Friday, May 31, 2013
Well, it's been a wild time up in the Northland. I've been waiting for a background check for the last week to start working, so I'm basically reading/writing in between. I brought up seven "fun" books to read during the summer, and I finished the last one a few days ago. I've also sent in a few papers I needed to finish and am not up to the blue hymnal in my neverending quest to index Covenant hymnals (which is a lot like the Neverending Story without the big flying horse/dog puppet and me screaming, "ARTAX!!" and more mind-numbing work with an excel spreadsheet). The weather hasn't been super cooperative, but I did have a wonderful run along Lake Superior on Saturday. It really is the best lake in the world.
I also have been attending First Lutheran in Duluth, and this past week I found out that the pastor, April Ulring Larson, was the first woman bishop in any Lutheran denomination within the United States. Further, she is friends with Gordon Lathrop, who is one of the liturgical studies big-wigs. So, it was an interesting Sunday!
Last week I also decided to take a trip down to the Twin Cities on the spur of the moment. I stayed with Jess, Isaac, and Daphne for a few days and caught up with them, which was obviously wonderful. Here's a pic of some uncle/niece bonding.
I also got to have lunch with the incomparable Leah Gunderson, who judges if our outing was successful by if I blog about it; so, yes, it was great!
Whenever I get hiccups that last more than five minutes, I think back to that ER episode where a man goes into the ER with hiccups that have lasted for some incredibly long period of time. It turns out he had AIDS. I'm not even close to a hypochondriac, but that always comes to mind during extended hiccuping. It almost makes me want to stop reaching into the sharps container in hospital exam rooms.
Why can't a blanket and sheets ever end at an even point just below chin level? I swear I have a sheet that reaches to my hairline and a blanket that barely reaches up to my waist. Even after lengthy reformatting, it never seems to line up. It's a lot like life that way. That'll preach (joke).
Don't look know, but the Twins have won four in a row! Granted they were all against a team from Wisconsin, so I think that counts as 2 wins. In other good Minnesota news, Michele Bachmann has decided to retire. I'm glad she will no longer be the face of Minnesota politics - wishing Elvis happy birthday on the day he died, thinking John Wayne was from her birthplace of Waterloo when it was the serial killer John Wayne Gacy, lauding the shot heard round the world in Concord, New Hampshire instead of Concord, Mass. While few if any of her bills became law, she did get to sponsor one of the house's 6.02 x 10^23 attempts to repeal Obamacare. I think she represents the problems with the Tea Party/right-right-wing of the Republican party (which is unfortunately becoming mainstream Republican): high on rhetoric, low on facts/results. Anyway, stepping down from my soapbox atop a high horse...
I should go for a run right now, but I'm thinking a viewing of Harry Potter 7.1 is in order to help me gear up emotionally for the run. Then, the run will be less this:
and more this:
I mean, without the Snatchers getting me at the end or my friend sending a swelling curse at my face (I'm obviously putting myself in Harry's shoes). Okay, I spent way too much time looking for those clips. Happy Friday!
Thursday, May 30, 2013
So, if you know me, you know I like top-10/100/1000 lists. If I accidentally turn on VH1 and they are showing "Top 100 Heavy Metal Songs" or "Top 100 Music Videos" I am instantly hooked. This can be a problem if you come in at #93 and still have 4 1/2 hours of programming left. Yet, I've endured it before, and I'll probably endure it again. You may have noticed that my blogs often take the form of lists of one type or another. Recently came across an article in Relevant magazine about the ten books everyone should read by 25-ish. I whole-heartedly agreed with Gilead and Let Your Life Speak, but more importantly the list got me thinking about what my top 10 list would be for Christian non-fiction (I think I'm going to do a fiction list later) in no particular order. So here are the books I think every Christian should read by 25 or 30 or whenever they get around to it.
4. Liberation/Black/Feminist/Womanist Theology - I list these groups together not to glibly equate all of these varied movements as one; they are not. Each has its unique voice that is often very different from the other. Rather, I list them together because all the books that I have read from these different areas have worked commonly against many of the preconceived notions I held as a white man in the majority culture and have allowed me a greater vision of the God who sides with the marginalized and calls Christians to do the same. Some of the most important for me have been: Justo Gonzalez's Manana, James Cone's God of the Oppressed, Phyllis Trible's Texts of Terror, Renita Weems' Battered Love, Monica Coleman's Making a Way Out of No Way, and Marjorie Procter Smith's In Her Own Rite.
So, that's my list - at least today. Are there any you would add?
Monday, May 20, 2013
Today I went to a church service I neither planned nor in which I had to participate in, and I have to say it was pretty great. I knew I was in the right place (It was First Lutheran (ELCA) in Duluth) when most of the congregation was decked out in red for Pentecost. Nothing gets me quite like liturgically-appropriate dress.
If you weren't a little teary-eyed during the finale of The Office, I question whether your body is in fact bearing a soul and not just an animate and empty shadow. Also, if you are one of those people raising hell about Benghazi (besides the fact that a recent poll showed that people who thought it was the biggest American political scandal couldn't identify what country it was in) who didn't seem to mind the fact that an entire war costing hundreds of thousands of lives was started under completely false pretenses, I question either your integrity or soundness of mine. Finally, if you think Oblivion looks like a good movie, you're wrong. Oblivion should refer only to the final destination of the film. The first five minutes were like a satire of bad movie dialogue.
Things I have thought since getting back to Duluth:
1. I really need to change my driving habits. Driving like a Bostonian or Chicagoan for a month and a half in Duluth could be a very expensive habit - like a daily-coke-and-Cristal-habit expensive.
2. I forgot how foggy it gets here. The other day I woke up and thought there was a fire nearby.
3. The look is one part flannel, one part middle-aged, and one part anything to keep warm. That's pretty much consistent across gender lines.
4. I swear there's a new restaurant/microbrewery/art gallery downtown every time I come back. Keep it up!
5. Why can I only buy Top the Tater in Minnesota, and why is it so dang good? Along with Dylan, Garrison Keillor, hotdishes, and the Boundary Waters, it is one of Minnesota's gifts to humankind.
6. Yup, the accent is alive and well.
7. Northern Minnesota proms are the best. Besides the usual scene of teens looking uncomfortable in formalwear, one can see tuxes paired with a fleece pullover and choppers and prom dresses under Columbia jackets. It's that one part anything to keep warm I was talking about earlier.
8. There is still no way to drive 30 mph on Central Entrance. Ever.
9. Seeing Lake Superior from the hill has the power to change your entire mood for the day. So beautiful.
In other news, Yahoo! bought Tumblr? If Hotmail purchases Instagram and Juno buys Twitter, things could get interesting.
Okay, I need to run some errands. Later.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
I am currently sitting in the basement of the Harju residence is Duluth, Minnesota exactly a week after I departed on my cross-country (at least half of it) trek from Boston. First, I headed to Rochester, NY where I reunited with my Mason City friends Paul and LeAnn Nelson and their kids/grandkids. It was great to be able to catch up after almost four years. I stayed Friday-Sunday, leaving Sunday after their church service. My next stop was Jamestown, NY where I caught up with my long-time friends and neighbors Sarah and TK Johnson, their son Sawyer, and their sweet new(ish) daughter, Hazel! In keeping with our customs, we headed to Southern Tier Brewing Company for some beer and pizza. It was great to catch up, even if it ended with a sick kid (more on that to come!). The actual tasting room is gorgeous:
At about 5:30, I left Jamestown and rolled into Chicago around 12:45 to crash on my brother's floor. I woke up at 10:15 and decided I just wanted to make it home, so I ate a quick solo breakfast at Tre Kronor (sorry everyone I didn't call!) and headed out. I got into Duluth at about 6ish, unpacked at the Harjus, and went down to the Brewhouse to celebrate my homecoming. Because my niece Paisley was getting over the flu, I didn't get to meet her until the following day. Anna recorded the meeting for posterity's sake:
She was way more into the Twins game then her deadbeat uncle. So, everything was going great, and then last night at about midnight I started to feel a little under the weather. I took my cure-all Alka-Seltzer and started to think I was feeling better. Au contraire, mon amie. At 2 I woke up, and the flu was on. I'll spare you the graphic details, but I think it's the worst I've ever felt from the flu. I thought about jotting down a last will and testament just to be on the safe side. From about 2-6 I was in pretty rough shape, and I've spent the rest of the day sipping ginger ale, napping, and watching Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. So, the homecoming has been somewhat dampened, but I think I'll be back on my feet by Sunday.
I realize it's been quite a while since my last post, and more has happened that can be recorded in a blog post that anyone would have the endurance to read, so I'm going to hit on the highlights of the last few months:
1. This semester was perhaps my most academically challenging so far. Having three 30-page papers due at the end of it kept me on my toes, but all's well that ends well, and the semester did indeed end well. It's crazy to think that I only have one more year in Boston!
2. I got to spend a fun birthday in Chicago, even if I almost didn't make it out of the airport (snowstorm combined with a dead battery; I didn't know planes' batteries could die. I was waiting for AAA to come or a plane to pull up next to us with really long jumper cables). One of the most surprising birthday presents came from my sister, Jessica. She had meant to send me the following artwork:
It's a really great picture of Canal Park, which is where Duluthians spend a lot of their free time and where we all worked during high school/college. Instead, she accidentally sent me the following image:
Yep. Instead of sending me a picture of Duluth she not only sent me a picture of Wisconsin, but GREEN BAY! I was on the phone with her when I opened it up, and I think the conversation went something like:
Dave: (stunned silence)
Jess: What do you think?
Dave: Well, if it's what you wanted to send me, I'm not sure what to think.
Dave: You sent me a picture entitled "Green Bay on a Sunday Afternoon!"
It almost ruined my birthday, but after hiding it in an appropriately dark and damp place, I was able to overcome the trauma.
3. I decided to spend my summer in Duluth and Chicago! I need a good dose of the Midwest, so I am spending May and June in Duluth substitute teaching and July in Chicago writing. So, I would like everyone to open their calendars and let me know when and where we are going to be hanging out. My favorite places in Duluth are the Brewhouse, Canal Park, and the North Shore. My favorite places in Chicago are rooftop restaurants, Ravinia, and karaoke bars. So, get busy.
4. I'm also very excited to be taking an independent study on Covenant worship and hymnody from the one and only Phil Anderson, so hopefully I will get up to the cabin soon and begin that. I've already started indexing the Covenant hymnals, which I'm sure makes many of you swoon with desire or rage in jealousy.
Well, I can't look at the screen anymore. So, I'm out. Later.