Monthly Archives: July 2009

Jill and Kevin’s Wedding Entrance

This is the lastest viral video to hit it big on the internet, and it is the first which to me has some theological implications.

I have been thinking a lot about this clip. As a pastor, I find myself wondering what I would do if a couple approached me with this idea. As of right now, I have two weddings on my calendar. It’s unlikely that either of these weddings will feature a dance-line processional, but given the popularity of this video, I can’t help but feel that in the course of my career, it’s going to come up.

Let me begin by saying that my reaction has absolutely nothing to do with this couple in particular. I have to admit I was moved by this video. The spirit of joy and celebration was evident – and not just in the dance moves. It was clear that this wedding was a celebration. Surely weddings are celebrations. The problem I consider is this: what are we celebrating?

It is not difficult to convince most couples that a wedding is about celebrating. The problem is that the celebration usually focuses on the bride and groom and the love they share. Yes, a wedding is about celebrating the love between two people, but it needs to be more. Too many weddings are little more than a narcistic celebration of wealth, materialism, and a romanticized, commercialized version of “love” that has little to do with Biblical love, faith, devotion, or self-sacrifice.

Seriously, ask a pastor you know if they would rather do a funeral or a wedding. I’m guessing the answer would surprise you.

The reason is because at most weddings God is an afterthought. The sanctuary is not so much a sacred space for worship as it is a pretty room with colorful windows and a good sound system. The congregation is actually carefully selected and invited guests. The pastor is usually chosen because they kind of “go with the church.” And of course, the ceremony is a not a time to encounter the divine and to worship God; it is just a troublesome ritual that has to be done before we get to the good part.

If a couple came to me and wanted to begin their wedding like this, I am not sure how I would react. It would probably depend on the couple. I can imagine a couple that really wanted to express their joy through dance. Dance has always been a part of worship, and I would be in favor of an entrance such as this if it were a part of a larger ceremony that celebrated God’s presence in their lives.

I can also imagine a couple that would use this as little more than another way to show everyone how great they are. If a couple, “saw it on youtube, and thought it would be fun,” I don’t think I’d be real supportive. Given the general self-centered, God-ignoring state of our culture, it would be difficult for me to not presume that most couples wanting to do a dance like this would be in this category.

Yes, this appears to be a wonderful celebration. I just have to ask, who is being celebrated?

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Back again

So I took off two weeks, but now I’ve been to the gym twice in three days. Today wasn’t a long workout – I only had a half hour, but it was productive. I’m having a bit of trouble on the treadmill. I can still only jog about a 1/4 mile at a time without my ankls throbbing. I got off the treadmill and tried to do some stretching, but they ached so much I could barely walk. I forced myself to walk another 1/4 mile, and tried to jog for a stretch, but it didn’t work. Any ideas about what is going on?

Weigh-in: 316 (I had breakfast on the way)
Treadmill: .25 mile jogging, less than .25 mile walking
Chest: 2 sets of 10 with 50 pound dumbells
Incline situps: 1 set of 40
curls, triceps, jumprope

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Too long

I went back to the gym today – for the first time since July 8, which is pathetic. Granted, I had vacation Bible school last week, but I always have plenty of excuses to not go to the gym.

I really didn’t want to be there – but I forced myself to go, and had a decent, but not great, workout.

Weigh-in: 315 (down one pound in two weeks)
Treadmill: .5 mile walking
Bench: Pyramid 135×12, 155×10, 175×6, 185×4, 200×1, 135×15
Incline situps: 60 (2 sets of 30)
Leg Press: 2 sets of 250

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For her

Today at the gym my 2 1/2 year-old daughter gave me a reminder, as if the top view of my belly wasn’t enough, of why I was there.  She came with me and my wife today, and she sat in a desingated corner of the room for children.  She watched PBS kids and read books and played with some toys while we worked out.  We can usually see her, but she is really good at staying in her area.

At the end of the workout I was doing sit-ups on the incline bench.  I could see her off in her area watching “Super Why.”  Usually during my sit-ups I pull out my phone and do them while holding a picture of her smiling at me.  Then when I count them off, instead of numbers I use the letters in her name.  Since my return to working out, the most I’ve done in one set was 30.

This time, as I was getting to 30, I started struggling.  When I got to 28, I was thinking, “almost to 30, then I’ll stop.”  Then I heard my daughter’s voice calling out “One, two, three” in time with my sit-ups.  She was counting them for me.  I’ve never cried and done sit-ups at the same time, but I was close this afternoon.  I got to 40.  When I was done, she shouted in glee, “Daddy!”  I walked over to her, bent down to give her a kiss, and she reached up to oblige.

Then at the last second she pulled away, crinkled her nose and said, “You’re all wet.”  I was.  For her.

Weigh-in: 316 (up four pounds in two days – that sucks)
Treadmill: .75 mile (.25 walking, .25 jogging, another .25 jogging after lifting)
Rowing machine: 1 km in 5 minutes
Bench: 135 3 sets of 10, 185 4x
Incline situps: 40 (1 set of40, afterwards my whole abdominen cramped)
Other: curls, triceps, back

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Glenn Beck and Crazy Beardface, WTF?

I tried to think of a catchy little title for today’s blog, but I couldn’t. I watched a segment of an interview on Glenn Beck’s show in which his guest, CIA expert Michael Sheuer, suggests it would be a good thing if Osama bin Laden pulled off a major terrorist strike on United States soil. All I could think of was, “What the f—?”

Scheuer: The only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States. Because it’s going to take a grass-roots, bottom-up pressure. Because these politicians prize their office, prize the praise of the media and the Europeans. It’s an absurd situation again. Only Osama can execute an attack which will force Americans to demand that their government protect them effectively, consistently, and with as much violence as necessary.

Beck: Which is why, I was thinking this weekend, if I were him, that would be the last thing I would do right now

Glenn Beck has a right to be a total dumbass, but seriously, how can this guy have any followers?  How can anyone defend this?  He thinks it would be good for us all if a city was destroyed.  Which one? I wonder.  Which US city would Glenn Beck like to be destroyed?  Probably one like Boston or Portland, Oregon.  One with a bunch of pinko commies.

This guy claims to be a patriot?  People were up in arms when Rush Limbaugh declared he wanted President Obama to fail.  People were shocked that he would put political gamesmanship over the good of the country.  Now Glenn Beck wants thousands of Americans dead so he can say, “Told you so” to Obama supporters.  What a wonderful sentiment so close to Independence Day.

Enough is enough.  Glenn Beck is bad for this country.  I’m not just saying so because I disagree with his politics.  When a man goes on the air and suggests that the best way to protect America is for thousands of Americans to die, he needs to go away.

This is a link to find where Glenn Beck is on the radio.

This is a link to find out radio station addresses.

This is my suggestion:

  1. Find out where Glenn Beck is on the radio near you.
  2. Look up the addresses of those radio stations.
  3. Write a letter to that station asking to remove Beck from the airwaves before he spreads more of his treasonous venom.
  4. If you want to do more, listen to his program for a little while, write down the names of the companies that are advertising on his show – especially if there are local companies.
  5. Write letters to those companies advertising on his show that you will not patronize their store as long as they advertise with this terrorist sympathizer.

Your letter can look something like this:

Dear Radio Station,

I would like to express my concern with your choice of programming.  During a recent interview on Glenn Beck’s television show on Fox News, he expressed his desire for a terrorist attack on the United States.  I am a patriotic American, and am outraged by Beck’s treasonous  and dangerous opinions.  While I support the first amendment and support Glenn Beck’s right to have his anti-American opinions, I would prefer to not hear them on my radio.

Please reconsider the programmming during this time slot.  I will avoid listening to your radio station as much as possible as long as his program is on your airwaves, with one exception.  Today I listened to Beck’s show long enough to record the companies that advertise during his show.  I will be sending a letter similar to this one to all of those advertisers.  I am also going to encourage as many of my friends and family and like-minded patriots to do the same.

Sincerely,

America-loving Fat Pastor

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Emptying the closet

Have you ever looked in your closet full of clothes and thought, “I have nothing to wear.”  I have, and its not because of some kind of vain inability to make a decision.  Its because recently, while I look at a closet full of shirts, I realize that the vast majority of them will be too small on me.  Every day, I find a shirt I like, put it on, and then feel like Chris Farley.  And don’t even get me started on the joy of trying to put on pants that reach around my waist.

The other day, I decided to clean out my closet.  I filled up four garbage bags of clothes.  About two of them were full of strangle-collar shirts.  If you need some size 17 1/2, 34-35 shirts, you should go to Goodwill in Bloomington, because they’re going to have a lot of them on their racks pretty soon.

It provided good motivation for my workout today:

Weigh-in: 312
Treadmill: 1 mile (.5 walking, .5 jogging)
Bench: 135 10×3, plus a max of 225
Incline situps: 50 (1 set of 30, 1 set of 20)
Other: curls, triceps, back

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Top 5 questions for #6qumc

One mission

Three simple rules

Four areas of focus

Five practices.  And now… Six questions.

An intriguing new social-network based campaign by the United Methodist Church is 6 Questions.  I am not sure exactly what this is going to look like in the long-run, but this looks like a strong effort at reaching people through social networking groups such as facebook and twitter.  If you go to the link above, you will be able to watch a 40 second intro to the idea.  Then you have to register to get into the meat of the “6 Questions.”

What you will find is actually about 500 questions – all user submitted.  They are divided into many different categories.  At this point, there are no answers.  You can submit your own question, or go through the questions that are there and vote whether or not you like them.

I think the idea is that these questions will be whittled down to six at some point.  I don’t know what will happen once the six questions are asked, but if this can get people to start thinking about the place and role of the United Methodist Church, then it could be a very good thing.

So, for my new Top Five list, I submit to you, my six questions.  If you want to vote on my questions, I included the group you can find them in parenthesis:

  1. Is the candidacy process about discernment and development, or is it about gatekeepers setting up hurdles to clear? (Board of Ordained Minstry)
  2. Do guaranteed appointments help or hinder the mission of the UMC? (Developing principled Christian leaders)
  3. Why do men make up a majority of our pastoral leadership, but a minority of our active lay people? (United Methodist Men)
  4. How do the annual conference budgets allign with our four areas of focus, especially in regards to how we support campus ministry? (2010 Annual conference)
  5. How do clergy protect themselves from violating boundaries while maintaining friendships? (Pastor of a local church)
  6. How can a church foster economic diversity to gather in worship? (Engaging in ministry with the poor)

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