Friday, May 23, 2008


Yesterday morning, I heard this piece on NPR's Morning Edition: Slugging to Work

For those of you who don't want to go read the whole article or listen to the segment, the basic gist is that in Washington, D.C. there is a system of car-pooling called "Slugging." The "slugs" wait in a line, and folks who want to be able to drive in the HOV lane pull up and call out where they're headed. The first slug in line who is going there hops in and they ride together. Here was the kicker for me: They don't share names, personal information, or really engage in any sort of meaningful conversation.

When I finished listening to the segment on the radio, I felt sad. As the report mentions, there are people spending hours of their lives in the confined space of a car with other people and they aren't connecting on any level deeper than a slug connects to a piece of driftwood as it floats down the river. While I understand the realities of a world where people have limited time for relationships, I think I'd have a hard time being a slug.

So, I wondered later, why is that any different than riding the bus or on a plane while listening to my ipod and reading The Atlantic? Somehow it feels different, especially if it's just the driver and the slug in the car together. What kind of meaningful relationship opportunities could be lost because of rules of disengagement?

Anyway, the story made me sad.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Recouping the cost of my seminary education

Last night I joined some friends for Team Trivia at a local pizza joint. This particular team of folks has a pretty good record at Team Trivia. Seldom do we finish out of the top three, and we often win. This week we were struggling a bit and were right in the thick of things leading into the final round and final question. Twice during the evening, information garnered from being a seminary trained member of the clergy came in handy. The first question came early in the evening, while the second was the final and decisive question that allowed us to bury everyone else by 20 points, thus allowing me to recoup $25 of the cost of my seminary education in the form of house cash.

So, Renderings fans, here are the questions. The answers will follow tomorrow:

  1. One word may be used to describe the following three things:
    1. A holy sacramental bread
    2. What a parasite feeds off of
    3. Alex Trebek
What is the word?

2. The last book of the New Testament is called Revelation (the guy running trivia said "Revelations" but I let that slide). What else is the book of Revelation called?

Please hold off on answering in the comments section so others may have the fun of trying to figure it out.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Last Sundy

Last Sunday, Mother's Day, was a day full of random thoughts for the publisher of Renderings. Here are my random thoughts/happenings in a quazi timeline:

  • 8:30 As I was making announcements at our early/breakfast service, I couldn't keep my mind on the announcements. I was mostly distracted by all of the people who were talking while I was trying to make announcements about stuff like, oh, Confirmation Sunday, Graduating Senior Recognition Sunday, when we go to one service for the summer. But then, as I was making announcements, I saw someone drinking from a tumbler mug that I could swear was my WPLN mug that I received for pledging. As I'm asking for other announcements, I keep a darting eye on the mug, all the while thinking, "Is that my mug? Did I use it last week and it made its way into the assorted mug collection? Surely she didn't take that from my office? Maybe she pledged to WPLN, too. I'm being ridiculous. Still, I'm checking that out after worship." Yeah, who knows what other announcements were made. In the end, as I was leaving to teach Confirmation class, I saw that it was a mug of the same color and type, but with some other logo on it. Yes, in all of my attempts to "figure it out" there was a possibility I never considered.
  • Lesson One: You can think something to death and still not find "the truth."
  • 9:45 I began Confirmation class 15 minutes late, hoping that the entire HALF of the class that was absent would show up. No luck. This was the last class before the actual day of confirmation, and half of them simply weren't there. Apparently one family had a crisis involving a cat that got away, one kid sheepishly comes in after his covenant partner went looking for him, and, well, the last one, who knows?
  • Lesson Two: Not everyone takes things as seriously as I do, and that bothers me more than it probably should.
  • 1:00 pm I was on my way to the car to leave for Missouri after eating lunch with my lovely girlfriend, and she asked if I wanted to run in the mall to buy some sort of fancy deodorant. "This is a search and destroy mission," she said. I decided that this was an invitation I should say yes to. We made our way to the fancy store, bought the deodorant, looked at some lamps at Restoration Hardware on the way out of the mall and then had the awkward kiss and hug in the parking lot. Upon telling this story to my Mom, she said that "Do you want to come with me to buy deodorant?" translates to "I want to spend 10 more minutes with you before you leave."
  • Lesson Three: Girls are funny.
  • 4:30 pm I stopped at Kentucky Exit 3 on I-24, because that's a cheap gas exit. I decided to hit the BP instead of the Pilot this time. The BP ended up being much smaller, but whatever. I decided to buy some coffee for the road. In my attempt to "Go Green" I brought in my travel mug. I tried to buy some cake in a cup, you know, french vanilla cappucino, but it was out. Figures. After loading up on some flavored coffee-mate and coffee, I got in line behind the 8 people who had come by to buy gas and other things in the 5 minutes it took me to pour my coffee. I stood there watching as person after person actually pays for the gas they've already pumped with cash. I didn't even know you could do that anymore. After standing there for 10 minutes, I was determined never to come back to the localsville BP. Then, when I put my coffee and my Little Debbie Star Crunch on the counter, it rings up as 50 cents or something like that. I ask the woman behind the counter if she got my coffee. "Yeah," she says "coffee refills are 27 cents." I'm gonna stop there every time from now on. Talk about rewarding folks for going green.
  • Lesson Four: Patience is a virtue I need to cultivate.
I eventually arrived back in Columbia, MO safely and had a wonderful time wishing my Mom a happy Mother's Day and Birthday (yes on the same day this year). It's amazing how many little lessons one can learn in a single day.