29 June 2012

No Way It Is Friday Already

But it is Friday already.  In between packing, celebrating our anniversary, baseball practice and games (the team I coach has won its first two playoff games), swim meets, buying boxes, selling furniture on craigslist, saying goodbye to friends, and who knows what else...somehow today is Friday.

I'm short on words but luckily the missus expressed exactly what I wanted to say.  Check out her reflection.

20 June 2012

That Was the Best Lutefisk I Ever Had...

Judson folk, many thanks for your comments, emails, and messages concerning the post from last week. How about we shift from what you love to what you don't particularly like?  Feel free to comment as a post, or email - gtnorvell(at)gmail.com, you can also find me on the twitter (but I'm not much of a tweeter) and I'm on the facebook, usually posting extremely corny and dry sentences. If you send me a request I will happily reply.

So what do you hate?  Several years ago an intentional clergy group I was a member of met in Louisiana for a weekend retreat.  The leader was a retired pastoral psychotherapist, a fantastic person.  As we sat around the table one morning after breakfast he asked us all to play a game, "what do you hate?"  We were all hesitant to play, who wants to say out loud what you hate, what if the person next to you loves what you hate? We were all resistant to continue and began spouting off extremely safe things: mayonnaise, yes I do not care for mayonnaise but I have developed a taste for fancy garlic aioli on hamburgers; dew topped grass on August mornings - I hated having football practice on weekday mornings and having to lay on wet grass to do calisthenics.  After a few rounds we started having a blast at this game.  I'll stop here though and let you pick up.  Or try it yourself with a few friends one night, I'll bet you'll be surprised what emerges and how good it feels to voice it.

If you are reluctant to list the things you hate. Then how about the things you regret (nothing serious here, we are only beginning to know each other).  Examples: I regret introducing my children to Triumph the Insult Comic Dog on the day before we left for a two day drive down the east coast.  I regret the day when my father and I were fishing and his small bait box fell into the stream that I did not dive in to get it, I had the better angle.

Funny how even playful stories of hate and regret can be brought to the fore our of minds as if they just happened.

As a pastor I love to visit people, especially home visits.  Folk generally feel obligated to feed me during these visit, but do not.  A cup of coffee or cold glass of water is fine.  One time a person offered me a particular dish, and trying to be as nice as possible I remarked that it was a tasty dish (but it wasn't).  As you can deduce every time from then on this person made me this dish, saying it was my favorite.  I never had the heart to tell the person no, so every time I would force it down.  Which brings me to the title of this post.  I'm sure someone will serve me a helping of lutefisk while I am in Minneapolis.  Believe it or not I have had a serving of it...once.  Once while in RI (RI has a historic Swedish population) a parishioner offered me a piece of lutefisk.  After I forced it down, the host asked with expectant eyes, "what did I think?"  I replied, "it was the best lutefisk I ever had."

As a pastor I hate to say things that upset people, especially when it is something dear to their heart like lutefisk, a dish with mayonnaise in it, pickles, or meatloaf.  No one ever wants to think that people that they love do not love the same things they love.  So whenever I prepare a dish of chicken livers feel free to say with a smile on your face, "those were the best chicken livers I ever had."

18 June 2012

International Evangelist?

As you may or may not know during the first week of Jazz Fest I conducted a prayer experiment outside the gates of the Fair Grounds.  The prayer experiment was pretty simple: would people pay me enough money to buy a ticket to Jazz Fest by writing prayers for them.  Yes, they did.

You can read about the experiment here.  And you can read the article that a colleague wrote.  You can also read my responses to the questions and thoughts I offered the author of the Associated Baptist Press piece.  The author by the way is Rev. Dr. Amy Butler, Senior Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Washington D.C.

The other day I received a google alert stating that my name came up in an article.  Being nosy, I took a gander at the article. Turns out the monthly Baptist newspaper of western Australia picked up the Jazz Fest prayers experiment story.  Here is a screen shot of the article, photo credit goes to Jack Kerrigan.

I'm curious if I can put on my business card: International Evangelist?

14 June 2012

What Is Uff da?

To those who are a part of the Judson Memorial Baptist Community allow me to say thanks for the wonderful hospitality, warmth, and joy you showered on me during my stay with you last weekend.  I couldn't get over your genuineness, your readiness to laugh, your gracious hugs, and yes your peculiar authentic quirkiness.

Going forward I ask that we continue the intentional journey as we get to know each other.  Allow me to start the conversation.  Things I love: rhubarb, rhubarb pie, rhubarb crisp, rhubarb bread, rhubarb punch, raw with a dash of sugar.  Speaking of pie.  I love pie, especially pie for breakfast (maybe not onion pie).  If I were not a pastor I would bake pies all day then ride around on my bike and pass them out, no fooling.  What else, hmm, oh yeah, British detective novels (I figure as long as they are British folk wont giggle at my obsession with detective novels).  And baseball, definitely baseball, regardless of the level or the talent.  I also love placing myself in the stadium to get foul balls or home runs, I'm pretty good at it.  Don't believe me?  Then take me to Target field and you'll see.  But it may take me a few games before I understand the stadium dynamics, pitcher and hitter tendencies, air flow, and earth curvature in relations to the stadium.  And fishing, I have never had a bad time fishing.

So what do you love?  That ought to get the conversation going.  Don't tell me all at once, let us pace ourselves.

12 June 2012

Heading Up River

Well now, big news, drum roll, horns, and now suspense filled silence: I have a call!  Pastor of Judson Memorial Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN.  And I'm so happy I got sit on my hands to keep from waving at everybody!