28 June 2009

so close and yet...

After a disappointing couple of games against Brazil and Italy in the group round (with some questionable red cards by the officials), the US took care of business against Egypt, 3-0, and was able to advance to the semifinal of the Confederations Cup. They stunned the football world by defeating top-ranked Spain (who certainly are top-ranked no longer!), 2-0.

The US was on its way to shocking the football world at halftime in the final with a 2-0 lead over Brazil. It looked like the teams had exchanged jerseys. The US was making the plays that they had been so used to seeing Brazil make against them. But less than a minute into the second half, the "Samba Kings" got things going. Three unanswered goals made sure that their hands were the ones holding yet another trophy.

Still, playing Italy, Spain, and Brazil (twice) in one tournament is surely something that will only benefit the US as they prepare to re-visit South Africa next year for the World Cup.

23 June 2009

remember...and act

On Friday the 26th, remember Hebrews 13:3, which says, "Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured."
Friday is the International Day against Torture.

The UN Convention against Torture prohibits torture anywhere, anytime, and for any purpose.
Go to
http://www.irct.org to learn about the IRCT's global work to support torture survivors and to combat torture - and see how you can help.

IRCT - International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims

22 June 2009

everyone's waiting for what you leave behind

I just finished watching the series finale (“Everyone’s Waiting”) of one of my all-time favorite TV shows, Six Feet Under. (It’s been on HBO on Demand.) The show ended four years ago, and as I revisited it, I had forgotten just how good it is. The final scene of the show seems to be the perfect expression of what was so deeply good, sad, and twisted about it!

Series finales can be a tricky business. As a Star Trek lover, I have to say that the ending of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was my favorite. With its bittersweet tone, “What You Leave Behind,” captured the development of all of the characters. I especially appreciated its final moments. We’re left hanging, wondering when and if Benjamin Sisko (who has one of the most profound life-changing experiences in Star Trek history) will ever return.

18 June 2009

HBO's Bill Maher takes on President Obama

I don't claim to always agree with Bill Maher (not even in this piece from last week's "New Rules"), but understanding that comedians exaggerate for effect, I would have been one of his audience who was applauding.

13 June 2009

the hospitable community

“Some people claim that the pace and distractions of modern life have eroded our sense of community. But perhaps it is the other way around. We are distracted and overextended because we have forgotten how to live in communion with God and others. Lacking spiritual community, our lives become uncentered and filled with distractions.”

That’s from the beginning of chapter 2 of Thomas Hawkins’ little jewel of a book, Cultivating Christian Community. I’m just past the halfway point in it. I would call it a book that is dense. It isn’t “dense” in the sense of difficult to understand, but it’s “dense” in that it is concise. It’s packed with plenty of good stuff! Reflecting on it gave me the idea for a sermon series—actually, some things I’ve tried to underline in the past—but with a fresh take. I’m speaking about listening, dialoguing, and (tentatively right now) being hospitable.

Here’s a “tasty tidbit” from chapter 1: “The reason for Jesus’ crucifixion may not lie in what Jesus preached and taught…What ultimately led to his death were his table manners. Jesus invited the wrong people to the intimacy of table fellowship.”

Hospitality is something that weaves itself into all of life, and it is essential to Christian community.

11 June 2009


Okay, our situation isn’t as grim as that portrayed in Friedrich Pacher’s Christ in Limbo, but it’s getting close! 

We’ve been waiting to close on the purchase of a house for almost two months, after repeated promises from the lender.

I wonder…can I hire that devilish-looking fellow for a special job?

05 June 2009

President Obama's speech in Cairo

I don't agree with all of his speech (only about 99%), but how refreshing it is to hear this coming from an American president.