Monthly Archives: March 2007

Community and Re-Creation

First of all, the title of Tuesday’s blog is Spring and Re-Creation not Spring and Recreation. Though a signifcant part of my Re-Creation has come from recreation these last few months, I am more interested in the re-creation.

I had a great breakfast with a colleague and friend this morning. Jon is the youth director at the Salvation Army Church just down the block from us. He’s doing some very cool ministry there.

Over the last several months we’ve been getting together from time to time to chat about ministry and life. This morning we got together with the hopes of working up a multi-church youth lock-in for near the end of the school year. There are 6 churches within less than a mile of one another here on Columbia Ave. in Munster and there is very little interaction between the churches (I’ve ranted about this before). Our hope is simply to bring together Prebsyterian, Methodist, Episcopal, Reformed, and Salvation Army youth for an evening of fun and games, worship and prayer, and of course pizza. I have great hopes for what a cool event this could be and it seems to me that it could potentially serve as a catalyst for further Re-Creation in the community.

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Spring and Recreation

Last night at Dalit my friend Christopher led a great time of reflection about the power of God’s ability to bring about new growth and to create. Christopher opened with prayer, gave a very brief introduction to the evening and shared some testimony about the powerful signs of God’s work in the season of spring, and then invited us to join in singing some songs of praise and worship to God who is constantly seeking to recreate and bring new life.

I found myself thinking alot about creation and the rhythm of life during this last winter. In November and December as Steve returned from his Sabbatical I felt weary and tired. The cold and grey and gloomy days mirrored my spirit. However, as Christmas approached I decided to make some commitments to myself and God regarding my well being. Over the last three months now I have been working to take better care of myself and to connect with God more. As I look out my window now the grass is green, the sun is shining, flowers are beginning to emerge from the soil and trees are preparing to burst forth with life. Again I see my spirit represented by the glory of creation and I am grateful for the changing of seasons.

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Pain and Gain

It was somewhere around the 20th of August, 1998. I had just moved to Nebraska to start college and my roommate Andy and I were a couple of Kansas boys ready to take Nebraska by storm. One evening, between games of 007 on the Nintendo 64, we decided to take a jog. The weather was beautiful and we trotted around campus feeling the freedom of our new lives blow through our hair.

Over the last couple of years Andy has taken to running marathons and trail races.

That first semester of college is probably the last time I have run (without being chased). That is, until the other day…

Heather and I have been walking a lot this year and I’m losing weight and feeling good. I have never really been much of a runner, but on Thursday I got a wild hair and decided that for some reason it would be fun to try. So I did… barely.

There is a bike trail that runs immediately behind our house. Every tenth of a mile there is a little wooden post that marks distance. I decided I would run to one, walk to the next, run to one, walk to the next – you get the picture. I made it a mile, having run a half of one and I decided to head back. I jogged another 2/10ths of a mile on the way home.

Friday I went out again and ran 2/10ths before walking 1 and followed this pattern for awhile. I feel good about continuing to try to exercise, but to be honest, I didn’t really have any fun. My sister runs, I have friends, who run, but I’m not sure it’s for me. I’ll try it some more this week, but today I’m going for a bike ride – my shin splints are killing me!

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Funeral Fun Update

Not quite a month a go I spent some time here pontificating about my funeral. I’ve received lots of great comments in post and in person and that post started some fun conversations. My sister said something to the effect of, “Funerals are for the living, not the dead. We’ll do whatever we darn well please.” Huh, we’ll see who outlives who Bex!

There are two songs that I’d now like to add to my funeral mix CD. First of all, make sure that Lie In Our Graves by Dave Matthews Band is on there (the original studio recording from Crash). It should have been included in the first place.

Also, while sitting in a hotel lobby in New Orleans last week I heard a fun song. The band is Enter the Haggis, the song is “One More Drink.” Check it out and make sure to include it on my funeral mix cd and play it at the party!

This is probably my current favorite song and I look forward to picking up some more of their tunes!

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Sports Fan Theologian

Catching up on email I just uncovered an article my dad forwarded me from last Wednesday’s Lawrence Paper. The Rev. Barb Clinger, my momma, was quoted…

Barb Clinger, associate pastor at Lawrence’s First United Methodist Church, said church leaders are so confident KU will win tonight that they rescheduled meetings on Sunday in anticipation of a second-round game.

She said she doesn’t hear about churchgoers praying for a KU victory, and she’s not sure it would do much good.

“God,” she said, “doesn’t respond to those kinds of prayers.”

You gotta love it! I have a meeting tomorrow night at seven so I’ve got the game set to record at home. Looking forward to another Jayhawk Victory!

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Back in the Saddle

It has been too long since I’ve last written and there is too much to write about in the short amount of time I have this afternoon. I’ll seek to keep this brief.

Heather and I have been on vacation for a little more than a week and internet access was sparse. We had such fun on our trip though, I’m not sure how much I would have written even if I could have.

We took our sisters down to Louisiana where we spent a few days doing Hurricane Katrina Recovery Work with UMCOR and then a few days just hanging out in New Orleans. The trip ended up being more fun than I think any of us could have ever imagined. We had three great days working with a wonderful family who is getting close to being ready to move back into their home. We were also blessed to be led by Carl, a great guy from Ft. Wayne, IN who has volunteered six weeks of his life to be working with UMCOR.

Below is a great picture of our last day together – we are all on a sugar high from King Cake, a delicious Mardi Gras tradition. The front row is Megan, Erin, Jeff, Heather, and Rebekah. The back row is Marlana, Carl, Bernadine, and Eric. Brandon and Erica, two more siblings, aren’t pictured.

Carl is holding up the plastic baby he found in his piece of King Cake – which means he’s in charge of buying the next cake and throwing the next party!

After our time with UMCOR in Slidell we went to New Orleans where we hung out and enjoyed the city for a couple of days. We had a blast! I feel really blessed to have had such a great opportunity to spend time with family like that. I would guess that it was probably a once in a life time opportunity and I know there are many memories from the trip that I will never forget!

The piles on my desk and the messages I need to swim through in my inboxes haven’t shrunk as much as I would have like today, but I’m sure I’ll get back in a good work groove over the next couple of days. In the meantime, I just keep remembering things from the trip and laughing to myself!

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American Idol: Giving Back

Heather and I have been watching American Idol with great regularity this season. I’m not proud of it, but it’s true (thanks a lot DVR technology!) Last night, as we settled in to watch the results show Ryan Seacrest mentioned some kind of special Idol announcement that would be coming up later in the show. I assumed this announcement was going to be something about a special musical guest that they had lined up for an upcoming episode. My assumption was that in typical reality show fashion, they’d play up the special announcement in a grandiose way that was ultimately unimpressive and served as a letdown. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I was wrong.

Coming out of a commercial break Ryan began to talk about the impact that Idol has had on American pop culture; the stars it has helped create, the awards their contestants have won, and the millions of viewers that vote every week. Finally, Seacrest announced, it’s time that Idol Gives Back.

On a Tuesday and Wednesday in April American Idol is partnering with sponsors to help raise money for children in need in Africa as well as in the United States. Simon and Ryan have already been to Africa to meet some of the youth they will be helping (and of course moving footage was shown last night). Randy will be taking Paula back to his home state of LA to see the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina and to meet some of the people this program will be benefiting. The acknowledgment was also made last night that children who are simply in need (not from severe foreign poverty and not from natural disaster related poverty) will be served too.

In a nutshell here’s how the program works. On April 24th and 25th every vote that is cast by phone line (I’d guess easily more than 40 million) will be matched by a donation from one of Idol’s corporate sponsors. Individual Idol fans are also encouraged during that time to make a donation on their own. You can already go the their website to do so if you’d like. I expect to see this project generate 10s of millions of dollars for a variety of worthy causes.

There are several things I like about this:

– Idol is taking its huge existing fan base and using it to 1) raise awareness of problems and 2) do something to address those problems

– The problems that Idol have identified are both global and local, something for which I have a great appreciation.

– Idol is using their existing partnerships with corporate sponsors to maximize the impact that this program might have.

– Idol is encouraging us everyday sofa-sitters to take action and to bring our checkbooks into play to address these issues.

Take a minute or two to check out Idol Gives Back and let me know what you think. Is this a potentially new way of utilizing the fan base of reality shows for good? Or will it be a one time phenomenon?

On a related note – go Blake!

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