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Showing posts from April, 2012

mondays with max: squinting in the sun

these are some pictures i took of our beautiful bulldog max in some bright morning sunlight, which his eyes had not yet adjusted to.  i liked the way they turned out.  these mondays with max are particularly important to me right now because it seems that max's health is declining.  not sure how long we'll have him around, so we are cherishing our moments with him. 

the united methodist church: the sexuality fight continues

the united methodist church has gathered in tampa, florida for its general conference, which meets every four years. one of the things this means is that the national media pays some attention because they want to report on whatever goes on in the discussion regarding homosexuality. from whati'm reading , that long-unresolved conversation has already begun, as the conference set up what they called "holy conversations" in which small groups of people could sit and discuss this sensitive topic. however, it seems that some of the conversations turned to an opportunity for bullying and name calling, rather than looking for truth, understanding and ways to show love and compassion. as a young(er) methodist, i am so tired of this conversation, and am weary of my tribe (united methodists) being so unwilling to love people. when the culture has done a better job of loving people than the church has, we have a problem. Jesus said that the world would know us by our love, not

with their first pick in the 2012 draft....

last night was the first round of the nfl draft. the steelers were near the bottom of the order, 24th, but were given a great gift in right guard david decastro from stanford. i'm not a draftnik by any stretch, but after watching some tape on this guy, he looks like exactly the kind of pulling guard that the steelers love. he looks quick and balanced and like he will be a force in the middle with pouncey and will also pull across formations to set up some running lanes. i'm looking forward to seeing red zone redman follow him to the second level. he's not a "sexy" first round pick, but a great pick, in my opinion. are you ready for some football?

derek jeter too old? no way!

-it's been a really fun start to the baseball season for me.  the yanks have been decent, despite some terrible starting pitching performances, aand (as bas as this makes me sound) its been fun to see the red sox suffer so much, though they seem to have finally turned it around.  but the best part of the season, undoubtedly, is the unbelievable start that derek jeter is having, after the entire baseball universe seemed to tell him that he was washed up and too old and didn't have the physical gifts anymore to play everyday shortstop in the major leagues.  oh really?  he's just hitting like .420 right now.  no big deal.  here's a great article about what number 2...derek jeter...number 2 is up to this year. 

first of all

oh, First of all, you, who is so often our Last Resort, who is typically near the bottom of the list, you are our way - our only way - to health and ourselves. forgive us for giving you only a glance; for our passionate prejudice and fierce self-reliance. where we have treated independence like a golden god, refine us, and melt it down until we see the spaces in us, spaces only you can fill.  when we face those who would challenge us; when we are questioned or cajoled, when life seems to cast its cold and callous shadow over us, whose name will we call, o gentle healer? will we speak the name our parents gave us as a temporary signpost, or will we dare to utter the name above all names? we pray for courage, for the guts to speak the name that turns death to life and despair to hope, which turns broken pieces into beauty, and dead dry bones into divine dance. we are the rejectors.  and yet you have redeemed us. o cornerstone of our hope, remi

happy birthday, caedmon!

today is caedmon's fifth birthday.  we have already had part one of the celebration this last weekend, with a cars cake with a big paved "5" on it.  this coming weekend will be phase 2, with some other cars-related edible goodness.  pictures to follow.  cade is a character.  he likes accessories and he loves hiding and playing tricks.  he also enjoys a stage of any kind.  we discovered this during our christmas program last december, when he found the stage and the spot immediately in front of the microphone each week and planted himself there with flair.  this week, as the children sang "give me oil in my lamp" during worship, he kicked his legs back and forth like a rockette.  it is not unusual to find him at home wearing some combination of bracelets, necklaces, glasses, ties, wristbands, hats, capes, etc.  i can't believe he's been in this world for five years already.  there's no question but that those five years have b

mondays with max: rollin'

stream of conciousness friday

stream of conciousness on a friday..... somehow we left the garage door open overnight, and i've discovered at least one thing missing.  jack's not going to be happy about that missing razor scooter.... tom and jerry was a classic cartoon.  tom and jerry kids from the '80's?  not so much. yankees are going to bos*** (i really prefer not to type the name of that hot mess in mass-a--poo-setts) today.  fenway park is celebrating its 100th birthday.  the red sox are celebrating by starting the season at 4-8.  only 5 teams in baseball have a worse record.  so sweet.  when the only thing you have to celebrate is a 100 year old stadium and 2 championships in the last 93 years, it seems fitting to start off this way.  it's like me throwing a birthday party for my mazda protege because it's been a wildly mediocre car and even once went over 90mph.  but at least it has many miles!  woo hoo!  here's hoping the yankees do the celebrating.  i've never

is my face glowing?

in exodus we can read about how when moses would come down from the mountain, after speaking with God, his face would be glowing and he would wear a veil when talking with the people.  it seems that his times with God on the mountain were pretty intense.  and it makes me wonder....did he really want to come down from the mountain at all?  after spending face time with God (which must be at once terrifying and exhilarating), did he really feel walking back down the steep mountain path, putting the veil back on, and dealing with all the mundane stuff his people were dealing with (you know, making golden calves and whatnot)?  of course i don't know the answer to that.  but, having spent the last few days literally on top of a mountain, and spending time with God in silence, and then coming down off the mountain to face a hundred emails and way-too-long to-do lists, i can't help but feel that i'd rather be back on top of the mountain.  plus, this veil is annoying. 


for the next couple of days you won't be hearing from me.  actually, no one will.  i'll be silent.  absolutely silent.  taking a little break from blog/facebook/google/phone/talking.  it's time to just shut my mouth and open my's time to listen closely to the sounds of my life that i'm usually too distracted to hear.   i'll be back here at aor in a few days, and until then i wish you grace and peace. 

saturday song: the water is wide

if i'm ever somewhere and the thought occurs to me, "hey, i should really sing a song right now."  whether it's just to pass the time or to put a baby to sleep or whatever, there is one song that always seems to be the first to pop into my mind, and it's this one:  what's yours?

keeping easter alive

i've written about this in prior years, but each year after easter i feel a particular pull to make sure that we don't too hastily "move on," and forget about the "he is risen!" joy we've just experienced.  easter isn't a day; it is a way of life.  and so, i thought today, in an effort to keep the newness and the miracle of the resurrection fresh in our minds, i would share this poem by john updike.  i had never read this before until a colleague shared it with me last week, and i was deeply moved by it.  i hope you find it compelling as well, and that you allow resurrection and the hope it gives us to continue to shape you in the journey ahead.  Make no mistake: if He rose at all it was as His body; if the cells' dissolution did not reverse, the molecules reknit , the amino acids rekindle, the Church will fall. It was not as the flowers, each soft Spring recurrent; it was not as His Spirit in the mouths

i fought the toilet and the toilet won

a couple of weekends ago shannon and the boys went away for the weekend, leaving me at home alone with the dog, and a honey-do list.  well, it was a short list, actually.  it really only had one item:  replace the bathroom floor.  the main bathroom here at our parsonage had an old linoleum floor that was a bit yellowed with age (i hope), and we had purchased some of those adhesive floor tiles that are supposedly easy to install, and it was going to be my job to do that simple job.  riiiiiight.  first thing i did was remove the toilet.  then i cleaned the bathroom floor with some pretty intense chemicals, so as to remove any waxy residue from the linoleum (side benefit: chemicals also removed all traces of hair from inside my nose).  then i began to  lay those tiles.  that seemed relatively easy until i had to start measuring and cutting to make the tiles fit around molding and the bathtub.  what a disaster.  i'm a collage artist who is used to randomly pasting things together,

g.i.g.i. joe

at baseball practice the other night, jackson was very busy not paying attention to the ball, and was instead searching the ground for treasures.  partially buried in the dirt, he found this:  well, it was much dirtier than that, but you get the picture.  we brought it home, cleaned it off, and examined our new find.  and cade was particularly excited about the find, saying "we found a G.I.G.I. Joe!"  now, this wasn't him playing with words or anything, he really thinks that's what they're called.  it's a mix of old mcdonald with the great american toy hero.  i love it.  oh yeah, you didn't know the boys were playing baseball?  well, they are.  practices have already begun in earnest, and games are coming soon!  proof:

a blessed easter

i hope everyone had a blessed easter....we sure did!  while the easter season is incredibly exhausting for me as a pastor, it is equally rewarding and incomprehensibly blessed.  now to continue to live in the light of the resurrection....

new collage: easter 2012 - tears of joy

"lent 7 2012: tears of joy" mixed media collage on stretched box canvas (acrylic paint, vintage papers, glue) april 2012 gregory a. milinovich  sometimes we weep for sadness and grief.  sometimes we weep with emotion beyond what we know what to do with: some mixture of joy and pain, like we can feel something deeper than our language, stronger than our hearts, and beyond time and space.  sometimes life is just too terrible and too wonderful at the same time.  sometimes we're just chopping onions.  in any case, many of us find ourselves crying from time to time.  i wanted to end this series of lenten collages with a tear, reminiscent of mary crying outside the tomb of Jesus.  "why are you weeping?" she is asked twice.  and at first it is because she thinks Christ's body has been stolen.  and then, she finally recognizes his voice.  what do you think happens then?  well, we aren't told specifically, of course, but i know that if it

saturday song: the easter song (old school)

today, on this holy saturday, i thought i would go all old school on you.  when i was a teenager i was VERY involved in my church, and that was a really good thing for me, as those were some of the most formative years of my life.  i owe so much of my current situation to that foundation.  anyway, part of that involvement was singing in the church's youth choir.  as part of that choir i was able to go on a couple different tours in different regions of our country.  i'm not sure i remember any of the songs we sang except this one, for some reason.  it was easter morning, circa 1993.  we were on the front steps of our church (wilmore united methodist church), and it was awful early to be singing, as i remember.  we were singing a song that i had already known, a song performed, among others, by a band called "2nd chapter of acts."  i believe it is called "easter song."  the picture above is a picture of this actual performance, and i am the dude in the


"an endless bleeding - crucifixion" by thomas watson on this day- an earthquake day, a boundary breaking, curtain-splitting day, a turn things upside down and raise the dead day, a dark, dark, 'where is the sun?' day, a creation calling out in pains of labor and delivery day- on this day, life gives itself up. lets go, surrenders. all that has ever been seems to shake and shiver in the cold dark grasp of death and despair. the hopes of a million years, or more, the hopes of every creature ever preyed upon, the hopes of the huddled masses, the hopes of the powerful ones, only hoped in secret, private moments, the hopes of the broken everyone, the hopes of this mess i call me, are crushed like cracking stones, along faultlines of fear on this day, this deathday. 

cade washes feet and teaches daddy a lesson

we're outnumbered.  that's what having that third child does to a family: parents - 2, children - 3.  if the family were a democracy, then we would be eating captain crunch and root beer for every meal.  this majority problem leads to all sorts of unintended consequences, including the necessity of the parental zone defense, in which one parent, who in the old man-to-man defense only needed to worry about one child, now has the responsibility to look after double that (2 children, for the math-impaired).  when you have a baby, sometimes you let that baby "cry it out."  i'm not saying that you go all dr. spock and let him scream for hours on end, but i'm saying that you just can't always run to him at the first little whimper.  if mommy is making dinner and daddy is busy playing legos or thinking deep thoughts, sometimes baby will just have to work it out for awhile.  sorry, dude, but you're the third child.  this is your destiny.  ________

new collage: lent 6 - the greatness of humility

"lent 6, 2012: the greatness of humility" mixed media collage on stretched box canvas (acrylic paint, found papers, vintage papers, glue) april 2012 gregory a. milinovich this sunday was palm sunday, and we continued our lent-long look at the paradoxes of our faith, focusing this week on mark 11:1-11, in which Jesus enters Jerusalem on an unbroken colt.  as the people shouted "hosanna" to the blessed one from the line of David, the one they hoped would restore the kingdom, Jesus knew he was approaching the cross upon which he would hang under the paradoxical sign, "king of the jews."  this festive parade was certainly a triumphant entry and a kind of inauguration, but the kingdom being set up here isn't one ushered in by a mighty warrior with jeweled swords and shields riding in on a great stallion.  instead, this is an enigmatic teacher, riding without weapons or defense, on an untamed (jumpy?) colt.  this is a king, but a

mondays with max: tuesday edition

okay, so i'm a day behind.  i realize that.  i really do.  today is tuesday, not monday.  but since i spent most of monday and sunday fighting with a leaking toilet, i am a bit behind this week.  i want to write about the epic battle greg vs. the toilet, but i will resist the temptation to vent right now and will instead wait until the episode is finally over, so you can get the whole story.  in the meantime, enjoy this tuesday edition of 'mondays with max," again doing what he does best: sleeping. 

have a blessed palm sunday.

have a blessed palm sunday.  remember: a kingdom is being celebrated here.  in this kingdom the first will be last.  the low will be lifted.  the dead will live.  the broken will be fixed.  the servants will be the greatest.  the blind will see.  what a kingdom.  and the king?  you'll find him riding an unbroken donkey at the wrong end of town.  upside-down and inside-out.  as usual.  are you paying attention?  things are not always as they appear to be.  sometimes, the most profound moments are the most mundane ones.  sometimes, when we put others before ourselves, we find our true selves in a way we had never before understood.  "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus..."  Philippians 2:3-5