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Showing posts from March, 2011

opening day 2011

well, it's finally here.  opening day.  the day in which chaos hovered over the sports world, but God looked at it and said, "let us bring forth the diamond and we will separate the diamond from the expanse of the stands by a fence."  and continued, saying, "let us fill the diamond with the sound of ash wood cracking, with the smell of leather, grass and hot dogs, and let the foul lines be straight, and let home runs fill the air."  all the grass was made greener than the greatest emeralds, and the sound of stadium organs echoed through the fullness thereof.  And God looked at all that was made, called it good, and said in a most authoritative voice, "PLAY BALL!!!!" 

oh man do i love me some baseball.  the fact that its beginning coincides with all the joy of spring and resurrection hope is no mere coincidence.  baseball is a sort of resurrection, mirroring the seasons with its great march through summer and then it's autumnal fall each october, b…

flying alligators: a random wednesday

each day in school jack does something called kidwriting.  each kid in the class has to think of a sentence and then do their best to write the sentence down phonetically.  he started off quite simple, but as the kindergarten year has progressed, his kidwriting has become more complex.  i was impressed with his story yesterday, which involved an alligator swallowing a balloon, floating in the air, and being shot down to the ground by a bow and arrow.  so, we decided to use his DSi to animate the story.  i turned it into a .gif and present it here for your viewing pleasure.  enjoy it. 
-in other randomocity, shannon made chicken paprikash for dinner on monday night ("excuse me waiter, there is too much pepper in my paprikash.").  she has never made paprikash, and i have never tried it.  oh man, was i missing out.  it was soooooo good, and i don't lightly throw around extra 'o's.'  seriously.  it was phenomonal.  if i was a better blogger i would have taken a r…

shivering for spring

just last week, the flowers in our front yard looked like this:

like they were crying.  covered in their own wet tears, and shivering for spring, death seemed inevitable for these heralds of warmth.

ah, but i underestimated the hopeful power of nature.  they didn't give up.  despite being literally dragged down by the weight of winter, they held their heads high, and persevered.  and their beauty is even more potent for it, now that the sun is shining again.

i'm not much of a flower guy.  i struggle to tell the difference between a daisy and a daffodil, but the one thing that i can't deny loving about flowers is the whole panoply of color.  and never is that more utterly breathtaking than early in spring, when these amazing sentinels rebel against winter's icy deathgrip, and burst from their buried tombs into resurrected life.  the deep purples and vibrant yellows are a beautiful risk, an extravagant display of hope. 

and so, while spring continues its lion-to-lamb spar w…

2011 lent collage 3: denial

as i continue my way through lent by wrestling with our sunday texts, i bring you this week's collage, which deals with peter's response to the servant girl in mark 14 when she recognizes him as one of the ones who had been with Jesus.  mark's gospel has him literally saying, "i don't know what you are talking about." 

i love that.  it's a classic lie (which i've used many times...just ask my parents), born of self-preservation and fear.  and while it seems that Christians for centuries have been doing some of our best fingerpointing while looking at this story of peter's denial, the truth is that it is a lie that isn't unfamiliar to any of us.  whether in word or deed, we've lived this lie, to its fullest. 

"lent 2011: denial" mixed media collage on canvas gregory a. milinovich
and while some of us may be guilty of disassociating ourselves from the Jesus we see in the bible, the denial that most of us are guilty of is far more in…

saturday song: lovers in japan

as i thought about what song to post for my saturday song today, i kept coming back to japan.  i just can't imagine (or shake the haunting need to try to imagine) facing the literal mountains of debris and broken bits of everyday life, not to mention the insurmountable levels of grief.  it just seems so overwhelming and crushing. 

and yet, there is hope, still.  i have been amazed at the resolve i have seen in the people of japan over these weeks, and i was reminded of this song by coldplay called 'lovers in japan.'  i'm sure it was never intended to be about this type of thing, but it does have a very hopeful message, which is appropriate enough.  i've included this version of the video below simply because it has the lyrics, and the official video made by coldplay can't be embedded into my blog.  the song is about 4 minutes long, and then is followed by another song of theirs called 'reign of love.'  both of these are from their viva la vida album.  …

the joys of marriage

thy kingdom come: the lost sermon

yesterday i was supposed to preach at a breakfast lenten service at a local lutheran church.  each week, a local pastor is discussing one portion of the lord's prayer, i was scheduled to talk about the part that says, "your kingdom come, you will be done on earth as it is in heaven."  i was really excited about this, since that phrase has captured my interest for a long time.  however, mother nature decided to pretend like it's still winter, and due to snow, the breakfast was cancelled.  so i didn't get to share the message i had prepared.

i'm not big on putting my sermons on the internet, but since i don't know when i'll ever get the chance to actually deliver it, here it is.  just click the "keep reading" link below to read the sermon. 

strawberry selfishness

yesterday after walking down mount st. sunbury to take jackson to school, and as i was climbing back up, i noticed some garbage on the side of the road, near where people park.  upon closer inspection, i discovered that it was the packaging from a glade brand automobile air freshner.  being the amateur detective that i am, i quickly surmised that someone had placed the air freshener in their car and then disposed of the packaging on the road. 

the question is:  why? 


why would someone care enough to make sure that the environment inside their car is a fresh and lovely strawberry serenade, while the wider environment (which we all share) is full of semi-opaque plastics and smells like 3-year old rain?  i know that whoever casually dropped the annoying packaging out the side door of the dodge, hoping that no one noticed, didn't really think it through quite to this extent, but it comes down to selfishness, doesn't it?  the attitude seems to be: i want my life to smell good, an…

random: piston hips and wintry mix

-i'm mad at spring.  under no circumstances should the words "wintry mix" be allowed once spring starts.  and yet there it is, staring at me from it's spot on the forecast right under the words "high of 39 degrees" in tomorrow's' forecast.  it's about this time of the year that i begin wondering if there is as need for methodist pastors in the caribbean. 
grace methodist church, bermuda
-if anyone follows the happenings in the christian culture, then you've undoubtedly read about the controversy surrounding rob bell's new book "love wins," which just came out.  for weeks before its release it has been a hot topic, as many of the more conservative voices have been calling him a heretic (again).  this time the accusations are that he has become a universalist, or that his new book, which deals with topics of heaven and hell, teaches universalism.  i haven't read the book yet, so i comment on that in particular, but i can say …

2011 lent collage 2: but thine

for this week's installment of my collaging my way through lent, i was dealing with mark's version of the story of Jesus and the disciples in the garden of gethsemane.  as i wrestled with the text, i simply couldn't get away from the symmetry of the story with the garden of eden, which i learned from reading adam hamilton's thoughts on the passage.  both of these stories occur in a garden, and both seem to be dealing with temptation between following God's will, or our own will.  the original adam (who in this case epitomizes all of humanity) chose the will of the self, while the second adam, Jesus, chose God's will.  "not my will, but thine" says Jesus in king james english.  but i can't help but thinking that the agony Jesus went through in the garden wasn't so much about how much crucifixion was going to hurt, as it was about how tempting it was for him to try and rationalize another way of doing this that didn't involve the betrayal of…

saturday song: you're beautiful

i'll be playing with my church's praise team this morning at a women's conference held at our church, and one of the songs we'll be singing is this really moving phil wickham song.  not only is the song great, but the time lapse photography in this video is also gorgeous.  have a great day, full of the awareness of God's beauty all around you!

my own personal easter

i was in my office yesterday morning, as i always am on thursday mornings, honoring office hours and getting things done.  i was sitting in the same chair i've sat in for 8 months.  i was working at the same computer, following the same routine, and shuffling through a sleepy sameness.  as the clock's big hand finished it's final ascent towards lunchtime, i packed up my things and prepared to make the same walk home that i've done all winter.  i closed the same office door (yawn),  went down the same hallway (snore), and then out the same exit to the outside, like some sort of routinized robot. 

and then...

about five or six steps out the door, i had my own personal easter moment.  it was so overwhelming that i actually spoke outloud as i walked through the parking lot.  i couldn't help it: the sun was shining down on me in such a shower of warmth that my soul felt like it literally rose from the dead, and i felt praise well up in me beyond my control.  it was so …

top o' the mornin' to ya!

top o' the marnin' to ya, friends!  and a happy st. patrick's day, too!

should be a fun one in our house.  shannon is making it look like some leprecauns have played some tricks on us (turning things backwards and upside down in our house), and she's making them all sorts of green food for breakfast and lunch, and then corned beef and cabbage for dinner.  if i get a chance, i'll post a pic of the boys in their green later today.   do you have any fun st. patrick's day traditions? 
***update*** here is a picture, as promised:



this is a picture that jack drew of his friend peter.  we're about to send them a package, and so shannon asked him to draw a picture for peter, so he drew this picture of peter.  and i just thought it was so cute that i had to share it with you. 

in case you're wondering about the quality of my blog these last few days, you need to understand that our church has regualar sunday services all through lent, of course, but adds to that …

rainboe revived

i shared with you that i had been asked to donate a collage or two to a great cause, a ministry for young people at a church in new jersey.  i readily agreed, and when i found out that the theme of the event will be centered around new life, i immediately began to get inspired.  i made this collage, which i shared with you a couple of weeks ago. 
but i didn't want to stop there.  i was thinking about new birth, about how my art tries to reflect the redemptive nature i see in God, that God takes what is broken - what is refuse - and makes it new.  as i was reflecting on this, it occured to me that i could take an old collage and breathe new life into it.  when i was first starting as an artist, i made several collages that, looking back on them, i really don't like.  for example, ten years ago i made this collage, which i called "rainboe:"
"rainboe" paper collage on hardcover bookboard gregory a. milinovich 2/2001
but i really didn't like this collage.  so i …

beware the ides of march

-happy ides of march. i'm not really sure what you should watch out for today, other than if you see some of your friends sneaking behind you with knives in their hands, you should probably run or something. don't just say something in latin, though. definitely don't do that. i'd run. or go all kung fu on them and jackie chan those knives right out of their hands. take that, you ides of march.
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-i stumbled upon this incredible book surgeon who makes art out of old books. and not just nice things to look at, but incredible, almost impossible works of art. it will blow your mind.click here to have said mind blown.
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i'm having trouble being creative this week. i'm experiencing that feeling i always get after tragedies. in the face of so much death and loss, how can i write about the stupid ides of march? how can i be dramatic and silly? in the face of hope-crushing reality, how can i make light of the world. i know that part of a healthy response to these thin…

2011 lent collage 1: poured out

as i already wrote in this digital space, my lenten discipline this year is to fully interact with the texts that we'll be focusing on in worship each sunday, and to create some physical expression of my response to that text.  i don't typically give things up.  i need to lose weight, of course, but i have a hard time giving up sweets or chips for lent, because my motives are all mixed up.  am i doing it to sacrifice something, or am i doing it because i will lose some weight?  it gets a little blurry in terms of motive, you know what i mean? 
so, last year i decided to dedicate some of my personal time each week to making a collage, expressing my reactions to the texts for worship each week.  i really enjoyed that experience, and thought it made for a much more meaningful lent, so i'm going to try and do it again this year. 
so, yesterday was the first sunday in Lent, and our text was from mark 14:12-25, where we read about the last supper.  there is so much richness in t…

saturday song: broken things

on this saturday, i'm still thinking about brokenness.  it's a pretty common theme for me, as living in a house with two young boys inevitably leads to all sorts of broken toys.  brokenness is a regular part of daily life. 

and it's not just toys, is it? 

with ash wednesday, brokenness is a huge theme, at least for me, and i embrace the opportunity to talk openly about our own brokenness. 

and then i wake up yesterday to discover that the earth has made a very public and deadly demonstration of its own brokenness in japan.  and my heart breaks along with it.  and sometimes, to be perfectly honest, the breaking and the wreckage seems like more than i can possibly withstand.  i simply can't stand it.  in the deepest part of me, i desire wholeness, not just for me, but for everyone - for the world itself.  and i believe (help my unbelief) that brokenness is not the end of the story. 

so, with a hope for redemption, i share this song with you today.  it's originall…

one hot mama (and the alien inside her)

i thought we were done with this garbage. on sunday as they were predicting a great deal of rain through the day and into monday, i even said, "at least you don't have to shovel rain!"

ha! i saw the forecast on sunday had said that we might have some snow mixed in with the rain on sunday evening, with some possible light accumulation. fine. i didn't like it, as i'm so over snow this year, but i can deal with a light dusting that will quickly melt. but instead of "possible accumulation," i woke up to this:




really, nature? really? you felt it was necessary to dump ten inches of surprise on our heads, like some great snowy pinata? why? (i'm shaking my fists at the sky here, but it's not listening).
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as i've already written this week, shannon had an ultrasound on monday (after i shoveled 75 inches of snow off of the driveway), and i thought you might want to see a couple pics of the handsome little guy:


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and while he is about as visually attr…

ash wednesday 2011: true grit

"ash wednesday 2011: true grit" mixed media collage on canvas march 2011 gregory a. milinovich
today is ash wednesday. if you are a long-time reader of my blog, you may recall that this is one of my favorite days in the christian year. i know it seems odd that such a somber and sobering day would be so beloved to me, but it is. for one thing, i've always been a bit odd, so that's not really a surprise, but more importantly, i love the idea that we openly wear our brokenness on this day.
those of you who have heard me preach very much or have been reading these pages for awhile probably realize that brokenness is a common theme for me. i live in the constant awareness of this world's brokenness. even as i type these words, the news is on and they are telling me how bad the budget cuts are going to be in the state of pennsylvania and i quote: "those who are least able to afford it are going to have to bear the biggest part of the burden." oh, great. see what i…