Sunday, March 26, 2006

I think I may have an OC problem...

Occasionally I use clips from movies or television shows to illustrate points in sermons. Sometimes I use movie clips to piss off people who think movies are inappropriate in church. This adds up to a lot of movies. Since August 2005, I have used clips in about one third of my sermons. Some of the movies have included:

Shipping News, Tortilla Soup, Dead Man Walking, Motorcycle Diaries, etc.

Recently I recalled that expanding my horizons on the film front might be a good idea, especially after my confirmation students in 2004 let me know in so many words that I needed to broaden my perspective of film in order to connect illustrations with a wider array of populations. My parents are old movie buffs, but I have not had the patience to watch old films. Realizing I needed to expand my horizons to the west and east, I tried a few older films out in the generational theory class I taught for adult education. I started with "From Here To Eternity" and "Singin' in the Rain." To the other side of the horizon, I consulted with a few middle and high school youth about what they enjoy watching. First of all, many of them said they did not have time to watch TV. But given ample time for reflection, many shows and movies blurted out. One show held common esteem--the O.C., a teen/family drama on FOX. I wanted to learn from the perspective of youth and how the show spoke to them. I was glad that I could rent the show, rather than pay 60 dollars for one season at Best Buy. I became increasingly glad after the first two episodes. I kept searching for something I could use in class or in a sermon, but to no avail. Then I started to care about the characters. Then I turned off a basketball game so I could watch an episode of The O.C.

Am I a sick man???

I like the show now, and I am headed back to Blockbuster so I can get another few hours of an O.C. fix met. I don't even know if the show is still on...

Before I go to bed, off to the web for more O.C. research.

Sleep tight!


BTW, the other show that was recommended to me, Laguna Beach, I can't watch it. I would much rather watch the fake fake people in the O.C. than the real fake people in Laguna Beach. Just call me the next gourmet TV critic.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Chocolate Lab gets loose

Surprisingly, the chocolate lab residing in our house has never run away. We let him out to roam our yard without a fence or a leash. Because the dog wants to do nothing but please us, he stays close to home, doing his constitutional and sniffing routine. I have recently given him the screen name "CoDependentChocolateLab."

He was let outside this morning--occasionally we forget he's out there. Usually he sets his skinny butt on the front porch and checks out the world, waiting for us to remember his existence.

This day, the doggie decided to take off, and we frantically looked for him for an hour. His cousin--a black cocker spaniel living in Mankato, used to take off often, eating everything in his path. With his bloated belly dragging on the pavement, this blind dog crossed busy intersections all over town. I thought he was a cat with that many lives. Our lab was found a little over an hour after he was lost--happy to be back in the fold. We welcomed him with vanilla ice cream with a dollop of peanut butter on top.

Our pooch is taken for granted at times in this household, but we shall have a sad time when he is gone. He does nothing but love us and celebrate our prescence. He is a saint for tolerating our daughters poking his eyes and ears, pulling his tail and wrestling him to the ground. He is all love.

Not bad for my 30th birthday present.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

What is Lent for a pastor?

My writing has suffered once again during Lent.

One of my favorite scenes from The Simpsons involves the Simpson children lamenting having to stay inside. Marge suggests "why don't you play the game of Lent?" in a box dressed up like the game of Life. By your lack of laughter, I guess you had to be there...

Lent is a game for me. As a child, Lent was a tight rope--my family received a meal with plenty of soup and bread. Quantity was the goal in food during boyhood. Egad, but I had to go to church. My stomach won out in that game. The food was good.

Lenten services failed to arise in my yearly routine until college, when getting together with friends from Lutheran Campus Ministry seemed like a reasonable Wednesday evening activity--usually a Compline service or something similar.

When I arrived in South Dakota, I learned a new practice. Lent became a keeping up with the Jones' affair for pastors. I call this game: "How much can your Lent suck? My Lent sucks way more than your Lent!"

"I have 2 funerals and two extra worship services."

"Oh yeah, I see your funerals and worship services and raise you two extra Bible studies and a building addition project!"

Give me a break. I have never found Lent to be a time where spiritual growth is cultivated in my life, and usually I can't wait for Easter to be over. I suppose this is sacrilege coming from a pastor, but where is the joy in working myself to death? I certainly make some choices about how I use my time. And actually, the Presbyterians don't find special pride in beating themselves up during Lent--so it's a little bit better.

I have to hand it to my colleague and friend, Rev. Darth, who has invited the staff to come to worship with him on Monday and Wednesday mornings at Augustana College. I have found great peace in that worship service, and the grace of God permeated my hardened soul.

That makes a good Lent for me. Nothing like the Spirit of God dwelling in my being. I didn't have to do a thing except show up.