22 February 2010

Trip to the Red Bull's Eye

Sometime early afternoon the VOR, #3, and I headed out of the city to the local shopsthatareeverywhereelseinAmericaasphaltcentral so we could patronize a Minnesota based upscale (at least that is what they want me to think) KMart. Minus the fantastic night in Gretna to our first parade this marked the first time I have ventured out of the city in the past few weeks. (Benefit of living in a cool place, you never have to leave). So we strolled around the store where people where red tops and khaki pants for a good hour or so. (Supposedly the VOR said she would have completed her shopping experience in 15 minutes if I had not tagged along).

Not to sound too Jerry Seinfeld but have you noticed that damn near every grocery item has calcium in it? Bread with calcium, cereal with calcium, orange juice with calcium, potato chips with calcium. Pretty soon Americans will turn into one big bone, we will become one giant femur looking species where all of the Plutos of the world will just sit around and gnaw on us throughout the day (see Bone Sweet Bone, 1948 Disney).

The other striking find: Rhodia writing pads. I had heard that they were now available at the one store that bought all the advertising in the New Yorker a couple of years ago but doesnt sell the New Yorker in its stores but had yet to actually see the pads there. I saw them today. They were in the sale bin! Lying on the bottom of the sale shelf wallowing in pity, self-loathing and utter abandonment were two No. Rhodia pads one black, one orange. I bought the black.

21 February 2010

Mardi Gras Floats Video

Mardi Gras where to begin??? It was absolutely amazing. Nothing could have prepared me for it. I loved, loved it, loved it. The kids danced like there was no tomorrow. We screamed like there was no tomorrow and celebrated like there was no tomorrow. It was an amazing release and intake of energy. As we watched the Mid-City parade I took this video on top of a ladder on Napoleon Ave. to try and give a feel of what I experienced. I believe there were 43 more floats on this parade. The parade was one of four that day.

18 February 2010


A letter to the editor, three book reviews, and a column in the monthly church newsletter (although there are not many editorial barriers for the the last one) up until today they composed all the times any piece of writing I offered was published.

Yesterday my first ever Carnival season ended with Ash Wednesday. It was an amazing run of 12 or so days. I felt things, did things, and experienced life like never before. On Monday morning something within me clicked and I had to write it down. I submitted it to the local paper, The Times-Picayune, for publication and they actually published it. Tomorrow morning when you, that is if you read the T-P in the morning, you will see this article.

Amazing what this city will do to you.

06 February 2010

More Shameless Self-Promotion and Another GreatS Saints Article

I will alert folk of the outcome sometime tomorrow afternoon. I am apprehensive that about the outcome.

And for another great article of the Saints as a metaphor for hope and resurgence.

04 February 2010

A Room of My Own

In seminary I obtained, by honest means, a copy of The Living of These Days: Autobiography by Harry Emerson Fosdick. I swallowed the book within a reading or two; sitting in my favorite grooved chair (must know the Simpsons to fully appreciate that reference). I read it for tips, I wanted to know how H.E. Fosdick became H.E. Fosdick. I remember feeling a bit let down after finishing the book. It did not answer the questions I had.

Then again I wasn't ready for his life. I related solely to his call. I had a now deceased friend read the passage where Fosdick said he wanted to make a contribution to the spiritual life of his generation. That spoke but the rest didn't. For nine years his ministry track and mine were nowhere near parallel.

Then I accepted the call here. In no way am I comparing SCABC (terrible acronym by the way) to First Presbyterian Church, Park Avenue Baptist Church or The Riverside Church. I take that back for in some ways I do believe the congregations do share a sisterly liberal Protestant bond. SCABC is a stable church, with a realistic active membership of 250 with a consistent 90-110 in worship on Sundays.

The church is on a great American thoroughfare, next to Tulane and Loyola Universities, Audubon Park, and Loyloa Law School, there is a fantastic B & B on the next block, the street car runs up and down the Avenue, Habitat for Humanity uses our second floor, and a law office that specializes in anti-death penalty cases uses a good portion of the lower floor (before him ACORN's first offices were here). All to say that this is a noisy place, phones, footsteps, cell phones, delivery people, parcel people, people needing directions, people need aid, people needing to sell the pastor something. I, naively, thought I would benefit from the traffic, the energy, and the hustle and bustle. For the previous nine years I had worked in small membership churches largely in isolated settings.

After six months of work here I realize to the degree I treasure and need silence for study and reflection. It is impossible to center on a thought, an idea (I was away for 30 minutes while typing this b/c someone stopped by), with any sustained energy. Now do not get me wrong I love it when people stop by - thus open office hours. Nevertheless, I am undertaking a very Fosdickian practice: holing up in a room away from a phone, foot traffic, or internet access.

Fosdick was able to rent an office in Manhattan in an office building with no windows; I'm not there yet. But I was able to take advantage of this grand old building and commandeered a hard to find and unusual room. It has a window, is nearly impossible to find, and best of all it is silent. I have read more this week than in the past month. I have been able to chew on an idea for a good amount of time.

Will this mean better sermons? More prolific ideas? Will correlation = causation? Those are questions only the future can answer. I do know that the revitalization of this congregation is going to take the hard work of every member and will rely on the vision by the pastor which will be pieced together from the lives of the congregation. It will require deep thought, sustained thinking, and silence.

Off to a room of my own...