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Showing posts from May, 2010

happy memorial day, 2010

formerly known as "decoration day," memorial day is a day to remember that the life we live didn't just happen.  it was bought at a price by many who had to make incredible sacrifices.  as citizens we may not agree with every war and every sacrifice that was made, but we have to recognize that some have valued our freedoms so deeply that they have been willing to offer themselves in its defense.  and that is worth celebrating.  and for those whose service has cost them their very lives, we must stand and salute.  we must put down our memorial day snacks and offer a "thank you" into the great cloud of those who have given up everything.  we must take at least this day to remember not only that what we have is something many have thought is worth protecting, but also that many of those who protected it have lost their lives in that service.  today, we remember them.  with gratitude and respect.  we remember. 

saturday song: this ain't goodbye

for today's saturday song, i'm giving you a song by the band train.  this song is called "this ain't goodbye" and is one of the songs that acoustic orange will be playing at their farewell concert next saturday night.  acoustic orange is the little duet that i'm in with justin mehaffy.  we'll be playing at a coffeehouse in flemington, nj, and there'll be more info about that in the coming days.  in the meantime, enjoy this great song.

if acorns were coconuts...

in today's randomland, you might be interested to learn that country music legend willie nelson has cut off his famous long hair . --- also, in honor of the late art linkeletter , i will share with you that caedmon found an acorn today and told me that he had found a coconut.  oh how i wish that every acorn was a coconut.  that would be amazing.  --- in other news, there is apparently a great deal of oil (which looks like black smoke in the water) coming from a hole in the ground.  has anyone in BP thought about locating all the jack shephards in the world and seeing if one of them is somehow capable to put a big rock cork in the hole?  seems to me that it just might work.  --- and, for kicks and grins, and in case you need to give yourself a pep talk, watch this video , get to your closest mirror, and repeat:

adventure aquarium

as i mentioned the other day, we got to go to the adventure aquarium in camden, nj on sunday, and here you see some of the many pictures from the day.  you'll see that we got to see lots of sharks and fish, touch all kinds of sea creatures (including rays and sharks), feed african birds, and find nemo.  we had a great day!

loving God with our emotions

as i prepare my sermon for this coming sunday, i am wondering what you might think about the role of the emotions in loving God, and in particular in our worship.  i have grown mostly being taught that you can't trust your emotions, that happiness is a red herring and we really ought to be looking for joy (which is no emotion at all, it seems).  as i have gotten older i have learned to be more at peace with my emotions at least in terms in recognizing them as a good an important part of who i am.  still, i'm wondering what your thoughts are on this issue: do our emotions have a place in worship?  if we come to church feeling angry or sad or confused or happy or ____________, does it hurt or enhance our worship experience?  is there a right or good way to somehow use that emotion in worship? or are we better served, in your opinion, if we sort of check our emotions at the door and worship the unchanging God who is great beyond the whim of our emotions? i have my own ideas here,

lost in sleepiness

when you don't go to bed until after 1 am, then it's hard to blog before noon.  and the reason i was up so late?  lost. no, i didn't get lost, but i was watching the series finale.  a show shannon started watching right from the beginning and pulled me into during the second season, has come to an end.  and just like life, it seemed to end with more questions than answers.  for those of you who never really got into the show or who tried it and just didn't like it, i can say that the appeal for me was the questions and the characters.  the characters were flawed people, nearly always navigating the land between "good" and "bad," just like i am.  the questions were the thing that really got me, though.  i found that it was one of the few pieces of television art that didn't give easy answers.  it left it wide open.  which is how i've found life to be.  and so, for that reason, i enjoyed the finale, and the whole series.  i will miss it.

saturday song: pray for me

okay, i know it's really old school, but the song just seems appropriate for this season.  nothing like the smooth nasally sounds of michael w. smith, serving as the soundtrack to a transition.  seriously: pray for me.  i'll be praying for you.  love ya.


transition is the word of this season for us.  everything we do is covered in transition.  we are in the transition from one home to another.  from one town to another.  from one church to another.  from one job to another.  it truly is a bit disorienting when everything around you is changing: your driver's license, your address, your home phone number, your grocery store, your weekly schedule, even your blind walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  but it's not just the sense of losing so much that is familiar, it is the also the sense of losing so much family.  part of this transition - part that i just couldn't have really prepared for - is the emotional side of it.  last night i went out with a couple of friends to sort of say goodbye.  tonight we have a dinner in celebration of our four years here at the church.  tomorrow night it is dinner with some friends.  i just went to my last ad council meeting and my last service at the nursing home.  during the

do you need a hug?

in worship this month we've been looking at the great commandment (that the greatest thing in all the law is that we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength) and applying it to our worship.  what can it mean to love God in such a holistic way as worshipping people?  this last sunday i preached specifically about the "strength" part.  how do we worship God with all our strength?  it is an interesting question, i think, especially for those of us who seem so afraid to use our bodies in worship and seem more content to practice what you might call "neck-up" worship.  something to think about, for sure.  but as i was thinking about this, i began thinking about the power of human contact.  i began to reflect on the redeeming value of a hug, or the hospitality of an extended hand.  i read about the healing power of human touch for those who are sick.  i reflected on how, when Jesus healed people in the Gospels, he often touched them.  i thought about ho


on this, my 945th post to this blog, i am looking backwards a bit.  you see, about 4 or 5 months after i started writing this blog, i started keeping track of how many people were stopping by.  at first it was just a curiousity, and then it became an exciting gauge of the incredible opportunites the world wide web affords us.  i have been amazed as you all have stopped by again and again, reading these words, sometimes responding to them, sometimes not.  more than a few times you've disagreed with me and told me about it.  probably more often than i'd like to think you've disagreed with me and not said a word of it to me.  you've enjoyed pictures of my kids, put up with my passion for steelers/yankees, and, hopefully, been blessed by the questions i've felt compelled to ask along the way.  i'm thinking about all of this because today i will likely reach 50,000 offficial visits to my blog.  that seems like a milestone to me!  and so i am a bit reflective today

risky business

i have no words for this. 

our trip to the big apple

last week shannon and i took the boys into new york city for a little two-day mini vacation.  we took the ferry into the city on wednesday and then grabbed the subway to the bronx to see the yankees play the orioles at the new yankee stadium.  here's a picture of the boys from our seats in the outfield: after the game we went back to midtown and spent some time wandering around times square before grabbing some hot dogs at gray's papaya and heading to our hotel.  cade was impressed with the height of everything: we woke up on thursday morning and took the subway up the west side of central park to the natural history museum: we enjoyed looking at the dinosaurs and all the animals and so much more, including a special butterfly exhibit at the museum.  after a full morning, we took a lunch break in central park: we spent the rest of the afternoon in the museum, before heading back to times square for a little more looking around, including a trip to the m & m sto

a mother's day silent film

in keeping with something we started last mother's day , we thought we'd make shannon another little video this year for mothers day, so she will be always be able to watch this and remember the boys at this particular age.  we had fun making it, and it certainly wasn't hard to think of things we love about her, as she is a wonderful and generous mother.  hope all you moms out there are enjoying this particular day, and realizing again just what a gift you are to your children, and to the world.  a special happy mother's day to the mom's in my life. 

saturday song: new york, new york

this week shannon and the boys and i spent two days in new york city.  i'll write more about that later and share some pics from the experience, but for today's saturday song i thought i'd share one of my favorite songs about new york city.  this is ryan adams singing about his relationship with the city.  for me, i have always had a deep infatuation with new york city, so this song serves as a bit of a soundtrack for that.  there's no video, just the one picture and a very good song.  have a great saturday!

happy birthday, sigmund freud!

happy birthday, sigmund freud.  and seriously, i mean happy birthday.  i think you need to lighten up just a bit, for real.  i mean, why so grumpy?  after all, you're the father of psychoanalysis.  it's all because of you that millions of nominally interested psychology students have slept through countless lectures about repressed sexuality and transference.  plus, you are wearing a sweet looking tweed suit and smoking a cigar, all the while smugly knowing that your middle name is Schlomo.    SCHLOMO?  how cool is that?  so, here's to you, siggy.  hope your big day creeps by in schlow-mo and you figure out a way to forgive your parents for whatever repressed emotions you have so you can actually crack a smile. 

sold! (thanks for the support)

i sold these collages this weekend.  thanks for everyone's help.  if anyone else is still interested, please take a look here and get what you want before they're all gone! 

hello daddy. i love you.

during the month of may in our church we're exploring the ideas of what it means to really worship God completely.  we're trying to push past the boundaries of "what we've always done," and "what we're used to," into something that, while perhaps a bit uncomfortable, will be an authentic act of submission to God.  we are using the great commandment as our basis: that we are called to love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind and all our strength, and that one of the venues for that is our corporate worship.  in other words, when we get together for church, we ought to be finding ways to love God with our whole selves.  we're calling this "the whole enchilada."  we feel like maybe we've been content for far too long with a steady worship diet of stale crackers and water, while there is a whole banquet of God-tastes available to us, if we would give ourselves to more authentic worship.  as i have reflected on this, i h

random rainy monday

welcome to a rainy random monday.  *** hope you had a good weekend.  ours was hot.  i mean july kind of hot.  i mean skin sticking together hot.  we thought we'd have a yard sale on saturday to unload some of our junk on unsuspecting civilians, but i guess advertising it on craig's list wasn't enough, so we got few visitors.  we still managed to sell some stuff, but it looks like we're going to have to do it again.  i'll keep you posted.  *** i have been listening quite a bit to manchester orchestra's "mean everything to me."  it has this awesome kind of manic desperation to it, mixed with a healthy dose of angst and aggression.  it's got slightly insane edge to it that i find very appealing.  it certainly isn't for all my listeners, but it might be something some of you like.  at one point he sings: "whatever whatever, i can't speak.  i sing." *** we're going to new york city later this week for an overnight stay, catch