I know recently I haven’t been posting much on the blog and this makes me sad. Not so much because I believe many people other than my mom and dad read this thing (Hi Mom! Hi Dad) but more so because I think through things better when I am writing about them. Unfortunately the vast majority of the interesting experiences that I am going through right now are happening in St. Michael’s hospital or in my Clinical Pastoral Education peer meeting and both of these are covered by various layers of confidentiality so I can’t type about them. This is pretty frustrating because I have had some pretty cool and funny things happen to and around me. I am going to force myself to start writing a few times each week because I miss it.
So here are some random thoughts:
- I wish there was a really good chili dog place in Point. I don’t know of one right now but I have been told that Square Scoops has a decent hotdog. I’ll find out in the next week or two. Every now and then I get the urge to start my own chili dog push cart. It would be cool during the Summer but I have no idea what I would do with it during the Winter.
- Reading a merely mediocre book after reading a string of really good books is a taxing experience. I am presently reading An Introduction to Pastoral Care by Charles Gerkin for CPE right now and it is ok. I just find it hard to get into Gerkin’s writing style. This is driving me nuts because I just finishing reading The American Spiritual Cultural by William Dean and World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks, both of which really drew me in. Unfortunately I have to finish Gerkin’s book for CPE and thus I will push through it. I’m not sure what I am going to start on after I finish Gerkin. Thinking about reading some Kathryn Tanner (Christ the Key) or reading some Kurt Vonnegut.
- No work has been done on Fred the Sentra for the past few months because snow is on the ground and therefore the garage is pretty much always wet or icy. Not a fun environment for being under a car. I’ve been researching a few things on how to fix the rust spots. I think I will be teaching myself to weld this Summer.
- Just in case you don’t know this – I have a really cool family. Pam and the boys are just awesome and interesting people. I really enjoy talking with my wife and kid ands and hearing their thoughts on the world. If you haven’t recently hung out with Pam, Adam, or Noah you really should.
- Since I am bragging on family I also want to make sure you guys know how awesome the church I get to be a part of is. Tapestry is awesome. I am honored to be a part of it. If you haven’t looked at the Lenten Project that we are doing you really should.
- I’m doing a poll on Tapestry’s facebook page right now concerning what the church’s next message series should be. Right now “Anything as long as it is short” seems to be the consensus winner. I guess 88 weeks on the Gospel according to Mark might have been a little long. :)
I guess that is it for now. Hopefully this will get the blogging stone rolling again.
I just heard a statement on a podcast I was listening to concerning pointing becoming more valuable than creating in Western culture. What does this mean. Well what was referenced is that we have begun to value the acting of pointing out something that is interesting or cool more than we do the actual creating of the item. Think of how many things you have “shared” via facebook, twitter, instagram, good read, reddit, boing boing, or some other social network versus how much you have actually created for someone else to point to. Reddit and boing boing really just exist to point out interesting thing. Or consider Pinterest. These are entire social media networks established just to point out interesting things. I don’ t think this is an age thing either. My parents point to/share just as many videos, photos, graphics as my kids do. Pam and I do the same thing (though Pam creates I fair amount too).
Right now, I’m not sure what this means or even how to speculate about what it might reference concerning modern culture. I do however find it interesting and therefore thought I would point it out. ;)
Just finished a fun conversation with one of the baristas at Emy J’s, Mindy, concerning Sherry Turkle‘s thought on much of modern society being alone together. I heard Dr. Turkle lecture at a conference and I find her work fascinating. One of the things Turkle talked about was the change between modern coffee shops and coffee shops of the 18th century. The 18th century coffee shop was where the discussions that led to the American Revolution took place. They were a "third place" that people went to and talked with each other. They may have gone to the coffee shop alone but once there you were a part of a group and you interacted with the group. You might have come to the coffee shop alone but you were together once there.
The modern coffee shop? Well it is still a "third place" but if a person goes there alone he/she often does so to be around others but alone at the same time. Ear buds, ipods, smart phones, tablets, and computers enable us to be within 18 inches of another person and yet completely disengaged from the world we share with them. We can be talking with a "friend" on Facebook while completely unaware of the person who is almost touching us. I know a number of people who come to Emy J’s so I usually have a conversation with a few people when I am here. It is still amazing to me how many people are "alone together" here. I am sure that much of that is purposeful and needed. While working on my dissertation I needed lots of quite time. I would place my earbuds in for two purposes, 1) to use the music to partially drown out the noise around me, and 2) to discourage people from interrupting me. Sometimes this is needed. I completely understand that. I also believe that it is often habit. Someone wants to be around people but has developed the habit of "walling" themselves off and can no longer socially interact with strangers.
Anyhow this was a really fun conversation to have with Mindy while we were standing in a coffee shop. Drr. Turkle talks about this in more depth in her book "Alone Together."
I have smart friends. It is a nice thing every now and then but often it is a pain. The reason it is a pain is because they get me to read things that I wouldn’t read on my own. One of those friends who is a pain is my friend Clint. Presently I am reading "A Distant Mirror" by Barbara Tuchman because of Clint suggesting it. The problem with the book is two fold. 1) It is a long book that covers a lot of detailed events and people, and 2) it is really good and therefore I can’t just dismiss it as boring and stop reading it.
Darn you Clint.
Any how "A Distant Mirror" is basically about 14th century France in the midst of the Black Plague. It is fascinating. I have studied more about ancient societies than I have medieval Europe so this is a relatively new subject for me. One of the things that is intriguing me the most the author’s description of how idealism and practice pertained to the three estates of medieval European society. Apparently European society of the middle ages was amazingly idealistic. It makes sense considering the fact that we still understand the concept of chivalry (a distinct form of medieval thought). Society was separated into three estates that were supposed to b mutually supportive.
- The Clergy
- The Nobility
- The Commoners
Each estate had a roll. The clergy and nobility were supposedly focsed on the potection of society. The nobility protected society through the use of arms while the clergy potected society through a focus on faith, thought, and government. The commoners focused on the production of society. In theory each estate supported each other and helped society through that support.
Of course, the theory wasn’t usually lived out. Each estate often, at best, forgot to support one another. Instead of protecting the commoners the nobility, the estate that was supposed to be the millitary protection of society, actually became the biggest threat that the commoners faced during their daily lives. Interesting side note – Tuchman discussed that since the destruction of the means of production has been a pretty common form of warfare throughout history it was often common for knights to fight against unarmed commoners. Thus hurting their enemy’s economy by hurting the society’s ability to produce. Armored knights fighting unarmed civilians, not really what you think of when you think of chivalry is it?
Anyhow the idealism of the time was talked and written about a lot. It was common knowledge in European society. It was the source of souch of their literature and entertainment. I mean their idealism has surived 600 years which is why you and I still know what it means to b chivalrous. Yet their ideals often didn’t translate into their actions. The potectors became the persecutors. Of course, it wasn’t just the nobility who did this. The clergy and the commoners did it too. The nobility are just the easiest to point out. Instead of functioning according to their ideals they did the exact opposite.
Sound familair? Yeah they are so different from us.
Now I have to go back to reading this long book. Thanks Clint.
I don’t know what to think of the whole Louie Giglio / Inauguration thing. For those who have no idea what I am talking about you can get a brief idea of it by reading Giglio’s open letter concerning the situation that he realized via this tweet.
Change of plans… passioncitychurch.com/blog/
— Louie Giglio (@louiegiglio) January 10, 2013
Truthfully I don’t expect to know what I think about it for a week or two. I figure over the next few days people with agendas on the right and the left will paint the whole incident in such a manner to convey their worst ideas about the other side. The worst part of this whole thing in my opinion is that a man whose actions have shown amazing care for many on the margins of society will now be painted by brushes that make him look hateful, which while I don’t know him personally I do believe his actions have sown he is not. If I were Louie Giglio I think I would probably come out of this whole thing wanting to punch both the people at Fox News and MSNBC in the nose. Of course, he probably won’t feel that way because he is a nicer guy than I am. Yes he believes that homosexual activity is declared by scripture to be sinful (which I do too) but by no means does that mean that he (or I) hate the people who practice such activity.
I have a few friends that I love dearly who are practicing homosexuals. If you mess with them I can promise you I would be there with them standing against you. I love these friends even though I disagree with some parts of their life. Of course, that is true of my heterosexual friends also. To be honest a couple of my friends who are homosexual have challenged the way I think concerning homosexuality and I am very thankful for them for that. Their thoughts have caused me to think differently concerning how I approach the subject of what scripture says about homosexual activity. I don’t think my disagreement with them concerning whether or not their sex life is considered sinful by the God revealed in Jesus makes me a bigot. It just means we disagree about what scripture says. If it does make me a bigot then I guess I am a much bigger bigot concerning those heterosexuals who aren’t following God’s sexual guidelines because numbers-wise there is a whole lot more of them.
I guess I’ll just try to love everyone and in my opinion part of that is being honest with everyone.
Well it has been an interesting morning. I just got off the phone with Chase after reporting what I believe is the identity theft of one of their customers. Apparently a crook has an email close to mine because one of his/her friends emailed me photos of a blank check (address, account number, and routing number). Couldn’t track down the name on the check so I just called Chase instead and reported it. I have forwarded the email and images to them and I guess it will all be handled now. If only the crook would have sent a picture of him/herself along with the check images.
So I’ve killed my first deer. Andy was nice enough to let me hunt on his property again this year and even loaned me some of his hunting wisdom by recommending a spot for me. Andy had seen this doe fawn hanging around one of his clearings. I saw her come into the clearing and watched her for about 40 minutes hoping to get a better shot. Ended up shooting her when she was 75 yards off because there was a lot of gun fire around and she was starting to get spooked. .
I can’t imagine handling, field dressing, and hanging by ones’ self some of the big deer I’ve seen friends shoot. Hauling, field dressing, and hanging this little thing was enough a challenge for me. Similar in some ways but obviously very different from field dressing the small game that I am used to dealing with.
My dad raised my brother and I dove hunting and fishing. We didn’t really deer hunt. I went deer hunting a few times in all my years before moving to Wisconsin. I’ve done lots of other hunting but for some reason I never really went deer hunting. I’m not sure why. It could have been that my dad, brother, and I preferred dove hunting. It could have been that deer hunting was slow while dove hunting was fast. It could have been that the deer in Alabama are usually about the size of large dogs and who wants to shoot a dog?. I’m not sure why. All I know is that it never really interested me so when Pam and I moved up to Wisconsin, a major deer hunting area, I was more interested in duck hunting than going after any of the monster white-tailed deer around here.
This changed two years ago when I hear a “To The Best of Out Knowledge” episode called “The Vanishing Present.” This episode interviewed UW-Madison environmental studies professor Donald Waller. He described beginning to hunt deer because of the environmental destruction he knew them to be responsible for. I described this last year here. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any deer last year. Saturday is opening day of the 2012 gun deer season and I am once again hunting for Bambi’s mom (and Bambi too if possible). The good news is that Andy, the owner of the land I am hunting on, has been seeing deer consistently by where I will be hunting. Here’s hoping I lower the deer population Saturday.
SIDE NOTE – While searching for Andy’s blog url I found this post concerning Andy. Turns out that at the time of the post Andy had the Wisconsin record for the Shortnose Gar. Not sure if he still has it but I think that is cool. He really is an incredible sportsman.
There is a great deal of interesting stuff but as a self-described evangelical I find the evangelical vote and the response of some ministers most worrisome. Almost 80% of evangelicals voted Republican while 20% voted Democratic. My worry is that I have read some ministers on both sides not debating the issues so much as belittling and insulting the other side. Usually when I have read these comments and posts it has been made with what I would presume is a belief that every other evangelical was on the same side as that particular minister. Regardless of reaching those who not followers of Jesus (a possibility which I believe is harmed by some of these statements) I think it is not a wise move for an evangelical minister to talk in such a way that he/she basically calls 1 in 5 people who might consider coming to your church stupid, idiotic, or worse. I would same the same is just as true for more liberal evangelicals regarding the evangelical believers on the conservative side. Seems to me that the danger is just as great for Black Protestants where the ration is 1 in 20 voting Republican.
I don’t mean by this that pastors and churches shouldn’t deal with the issues at hand. As citizens we can and we should with the issues our nation faces. We should just do it in a manner that focuses on the issue rather than insults those with whom we disagree.
One of the many things I love about Tapestry is that we have a group of people who have a variety of political beliefs. I believe this is only possible if one either avoids political discussions OR loves the people you are having the discussion with more than you disagree with them. If you have ever been to Tapestry you know that we don’t avoid these discussions. Instead we disagree but do so in a massive amount of love. Thread Libertarians, Republicans, Democrats, Independents and others talk through the issues but do so with an amazing amount of love and respect for the ones with whom we disagree.