Wednesday, April 27, 2011

HPVIIb, Scary Stories, and Schaumburg

So, yesterday on facebook I posted about getting goosebumps while watching the trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2. On a side note, here it is:

Amazing, right? Anyway, a friend of mine read the update and at first thought I was referring to the Goosebumps series. Now, I was not allowed to read the Goosebump series as a child, and for good reason: I would have had many a sleepless night. Well, that's not quite true; I did read some at school, and they weren't really all that scary. But do you know what books are burned into my mind: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Now, the stories were scary enough, but the illustrations were terrifying. I google imaged them, and I still think they're pretty scary. Here's a few of the best:

This last one is from a story I particularly remember. In it, a bride and groom throw a great feast after their wedding. As a part of it, they decide to play hide-and-seek. The bride went up to the rarely used attic and hid in a trunk. When the trunk latched close, she found that she was locked in the trunk. She waited patiently for the party to find her, but no one ever found her or heard her muffled screams. The party figured she had ran away, and she was not found until years later, when someone opened the trunk to find a skeleton wearing a wedding dress. I just imagined being stuck in that trunk, wasting away. Now, that will give you some goosebumps as a young impressionable child!

I'm currently sitting in the hotel lobby of O'Hare Hyatt Woodfield waiting to go out to eat with my dad. He's in town (I use town loosely since he's up in Schaumburg) for his denomination's (or association) annual conference. So, I'm reading some feminist liturgical theology while I wait in the lobby. I should put it between the pages of a different book on Christian leadership or something so I don't get in trouble. I'm looking forward to some Giordano's with Deano and his compatriots!

The big weekend will begin shortly: thesis defense and marathon! I'm nervous/excited/ready for all of it. Now, I'm going to go walk around the hotel because I'm feeling a little sleepy at the moment. Later.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Baked Goods and Glenn Gould

If you ever need to get rid of perishable food items, put them on the seminary kitchen counter with a sign inviting people to eat. I brought two plates of cookies/baked goods left over from Easter at church (I told people I had been baking all weekend, which no one believed) and after my class (1 hour 20 minutes) the plates were nearly cleaned of their contents. It's like dropping a bloody small animal into a piranha pool and watching the ensuing feeding frenzy. Plus, it feels ethically better than tossing a bunch of food (I mean, you could probably make a counter-argument that people don't need a bunch of cookies and baked goods; point taken.).

Speaking of baked goods, HuffPost is running a headline right now entitled, "Rent or Food?" While it's a fascinating and worthwhile topic, it is undercut by the picture of an older gentleman debating whether to buy a brownie or cookie at a local bakery.

At least show someone in a department that does not consist almost exclusively of items on the top of the food pyramid with the corresponding recommendation, "use sparingly." Just sayin'.

I'm almost finished with a documentary on Glenn Gould, a eccentric and amazing classical pianist from the 1960s-1980s best known for his mastering of Bach (and reinterpretation). He was a hypochondriac, sat so low in relation to the piano that his father built him a special chair, and he gave up performing live rather early in his career. The only problem with his recording career was that he could not keep himself from humming and singing along as he played. Here's a clip:

So, I've been listening to a lot of his playing recently, hums and all. Also, watching it helped me put some of my own idiosyncrasies in proper perspective.

Well, I'm going to get ready for our class forum tonight. Later.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Services, Lyrical Mishaps, and Trump

I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I get home after a Good Friday service (before our Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday service) and I have an email from my pastor with an idea for Advent (actually, being the liturgical nerd I am, I loved it, but I still thought it was pretty great/funny timing).

Well, the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday went pretty well. Thanks to all who helped out! We did a pretty fun version of "This Is the Day" (Yep, that "This is the Day") with some gospel piano and alto sax (thanks, AJ!). The only problem was trying to avoid a train wreck when people tried to clap; it wasn't pretty. It's hard for a congregation of non-clappers to clap on the 2 and 4 of a faster song. However, I think it inspired me to have a gospel/jazz Sunday for Pentecost Sunday this week. I feel like the improvisational nature of gospel/jazz fits well with the coming of the Holy Spirit.

One kind of funny thing happened yesterday morning during the singing of "In Christ Alone" (yes, with "love of God exemplified" instead of "wrath of God was satisfied"). So, we got to the last few stanzas of the last verse:
No power of hell, no scheme or plan (alt. from "scheme of man" although, as one of my female friends notes, maybe this is a time when we can keep gender exclusion because it's usually the men who are scheming.)
can ever pluck me from his hand.
Till he returns or calls me home,
here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

And I had planned to return again vocally to "No power of hell," but I could not find the right lyric on my sheet. All I could think of was "hell," and I wasn't about to prompt the audience with the lone word, "hell." So, I kind of made some noises, looked up at the screen, and found my place. I'm Imagining it sounded like this: "baa maa daaa hell, No scheme or plan."

After the service, I headed up to the Phelan residence for a great Easter lunch. It was a pretty great time. Now I'm planning on lounging around on this day off, finishing a book, and maybe watching a movie. Oh, and I need to go for a run. Marathon on Saturday! I probably should read through my thesis as well. Thesis defense on Friday!

I also enjoyed this electoral map of the US showing how Donald Trump could possibly obtain the needed electoral votes in the election:

Now let reading/watching/running commence!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Second Day of Triduum, Mitt Romney, and Empty Brain Space

Well, two days into the Triduum. Both the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services are over and now we wait out the night for the Easter Vigil. When the Christ candle is extinguished, I just want to race to the Easter vigil service when you can light it again, but we wait in the darkness for another day.

This might be my favorite The Onion headline of all time: "Mitt Romney Haunted By Past of Trying to Help Uninsured Sick People." See the whole article here. It's a shame that it is a liability in a party to try and get all people insured and cared for, but alas. The money paragraph of the article:
"'Every day I am haunted by the fact that I gave impoverished Massachusetts citizens a chance to receive health care,' Romney told reporters Wednesday, adding that he feels ashamed whenever he looks back at how he forged bipartisan support to help uninsured Americans afford medicine to cure their illnesses. 'I'm only human, and I've made mistakes. None bigger, of course, than helping cancer patients receive chemotherapy treatments and making sure that suffering from pediatric AIDS could obtain medications, but that's my cross to bear.'"

It's just a shame that level-headedness (word?) and bipartisanship must be avoided at all costs in the upcoming Republican primaries in order to pander to the Tea Party who are staking their claim in the far-right nether regions.

I want Billy back; Franklin's also going off the deep end.

Really? You listen to Donald Trump and think, "You know, maybe this guy's right?" When I listen to Donald Trump, I think the exact same thing, except I replace "right" with "crazy."

Well, except for a good proofread and bibliography, the covenant history paper is done! It's definitely a weird feeling to have no more tests or papers hanging over my head between now and the end of the year. I feel like that part of my brain is still firing neurons of anxiety and now must retrain itself for other neurological work. Right now I'm filling the void by bouncing between By One Spirit and Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections. Franzen's character development is holding my attention a bit more than Karl Olsson's lists of monies given to different international missions each year between 1895-1910. While informative, it just doesn't have quite the story arc that holds one's attention for long periods of time.

Okay, I'm going to bed. Come to the Easter Vigil at 7:30 tomorrow at Resurrection Covenant Church!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Poor Preposition Choice, Vegetarian Angst, and Seminary Dessert

So, I just heard a Nestle's commercial, and the ending tag line asserted, "Summers are better in the Nestle's freezer." Really? In the freezer? To me, that sounds like the worst summer ever...unless you are a snowman or an ice carving.

I had my first real vegetarian Lenten test on Monday when the seminary had a lunch and served italian beef sandwiches. The other options were salad, chips, coleslaw, and potato salad. Italian beef is one of my favorites, and they even had the giardiniera, which, if you are a faithful reader, is one of my favorite Chicago food items. Amazingly, due to some special dispensation of will power from on high I resisted. Vegetarianism has suited me pretty well on the whole. While I probably won't keep it up altogether, I'm going to reduce my meat intake when it is reintroduced into my post-Easter diet.

You know your team lost pretty bad (11-0 against the Orioles) when the highlights on the team's website include the infield turning a routine double play.

Tonight we had the graduating seniors' dessert with the president of the Evangelical Covenant Church, Gary Walter. Upon leaving, all seniors receive a Covenant hymnal and Covenant book of worship with their names inscribed. While I have both already, I think it's such an appropriate gift to give seminary grads because it reminds them that their call is rooted in the worship of the Triune God and gives them resources for that specific purpose. Plus, we got to sing some hymns, which I'm always in favor of.

Listening to Leonard Cohen's version of "Hallelujah" (the original) and trying to figure out what makes it such a great song. I love most of the versions I've heard: K.D. Lang, Rufus Wainwright, Jeff Buckley, Brandi Carlile, even Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris's version at the concert for Haiti. No doubt the words are amazing, but maybe it's because they fit so well with the melody's rise and falls. However, I think all of the covers leave out the best verse:

I did my best, it wasn't much;
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch.
I've told the truth; I didn't come to fool you.
And even though it all went wrong,
I'll stand before the Lord of song
with nothing on my tongue but "hallelujah."

Those last three lines may be some of my favorite lyrics in all music. Here's a link to Cohen singing it himself a few years ago. Note he's about 73 in this video. I think he's still doing pretty well for himself, and he's got top notch musicians. Listen to that organ solo if you don't believe me!

Well, I'm going to read and go to bed. Later.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Snowver Exaggeration, Cubs Game, And Hailing Busses

Well, like everyone else in the Chicagoland area, I wasn't too excited to wake up and find snow on the ground. Yet, upon checking facebook, I do think some may be overreacting to it. We woke up with snow on the ground - not rivers of lava, nuclear waste in our water table, or wild boars tearing the city apart. This shouldn't make us question the notion of a loving God or why bad things happen to good people. Also, we know snow's days are numbered; spring is coming. So, I've decided at the snow and live in hope of the coming Spring. Man, this will preach! It has Easter themes written all over it!

That reminds me, someone once said it would take a lot more faith to be a Christian during Easter in Australia. It's not difficult to believe in resurrection as trees are blooming and colors are coming to life all around you; it takes faith to celebrate the resurrection as leaves are falling and things are growing progressively more brown.

I just got home from the Cubs game with Dominique. It was a great game with a walk-off triple in the bottom of the 10th. It was fun to watch Zambrano pitch a great game in person. "Hey Chicago, what d0 you say?/The Cubs are gonna win today." In better news, the Twins also won! I did wear my Mauer jersey to the game in a show of support, not that you could see it under the jacket and blanket. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that it was very cold. It brought back memories of past cold sporting memories: playing football in the snow in International Falls, playing tennis with cap and gloves on - a cold wind so strong you had to throw your serve up sideways and let the wind bring it back to you, bundling up at Anna's softball games and making sure you brought a blanket to set on the cold metal bleachers. Now that I think about it, those are all fond memories for me. Begin psychoanalysis....NOW!

One of the things that amuses/confuses me is when people standing at bus stops hail the bus down like they're an oversized taxi. First, you're at a bus stop; they're going to stop. Second, if they are off-duty or not on your route, they are not going to see you raise your hand up and think, "You know what? I was going to pass them by, but now that they hailed me, I'll pick them up and just see where they're going." And if for some reason they were to stop regardless of being off-duty or not on your route, I would advise you not to get on that bus. That's how horror movies/children's fantasy novels start, and you wouldn't know which until it was too late. You'd end up either laughing with Tumnus in Narnia or screaming in Hannibal Lecter's basement while he cooks the fava beans and pours a nice chianti. It's 50/5o, but I still wouldn't take that bet.

The end of my Covenant history paper (aka my last seminary paper!) is fast approaching. Stay tuned for updates.

Tomorrow I get to sleep in. It's the little things in life. Speaking of the little things, I'm going to do a bit of reading in my bed. Later.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Long Stretches, Loudon Concert, and Plans

It's interesting that in any longer regular route one takes - whether in the car or on foot - there always seems to be part of the route in which you enter into some time warp and the distance seems to double or triple. For instance, on my drive from Chicago to Duluth the stretch of interstate between Tomah and Eau Claire just goes on forever. On my regular trips between Mason City and Duluth it was the stretch between the Iowa border and Owatonna. When I run to the lake, the stretch between Broadway and Clark along the cemetery feels similarly elongated (maybe it's because I'm holding my breath). Similarly, the stretch between the outdoor theater on Fullerton and North Beach has some similar hold over me and runs me down.

Today, I knew it was going to be a long run when about a mile in to a longer run I stepped in a watery mess of a sink hole. The last mile was endured only by blasting "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Somebody to Love." Queen can get you through a lot in life.

The Loudon Wainwright III concert last night was awesome. First, he had a great opening act: Kim Richey. She had such a beautiful voice that you could listen to for hours. Here's a clip from 15 years ago on Austin City Limits. She looks a little older now, things are stripped back, but she still sounds wonderful:

Then Loudon came on. He's really funny in and out of songs. He was telling a story about living in London and riding his bike in a park near Primrose Hill. He mentioned, "Primrose Hill was in a park, and in England you're not allowed to ride your bikes in parks. (taking on a fake arrogance) But I'm an American, so I do what I d--n well please!" He had many other funny one-liners that aren't appropriate for a blog such as this.

What's great about Loudon Wainwright is that he can write both extremely funny songs and amazingly poignant songs and sing them one after the other without losing continuity. One of the funny songs is off his new album 10 Songs for the New Depression (he quipped, "I'm going to cash in on these hard times.") entitled "Krugman Blues."

An example of the poignancy from last night's show was his performance of "The Picture."

Although he didn't do this one last night, he can also go from funny to poignant in the same song, like "White Winos."

The only problem with the concert was that it started at 10. By the time Loudon came out, I was getting pretty tired. I ended up waking up early to run, so now I'm going to take a nap, practice my sermon, and hopefully knock out a few pages on the Covenant History paper and figure out something fun to do tonight. Later.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Easter Vigil, Donald Trump, Ayn Rand, and Jon Kyl's Factual Statements

Yesterday we had a music practice for the instrumentalists playing at the Easter vigil. We have Joel Johnson on cello, Lizzie McColl on viola, Liz Ahlem on violin, Christin McFadyen on cornet, Jeff McClain on trumpet, and Andrew Freeman on piano. When all the strings started in on "O Sacred Head Now Wounded," I got pretty excited. They are wonderful. Come join us at ResCov next saturday at 7:30 (and Thursday at Ravenswood and Friday at Grace Covenant, same time). If you go to one Easter vigil service, you'll never want to miss one again. They become the pivot on which the church year turns, and I think they represent as close to the whole of the Christian message as you'll find in one service.

Hey Twins, don't blow any more games. You have yet to win a series, and last night I had to watch you blow it both in the 9th and 10th innings.

Well, in the latest poll, Donald Trump is leading the Republican field by 9 points. Is this a testament to Trump's candidacy or a giant yawn directed towards the rest of the republican field? My guess is the latter.

I enjoyed Jon Stewart's take on the republican budget proposal, which will makes cuts through privatizing medicare "And by building a machine that beats old and poor people to death with a giant copy of The Fountainhead." In other Ayn Rand news, the first of a planned three-part film adaptation of Atlas Shrugged will be coming out soon. Apparently it's terrible, but according to one Tea Party newsletter, Tea Partiers should mark their calendar for this "celebration of capitalism." I bet a celebration for capitalism would be one glitzy party...providing the invisible hand could coerce enough of the impoverished to work the party.

While I'm in the political mood, here is Colbert calling out Arizona senator Jon Kyl who, on the senate floor, remarked that 90% of the services Planned Parenthood provides are abortions. The number is actually 3%, and, well, you just have to watch the next two videos. I think they are some of the best stuff Colbert's done in a while.

And here's Colbert riffing the next night on the same theme.

Well, I'm going to practice my sermon, print some bulletins, and make a PowerPoint. It's all part of what I like to call "living the dream." Later.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Transcribing Interviews, Birthers, and Long Runs

Things I learned while transcribing an interview I recorded for my history and theology of the Covenant paper:
1. I need to bring my laughter down a notch. I must have been over-eager to please because I am laughing often and hard whenever I'm given even the smallest opportunity.
2. I say, "umm," "like," and "just" much more than I thought/want.
3. I hardly ever finished a question. Here's an example of one of my so-called "questions":

"And that’s interesting because you included a few Ruth Duck (hymns): Lead On, O Cloud of Presence/Arise, Your Light Is Come" but kind of the, I mean, the Ruth Duck you included is kind of on the safe end, you know, she goes a lot further... ".

That's the end; I don't keep going. First off, there is no question in that rambling piece of word salad I tried to pass off as a sentence. Second, spit it out! Cut out the "I mean" and "you know" and ask a question! Third, don't simply trail off at the end like you are forgetting how to speak and don't know what to say.... (that was me trailing off)
4. Transcribing interviews takes forever and is extremely tedious. I think I spent about seven or eight hours doing it, and my mind is just now returning to reality. However, all my research is officially done, and tomorrow begins the writing of my last seminary paper!

Donald Trump sure is doubling down on this birther stuff. I think it's really going to really bring some credibility to the birther movement to have such a prestigious voice join the already stalwart group (Orly Taitz, Sarah Palin, etc.). I have to agree with Bill Cosby on this one. Roll the clip, Jimmy.

I don't know what I love more: Bill Cosby's honesty or how obviously uncomfortable Meredith Vieira is by his honesty. You can almost feel her anxiety level through the camera.

I accidentally put a pair of sweatpants on backwards today, and when I noticed (don't worry; it was ten seconds after), all I could think of was Kriss Kross. "The Mac Dad will make you jump jump/Daddy Mac will make you jump jump!" Oh, to live in the early-mid 90s again!

I've completed my last long run before the marathon! I've listened to many hours of books on tape, taken in the views of Chicago's lakefront, and cursed the drinking fountains that still aren't running. Come on, city of Chicago! If you have a day over 80, I think human decency and municipal hospitality requires that you turn on the water.

You know what I'm excited for? Loudon Wainwright III. Friday night. 10 p.m. Old Town School of Folk. Here's a beautiful song that you should all hear (yes, I have put this up before):

This inspired me to play some piano.

And this is a republican I may be tempted to vote for:

And I don't know why these are all off-centered. You'll have to deal with it. Later.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Boardwalk Milly Avers, Politics, and Thesis

I had a dream last night that some older two-timing dude was cheating on my grandma with a lady named "Boardwalk" Milly Avers. Yes, she was known as "Boardwalk." Apparently Boardwalk Milly got the name because her frequent liaisons took place near the boardwalk-- of which Duluth has one:

In the dream, my grandma was not happy about it. I woke up in the middle of the night laughing about it, and just kept repeating the name over and over again so that I wouldn't forget it by the time I actually woke up in the morning.

So, of course I called her this morning to tell her. She laughed for a while, and then said, "I would tell him, 'So long, buddy!'" She's had a couple guys after her for a while; she's quite a hot commodity.

So, the government shutdown now seems to be coming down to Planned Parenthood funding. The year before an election you can always guarantee that either abortion or gay marriage will be used by the republicans (usually disingenuously, as it falls off the face of the earth once elections are over) to charge up the base. Who cares that under the Hyde Amendment federal funds cannot be used to fund abortions or that it also gets rid of Title X which provides much needed pre-natal care and testing for low-income women and families? Who cares that such a bill has absolutely no change of passing in the Senate and will undoubtedly lead to a shutdown? They're also trying to weaken the Environmental Protection Agency. We want this earth nice and polluted for the children.

Speaking of Republicans, do they have a strong candidate who can seriously run in 2012? This current crop looks kinda weak.

I had my last thesis meeting and got the fourth chapter approved! I will be defending April 29th. Now I need to do some edits and have it in my readers' boxes by next Friday. So, I am going to finish up this post and go make some edits. Happy Friday! Later.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Blasphemous Typos, Sage Von Steuben Wisdom, and '91 World Series Dreams

As we are planning the Easter Vigil at Resurrection Covenant (join us Saturday, April 23rd, at 7:30 p.m.), I was reminded of an important lesson in proofreading from last year's bulletin. Some typos are unsightly, others are blasphemous:
"Now sanctify this water, we pray, by the power of your Holy Spirit, that we may continue forever in the risen lie of Christ."

Yikes! Not quite the message you want to be sending on an Easter service at a church that would like to remain in the confines of orthodox Christianity. We had to go through all of the bulletins with a fine-tip pen and add a distinct "f" in between the "i" and "e." We're trying to avoid similar blasphemous mistakes this year by proofreading a little more closely. It's amusing that the typo would of course be in the one place where it could induce heresy.

So, are we going to have a government shutdown? It seems crazy is the new sane in D.C. politics. Does this mean my sister won't have to go into work? Jess?

Today as I was walking on campus, I heard one Von Steuben student give this pearl of wisdom to another: "Don't limit yourself to girls you can get with." When I first heard, "Don't limit yourself...", I thought I was going to hear some good, solid advice: "Don't limit yourself by only applying to one college;" "Don't limit yourself to what other think you should do;" even "Don't limit yourself to one slice of pizza in the cafeteria." While it is probably still good advice, it definitely went a direction I wasn't expecting.

Also, proving that the 1991 Twins vs. Braves World Series is buried deep in the subconscious of my mind, a few nights ago I had a dream I was watching the highlight film of the World Series with then Atlanta Braves third baseman Terry Pendleton and discussing the ups-and-downs that was the series (five games decided by one run, four games decided by the last at-bat, three games going into extra innings, the home team winning every game, the series going seven games).

My parents can attest to the fact that I have seen that World Series highlight video more than any other video in my life, hands down. I can still quote at length many parts of the film, including when Drew Coble, the first base umpire in game 2, explained why he called Ron Gant out when to everyone watching it was pretty clear that Hrbek pulled him off first base: "Everyone looks at his lower body in the replay, but if you look at his upper body, his momentum was carrying him off the base." And who can forget the game 6 heroics of Kirby with an amazing catch and a walk-off homer? As Jack Buck exclaimed, "And we'll see you tomorrow night!" Click here to watch the glory of it.

I just finished Ken Follett's World without End, and I don't know if it is because I was listening to it, but I felt very emotionally invested with the characters. I was definitely sad when it ended, feeling the loss of fictional friends who will speak no new words to me. I mean, I'm not going to lose sleep over it or anything, but there's a certain sadness in finishing books, especially longer books that span lifetimes or generations of families (Harry Potter fans should keenly understand this feeling).

Now, I'm going to try to rustle up some dinner and hopefully watch the Twins/Yankees game if it stops raining in New York. Later.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Nerd Alert: Hymns, Research, and Archives

Today I spent the majority of my day researching and reading on the debates that have surrounded the altering of hymn texts. One thing you find out very early is that altering hymn texts is not new. For example, "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," would just not sound the same with its original title: "Hark, How All the Welkin Rings" ("welkin" being an archaic term referring the heavens/firmament).

The other debate that is interesting is whether or not to alter war and battle language, which crystalizes around the hymn "Onward Christian Soldiers." Those who want it left alone argue that militaristic metaphors are biblical and need to be understood as metaphors; we strive peacefully against the powers of evil in a battle. Others (notably Brian Wren) argue that since modern warfare is so awful, it shouldn't be used to symbolize the peaceable kingdom of God. Wren ends his article with his own re-writing of "Onward Christian Soldiers":

Onward Christian Rambos,
spoiling for a fight!
Wave the flag for Jesus,
knowing that we're right!
Spread the gospel nerve-gas,
throw grenades of prayer,
blast the Spirit's napalm:
evil's over there--
Onward Christian Rambos,
spoiling for a fight!
Wave the flag of Jesus,
knowing that we're right!

(last verse)
Feel the thrill of bloodshed,
guns, and holy wars.
We don't really mean it,
it's all metaphors.
Nuke the Devil's Empire,
for in God we trust.
Yes, we'll love our enemies
when they bite the dust.

I also spent a few hours in the archives going through the hymnal commission's notes. I think my favorite find (although not the most useful to my paper) was an email from Zenos Hawkinson to a member of the worship book committee regarding the use of "hades" in the Apostles' Creed ("he descended into hades"), which I will now quote:

I want to put in one more plea regarding the Book of Worship statement of the Apostolicum (fancy way to say Apostles' Creed).

I cannot accept "he descended into Hades." Hades was Greek in imagination and construction, in one commentator's words, a dreary cafe society for gossip and recrimination. To get to Hades one had to cross the river Styx courtesy of the boatman Charon.

No! He descended into Hell, and there (according to Luther (among others)), he harrowed and emptied it as the first action of resurrection liberation.

I can't imagine the harrowing of Hades unless to see Christ striding around the cafe, flipping the tables at which the shades sat.

In short, using "Hades" is to undercut the weight and mystery of Incarnation, without which Christ's true death is rendered shadowy and without weight. Please put him where he belongs in the depths of a hopeless abyss which could be destroyed only by the resurrection of the flesh!
-Zenos Hawkinson

I don't know why, but I thought that was humorous/interesting.

This Butler/UConn game is ugly! Butler has only 28 points with 6:30 to go. Woof. And the Twins the Yankees. Ugh. Maybe Jesus descended into Yankee Stadium? Okay, I'm going to eat a cookie, read a book, and go to bed.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Report from Mundelein Seminary

So, I'm currently at Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, IL (a northern suburb of Chicago near Libertyville) taking a class this weekend and the next on worship in music with students from different Chicagoland seminaries. So far, I have a few reflections:

This place is beautiful. Here's a picture if you don't believe me.

It's so beautiful that I'm going to wake up early tomorrow morning so I can go for a run around the lake. It takes a lot to get me to out of bed and running in quick succession.

North Park really knows how to have snacks/refreshments. On Tuesday, this class was held at North Park and Christine Dekker put out a spread of crackers and four different kinds of cheeses, spinach dip, salami, fruits of all kinds, strawberry shortcake, and I'm sure I'm missing something...oh yeah, pita and hummus. It was enough food to feed a small army or very large extended family. Tonight's refreshments were small bags of chips, pretzels, pop, and mass-produced cookies. It made me appreciate the little things that makes North Park a bit more homey (in a good way).

The room I'm staying in is exactly what I would have pictured: simple desk and dresser, off-white bedding, out-of-style curtains, bare radiator, and crucifix. It's perfect, that I keep expecting her to come barging in complaining about Maggie Smith:

We can only dream! The only thing I didn't expect was the stale scent of cigarette smoke that is imbedded in this room. MJ, you would not like it at all; it would definitely lead you to take some hits of the ole' nebulizer.

So that's all from my report up here in Mundelein. 10:48 on a Friday night living the dream.

Twins...poor opening day form. Hopefully this is not an omen for the rest of the season. Get it together tomorrow so I can keep hope alive that you will make it to the playoffs to lose in the first round to the Yankees. You shouldn't mess with a time-honored ritual.