27 March 2010

Why Marshall Should Abandon the Conference USA.

Last night the First Family attended our first ever Tulane baseball game (they were playing Marshall). It was a great game (although Marshall lost) at a great stadium (although the artificial field was a bit of a disappointment, but it drains well and fast - needed amenities for New Orleans). After 9 innings, plus a previous football game, plus a basketball game on the radio I have come to the conclusion that Marshall should vacate the CUSA and seek another conference.

Why? Tulane and Marshall are too much alike.
1. They both have green and white as their colors. The First Family dons their best green and white school clothes and we blend in. We do not stick out or even seem out of place.

2. The cheers are too similar. Whereas Marshall cheers: Green (one side of the stadium) matched by White (from the other side), Tulane cheers: Green matched by Wave. Even if there was a shout/cheer off between the two schools they would blend perfectly; it would sound like a Gather family reunion special rather than a Henry Rollins song.

I think those two reasons should compel the Athletic Director and the powers that be at Marshall to explore a different conference to call home.

08 March 2010

Only as Good as Your Last Sermon

On Wednesday at high noon a faux showdown will take place on the avenue. I will be preaching at SCAPC, as part of the Lenten worship series. My sermon title: Johnny Cash, John Calvin, Jesus Christ. (for the record I am disbanding my disdain for the Presbyterians, a replacement nemesis will be named soon. Why? I like the pastor at SCAPC too much). I first preached the "three JCs" sermon in 2001 at Athens Baptist but I cannot locate the sermon, so it will be a fresh sermon. I will preach this sermon reformatted on Pentecost when I add a fourth JC: John Coltrane.

Since arriving I have to spend more intentional time preparing, writing, and editing my sermon. How much time? I really cannot say, but in my view it is considerable. The reason: the church has a high view of the sermon and expects a well crafted piece of art (one of the reasons I was drawn here). I also spend more time because of the "competition." Competition? In Lime Rock there really was no competition, in my mind at least - considering LRBC was the only Protestant church in the village. But here folk can just as easy go down the street a few blocks and receive a quality and damn good sermon.

All in all I appreciate this environment, it is forcing me to improve my writing and delivery style. I have formed/am forming a checklist of items I have to have before I walk up the stage and stand behind the pulpit: a proper welcome, a written prayer, the words of assurance, order of announcements, & etc. Never in a million years did I expect this level of professionalism, but I appreciate it nonetheless.

01 March 2010

2009 Books

Need to make room for my list of books for 2010. The goal this year is 60. The reading last year was a little lean - but so much transition I will give myself several mulligans. Here is the list from 2009 so I do not forget or misplace exactly what I read.

The Heart Leans a Little to the Left by William Sloane Coffin,Cathedral by David Macaulay, Happy to be Nappy by bell hooks, Surprised by Hope by NT Wright, A Mind to Murderby PD James, Abe's Honest Words by Doreen Rappaport,Mosque by David Macaulay, March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World by Christine King Farris, The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man by Abraham Joshua Heschel, Why New Orleans Matters by Tom Piazza, The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, 1 Dead in Attic by Chris Rose, Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, All for God's Glory: Redeeming Church Scutwork by Louis Weeks,Delivering the Sermon by Teresa L. Fry Brown, Primary Speech: A Psychology of Prayer by Ann and Barry Ulanov,Henry's Night by D.B. Johnson, Sabbath in the City: Sustaining Urban Pastoral Excellence by Bryan P. Stone and Clarie E. Wolfteich, Who Needs Donuts? by Mark Alan Stamaty, Pigeon Feathers and Other Stories by John Updike,The Crucible of Redemption: The Meaning of the Cross-Resurrection Event by Carlyle Marney, Wendell Berry and the Cultivation of Life: A Reader's Guide by J. Matthew Bonzo and Michael R. Stevens, A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, Building the Book Cathedral by David Macaulay, Gumbo Tales: Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table by Sarah Roahen, A. Lincoln: A Biography by Ronald C. White