Hey, finally I have a moment to update the ole blog. There are lots of things to comment on, but hopefully I won’t ramble on too long. Here’s a synopsis of the previous few weeks:
* Vermont was absolutely wonderful. It served both of our spirits well to get away for awhile and be refreshed. The scenery was gorgeous, the time together was renewing, the time away from Clark was quiet. It was good to get back to see Clark, but we already miss being away.
* Clark faired well at his first trip away from both of us. From the sounds of it, he hardly skipped a beat. When we met back up he was definitely happy to see us.
* Christmas was nice as well. Mary Beth and I cooked Christmas dinner for my family on Christmas Day. We had a nice time. I got a chainsaw so I can actually cut up the huge limbs that have fallen down over the past year. Mary Beth got some nice additions to the house – a trunk and table. Lots of other stuff – our families always spend way too much. Next year we may give money to Habitat or somebody instead – I’ll have to pass that along to the rest of the family. My grandpa got Clark a wagon (see photo blog). He also got lots of other stuff.
*Our trip to Tennessee was nice too. The weather may have been the best part. Great temperatures. Got lots of nice stuff from the Hastings too. We all spend too much money feeding the capitalistic ways of our forefathers. A few books from my sis-in-law were much appreciated. She got me a couple of good ones from my wish list: The Spiritual Formation Bible (I am much hyped about this score), the second two books from McLaren’s trilogy, and J.H. Yoder’s The Politics of Jesus. Very nice. Also came away with some dinero to Lowe’s to begin my next home improvement project – the upstairs bathroom. I’ll keep you posted there. Clark got lots and lots of toys (thanks family for the noisy ones).
* Clark will be one on Saturday. It’s an obligation of the cliche gods for me to say it so I’ll post it here, “It’s hard to believe he’s already a year old.” I believe it. Seems like seven years ago he was born. We got to celebrate his birthday in Tennessee while we were there. Granny baked him his first birthday cake. A few of my family folks are coming up Saturday for his first birthday. So soon after the holidays he might as well get used to an anti-climactic birthday.
* Monday watched the Buckeyes whoop up on Notre Dame. That was lots of fun. They had a great team this year and even though I know some folks who get freaked out they lost two games, they had a great team – and probably graduated one of the best class of seniors to come out of one school in awhile. A.J. Hawk is a stud. Could he be a Brown next year? That would be sweet. The Bucks should be pretty good next year. College football season ends tonight with the most over-hyped game ever. It will probably be another blow out and forever ruin the hype of hyped football games.
* Finally got back at the job this week. People who think ministers have it easy should sit in my shoes for a couple of weeks. Man, take a few weeks off and I get slammed. We’ve got a leadership retreat coming up, Super Bowl Party, Winterfest, basketball games, lunches, dinners, small groups, classses . . . pretty much none of it is ready to go. I’ll be putting some nice office time in for the near future.
On the book front I have had alot of time to think and reflect over the past few weeks. I continue to have a desire to deepen my thinking in theological realms. I have been encouraged with the gift of my new Bible to get more in the biblical text . . . something I have admittedly slacked off on lately. I have become better about reading books, but The Book for some reason has been put aside. The Spiritual Formation Bible has given me new energy to study and read from. I finished the Donald Miller book and thoroughly enjoyed it. I picked up another short book from another Miller, Mark Miller on what he calls “experiential storytelling.” I will review soon. He has an interesting take on reimagining what the sermon should look like. Much of what he says I have already incorporated into my preaching. I am just now getting into the practical section of the book. I am interested to see what he has to say.
With Clark a little older now I am hoping to get more reading done in ’06. I think I am going to change my approach to my esoteric blogging rants too. Instead of relying so heavily on book reflections, I hope to be more proactive in putting forth some of my own thoughts and see what imput those out there have on them. We’ll see how things proceed this year. I will try to post twice a week, though once a week is probably more realistic. Sunday evenings usually find me in the world of blogging.
One final thought. Tonight is the big USC – Texas game. As an avid college football fan I feel obligated to offer my predictions. While I would much rather see Texas win and have been trying to convince myself that Texas is the better team, the truth is, USC will probably take it to them convincingly. While I don’t believe either team could have gone through the Big Ten, SEC, or ACC undefeated this year, when you have a month to prepare for one team, it makes a huge difference. I can’t see USC losing. How about a 20-14 half time lead for Texas, with USC pulling away at the end 37-23? That’s my take on it. I can’t be any “wronger” than the many people who get paid a ton of money to make their predictions. Enjoy the game!