1. This morning after my run I looked up. While everyone slept, the sky was on fire. I stopped and stared and the few passing cars stared at me. The clouds were an upside down lava-field. The mountains in the distance could only hope they were spared.
2. I could look at my coming birthday as growing a year older or an opportunity to get more records.
3. I think kids should study Dylan in school. Not studying him is myopic and a confusion of how culture is shaped.
4. My fear is the guy on that album is not a worship leader. Because it’s not worship. He’s not a leader. It’s entertainment and that’s a concert with highly emotive and forgettable music.
5. Looking forward to not raking my leaves because the wind will just blow them into my neighbors’ yards anyway.
6. I don’t miss going to the ballpark on Friday nights for practice. People said I would. But they don’t understand my love for my home.
7. Baseball season is almost over. Which is stupid.
8. I’m not saying the fact that vinyl records are the same shape as a pizza is irrelevant.
9. Your pet is not your child.
10. Starting in a few days I’ll be publishing posts to this blog on vinyl albums I’ve bought this year. Less review that just rumination on my enjoyment of these albums. So get ready.
1. It was not easy watching the Cardinals be eliminated from the post season. But what is harder is knowing baseball season is nearly over.
2. It is nearly impossible for me to enjoy any cop shows anymore. There are a number of reasons but two are significant. The arc of the story throughout the run always rises and falls on the cop becoming either a victim and/or the accused. Second, every bad guy is always a calm, cool sociopath. I blame Foyle’s War for my high standards.
3. Thursday night I saw Jason Isbell under Autumn stars with a train running behind the stage. It was a perfect scene in which to see the reincarnation of Townes.
4. Speaking of baseball, I got to play in a parents against kids game last night. I was surprised at the instincts I had after not playing first base in 20 years. I knew the footwork and instinctively where to go. You never forget. Also, I’m sore.
5. Kindness towards others is an unsung melody of Christian vocational ethics.
6. My son Knox is not a natural athlete. But he wanted to try baseball this Fall. I’m so thankful he ended up with the coach he did. His coach has never showed one moment of impatience with Knox and has never been anything but encouraging. What a gift.
7. I have never not wanted pizza.
8. Louis Armstrong on Vinyl.
9. I went from dreading work every day to looking forward to work every single day. It’s hard to live here. I had gotten so used to being in a dark place. The light is almost blinding.
10. Last Saturday my wife and I had lunch with Dee from The Wartburg Watch. This will be one of those meals I’ll never forget. She is truly a hero in the church today. And she’s unsung by the big name preachers and leaders. She makes nothing and works at it like a full-time job. She cares about the hurting the way pastors are supposed to. Which is why we need The Wartburg Watch. No one else seems to care.
(Photo: courtesy of the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater)
1. My wife found the best birthday present I think I’ve ever gotten. An early sixties Sears Silvertone Stero Phonograph Console. It’s beautiful and sounds incredible. And it was cheaper than the cheap record player I found on Amazon.
2. I’ve been reading a lot of Billy Collins at work. Best job ever.
3. I wish I liked the ballpark more than I do. But it’s so messed up. Some kindness is found there but there’s a seriousness about it I can’t get me head around.
4. Wendell Berry is best read slow.
5. When I was a youth pastor I told some of my students, “I don’t give a damn about bad language. Your faith is shown when you are kind to your siblings and the unpopular lonely kid.” Having that kid now, makes me glad I took the risk of saying that. Because middle school girls are mean.
6. I just listened to Clapton for the first time in years. His Robert Johnson album is vinyl worthy.
7. I love the leaves on the ground, even though I know I’ll labor to pick them up. The grandeur is worth the energy required.
8. The only Presidential candidate worth listening to on gun control is the one willing to go without the protection of them. If the powerful think they should have them but the ordinary citizen shouldn’t, we have crossed over into an elitism that says protection by guns is for only the important and powerful. I don’t like guns. I don’t own one. Don’t plan on it. But this kind of thinking is very illiberal and will only increase the kind of violence we all hate.
9. Last night I looked over at my wife in her St Louis Cardinals shirt and was filled with gratitude for her smarts.
10. One of the cool things about my job is that I get to talk to people who do what I did for 4 years. I was looking for kindness in a dark place that whole time. Now I get to…have to be kind to the ones I talk with all day long, knowing how hard the work is.
1. Rarely is any one person, institution, movement or group moving toward to doing less when they have the time and resources to do more and more. Instead, all move towards more because we think we can do it and therefore it must be done.
2. Our culture has uncritically accepted the reasonableness of loads of daily homework after our kids have been at school for 8 hours.
3. It’s October 1st and perfect Fall weather just like God intended.
4. John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman.
5. My 6 year old asked what a soul was the other day. I thought I was avoiding these questions by sending my kids to public school.
6. Don’t assume the worst of those you disagree with and are arguing with. Ask questions. Ask yourself the same questions. Grace insists on it.
7. It’s my birthday month, so if you need to see my wish list, let me know.
8. Our culture’s idea of safety at the expense of endangering others is a luxury.
9. I’m tired of not eating pizza.
10. Joy is often familiar. Even when the experience is new. It may feel like an echo of a long forgotten sliver of memory. Once escaped. Now slight in the remembering. Only a taste. A sound. So small. But within, a world that can usher in that longed-for ache you know you were created for.