Thursday, May 25, 2006

Good one

Diamonds on the Soles of my shoes

I was researching sermon ideas when I saw this photo of the Ascension by Salvador Dali. I was struck and delighted. My sermon will focus on not "gawking up at heaven" as the disciples did, but instead following the feet of Christ.

For the children's sermon, I decided to use the image to talk about my "beautiful feet." Feet are so taboo--I don't know many main-line congregations (including my own) who have the gumption to do an actual foot-washing service these days. I'll talk with the kids about how Isaiah says "How beautiful are the feet on the mountains of the one who brings [the Good News], and how that means my feet are beautiful too. Perhaps I'll talk about how I used to be ashamed of my feet because I had a big gap between my big toe and the rest of my toes--but now I'm proud of them because they bring me places where I can share the good news.
While daydreaming about the sermon, I also thought of a surprise for the kids
I'll show them the bottom of my feet and tell them I drew those crosses to remind me that everywhere I step, Jesus walks with me (name of the sermon is "Jesus Walks"--thanks Kanye). I'll ask them if their feet are beautiful too, then suggest that they carry the Good news that God loves the world--as Jesus asks his disciples to do at the Ascension.

Use it if it helps.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Balance to biblical lighting zaps

I've always been fascinated and bothered by the story of Elijah going to the mountain and calling down a cosmic meltdown against the Canaanite priests. Here's a story from Daniel that offers another approach to foreign "wise men." God intercedes to save the Chaldeans---
Also, this story reminds me of the scene in Last Temptation of Christ when Jesus tells Pilate, "I am the stone that smashes the clay feet of the statue." Pilate is best played in all cinematic history by David Bowie in this movie. Removed but curious, like he is trifling with the Jews for his own amusement. Perfectly imagined as a Roman governor.

5 reasons I think I'm cool

Here's an interesting tag--Actually, I don't quite know how a tag works, but I've seen the phrase on Katherine's blog and it's usually followed by a list. So here one that I thought of that's sincere and funny, and perhaps revealing. IF you want to try out the list in the comments, or on your own blog--have at it. The idea for this list was sparked when I was trying to get something off my computer that was bugging me, and I noticed that when we had gotten our new computer, I had named it HAL. I had forgotten that I had done that, so when I remembered that I had at one point, I felt really cool. Are there things that you feel are cool about you? I recommend getting them out in the open--it is quite liberating.

1. I named my computer HAL
2. I liked Bottle Rocket when Wes Anderson first gained a following. I remember making my high school friends watch it and feeling really cool that I liked it better than they did, and then Wes Anderson became a fairly respected director.
3. I have a scar on my knuckle where I punched a guy in the tooth in 7th grade gym class. He kept gleeking on me, and I told him to stop or else I'd spit a hawker in his face because I couldn't do it. So, he did and I spit a hawker in his face and hit him in the tooth. That was cool of me. Steve McQueen in training.
4. I've gotten comments lately on my posts--they are from people who I think sound really cool--so that means I must sound really cool.
5. Most of the time I drink plenty of water. I'm healthy.

Hmm, that was interesting. I felt like my ego took a nice, big stretch.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Look how my buddy Chad's stance is mirrored by the tree. I suppose they're both trying not to slide down the hill. This is at a little pull off on the interstate through the Smokies in North Carolina/Tennessee border.

I've always liked this country diner in Ola, Arkansas. I had my camera last time I went to Little Rock.

Champion of cuteness vs. the ugly ducks

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Preparing to Confirm

This coming Sunday I'll be baptizing two "tweenagers" and then confirming them and three others in our Sunday service. Look for pix after the event on the church website. This is the third time I've taught or helped to teach confirmation, but the first time I'll be serving the "priestly function." For some reason, confirmation has always seemed very important to me. It is the time when kids take some time to consider an adult decision, and then most likely return to being kids. The event is usually understood better in retrospect, like when the two disciples who walked with Jesus to Emmaus thought after Jesus had disappeared from their midst, "How our hearts burned within us when he was walking with us and opening the scriptures."
With my own confirmation, I remember sitting in my dad's office at Sequoia UMC in Fayetteville. I don't remember much of the content. I remember going to a Shabbat service at the local synagogue and being mystified, then bored when the entirety (or what seemed like the entirety) of the service was conducted in Hebrew. I remember the Rabbi taking the scroll around the small congregation of people, and the way the people's eyes followed the Torah. I remember standing outside after the service was over and seeing a satellite drop out of the sky. I think I remember seeing it so clearly that I could actually make out the shape of the satellite. That's all I remember about confirmation. I don't remember any of the content. I think I actually remember the service when folks in the church lay their hands on me. I remember that being powerful and feeling really good. I remember feeling the pride and prayers of the people there coursing through their hands and into my hair and spine and shoulders. It really is a empowering feeling.
I suppose that's what I'm looking forward to most about this weekend. I hope that my confirmands remember that ritual. They can forget the content of the lessons we have had (I did), and they will probably remember the same things. We'll be visiting a Catholic, Episcopal, and Shabbat service this coming Friday, so they'll probably remember that and the service. Who knows? Maybe something will drop out of the sky and stamp the event in their mind too.