Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday Five--Gifts and Talents

From the RevGals:

Our Circuit (Methodist) is having a "Gifts and talents day" tomorrow- we have a minister visiting from another circuit who has modified the Myers Briggs personality test and added a few things of his own to run a day where we get to look at ourselves in the light of giftings and of the whole church. The idea is to encourage everyone with the news that there is room for you in the ministry of the church- and perhaps to discover where that ministry might be.....It should be an interesting day, and one where I hope people will leave feeling encouraged and challenged...So with gifts and talents in mind here is todays Friday 5;

1. Personality tests; love them or hate them?
Love them, when used correctly. I'm in the ELCA's candidacy process as an Associate in Ministry--as part of that, I underwent a psychological evaluation, wich included taking about 2 hours' worth of personality/psychological tests. A psychologist wrote up a summary of the results, and I'm tellin' ya, it was downright spooky how dead-on it was. I tend to be fairly introspective anyway, so there wasn't a lot there that came as a surprise to me--other than how a complete stranger could write such a clear and concise summary of who I am and what makes me tick. Very cool. For what it's worth, on the Meyers-Briggs I'm a very strong INFP...not even close to being anything else. Especially on being an introvert. Which comes as a shock to many who knew me out at camp. =)

2. Would you describe yourself as practical, creative, intellectual or a mixture ?
I try to be practical, I really do. I definitely fall into a combination of creative and intellectual, though. Yet I keep trying to be practical. Maybe someday. =)

3. It is said that everyone has their 15 minutes of fame; have you had your yet? If so what was it, if not dream away what would you like it to be?
I've always wanted to be a rock star--specifically, Billy Joel...only without the whole drinking/driving/crashing cars into trees thing. The closest I've come was in college...I was the intermission entertainment for the big spring skit competition, which was the highlight of a week called "Dog Days." I played and sang an Elton John song (I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues) and two Billy Joel songs (Everybody Loves You Now and Piano Man). Piano Man was my finale (of course) and I did it complete with a harmonica strapped around my neck. 1,500 students sang along with me...the last time through the chorus, I stopped playing and singing, letting them take it themselves, then came back in for the instrumental part at the end. Got a standing ovation.

It freakin' rocked.

4. If you were given a 2 year sabatical ( oh the dream of it) to create something would it be music, literature, art.....something completely different...share your dream with us...
I'd write a book. It wouldn't be the Great American Novel...rather, it would most likely be a collection of essays, along the line of Frederick Buechner or some of Walt Wangerin's stuff or Real Live Preacher. Essays that highlight the intersections between life and faith. It's something I've wanted to do for some time, but haven't had the time to even start.

5. Describe a talent you would like to develop, but that seems completely beyond you.
I wish I could draw. I love art--I love looking at it, I just can't produce it to save my life. I've been blessed with artistic gifts, but they definitely lie in areas other than the visual arts. Even if I could draw a decent stick that too much to ask?!?!?!?

Bonus question: Back to the church- what does every member ministry mean to you? Is it truly possible to encourage/ implement?
As a Lutheran, part of my core theology includes the priesthood of all believers. We're all called to minister to each other, and so I do believe that every member ministry is not just possible, it's necessary in order for the church to truly be the church. Now, the question becomes, what does this look like? If you're wanting every member of the congregation to be on some sort of committee, then we're never going to see that happen. But if it means being intentional about equipping and empowering the people of the church to serve each other and the world through their gifts and talents...their individual callings...and then giving them the opportunity to do so...then heck yeah. That's what we ought to be about.


Monday, June 25, 2007

Ken Medema

Yesterday was my new church's 125th anniversary celebration, and for it they invited the incomparable Ken Medema to help lead worship in the morning and then to perform in concert in the afternoon.

Amazing. Simply amazing.

I had seen a couple of different videos of Ken, but it really just doesn't compare to seeing him live. The man can play and sing literally ANY kind of music--he can make a piano and a synthesizer sound like a full band or orchestra--he can be given random words and notes and make up entire songs on the spot using those themes--he can hear people's lifestories and immediately compose and perform a song based on what they just told him.

And he's blind.

Here's an example. Yesterday, during the concert, he asked for three random words. Someone said "love," another person said "cabbage," and I threw out one of my favorite words: "gazebo."

He then asked for three notes. He was given A, Db, and B. I think he found that too easy, so he asked for a fourth.

He was given F.

B to F is a tritone--"the devil's interval," according to composers. In the following clip, listen for the A, Db, B, F progression--Ken makes a big deal of letting us hear it, and the way he uses it is pretty humorous.

So, without further ado, a song composed yesterday, probably never to be heard again--Ken Medema's Ode to Love, Cabbage, and Gazebos.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Galilean Pirates

I just returned over the weekend from a week of confirmation camp...many stories to be told from that, but they must wait until I have enough time to put some thought into what I'm writing.

For now, I leave you with The Gospel According To Kiddo.

Yesterday was day one of Vacation Bible School--Kiddo's first experience with a formal, structured class-type setting. It went well, all things considered...some tears and freaking out during the large group opening, but his teachers said he did well when it was just their class and things were quieter.

So after it was over, I asked him what he learned.

"Jesus is the Son of God," he replied.

A good start. "Who did you talk about?" I asked.

Kiddo: "Peter. He was on a boat."

Me: "And who came to talk to him?"

Kiddo: "Jesus."

(At this point, I'm getting Kiddo's early-entrance seminary application all ready in my head.)

Me: "What did Jesus say to Peter?"

Kiddo: "Watch out for the pirates!!!!"

Me: "Oh, there were pirates?"

Kiddo: "Yep, but Jesus said 'come here, Peter,' and he got him away from the pirates."

Hmmmm....a new twist on the call to discipleship? Or maybe salvation theology? I will save you from your sins and the pirates?

Sure, why not. Aaaargh!


Monday, June 18, 2007

Eight Random Facts Meme

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3.At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Well, since I was tagged by RevScott and then again indirectly by RuthRE, here goes:

1) Two of my favorite breakfast cereals are Corn Bran and Grape Nuts Flakes.

2) I can play the first 8 bars or so of a Mozart sonatina on a piano with my hands crossed over my head, behind my back (a nifty lil' parlor trick I learned after watching Amadeus).

3) I once worked at the English major's Seventh Heaven (or Seventh Level of Hell, depending on your viewpoint): Cliffs Notes World Headquarters.

4) I once played a Billy Joel song on Vladimir Horowitz's personal piano (New York State of Mind, if you're interested). Vladimir, I sincerely apologize.

5) Due to growing up with my dad's unique pancake recipe, I steadfastly refuse to eat any other type of pancake. French toast, on the other hand, is universally a good food.

6) My friends often refer to cotton, button-down collared shirts with plaid or checkered patterns as "a LutheranHusker shirt." Only they use my real name. Apparently those, and sweaters, are pretty much all I wear.

7) Two of my big and achievable dreams in life are to go to a Red Sox-Yankees game at Fenway Park and to go to a live taping of A Prairie Home Companion at the Fitzgerald Theater.

8) I worked at Camp Carol Joy Holling near Ashland NE for five summers. My first summer, I made a grand total of $600.00. Before taxes. But I wouldn't have traded the experience for the world.

RevScott already tagged most of the folks I would've, so consider yourself tagged if you read this. =) (I know, cheap way out, but hey...that's me. Mr. Cheapo.)


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Random Thought At The End Of A Week At Confirmation Camp

Wouldn't the world be a better place if everyone stopped what they were doing from 3:45 until 4:00 every afternoon to eat snowcones?

I'm just sayin'...


Friday, June 08, 2007

Friday Five--Getaway Island Edition

From the RevGals:

We snitched a bit of time on an quiet island nearby this week. It was a last minute plan, escaping with a minimal amount of preparation. One must have essentials that make it a relaxing time. Perhaps you have had this opportunity to escape, or maybe it's only been a thought to get away. However, suppose you were told to pack some essentials for a trip to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Describe your location, in general or specific terms and....

1) What book(s) will you bring?
2) What music accompanies you?
3) What essentials of everyday living must you take (as in the health and beauty aids aisle variety)?
4) What technological gadgets if any, will you take with you or do you leave it all behind?
5) What culinary delights will you partake in while there?

My location of choice would be a spiritual retreat center somewhere in New England...up in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, or somewhere in Vermont. It would have to be during the summer or fall, because snow stresses me. In the woods, by a lake, with lots of walking trails available. Nice breakfasts and lunches, with gourmet suppers. Quiet places to read, pray, and worship. Free, open 24 hours a day hospitality room with, among other things, grapefruit juice, gourmet coffee, and York peppermint patties. Don't know if such a place exists, but I'm thinking along the lines of the Swanson Center at Camp Carol Joy Holling in Ashland, NE...(well, the Swanson Center does have everything I've described, including the hospitality room, complete with York peppermint patties!)...only in New England instead of 30 miles from home.

To the questions:

1) Ask me some other time and you might get a different answer, but right now I'd bring Anne Lamott's Traveling Mercies, Donald Miller's Searching For God Knows What, and Brian McLaren's A Generous Orthodoxy...all of which I own, but none of which I've had occasion to read yet. Add to those a Bible, a copy of the ELCA's ELW hymnal, and the first six books of the Harry Potter series, and you'd have a very happy LutheranHusker.

2) When I read, I need music without words. So I'd have plenty of Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky for my reading time. For general listening, I'd have Joshua Radin, Storyhill, Sonya Kitchell, Teitur, James (not Jim) Morrison, Ray LaMontagne, Norah Jones, James Taylor, and Paul Simon. And maybe some others too.

3) Well, I think I'd need some soap. And shampoo. Toothbrush and toothpaste. Deodorant. Electric razor. A little hair gel would be bonus. Other than that, I'm easy.

4) Maybe a TV...if the Red Sox are playing the Yankees, it would do my heart good to watch. An iPod would be nice to handle the whole music thing. That would be about it.

5) One night I'd want to have steak, baked sweet potato, caesar salad, steamed veggies, wine, and chocolate cheesecake. For breakfast--lots of french toast. All other meals it would be fun just to try some new and exciting stuff--the executive chef at the Swanson Center is very gifted in this regard.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sleep Update

Well, last night was Night One of my "no drugs before bed" experiment (okay, that didn't come out right...I've got a cold. Quit laughing and read the post before this one if you're wondering about the whole drug bit.).

=) went great. I think I woke up briefly a couple of times, but in the end I got almost exactly 8 hours of sleep, which is a half hour more than I had gotten the previous three nights combined. Which is one thing when you've got an infant in the house, but we don't. It's quite another when your three nights of sleeplessness come on your first full week in a new job.

Hopefully I've feigned wakefulness well enough to have left a good first impression.

VBS is coming up in a couple of weeks, and 5 high school girls spent their first afternoon after the end of school today helping paint cardboard props at the church. I took the opportunity to join them and help out some--after a couple of hours the education director and I took them out to Dairy Queen as a thank you. They're the kind of kids you hope your kids become friends with when they're teenagers...we had a great time, got a lot of work done, and it was good for me to get to know them better.

Now I gotta keep working to shake this cold before camp starts on Sunday...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Once again, an unintended long absence. I've been a sucky blogger lately. Ah well.

  • Last Sunday was my first Sunday at the new church. So of course my body decided that Saturday was the perfect day to develop a blazing cold. I spent all Sunday morning wishing I was at home in bed--not because of the congregation--they're WAY cool, and I couldn't be happier to be there--but because I was run down and icky and cough-y (coffee=good, cough-y=BAD).
  • After two nights of taking Benadryl to knock myself out enough to quit coughing and go to sleep, only to wake up in the morning literally unable to function until 10 or 11 (I swear, that stuff acts like a 12-hour narcotic on me)...I decided the last two nights to only take Robitussin DM before bed. Well, my body apparently has decided Robitussin DM is the most potent amphetamine ever, since I've spent the last two nights staring wide-eyed at the ceiling until almost 3 AM, only to have Kiddo get up at 5:45. Spending the day half-asleep isn't the best way to impress the new co-workers from what I hear, so tonight I've decided no drugs whatsoever. No cough supressant, no nothing. I'll let you know how it goes.
  • I LOVE my new place. Love the pastor, love my co-workers, love the congregation, love the kids I've been able to meet so far...good stuff.
  • This coming Sunday is Sweetie's and my wedding anniversary (I LOVE YOU!!!!). It's also my installation. AND the day I leave for confirmation camp for a week. So basically not much happening this Sunday. =)

And last but not least: countdown to Harry Potter Book Seven next month! (I just finished re-reading book 6 a couple of nights ago, so I'm ready to jump right in with my Muggle nerd-dom!)