And Another Thing…

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Just Imagine

Over at The Onion’s AV Club there is an interesting post where the editorial staff writes about what fictitious world or worlds they would like to live in and why. There are some great responses. My personal favorite:

“…my fictional world is less a matter of geography than concept: I wouldn’t mind spending a week or two in the skewed reality of a Zucker-Abrams-Zucker film like Airplane! or Top Secret. How fun would that be, to have everything you say turned into a hyper-literal pun, for every stupid question to have an attendant snappy answer, and for your life to be filled with parodic non sequiturs?”

I think it’s a great question, and seeing as I lack the shame necessary to stop me from stealing a good idea, I wanted to put it to any readers who are interested. Mine is below the fold:

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Maybe this is how it’s done

There is a great profile of Tim Keller in this month’s issue of Christianity Today. For those of you who don’t recognize his name, Keller is a pastor, author and church-planter. In 1989 he and his wife began Redeemer Presbyterian Church in the heart of Manhattan. Keller’s prior experience had been as a pastor in the suburbs and a seminary professor. Balding, bespectacled, and studious, he is by his own admission neither dynamic or hip. In fact, he admits in the article that he didn’t even want to go.

Sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn’t it? Yet today Redeemer has an average Sunday attendance of 5000 and shows no signs of slowing down their growth in the near future. Redeemer’s membership body is made up of life-long New Yorkers, Wall Street wizards, blue-collar workers, and everything in between. Every ethnicity in the city is represented. And they are in the process of planting new churches all over the city. They do this without multimedia, soft rock, or interpretive dance. Keller’s sermons follow the liturgy and the music is traditional, except for evening services. They didn’t even advertise. Consider:

“Redeemer’s worship is seemly and traditional. Instead of using video monitors, casually dressed worshipers follow a 20-page bulletin that includes hymns, prayers, and Bible texts. Organ and a brass quartet lead the music. For evening services, jazz musicians play contemporary Christian songs.

Standing 6’4”, with a bald head, glasses, and a coat and tie, Keller, 58, does not look hip. Nor is his sermon funny, charming, or daring. He preaches from the first chapter of Genesis, on the doctrine of Creation.

Keller speaks like a college professor, absorbed in his content, of which there is a lot. When longtime friend and founding member Dee Pifer invited colleagues from her Manhattan law firm, she would say, “I want you to hear a really good litigator.”‘

How does this happen?  You really need to read the article to get the whole picture, but the following points stood out to me:

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A lucky child comes into the world

Permit me to indulge in a little sentiment:

My friends Carl and Shayna became parents this past weekend. Like anyone, I rejoice to see any friends become parents when they are ready for it, and surely these two are. I have had the privilege of their friendship for almost 10 years now, and it has been a blessing every step of the way. When I first met Carl, he was a quiet college student. When he finally started talking, I quickly became impressed with his kindness, generosity, and likability. When I first met Shayna she and Carl were dating. She was not a believer, and having her in the class I taught at church challenged me in many ways – I never prepped so hard teaching a class before. I knew she would ask tough questions but she was never unfair or unkind. Over the years the two of them have come to mean a great deal to me, and eventually, to Christine as well. In fact, Shayna was one of Christine’s bridesmaids and she sang a blistering rendition of “At Last” at our wedding.

I feel compelled to celebrate the birth of their daughter, Sophia Marie, not only because I am happy for Carl and Shayna but for Sophia’s sake as well. After 10 years in human services, I know what the odds against a kid are when he/she doesn’t have good parents. In light of this, I am pleased to be able to say that the odds are on Sophia’s side.  Big time.

So congratulations Carl, Shayna, and Sophia. Here’s to a bright future for your family.

UPDATE  Comments for this post are closed. I don’t know why the little comment link is still there. Thanks Leann for letting me know.

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“Odgie, MSW” or “The Last Edumacational Interlude”

And that, as they say, is that. After 4 years, 60 credit hours, 390 class meetings (give or take), 1200 hours of unpaid labor internship, 5000 pages of reading, 150 or so papers of varying length and depth, and about $XXXXX total, I walked on May 15th.

Apparently, I wore this stupid grin the whole ceremony

Apparently, I wore this stupid grin the whole ceremony

It was a long strange trip; alternately challenging, rewarding, exasperating, exhausting, and I wouldn’t take anything for it. I had certain expectations going in, both good and bad; fortunately, most of them were wrong.

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The Stupidest Thing(s) I’ve Heard This Week

It’s been a while since I caught an episode of American Idol, and no, I don’t miss it. First, I really don’t care which mediocre performer the audience deems worthy of a bright future playing at state fairs. Secondly, how can one “miss” anything when each development is broadcast or written about everywhere, ad nauseum?

Of course, this year there was a perceived new wrinkle in Simon Cowell’s on-going campaign to advance the dumbing down of American music: one of the two finalists, Adam Lambert, is a nail polish and eyeliner wearing shreiker of questionable sexuality while the other finalist, Kris Allen, is a married, wholesome-looking Christian former worship leader. Many in the blogosphere have become determined to stage the showdown as believer-vs.-gay guy.

Having never heard either of them, I have no opinion or concern regarding who should have won. However, Mr. Allen was declared the winner last Wednesday night. For some, his victory confirms America’s raging homophobia:

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If a blog could die from neglect…

…this one would be buried. My reasons are not that different from others whose blogs suffer from similar negligence, except that I finished freakin’ grad school!!!

But more on that later.

If anyone is wondering, i’ll get back soon, I promise.

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He is Risen

 “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 1We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NIV)

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While I Was Out

I got caught up on a couple of things at my internship and the instructor for the only class I am taking cancelled one of our major assignments, so here I am. What’s more, hundreds many a handful a couple of my beloved readers have written to ask when I plan to return, so here I find myself. What did I miss? Well: This twitter thing has caught on something fierce, a development which I absolutely did not expect. I won’t be taking this up, however. I can’t imagine that my life is that interesting minute by minute, even to me. I’m sure that I missed blogging on some other things, but for the life of me I can’t think of them right now. Consider this an invitation to do an open thread in the comments.

Books

I recently finished Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse by Victor Gischler. I think whether or not this book is for you will depend on your response to the title, because it delivers exactly what the title promises: an action-packed post-apocalyptic satire set in a future US where the most powerful business, bordering on a fiefdom, is a strip bar franchise. The humor is dark but the characters are endearing. Right now I am reading L.A. Outlaws by T. Jefferson Parker. So far, it is a good read with an interesting plot and believable characters. More after I finish it (maybe).

 TV

Battlestar Galactica came to its eagerly anticipated ending, and the results were interesting: neither the GREATEST ENDING OF ALL TIME as some critics have trumpeted nor a complete failure as other critics insist. Spoilers below:

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Reunion Tours

I know I’m supposed to be on a hiatus, but I couldn’t pass this one up.

Rod Dreher asks a great question:

Which aging rock stars would you most like to hear perform one of their great albums, and which album? That’s easy for me: I’d give my next paycheck to hear the Rolling Stones perform “Exile on Main Street.”

Post your answers in the comments. You can put as many as you want and even duplicate somebody else’s answer, but try to think outside of the box. Also, your picks don’t have to be old. Stick to folks who are still alive. Feel free to elaborate on your answers and tell us why you’d like it as well as what you’d like. Mine are below the fold.

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Other things

I will be the first to admit that my posting in 2009 has been sporadic at best, and it’s about to get non-existent for a while, due to other more important things.  Frankly, with what I know about how busy some of the bloggers that I read are, I don’t know how they find time to consistently produce quality work.

No matter though. There are books and articles to be read, assignment due dates are approaching, internship projects are underway, I am aggressively hunting a job, and blogging (and reading and commenting on others’ blogs) is something that I simply don’t have time for.

This is a good thing, as it all leads towards May 15th when I will walk across the stage in Richmond cackling maniacally in my silly cap and gown and bring this stage of my life to an end. When things slow down and I can give this little hobby the attention that I wish to, i’ll start up again.  Until then, keep on bloggin’ in the free world.

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