Monday, June 25, 2007

Church Math

For the Children's Sermon yesterday in worship, I introduced the kids to a little "church math:" though 1 + 1 = 2 in school, in church 1 + 1 = 3 (based on Matt 18:20 where Jesus promises to be with us when we gather in his name). I was trying to teach the kids that God is with us at all times, including when we gather together in prayer or worship.

Whether or not the kids got it, I can't say, but - as often happens - there was a big kid (a.k.a. adult) paying close attention. This person, later in the day reading the paper, ran across the following ad, which might not have stood out had they not heard the "church math" story earlier in the day.

Isn't it great how sometimes the Spirit gives us a little nudge to remind us of simple truths?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Early Father's Day

On June 3, as Deacon Ann delivered the children's sermon in worship, my youngest daughter Rebekah saw me sitting up front. The previous day I hadn't seen her very much: military duty, a funeral, a wedding, and planning for the worship service during which we welcomed fifteen children to their first communion and eleven new members.

Bekah squealed "Dada!" and toddled over to sit on my lap. I didn't realize Richard had caught it on his POP Camera.

Friday, June 15, 2007

School of the Prophets, 2007

I'm returning from a week in the Great Smoky Mountains with three other friends from seminary. Seven years ago, we met doing a chaplaincy internship in a hospital near our seminary in New Jersey. We've maintained a great relationship and meet together every 18 months or so to encourage each other, share concerns, listen deeply: in short offer each other the pastoral care we seek to give others. We all admit we need this relationship in order to remain balanced and healthy.

We started calling ourselves "The School of the Prophets" when we read Under the Banner of Heaven together for one of our gatherings.

Here are some photos of our week together:

It seems most years we get together, there ends up being a sport of some sort that occupies a lot of our time. Previous highlights have been foosball and basketball. This year was the recently installed Waynesville Disk Golfcourse.

This is where much of our work was accomplished: the view off the front porch at sunset. Four of us on deck chairs sharing stories, listening and encouraging each other.

In the Smoky Mountains, after a hike.

Getting ready to kayak down the Tuckaseegee.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Thoughts of a solitary Yankee driving through North Carolina

1. Sign at the North Carolina Welcome Center:
So they may approach us?

Isn't it that the law prevents solicitors, not the courts? Do you think someone is a sore loser?

2. Bluegrass isn't so bad if they don't sing too much.

3. Sign at gas station:
(Read with a southern drawl.)
If paying by cash, please pay cashier on inside [sic] before pumping. "Thank You"

4. Any Starbucks north of the Mason-Dixon line would be embarrased of what passes for a bagel down here.

5. It took some searching, but they DO have NPR!

6. There might be something to this global warming thing. The oceans evaporating might account for this humidity.

7. I'm grateful that my mother in law loaned me her car, with Virginia license plates. It's a bit easier to pass for someone who knows what's going on than it would be if I had the minivan with New York plates.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Washington DC

We left Wednesday night to begin my Continuing Education time. We're still traveling, I'm eventually headed for the Smoky Mountains to retreat with three other seminary friends, Misha and the girls will stay in Richmond with her family while I drive on to Western North Carolina.

Today we are in Washington DC participating in an ELCA conference advocating for a moral and just Farm Bill - the law, re-written every five years, that has the most impact on food stamps, emergency food pantries, and other domestic anti-hunger legislation. We're juggling child care (I'm back in the dorm room at American University where we slept last night with Bekah napping and Charis and I hanging out listening to music and watching movies) so we both can participate in the conference - Misha in her professional capacity as an advocate, and me as a church pastor.

For more information about the conference and the Farm Bill and Bread for the World, click here.

Yesterday, we arrived earlier in DC than we'd planned so we had time to Metro down to the Mall to visit some of the Smithsonians (Charis chose Air and Space, which was my top vote, also). We pushed a stroller and herded a toddler through the Mall, with views of the monuments and the Capitol. We navigated buses and the subway through a city that we each have great memories of: I spent three summers here working as a journalist and Misha began her advocacy work with her first job out of college at the National Head Start Association. We even have memories of the dorm we slept in last night: my first summer here, when we had started dating, I lived in this building and we met here once or twice to go out into the city for a date (most of the museums here are priced for college students: free).

This city represents so many things to me: memories of courting Misha, my brief career in journalism (I covered the Supreme Court and went to White House press briefings a few times), representative government by the people and for the people. I'm thrilled to be here again, even if for a day, and glad to share it with my girls. They are too young to know it now, but I hope to instill in them, as my Dad did for me, a respect for citizenship.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

You thought they were extinct?

I had registered and intended to attend the ELCA's Upstate NY Synod meeting earlier this week. However, last week was quite busy and later this week I leave for continuing education retreat so I opted to take a day to breathe. I got a cell phone call Monday night from Isaac and Roeg saying if I didn't show up soon to drink the beer they'd bought for me, one of them would have to do it for me.

Not sorry I missed the Synod; I am sorry I missed Dinosaur.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Great article about the 109th Airlift Wing...

The Times Union ran a great article yesterday about my unit.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant, John. Acknowledge, we pray, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. Receive him into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Fruit Smoothie

This is a fun series of pictures that Misha captured of Bekah enjoying a fruit smoothie.