Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wet sloppy kisses between heaven and earth

A couple of times over the past month, I've gone to a worship experience in Brentwood that's specifically geared toward young adults (and implicitly single young adults) called The Loop. It's one of those non-denominational communities of faith that's seeking to be "different," yet follows the typical pattern of 30 minutes of singing followed by 30-40 minutes of a "talk" and another 10 minutes of singing. Of the two talks I've heard, one was iffy and the other (the one i heard last night) was fairly decent, but still not as rooted in the actual, oh, Bible, as I would prefer.

Anyway, the title of this blog post refers to lyrics from the song we sang after the talk last night. There was actually a line that read: Heaven and earth exhange a wet and sloppy kiss.
That was the lyric.
Wet sloppy kisses between heaven and earth.
I'm not kidding.
I mean, I'm used to the requisite "Jesus is my boyfriend" lyrics, but wet sloppy kisses? Thankfully, as I conversed with some folks afterward, I found out that I wasn't the only one who kind of looked around and wondered if I'd actually just seen those lyrics on the screen.

Much peace on this beautiful day in Nashville.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Marathon Training: September 28th, 2008

If you had been driving along the rolling hills of Franklin, TN today between 9:30 and noon (as Lee King was doing), you would have seen me pounding the pavement. Yes, today I officially ran farther than I have ever run before. I logged 15 miles on the (mostly) backroads of Franklin. I only had one hiccup around mile 11, when I had that "I have the chills in the heat of the day" feeling. After a couple of minutes of walking and slurping water from my trusty camelbak, I was back on running pace and finished the last four miles with relative vigor. With the exception of a few crazy hills, my pacing was much better this week. I still miss my metronome training partner, but all in all I feel better about my ability to dictate pace.

It's amazing how exhausted I feel right after these long runs. I basically slump down on the floor in my living room, do my requisite stretching, and then zone out to whatever is on TV at the time. Today it was Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. By the way, why don't they play those in order in syndication? I watched Louise get up to $50,000 and then when it came back on I was watching some music teacher pick up at $4,000. I was so not invested in her the way I was with Louise. :)

During lunch, I watched the episode of Arrested Development when Michael and George Michael burn down the Bluth family banana stand. Brilliant. I absolutely love that show. There are so many little, quirky, funny things to catch. If you've never watched it, I suggest you buy (don't netflix...you'll want them) the first season on DVD and dive right in.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Marathon Training: September 11th, 2008

Today, I ran 10 miles. It's what you call a taper week. As far as I can tell, the marathon training schedule is kind of whack, but Hal Higdon has yet to steer me wrong, so I'm following directions. I did four miles on Belle Meade Blvd. and then tackled the 5.8 hilly, ridiculously difficult miles in Percy Warner Park. It was a tale of two paces. On the relative flatlands of Belle Meade Blvd I was under 9 minute pace. In the hills of Percy Warner I was over 10. Yeah, I need some consistency. In the past, I've run Percy Warner with someone who has a brilliant internal pace clock that keeps me on track. Not so much today. So, I didn't exactly bonk, but I could definitely stand to do more hills during the week.

On a totally unrelated note, I want to give a big shout out to my friends Laura and Joel Becker (and children) who hosted me for a beer on their front porch last night. They're good people. I love people like that who I don't see for a year, yet I'm able to then just jump right back into great conversation. I've actually known Laura since high school, when we both served on a national youth ministry committee. That kind of ongoing connectionalism is why I'm excited about the PC(USA) this week.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

All Creatures indeed

On Tuesday evenings, I attend the Presbyterian Student Fellowship worship at Vanderbilt. I currently serve on the campus ministry board, and figure I have more time and energy than money to donate to college students. As a pastor, Sunday mornings aren't always the most worshipful time, so I value the opportunity to simply go and be a member of the congregation.

Last night, for one of our opening songs, we sang a contemporary guitar-ey All Creatures of Our God and King. As best as I can recall, here are the lyrics we sang:

All creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voice and with us sing
O praise him, alleluia
Thou burning sun with golden beam
Thou silver moon with softer gleam
O praise Him, O praise Him
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Thou rushing wind that art so strong
Ye clouds that sail in heaven along
O praiseHim, alleluia
Thou rising moon in praise rejoice
Ye lights of evening find a voice
O praise Him, O praise Him
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Let all things their Creator bless
And worship Him in humbleness
O praise Him, alleluia
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son
And praise the Spirit, Three in One
O praise Him, O praise Him
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In recent years, this has become one of my favorite hymns. I love the imagery of the entirety of creation praising God by singing alleluia in a myriad of voices and sounds. As the service progressed, the alleluias kept bouncing around in my brain, and then, during the minutes of silent reflection following the sermon, I became aware of the chorus of insects, tree frogs, and other creepy crawlies just outside the windows of the room where we were worshiping. In that moment, I heard those voices as insect alleluias. As the sun with golden beam was receding for the evening and sun with softer gleam was preparing to take its position in the sky, those creatures in the trees outside were worshiping God in humbleness, offering up the only voice they have in sweet alleluia. That was a truly peaceful moment for me there in that wood paneled room on the campus of Vanderbilt University. I left hoping that my life might be more of an alleluia.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Marathon Training: September 4th, 2008

What a difference a week and eating a better dinner the night before makes. I ran out my front door at 7:30 this morning to a fairly cloudy and breezy morning. My plan was to run 13 miles, and that's exactly what I did. The sun stayed behind the clouds for me, and a cool breeze seemed to show up at crucial moments. My pace wasn't awesome, but I never felt like I needed to stop, and there was a good amount of water left in my camelback when I finished. All in all, it was a good day of pounding the pavement.

As I had just passed the 10 mile mark out in a very rural area of Franklin, I saw a car coming that I recognized. The matriarch and patriarch of our 8:30 service were headed my way. We exchanged smiling waves and I kept putting one foot in front of the other. I love those moments when you least expect to see someone you know, and then you see fun people like the Warrens. It gave me a boost of energy somehow. Thank God for the church, where we come together with folks and are shaped into a community by God. The body of Christ, indeed.