09 September 2014

The Cycling Clergyman: Installment #7: Summer Update

With MPR's Paul Huttner predicting a wind chill of 36 degrees this week I reckon I better hurry up and post a summer update.

1.  General Update.  I have continued to ride my bike and take the bus for my work as a pastor. I know a situation will emerge when I will need immediate (and fast) transportation, so I signed up for a Car2Go membership, C2G's area now includes both Minneapolis & St. Paul (but I have yet to use it).

2.  Changes.
A.  Time.  I am amazed at how riding my bike and taking the bus has changed my outlook on time.  I know that getting from Point A to Point B will take more time on my bike or on the bus.  I used to get frustrated by this slowness, but no more.  Now I appreciate the scenery and the people I see and the relative quiet.  In June I took the bus over to Augsburg College to visit someone, it took me almost an hour.  Rather than get frustrated at the length of time, I used the time on the bus to read (I read almost 55 pages of a theology book!  When was the last time you had an hour of silence to read 55 pages of theology - that bus pass just got a little more tantalizing).

B.  Bike Racks.  Since I last wrote a post Judson Memorial Baptist Church and Judson Preschool and Dero and the City of Minneapolis got together and installed not one, not two, not three, but four bike racks on Harriet Ave.  Woohoo.

C.  Influence.  I have no idea if my riding around town has much, if any, impact on congregants or others.  But I have noticed an uptick in the number of bikes parked at Judson on Sunday mornings and throughout the week.  (For the record it was a Judson member who rode their bike during the winter that provided initial inspiration).  And I had one member share about the insights he/she has since he/she also started riding their bike to work.

this my jersey from the race.
it was fun to have people cheer for Rev.
Especially, the chant, "go rev go"
Someone also yelled, "give em hell Rev.  
D.  Physical.  Unknown to most, I have always had a secret desire to do a triathlon.  In January, around the time I started riding my bike full-time, I registered for a tri in Aug.  This August I finished two triathlons.  I reckoned if I could ride my bike in the snow and wind I could finish a tri.  I was right.

It was great fun training and competing in the races.  I cannot wait until to a few more next year.  (I need to report that for the last race I was mis-registered as a newbie - basically for a glorified kids triathlon.  I corrected the mistake on race day, but my times were reported with the newbies.  For the 100 yard swim everyone else had times of around 4 minutes while mine read 18 minutes.)  For the record, I competed a Sprint distance tri with a swim length of 1/2 mile.

Another, deeply lodged, impetus for riding my bike full-time was to also get in shape.  As a pastor there are times when entire groups of muscles do not get used.  I sit down quite a bit and eat lots of unhealthy, but tasty, foods.  Last year while at the Minnesota State Fair I got on the official scales at the Minnesota Commerce booth; I weighed a whopping 196 lbs.  I had not weighed that much since my senior year of high school, when I was the starting left offensive tackle (I was really a guard but the coach flipped the tackles and guards to combat the 4-4 defensive scheme).  I vowed then and there that I would weigh less than 196 lbs the next time I was at the fair and climbed those scales.  Thanks to riding my bike, cutting back on sweets (and beer, but since nearly all Minnesota beers taste like some version of grapefruit, this was not nearly as difficult as you may think it was), and training for the triathlons I am proud to say I lost nearly 15lbs.

E.  Style.  For most of the winter and spring I wore my clerical collar.  But I really dont like my clerical collar.  I know I can wear them but everyone either thinks I am a Lutheran, Catholic, or Episcopal pastors - all are welcomed associations but I am quite fond of my baptistness.  I tried the blue + baptist + water = blue clerical collar shirt but no one "got" my association.  I tried a blue and white striped and a plain white clergy shirt but I spilled coffee on them both the first day I wore them.  Plus, once when my collar "popped out" on my white shirt a clerk at a store was convinced something was terribly wrong with my shirt, she was deeply troubled by it.  Resolution: I went Tom Rice or Lawrence Hargrave or Bill Austin- i.e. back to the bow tie, exculsively.  I love bow ties.

Here is my first sermon back after summer vacation, with a bow tie.  I think this may be my favorite sermon of all time.  Why?  It describes my self re-discovery.  Thank you Judson.

Judson Sermon 20140817 "An Expanded Heart" from Jacqueline Thureson on Vimeo.

that's a wrap, for now.  Join with me, get on your bike and get moving.


a bucket of Sweet Martha's from the State Fair

a sign at my favorite (sometimes) donut shop.  Favorite that is when they have plain cake donuts in stock.  Yes, my favorite donut is a plain cake donut.  Yes, I like my coffee black.  Yes, I am an old-man-in-training.  

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