their retirement savings plans I hope to live a semi-comfortable life.

political considerations

while in louisana my friends and I contemplated future democratic presidential tickets. most of us want to see obama, but is he ready? i think so, check out rev smalls for some direction on this. i would like to offer an all woman ticket: Hillary Clinton and Kay Bailey Hutchinson. I wouldnt vote for them, but I think it would be a great confusing ticket for America to deal with. personally I am trying to figure out a way for Cornel West to be Secretary of State, Sen. Jack Reed as Sec. of Defense, Oprah as VP, Joe Breeze as Sec. of Transportation, The Wife as Sec. of Education, Andrew Weil as Surgeon General. that is just a start for some '08 considerations.

27 January 2006

The Gaylus

When my grandfather was 24, in 1925, years old he embarked on a secret project: to make a violin; he named it "The Gaylus." I dont know where he came up with name, how much he played it or what he thought of it; he died the year before I was born.

Jump to 2005 when I resolved to learn how to play this instrument. I took it to Karl Dennis's shop a couple weeks back. perhaps you saw his picture. If you look to the left hand side you will be able to see his assitant Trish slaving over a violin. I knew she was in the picture but couldn't see her, the light was hiding her. Now she gets her full due credit.

I picked up the fiddle and came home and took this picture:

A note on the table. We bought our kitchen table while we were in Rochester at a antique shop. after we bought the table the man, our age, asked if we wanted to come in the back and hang out. we didnt. two weeks later the shop was closed, cleaned out and gone - no foolin'.

25 January 2006

made it to ikea

I went up to the new ikea today in stoughton, ma to pick up some furniture for the office.

i now add the ikea stores to my list of places that confuse the hell out of me. the only other place is suburban housing developments. Those places make no sense, there is no north, south, east, or west in those places.

but the furniture was cheap and I was able to get my office in order, kinda

24 January 2006

Preaching Robe

I have noticed via sitemeter that several people have found my blog looking for information on preaching robes. May I take this time to give my full hearted endorsement for J. Wippell & Company Ltd. Robe Makers.

You will find a great staff and a wonderful English selection of preahing robes and other ecclestical garmets. Not only that you will recieve a wonderful catalog with great history of the church wear.

I am toying with the double breasted cassock with a Geneva Gown and preaching tabs and the Preaching Gown with preaching tabs. it all comes down to what type of liturgical education, theology of worship and practice of presence I feel called to. Take a gander, great stuff.

Still Full

I woke up this morning still full from the meal last night, great meal. I just wish I didnt feel so stuffed 12 hours later. The wife, who is expecting, was hungry by 9:30 - those babies really eat lots in the womb.

The other day the wife went to Home Goods and bought some new flannel sheets. I liked our old ones, but they didnt fit the bed properly and they had all kinds of fuzzballs on them. The new sheets are so soft and warm I never want to get out of bed in the morning.

Today there is Bible Study at the Retirement Center, then a hospital visit then a visit with the midwife, after that I hope to pick out some office furniture from IKEA to finally complete my office rennovations.

A church member stopped by the office this morning to tell me how much of a kick he and his wife got out of the church bulletin last week. It read No B.S. on Tuesday, supposed to say No Bible Study on Tuesday.

Want some neat Celtic Cards or Notebooks? Ninth Wave Designs I have ordered several cards from there, good stuff.

23 January 2006

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (and Women) but this one is about a fellow WV

The Providence Journal ran a nice piece in the Saturday paper about The Rev'd James C. Miller, retired pastor of First Baptist Church in America.

I really like Jim. He grew up in WV, went to Alderson Broaddus College (I spent a year there, the wife graduated from there) and then went on to Colgate Rochester Divinty School, my alma mater. On top of this he pastored the Lake Avenue Memorial Baptist Church, the church that ordained me in the summer of 2002.

Jim showed me that you can be a hillbilly, an educated hillbilly, and you can "make it" as a Baptist pastor in some of the most prestigious pulpits in America. Thanks for your presence and stories. I look forward to some future walks and talks with Jim.

I dont have a drink in my hand right now, but i will soon (the wife and I are going on a date) and will happily tip in honor of Jim.

Recap of the Last week.

I spent last week in Louisana, not for a mission trip but for a clergy covenant group.
The trip started off with a seat next to an elderly couple, they smiled as I sat down then began to read each other the articles from USAToday. Luckily the plane was not that full so I quickly snatched an empty seat away from the out loud paper readers. I settled down into a pile of New Yorkers only to hear two sisters behind me continually ask each other if they knew the answers to the clues for the crossword puzzle. If that wasnt enough the two ladies in front of me were discussing their Red Hat Ladies Cruise in Florida. Finally I landed in Atlanta, grabbed some lunch and prepared for my flight to New Orleans.

The New Orleans flight went well. As we approached the Delta region I looked out the window and couldnt figure out why most of the vegetation was gray, but at least the trees were still standing. But as we descended I noticed that the trees weren't standing they were just blown over! The airport was hot! (it was 16 in RI when I left, 72 in NO) Plus hardly anyone was there and most of the shops were boarded up.

So I called Hawk and he picked me up and we went to eat at VooDoo BBQ, great place and one of the few shops open around the airport. By the way, right across the street from the Louis Armstrong Airport is a small FEMA Park.

After some grub I received a tour of NO by Hawk. The city was depressing, only a 1/4 of the stoplights worked, luckily no one was driving much. Trash was piled up on the curb: couches, rolls of molded carpet, you name it. Along many houses you could see the brown high water/mud mark - at least 3/4 the way up the front door (homes with at least two steps!). But some parts of the city, along St. Charles Ave (the originial Crescent City area) was pretty much untouced just groggy.

By that time it was time to pick up our other friends so we headed back to the airport. Once everyone arrived we headed north across the causeway for some dinner. We ate at Morton's Seafood. I had catfish and rum raisn bread pudding!

Then we headed to the Solomon Episcopal Conference Center, fantastic place to stay. For the record - always stay at Epicopal Retreat Centers.

The covenant group is comprised of 6 for this trip. We are covenanting together for friendship, accountability and trust. We can let our hair down, spill our beans, and let it all hang out knowing that we are amongst trusted friends. I am excited about this group and its possibilities.

I never thought i would dig an intentional friendship group; I always wanted a more academic group. But I realize that I need friends, good friends, for my sanity and well-being. thanks gang.

Blogging will be in full force for the next few days.


15 January 2006

Order of Service Calming

hard to believe but something as little as changing the order of service would reduce my stress during worship. I streamlined the service a little bit and for some odd reason it calmed me. I have decided to keep the order of service the same for at least the next few months, perhaps even the year. It has taken about five years of tinkering and overhauling to get so I and the congregation are comfortable.

BTW the sermon from this morning is on the lrbc blog.

Opening Hymn
Sentences from Scripture
Confessions of Sins
Prayer for Pardon
The Kyrie
Words of Assurance
Song of Praise
Old Testament
New Testament
Prayers of the People
The Lord's Prayer
The Peace
Prayer of Dedication

I hope to have the service right at or a little over an hour. I feel good about this service and its flow. We'll see. I am sticking with the same for awhile in an attempt to find some sanity.

The familiar paradox known in all monastic life and a reflection on basic human experience, that only if one is rooted at home in one's own self, in the place in which one finds oneself, is one able to move forward, to open up new boundaries, both exterior and interior, in other words, to embark on a life of continual and never-ending conversion, transfromation.
from the introduction of The Celtic Way of Prayer: The Recovery of the Religious Imagination. by Esther de Waal

10 January 2006

Barbara Brown Taylor

While journeying to Boston from Rochester, NY via Amtrak awhile back I took along for the ride The Preaching Life by Barbara Brown Taylor. I read it, liked it but didnt pick anything else up by her till the other day. Perhaps it was the ridiculously sloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooowwww pace of the train, the multiple stops of every town in upstate, or hour and a half wait while a felled tree was remove, or maybe the rushed lunch with Ted Koppel (that's rigth Mr. Nightline himself and his wife. he never fully introduced himself but come on that hair and that voice it was good ole teddy.)

Today I finished Speaking of Sin, a good little book. I highly recommend it as a great place to start for Lenten reflection. I find her quite an attractive preacher - she serves as model for what talent, hard work and taking your craft serious can produce. I admire her work.

She will be preaching at Memorial Church at Harvard at the end of the month. I am in the midst of an Epiphany sermon series: one sunday on our mission acronym Loving, Reaching, Blessing, Caring. I will have to put off Caring till the first sunday in feb. - havent made my mind up yet.

Kid Language

Over the past four and a half years the kids have done a great job picking up and adapting the English language and its usage. here are my to three favorites thus far.

1. Chocolate Chipeys = Chocolate Chips
2. Hot Syrup = Red Hot Sauce
3. Unkers = Elephants
4. Winnie pa pooh = winnie the pooh
5. pa prise = surprise
6. pizzy dough = pizza dough

09 January 2006

Sago Baptist Church

Last year dad and I went to Sago to look for some gravestones of family members. We went to the cemetary beside the Sago Baptist Church, we went across the Buckhannon River to see an old a family home and drove around the Sago Mine.

I had the same emotional experiences that all y'all had. In the midst of all that tragedy it was nice to see a small beacon of light beaming from the Sago Baptist Church.

It is not a big church, last summer it only met on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month. But last week it was a much bigger and active church. I think it served the community well and provided a great witness for all who watched. Between those four walls folk cried, folk rejoiced, folk lamented, folk cursed, folk passed out and folk cried their eyes out - all within the four walls of Sago Baptist Church.

The Record Delta, the weekly newspaper of Buckhannon, ran this piece in today's paper. I would like to continue reflecting the way Sago Baptist Church witnessed as a sanctuary.

I Feel Good

Yesterday was the first Sunday in about two months that I felt comfortable in the pulpit, comfortable with the sermon and comfortable with the service. The deacons tonight said it was the first time in two months that I hadn't change anything (smartasses). The sermon is on the church blog. The sermon was the first one in awhile where I didn't feel there was a ton more to do after I finished it. Usually I the sermons feel about a 1/4 complete. I always want to do more but find the week slip away.

03 January 2006

Walter Brueggemann and the Bible in the Church

The first year of seminary at BTSR (note that the presbyterians across the street affectionately referred to us as BuTtSoRe, they were right on) mainly centered on deciphering and reading the works of Walter Brueggemann. On first read i thought he was full of baloney. But then his words and thoughts started to seep in. I still question someone who writes as much as he does, I think in one of his books (for about five chapters) he simply talks about changing the carburetor in his Oldsmobile. I reviewed his Theologoy of the Old Testament and made the comment that his book was larger than the OT itself and larger than the entire Bible:
This winter I plan to do an Intro to the Bible from a non-conservative perspective for the congregatio and community. I vaguely remembered the WB wrote some shorter books that dealt on just this topic, so I drove to the library and checked them out. One, thus far, The Renewing Word, has proven helpful:

The other books I am reading for this project by WB:
Confronting the Bible: A Resource and Discussion for Youth
The Creative Word: Canon as a Model for Biblical Education
The Bible Makes Sense

My hunch is that most in the pews (pulpit included)dont know much about the Word. This has created an odd situation when you have pulpits confused between biblical authority and biblical analysis and congregants who wander aimlessly in the biblical narrative.

Most say they want to know more about the Bible.
Most want to read it and know what it is all about.

I hope in some way to get at this issue through preaching and bible study. Perhaps a non-conservative preaching model based on the bible centered church movement, just an idea.

Mailbox Season

Just like Lettuce has a Spring and Fall season so do mailboxes here in RI. First there is the graduation mailbox season when kids go around playing mailbox baseball. Then there is the winter mailbox season when the wave of snow from the plow trucks knock over unsuspecting, casual, harmless mailboxes off their posts. The first winter hit came this morning around 10:31AM.

Seeing the poor mailbox lying in the snow kicked in my hillbilly ingenuity, so i went to the garage and fixed the mailbox.

Robe Shopping

After my first year at CRDS the Rev. Peter Gomes of Harvard Memorial Church and Harvard Divinity School deliverd the commencement address. I was amazed at the sound, tempo and dress of that preacher. After the service he stood at the back of the church and greeted everyone who exited. I slowly approached and admired such fabulous clerical garmets.

Upon graduation, wanting to further myself from any form of boring mainlinism, I purchased an white alb. I like my alb, it looks good on me. But I have to admit the thought of a Geneva gown with preaching tabs exictes me.

I am in the market for a black gown with preaching tabs, but am having a hard time locating just the robe I desire. I have contacted some friends around the country and emailed a seminary president I saw in Christian Century who wore the style I like. I even contacted some London tailors for some info.

I hope to arrange a meeting with Rev. Gomes this Spring, hopefully his schedule will permit him to lead an Advent workshop for some local clergy in the Fall, perhaps in the course of our conversation I can inquire where he purchases his wears.

WVU 38 UGA 35!!!

The coach's call for a fake punt proved classic as the Mountaineers beat the Bulldogs in Atlanta. While the northeast gets pounded by a snow storm several family members of mine are partying and enjoying the warmth of the new south. Have fun folks.

Although I am a MU grad, when you are this far away from home you take any West Virginia exposure you can get.