30 April 2008

A Sign the Obama campaign may be in trouble

I receive daily emails from the Obama campaign asking me to go to Kentucky, volunteer to call voters in NC and IN.  Yesterday I received an email that lets me know just how much trouble the campaign is in, this has nothing to do with Rev. Wright.  Here is a piece of the email that illustrates my point:Rev. Travis --

Limited edition Vote for Change car magnet Next week, we have the opportunity to close out this race and secure the nomination for Barack -- but there's another deadline coming up even sooner.

Financial reports for April will be filed this Wednesday at midnight. The media pundits and Washington insiders will be watching the results and judging the strength of our campaign by the money we raise.

But what's most impressive about our movement is that our funding has come from grassroots supporters like you. We've never accepted donations from Washington lobbyists or special interest PACs. Instead, more than 1,500,000 ordinary people have stepped up to own a piece of this campaign.

To meet this deadline and celebrate our grassroots donors, we've created a special gift.

Make a donation of $15 or more before midnight on Wednesday, April 30th, and receive a limited edition Vote for Change car magnet

Wrong Season I know, but this is too good not to share

Last night the VOR was browsing etsy.com for some ideas in their alchemy section (you post something you want made, then folk bid to make the item for you).  When she found a person requesting a beard beanie with a link to this item from Scandinavian Grace.  

#21 and some more sermon notes

Last night I finished #21 of my 10 books for 2008 odyssey, I am still way off target but who knows there are still seven full months to go!  Number twenty-one was The Grand Complication by Allen Kurzweil.  I found the book through a link to a blog from library thing.  I picked the book up at the library, opened the cover and peered onto the back jacket only to discover the author lives in Providence.  

The book: it was a good read.  I am having a dickens of a time reading fiction that is not in the mystery or detective genre.  This book was another mystery, although the protagonist was a reference librarian.  The author did have some fun with wordplay, odd library references, lots of deviling with the Dewey Decimal System along with the proverbial twists and turns.  I would recommend it, I will have to read his first book A Case for Curiosities, several times he slid in that phrase throughout the book.

If anyone is somewhat of a Poe fan, the Providence Journal ran an interesting editorial piece yesterday about Poe's daguerreotype which was taken in Providence.

Sermon writing.  Over the last few weeks I have continued to experiment with my sermon writing by adopting and employing only an outline.  I do not think my sermons have been all that great.  As I greeted congregants as they left on Sunday morning one gentleman told me how much clearer my sermons have been the last few weeks.  Clearer I thought, more like weak in my mind.  As I headed home I gave the gentleman's remark more thought.  I think he was onto something, by adopting an outline  my mind wants to simplify the content because the thick script is not in front of me to turn to.  Indeed this would produce a clearer sermon.  Now the challenge is to produce a well thought out sermon that is as clear as my outline sermons.  

Glad to see some fruit is coming of my experimentation.

29 April 2008

Wright's call for Katallagete

I watched with much anticipation the Bill Moyers interview of The Rev'd Jeremiah Wright on Friday night, loved it.  I watched the ministries he helped birth and nurture, listened to his breadth of knowledge and marveled at the woven tapestry of his sermons.  I looked at the VOR and said that man has courage, I mean it.  The man has courage to preach the sermons he preaches and to conduct the ministries he does.  He is a man who firmly believes God has some good news to share.  He is a man who firmly believes God aint finished with humanity.  

Perhaps that is the big issue here.  Americans are used to Pat Roberston and Jerry Fallwell spouting off judgments about our sinful behavior, but when someone from the theological left does it, most folk do not know how to react - especially the press corps, I could easily tell most reporters had no idea about the contents of the black prophetic tradition.

I applaud Wright's call to katallagete, it is our only hope.

Perhaps the only reasonable report I have yet to read is this one.


The other day a package arrived from my uncle who lives in California, it was an Orthodox Study Bible.  I was caught off guard by this gift and its beauty.  My uncle is still RCC but faithfully attends an Orthodox church.  Interesting the OT is a translation of the Septuagint or LXX while the NT is simply the King James.  
#1 also made us a Happy May card the other day.  I was touched by her detail, especially the white reflective parts on the balloon.

Last week I took #2 to story time at the Library, afterwards I was talking to a British ex-pat mom and asked her for a good Yorkshire Pudding recipe.  I never knew about this dish till I watched a BBC episode with the loud and foul mouth chef.  My mouth was watering with anticipation.  The ex-pat did have a fine recipe she emailed the VOR, but then the children's librarian overheard our conversation and told me about her husband's British origins - she not only brought a recipe but the special tins to cook the pudding in.  This Sunday we are cooking it.

Finally, this Sunday the VOR made one of my new favorite meals: Pinto beans and cornbread. As a kid my father always tried to push me to eat beans, but I wouldn't. He would say ah come on, they are just baby potatoes. But since dad's death I try to eat some of the foods he ate. Now I love PB and Cornbread. I put a slab of country ham in the beans and watch them simmer. The SEVN joined us for dinner, they did not seem to mind the overt ham aroma or flavor...

28 April 2008


This afternoon I finished #20, Spiritual Preparation for Christian Ministry by E. Glenn Hinson. Most if not all of the book was a recapitulation of Hinson's spirituality classes he developed during his tenure as a professor.  When he came to BTSR he developed a spirituality program for Baptist school as a model for future educational systems.  

I think the northern schools have yet to fully appreciate his vision, see the Mothership and ANTS as specific examples. 

For a fair amount of time I contemplated being a monk, it was not until a Catholic priest (who wanted me to become Catholic) gave me a copy of Weavings and pointed out the presence of E in the board of directors section did I give up the monk idea.  I thought wow, a Baptist who brought a contemplative approach to his teaching.  

Off to BTSR I went.  I loved E and soaked up all of his thoughts.  But I do not think I fully appreciated him until I finished this book.  Thanks E.

27 April 2008

Celebrate the Moments of Your Life...

This is the last of coffee related theme posts.  The other day the VOR went down to my Providence based office to purchase some coffee.  She said she wanted to ask them if they had any coffees that tasted like a Viennese Chocolate.  I said no, you should ask: I want a coffee to remind me of that French waiter.  For an idea what I am talking about watch this.

On the topic celebrating the moments in your life.  

1.  While in WV I learned that my mother bowled a 300 or five or six different occasions.  Also when I first entered her house, there in her kitchen was one of those fancy European coffee machines that I saw/experienced at the Toyota dealership.  I yelled sacred scat Mom, I cant believe you have this coffee pot.  My mother also had a bag of Hershey Bliss, why is this a big deal?  While the family was traveling to WV we stopped by Hershey for breakfast and for the kids to get out of the van and run around.  We found a park with a field (where boys were playing lacrosse, one coach kept yelling the play Ohio.  Ohio involved one boy getting the ball(?) then running behind the goal - subsequently losing the ball.  For some reason the coach kept yelling Ohio.)  Now while the kids were playing on the play ground some of the girls (they were waiting for the boys to finish playing so they could) were yapping about life when one of the girls said, 'hey have you all tried the new Hershey Bliss, it is awesome' (I didn't think kids used the word awesome any more, maybe she didn't use that word - perhaps I just think kids still use the language I used as a kid.)

2.  I took #2 to his first baseball game the other day.  He liked the game but was more enamored with the jumbo tron.

3.  When #3 expels human generated flatus he quickly pats his bum and starts talking up a storm ah baba baba drawing our attention to his action, yes he is quite proud of this.

4.  My lawyer nephew has finally surpassed my golfing talent.  We played 9 holes while I was in.  I was impressed with his swing and play, he just needs to get his frustration under control.

22 April 2008

#19, a prediction and a news item that should have been above the fold

Last  night I finished #19, The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible.  I originally bought the book for a parishioner, a dude who is the closest person to this book I have ever met.  When I told him about the book he was really excited.  A couple of weeks ago he gave it back to me, so I started reading it.  Great book.  I laughed and laughed and laughed at this guy: imagine a straight and semi-religious David Sedaris and there you go.  

The book also caused me to question my own life as a follower of Jesus, how much stuff of Jesus' teaching am I not paying attention to?  How much of the Bible have I pretty much ignored?  I am now looking forward to reading his previous book: The Know it All (but I am not sure when it will be in my hands, I still need to finish The Power and the Glory and the third volume of Dorrien's book for a review.  Sometime this summer I will get TKIA.)

A Prediction.  Clinton will win Pennsylvania by two percentage points (Obama's roll up in Philly, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Lancaster will give him enough votes to counter the rest of PA).  Clinton will stay on for Indiana and NC but will then bow out after those states vote.

A News Item.  I was rather shocked to see Carter's deal with Hamas to recognize the state of Israel was on page A10 of the NYTimes and not above the fold of the front page.  

20 April 2008

#17 and #18

While the family was in West Virginia I was able to complete #17 and #18 off my list.  

#17  Heart Speaks to Heart: Three Gospel Meditations on Jesus by Henri Nouwen (I once heard he referred to J.M. as Just Me, I like that).  This book is Nouwen's meditation on the Sacred Heart, the iconography and art work from this movement gives me the creeps, so when I began the introduction that it was about the sacred heart I almost put it down - but I kept moving on.  I am glad I did.  The book gave me an alternative appreciation for the way Jesus' heart forgives our sins.  

#18  Henry Builds a Cabin by D. B. Johnson.  A kids book, yes a kids a book.  I realize that if I am going to get to a 100, I am going to have to include some of the best kids books I read to our kids. D. B. Johnson is my favorite children's author right now.  I love his stuff, as do our kids.  Anyone that can take the life of Henry David Thoreau, make them into kids books with really great art is high on my list.  

10 April 2008

The Best Part of Waking Up...

In preparation for the trip to WV, the theobilly household is heading to WV during #1's Spring Break, I stopped by my Providence-based office to purchase three pounds of Narragansett blend coffee for family gatherings.  On my way down Route 146, to what some refer to as the Renaissance city (I prefer the older moniker: the Divine City), I followed the Governor for a couple of miles, he was in the back seat reading the paper - not too sure he was wearing a seat belt though, then again I am not positive it was the Gov., but it was his car, who else has the No. 1 license plate?  

Once I arrived at the coffee shop I waited in line till, seems as though a pack of bicycle messengers had temporarily taken over the establishment, and told the dude behind the counter that I would like to purchase some coffee.  We headed over to the whole bean section. The man who waited on me has waited on me before but did not remember me, I know him to be a likable fellow but perhaps a bit gullible (are not most city folk a bit on the gullible side?).  So when he asked what I would like to purchase, I asked what blends taste like Folgers?  He just looked at me rather dumbfounded, unsure whether to laugh or not, so he just slowly repeated Folgers?  Then I let the cat out of the bag and said give me three pounds of Narragansett.  

While he was weighing the coffee he asked: Do they still sell Folgers?  I am not sure who "they" are but I am pretty sure "they" still sell Folgers, in fact I think that is the coffee of choice for most of my family.  My family used to be strictly Maxwell House clan, but something happened in the mid 90s that changed their preference.   

I asked for Folgers in honor of my dad, whenever I plan to go to WV he is on my mind all the time.  One time, about seven years ago, he went into Dick's Sporting Goods store to look at some shoes.  A clerk approached and asked if he needed any help.  My father held up a pair of sneakers and said he really liked this pair but he wanted a pair with lights on them.  The clerk just looked at him, so dad said yeah with lights, you know the kind that will light up whenever I take a step, shoes just like my grandsons have.  As life in a small town goes, the clerk at Dick's was best friends with a fellow who worked at the hardware store my father frequented.  The clerk from Dick's had been telling everyone about this grown man coming in and asking for shoes with lights in them.  Who knows perhaps the fellow behind the counter at the coffee shop will be telling folk today about the fellow who came in asking for a blend that tastes like Folgers. 

09 April 2008

My Trip to the Dealer

I took my truck to the dealership this morning, hoping for rust in the frame - rust was detected, Toyota will be in touch with me later.  (Toyota has a buy back program, if your Tacoma (96-00)  has rust perforation(s) then Toyota will buy back your Tacoma at 1 and 1/2 times the Kelly Blue Book value.)  

My appointment was at 8:00am, normally I care to go to the dealer but the inspection required that I do.  So stopped first at Dunkin Donuts to pick up a coffee, I waited in line for 10 minutes, placed my order only to discover I left my wallet at home.  I got back in the truck and headed to the dealer knowing for sure they would have coffee, they did.  I know the woman in front of me at Dunkin' Donuts was sure I was stalking her - who else waits in line behind a person for ten minutes, then does not wait for their order but runs back to their vehicle (which just happened to be beside her's.) 

After I pulled into the garage, met with a service manager (in a glass office), and headed into the "waiting area" where coffee and pastries were waiting for me.  [For the record I appreciate good coffee, I do not know a thing about coffee (yes a coffee book is on my 100 books list) but I know a good cup when I taste one.  Yet you could challenge this view since I was stopping a ubiquitous coffee and fried dough chain, I just didn't have the time to brew my own this morning.] I would have figured to find a regular old school coffee pot, nope - a fancy European one-cup-at-a-time private brew machine.  I looked it over for a good five minutes and ascertained how to operate it.  I pushed the correct button but all I received for my ingenuity was a cup of hot water.  Hmmm.  I took a step back and found some coffee in what appeared to be supersized creamers.  I picked one up, but did not find a handy pull back tab, no problem I can open this with my mouth or I could even pull out my pocket knife.  With the coffee container in my mouth I heard "No, do not open that."  

A woman, who works at the dealer, told me just to stick the container in the machine without opening it, according to her the machine brews the coffee similar to a French Press.  Whatever. I enjoyed my cup of coffee (although it was in a styrofoam cup, which I detest).  I attempted to read the Times while the Today show blasted from a flat screen plasma tv.  For the record, "America's morning "news" show was running a segment on a 6 foot 4 woman and an even 5 foot man and how hard it is for them to find dating partners - I thought for sure they were going to end up dating, but I did not get to hear if David Gregory was able to accomplish that.) I scanned the others there, mostly retired boomers - none were drinking coffee.  I am all for trying to up the ante when it comes to food choices but sometimes works best is what has worked best for years, an old school Bunn coffee pot.

After a half hour in the "waiting area" the manager came to get me to tell me the news.  I could not get over how much this replicated a hospital setting.   The news was good, there is rust - enough for a buy back, well time will tell (I hope so.)

08 April 2008

The Study of History, Drinking and Playing Sports & The WV Gazette Endorsement

The other day while I was with the family at the bowling alley, I noticed the vast majority of folk with their clear plastic dixie cups full of brewed hops.  This  phenomena got me thinking: why is it that sports which are geared to individuals: golf, bowling and pool, sports which take an enormous amounts of concentration, are equated with the drinking of beer?  I have never figured that out.  Any thoughts out there?

I was surprised to read the WV Gazette's endorsement of Obama.  

07 April 2008

Action Shot

Several weeks ago I promised an action shot me in the new cassock, preaching gown and preaching tabs.  Well here it is in black and white, I figured that would give it a more period look:

06 April 2008

Weekend Review

Yesterday we took the kids bowling.  #1 had been once before, #2 studied and studies the bowlers as we paid and picked up our shoes.  The VOR and I have not been bowling in years, we couldn't believe it cost $35 for lane and shoe rental.  We also could not believe the computer controlled feature that would cause the bumpers to rise when #s 1-3 bowled then lower when myself and the VOR bowled, quite amazing.  

The scores were: #1 79, #2 89, #3 82, VOR 92, Me 107.

Afterwards we headed to Twin's for Pizza.  If you ever are in Providence, swing up to North Providence to Twins, but not in the summer - the place is not air conditioned and it gets to be about 132 degrees in there.  One summer evening I went to pick up a pizza there, it was a scorcher of a day, I saw a parishioner eating supper and went over to say hello - she was drinking coffee.  I was like how?  it is over a 100 degrees in here...

We hoped to go the Creamery after dinner, but we did not have time.  For those who do not know, ice cream shops in Little Rhody close for the winter - the Creamery opened this weekend.  (I saw the owner of the creamery in the grocery store the other day, she noted that I would like the a new flavor "You're a chocolate guy"  only a locally owned business will the owners memorize what flavors you dig.)

We had to get home because of the second of the Concert Series at church: Atwater-Donnelly they put on a great show, next up is one of my fiddle teacher's bands: The Red Tide Ramblers.

Required Reading,

Picture of the weekend:  Kids preparing for the bowling outing,

#15 and #16

The 100 books in a year ain't going as well as I had hoped - by March I should have read 25 books, I was 11 books off the pace.  But yesterday I finished two and who knows what may happen by the end of April.

#15  The Lighthouse at the End of the World, by Stephen Marlowe.  I checked this out after reading about it in Marlowe's obituary in the NY Times.  I also have had a secret admiration for Poe,  mainly due to the legend that is told about an old boarding house in my hometown where - supposedly - Poe stayed one night and wrote the Raven.  (I do not believe the legend, for one think I have never seen a raven in there and second there were plenty of other boarding houses between the train depot and the legendary house).  Furthermore, the first lesson I ever taught as a student teacher (at one time I was going to be a high school history teacher) was on the Pen and Pendulum.  

The Lighthouse at the End of the World is an imaginative look at Edgar Allan Poe's last five days before dying in a Baltimore hospital.  The book took me nearly a month to read.  I kept getting bogged down in the opium induced sections of Poe's subconscious.  

Go here for a read of Poe's literary corpus.

#16  The Violin Maker: Finding Centuries-Old Tradition in a Brooklyn Workshop by John Marchese.  I cannot for the life of me recall where I saw this book, but I put it on a future to-read list last Fall.  What a great book, I read it in two days.  On Friday the VOR brought home a bag of books from the library, instantly #1 and #2 and #3 when at it reading and looking at them on the couch.  I too was sitting on the floor having a go at this book.  

I think the major thing I gleaned from it was a deeper appreciation of my fiddle, The Gaylus - the one my grandfather made in 1925-26, particularly the "bumblebee stingerette" (as called by Sam Zygmuntowicz).  I was never took the time to notice the purfling, placed in the gouge are two pieces of black dyed wood with poplar in between.  My grandfather did not miter the corners but I think they are beautiful nonetheless.
 Now I just need the recordings of the Emerson Quartet I requested to come in and I can hear what the Zygmuntowicz fiddles sound like!

02 April 2008

UCC ad in the NY Times, Polls, the Englands

While reading the Times this morning I noticed this full page ad placed by the UCC.  At first I thought what an interesting ad, but the more I thought about it, it appeared to me the ad was a shotty attempt to use the controversy of Jeremiah Wright for the gain of the UCC.  I think a better ad would have been a full coat of arms support of Trinity UCC and the prophetic ministry of Jeremiah Wright.  

Latest RCP polls have Obama slicing Clinton's lead in the Keystone state in half.  

This morning the kids were talking about the American Revolution and how George Washington had to fight against "the Englands." I mentioned that perhaps there were options for non-violence.  They looked at me with a quizzical look.  We have done a good job parenting stressing how violence is wrong, but I haven't done a good enough job yet on teaching non-violence.  One of the areas I keep discovering is non-violent parenting.   If peace is to reign then there have to be small, incremental, ground up practices of peace - primarily in parenting and in relationships with others.  

Bruce in Carolina, if you still view this blog, hope you liked the Billy Joe video.

01 April 2008

'cuse my slanguage...

As mentioned, the other day I picked up the latest Billy Joe Shaver cd. I listened to it with bittersweet feelings, it is a great cd but man I wish dad was around to listen to it with me. He wouldn't know to think (#1 came up with that a couple of years ago) of a duet with John Anderson, that's right Swingin' John Anderson (perhaps you remember that Anderson had a heart attack while in WV).