Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Christmas Letter 2005

Please don't be offended if you didn't receive a Christmas card from us this year. No one did. We tried for too long to get the perfect picture and as a result found ourselves too late to send anything out, but I did write a Christmas letter and figured I'd put it out somewhere, so here goes.

Merry Christmas Friends & Family,
Just wanted to give you a little update on all things Forster for 2005. It’s amazing how much life has changed for us in the past 12 months. A year ago today, we were putting the finishing touches on the Christmas Kettle effort on 52nd Street in New York. Sydney was hardly mobile. Riley was a creative ball of energy. Well, some things haven’t changed, I guess. We’ll celebrate this Christmas in our traditional digs at 186 Massapoag.

Last Spring Riley finished out a fantastic year at the Geneva School, a true gift from God during our time in the city. She made wonderful friends and got to experience the structure of school in a fun, safe, friendly environment. We enjoyed many trips to the Park in the spring, including Riley’s 4th birthday party on the lawn overlooking the Carousel just days before we left Manhattan. Spring saw Sydney learn to crawl and immediately begin to climb wherever possible, but she waited for the summer to really come out of herself.

Camp brought out the social butterfly in our quiet second child. She learned to enjoy seeing friends and discovered her voice in a major way. And like big sister, she learned to walk by chasing the other staff kids around. That was our big excitement in July and she hasn’t slowed down since. Looking to be the next great athlete in the family, Sydney is adventurous and doesn’t back down from any challenge. Riley adores being at camp in the summer with so many friends and would regularly remind us what her favorite part of the week was, Miracle Mile. She also confided to us that the scene she likes most is Jesus’ crucifixion for two reasons: because she isn’t scared and because that’s when we see Jesus dying for our sins.

Fall brought a new school experience for Ri, the Sharon Coop where she spends two and a half days a week. Her teacher, Mrs. Forman, quickly identified Riley’s love for stories and Riley has made several new friends after an uneasy start realizing that her school friends from Geneva had stayed behind in New York. Sydney has discovered communication this fall and can say 1000 things with her eyes alone. She’s starting to become the playmate Riley had hoped for at her birth and she is very affectionate, particularly to Libby. She never lets a silly thing like dog hair stand between her and a hug and kiss.

Jen and I are settling into our positions and have been warmly welcomed back to Massachusetts. The city stays with us, though, and we’ve enjoyed a few visits back. Jen’s schedule allows her to be with the girls as much as we could ask for and we’re grateful for that.

At the end of a year when so many have lost so much, we count ourselves truly grateful for all that we have. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours.

Monday, December 19, 2005

So true

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be."
from Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (1988)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Family #30

This was inspired by participating in the sorting and packing of gifts for The Salvation Army's Adopt-a-Family program here in Boston. It is not meant to be passed off as an actual letter, but rather what the thoughts might be of a young man in this situation.

I'm 17 years old. Mom just got back with our Christmas gifts. 3 big garbage bags that say Family #30 on them. A couple of weeks ago, mom had this paper and asked me and my brother what we wanted for Christmas. He's 15, we're the oldest. The little ones all asked for toys and dolls. My nieces and nephews are too young to even know what to ask for, so mom just wrote something down for them. We aren't really into toys any more, so I asked for Nike sneakers. My brother thought that sounded good too, so he said the same. I'm hoping some nice family from the suburbs decides to "adopt" us and I guess I hope to get those sneakers for Christmas. But I'm pretty much done with Christmas. It's not too magical when you're Family #30 anyway. You know what I really want for Christmas? I don't want to be family #30 any more. I don't want mom to have to give our list to a social worker, so the social worker can give it to someone else and some nice lady who lives in a big house and feels badly for Family #30, all 9 of us, can go out and buy us gifts. You know what? I don't want the sneakers. I don't want to be here. I don't want to live here. News is talking about everybody getting shot. I want to live where people don't know the people getting shot. I don't want to see the empty desk where one of those kids sat. I want to live where mom and the rest of us aren't numbers. Family #30, SSI# whatever, you're next, please step forward. Maybe that's why half my boys end up in prison, cause all their lives they've just been a number. Go to the house and keep being a number. I'm not a number. I have a name. The most important number about me ought to be my age: 17. Still a boy, forced to be the man because I'm the oldest. So I don't want to be adopted. I've got a mom and she does her best. I want a safe place to live that regular people can afford. I want a school that doesn't have to choose between another math teacher and oil to heat the place. After that, I don't even know what I want, I just wish it weren't like this. Family #30, gifts in garbage bags, bought by strangers with strangers' money and then left for us to pick up. Don't get me wrong. I'm grateful. I'm sure those people are really nice. But I just wish their charity wasn't under our tree this year.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Christmas in Hollis

We put the tree up last night. We found a couple of our Christmas CDs in the bin with the ornaments, so I was able to listen to and share with my family, one of my favorite Christmas songs: Christmas in Hollis by Run DMC. It was released on the first A Very Special Christmas. In my opinion, the best one of the series hands down. It's got great pop Christmas songs.

If you do not know this Christmas classic, here are the lyrics.

It was December 24th on Hollis Ave after dark
When I see a man chilling with his dog in the park
I approached very slowly with my heart full of fear
Looked at his dog, oh my God, a ill reindeer
But then I was illin' because the man had a beard
And a bag full of goodies, 12 o'clock had neared
So I turned my head a second and the man had gone
But he must have dropped his wallet smack down on the lawn
I picked the wallet up then I took a pause
Took out the license and it cold said "Santa Claus"

A million dollars in it, cold hundreds of G's
Enough to buy a boat and matching car with ease
But I'd never steal from Santa, cause that ain't right
So I was going home to mail it back to him that night
But when I got home I bugged, cause under the tree
Was a letter from Santa and the dough's for me

It's Christmas time in Hollis Queens
Mom's cooking chicken and collard greens
Rice and stuffing, macaroni and cheese
And Santa put gifts under Christmas trees
Decorate the house with lights at night
Snow's on the ground, snow white so bright
In the fireplace is the yule log
Beneath the mistle toe as we drink egg nog
The rhymes that you hear are the rhymes of Darryl's
But each and every year we bust Chrsitmas carols

Rhymes so loud and proud you hear it
It's Christmas time and we got the spirit
Jack Frost chillin, the orchid's out
And that's what Christmas is all about
The time is now, the place is here
And the whole wide world is filled with cheer
My name's D.M.C. with the mic in my hand
And I'm chilling and coolin' just like a snowman
So open your eyes, lend us a ear
We want to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Tagged, grrrr

I hate stuff like this, but I love Jocelyn, who tagged me, so here goes.

Instructions: Write 5 random facts about yourself, then list the names of 5 people whom you in turn infect.

1. I have a twin brother. I am 6 minutes older than he is. That's not really random if you know me, but this is: when I was a kid, say 8 years old, I thought I was 6 minutes older than all other 8-year-olds.

2. I love the movie "It's a Wonderful Life"

3. I've worn my Salvation Army uniform to work 2 days in a row (yesterday and today)

4. I had pancakes for dinner last night.

5. I want a digital SLR camera for Christmas.

I'm tagging Carole, Carol, Stephen, Allison and Allison.


Remember when snow was still simply magical?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Advent Cartoon Calendar

In case the Christmas season is getting too stressful for you, head on over to Dave Walker's Advent Calendar at Cartoon Church. Here is today's entry to get you started.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A New Fantasy League

Inspired by endzone prayer meetings and thank-God-for-this-home-run dances and by the ubiquitous fantasy leagues that exist for every sport under the sun, including (to my horror and amusement in equal portions) wrestling, I've come up with a new concept: fantasy faith sports.

Here's the idea: similar to other fantasy leagues, players will be chosen from various priofessional leagues. Then you watch as many games as you can checking to see how your players display their ardent faith: 10 points for kneeling to pray, 5 points for pointing skyward, 3 points for wearing a cross visisbly outside your uniform. Also this league would continue to score points after the game ends: 10 points for thanking God in the post game press conference, but only if it's a bland non-sectarian God. It would be minus 20 points if the player actually mentions my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ for the possibility of offending non-Christian fans.

It would also cost you 10 points if your fantasy faith player fails his league's drug test or gets arrested, minus 25 additional points if the arrest is for domestic abuse. Minus 20 points for mentioning God in the post-arrest press conference. Minus 100 points for mentioning God in media interviews discussing your day after Thanksgiving arrest for criminal possession because you were holding "your friend's crackpipe" so your kids wouldn't be exposed to that scene.

Obviously, there are many other sports-faith intersected instances that would need to be measured on a case by case basis.

If you want to join the league, we'll be running the draft at the potluck after church this Sunday. So pick a team name (mine is the Massachusetts Men of Faith), come up with a cool logo and study up on your spiritual sports. See you there.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Manger Throne

I don't know if you feel this way, but with so much going on, though I know Thanksgiving is over and it's December 2, I don't feel like it's Christmas time yet. I've seen snow, and still it seems like the summer just ended. Wake me up when September ends.

Anyway, to attempt to remedy this situation and enjoy the next 3 weeks in gear with what's going on, I sought out some Christmas music from our music department yesterday. I found City on a Hill: It's Christmas Time. There are some great finds on it.

I'm naturally biased toward anything by Third Day. I think Mac Powell could sing "This is the song that never ends" and I would love it, but I found the lyrics to their track on this CD particularly poignant. It's called Manger Throne.

What kind of King would leave His throne
In Heaven to make this earth His home?
While men seek fame and great renown,
In loneliness our King comes down.

Jesus, Jesus, precious One,
How we thank You that You’re come.
Jesus, Jesus, precious One,
A manger throne for God’s own Son.

You left the sound of angels’ praise
To come for men with unkind ways.
And by this Baby’s helplessness,
The power of nations is laid to rest.

Jesus, Jesus, precious One,
How we thank You that You’re come.
Jesus, Jesus, precious One,
A manger throne for God’s own Son.

What kind of King would come so small,
From glory to a humble stall?
That dirty manger is my heart, too.
I’ll make it a royal throne for You.

Jesus, Jesus, precious One,
How we thank You that You’re come.
Jesus, Jesus, precious One,
A manger throne for God’s own Son.

My heart is a throne,
My heart is a throne for God’s own Son.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Hands off praying

This is from Cynthia Bezek, editor of Pray!

Back in the dark ages when students, writers, and editors used typewriters, I yearned for a Smith Corona electric portable with correction cartridge (can you believe that model was state-of-the-art when I was 17?). I made my request known to Mom and Dad, but for some reason, I thought they hadn’t heard me or that they weren’t interested in my need. So I moved on to Plan B. I’ve always been a "Can-Do, Make-It-Happen" kind of person, so I started saving my money and reading the advertisements. Eventually I found a typewriter that I could pay for myself; true, it wasn’t as nice as the model I’d originally hoped for, but it would do.

I announced my intention to buy the typewriter to my parents, who to my surprise, were disappointed. "We’d planned to get you that typewriter you really wanted! Why do you have to do it yourself and get something not nearly as nice?"

Why indeed?

Several weeks ago, I began praying about something my family and I believe we need. But when God didn’t seem to be doing anything about it, I moved into Do-It-Yourself mode. So far, though, I haven’t managed to make it happen. Yesterday I had just started concocting Plan C when the Lord reminded me about the first-rate typewriter my parents bought for me so many years ago. Why don’t you relax and let Me work? Don’t take the fun out of it for Me! He seemed to be saying.

So what does Father have in mind concerning this request my family and I have been asking Him about? I don’t know yet, but with His infinite creativity, resources, time, and power, I know I can trust Him to do a better job with this than I can. I’m taking my hands off this one, and I’m learning to live Phil. 4:6: "Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done" (NLT).

Friday, November 18, 2005

A word from Clive Staples

All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you
I've never had a selfless thought since I was born
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through
I want God, you, all friends merely to serve my turn

Peace, reassurance, pleasure are the goals I seek
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin
I talk of love, a scholar's parrot may talk Greek
but, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin

Whenever I read great men of God who seemed to struggle in similar ways with their faithwalk, I'm encouraged. I say, hey, if Peter can fall apart under pressure, if Paul can struggle to do the right thing even when he wants to, if CS Lewis can admit to being self-serving above all else, I think maybe, just maybe I might have a shot at this thing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Don't Stuff the Dog

Angie Ward might have kind of killed the metaphor in this article, but her advice to the church about not stuffing the dog is timely and right on. Basically, it's a piece about not holding onto outdated programs and practices that have become beloved "pets" of the church. She asserts that holding on too long might not only prevent people from moving forward, but might actually break trust and drive new people away. It's a message that needs to be heard in the church. Even better, she quotes Alan Alda. You can't go wrong with Hawkeye.

One thing she doesn't cover though is being the member rather than the leader who recognizes the dead dog and can do nothing to remove it because the leader still holds onto his pet. Maybe this touches on Phil's loyal radicals, but how do we operate as the member who sees the program or practice as well past its time, while we are not in the decision making position to remove it or change it?

Friday, November 11, 2005


Ok, so I've been doing some card shopping lately for various events and have noticed a new collection in the greeting card section. I don't actually know how new it is. I just know I hadn't seen it before about 2 months ago. It's called Mahogany and it's a Hallmark collection of cards. The collection targets African-Americans and features images geared toward that population.

For a while now, I've considered myself or at least strived to be, as Bart Campolo puts it, a white person who "gets it" for people of color--someone who is still willing to admit and point out the racism that still exists in America; someone who doesn't say the stupid things that get us nowhere in terms of reconciliation and the righting of wrongs like "some of my best friends are black;" someone who is interested in African-American culture without "trying to be black;" someone who doesn't try to be "color blind" because that's a stupid notion. Race is real and we need to be aware of similarities and differences between us, not blind to them.

So I have to admit that I'm disappointed with myself for my lack of sensitivity to people of color in such a simple area as greeting cards. I, as a white person, have never had to look through rows and rows of cards and see no images of anyone that resembles me. Ok, so I don't really look like those oiled up muscle bound guys on the front of some cards, but I'm the same skin tone as he is, if that's the only similarity between us. Before seeing this Mahogany collection, I never found it offensive that all of the handdrawn cartoon cards look something like this one. For white people in America, we can walk through our daily lives and not think about race. For people of color, something as inane as buying a birthday card can hardly NOT be about race.

So here's the thing, though. I'm not sure The Mahogany Collection is the answer. To Hallmark's credit, they came up with a decent sounding name for the collection. They didn't call it "The Back of the Bus" collection and they place the cards in and among all of the others, but I can't help but think that it might be a better step if we didn't have segregation in the card section.

It's kind of like that phenomenon in sports where people feel the need to say, "Donovan McNabb, the black quarterback" or "Tony Dungy is one of the best African-American coaches we have." Finally, there is some sensitivity where people have just started to refer to these guys by their names, but it still carries on for some like Fisher DeBerry and Joe Pa.

Wouldn't it be better if Hallmark didn't feel the need to point it out so blatantly? It's funny they never seemed to point it out while they've only had cards depicting white people for the last 100 years. 40 years after MLK, decades after Jim Crow, nearly a century and a half after the emancipation proclamation, couldn't they just start to make cards with images of people from various races and sprinkle them in among the other cards and not tag them as Mahogany? I don't know if it's marketing or if they think they're doing something right, but by euphemizing race you're not subtracting it. What would people say if the little card tabs in the store said, "Cards for black people?"

I chose the birthday card at the top because of its subtlety. I would buy that card for any woman I know who was "born to flourish and to dance beneath the sun." I don't really need someone to tell me whether the image is appropriate for my purposes or not. On the other hand, the Forster Family Christmas card probably won't look like this one. Give the consumer some credit to decide which cards do and do not make sense.

So good for Hallmark that they've seen the error of their ways, but hopefully this collection will fade into the rainbow of the card section instead of sticking out. And by the way, I noticed there is not Asian collection, no Latino collection, no Pacific Islander collection. I shudder to think of the names they might come up with for all of those collections.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I knew there was a reason I liked IBC

Sometimes the best beer is a root beer. Perhaps the best argument I've yet seen for abstaining from alcohol. Check out this IBC Ad.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Gotta Go

I have lots of stuff I'm planning to post, actually some of it is sitting in my post list as drafts right now. I just have to put it all together before posting and have no time, so in the meantime, I thought I'd throw props to Jocelyn, who is putting up some really great stuff and getting no comments, and so I fear, few visitors. Go see what she has to say about how Normal is the New Beautiful or Google, NPR and Jazz.

Also if you haven't heard Phil Laeger's news yet, go to his blog.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A way unexpected surprise

Yesterday morning, I heard a rumor that there might be some tickets to the Colts-Patriots game coming toward our building later in the day.

At about 3 in the afternoon not having heard anything further, I went to go investigate what had become of the tickets. A pure dumb luck situation of being in the right place at the right time and 15 minutes later, I was holding several tickets to the game, 2 of which were for Jen and me to go.

We all know what happened in the game. It was much as everyone expected, the Pats got killed. But even for those of us who had been bracing ourselves for a loss, they lost the game in a very difficult fashion, completely unable to stop the Colts on defense at all.

But who cares? We got to go on a perfect November night and sit in some very nice corner end zone seats. Many of the people in our group had never been to an NFL game. It was a lot of fun. From the perspective we had, you could really see the plays open up, see recievers come open. Unfortunately too many of them were wearing white jerseys.

Gillette is a great place to watch a game. They did everything right when they built that place. It will stand up as one of the best stadiums in the league for a long time. They've added screens inside the lighthouse at the front end of the stadium and make good use of the addition, flying the stars and stripes at the beginning of the game, showing FLAG on a yellow background when there's a penalty on a play, etc.

Brady had a solid night and you really can't take anything away from the offense. Unfortunately, the defense couldn't take anything away from Indy, including the ball on several 3rd downs completed for firsts.

We live 15 minutes from the stadium. We left the game shortly before midnight, so we got home at 10 after 1. It's crazy.

It was really fun to be out with Jen who is usually pushing me out of the chapel door to ensure that we make it home for kickoff. We've had a busy month or so and it won't stop anytime soon, so it was a great opportunity to be together doing something we both love that we never expected to have the chance to do. Especially not until 3pm yesterday.

Monday, November 07, 2005

David Crowder Rocks my Sox

Went to see David Crowder Band last night at the Worcester Palladium. Palladium, by the way, is Greek for "dumpy old theater that is crumbling around and on top of concertgoers at rock shows." It hosts a diverse range of music. Tonight: Slipknot. Grab your dog collar and head on down!

We were up in the balcony. I sat between two busted out seats without bottoms on my left and their friend on my right. The ticket cost $19. I shudder to think what it would have cost if they painted the place. Didn't care too much for the openers: Robbie Seay Band (as in "say what?" I understood only one word of his set: mystery) and Shane and Shane. Surprisingly 5 guys came out on stage. I know a lot of people like these guys. I know this because people were screaming when they played the first lick of many songs, but I was a little bored. Again, couldn't understand too many lyrics, but they kind of have one move--acoustic strumming overlaid by soaring vocals held out for at least 8 beats. Oh yeah and the one Shane looked like he was waiting for a bus--work jacket with hooded sweatshirt sticking out the back and a baseball cap. He must have been sweating up a storm.

But Crowder did not disappoint. This is the third time I've seem him live (why do people say that? Could I have seen him on video or some kind of satelite uplink? If I had, would you care?). Anyway, he just puts on a great show. Here are the top 7 reasons why: 1. His music rocks--it's different from just about anyone else out there right now, the blend of acoustic and electric guitars, the electronica, simple but profound lyrics. 2. His energy. He really doesn't stop moving the whole show, and all the while on these crazy skinny legs. 3. There is No One Like You. Enough said. 4. The way he says, "You feel like doing some group singing?" Like we're all sitting around a campfire or something. 5. He's funny. His shows are always fun and his song intros are funny, not insipid. He regularly incites the crowd to sing loudly and badly. 6. He played the keytar. On two songs in the middle of his set, Crowder rocked out on a red keytar. He was quick to dismiss the naysayers by explaining "we are professionals, serious musicians. We only use real instruments. This keytar thing. I think it's big. It's really the future. It's where everything's going." 7. I had an experience of the presence of God. It never fails with Crowder. I really get the impression that he's real and that he honestly wants to honor God with his music. I have experienced God in a powerful way at every one of his shows.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Camo Convertible

Ok, this I don't get. I know, I know it's a fashion statement and I shouldn't think about it quite so much, but why in the world does she have a camoflauge convertible top? Is she planning to go on maneuvers in her Chrysler? Maybe she's a hunter and she's too lazy to hike into the woods. I guess a car would make a much more comfortable tree stand. I mean, you could listen to the radio while you wait to kill helpless animals. You'd have cupholders and maybe even seat warmers.

Maybe it's supposed to be a joke on droptops period. Get it? You can't tell if the top is up or down because it's camo. She could have at least put this top on a black car, or at least on a car that was a color green that might find its way into camoflauge, but to put it on an emerald green car is an insult to camo convertibles everywhere.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


I sometimes have to laugh at names of businesses and this one is really funny. I was driving down the road the other day and saw this bus. Note the name of the bus company. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't be that enthusiastic about riding with the Lamers bus company. I mean, what does that say about me? Give me Greyhound or Fung Wah, but not Lamers.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Books as status symbols

I’ve recently come to understand something about myself that ought to have been obvious much earlier in my evolution. I view books as status symbols. Moving back into our smallish 2 BR apartment in Sharon from over 1200 square feet in Manhattan has been an adjustment in many ways. But one of the most painful losses has been the loss of two glorious floor-to-ceiling book shelves that were and remain part of the furnishings on 52nd St.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally had to face facts and unpack books to fill up our only remaining 3-shelf bookcase. As the space was limited, I was very cognizant of what gained space on such hallowed shelf. The top one, lined with Bibles and other spiritually themed literature to prove to visitors that we are Christians (and they’ll know we are Christians by our books). The second shelf was home to the greatest hits of two different college educations—some education stuff, primary and secondary; the poets, or at least what we have for poets: E. B. Browning and Lord Byron (never was much into Keats or Shelley); almost the entire syllabus from the one literature course I took in college: The Jungle Books; and other assorted titles I thought would impress a visitor, including two from Chinua Achebe for good measure. The bottom shelf, being the tallest is home to the cozy stuff visitors like to look at when they visit your home: some very embarrassing high school yearbooks from central Massachusetts and north Jersey, some slightly less embarrassing college yearbooks, my sketchbook from the drawing class I took for non-art majors. Short of laying every book we own out and embarking on a strenuous selection process, I felt pretty good about what I had chosen, though the selection was painfully small and painted an admittedly incomplete picture of our lives.

This weekend, I had to move the rest of the boxes that went silently but proudly like dignified refugees to the basement. Beyond the simple fact that our handsome bookshelf is filled to capacity and we have no other on which to place books, there also isn’t any space for a companion to share the load.

I realized that this was such a difficult fact for me to face up to because I associate books with status. This should come as no surprise to the son of a man who, in legendary fashion, has carted no less than 25 boxes of books around the country, nay the world during his 30+ year career as a Salvation Army officer (pastor) moving on average, once every 3.5 years. As an educated person, I spent much of my college career lugging around book guilt, concerned that I hadn’t read enough of the aforementioned Achebe and often confused T.S. Elliot and e.e. cummings, simply because they both went by their initials (yes I know the difference now). It seemed like everyone around me had read more, was reading more and forever would read more than I did.

Some people, when visiting friends’ or strangers’ houses make decisions about them and their lifestyle based on the usual markers: what’s parked in their driveway, what’s served at the table and what it is served on. I go right to the bookshelf at first opportunity. I had always suspected that my friends John and Anne were better people than I am, particularly Anne. This was confirmed when I arrived at their Philadelphia home and found, you guessed it, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, two of them, crammed with books. Not just standing as sentinels, side by side, but crowding on top of each other in crazy horizontals and diagonals, elbowing each other for space on the shelf. And the collection would make any English professor beam or any black-wearing latte-sipping Lit major show the slightest intention toward a grin. It had everything, of course: Shelley and Keats, poetry, history, biographies, Bibles, humor. You name it—they have it.

Now here’s the kicker. I don’t read. I have books on my shelf I have never read. I have books on the shelf I read once and don’t ever want to read again. I have books I’d love to read, but I’m waiting for the time to be just right. At present, though I have two or three books on my desk and some in my sidebar as current reading, I am reading one book (2 if you count the Word). It’s Barbara Kingsolver’s Pigs in Heaven. I haven’t read more than a chapter of it this month. I’m like the guy who owns exotic cars like Ferraris and Lambos, but drives a Chevy Cobalt to work and leaves the exotics in a glass garage at his villa.

It’s a really handsome bookshelf, and it’s hinged. It folds almost flat when you move it. Enough blogging. Gotta go read.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Awesome Big 80s Rewind -- Walking in the Rain

On the way to work this morning, my friend Rick mentioned a classic 80s song called The Rain, by Oran "Juice" Jones. It contains one of the single greatest talking sections in a song ever. If you don't know the song, it's from a guy's perspective who caught his girlfriend cheating. The chorus is:

I saw you (and him)
Walking in the rain
You were holding hands and I’ll
Never be the same

Anyway, we googled the lyrics and the talking part is even better than I remember. If you know the song, take a trip down memory lane and buy it on iTunes. If you don't know the song, you'll never spend 99 cents more wisely. It's too good. With genius like this, what ever happened to Oran Jones?

Hey, hey, baby, how you doin’, come on in here
Got some hot chocolate on the stove waitin’ for ya
Listen, first things first, let me hang up that coat
Yeah, ‘n’ how’s your day today, did ya miss me?
Oh, you did, yeah, I missed you, too
I missed you so much I followed you today
That’s right. Now close your mouth ‘cause you cold busted
That’s right, now sit down here
Sit down here. So upset with you I don’t know what to do
‘N’ my first impulse was to run up on you
And do a Rambo. Whip out the jammy and flat-blast both of you
But I ain’t wanna mess up this thirty-seven hundred dollar lynx coat

So instead… I chilled (yeah) That’s right, chilled, then I went to the bank
Took out every dime. And then I went and cancelled all those credit cards
Yeah. All your charge accounts. Yeah.
I stuck you up for every piece of jewelry I ever bought you
Yeah. That’s right, everything. Everything
Didn't fky with me. Naw, don’t go, you ever go, don’t go looking in that closet
‘Cause you ain’t got nothing in there
Everything you came here with
Is packed up and waiting for you in the guest room
That’s right, what was you thinking about, huh?
What were you tryin’ to prove, huh? You’s with the Juice
‘N’ I gave you silk suits, Gucci handbags, blue diamonds
I gave you things you couldn’t even pronounce

Now I can’t give you nothin’ but advice ‘cause you’re still young
That’s right, you’re still young. I hope you learn a valuable lesson from all this, you know?Gonna find someone like me one of these days
Until then, know what you gotta do? You gotta get on outta here with that
Alley-cat-coat-wearin’ Hush-Puppy-shoe-wearin’ crumb cake I saw you with
‘Cause you dismissed. That’s right, silly rabbit. Tricks are made for kids, don’t you know that?
You without me: like cornflake without the milk.
It’s my world, you just a squirrel, tryin’ to get a nut
Now get on outta here. Ah! Don’t touch that coat!

Friday, September 23, 2005

The World for God

Just dug this up. I wrote it last year at about this time. Amazing sometimes when we fast forward a year in our lives.

The World for God

I met them as I was walking back from late night coffee with an old college friend I hadn’t seen in years. Going over in my mind the conversation we had just shared while shutting down a Starbucks in Grand Central Station, I was concerned that I had pushed my faith too hard on him. I had no intention of doing so. I really wasn’t looking upon this as some sort of evangelistic conquest waiting to happen.

Most of it was innocuous enough—simply two old friends who had been accustomed to seeing each other daily, catching up on 10 years of mostly lost time. It was our last exchange that had me most concerned. He spoke of all the good-looking women rushing past him as we exited the terminal and mourned the fact that there was no good way for a single guy to flag them down and begin some meaningful conversation or at least get an email address from them. That’s when I plunged overboard accidentally. I told him that the good-looking women hang out at church and don’t rush off. Before I knew it I was inviting him and working out the logistics of him staying at our place on a Saturday night so he wouldn’t have to get up early and commute to our worship service. He stopped me in my tracks, reminding me that he was still holding out for a nice Jewish girl with whom he could settle down.

An abrupt goodbye and a wave of self-doubt.

And so it was that I got off at my subway stop, wandered north a couple blocks in the opposite direction of home to look for some members of our congregation who told me they were sleeping opposite the nearest Catholic Church to our corps. I didn’t find them, but did meet three new faces – C, a tall gaunt man with a black head wrap, Rock, the suspicious one of the bunch who did not offer his hand to shake mine back and Matt, the social butterfly of the crowd, barrel chest and bald head to look the part. Antonio, a regular, was sleeping on some cardboard behind them. We spoke for a moment, I told them about our services. They asked if the meal on Sundays was any good. Rock was specific about wanting my opinion, not Antonio’s and we parted ways.

Close to midnight, I was ready to call it a night when the Spirit spoke and told me to take yet another long way home. Staying two blocks north and not at all sure if this was just me, just my imagination or the leading of the Spirit, I walked on. I prayed that the Lord would reveal the specific people he was urging me on about. The first couple of fellow pedestrians might have made me out for half a crazy person as I stared at them in hopes that the Spirit would do his thing and let me know. Then I spotted them. Across the street, two Asian men, one well dressed in black, one with the ubiquitous urban black canvas cab with a short bill, a straggly goatee and some piercings. Both were smoking and leaning up against a closed Chinese food restaurant. I crossed the street close to where they loitered. I walked past them at first hoping the Spirit would give up on this urging. But he nagged at me and I’ve regretted being disobedient to the leading of the Spirit in the past, so I turned around. I slowly, cautiously approached them hoping the voice would call me off at the last second, offer up some other goat to sacrifice instead of me like he had done for Abraham and Isaac. No such luck.

It wasn’t until I got close that I noticed the telltale earpiece planted in the ear of the well-dressed one. It was very similar to the ones worn by the street scouts for the Japanese brothel on my block. I had no idea what to say, so I stumbled out with:

“You guys work around here?”

Nods of the head.

“I work near here too. Where do you guys work?”

Well-dressed pointed over his shoulder, up the steps of the brownstone next to the Chinese place. “Right up there.”

“Oh. I work at The Salvation Army over on 52nd.”

“The what? Say the name again”

“The Salvation Army at 52nd” (you know, right down from the other brothel?)

“52nd and …?”

“3rd, right next to 875, the big building.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know it.”

Long pause. What to say now?

Stumble on.

“I think we’re in very different lines of work.”

Well-dressed and smiling wryly, “Different cultures!”

“Yeah, different cultures. Well, my name’s Drew. What are yours?”

Well-dressed. “I’m Nao.”

Scraggly goat. “I’m Kaz.”



“Nice to meet you.”

Enter friends of Nao and Kaz. “Well, I won’t keep you from your friends. Have a nice night.”

So, three groups: an old college friend; a trio of men who make up the hearty band of the hardcore homeless of New York City; two guys who work for a brothel in midtown.

Evangelism? I don’t think so. Obedience? Most of the way, I hope. Education? Always in this city. Kingdom business? God only knows.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Garden State

Ok, so I know that I'm coming late to the party, but I just watched Garden State last night for the first time. I know it's pathetic for a former self-proclaimed pop culture junkie, but give me a break, I have 2 kids under the age of 4. Anyway. If you're later to the party than I am and haven't yet seen Garden State, but want to preserve some suspense for yourself, you might want to get off the Parkway at the next toll. In other words, stop reading because I'm going to give away key portions of the movie.

Pretty good flick and I was particularly impressed when I got to the end and saw that it was written and directed by Zach Braff. He has more going on than I thought. Clearly this movie is to Zach Braff what Good Will Hunting was to Damon and Affleck and what Mr. Deeds was to Adam Sandler. For him, it's a movie about home and it has particular appeal to those of us who enjoyed the ignominious pleasure of growing up in the Armpit of America. (Incidently, do you know that the guy who named Jersey the Garden State was on a boat several hundred feet from shore when he did?)

As I watched and caught up with the particular angle on life Garden State takes, I had two thoughts--first, that it's a very postmodern film, allowing the viewer to fill in some blanks or be satisfied that not everything is going to be worked out cleanly and secondly, that it reminded me quite a bit of The Graduate. Similar aged guys who seem to be floating through life, influenced more by other people initially than any force of conviction that they possess. I actually think Braff acts quite a bit like Hoffman's character and wonder if he used it for inspiration at all.

Anyway, there's a disappointing difference on both of those counts when it comes to the ending of GS. One of the things I love best about The Graduate is that at the end, Hoffman drives his Alfa Romeo all night and runs out of gas and finally gets to the church, and gets the girl. They go running out of the church. Then they jump on a city bus and in one of the great movie scenes of all time, the camera zooms in on their faces, her sitting in her wedding dress, him in his dirty jacket looking quite unkempt and the look on their faces is completely unresolved. They look happy, they smile at each other and then they face forward and have this look that kind of says, "what did we just do?" and then there's a hard cut to black. That's how the movie ends and it is completely left up to the viewer to decide what happens with these two people. It's not a cheesy sequel setup or anything, but a strong statement about how life doesn't quite so easily resolve itself as is often portrayed in art. I get the feeling that Braff wanted to do the same thing in Garden State, but essentially he wussed out and gave it a very traditional happy ending where his and Natalie Portmann's character get together. His character even says something about "not putting a period on this thing, just an ellipsis" but then he goes ahead and cheeses out by getting off the plane.

My question is why can't anyone make a decent truly postmodern movie that doesn't resolve itself? Do we all need the comfortable G chord at the end instead of hanging on a nice A minor?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Driving Range

We were out visiting Jen's mom in Athol (literally a one-stoplight town in central MA where my wife grew up) the other day. The cousins were along so we went to a place that has ice cream for the kids, a driving range, batting cages and go karts. Much fun was had by all. But this was the funniest part of the place. Right next to the window where you buy your token for the ball dispenser was this warning to would be Sandler imitators: "No Happy Gilmore's" Only in Athol, MA would you need such a warning. But also, only in Athol could you be ensured that those who really need this caution would understand exactly what is meant.

Duely warned we did not run up to the tee or smash our clubs on any of the driving range equipment. I am proud to say that I hit the Chrylser K Car placed in the target area on only one bounce. Sadly, better golfers have already taken out all the windows. Riley's first go kart ride completed a very fun summer day stolen out of the clutches of early fall.

People: Double Poor Taste Issue

I have a couple of close relatives who are big fans of People magazine, so I have to watch myself here, but I was put off yesterday in the grocery store when I saw their latest "Special Double Issue." I guess they do this from time to time when a new story trumps what their regular issue was meant to focus on or something, but this time around, it's really in poor taste.

The "lead" story, like everywhere else, is the devastation of Katrina and the aftermath. As is typical, People seeks out hopeful stories from the crisis and so the issue focuses on Courage in Chaos. I can accept that and I know it's going to sell magazines, but it seems like a worthy enough endeavor. What bothers me is the "double issue." You can see it in the upper right corner. The lead is "Best & Worst Dressed." I know this is an issue that readers of People look forward to, but couldn't they wait a week? Does it really deserve to share time with stories of courage in human tragedy. It seems like placing the utterly superficial next to the profound cheapens the depth of the real story here.

Is it just me?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Camp Meeting Reenactment, anyone?

I know it's kind of lame to just post other people's stuff, but I'm crazy busy right now. However, given the season, I just can't pass up the opportunity to direct you to Keith Drury's excellent piece in which he compares attending camp meetings to civil war reenactment. Thank you Joann for this.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Just in case any of us might make the mistake of taking our blogs too seriously. And a little nod to my earlier blog about using someone else's ideas for fodder.

Gotta go. I'm on deadline for my real life.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Jack Worship

Check out Keith Drury's latest -- Jack Worship, the new worship trend sweeping the church. Look for it at a church near you.

Could it happen?
Should it happen?
Will it happen?

So you want that in blew? or why I hate buying cars

So, I spent two hours of my life last night becoming increasingly frustrated attempting to get a shady car dealer to tell me how much a car really costs. We're trying to buy a new car and I can't stand the process--too much listening to dealers talk, too much shading the truth on just how likely it is that I will drive this car off the lot tonight, too much "sign your name here, but it doesn't really mean anything." Then why am I signing my name?

Anyway, there was some (sad) comedy to the whole affair. This salesperson did several things that just blew my mind and make me wonder how long he'll hang around in the car-selling biz.
  • He told me very early on that he used to work for a Toyota (although he pronounced it tie-yoda) dealer down the street and then proceeded to say "Toyota" or mention Toyota models twice as much as he said the word Honda (the new dealership he works at)
  • He told me throughout the 2 hour ordeal that he used to be a middle school teacher, that he is a karate instructor, that he went to Bible college and claims he spelled my name in Hebrew and that he is an amateur magician.
  • We were looking at a specific car and when he asked me what color the car was, I told him "steel blue" as that's what Honda calls light blue. He wrote on the sheet: blew.
  • I didn't want the blue one. Our color preference is black. Our second choice is "fern." When I told him this, he said, "Fern, that's a color? How do you spell that?"
  • At one point he made the statement: "I don't know that much about cars."
  • When he described the Consumer Reports article in which the Honda Pilot beat all other SUVs, he said, "Yeah, when I looked at that, I was surprised at all the red marks it got. Red circles, red half-circles. I mean this is a really good car."

I think I told him more about the vehicle I wanted to buy than he told me and in the end, we all ended up frustrated. Heading to yet another Honda dealer (our 4th one) this weekend. Hopefully, they'll have a blew one at the right price.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Prayer for the Day

Saw this on a coworkers desk and thought it was a prayer I need to be praying.

Dear God, please keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth. Amen.

and Amen

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Here's something for your blog

Have you ever been with someone who reads your blog and something catches their attention and they say, "Here's something for your blog?" Well it happened the other day to me. And while the actual stimulus for the comment is very funny and probably something I would comment on in this space, I'm trying to figure out the dynamics of someone else choosing material for my blog. I mean, shouldn't it be my keen powers of observation that lead me to comment in a witty fashion on the fact that Dunkin Donuts advertises their new Turbo Ice as "delicious iced coffee with a KICK of real espresso," but then says in small print at the bottom, "also available in decaf?" How silly is that, an extra kick of decaf espresso? Doesn't that defeat the purpose (as my witty observant friend commented)?

I don't know if I'm a poseur for using material put forward by someone else as "a good one for my blog." By rights, this friend of mine should be posting his own witty aphorisms on the silliness of decaf turbo ice coffee. So what am I left to do? Not post about the topic and let him think his idea was in fact, NOT, "a good one for my blog?" Maybe I should encourage him to start his own blog and have his first post be the decaf espresso shtick.

Alright, enough already. I have to go get myself a turbo ice...
decaf of course.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Little Women

Maybe it's because we just had Sydney's first birthday party, maybe it's because we're still in the process of rearranging a lot in our lives toward a more healthy family life, maybe it's because it's our most important ministry, maybe it's because the thought wakes us up with loud cries or the pitter patter of little feet early every morning, but I've been thinking a lot lately about raising girls in this world. With all that's wrong in our fallen world, it can be a really scary thing to think about bringing up girls to be healthy, happy and whole. It seems like even great parents that I know have had horrible things happen to their daughters. I look at Riley and Sydney now and just wish sometimes that their lives could continue to carry on in the fashion described by this Non Sequitir comic strip. That a swingset could cure all.
I'd like to know that I can protect them from most and heal them from all of the hurts they might encounter in their lives. It can cause a dad to want to freeze time and keep them young, but I realize it's impossible to stop the march of life. I guess we have to settle for sufficiently shrewd, but innocent as doves. Fortunately, Riley and Sydney show strong leanings toward shrewdness. Jen and I just have to work to maintain their innocence.
Is it too early to start praying for Godly husbands? Ok, I'll stop.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Velcro Vanity

Was I driving behind the inventor of Velcro? Who knows? But it raises a couple of questions. Wouldn't the inventor of Velcro be driving something better than a Crown Vic?

If it's not the inventor of the fantastic sticky fabric, then who would bother to purchase a vanity plate with Velcro on it? The region's top velcro salesperson? A collector?

Then there's the other question, what's your favorite vanity plate you've ever seen on the road?

Yes, I did almost drive off the road trying to take this photo. Thank God for camera phones. What did we ever do before we had them?

Friday, July 29, 2005

My new friend part II

Stopped by Chuckie's spot again today. I saw his cart with his cans tied onto it. He was sitting half behind it. I'm not sure what he was doing when I walked up but I had to lean down kind of close to get his attention. I said, "Good morning, Chuckie." He looked up and realizing who I was, said, "Man, I told you, I'm getting out of here. I'm leaving." I said to him, "all I wanted to say was good morning." "Ok, fine, good morning." And I walked away.

It's hard sometimes to hold back and be satisfied that good morning is about all I can expect right now. I want to say more. I want to do more, but good morning is almost too much for Chuckie to take. I don't know why, but he makes it clear I'm not going to get any further right now. Patience and discernment--that's what I need right now.

Baby stumbles, Baby stumbles.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

New blog

So at long last, my friend, Jocelyn, is now blogging. After holding an interesting theory that blogs would eventually lead to downfall of actual conversation (Friend of blogger: "Hey, how are you? I haven't seen you in a while" Blogger: " Well, if you'd read my blog you would already know. Just read it, then I'll tell you anything I haven't already posted"), she has given in and started her own blog. She's started very strong too with a great quote from Nelson Mandela. Her blog is appropriately named Indirect Communication. Check it out.

Friday, July 22, 2005


So I made a sincere blunder this morning. Across the street from our office, there's a homeless guy who has a nice little setup at the end of an alley. He's obviously been there for a while. Before I left the city, I prayed that the Lord would allow me to continue to have relationship and reach out to those on the street because it really was the best aspect of a sometimes difficult situation there. So I've been passing this guy almost every morning coming from the commuter rail and I've been feeling really convicted that God had answered my prayer (and not even made it difficult--this guy was literally on my way to the office) and I haven't done my part.

So I went over and introduced myself today before coming to work. Here's how the conversation went:

Me: Good morning
Him: Good morning (not looking in my direction, then sort of looking out of the corner of his eye, wondering why I was awkwardly still standing in front of him)
Me: My name's Drew. I work across the street at The Salvation Army
Him: I'm all set. I'm just waiting on someone who owes me some money and then I'm going to be out of here.
Me: I'm not trying to bother you. I've just seen you here and wanted to say hello.
Long pause
Me: I'm Drew. What's your name?
Chuckie: I'm Chuckie.

Here's where it went south, with a question that had been perfectly routine and acceptable at Central Citadel:

Me: How long you been on the street?
Chuckie: (walking away) Now get out of here. I don't need no FBI, checking on me. Get out of here. How long you been on the street? mumble mumble mumble (into the corner of the building)
Me: (to myself) You moron, what are you thinking, walking up to a stranger in an alley and asking him how long he's been on the street? What right do you have? None anymore. You're no longer the pastor of a homeless congregation, therefore you have to build credibility, not think you're entitled to it.
Me: (to Chuckie) Listen, I'm going to go. I crossed a line there.
Chuckie: That's right you did and you didn't even notice.

I pray that this is installment one of a conversation that can continue. But if you're a person of faith, could you pray for Chuckie today?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The girls

These pictures were taken on Sunday. We got out on the lake with the girls and some other families from camp. It was nice to be out on the water, with the temps so high and the air so sticky lately.
Here's Riley with her friend Lily. I think Riley looks remarkably like her Auntie Heather in this shot.

For this one, we told Sydney to smile and it's a little hard to see, but she put on the most incredible sneer. It was really hilarious.

SYDNEY HAS TAKEN HER FIRST STEPS! It happened in the camp office. She has taken a few more since. It's just amazing to watch her progress. She also has 2 more teeth bringing the grand total to 4, so she should really start

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Spam just keeps getting weirder

Ok, I know that companies just buy random email addresses and send out their spam, but I got an email today from Bowhunter Magazine. I mean these people know nothing about me, but what have I purchased, what sites have I been visiting, what surveys have I filled out that would lead anyone to believe I'm interested in anything being offered by Bowhunter Magazine? Surely if they lined up 100 guys and picked out 90 to whom they might send information regarding a magazine that covers the latest advances in bowhunting equipment and techniques, I would be left standing against the wall with the 2 blind guys, the 3 granola pacifists, the left-handed guy, the wicked fat kid, Jared from Subway and Napoleon Dynamite, just like when people were being picked for kickball at my elementary school's recess.

"You know, like numchuck skills, bowhunting skills, computer hacking skills... Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills."

Friday, July 08, 2005

Back in Boston

Ok, so I've now been here for a week--over a week in the area, a week at work. It's really a little strange to be here. At moments, it feels so normal to be here. At other times, it's surreal, almost like the last year never took place at all. It's very strange. Quite a bit has changed here and yet, obviously most things are very much the same.

My job is new, which is probably a good thing as far as the surreality goes. I'm working through the curriculum that I will be using in the fall. My job is lay leader & discipleship development. Sorry to the non-churchy folks who might be reading this, I'm sure that last sentence didn't make a lot of sense to you. Basically the goal is to increase non-ordained regular, working people who are volunteer leaders in various aspects in their Salvation Army churches in Massachusetts.
I have my own office, an experience I was only granted once before for 10 months as an assistant principal. This office is smaller than that one, but I have a great view. I mean, look, there's a castle. Who else can boast a castle view?

Jen is in her groove at camp, much more comfortable in that setting than in the big city and the girls are really enjoying themselves. Riley comes home with a new song every day and gets all the attention she can handle. Sydney is on the verge of walking and she's really coming out of herself seeing people other than her sister and her parents daily.

I'm reading a lot which I enjoy.

This is a terribly boring post, but I guess it's really more for me than for anyone else.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Happy 4th of July

For those of you who know Nakia, I just wanted to post this to let you know what she's up to this summer. This is her celebrating independence day. The picture does no justice to her fro. It's huge.

Goethe Quotation

"Treat a man as he appears to be and you make him worse. But treat a man as if he were what he potentially could be, and you make him what he should be." - Goethe

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

CS Lewis on God's Will

"There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done' and those to whom God says, 'All right then, have it your way.'"

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Epic 2015

If you have about 10 minutes, you should check out this short film on albinoblacksheep called Epic 2015. Basically, it's a somewhat entertaining, a little unsettling view of what could happen very shortly with technology currently available through, google and blogging. It contains the humorous sentence "and was launched." That sounds funny. Check it out.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Where has all the worship gone?

Go here for a great article about the state of worship music today. Penny for your thoughts.

Only in NY

Nuff said.

Friday, June 17, 2005

West Village

So tonight I officially begin my bachelor week in the city. Jen & the girls are already back in MA, so I'm on my own. Now normally when Jen's out of town, I don't do too well. Or at least I don't too much. I generally eat garbage (popcorn as an appetizer with ice cream as the main course), I don't sleep too well and the housekeeping spirals out of control. Oh yeah and I have this habit of watching poorly-acted-exact-same-plotline-low-budget movies on Lifetime. But I'm detetmined to do something with my last 10 days in Manhattan.

So with no real plan, I headed down to the west village tonight. Washington Square Park. Wow. Within 10 seconds of entering the park, I had one person offer to hustle me in chess and someone else offer me a dimebag. At the foot of 5th Avenue, this park is the meeting place of NYU students, homeless drifters, artists, musicians of every ilk, savvy tourists and just about every other eccentic you can imagine. It is New York in exaggerated, almost caricature form. Beautiful Europeans videotape a guy washing his clothes in the fountain. A shmarmy, athletic white guitar player accompanies a couple of black drifters singing Very Superstitious. One drifts away, the guitar riffs on and the lyrics morph into an improvisation about getting ready to go to church. Two brothers play catch under the famous arch where Harry dropped off Sally among so many other movie moments. Up 5th Ave through the arch, the Empire State Building is illuminated all white.

I felt like I could just sit there for 3 hours and be satisfied with the experience, but I also wanted to see more of the village so I wandered around--art galleries, gay bars, vintage shops--a hodgepodge of the highly hip. The Village is different from the rest of the city as the grid doesn't hold rein down there and streets intersect at crazy angles in a way that feels more Boston than New York.

So in my wanderings, I found myself not far from the river. Should have figured this but Hudson River Park is offering Sunset on the Hudson--a free concert series on Friday nights. Saw a guy there named David Ippolito. He was pretty good. Did a combo platter of covers and his own stuff. But more than the music was the fantastic vibe. Can't imagine much of a better atmosphere than sitting on perfect grass with bare feet listening to acoustic music sitting on a peninsula/pier as the sun sets over the Hudson on a warm summer night. People even humored him and sang along--The Beatles' Revolution, Shower the People You Love With Love. It's just a really fun way to spend the evening.

Definitely better than popcorn, ice cream, and the jealous husband returns to take revenge on...oh forget it, you know how it ends.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Napoleon Bagpiper

So this guy (who looks an awful lot like Napoleon Dynamite) was playing in the subway station near our place. I was listening for a while before I realized he was playing There is a Redeemer by Keith Green. I thought that was pretty cool. Plus, it's not every day you see a bagpiper who is like 14 feet tall playing in a subway station.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

NONSEQUITIR -- Lowered Expectations

Click on this Nonsequitir comic to enlarge it. I thought it was pretty funny.

Click your BACK button when you're done if you want to return to the blog.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Bride or jilted ex-girlfriend?

I've been thinking a lot about people that I know who have left the church. It strikes me that the church as a body doesn't do well in relationships with people who have left the fellowship. So it raises a question for me:

If the church is supposed to be the Bride of Christ, why does she act so much like a jilted ex-girlfriend when someone leaves?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Fight Club

I just watched Fight Club for the first time in a long time. This isn’t going to make any sense, but the fact that it’s one of my favorite movies is really not a recommendation to watch the film. It’s pretty dark and I don’t really think it’s good for your soul, but the message is conveyed very eloquently if not always in a positive way. One of the quotes that resonated with me, perhaps because we are confronted with all of our possessions going into cardboard boxes and totes right now is this:

“What you own ends up owning you.”

How true it is, that we make decisions based on our possessions sometimes to the detriment of interpersonal relationships, our relationship with God, our giving to those truly in need. I might have felt poor wandering around the wealth of SoHo the other day, but let’s face it, all of us who find ourselves members of middle class America are insanely wealthy in comparison to most of the world. If we have the time and capacity to blog or read blogs, we're probably not worried about our next meal. So for what it’s worth, a thought for the day from your pal Tyler Durden.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Deep Fried Oreos

Phil and Sarah Laeger are in the city this weekend and we headed down to Little Italy and SoHo yesterday afternoon. No sooner had we come up out of the subway when we realized that a street festival was going on on Mulberry. Apparently it was the Feast of Saint Anthony because a small, but loud parade went by us and indicated as much. But that's neither here nor there. What is significant is that right at the front of the street fair was a zeppoli booth that also had one of the most delectable treats I've ever experienced--the deep fried oreo. It's really hard to describe what it tastes like when you take a cookie that's cream filled drop it in dough and then drop that in a fry-o-later and then hit it with some powdered sugar. Wow! There really is nothing richer or sweeter or probably worse for you. But they taste absolutely incredible.

Phil and Sarah had not heard of, let alone experienced deep fried oreo bliss so we all enjoyed packing on some pounds with some cholesterol packed goodness.

SoHo was incredibly crowded as it's a holiday weekend. But we were able to go to Phil's church, otherwise known as Station A, the SoHo apple store.

It's just the craziest clean white techno store. Employees wear shuffles around their necks. There is a "genius bar" where fashionably dressed and coiffed apple employees answer your questions. There's a full-on theater style interactive classroom. The line to purchase was incredibly long. We would have stayed longer, but Phil was drooling all over all the shiny white and silver apple stuff. It was kind of embarassing really.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

A New York Minute

One of the things I'll miss about New York is the fact that you simply never know what you're going to see every time you step out the door. We caught this shot when we were out walking on 2nd Ave last week. Posted by Hello

Monday, May 23, 2005

Perfection of a Newborn

Psalm 139
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

We went to see the very newborn daughter of our good friends, Eliza Russell-Pritchard, last week. Joe and Christine went in Wednesday morning for a routine visit at 9:30 and Eliza was born by 4pm that day, with a total of 30 minutes of pushing from Christine. It was not reported whether Joe did any pushing at all. Eliza's a peanut at 5lbs 6.5oz, but she is absolutely perfect. It is amazing to me to view the debut of God's greatest miracle--life and in such a pure form. There is nothing more life-affirming or, I think, God-affirming than the birth of a perfect little child. A blessing and a promise and a miracle and an awe-inspiring challenge all bundled in those ubiquitous pink and aqua striped hospital blankets. Perfect.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Regional Cool

Just finished reading Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. An amazing book that I listed in my current reading panel. I didn't agree with it all, but I enjoyed it and couldn't wait to get to the next chapter. I laughed, I cried, it was better than Cats. (What's NOT better than Cats?) I plan to move on soon to Miller's pastor Rick McKinley's book, Jesus in the Margins. I really don't know much about either of these guys (Blue is sort of an autobiography), but I don't feel like I need to know much more than the fact that they are from the Pacific Northwest, specifically Portland, OR. There's just something incredibly cool about people from that region. I guess it's my new "If-only-I-lived-there-I-might-be-a-rock-star-too" locale, which led me to a question. Am I the only one that does this, makes snap decisions that everyone who comes from/lives in a certain region of the world is automatically cool (Pac NW or Northern Ireland)? or maybe even automatically uncool (Idaho)?

I know that there are some people looking in on this blog from time to time from places close to and far from where I live. So I want to know what are your regional cool areas? What hometown predisposes people to coolness in your book?

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Flaming Pumice Stone of Pentecost

Emergent Kiwi lit a stone on fire and had a disco ball in church for his Pentecost evening service. Why can't I find churches like this to go to? Incredible visual of the tongues of fire experience and a very interesting teachable moment.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Confessions of an Addict - A cry for help

So a funny thing has happened to me recently. I used to be a 12-cup-a-year coffee drinker. Over the past few months, I now find myself sharing the experience of so many people I know, not feeling fully awake until I drink a cup of coffee in the morning. What's worse, I don't really like home-brewed coffee without that horrible Coffeemate French Vanilla "cream." It's probably eating my insides out right now as I blog. My body is most likely operating with only one kidney right now and who knows about my spleen? You know that's going to be one of those 11 o'clock news teasers pretty soon: The artificially flavored cream substitute you're using in your coffee could be killing you, details at 11.

So I feel like I need to quit. Cold turkey. Since they haven't come out with Javaderm, the simple patch you stick on your arm to kill your cravings, I feel this is the only way to go. And I'm going to quit. But not today. I'm feeling a little sluggish.
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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Back to Beantown

Just a quick post to say that our plans have crystallized at least a little bit. We are headed back to Boston. Jen will work with camp again in a seasonal/part-time setup and I will be doing lay leadership & discipleship development for the division.

More details later.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Getting Quiet

Maggi Dawn has a great post on listening. It speaks of that age-old problem and one that Jen and I are very much faced with right now. How do you get quiet and listen for what God wants to say? People who ask this question are asking it because they're finding it difficult to do and we certainly are right now. I find that I try to get quiet and other things creep in to my mind or I fall asleep or the phone rings...

I feel like it's what I need the most--just to listen and yet I find it impossible. A good friend of mine would probably tell me in this situation: "Don't strive, just wait on the Lord." I wish I could.

Any suggestions on how to get quiet would be greatly welcome.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Combover The Movie Haven't seen it, but could it possibly fail based on this excellent trailer? Stay for the end. It's worth it.

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