pondering my role in a bigger story

Monday, August 28, 2006


If the Tilt-a-Whirl at the State Fair makes you queasy and light-headed after you ride it, does that make you a lightweight? Or does it just mean you are getting old? This is not supposed to happen to someone with a strong constitution, no matter the age. Hhmph.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

books and tunes

On the Nightstand:
- Velvet Elvis, Rob Bell
- Beyond Words, Frederick Buechner
- The Polaroid Book
- RealLivePreacher.com, Gordon Atkinson
- The Tender Bar, J.R. Moehringer
- The Great Omission, Dallas Willard

Prevalent on the Pod:
- The Fray, How to Save a Life
- Kate Miner, Live From the Strip
- Derek Webb, Mockingbird
- Selah, Bless the Broken Road
- Bruce Springsteen, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
- Foo Fighters, In Your Honor

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

move off the page

For a week now we have been cast in the role of

A week in the leisure class:
air conditioning,
many books,
assured food,
free time
with only a modicum of anxiety.

In our leisure, we have watched you move from verse to verse,
noticed the force of your verbs,
pondered your elliptical textual pauses,
And now we dare interrupt your anticipated Sabbath
with one imperative, for a moment
not scholars but petitioners in urgency.

So listen up:
You, majestic sovereign…move off the page!
move off the page to the world,
move off the page to the trouble,
move out of your paged leisure to
the turmoil of your creatures.

Move to the peace negotiations,
and cancer diagnoses,
and burning churches,
and lynched blacks,
and abused children.

Listen to the groans and moans,
and see and hear and know and remember,
and come down!

Have no sabbath rest until your creatures rest well, all of us.

Be your Friday self that your world may be Eastered.

Move off the page!


- Walter Brueggemann

Monday, August 21, 2006

the questions resurface

- does God really care?
- why does faith matter?
- what would it look like if God moved off the page?
- what are the things that give me life?
- where do I find true meaning?
- what is my vision of who/what I want to be?

blogger blues

last week Blogger ate my sidebar. and refused to let me attach photos to my entries. i tried deleting the entry and re-publishing it tonight, but still no picture. so the entry below this one will have the photo that it references attached as soon as I get through pulling my hair out. and, yes, it probably is all attributed to user error. blah.

my important thing

Friday night I had dinner with a new friend. Over the course of dinner, we talked about art, faith, and creativity. I had a difficult time articulating what I will call my journey of creativity, for lack of a better description. Lots of creative outlets as a kid, followed by a handful of years of rebellion and busyness, and now a season of what seems to be increasing creativity as time moves on.

I remember creating as a kid. We always had art and craft supplies around, and my mom was very creative. We did lots of projects, from homemade play dough to macramé to decoupage to painting. I can recall my favorite Christmas presents being stuff like glue, scissors, and construction paper. That’s not so different today!

This is a bowl – it also has a lid, which I made in kindergarten. The bowl is nothing special in and of itself. One look would tell you that it was fashioned by a child. Likely formed out of that homemade play dough that is made from salt, water, and flour, it is painted in bright colors. It has a handhold of sorts formed in the lid. Small enough to fit into my hand, I try not to move it around much, for fear that someday soon it will dissolve into a jillion pieces.

I don’t remember making the bowl so much as I remember it sitting on the top of my mom’s sewing machine console. She kept a few straight pins in it. Later it sat in a big oak bookcase with glass doors, along with a few other fragile but special items.

Sometime in the years after she died, I took it to my home in Birmingham. I tenderly wrapped the bowl in bubble wrap, put it in a Tupperware container and drove it south. When I moved to Denver I packed it very carefully, and would not trust the movers with it. Now it sits on a bookshelf in my living room.

From time to time I ponder why it is so special to me. A few years ago, as my creativity was called forth and began to pour out, the bowl was a gentle reminder of the creativity that was in me from a young age. It stands as a prompt that I am creative on those off days when I wonder if my creative juices have dried up.

Growing up in a family that valued practicality over creativity, we never talked about things that represented beauty. Yet this is a tangible sign that stuff I made with my own hands mattered to my mom. And that stirs something within me.

The first piece of original art I ever purchased was a black and white photograph by Melissa Springer, from a show called Important Things. For this series, she had a number of people bring their most treasured object to her studio. For the shoot, each person stood behind a black curtain and thrust their hands through an opening, holding their important thing. She did not set up the photos, but took them just as people presented their objects. A ring. A lock of hair. A pill box. Dog tags. The items folks hold near and dear.

This is my important thing. (Note: Technical difficulties will not let me load the photo. I'll keep trying...)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

beyond words

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

book meme

One book that changed your life. Ragamuffin Gospel, by Brennan Manning. My introduction to grace.

One book that you've read more than once. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee. My favorite.

One book that you 'd want on a desert island. Webster's Dictionary, unabridged. What better time to increase your vocabulary?

One book that made you laugh. Naked, by David Sedaris. Snort-Diet Pepsi-out-your-nose kind of laughing.

One book that made you cry. Where the Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls. Dang near killed me when I first read it in 3rd or 4th grade. Still potent.

One book that you wish had been written. In the 80's, the Dummies Guide to the VCR.

One book that you wish had never been written. Even a crappy book probably took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, so I'll not throw rocks.

One book you are currently reading. Mockingbird, by Charles J. Shields. For obvious reasons.

One book you have been meaning to read. The Tender Bar, J.R. Moehringer.