Because life is a series of edits

Archive for November, 2007|Monthly archive page

The Emerging…Synagogue?

In Church, Thought on November 27, 2007 at 11:05 pm

Funny to read this article in light of the paper I’m writing this week on the emerging church. Here’s a Jewish version of the idea, as reported in The New York Times:

“There are no pews at Tikkun Leil Shabbat, no rabbis, no one with children or gray hair. Instead, one rainy Friday night, the young worshipers sat in concentric circles in the basement of an office building, damp stragglers four deep against the walls. In the middle, Megan Brudney and Rob Levy played guitar, drums and sang, leading about 120 people through the full Shabbat liturgy in Hebrew.

Without a building and budget, Tikkun Leil Shabbat is one of the independent prayer groups, or minyanim, that Jews in their 20s and 30s have organized in the last five years in at least 27 cities around the country. They are challenging traditional Jewish notions of prayer, community and identity.”

Things I Have Absolutely No Desire to Do

In Pop Culture on November 27, 2007 at 2:00 am

Not sure why, but this category (and the entries below) popped into my mind today: 

  • Shoot and post videos to YouTube
  • Work retail this (or any) time of the year
  • Read music magazines
  • Get overly-excited about Mizzou being number one
  • Buy a house
  • Grade papers
  • Argue theology for the sake of arguing theology
  • Endorse a presidential candidate
  • Shave (again)
  • Think about I-64/40 shutting down in a month or so for a whole year
  • Write a paper codifying my thoughts on the emerging church (due Friday)
  • Get a cell phone
  • Become a church elder

I'm sure the list could continue indefinitely, but I'll stop for now. Any you'd add? 

Only 59 Years to Go

In Family, Health on November 26, 2007 at 2:00 am

Craig and His 95 Year Old Grandpa 

Here's a shot of me with my grandfather, Raymond Richardson. Grandpa Richie turned 95 this past weekend, and spending time with him reminded me of just how much/little life I have left to live. It was good and needed perspective, as it got me thinking about some personal disciplines I've let go as of late:

  • First, my desk (which I cleaned tonight) – I can't do good work if I don't have good space in which to do it (and I haven't had good space for most of the fall).
  • Second would be a more regular routine of devotion in the mornings – it's not that I'm not up; I just find my way to email and the newspaper far too quickly.
  • Third would be reading to my girls more regularly at night – I had been reading the book of Matthew to them, but then took a break for Megan to read Anne of Green Gables; it's time to get back on the horse.
  • Fourth would be diet and exercise – I haven't done anything intentional all fall and just feel like a slug; while I've pseudo-maintained my weight since summer, I still have twenty pounds to go to meet my goal, so I'm going to the Y tomorrow.

I don't know how much of this stuff Grandpa consciously thought about when he was my age (36); nor do I have hopes any of it will ensure my living to 95. But it wouldn't take a lot to make these tweaks a month or so before the new year and reap the benefits early.

After all, I may have only 59 years to go…

Thankful for Thanksgiving

In Holidays on November 18, 2007 at 8:54 pm

As you may have been able to tell, I haven’t felt like writing much (at least not anything longer than a paragraph) these past few weeks. Though I had planned to remedy that this weekend, I spent most of it recovering from some achy 12-hour flu bug that laid me up all day Saturday, and today has been catching up for class this week and getting a little reading done.

I’ve not been too prolific, thoughtful, or even remotely interesting as of late, and I apologize. That said, I’m taking a break for the week, and hope the Thanksgiving holiday rejuvenates my creative juices. Gratitude tends to do that for me, and I have much for which to be thankful (I just need some time and space to get away and recognize it).

See you in a week. Happy Thanksgiving.

Maybe We’re Becoming a Little Too Close

In Education, Friends on November 16, 2007 at 7:16 am

Larry and Craig

Larry Hughes (on the left) is my Biblical Ethics co-teacher/mentor at Westminster, as well as the most widely-read person I’ve ever met. Larry speaks as easily about the Bible or ancient philosophy as the ideas and issues of our day. Best of all, he speaks in a fun Tennessee twang, and has a heart for God and people even bigger than his personal library (which is pretty big).

As much as I admire Larry and appreciate him as my Ethics mentor, I do wonder sometimes if he’s having too much influence on me in general. What do you think?

The Democrats, Vegas, and My Parents

In Places, Politics, Pop Culture on November 15, 2007 at 8:27 am

My folks, Rog and Char, along with my uncle Bob and aunt Janice, are making their first trip ever to Las Vegas this weekend. Apparently, in addition to Mom and Dad heading for America’s favorite desert oasis, the Democrats are as well (not their first trip, mind you).

It would be hilarious if my father ran into his state senator (Obama) somewhere on the strip, started talking agriculture, and ended up making it onto the national news. I could totally see my Mom hitting it off with Hillary at a Vegas show and, in the midst of some “warm chatter” (as is the Mary Kay Way), selling her some makeup for the road.

If my parents don’t run into the Democrats this weekend, maybe they’ll rub shoulders with O.J.’s lawyers getting ready for the weekend after next. Who knows?

Only Vegas…

It’s Been Too Long…

In Pop Culture on November 13, 2007 at 10:15 am

…too long, in fact, I had to look it up:

rain |rān|
moisture condensed from the atmosphere that falls visibly in separate drops : the rain had not stopped for days | it’s pouring rain.
• ( rains) falls of rain : the plants were washed away by some unusually heavy rains.
• [in sing. ] a large or overwhelming quantity of things that fall or descend : he fell under the rain of blows.

TwentySomeone at Cedar Crest

In Calling, Places on November 12, 2007 at 2:00 am

TwentySomeone at Cedar Crest

We hung out with 20 twenty-somethings this weekend near Santa Fe, MO – beautiful weather and play buddies for the kids topped off a fun weekend of teaching on this decade of transition.

I forget how much I love doing this.

Helicopter Parents

In Education, Family, Thought on November 9, 2007 at 2:00 am

It's late and I'm running out of time between now and the weekend retreat to post anything coherent in continuation of my earlier question (thanks for your responses to it, by the way – some thoughtful insights).

I had a feeling this might happen, but as I hate to leave you empty-handed, here are two links to check out that take opposing perspectives on the emergence of the so-called "Helicopter Parent" syndrome that prompted my question in the first place:

More thoughts next week (unless you've some to share). And miles to go before I sleep…

Penny for Your Thought (Minus the Penny)

In Education, Thought on November 7, 2007 at 12:00 am

I’ve got a post or two brewing on the topic, but in the meantime, I’ll ask you the question:

  • When, in your opinion, does a child become an adult in our culture?

If you would, leave a comment and let me know what you think.

TwentySomeone This Weekend?

In Books, Places on November 6, 2007 at 2:00 am

Sure, it's only three days' notice, but if you're a twenty-something (or know of one) looking for a meaningful reason to spend Friday and Saturday at a small campground in central Missouri this weekend, here's your random chance (and it's cheap).

  • What: TwentySomeone retreat
  • When: November 9th and 10th, Friday (6 p.m.) – Saturday night (8 p.m.)
  • Where: Cedar Crest Campgrounds, Santa Fe, MO (no website, so don't even look for one; call my friend John Gillman at 573.239.1662 for directions).
  • What to bring: bedding; comfortable clothing; toiletries (shower available); games; sporting equipment; musical instruments; non-electronic entertainment; Bible; pen. There are separate male and female dorms (sorry, married folks: you’ll have to split up for a night).
  • Cost: $30 includes all meals, lodging, and a copy of TwentySomeone (cash or checks payable to Harrisburg Christian Church).

(eat dinner on your own before you arrive; Centralia is your closest fast food)

  • 6:00: Camp opens; check in; get book; get set in your cabin
  • 7:00: Opening / orientation to the camp
  • 7:30: Opening session: The Question of Our Twenties*
  • 9-12: Free time; campfire; games; smores; snacks


  • 8:00: Breakfast provided
  • 9:00: General session: God Has a Wonderful (and Strange and Confusing) Plan for Your Life*
  • 11:00: Time for reflection
  • 12:00: Lunch provided
  • 12:45 Breakout sessions
    Option A: Faith – Answering the Big Questions (Who made God?, etc.)
    Option B: Relationships – What is your Love Language?
  • 2:00: Breakout sessions
    Option A: Faith – What is forgiveness all about?
    Option B: Relationships – Finding and being the right mate
  • 3-5: Free time
  • 5:00: Dinner provided
  • 5:45: Closing session: Legacy – Rethinking Accomplishment and Success*
  • 7:00: Hang out; pack up; clean up; leave

*These are the sessions I'm doing; the workshops are being led by other pastors.

It's going to be a nice gathering of about 20-30 folks from several different churches in the middle of Missouri, so it will be super-laidback, and you won't get lost in the crowd. And come on: it's only $30 for the whole thing (including a book). To register, call 573.875.5577.

Megan and the girls are going, but if anyone from the St. Louis area would like to go and needs a ride, we've got one open spot between car seats. First come, first served.

Weekend Extrovert

In Friends on November 6, 2007 at 2:00 am

So this weekend I spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoon with about 1,500 NavStaff in downtown St. Louis. Believe it or not, I was almost mistaken for an extrovert.

Lunch Reunion

On Saturday, we had a few folks over to the house for lunch (my 4-year-old and I took the pic). Back row: Jess, Natalie (holding Amelia), Derek, Jack, Nate, Mark, and Jason. Fun and games.

Weekend Extrovert

In Friends on November 5, 2007 at 8:44 pm

So this weekend I spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoon with about 1,500 NavStaff in downtown St. Louis. Believe it or not, I was almost mistaken for an extrovert.

Lunch Reunion

On Saturday, we had a few folks over to the house for lunch (my 4-year-old and I took the pic). Back row: Jess, Natalie (holding Amelia), Derek, Jack, Nate, Mark, and Jason. Fun and games.

The Navigators in St. Louis

In Friends, Places on November 2, 2007 at 8:48 am

It’s going to be a strange mixing of worlds this weekend as The Navigators’ national staff conference is in town. Over 1,200 folks from all over the Nav world are descending on St. Louis and the Millennium Hotel, and though we don’t know everybody, we know a fair amount and hope to see many of them who are in town.

For those who don’t know, I spent 12 years onstaff with The Navigators in Colorado Springs. Just before we left staff and moved to St. Louis in 2005, the Navs announced that they were holding their every-four-years staff conference here. At the time, 2007 seemed so far off that, apart from putting it on my calendar, I didn’t think too much about it. But it’s here now, and we’re glad.

The staff conference holds particular significance for me as I (then 24) was part of the ten-member team back in 1995 asked to resurrect it after a 25-year hiatus. In addition to my normal staff responsibilities at Eagle Lake then, I worked for two years with the team to put things together, finally executing the plans we’d made during the last week of June at Estes Park that year (which was also one month into a full summer camp season). It was a great conference that came off without a hitch (or at least without any noticeable ones). I’m still not sure how it all got pulled off, but somehow it did.

All that to say, I probably won’t crash too many sessions or workshops, but I do plan to mill around, shake a few hands, and temporarily kidnap a couple close friends and bring them home for dinner with the fam. There’s part of me that’s a little insecure about being at a Nav conference without being an official Navigator anymore, but I have little doubt I’ll be remembered and warmly welcomed. The Navs are good folk who took good care of us when we were with them, and we were helped very much by their ministry.