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Showing posts from August, 2009

esther 5

don't know if you're following along with my creative retelling of the esther story or not, but just in case you are jumping in late, this 10-day look at the book of esther is a kind of celebration of my 40,000 visitors here at agentorangerecords.  you should probably all be showering me with gifts, but since i'm in a good mood, i'm giving you a gift!  just click here and follow the simple instructions for a chance to win one on my handmade collages.  thanks again for stopping by! esther five has two scenes.  first we find esther risking her life by appearing before the king unbidden.  however, he extends the golden scepter to her, which means he isn't displeased.  she then "touches the end" of his scepter, which results in him offering her whatever she wants, up to half of his kingdom.  hmmm.  perhaps this story isn't as PG as many like to imagine when thinking about the bible.  i'm just sayin. anyway, esther is delaying asking the question a bi

esther 4

the fourth chapter of esther brings a couple of the most famous moments of the book.  basically, mordecai mourns this edict that the king has sent, and he gets to word to esther about it.  afraid for her life, she basically says, "what am i supposed to do about it?"  and mordecai tells her that perhaps she has risen to favor with the king, "for such a time as this."  she takes mordecai's words to heart, and agrees to petition the king, saying, "if i perish, i perish."  you can read it here .  esther 4 paper collage on vinyl lp; paper collage on album cover gregory a. milinovich esther (four) ashes and tears.  gnashing of teeth. we are all going to die. mordecai mourns. where is our hope? where is our promise? where is our future? (WHERE IS GOD IN ALL OF THIS?) mordecai mourns. "only my niece can save us. esther!  save us now, at such a time as this." remembering the queen before her, remembering the price of saying no, esthe

esther 3

the third chapter of esther brings us more fully into the conflict of the story. the king has exalted his servant haman to a high place in the king's court, and made everyone at the gate bow to him. but mordecai, the jew (esther's uncle), won't bow to him. haman then convinces the king to send out an edict to all the nobles of the kingdom that on a certain day in the 12th month, all the jews should be killed, and their possessions looted. so, this isn't looking good for esther and mordecai and all the jews in exile in this kingdom. tune in tomorrow to see what happens next. read esther 3 here. "esther (three) paper collage on vinyl lp; paper collage on album cover gregory a. milinovich esther (three) where there is power there is pain. everyone wants what he's got. everything seems fine, but everything's not. all seems to be in order, upside up. but there is growing green. every king has a haman, right hand man. fountain of good ideas. "what

esther 2

esther chapter two tells us about the inner workings of a harem. that's right. a bunch of young women the king had on call relations. in this chapter we meet esther , a jew who is hiding her nationality, and who is obviously a very beautiful young woman. all who see her are taken with her beauty, including the king, who after his royal night with her decides to make her the queen. there is also another part of the story unfolding, involving her uncle and caregiver mordecai , who keeps a close watch on her and overhears some guards planning an assassination plot on the king. he tells esther , who tells the king, and the plot is uncovered. stay tuned for more exciting action tomorrow. read chapter two here . " esther 2" paper collage on vinyl album, paper collage with poem on album cover gregory a. milinovich esther (two) his high, high, highness is lonely. needs a woman (women) to help him fly. flexing his majestic muscles, his mouth makes more law

esther 1

as i mentioned yesterday, the next 10 days will showcase a project i did on the book of esther from the hebrew scriptures. the book has 10 chapters, and i made 10 corresponding collages and poems, reflecting my own study and understanding of this great little story. each collage was made on a 33 1/3 lp, and each poem presented on the album cover. so each day you'll see a picture of the cover with the poem, and then a picture of the collage itself. i will also include the text of the poem, so that you will be able to read it. esther 1 starts off the story by telling us about kind ahasuerus, a persian king, who wanted to flaunt his power by throwing a huge party. you can kind of get the genre of this story right off the bat, as it starts something like this, "once upon a time there was a great king who wanted to throw a great party. and so he gathered all the people of the land, and for sixth months they celebrated. then he gathered all his servants and officials in the


well, friends, it's a bit of a milestone day here at agentorangerecords. today i reach 40,000 visits to the old blogstead. and so, to celebrate i want to give something away! -- i have had many visitors to this blog of mine, and i never even thought that would happen. but what is even more unlikely is that some of you who visited came back. i know, its hard to believe, but for some reason you keep reading. i don't know if it is because i make you laugh (at my own expense), or because it's like a train wreck that you just can't stop looking at, but whatever the reason, you keep coming back. forty thousand times. so thanks. -- to celebrate, i'm giving away this collage: it is called sunburst. i've shown it here before . up until today it has been for sale in my etsy shop . but now i'm giving it to one of you. all you have to do is comment on this post and answer this question: -- other than money, what would you like to have 40,000 of? (you ca

congrats, coach lebeau

congrats to coach lebeau on this announcement. let us hope that we have LOTS to celebrate in the first week of february. from Dick LeBeau has been named as one of 17 finalists for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. LeBeau, the former Detroit Lions cornerback with 62 career interceptions, and former Denver Broncos running back Floyd Little, were nominated by the Seniors Committee today. They'll join 15 other candidates the week of this season's Super Bowl. LeBeau and Little emerged from a list of 90 Seniors candidates today. The list was whittled to 17 yesterday and to the final two this morning. LeBeau will need approval from 80 percent of the 44 Hall of Fame voters the day before the Super Bowl Feb. 6 in South Florida to join the mandatory 4-7 man class that will be inducted at the next Hall of Fame game in the summer of 2010. "In my humble opinion, Dick LeBeau is a Hall of Famer," said Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin. "He ha


raise your hand if you love waiting. *scanning the room* anyone? that's what i thought. --- let's be honest, no one really enjoys waiting. but as i've been researching my sermon for this coming sunday about living in expectation, i keep coming back to david who wrote over and over again in the psalms that he waited on God. "i wait for the Lord. my soul waits" (psalm 130:5). of course isaiah wrote poetically about the value of waiting on God, too. He wrote, "those who wait on the Lord will rise up like eagles." and so this begs the question: what is so good about waiting on the Lord? i'm curious about your thoughts here. --- i hate waiting. i'm really bad at it, actually. if i feel i am going to have to sit and wait for longer than 20 seconds, i will get out my crackberry and start surfing the internets. so what does it mean to wait on God? any ideas? any experiences? what do you hate waiting for? here are some of mine: --- i

last day of training camp 2009

as i wrote the other day , i just barely snuck in a trip to latrobe this year to join steeler nation in the pilgrimage to training camp. thursday was the last day of training camp for the team, and just as my wife and i pulled into the campus at saint vincent, it started to storm and rain heavily, so i was pretty much figuring i wouldn't get to see them practice this year, but then the skies cleared just in time, and the sun came out for a perfect afternoon (if by perfect i mean about as humid as standing in a large vat of campbell's chunky soup). because of the wet field, all the units practiced on the turf field, so i got to stand right up against the fence and watch practice about 25 feet from the field. as they stretched at the beginning of practice, all the players started clapping and chanting, "hoke, hoke, hoke, hoke..." while backup nose tackle chris hoke did some kind of russian dance which he ended with an amazing jump which you can see below. the secon

happy birthday, shannon, 2009

today is my wife's birthday. i've already written about how brilliant she is, and i often fill this digital space with stories of her amazingness. perhaps the most amazing thing of all, however, is that she continues to put up with me and all my dramatics. she is a good-hearted woman, that's for sure. i am way out of my league! happy birthday, shannon! i celebrate your joy, your creativity, your vitality, and your abundant life. i love you!

watching guys practice

--- well, i find myself in monongahela, pennsylvania this morning, here at my parents for a short visit to help them just a bit with their moving process. today just also happens to be the last day for steelers training camp over at saint vincent college in latrobe, not too far from here. so we'll be heading over there this afternoon to catch the last practice of this year's camp. and i am beyond excited about it. --- for those of you who follow steeler football closely, you probably understand this. but i recently had someone ask me, "what is so fun about it? you just go watch a bunch of guys practice?" which set me to thinking about what it is that i love so much about it. why is it that every august i feel this almost spiritual yearning to make a pilgrimage to western pennsylvania to sit "and watch guys practice?" well, here's why... --- 1. first taste of football. most football seasons don't end in a championship for your team (unless

shaving cream

it's amazing what you can make if you decide you want to start making. as i've written on this blog before, one of the first qualifications (not the only) for art is that someone actually put some time and energy into creating something that the rest of us only look at and decide if we like or not. there is something to be said for just trying to create. that being said, here are some of the pictures my kids made last week using shaving cream and food coloring. not exactly sure of the process, but i'm sure you could look it up or call my wife. i was just pretty impressed with the outcome, so i thought i'd share it with you.

welcome back, mr favre

i just want to go ahead and send my condolences and good wishes over to the family of brett favre. no, he didn't die or anything. he's okay as far as i know. but october 25th is coming quickly....

book review: enough

i am fascinated by just about any conversation or book dealing with the subject "enough." i took a course in grad school that was simply called "enough." i wrestle in my everyday life with the concept of "enough," when i see enormous food competitions on tv, or vehicles as large as helicopters filling up with $80 of gas at the local hess station, and even when i consider my own tendency to 'collect' things. how much is enough? this questions fascinates and intrigues me. --- so needless to say i was very interested when i found out that adam hamilton had written a book called " enough ." adam is the pastor of the united methodist church of the resurrection in leawood, kansas, and i have always been impressed with his take on things. when he spoke at our annual conference in may, he really knocked my socks off, so i bought the book this summer and just finished it. --- his starting point is very timely, and that is that the curre

jazz for breakfast: junior college

as you may know, i love bruceck, and i collect any brubeck albums i can find. here is a great one from a couple live performances given at fullerton and long beach junior colleges in 1957. it is making our reese's puffs breakfast cereal go down even sweeter. yum.

four qualities of worship

--- i preached yesterday about a topic that i'm very interested in and passionate about: worship. i could seriously preach for weeks and weeks about this topic, but i only had one week for this, so i focused on 4 characteristics of good worship. --- first, our worship should be authentic, not obligatory . that is, our worship shouldn't be centered in our sense of duty or ritual alone, but out of a sense of a real desire to attribute worth to God. that is what worship literally is: worth-ship. it is glorifying God; saying to God, "you are God, and i am not." our worship, whether corporate or personal, ought to come from our very spirits (Jesus said in john 4:23-24 that real worshippers worship in spirit and in truth). sometimes we go through seasons of our lives where we function solely out of discipline, but even then our worship shouldn't come from a place of obligation. we should want to worship. and if we don't want to, we should ask God to help u

saturday song: seasons of love

shannon and i went to see a production of 'rent' last night. having picked up on some cultural detritis about the show, i had some expectations which turned out to be totally wrong. the story was full of brokenness and pain, to be sure, but it was also incredibly redemptive. i was quite moved by it. one of the best pieces from the show was the song "seasons of love" which i have included here from the movie version of 'rent.' enjoy it, and may your life be measured out in love. have a great saturday.


a recent picture of me for a pictoral directory of pastors in our conference. doesn't this look like a picture from a yearbook? except i look like i'm 35. like i failed 10th grade 19 times or something, and i'm finally graduating. yay me! i finally made it - most likely to wear a suit with my fauxhawk and receding hairline! sigh. self-deprecating humor is so satisfying. and what is that background? is it supposed to look like the picture was taken on the moon, with the pacific ocean in the background? in other news, the steelers play their first preseason game tonight, televised on espn at 8, if you're interested. it will be boring for many, but i'll be lovin' it! now reading: "enough" by adam hamilton now playing: "welcome to the welcome wagon" by the welcome wagon. have a great thursday!

"that's what our life is about: miracles!"

some of you who read this blog are fans of the pittsburgh steelers, so you basically "get" why i am so fanatical about this football team. but others of you? not so much. some of you don't even understand how i can even care about a football team so much at all, let alone a small market team from the rust belt. but i do. and while i've tried to write about the reasons before, reading this article might be a great way to at least begin to understand. get your tissues ready. its the story of one bob zinski and what happened to him after being diagnosed with cancer. the way i see it, as a united methodist pastor, it seems that the steeler organization ministered to bz, demonstrating the importance of community and compassion. it is just one of the things i love about the pittsburgh steelers, and just one of many reasons that i am a proud member of steeler nation.

camping at knoebel's, 2009

this last weekend we went camping, which you may remember i was recently preparing for . each year we head out to elysburg, pa to camp for a few nights and spend some time over at knoebel's amusement park, which is a great family friendly park. sounds great, right? and it is great. except for the fact that there are 7 kids under the age of 7 that we are camping with. and that camping involves sleeping in a vinyl room. and that jack didn't really want to ride anything. oh, and the rain. the last night we were there it rained like noah, and while our tent stayed relatively dry, the ground surrounding our tent could only be seen through a couple inches of water. caedmon is demonstrating this in the picture below. fortunately this was on our last morning, so it didn't really affect knoebel's time, but it DID meaan that we had to tear down everything in the rain and puddles, and then come home and set it back up again so that it could dry out and then tear it al