Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Please. No.

I know more pressing world issues deserve more attention. But I deal with issues of the nature and paths of the cosmos on a day to day basis. What produces the most visceral reaction in my mind? NCAA Basketball.

What jerks my chain? Not that my beloved Jayhawks were knocked out early, or that the family favorite Washington Huskies underachieved, then overachieved, then underachieved again--being knocked out of the Sweet 16. Expanding the field from 65 to 96 teams will dilute a good product. I used to take off work with some of my good friends to watch the first Thursday/Friday of the tournament, and now it will be garbage--infiltrated with mediocre teams. My visceral reaction is to say I won't watch the damn tournament--at least in the early rounds--but I'm sure I'll come crawling back because I won't be able to stand spring training baseball.

Rather than worry about a lame boycott, maybe I'll take up an activity of my own and build my own presence in the field of athletic mediocrity. Curling, training for my next half-marathon, bicycling, etc. To the people at the NCAA, please stop this movement to mediocrity by expanding the basketball field. I feel hope and despair on this topic, as the NCAA isn't interested in doing something that makes sense. However, they are a bit unpredictable as well--maybe the foolishness stops and the insiders will look like fools.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I'm getting in touch with my inner Ah-nuld

I'll be back.

Writing. Maybe this week, maybe next. The Lenten vortex can only keep me down for so long.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Caught in a Lenten Vortex

Last year during the season of Lent, it was all I could do not to be a curmudgeon. See what Easter joy brings?

Last year, I wasn't even serving in a congregation full-time. I was a Saturday-Sunday only pastor, commuting 400 miles round trip on the weekend to South Dakota Ranch Country. I still had to face Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. I was crabby then. To be crabby takes a certain amount of effort, an effort for which I had time last year. Now, I don't even have time to be a curmudgeon. I can only put my head down, and pray that God will shine through me some ray of grace, because I don't have much in me, and any grace I will receive truly is grace, because I don't deserve it.

That being said I see good in the world around me. I see a budding call in a servant of the Church who has worked to turn his life from something destructive to something that can feed others. I am working hard to equip and encourage this person. I see a congregation working and praying to be vital in what they perceive to be scarcity. I see new congregations forming out of the dreams of beleaguered souls that desire to be redirected.

My favorite theologian, Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann calls this kind of proclamation I am doing a psalm of disorientation and reorientation. Though my writing doesn't match the psalms. I experience disorientation and reorientation during Lent, but the reorientation seems farther off.