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Showing posts from October, 2013

happy halloween (the light always wins)

Halloween: Trick or Treat? from on Vimeo . i was asked recently by an acquaintance if our family goes trick-or-treating.  the question was asked with all the crushing weight of evangelical guilt, as if my whole christian witness relied on my correctly answering this loaded question.  i, of course, answered with a robust "of course we do!," because i refuse to be painted into a cultural box by my Christian comrades, and i even went on to explain my rationale, that i think Christians would do much better by being present with our culture, rather than cutting ourselves off from it while pointing at it and calling it all sorts of horrible names.  i want to be a light in the darkness!  and i want to teach my children the same.  i said all of that, more or less.  but i wish i had seen this video at that time, because i would have instantly pulled it up on my phone and showed it to my guilt-laden conversation partner, who finally admitted to almost secretly tak

songs of life

    on monday i finished leading a seven week study on the book of psalms called "songs of life."  in this study we looked at different types or genres of psalms, including thanksgiving psalms, liturgical psalms, lament psalms, royal psalms, and others.  all together, we read some 60 psalms, studying a few them closely, and only reading or taking a brief look at others.  we had some 30 people participate over the course of the 7 weeks, and while i hope that everyone learned some things, my most pronounced desire is that some of the folks who looked at these psalms in the last two months have been inspired by the poetry therein.  it is my prayer that as they read these ancient words, they discovered that the words are pointing to something beyond the words themselves, and even beyond whatever theological meaning we can contrive.  these profound poems and songs sing of something deeper and truer and higher and more solid and more alive.  they speak of the true grit of hum

our night with emmylou

on saturday night, shannon and i had the immense privilege to (finally) see emmylou harris live in concert.  i say finally because we were supposed to see her 7 or 8 years ago, when she unfortunately broke her wrist a few days before the show, and it was cancelled.  we've been sort of sad about that all these years, and so we were so excited to have this opportunity to see her as she tours with rodney crowell, a former member of her hot band, and great songwriter himself, in support of their collaborative album which came out earlier this year called "old yellow moon."  i don't get to go to nearly as many concerts as i'd like to, so i was pretty excited about this opportunity to see a living legend, and so was shannon.  we pretended that emmylou had joined us for dinner: homemade cheddar broccoli soup and freshly made applesauce.  not long after, i donned my cowboy hat and we headed up to lewisburg to the weis center at bucknell university, found our sea

happy blirthday

today is my blog's birthday.  i've been doing this now for 7 years, and over 1,700 posts.  and it has been seven years of....what?  i don't know.  musings.  laughter.  wrestlings.  hopes.  songs.  art.  change.  movement from birth to childhood, in all its messy joy.  speaking of my children, here is an interesting fact that i didn't realize until today.  well, i knew this first part of course: all of my children were born on the 25th of their month.  and each one is a quarter away from the other.  january 25th, april 25th, and july 25th.  the pediatrician thought we should try for a 4th child on october 25th.  we will not be.  but, and this is the part i just realized today, my blog's birthday is october 25th!  i wrote my very first post on october 25th, 2006.  kinda crazy.  and in that time, you have clicked in some 200,000 times.  from all over the world.  you've looked into a digital window into my family, into my heart, at times, and certainly int

first sleepover

my oldest (or is it eldest?) son went to his first sleepover at a friends house a few weeks ago.  while it was at a good friend's house, and a family that we trust, that didn't stop me from looking at shannon at some point that evening and feeling aghast as i stated the obvious:  our child is growing up.  first a sleepover, next is prom.  boom.  like that.  he had a soccer game to play the next morning, so we warned him over and over that he needed to get some sleep.  he said he understood, and would do his best to rest up.  but i think his "resting up" looked something like this: he says he tried to sleep, but one of his friends woke him after one hour.  this coming from the kid who has no concept of time.  none.  30 minutes and 3 hours are very much the same thing in his time-warped world in which, so far, he really hasn't felt the need to differentiate between the two.  so, i really have no idea how long he slept (i'm sure it was more than an ho

concerts i've been to

as shannon and i prepare to go and see a favorite of ours in concert this weekend - emmylou harris - i was thinking about all the concerts i've been able to attend so far in my life.  and i've been to many!  you can see them in word cloud above, and here is a list of the ones i can remember:  Harrod and Funck (got to see 5 or 6 times) Over the Rhine (seen at least 10 times) Coldplay ( la vida tour) Willie Nelson (legendary) Taylor Swift (fun) Shania Twain U2 (one of the most worshipful experiences of my life) MuteMath (best live show, hands down) OC Supertones (seen 4 or 5 times...always entertaining) The Myriad Carman (i'm not proud of it) Mylon Lefevre and Broken Heart (c'mon and crack the sky with me) Livingston Taylor (james taylor's brother.  sounds like him) Audio Adrenaline Newsboys (too many times) Phil Keaggy Jennifer Knapp Whiteheart David Crowder Band Hoi Polloi Caedmons Ca

captain clutch

yesterday was part 1 of the annual 2-part headmashing festival that is the pittsburgh steelers/baltimore ravens rivalry.  despite starting the season with their first start since 1968 (!), the steelers felt pretty good going into this matchup, and their confidence was clear.  right from the beginning, with clint hurdle and andrew mccutchen waving terrible towels and wearing steelers jerseys, there was a feeling that this was pittsburgh's game.  and if there was any doubt at all that this was, at the very least, going to be a game in which the steelers were going to present a problem for the ravens, any such doubt was eliminated by the way the steelers rookie running back, le'veon bell, ran the ball.  it was such a relief for steelers' fans to see his hard running, his obviously good vision, his intelligent cutbacks, and his ability to hold onto the ball, not to mention his near 100-yard performance, against haloti ngata and the orcs of baltimore.  credit also has

restaurants, running, and ravens: a random friday

-our boys had picture week at school this week.  i doubt that they give out prizes for the best looking children (why not?), but if they did, it is pretty evident who would win.  i mean, c'mon.  it's ridiculous.  see figure a. -i've been watching a new show.  it is british.  it is a modern update of sherlock holmes.  and it stars that guy who plays bilbo in the hobbit as dr. watson.  i am already addicted.  see figure b.  -on columbus day we went to my new favorite restaurant.  it's called haywoods .  it is in muncy, pa.  and they are steelers fans.  so the place is full of steelers stuff.  plus, they sell pittsburgh style sandwiches (fries and cole slaw ON the sandwich).  and the sandwiches are called things like "the clemente," "the roethlisburger," "and "the three rivers reuben," among others.  we got all dressed up in steelers gear, and ate well.  see figure c. -went to the halloween parade in town last night.  let's just

i'll trade ya a mantle for a milinovich

that took awhile.

i don't have many words about this one. mostly just a relieved wipe of the brow.  now, finally no more "owen four" jokes.  i wasn't sure i could take many more of those.  and now it is ravens week!  woo hoo! ps.  happy columbus day.  please enjoy by listening to this freely.


last night i finished reading dan brown's "inferno," and i can't say i loved it that much. don't get me wrong, i love the classily brownian twists and cryptic clues, leading a trail across history, geography, science, religion, art, and literature, but this particular book felt to me like it kept getting slowed down by long sections of exposition. and while i was particularly interested in what brown might be saying about hell, the dante stuff felt a bit forced to me at times. i mean, i get it: i understand that brown is making the point that some (maybe him?) think that we are already in the inferno of population growth and overcrowding, but i had been hoping for more of a commentary on the afterlife from brown's humanist, futurist perspective.  so i didn't enjoy this as much as "angels and demons" or especially "the lost symbol," but i will say that the transhumanism stuff, with its bent towards genetic engineering, is a bit terrifyin

5k + 5k = 10k?

that's my sister-in-law and i, striking a pose before running a 5k on saturday.  that's right.  my second 5k of the year!  i never would have thought i would do such a thing once, let alone twice in the same year.  i finished with a time of over 32 minutes.  i have already run another one on my own since i ran this official one on saturday, and am happy about getting myself in better shape.  if this old chubby guy can run 5k's then just about anything is possible!  also, since i have run two 5ks this year, doesn't that count as a 10k?  i can't understand why it wouldn't..... so what's next for me?  a real 10k?  we shall see.... ps.  LET'S GO BUCS!

very good

the other night at dinner, after a particularly yummy meal that shannon made (was it the pork loin, or maybe the chinese beef and noodles she made?), we pushed back from the table, bellies full and happy, and one of us proclaimed, "mmmm....that was very good."  and my 6-year old son announced assuredly, "yep.  that's what God said when he was done making things."  "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good..." -genesis 1:31 (niv) exactly. 


a couple of weeks ago i was lucky enough to find some great tickets at a good price to go to pittsburgh and see the steelers play the chicago bears.  going to pittsburgh at any time is like a pilgrimage of sorts for me, so getting to drive dawntawn and ride the "t" over to the northshore was an absolute holy experience.  before the game, there are all sorts of pregame "festivities," including a neat setup over at stage AE, a concert venue next to heinz field.  at stage AE they have tv's everywhere, showing other nfl games, the wdve crew is there doing their live pregame stuff, there are plenty of beverages flowing, and games and concessions, and so forth.  i wandered around to check out the whole scene, and one of the things i did was fill out a survey about what radio stations i listen to.  after a while i wandered over to the stadium, and had a blast, even though the steelers folded.  i felt lucky just to be there and take it all in.  still, the ride home

ken burns, taylor lautner, and baseball in the 'burgh

back in april i started watching this incredible documentary by ken burns about baseball.  i can't imagine it being any more awesome.  but like the game of baseball itself, it was steady and slow, some might say long and boring.  but not me.  it was the opposite of boring.  it was like heaven.  i would HIGHLY (that's right, all caps...i'm yelling about this!) recommend this to any baseball fan.  some (like my wife) might wonder if it would ever end; i hoped it would never end.  sadly, it did.  last night.  that's right, i watched it over the course of 6 months.  carving out little half hour segments over the course of the baseball season to take in all 1,380 minutes of it (23 hours).  and it was a very bittersweet ending for me.  i want mr. burns to make another chapter (he calls them innings) about the 2013 buccos, ending the streak.  i want the buccos to keep writing this story, so he will be compelled to make it! speaking of the buccos, i watched this movie t

welcome to buctober

in the fall of 1992 i was a high school junior, with a bad case of acne and a curly mullet.  you could find me living in central kentucky, having moved there from western pennsylvania.  i held true to my black and yellow roots, resisting the cincinatti affiliation of most of the natives.  at any given moment you could find me at my church, as i was very involved in my active youth group, or listening to rod stewart sing "have i told you lately" while i dreamed of whoever i was infatuated with at the moment, or, during the baseball playoffs, you could find me either watching or listening to the games, because the pirates were involved.  that fall they were facing the braves.  who were good, but annoying, what with their "tomahawk chop" and the constant shots of ted turner in the first row.  enough already.  i remember watching that game, admiring the way doug drabek, who also rocked a sweet mullet, was mastering the braves lineup, including former pirates rafae