Thursday’s Random Thoughts

1. It has long been the evangelical tradition to react to whatever cultural movement or issue that threatens its hold on the people who once embraced it. All reaction. All fortification. What if instead the church started another conversation? The culture wants to talk about Gender Issues? So? What if we stopped playing issue whack-a-mole? What if we said we are going to talk about this even though the entire internet explodes with that?

2. The smile of my wife like victory and all the spoils thereafter.

3. Books should be less Henry Ford and more Alfred Sisley.

4. Baseball has no time limits. It can go on forever if it needs to. Sometimes I want a game to be over because I want a team to win or I need to go to bed. But when the desire to shorten the time of the game itself enters the discussion it attacks the strength of the game of itself. It’s not like any other sport with their times periods of play. It stands outside and waits and asks us to wait alongside. There is no frenzy like the surrounding world. “It’s boring.” Good. We need that. Incessant laser, smoke and mirrors entertainment has destroyed our taste for long periods of only the smallest of details asking us to pay attention.

5. I am torn between two men. T.S. Eliot saw his work in a bank as a gift for his writing, providing financial security. But there’s Buechner writing on vocation and calling.

6. That lady who sang God Bless America last night for Game 7 of the World Series is someone’s mother or daughter or wife. She’s not a public figure. And so many of you just ridiculed her on social media without mercy.

7. Outside of Louis Coleman, who I know personally, Billy Butler is my favorite Royal. He looks so normal. Only so much more.

8. Sometimes the dread of an event will gather debris as it rolls downward toward the marked day. And you will try and steal happiness with distraction in one moment and then in another wonder how happiness is even possible under the circumstances. You will tell yourself so many things while on the cliff of despair. However, the euphoria you expected when the event is over and the dread was without warrant, is just not there.

9. The excitement most people feel about vacations is pretty close to how I feel about pizza night at our house.

10. I now keep a little book of T.S. Eliot’s poems on my desk at the bank as a reminder.

Random Thoughts at the Beginning of the Week

1. Yesterday I listened to The Replacements’ Don’t Tell A Soul. Those songs changed me. I didn’t know anyone that liked that album. But I loved it and kept listening for years. About once a year I revisit that album and I’m for a short period I’m back in my ’79 Chevette cruising the Parkway trying to convince some friends how good this album is.

2. Jesus was hard on the rich and spoke graciously to the adulterous. We are the exact reverse.

3. The other night Bethany and I went out for dinner and to the bookstore. I sat in the floor and read a poem by Seamus Heaney I don’t think I’d ever read before. That night I dreamed about the poem and could see all the lines on the page. When I woke up, I could remember only a short phrase.

4. People complain about baseball games being too long as if they ever wanted them to be over.

5. Listening to The Replacements made me think of how when I saw the video for Social Distortion’s “Story of my Life” for the first time and I immediately went out and bought that album and played it till the ink on the cassette disappeared.

6. I saw on Twitter the other day where a person was recovering from surgery and having to spend a week in bed and I thought about how great that is. That’s probably not healthy, huh?

7. When it comes to writing, it is not enough to have something to say. Your subject matter is no justification for writing about it with poverty of ability.

8. An enormous section of our Scriptures are poetry. An enormous section of our Christian bookstores are crappy knick-knacks.

9. “A nine-to-five man who has seen poetry.”

10. My wife made roast beef sandwiches with a blue cheese mousse as part of the birthday week and this one of the many reasons I never wonder why I married her.

11. We were there when Oscar Taveras debuted and hit that majestic homer that opened the clouds and signaled a bright future and the hope of so much more. So devavstating for all that hope to now give way to “what might have been.”

Thursday’s Random Thoughts

1) The two writers who make me wanna write the most these days are Hemingway and Marilynne Robinson. I think I get them. What they are doing with voice and the use of words. And their sparse handling.

2) I saw someone on social media say Mark Driscoll is far more of a man than his accusers. You know, that may be true of some of them. Since many are women.

3) My first thought, though completely foolish, when my daughter started having a fever, was Ebola. When a nurse who worked with an Ebola patient had a fever, she got on a plane.

4) Marilynne Robinson’s new novel is heartbreakingly good. I don’t know how she keeps doing this. It’s as good as the last two if not better.

5) Until the world doesn’t see our religious leaders as coddled, comfortable, and wealthy, we will continue to lose credibility.

6) Sometimes you just wanna hear, “I blew it. That was wrong.” It’s so rare in the business world and it’s rare in churches.

7) People have asked where I am in the search for a pastoral position. I’ve basically quit looking. It’s exhausting. I’ve come to terms with the idea I’m not what churches are looking for. Maybe that’s a really good thing, for me and them. So for the time being I’m hoping to find work that pays enough for my wife to no longer have to clean houses. And I’m writing.

8) A good book on a cool morning is a treasure worth seeking out.

9) My small group has been going though Yancey’s What’s So Amazing About Grace and I hate that we’ve come to the part about forgiveness. I’m not very good at forgiveness.

10) There is a loneliness that will never be solved by the presence of even the most loving people. I bump up against this often, I think. You’d think it would manifest itself in sadness. But often it’s anger. Rage. Cruelty. A coldness.

Thursday’s Random Thoughts

1) Abstract discussions of suffering are not helpful. They must be located within a story. Yours or someone else’s. The one who cannot do this should keep silent till they are visited by despair.

2) Every Fall I begin the Harry Potter books and usually finish around Christmas. It’s not intellectual or spiritual, but it helps anyway. There’s a rhythm there I enjoy. Maybe because I miss the characters when it’s done.

3) Success in a job does not guarantee happiness with that job.

4) My daughter already knows all the words to the new U2 album.

5) We all like the story of the underdog until we are hiring someone, then it’s all résumé.

6) Achtung Baby, The Joshua Tree, The Unforgettable Fire, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, Rattle and Hum, War, No Line on the Horizon, Boy, How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, Pop, October, Zooropa

7) All that outrage about the NFL and violence against women didn’t last very long. We love our gladiators.

8) I read someone criticizing the long baseball season the other day. They asked why so many games with so much playoffs. They don’t get it. Baseball was meant to be enjoyed for what it is. Not for merely what your team does. There is an inherent beauty even in the most disastrous of outcomes for your beloved team.

9) I’ve been asked how I feel about Michael Horton’s new book, Ordinary. I wish I could say it didn’t bother me. But I can’t. It’s very disheartening. Very discouraging.

10) A lifetime sitting next to my wife will not be long enough.