Friday, March 28, 2008

Moving...

Wezlo's Musings was an experiment in using an external blog site, rather than doing it on my own. For the most part, it worked. Because I use google's tools so much I decided to try out blogger, and it was good - until I wanted to use tools that other folks were using in other blogs, then it didn't work. Between Christdot shutting down and conversations that have taken part here in it's wake, I want a new start - wrestling with blogger is no longer "fun" for me. So, I'm moving to wordpress. My new blog is called "Painfully Hopeful," which kinda reflects my current emotional and mental state (why I didn't just take vacation this week is beyond me).

Here's to a fresh start. Who knows, maybe I'll even install wordpress for myself as some point.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What I did today...

If anyone keeps up with my twitter, you know that I've been wondering why I do the things to myself that I do. This has nothing to do with self-mutilation (except in the metaphorical sense), it has to do with how I go about accomplishing the calling which has been given to me.

I have some folks who want to get baptized - this is a good thing. They are folks who have been here for a while, and are trying to follow Jesus with varying levels of success, and want to make this step. I'm glad for it, really I am. When many pastors need to do something like a baptism class they'll either look for some pre-packaged materials or get a list of Scriptures together and try to put something together on the fly. For my first couple of baptism classes, the latter was my general methodology - we'd read Scripture, I'd talk.

I always hated doing baptism classes - until I did a one on one session this past summer and got to deal with some other issues, it made me want to re-write the class to be more (grin) "immersive." It was a good goal, and then life happened and I never got to it this fall like I wanted to. The luxury of waiting, however, was taken away from me - I've got folks who want to be baptized and I need to offer them something other than me talking at them for several 45 minute sessions. So what did I do - I rewrote the class, in a day and a half.

Not only that, but I decided that a booklet was a great way to make sure people hang on to the materials, so I created the booklet as I rewrote the class. On software I'd never used for a booklet like this before.

Actually, it's probably not even done yet. Why do I do these things to myself?

Anyway, here's the class order:
  • 2 sessions on the nature and symbolism of baptism (including a look at baptism in other traditions).
  • 3 sessions on the nature of the Apostles' Creed
  • 2 Sessions on "experiencing the narrative" (Prayer and Worship)
  • 1 Pizza party.
Yes, I could do much more, but I don't want to fry people's brains at the start of their journey. The good news is the the bulk of this material can be re-used for a membership class.

There are days when I think I'm just nuts. I mean, I even put a creative commons license on the title page.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Horton Hears a Who...

Today we tried to go to the Franklin Institute with the kids. We have a membership and they are off for the week. Unfortunately, I think everyone else who was off for the week also tried to go to Franklin Institute today. After doing three laps around portions of center city, looking for a parking spot (even the garages near the museum were full), we decided to "bag" it and head back over the river (I'll get back in that model heart one day soon!).

So, instead of heading home, we drove to the local theater and saw "Horton Hears a Who." It's a cute film, and I love how they faithfully transposed the "feel" of the artwork to the world of 3d computer animation. The little touches helped.

One of the things I appreciated in "Horton" was how, for once, it was the people who had "faith" that were the creative and open-minded folks - stretching their world so that they could take in a new reality and yet interact with it within an existing ethical framework ("a person's a person, no matter how small"). As a pastor, I appreciate that. Granted, there's been some positive depictions of film all throughout Hollywood's history (and some that aren't) - but I can't think of any where the people of faith are depicted as the "artsy types." If know of any others, let me know - I'd like to see those films.

The best line of the movie refers to "pouch-schooling." I smiled.

Friday, March 21, 2008

OK, so I'm weird...

I was working on some things for my upcoming series preview and I thought, "You know, I need a rating screen." So, I made one. Yes, I'm odd, but it looks cool!

Jeremiah Wright's Context

I've got to say, he sermon tracked very closely to the one I preached the sunday after 9/11.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Kingdom Collision Trailer

Opening
Black background, thunder rumbles in the distance. Text fades-in with time-lapse of clouds forming it’s picture - the text reads “In the days of Caesar Augustus.”

The text fades out - and is replace with a series of words and voice-overs.

Violence
“When I die you will kill those rabbis - there will be weeping at my passing.”

Oppression
“If the Romans take all the best - they grow fat off of our work!”

Rebellion
“The only good Roman, is a dead Roman! Through their deaths we will bring the Kingdom of God!”

Corruption
“If you pay the right tributes, the high-priest will most certainly stay in your family.”

Hatred
“You’re a traitor, tax collector - you’ve betrayed your own people for profit!”

Longing
“One day, the Messiah will come - and then we will be free.”

Hope
“This is my beloved Son, with him I am well-pleased.”

Background fades-in gradually as the voice-overs happen - it is an image of the crucifixion. It says up for a moment and then fades to black. Text fades in saying, “Kingdoms Collide: September 08.” Fade to black.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Boggles the Mind...

I get all sorts of "churchy" catalogs in my mailbox. Often I'll just toss them in the trash, but occasionally I'll take the time to page through them. Once in a while, I get a good idea. More often then not I'll just end up being utterly confused. Such is the case in the last catalog I paged through.

Surprisingly, what left me scratching my head was not the two page spread emblazoned with the title "Celebrate God and Country!" I guess I'm just desensitized, I've come to expect that from catalogs like this. I mean, what's a little idolatry between Christians, right?

No, what really boggled my mind in this catalog was something that had never occurred to me in my wildest dreams. As I was flipping through the pages of the catalog I was suddenly thrust into the realm of church member parking permits. I guess I've never had to deal with the logistics of a church where parking permits seem like a good idea - but this just strikes me as way odd. I mean, is that how you know you've arrived? You don't have to park in the "visitor's" lot any more because you've got a permit for "member parking?" Are you only allowed to park in certain areas depending on your permit number? Do you get ticketed if you park in the wrong section? Is this the updated version of getting offering envelopes?

I don't know - but it does boggle my mind.