Friday, October 28, 2005


So, I sat down tonight to watch Tom Brokaw's report entitled In God They Trust and instead found a special program sponsored by the Billy Graham Foundation. That's right...The Billy Graham Foundation bought out the hour Tom Brokaw's story was supposed to air. They paid off the TV station. I have now lost all respect for my local NBC affiliate. The only reasons to preempt a news story like the one supposed to air are sporting events, breaking world news, or an address from the President. Unbelievable...Simply Unbelievable.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Mixed feelings about this Miers thing

I have some thoughts on the Miers situation:
  • First, I don't buy the conspiracy theory. I don't give Bush enough credit. I really think that Bush thought he had enough political capital saved up to be able to appoint someone with no record as a judge for the supreme court, simply because he felt good about the person. It sounds naive, but somehow, that's the vibe I get.
  • I feel bad for Harriet Miers. Did she feel competent to be a supreme court justice? I don't know, but I imagine that when the President of the United States asks you to do something, you say yes. I imagine she feels hurt, and maybe a little bit betrayed. I imagine she trusted Bush to know what he was doing, and apparently, he didn't. I was reminded of my days in the Beta Theta Pi fraternity when a group of brothers convinced me that I should run for pledge educator. They assured me that there were a number of people in the fraternity who were looking for a change. Nope. I put myself out there and lost the vote. Yeah, I feel bad for Harriet Miers.
  • I'm a little bit pissed that the criticism from some republicans and members of the religious right had to do with whether Harriet Miers was conservative enough. What about whether she has the proper credentials? What about whether she's a person who will hear cases and judge fairly? What about her integrity as a person? I'm getting enraged just thinking about the absurdity of it all. "She just isn't conservative enough." What the hell does that mean? Is that what we've come to in this country? What the hell does conservative or liberal really mean? Is that what we want in supreme court justices...totally conservative or totally liberal? I thought they were supposed to hear cases individually and judge fairly by the merits of the case presented.
  • It's unfathomable to me that people from "the right" are now criticizing Bush for not being conservative enough. What? Are you kidding me? When are we going to quit playing the blame game? When are we going to quit looking for ways to criticize "the other guy?" When will our elected officials start acting like those pursuing what John Calvin called "the highest calling" and quit acting like little kids who demonize anyone who roots for the "wrong" team? I'm just wondering.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Music you must listen to

  • I recently bought Jackie Green's new album Sweet Somewhere Bound on itunes. It's spectacular. I think it's classified as blues, but it has kind of a rock feel to it. He's clearly influenced by Bob Dylan, but not a copycat or anything. If you're looking for some quality music for a Saturday afternoon drive through the country, this is the CD for you.
  • Fall has fallen here in Tennessee. There was actually frost on my car this morning when I went out to head to the gym. FROST!! I couldn't believe it. On my way home from work in the evenings, I have a beautiful view of a hilltop full of trees whose leaves are changing. The cooler temperatures and crispness in the air make me happy somehow. I just love the feeling in the air that comes with the fall. As I've noted before, some of that may have to do with fond memories of marching band in high school and college, but all in all, I think fall/autumn is my favorite season of the year.
  • What else comes with fall? That's right...The World Series. John Weicher's White Sox are one win away from their first championship since 1917 (Czars in Russia!!!). Apparently, the Houston Astros heard that you only have to play five innings in the world series. They've been in control the last two games until the 6th inning. I mean, last night, they had the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the ninth and couldn't get a base hit or a sac fly. Pitiful.
  • I visited some homebound members of Harpeth today. Most of them were folks who are experiencing the autumn of earthly human existence. I hope that I handle aging with the same kind of grace that all of these Harpethians have. I worry, sometimes, that if I get dealt a bum hand healthwise late in life, I'll become bitter or angry. I worry that when my mobility wanes and I'm unable to come and go as I please, I'll get grumpy or crotchety. I hope I won't...I hope I'll face aging with grace and give thanks to God for each day, even if I can't get out of bed. I hope I'll be a blessing to those who take care of me and not a drain on their emotional reserves. These members of Harpeth give me hope for aging gracefully.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

No Coffee in the Sanctuary

  • I attended my first presbytery meeting as an actual minister today. It wasn't any more exciting as a minister. Bummer. Anyway, as I was about to walk into the sanctuary with my coffee cup (containing cake in a cup, you know, those cappuccino drinks at the gas station) in one hand and my green nalgene water bottle in the other, two very anxious looking men blocked my entrance and stuttered nervously, "Um, sir, um, we don't allow coffee in the sanctuary." I then took the coffee and water bottle as if they were bombs or something, and set them on a coat rack/shelf in the back of the narthex. When I was finally allowed into this coffee-free sanctuary, I noticed that the floor was tile from wall to wall. Granted, the pews had cushions that weren't removable, but still, I thought it was funny that coffee was a banned substance. After our mid-morning break, I had to give up my first born and agree to give generously to their next capital campaign in order to get the water bottle in. The two anxious men had to have a quick conference saying, "Well, water doesn't stain, so I guess it's OK."
  • I found the situation quite humorous. OK, I know that we should take care of our church buildings and that the sanctuary is a place set apart, but this was a presbytery meeting for heaven's sake. I'd hate to be the first kid who spills grape juice during communion (well, they probably use white grape juice in order to keep the place looking pristine), or the first mother with a baby who spits up on the pew cushion, not to mention someone who comes in with dirty clothes or muddy feet from having spent the night on the street (fat chance in Franklin or Brentwood).
  • As all of you probably know, The Cardinals blew it. I think they only hit two or three balls out of the infield the entire game last night. Awesome. I will say that I was pretty proud of the St. Louis fans. After a brief moment of mourning, they began applauding both The Cardinals and The Astros. I think at one point they were all chanting, "ASTROS ASTROS ASTROS!!!" Classy.
  • I'm headed to a youth fall presbytery retreat this weekend. This is my first time to this camp and to any youth event held by the Presbytery of Middle Tennessee. I'm eager to see how it all goes. I'm sure it'll be no Shepherds and Lappsley (sp?) event, but still. :)
  • Here are the people I thought of today for various reasons:
    • Tom Katona because I went for a bike ride today and because I totally needed a night at The Flying Saucer when I was done with all of my meetings
    • Jennifer Reid because we sang Prince of Peace at presbytery...well, I guess all of the middle schoolers from Shandon too, but especially Jennifer.
    • Carrie Simpson because I rode my bike through Percy Warner Park where we went for a walk once.
    • Jonathan Knipping because we sang Take My Life at presbytery and he played me a rad version of it when I hung out with him in Chicago.
    • Mark Shivers because we listened to a two hour report from the Peace, Unity, and Purity taskforce today that focused on how to maintain the unity (and implied) existence of our denomination and the whole time I was thinking, "Um, maybe you guys didn't get the memo, but institutions are totally out." :)
    • Lyndsay Slocum because we're playing phone tag and I saw her Aunt Suzie today.
  • If you aren't on this abbreviated list, chances are I did think of you today, but just can't remember at this very moment. Today was one of those days when everything seems to remind me of somebody...somebody who doesn't live here...somebody who I wish I could see and hang out with. Anyway, now I'm thinking about a ton of people because of that whole, "So, this person makes me think of that person who makes me think of another person, who makes me think of this thing, which leads down the road of never getting to sleep."
  • OK, Renderings fans, enough rambling for tonight. Keep it real.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Pujols is the Man!!!!

That's right, folks. Bottom of the ninth, two outs, nobody on, and the Cardinals come to life. Eckstein slaps a base hit...Edmonds draws a walk...and then Albert Pujols breahtes new life into the St. Louis Cardinals (while knocking the breath out of the Astros at the same time). They're headed back to St. Louis to dispense of the dirty rotten Astros.


Saturday, October 15, 2005

Walter Cronkite...Newsflash

Walter Cronkite...Newsflash is the name of the ultimate frisbee team I'm playing with this fall. It's a fun group of folks, and so far, we're doing well. We're 2-1 and and in first place. Today was not my best game. I think I touched the frisbee three or four times. We won the game 15-3, and 2 out of the other team's 3 points came as a result of me getting beat on defense. Granted, this is the first time I've played in such an organized way, but still, it was a bit frustrating. I probably need to be more aggressive with my cuts, but some of it is that I'm not always sure where to be and when. I should probably just ask Daniel or Keith to diagram it out a bit before the next game. Regardless, I had a fun time, and enjoyed going to lunch with some folks after the game.


Thursday, October 13, 2005

They're at it again

Well, I see that folks in Texas are working for a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages. I mean, are there no other pressing issues for their legislature to deal with? Do we not have people without homes after hurricanes Katrina and Rita? Are young men and women not dying daily in Iraq? It just makes me so very sad that people spend their time and energy working so hard to keep people who love each other from professing it in a public way. This Texas amendment will also include a clause prohibiting the creation of any similar legal status with a different name. I mean, what's the rationale behind that? Don't give me that "sanctity of marriage" bullshit and then prohibit similar legal rights with a different name. Just admit that you think gay people aren't entitled to the same justice and equality that heterosexuals are. "Oh, I'm not prejudice, I just don't want homosexuals redefining marriage." Fine (well, not fine, but we'll move past that), but why not an equivalent way to join with another person whom you love? Use your brains people. Division of church and state anyone?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Funny Bumper Stickers

So, a couple of weeks ago, I saw these bumper stickers on the back of a red mini-van. I would have peeled back the corner of the white one so it was more visible, but I thought people might not like me touching their car. Anyway, asyou can probably tell, it says, "I proudly pledge allegiance to one nation under God" However, while this person proudly pledges allegiance to a nation under God, but not necessarily God, apparently, Christ is The Answer. Something about this struck me as ironic.
  • First of all, the allegiance to a nation is above Christ is the Answer. Apparently Christ is the Answer, but really, the allegiance is to a nation.
  • Second, all of that "under God" stuff drives me absolutely bonkers. They act as if the pledge of allegiance was written by the founding fathers (many of whom weren't really Christians anyway) and they included under God in the beginning. Well, click the link at the end of this bullet point, and you'll find that it was written by a Baptist Minister, and it didn't originally include anything about "under God." It wasn't until 1954 that the words "under God" were added to the pledge. Anyway, I'm not a fan of the "our nation was founded on Christian principles so we ought to shove our concept of God in everyone's faces" rhetoric. Pledge of Allegiance History
  • Finally, kind of going back to the first point, I wonder if this person really believes that Christ is the answer. One might ask, "What's the question?" How does Jesus's life and ministry answer the questions of our contemporary world and society? Do we really trust Christ to be the answer, or do we allow substitutes like politicians to be the answer? Do we substitute patriotism and "allegiance" to our nation for really seeking Christ as the answer? I don't know. I just think that we, as Christians, owe our utmost allegiance to God and participation in God's kingdom. I'm thankful that I live in a nation where I can feel free to post anything I want on my blog and not fear for my life, but in the end, it isn't America that will redeem me and make me into a new creation...scratch that...that will redeem creation and remake creation.
  • Anyway, I just found the stickers to be ironic. Anybody have thoughts?

Sunday, October 09, 2005

It's been too long

Yes, Renderings fans, it has indeed been too long in between posts. I can't believe it's been almost three weeks since my last post. Neglectful, I know. Over the next couple of days, I plan on filling you in on many things.

First of all, on Sunday, September 25th, I was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA). That's right...I'm a minister, a reverend, a man of the cloth. I pretty much wear my robe all the time now. :) I'm kidding, of course. The ceremony was amazing. There really are no words to describe all of the emotions I was feeling. Mom and Dad each played a prelude for the service. They are so talented. Susannah Cook came preached and did a marvelous job. I think the laying on of hands was the most powerful moment. I had my head bowed as the Moderator of the Presbytery prayed over me and elders, ministers, and deacons took turns placing their hands on my head. It was truly a powerful experience. Big thanks to everyone who was present in that place on that day, both physically and spiritually.

This past weekend, I was in Chapel Hill for the wedding of John Weicher and Laurie Taylor. Laurie was a beautiful bride and John was a confident groom. It was great being a part of their celebration of love. It was also great seeing so many of my seminary classmates. I don't think I realized how much I missed people like Dan, Matt, Lindsey, Wes, Shelli, Kevin, Davis, and so many others. Good times with good folks.

OK, it's Sunday night, I've talked to my parents, and I have a fresh episode of The West Wing waiting for me in the VCR. I'm gonna sit down and enjoy the brilliant dialogue and witty banter. In the coming days, look for some pics I find humorous, as well as a shout out to my new ultimate frisbee team "Walter Cronkite News Flash."