Monday, January 16, 2017

I am a racist

It is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the USA today. I started it off with this little thought popping into my brain: "America: where 'I have a dream' has been replaced by 'I have a tweet.'" Whether you want to look at it from the perspective of a deep-thinking elegant speaker like President Obama being replaced by Donny, or the overall state of our culture transpiring from meaningfulness to mindlessness... that's up to you.

At any rate, MLK Day has always been a meaningful and inspiring day for me. When I used to care more about stuff. It was ironic, then, as I was reading through David Fitch's new book 'Faithful Presence' that I stumbled on this paragraph just now:
A month after the Ferguson shooting, I was asked to speak at a conference on the subject of racial reconciliation. I am a white male, so I started out my talk with an open confession: "I am a racist." I confessed that even if I wanted to, I could not with the snap of my fingers undo the habits formed within me as a white man raised all my life in a culture of white privilege that is hundreds of years old. So, I said, "Today, I confess, I am a racist." This, I suggested, was the starting point for Jesus transforming the world around me divided by race. By submitting myself to others in this area of my life, especially people who are different from me, I could, through grace, learn the ways I am a racist. Then, piece by piece, God could change me. I have learned that the more I do this, even confessing this to myself, it fundamentally changes the posture between me and someone else of color.

That's some pretty good stuff, I think. In that regard, I am a racist too. I think what's difficult for so many white people - or maybe ALL people - is to separate confession from blame and judgment. By admitting (confessing) that I am racist does not mean I need to defend myself or accept blame for all manner of things and therefore be judged as "bad." It is to surrender my position, accepting that I am, in fact, part of a system responsible for this, yet with the hope that we might look forward, rather than look with condemnation on what may have happened in the past.

I have some more to add to this, but I may save it for another day, or forget it entirely. Basically I just wanted to write down this quote from Fitch's book, and note that I have started reading another book. I hope to write more about it also. It's good.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

2016 remembered

Well I suppose now that we're into the second week of January I should probably pull together a review of the past year. It was an 'interesting' year. There were plenty of good things, but I'd put myself in the category of people drained by the election process. Who knows what next year will hold.

2016 saw us change churches for the first time since I quit pastoring. We also left the small group at the old church, but started meeting with Tom and Kim for weekly Bible Study, and serving in a mission group at the new church.

Physically I did my usual downward slide as the winter months approached. I went through a phase of drinking waaaay too much earlier in the year and through summer, and I drank harder than I probably have ever before. Fortunately I am out of that and I feel pretty good now - both physically and mentally/emotionally.

I'm reading less now than at the start of the year, and also doing less personal introspection. I think it's good for me to just live for awhile. I'm feeling pretty relaxed right now.

So, here are some of the highlights gleaned from my monthly posts through last year:

  • I guess I did set down some "goals" - or, rather "rhythms" - I wanted to practice through the year. I did finish reading through the Bible (again), and Jane and I are still praying together on a nightly basis. I stuck with exercise and eating right for awhile, and I still eat pretty good, but I have been a real slug when it comes to exercise lately. I haven't done much of anything since October, and it shows.
  • I left the weekly pastor's breakfast I'd been attending for 16 years. I still meet with Tom once a week, so I haven't felt too out of touch.
  • I updated our home computer (laptop) to Windows 10.
  • Anna turned 5. 
  • I was reading (and blogging) Michael Frost's 'Jesus the Fool: The Mission of the Unconventional Christ.'
  • Denver beat Carolina in the Super Bowl. We watched the commercials at Mike's.
  • We did our first Candida Cleanse, and I lost 8 lbs. in 7 days.
  • I shaved off my beard of 1 1/2 years growth.
  • Jane made a trip to Buda.
  • We got a new dishwasher.
  • Jane once again had a birthday on the 27th.
  • I was reading (and blogging) Jen Hatmaker's ' 'Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity.'
  • I made my first children's picnic table out of pallets (the yellow one we still have).
  • I bought a sawzall.
  • I continued reading (and blogging) Michael Frost's 'Surprise the World! The Five Habits of Highly Missional People.' 
  • I attended probably my last Midwest Region Conference Convention. It was held in Muncie, IN, and Jane was there with me.
  • I mowed the lawn for the first time on the 17th, and that is also when we decided to hire out our fertilization/care to Spring-Green.
  • We saw the Dave Rawlings Machine, with Gillian Welch, in Bloomington, IN (our first trip there).
  • Caleb turned 2 years old.
  • I started reading Eugene Peterson's 'Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading.'
  • Son Isaac turned 28.
  • Jane and I spent a week in Myrtle Beach for vacation. We drove. I read two John Steinbeck books: 'The Pearl,' and 'The Moon Is Down.'
  • Daughter Carrie turned 31.
  • We stopped attending our small group at Grace.
  • We decided on C2G as our new church home.
  • Jane and I ran the Ribfest 5k.
  • Drew's grandpa died.
  • Tom and I closed the 'Elevate Coach' account.
  • This is apparently when I stopped blogging about books I was reading.
  • Jane and I ran the Runners On Parade 5k.
  • We went to Sheffield's 'Music on Main' and Jane, Carrie and I ran the 5k that morning. We also went to the Silo and Brothers, as well as visiting family.
  • Isaac and Ricci visited.
  • We started serving with the team of people at our church who make and serve food to the homeless and under-served at the library. 
  • I found out I was being sued for something at work that I didn't have anything to do with (and it's still going on).
  • We bought a 2nd twin bed for $150 (new).
  • Allison and Greg came for a visit.
  • Drew Carrie went to Atlanta for the weekend to see Isaac and Ricci. We kept the kids.
  • Jane started working full-time at the YMCA, as Records & Receipts Specialist at the Metro office.
  • I bought a new pair of running shoes. Another pair of Adidas.
  • Bennett started preschool.
  • I attended my first "Grandparents Day," at Anna's school.
  • Jane, Carrie and Anna met my mom in Bloomington, IL for the weekend.
  • I ran my 4th half-marathon. Jane did her 3rd.
  • Bennett turned 4.
  • My parents came for Bennett's birthday.
  • Jane and I ran the River City Rat Race 10k.
  • We got a new garbage disposal unit.
  • I had my 54th birthday.
  • We spent the weekend in Atlanta with Isaac & Ricci.
  • We saw Joe Bonamassa at the Embassy
  • Drew Carrie went to Florida for the weekend and we kept the kids.
  • Bennett's first Christmas program at preschool.
  • Isaac, Ricci and the 2 dogs spent some time with us up until Christmas Day.
  • Anna participated in the Christmas Eve service at St. Pauls.
  • Drew Carrie and kids went to my parents on Christmas Day. We did not.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Accidentals and a weekend

In the C2G Music Hall - January 2017

I've been meaning to post this since last Friday when we saw The Accidentals perform but.... meh, I just haven't felt much like writing lately. At any rate, I need a record of it, so this is a rushed and poor representation of how good the show was.

I had only heard of The Accidentals from our pastor, who raved about them as perhaps his favorite band ever to perform at the music venue in our church building (and there have been a lot!). I guess they performed there last year, and they were back again this year. So, given his taste in music, I was excited to hear them just based on his recommendation. I was not disappointed.

They came to town on a Friday night (1.6.17) and the place was packed. It's estimated there were 300 people there, and this three-piece band (who play many different pieces) entertained and wowed from beginning to end. I do not impress easily, and I was impressed.

You can read accolades and whatnot n their website, but something they announced that night, which was just released publicly today, is that Sony Masterworks just signed this former Indie band for a worldwide release of their newest record! So that's pretty cool. You can read more about them on their website.


As for the weekend, well, not much happened other than I had to work Saturday. And not just at one location, but two! Apparently we were short-handed and someone forgot they were scheduled to work, so I started the day at one my normal place and then halfway through went Downtown. Then the guy who normally works at my place on Saturday started at LC and then came to mine. It was a little messy, but apparently no one cares. So, that's about it.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Gas in 2016

For some reason I still keep track of gas fill-ups in my '02 Buick Century. I've done it since I started pastoring. I used to write down mileage but the odometer quit working years ago. I just have a little notebook that I write down the date, gallons, price per gallon, and amount paid. Usually I go to the Marathon station by my house, though once in awhile I will get it at the Lassus near my office.

In 2016 I filled up 35 times (I believe I filled the tank every time I got gas). The cheapest I paid was $1.35 on 2/9/16. The most expensive was $2.55 on 6/14/16.

I always get the cheapest - 87 octane - and pay for it at the pump.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Sleeping in the guest room

It's probably not what you think...

We recently discovered that the bed in our guest room is nicer than the one in our own bedroom. So for the past two nights we have slept (together) in the guest room. I don't know why we didn't think of this sooner!

We have a queen size bed that we purchased in December of 2006 (I didn't realize it was 10 years old until searching my archives). It's a nice enough bed, and was way better than our old double bed.

This past summer, when Caleb was able to leave the crib, we purchased a second twin bed to match with the twin bed we already had so both boys could share a room. We keep them separate when the boys are here (one on each side of the room), but if we have guests who are couples we push them together and it makes a king size bed. We bought a king mattress pad and sheets and they stay together pretty nicely. It seems every time someone comes over they comment on how nice that "king" bed sleeps. Well, the other night Jane mentioned her back hurting, so she suggested we give it a try. Oh my. It does sleep oh so good. I think we've even been having a harder time than usual getting OUT of bed in the morning. Plus, it's kind of like we're guests in our own home! It also kind of feels like staying in a hotel - which I have always liked.

So, that's what's been happening this week. :)