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Showing posts from September, 2013

our journey through narnia

over the last several months i've been reading the entire chronicles of narnia by c.s. lewis to my oldest son at bedtime.  we started with the lion , the witch, and the wardrobe, and finished just two nights ago with the last battle, and while i have read them all before, it was so much better to read them with my son, to see his reactions, and to experience them as a child myself.  what a great joy.  the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe might just be my favorite, only because it is where i first walked through that wardrobe and felt the fur turning to pine needles.  it is where i was first struck by the sight of that lampost there in the woods, and mr. tumnus walking by with his arms full of packages.  no other discovery  in the series had quite the magical impact as that one.  plus, no other book in the series inspired a full-length album by a band called "the second chapter of acts" which still gets play on my turntable to this very day! (warning: it's from

what i learned at the stadium

      being a protestant pastor of a church that worships on sunday mornings about four hours from pittsburgh doesn't lend itself to getting to go to heinz field for a steelers game very often.    which is why i'm basically a tv-watching steelers fan.    except for this week.  actually, i've been to a handful of steelers games now, (six now, in total).  an evening game provides me an opportunity to drive to the best city in the world and sit in that great yellow coliseum, and it is an opportunity i took advantage of this week, even though my bears fan buddy bailed on me.    and so i left church, ate lunch with the family, and headed for the 'burgh, feeling my anticipation grow with each passing mile marker.  i have some sort of inner radar that senses my distance from pittsburgh at all times.  and i can feel the needle climbing the dial as i drive west.  finally, i made it down the parkway east and into the city that holds my heart.    i'm

saturday song: mos eisley cantina song

i love this story.  we should all be so neighborly.  good work, toby.  keep dreaming big.  for your saturday song, i offer you this wonderful little cover of the cantina song from mos eisley in star wars.  everyone knows it.  it plays its catchy little melody over and over while we see if ben and luke can get a ship.  a little duo from kansas city called victor and penny have filled out the song a bit, and perform it live here.  enjoy!  unless you're a droid....we don't serve your kind here.

carbonite, colors, and cutting out the agent

it looks like one of the huts finally found han solo and had him frozen in carbonite (again).  how do we know this?  NASA has found him.  on mercury.  you can read about it .  also, if you're having trouble concentrating, you need more of the color orange in your life.  seriously.  further research has shown that if you are having trouble dealing with the awful beginning to the football season by the steelers, or the way the pirates are laying an egg againt the padres, or the sad last desperate moments of the yankees season, you need more agentorange in your life.  agent orange records, that is.  where we never stop.  we keep on hoping.  we never give up.  we die trying.  oh, and we change our name.  that's right.  i am getting rid of the agentorangerecords moniker.  it is long overdue.  it is too closely associated with a chemical and war and terrible cost to life, and i am no longer willing to be (even accidently) associated with it.  so i am slowly moving aw

google just sacked my positive vibe

 i was all prepared to get on here this morning and write a post about even though it stinks to watch your favorite team lose, i was feeling wise and mature, and had the perspective that i was blessed just to get to watch the steelers play at all. i enjoy seeing them come out onto the field....i enjoy seeing my favorite team compete...i enjoy the energy and adrenaline.  i was going to say that, while the loss is really bad, i am in a really positive place and just enjoying it as it occurs; after all, there is nothing i can do about it anyway, right?   but then i went and googled an image for this post, and that picture popped up, and all my positive energy got thrown violently to the turf.   it was brutal.  it was not fun. it was heinous. and i am tempted to go and get a thesaurus so i can tell you how many other shades of awful it was.   yikes. it's going to be a long year.  and i'm going to enjoy it, dang it!

hope: history and energy

  we are in the middle of yet another series at our church ( catawissa avenue umc ) about hope.  hope has been our major theme over the last two years, as we have come to see that our vision is to be a people of hope, sharing the hope of Christ with our neighbors .  and since we see it as our calling to have hope be the defining characteristic of our church's personality, we continue to grow in understanding of what it means to be full of hope.  yesterday in worship we talked about the power of hope to help us persevere through the difficult seasons in our lives.  there are a variety of ways that hope can do this, but we talked about two ways in particular: history and energy.  first, history .  our hope is not just wishful thinking.  it isn't just a vague belief that "everything will work out alright in the end because that's how all my favorite movies end."  no, hope is based on something.  ultimately, as Christ-followers, our hope is based on Christ and

star wars, musical news and moustache shaving....a random saturday

always wondered what your name would be if you were born in the star wars universe?  check it out here .  always wondered what the news would sound like if everyone sang it and realized how ridiculous they sound?  check it out here .  thinking about shaving your moustache?  check this out.  wanna see a great coldplay cover? watch  this .  and have the best saturday ever.   

to love at all

-the pirates just keep on winning.  even the yankees are making it interesting for that second wild card spot in the AL.  now if only the steelers could right the ship.... -came across this great little video today which illustrates a wonderful little quote by c.s. lewis who knew a thing or two about the vulnerability of love.  worth spending the 90 seconds to watch as a reminder to each of us about how we ought to be loving.... -looking forward to watching this movie this weekend:        -have a great weekend everyone!

i have hope (reflections on 9/11)

two years ago, upon the tenth anniversary of 9/11, i wrote these words. i shared them again last year, and now, as i reread them this morning, two years after i wrote them, i feel compelled to share them again. given the international climate at the moment, with syria pushing everyone's buttons and north korea making everyone nervous and everyone seemingly just a psuh of a button away fromn earth-shattering mess, i feel like these words need to be heard.  at least they need to be heard by me.  they need to be read and reread and remembered and (most of all) practiced.  they represent the deepest desires of my heart not just concerning that fateful day and the narrative that has followed, but about life as a whole, and my (and your) part in it. i hope you'll read these words, nod enthusiastically where you agree, and be challenged by them to move beyond your comfort level. i know i am. -greg. "six years later" paper collage on cardboard panel 2007 gr

a great (black and) golden egg

do you know what that is?  it's an egg.  a black and gold egg.  like the one the steelers laid at home yesterday.  sure they scored a touchdown.  at the end when the titans were just protecting their big lead.  sure they had some key injuries and had to shuffle things around.  but that is not an excuse.  they looked awful.  they looked rusty and out of sync and frustrated and over matched and out coached and beaten soundly in every sense of the word.  i love the steelers, and i would gladly watch them play chess against other teams, but even i have to admit that it was hard to watch.  it was embarrassing and humiliating and more than a little sad.  i am confident that they will fix some of the mistakes, fill some of the gaps, and at least play more respectably than that, but i do not expect them to have a great year, or even a very good year, if yesterday is any indication.  the only silver lining, if you want to call it that, is that every team in the division

drawn to the church?

just watched "waking ned devine" the other night and really enjoyed this exchange between a young boy and the parish priest: Boy:  - So, did he come to you, then? Priest:  - Who's that? Boy - Jesus. Priest - Oh, Jesus.   Well, he did in many ways, yes. Boy- Did you see him? Priest - Well, not exactly, no. Boy - But... you're working for him. Priest - I am. Doing the best I can. Boy - Do you get paid for it? Priest - Well, it's more a payment of the spiritual kind, Maurice. Boy - Oh, right. Priest - Think you could be drawn to the Church? Boy - I don't think so.  Priest - Well, you never know. Boy - I don't think I could work for someone I'd never met, and not get paid for it.

special music

on sunday my sister and her family came up to see us and she and i had the opportunity to sing together at church as a "special music."  we sang "beautiful scandalous night" and here is a video of it from an iphone:  it was awesome to have the chance to sing with her, and the congregation really seemed to enjoy hearing her sing.  thanks, sis! 

prayer for a very busy day

God of the whole world,   you reign over the bell and clang of wall street   and the mighty crushing waves of the ocean on distant shores.   You see the bigwigs in board meetings,   and the lonely outcasts in cardboard covers.   in all of this: you.  God of love for every one,   in all of this, you see me;   you love me.    On this day, when busyness threatens to rob me   of my passion, my vision, and my joy,   i ask for some perspective.    help me stay connected to you,   and your heart of love for this broken world,   that i might not be distracted by   "collecting registrations" and "inputting attendance."  On this day, when the undone tasks pull at me    like screaming children,    remind me first that i am your beloved son,    and that my main thing to do is to    share that love with all who would be my neighbors on this day. And, oh God of being and doing,    may i find that at the end of this day,    i have accomplished exactly