29 October 2008


Getting ready for our big trip to Richmond, VA this weekend -- Argamenmom (inside joke) is getting married.  I will be officiating at the service, #1 is a flower girl and #2 is a ring bearer.  We are expecting a long trip but will be fine.  Hard to believe Family Member (another inside joke) will be getting married.  I first met him at a basketball game between Alderson Broaddus College and West Virginia State University (then College) on the campus of WVSU.  Bryan was there with his mom, I was there to watch the game with the future VOR (her and Bryan's mom, aka Postmistress on this blog, were there too).  The VOR convinced the 7th grader that I played unrecallable, at the moment, collegiate sport; he believed it.  Should I tell this during the wedding  sermon (oh yeah, for reasons unbeknownst to me I am not sure they realize I will be giving a wedding sermon).  

In preparation The VOR has readied a slew of prizes, work books, crayon caddies, books and such for the kids.  My assignment is more utilitarian: oil changed, luggage moved, gas, atm, and last minute supplies (while writing it just hit me: does the VOR deliberately want me out of the house while she packs?) 

The VOR and I are excited to be back in Richmond, food wise we get to eat at two of our favorite restaurants: Mexico and Gelati Celisti.  

While on the topic of preparation last night I was listening to the Magnificat by J.S. Bach with Advent and Christmas in mind.  As the first cd was about to close a beautiful organ solo was piping.  I asked #2, what do you think of this music: it is spooky dad, I don't like it.  The Magnificat as spooky?

Now to some four letter words voiced by #3.  Pums = pumpkins.  Wawa = water.  Mups = The Muppets.

And finally, last night #s 1 & 2 asked how long our bodies stay in the ground when we die.  I said for a good while, till Jesus comes to get us.  #2 asked how fast Jesus could move.  I said pretty fast.  He thought long and hard and then said hmph even faster than me, and went on his way.  

23 October 2008

Birthday Thoughts

Today I am 34, I suppose I am now fully engaged in the afternoon of life. I do not feel any older but I have noticed a gradual thickening of facial hair, then again I had nowhere to go but up in this category. I have also noticed a gradual popping of bones, an interest in the obituary, contacting friends from back home, an appreciation of seasons changing, a dislike of watching football, a surprising love of vegetables (even brussel sprouts!), waking up at 5:30am because I went to bed at 9:30pm, looking forward to retirement, and finally realizing that I will probably not ever make it onto ESPN Sportscenter. With that last thought I now want to offer a word to any aspiring athlete: how to make it onto Sportscenter, a guaranteed way at that.

If you are a sophomore or junior at any college in America: call a press conference and declare yourself eligible for the NFL draft. Do not worry if you play on a team or not, it would help if you do not (also, gender is no prohibition for this plan). This kind of boldness and tenacity will for sure get the attention of Mel Kiper and cause him to comment on you during pre-draft analysis. Seeing that ESPN is now more of a 24 hour program than it was when I was in college the odds are greater you will make it on.

Moving on...
Yesterday I finished my 46th book in my attempt to read 100 books for 2008. I do not think I am going to read 55 books in 10 weeks, only 5.5 books a week. If you look at my list you will see 8 children's books (recall I granted myself 1 kid book a month). Nevertheless, 39 books thus far is still far more than I read last year. I am holding out hope to have read 50 non-children's books by the end of the year, that I believe is well within shot.

The 46th book was John Claypool's, The Preaching Event, which was the 1979 Lyman Beecher Lectures at Yale Divinity School.  I mention this book because only a few years ago I was enthralled by Claypool and his approach to preaching.  But after reading TPE I am having second thoughts about his approach.  I cannot quite put my finger on it exactly.  I appreciate his honesty, his boldness in sharing his wounds, his journey away from the "fast track" of Baptist life (he eventually became Anglicized and re-ordained as an Episcopalian priest), and his use of pastoral care in his sermons.  I suppose my time in ministry is different than his, perhaps that is the biggest difference.  

Further down the road...
I sent Mr. Randy Moss an official letter welcoming him to the community and to stop by to worship with us any time he is free and available.  I figure it is worth a shot.  I bet he did not expect to move to RI and discover a dude just down the street who grew up down the road from him, played football with his older brother, knew his football coach, and can attest to his basketball abilities too.  

The Almighty Speaking through Creation...
I am not for sure what God is trying to communicate to me but two weekends ago I spied (as #2 would say) 3 Eastern Bluebirds in the parsonage lot.  No one believes me.  My neighbor inquired: you sure it was not a Bluejay?  I know what a Bluejay looks like, never have cared too much for those loud beaked pushy birds.  For 6 years+ I have been looking for a E.B. and was overjoyed to see one.  Yesterday morning the same, I assume it is the same one, landed on the parsonage  backporch rail and stayed for a spell.

Resume building, installment #2...
My first bread recipe for testing arrived this week.  I am making a few loaves for the concert this Saturday and see what folk think.  I would also like to add a new component to my resume: this Fall I have developed an uncannily ability to tree squirrels.  

21 October 2008

Language Lessons, installment #4

The way kids ask questions, sound out first time phrases and questions of metaphors is the subject of this post.

1. Today I was asked by the VOR to go and pick up #1. I marked my spot in the book I was reading and walked over. #1 located me with a tinge of disappointment then looked down the walk and saw the VOR with #3 and took off running. I received neither a hug nor a look of thanks. When I caught up with the three of them I asked the standard question: what am I chopped liver? #1 looked at me and asked, 'what's chopped liver?' Good question. If she was talking about chicken or even turkey liver then I would be all over that. In fact, I love to cook the organs of the turkey and crush the liver in the pot, then spoon it up on some bread.

To the next situation.

2. On Friday #2's school had a Ho-Down complete with bails of hay and the like; #2 was very pleased with the events. As we walked to the vehicle, #2 looked up at me and said the next time the school has a low-down #2 would very much like to go. #2 then looked up and asked when is the next low-down dad. Another good question.

And finally.

3. Today #3 woke up with a mild cold. After awakening from #3's nap a slight hoarseness could be detected in #3 voice. The VOR asked #3 do you have a frog in your throat. #3 said no, Frog on arm.

07 October 2008

Resume Building

First off let me tell those who are not in New England, it is cold today. How cold? I had to reheat my coffee three times before finishing!

Second, a first today. Someone called wanting a copy of Sunday's sermon. I have printed versions available as folk leave the service; folk have taken them. When they are not printed a couple of times folk have asked for copies. But I have never had someone call and ask for a copy on a Tuesday.

What I want to share next is somewhat related to tonight's sermon. If you can travel back to the 1988 Republican primary. This was the year I officially started following politics (13 years old). For me it was the apex of SNL political satire. During one of the sketches Jack Kemp was asked how he would balance the budget, he responded by saying that in football he gave 110%, so he would do the same with the budget since he would have an extra 10% to work with. Then they asked Pat Roberston (played by Al Franken) for his qualifications he had to be president. He said he had mowed peoples grass while they were on vacations, walked neighbors dogs and even gave driving directions to people.

Now to me. This week I received word that I will be a recipe taster for Peter Reinhart's new bread baking book. All you had to do was sign-up. But what a resume builder: Recipe Taster. I plan to bake the bread on Saturday night then let the congregation taste and give feedback. I am looking forward to this.

06 October 2008

#42, and I am not talking about Pres. Clinton

The other day while reading the contents of Theolog I noticed a review of Shift. The review caught my eye for two reasons: a mention of WV and bicycling.

Starting in 10th grade I dreamt of riding my bike across country. I imagined hopping on my orange, heavy, 10sp Schwinn Continental and riding from WV to California or Oregon. But my parents freaked out if I barely mentioned it and tossed it off as one of my hair brained ideas. I never made the trip but I kept dreaming about it. Every time I hop on my bike I think of what it would be like to have the family and ride to the left coast. One of these days...

Until then there are stories from the journeys of others, enter Shaft by Jennifer Bradbury. The story of two high school graduates who ride across country from WV to WA, along the way they find themselves and mature quite a bit. Bradbury wrote the book for young adults but it is a good read for adults too, especially those who dream of riding across country, those who "moved" away from home, and those who sought their own way in the world.

My review from Library Thing,

After 25 pages I knew for a fact that either I knew the author or knew someone she knew. Why? There were too many details of WV life. Who else would know about John's Cyclery next to Taco Bell? That clue made me stop reading and google some information. After some research and a couple of emails it was confirmed, I knew the author's husband, but enough of that -- back to the book.

The book is a great read. It tells the story of Chris' and Win's cross country bicycling trip from WV to WA. The author tells the story in alternating chapters, one from Chris' current point of view then one from Chris's running diary of the trip.

I do not want to give any more details of the book. I do want to highlight the author's creative usage of the biblical story of Jacob wrestling the angel. I also want to say the way the author narrated the tricky and troubling aspect of young adulthood of growing up. Well done Mrs. Bradbury, look forward to future works!

01 October 2008

Testamental Confusion

Yesterday I spent a good 20 minutes trying to locate a copy of Everett Fox's The Five Books of Moses. I called all the local book stores before calling the megalomarts. I eventually had to go to one of the megalomarts. Lucky for me the book had been on the shelf for some time, thus the price was the old price of $25.00 and it had a crease on the cover (so I asked for a discount) they happily knocked off 10%.

While searching I took one quick look over at overstock.com Notice the heading:
Online Shopping>Entertainment>Books>Religion>Christianity

Christianity? I know both Jews and Christians share the Torah as scripture. But labeling Fox's translation of the Torah as Christian is a little much for me.

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The Five Books of Moses
The Five Books of Moses
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The Five Books of Moses

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy 
Schocken Bible, V. 1 Volume 1 
by Fox, Everett
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  • Paperback
  • 02/01/2000
  • 9780805211191
  • 2548455

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Product Description:

While other English translations of the Bible attempt to render its language as if it had been written in English, this translat 

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