Monday, November 28, 2005

Ah, sweet victory...

The tournament season has officially begun, and yes, those are first-place trophies the girls are holding. Mia's tournament team, Burbank Fire (GU-14), launched its season in fine style this past weekend at the highly competitive Myles Standish Thanksgiving Tournament in Pasadena. Their "beautiful game" of quick passes, ball control, and smart strategy left all their opponents in the dust.

Ron and I have taken upon ourselves the job of stats-keeping this season. This is mostly to prevent family arguments later ("No, the score in the Saugus game was 4-0." "No, it was 3-1." "Was not!" "Was too!"). But it's fun to see how the stats turn out. Total goals scored in this tournament: 16. Goals scored against: 1. And the best statistic of all: eight different players scored.

Go Fire! You know!

Christmas poetry...

...available here.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Family Fun at the Getty

My mom and Dad arrived in SoCal this week for a family Thanksgiving celebration.

We had a great time yesterday at the Getty museum, enjoying created beauty --

-- created by God, and created by great artists.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Hat Trick

In the last regular game of the AYSO season, I asked Jacob to score a little -- I'd try to capture a bit on camera. Compliant fellow that he is, he complied. Three times.

Monday, November 14, 2005

When the Cat's Away

Deb is gone this week (see below), and while she's away, the rest of us are consoling ourselves with activities that we enjoy, but upon which she would probably frown (or at least roll her eyes).

Hence, we are all gearing up for this month's big movie release with...

It was a pretty geeky picture at our house the last couple days: all three kids and dad gathered around the laptop, cheering each other on while taking turns being Ron or Hermione or Harry, shouting instructions or comebacks at the characters in our own faux British accents. We even had fish and chips and peas last night. Brilliant.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Eat this Bread

I'm leading worship this Sunday at Bethel CRC. They asked me to preach, guide the musicians, and preside at the Lord's Supper. I'm thrilled to do all of these things -- but a little apprehensive about doing all three in the same service. But it's not about me; and the meal underscores that fundamental fact.

It may be the first time this congregation has had the feast in months and months. Which is sad, because more than any other congregation I have known, it is this one -- with its uncertain future and its conflict issues -- it is this one, made up of two loving communities trying to mesh, one aged and Anglo, the other Latino and lively -- it is this one that is most desperately hungry for what the table offers: death and resurrection, and com-union with each other, the re-membering of the body of Christ.

I'm preaching on Isaiah 55 and just pointing to the table where it's all offered. For free. All you need to do is identify yourself with the target demographic of the first verse's call: Yo! Hungry folks! Come and eat!

Friday, November 11, 2005

An Irony

In my liturgical theology class yesterday we were talking about free church worship. In an aside, our professor, who likes taking pokes at John Calvin now and again, commented that the American "family value" of distinguishing male and female roles in the family (women do housework, men work in the marketplace) does not obtain in Europe. That continent has a long history of both parents sharing in the work of the family and the work in the world. Gender essentialism, he said, came to America via the Puritans and a misreading of John Chrysostom by John Calvin.

The whole class looked (well, more like glared) at me, the resident and usually unapologetic Calvinist. Whereupon I thought it worth mentioning that I was not personally responsible for this state of affairs. In fact, I pointed out, this week I am the full-time home-making (home-messing?) parent while my wife is on tour, attending a conference in Houston and giving a distinguished lecture series at Gordon College. The topic of one of her lectures: Work and Family and Gender roles: Charism Trumps Essentialism.

A particularly tasty irony.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The weekend of California Cliches

We spent the weekend with our friends Paul & Sharon Willis and Lisa DeBoer, faculty folk from Westmont College in Santa Barbara. We had a great time hiking, dining, talking about ministry in higher education, and enjoying at least 3 California cliches along the way:

1) A powder-blue Porsche convertible passing us along the Pacific Coast highway with a babe-a-tronski inside and a surfboard poking out a side window.
2) Speaking of surfing, we saw plenty of people in the ocean, trying to "hang ten" or "catch a wave" or whatever they say. But the waves were... well, the picture below shows, they weren't. Most the folks weren't really surfing, they were just bobbing tranquilly in the aptly-named Pacific.
3) Along our drive home, we stopped for a while to watch a pod of dolphins frolicking in the water just a short ways off shore. They seemed to be having more fun than the "surfers." But not more fun than we had.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

You don't believe THAT, do you?

Thanks to a tip from my friend Phil Smith, I've been Snoping people who Spam me.

What I mean is this: from well-meaning and good-hearted people I regularly receive mass emails that smell of urban legand. You know what I mean: the email that has attached a list of names to which I need to add my own and send to 10 more people, and if I do, something really cool will happen. Or the story about the bronze statue of an American soldier in Iraq which was made by an Iraqi who had previously made hundreds of busts of Saddam Hussein. Or these photos which came to me from three different sources, purporting to be of Hurricane Katrina.

Now, you look at the pictures and wonder: are there large corn fields in Louisiana? How can these pictures show the width of a storm that is supposed to be 85 miles wide?

Anyway, I used to just hit the 'delete' button when I got these emails. Now I'm doing something better: I run over to Snopes, the urban-legend debunking website, search for the appropriate page, and send that URL via 'reply all' to the spammer and my fellow spamees. It's great; without having to get all up in someone's grill, I can politely say "you really don't believe that, do you? Puh-lease!"

Since my snoping has begun, I receive less and less of the offending spam from my good-hearted and well-meaning sources.

Excellent. Everything is going according to plan. Bwaaaah-haaaaa haaaaa!