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Showing posts from February, 2008

happy seventh birthday (again)

wednesday was max's birthday. he turned 7. even though i thought he turned 7 last year, i looked it up and he did not. so he is not as old as he thought he was. he is still only 49 in dog years. won't be 50 til april (thanks again, emily). so, happy seventh birthday to my beloved bulldog, faithful companion, hasty eater, professional sleeper, veteran of surgeries, foe of vacuums, proficient drooler, and rightful member of our family: we love you. greg.

give away some rice

you should check out this really cool site here where you can play a fun vocabulary game and donate rice to hungry people at the same time. is a pretty cool set up where you play a multiple choice english vocabulary game and for every word you get right you donate 20 grains of rice. the money for the rice is provided by the advertisors on the page. the site is run through its sister site, and the united nations. it says it is not making a profit but set up specifically to help fight hunger globally and to improve english vocabulary skills along the way. interesting. give it a try. but a warning: its addictive. grace and peace, greg.

double yoi

myron cope passed away today at the age of 79. you can read the story here . myron was the (and i mean the ) voice of the pittsburgh steelers for all of my life. he retired from broadcasting in 2004, but by then i was living in new jersey and forced to listen to whoever the major network had in the tv booth. but even then, i would just turn down the tv and watch the game silently sometimes, just imagining the almost unbelievable voice of myron calling the game. after all, that's what we always did in western pennsylvania. you turned the game on the television, you turned the television down and you turned the radio up. and in so doing you entered a whole other dimension of steeler football. by listening to myron and jack or myron and bill you somehow were closer to the game, closer to the steelers, more a part of the thing. when something awful would happen or the steelers would make some boneheaded mistake, myron would express our frustration with/for us. he wouldn't

who we are

i'm leading a lenten study of this book by henri nouwen, life of the beloved . 18 of us have been gathering to discuss the simple-yet-profound truths found in this book. part of the book focuses on the four 'verbs of bread' associated with the last supper when jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to his disciples. last night we discussed the chapter about being taken, or chosen. and we had some great conversation about just how radical it really is to believe that God has chosen each one of us from before our birth (psalm 139); chosen to create us and sustain us and journey with us and love us. but the great challenge with this is remembering who we are as God's beloved children in the midst of a world full of voices that are telling us otherwise. we are told we are consumers, or we are our job, or we are no good, or we are too (something). we are just smothered in lies about who we are and it is so difficult to hear God's voice in the midst

c'mon scientists!

have you ever seen the movie "signs?" remember all the glasses of water sitting around the house? that's our house. times three. first you've got shannon who usually has at least one glass of water in every room. then you've got jack and cade's collection of sippy cups. let's just say that if water soluble aliens ever invade our house, they won't stand a chance. ... but, in all sincerity, i have a few thoughts about the abundance of beverages in our abode... ... 1. the good news is, if you find yourself feeling suddenly quite parched, you need not fear, for a drinkable liquid of some sort is near. the bad news is, you're never quite sure where to look. you're better off starting in the obvious places: on top of books, under piles of paper or behind a box you haven't touched in a year. but if your initital search turns up dry, don't give up. you're almost guaranteed to find a sippy cup under some piece of furniture, and

called by death

"called by death" mixed media collage on cardboard panel gregory a. milinovich today i just thought i would share with you one of my latest collages. it seems so depressing and morbid, both in form and title, but this only makes it a really good example of the truth that i very often make collages that i don't sit down and intend to make. in other words, when i began this collage (which involved several layers of acrylic paints), i had no idea - none - that it would turn out like this. i am not usually very intentional in this work. i play around with so much cut paper and different words and phrases from old dictionaries/bibles/atlases/novels/textbooks/cookbooks/magazines/etc. i keep trying various things until it "feels" right to me. i can't explain this feeling other than to say that, from my point of view, the right relationship exists between all the elements. it may look very similar to most of my collages or not. this one, for example, is

(finally) fun in the snow

as promised, here are the pictures of our fun in the frozen water. jack spent most of the time this year eating as much of it as he possibly could. cade just sat there, as if frozen. no expression. we had a great time, and now we are drying off and warming up. have a great day everyone. peace, greg.

glorious snow

woke up to this view this morning. finally a snow worth celebrating. and sledriding with my sons in. so, no time to talk this morning - i've got to go try and get 6 pairs of socks, 3 pairs of pants, and a drawer-full of shirts on both of my sons so that none of their joints can effectively bend and so that they are truly prepared to go outside in the snow. look for some sledriding pics later today. bundling, greg.

everyday sex

a friend of mine sent this link to me earlier this week. please watch the video here . (its only 1:41) ... a few thoughts: ... a church has a great deal of money to be putting up billboards that big. if i started this campaign, i wonder how long until i was reappointed...or transferred to another conference? i wonder what your reactions are to this: does it promote healthy intimacy within marriage and abstinence without, or does it presuppose or reinforce some unhealthy attitudes about sex and its purpose within marriage? just curious what people think. ... reconsidering my 'spiritual' disciplines for lent, greg.

thinking about heaven

i'm thinking about heaven today because i am leading this discussion tonight (thanks for the comments yesterday). but it seems particularly appropriate today because the guy i wrote about several weeks ago here , whom i called jh, died yesterday. it blows my mind that six weeks ago i was visiting him at the hospital after "routine" surgery, a surgery he never really recovered from. i am full of sorrow at our loss, and for the loss his family is feeling so deeply. and as i think about heaven today, i know that jh is singing a new song. he is no longer singing about a new heart, but he is singing in his new home, his eternal home. see you when we get there, jh. greg.

the ugly side of evangelicalism

recently someone in my church told me about this book, and i was interested so she told me she's let me borrow it when she was done. she gave it to me on sunday night. i finished it last night (tuesday night). i couldn't put it down. now, don't confuse that for a shining review, because it isn't. it is only to say that, for one reason or another, it captured my attention and would not let me go, until the last 75 pages or so. here's the deal. any of you who grew up in evangelical circles might remember a theologian/philosopher by the name of francis schaeffer. i personally didn't know much about schaeffer until i went to grove city college where he was venerated as a saint of reformed theology. i have a distinct memory of sitting in a friends apartment at the kitchen table reading a small book by francis schaeffer in between bites of cereal. this was reading for 'pleasure.' in college, when i could have been reading any number of things. we


heaven. we have begun a new group in our youth ministry where the young people are asking questions about parts of faith and life that they don't understand or want to know more about. we get together each week after doing some personal study/reflection on these issues and then take a look at what the scriptures say. i think it is going to be a really interesting, lively group over the next few months. i am looking forward to it. the question that was raised for our meeting tomorrow night had to do with the nature of heaven and what it will be like. the bible, of course, is relatively vague on this issue, and leaves a great deal of room for our interpretation and imagination. and so i am asking you to help me on this. i just want to take a bit of an informal survey of what people expect heaven to be like, so i can share this with the group tomorrow night. understanding that this is as much a wishful-thinking-thing as anything else, i wonder what your thoughts about heave


"bent" mixed media collage on canvas board gregory a. milinovich here is a collage i made last week. its very pink. just a little different color palette for me. i sold 3 more of them on the gallery site which features my work here ! have a great president's day. we're off to trader joe's. peace. greg.


when i visited my blog this morning to see if i had any comments (no comments? what's up people?) i saw this ridiculous ad on the sidebar: get ordained today! perform weddings and funerals in any church. click here to find out more. right. i just spent 10 years of sweat and prayer and struggle and school and meetings and process and all i had to do was spend $29.95 and i could have been officially ordained? sigh. it makes me wonder what is the value of ordination to our culture as a whole. when people are looking for a 'priest,' as they often say, do they really care if that person is ordained or not? i doubt it. i guess for me the value of the ordination is in the recognition of the church that my vocation is indeed a ministry of word, sacrament, order and service. the book of discipline says it this way, "elders are ordained ministers who, by God's grace, have completed their formal preparation and have been commissioned and served as a probationa


it has been a few days now since i received the call from the board of ordained ministry saying words that sounded like liquid gold coming through the phone: "the board voted yes." when i wrote on wednesday, i really hadn't had a chance to reflect very much, and in some ways i still haven't reflected all that much as i've mostly been just kind of floating through life the last few days. i feel like an enormous pressure has been taken off and that even simple things like walking feel much more fluid and natural now. i feel lighter. so in many ways i'm still just getting used to the idea that i don't have to go to a monthly PSP meeting or meet with my subcommittee regularly or find ways to concisely and cogently write down my theology for the board to read. i'm still just getting used to the reality that the evaluation is over. i don't think it has completely sunk in yet. but i have done some reflecting on this, and there is one thing in part

sticky tack

so this is a wad of sticky tack that one can use to hang things on the wall. i know i certainly used my fair share of this strange substance in college. anyway, we have some sitting in the bottom of a drawer in our computer room/shannon's office and jack likes to digging in that drawer to see what he can find. the other day he found this little treasure complete with pencil holes and other random lines. but for him, it was not so random. he told us he sees the face of baby Jesus in it. when questioned about it, he emphatically insists that it is "RIGHT THERE!" i'm thinking about selling it on ebay . what do you see in it? in other news, we had a wonderful valentine's day yesterday full of celebration, not only of love but also of ordination news. it was a day of heart-shaped pancakes and candy hearts and a nice crackling fire in the fireplace and salmon for dinner followed by homemade raspberry pie. it was a kind of family valentine's day, but certainly a da

happy valentine's day

yesterday jack pulled a book off of cade's shelf, and this fell out of it. its an old valentine that someone named travis gave to shannon years ago. it is so bizarre that they day jack chose to pull that particular book off the shelf and that fate allowed this little card to fall out was february 13, of all the days of the year. weird. even more weird is that it still possessed its full scratch-n-sniff wonder. yum. so anyway, happy st. valentine's day to everyone. know you are loved. and that you are too cool. and travis? forget about it. greg.


i cannot express today the feeling i have. this picture that i found sort of expresses it but not really. for the last ten years i have poured myself into this vocation, daring to believe that God, the very God of all creation, has called me, even me, to this work. along the way many have affirmed me in this journey, but i have continued to work for the ultimate affirmation, ordination as an elder in the united methodist church. and now i have it. after two grueling (and i mean grueling in every possible sense, really) days i recieved the call today that the board voted to recommend me to the annual conference for ordination as an elder. and as i have already said, i cannot even begin to express the emotion i feel with words like relief, joy and satisfaction. there will be plenty of time for me to reflect on this and i will have more to say about it as i do that reflecting, but today is really a day for celebrating for me, and for thanking those who have journeyed with me and s

ordination interview

well, friends, my time is finally here. tomorrow i begin a two-day interview process with the board of ordained ministry (boom) to see if they believe i am ready to be ordained as an elder in the united methodist church. i am sure it is intended to be a grace-filled process, but i'm telling you it feels more like what the photo above depicts. this is only going to be another chapter in what is a long story already. i think, in some way, i've always felt called by God, i just haven't always known what to do with that. it wasn't until things began to fall together my freshman year in college that i began to understand my calling and articulate it as a calling to ordained ministry in the united methodist church. that was 1994. after college i began the process. that was 1998. here i am, ten years later , and i stand on the verge of this important interview. as i reflect on those 10 years, i recognize that they have been awesome. sometimes, without question, there

tigers, dragons, and bread alone

i asked jack if he wanted to draw with me yesterday. he said he did. so i got out some art paper and a big bin of markers. i thought we would work on a masterpiece together. i asked him what we should draw, and of course it was "a tiger! roaaaarrrrr!" and so i began to draw a tiger, but when i asked him to help me, he just wanted me to draw it. so i began to ask him where to put things and what color things should be, etc. but i ended up doing all the drawing, which is a scary thing, since i'm not much into drawing things. here is my tiger: then, when we (i) had finished the tiger, he wanted me to draw a 'big green dragon, roaaaarrrr!' i don't know what it is with him and roaring, but it seems to me that one of his favorite parts of life is roaring. so, again i tried to enlist his help in the dragon drawing, but he assumed a mostly supervisory role. he was pretty critical, though, so his input is very vital to the dragon you see here: after he we


"sunburst" mixed media collage on canvas board gregory a. milinovich this is a collage i made earlier this week. i gave myself time to work on several this week, and it seems like when i do that i feel better about life in general. it is therapeutic for me. anyway, feel free to check out my art for sale here . i've got about 21 pieces for sale there and several of them are ones that are new to the site. i have sold 7 collages so far, which is something i never dreamed i would do. it is humbling just seeing my work up on that site with other artists from my area who seem much more talented than i. nonetheless, there they are and i invite you to go and check them out. peace. greg.

blessed beyond knowing

it's just not hard to be in love with your sons when they are this charming. these are cade's 9-month pictures and jack's 3-year pictures. i am blessed beyond my knowing. aware of just how much i fail to recognize my blessedness, greg.


burp. oh yeah, that was garlic. yum. so i've been eating a very different diet for the last four weeks to try and lower the cholesterol in my body, but this diet has had other interesting effects on my body as well. like garlic burps. those are a result of the clove of fresh roasted garlic i eat each day in addition to the garlic pill i swallow before bed. the experts tell me that garlic can help me lose bad cholesterol. they didn't tell me about how it can also help me lose friends and basically anyone in my general vicinity. and it's not just garlic. everyday i eat an apple (to keep away the doctor, if not for the pectin), 23 almonds, lots of flaxseed, a large glass of metamucil, 25 grams of soy protein, plant sterols, oatmeal, and a large serving of beans. every stinkin' day. and i mean stinkin'. all this fiber has me very regular and, well, bloated. not only is this mildly uncomfortable, it is majorly unpopular. between my breath, my sweat glands, a

ash wednesday, 2008

"ash wednesday, 2008" mixed media collage on canvas board gregory a. milinovich i made this collage last night in anticipation of ash wednesday, which, as you may remember from last year, is one of my favorite holy days of the year. i hope yours was a perfect beginning to your lent: a humble and penitent start to a rich season which is God's gift to you. peace to you. greg.

a poem for lent's beginning

lent (matthew 4:1-11) winter's like an inside wilderness: it's broken branches and creaking bones; it's like a fast from light and heat, a cold retreat. it's not just beyond the body walls: there is an inside frozenness, too; a winter of the heart and soul, dark-cold as coal. the inner wild is evil-laden, filled with devils and bright temptation; marked by love of self and pride, the us we hide. but there is a way that leads to life: a lenten journey from dark to light; a passion path through days of lent and winter spent. --- -greg.

i should vote today

things on my mind at 6:30 in the morning... -its super tuesday today. i should vote. i'm not sure when i will have time to vote today, but i should vote sometime. and i have no idea who to vote for. i'm not pleased with the candidates in the party with whom i'm registered. i often get ridiculously cynical around election time and i feel like all the change that seems possible is only rhetoric and politic. politics make me tired and leave me feeling hopeless most of the time. -on another note, tomorrow is ash wednesday. as you may remember from last year, it is one of my favorite days of the christian year, so aware of our humanity and our desperate need for God's grace. it is a grey day, a dust day, an ash day. it is a remember-your-mortality day. it is a thank-God-there's-more-to-this-life-than-just-skin-and-bone day. it is a day for ashes on your head, a mark on your face. it is a day for repentance. it is a day for forgiveness. it is a day for b

superbowl recap

so it was a truly super super bowl last night. it was a close game with late dramatics, a well-played game, and, most importantly, a patriots loss. it was awesome. it was also very telling to see how poorly bill belichick handled losing . he is a poor sport as well as, it seems, a cheater. still, as excited as i was to see the patriots lose the game and their chance for 19-0, it was still bittersweet. so, after the game was over i pulled out my oft-spun dvd of the steelers road to superbowl XL, and i watched that before i turned out the lights and went to sleep. and so, at least for a few hours, in my dreams, the steelers were champs again. and now we enter the sporting wasteland until spring training.... greg.

super bowl XLII

i don't really think its going to happen, but all i can say this afternoon is: go giants! i can't stand the patriots. so, as much as it pains me to root for eli and plaxico, i hope the giants upset those cheaters. go big blue!

akeelah and the bee

last night for our reel life: discussions on film and faith at church we watched akeelah and the bee, a 2006 movie about a girl who overcomes great odds to get all the way to the scripps national spelling bee. it is a great story, a real feel-good, underdog-makes-it, tears-well-up-in-your-eyes kind of story. but it isn't the greatest film in the world. the dialogue seems unrealistic to me, the characters are too often caricatures and stereotypes, the plot a little too formulaic, and the acting amateurish (especially laurence fishburne, who i thought was pretty awful in his performance of a emotionally unstable college professor). we ended up having a really interesting dialogue about racial and ethnic stereotypes, about how majorities set norms and mores, and about the assumptions and presuppositions that all too often inform our relationships with all people. when we ought to see people as individuals and see the image of God in them, we sometimes see people more as types, or

three year olds and eastern religion

"when i die...." he said from his car seat in the minivan. i don't think i've ever heard a child, especially my child start a sentence that way. it took my breath away. how does a kid even know about dying? and why is he talking about it right now? we were driving south on route 222 in pennsylvania, through the epitome of rural america. we passed farm after farm, separated only by open space and the occasional store. jack had grown bored with the movie he was watching on the screen in the car, and had asked us to turn it off. so we did. he proceeded looking out the window and alerting us everytime he saw a barn. we didn't see any animals, however, presumably because it was so cold, and this seemed to trouble him as he kept asking about the animals. "where are all the animals?" we asked repeatedly. "they are probably inside the barn staying warm," we replied repeatedly. then, breaking the pattern, he says, "when i die, i'm g