Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Thoughts from the weekend

Sorry I've been a bit lax but it's still a busy time of the year for me. Got lots of family and friends coming in for the weekend. Celebrating the daughter's graduation from HS (I think the first school bill arrived today. If I'm lucky it's just her room/roommate assignment)plus a second memorial service for my mom. More thoughts on that later.

Something struck me over the weekend. First I was doing something that I generally DON'T do. I was watching golf on TV. I play golf (badly) and enjoy the frustration and triumphs of the game. But I find golf on TV to be just about terminally boring. Because they bounce around from player to player and stroke to stroke I get no feel for any one round. It took me a while to realize that Sergio Garcia was Tiger Woods' partner. The only reason I watched was:
1: It was a major
2: It was almost over (I tuned in when Tiger was on the 14th hole)
3: I'd heard that Tiger wasn't blowing away the field.

Let me be perfectly honest. I don't want Tiger to win. Quite simply I'm tired of Tiger winning all the time (which he hasn't done in the last couple years). This has nothing to do with Tiger himself. It's just that when the same person or team wins all the time I get bored. Dynasties are dull and overall aren't good for the game after about the fourth year in a row IMO. And when you win the Tiger often does, by blowing the rest of the tourney into the weeds early then coasting to the trophy it makes watching on TV even MORE boring.

So Tiger is only a couple strokes ahead and Chris DeMarco (yes I was rooting for DeMarco) was doing all he could to keep the heat on. You know what? It was still boring.

What finally grabbed my attention was what happened after Tiger finished the 18th hole.

He burst into tears.

And my opinion of Tiger jumped through the roof. Because we'd never seen this kind of emotional outburst from him before. Because having lost BOTH my parents in the last six years (and Mom only 9 months ago) I felt his pain. Because he didn't try to hide it. Much to the surprise of his caddy it looked like, LOL. Then again when he hugged his wife.

This was the moment he'd always shared with his dad who died a couple months ago. Another major title, the only ones that count for Tiger, another big hug from the man who had put Tiger on the path to greatness. And the final smack of reality when it was no longer something he could just ignore. His dad wasn't there waiting for him. Would not EVER again be there to hug him after a win. And Tiger broke down and cried.

And so did I. Because my Mom won't ever call me to harass me about something she thinks I should be doing, or telling me a story for the third time because she'd forgotten which of her sons she'd already told it to. Because I can't call my dad and talk about the sweet new cars that are coming out or how the latest Formula One race finished. That neither of them will see thier eldest granddaughter debut on the college stage, or see any of their other grandkids graduate or play football or whatever. That I lost the advice and comfort of my parents.

And it sucks. That's what hit Tiger so hard on the 18th green. So he cried and hung onto his friends and wife. Which is entirely cool and proper.

In that instant I felt like Tiger (the greatest golfer in the world) and I (not so much) came a little closer. My prayers are with Tiger. Heck I hope he wipes up a few more majors this year.


Friday, July 21, 2006

A Community theme

I mentioned the theme for Senior High (actually for all our camps this summer) and that we'd had some success with the teaching. The theme was simply "Community". I try for simple concept themes that will allow the director and staff of each camp to interpret it as they see fit for their age group. (Last year was "Beloved"). I did some research and didn't find anything that I really liked, so I borrowed some ideas and built a course around them.

My approach was simple. We talked about what community means in the light of a life in faith. For the overall concept I took John 13:34-35 because I think that (the new commandment love another as I have loved you) is central to our understanding of how we create a community. It's not enough to love one another but we are to do it as Jesus loved us. Lots tougher. We talked about what constituted a community, the good, the bad, the communities they belonged to and the responsibilities that go along with it.

Each day had an individual scripture story that went with the day and some activity/discussion for them to hash out what we were talking about (each session lasted an hour) The central focus was on a pair of concepts:


Then on Friday we talked about "Taking it Home". Each of the pairs had to be defined first, then we looked at the stories from scripture and discussed them. I enjoyed all the sessions and the kids could repeat back to me the concepts we'd discussed the days before and put them in context so I was getting through too which was pretty cool. Friday's session kind of had me stumped. How to get it through, at the end of the week and without sounding preachy? I had really wanted to use some music from Isaac Everett (mentioned in a previous post) and as I listened to one cut (don't have the CD here so I can't tell you the name, it's cut 4 off his brand new disc) there was a line that just kept coming back to me "Lead me to Jerusalem to die" (that's close if not perfect). It wasn't until I was up in front of the class with the music playing (pretty hard rock sound to it, so it's pounding and the kids are sitting there with their heads bobbing) when it struck me. I went over to the chalkboard and wrote "Go to Jerusalem and DIE!" then walked away till the song ended. In the silence that followed I talked about the community of believers that went before us, and how they would go on pilgrimage. I spoke of our own lifelong pilgrimage to the Holy City and how as people of faith we are called there to die to our selves. All of the concepts we discussed were about setting aside our selves to love one another. It is in doing that, just as Jesus did, that we truly fulfill the new commandment and create a faith based and faith filled community. I'd only used up about 20 minutes of the hour but it felt like time to wrap it up. So I sent them on their way to their Jerusalems.

You never know about how well the seeds been planted with young people. They seemed interested and open and involved. I'm not sure I get to ask for any more than that. The adults seemed to really like it. One suggested I needed to do that as a workshop for adults throughout the diocese and the bishop suggested that me teaching needed to be a regular part of conference. (Blush)

By the end of the week we'd had a beach party (with rubber duckies for everyone! Those were a major hit), a dance, a talent show, game night, workshops on Anglican Prayer beads, General Convention (with one of our former youth who had been part of the Official Youth Presence in Columbus)and done a Morning worship that drew from traditions all around the world (mostly Anglican plus Iona) and prayed for folks from the diocese and the world wide Communion. Some of the kids liked the morning prayer enough that they took me up on taking a copy home with them. Maybe they'll even use it!

It's tiring me out just thinking back on the week. It's a conference I feel really good about. It wasn't perfect (next year! lol)but it went very well.

Onward to the next task...


Thursday, July 20, 2006

OK let's do some talking here

End of a long hot day, here in the world's tiniest office with no air conditioning. Let me take a stab at just a few memories from Senior High Conference.

It's always HOT. But not this year. Warm mostly with rain the first couple days. The rain was lots of fun the day the electronic entrance locks all died. With the entire conference outside! It also made our class time interesting since we're normally out doors. But we survived.

The kids decided to translate my name into Spanish. For no apparent reason. So I became Jota for most of the week. I'm usually pretty easy about this kind of stuff but they insisted on shouting it out every time they saw me. Which wore thin REAL fast. Finally I quietly asked one of them to drop it since it was starting to bug me (and we have a community rule that says we refer to people they way they prefer). No big deal, just a quiet request which I planned to repeat individually over the next couple days till it died out. Well the next morning at the big teaching session one of the girls greets me with a big "Jota!" and the youth I'd spoken with last night tells her not to do that since I had "yelled" at him the night before! Please be assured there is no way what I did could be construed as yelling. If only because it was last thing of the day and I was exhausted! So I quietly explained to the whole conference that I preferred the name my momma gave me and explained how much of our identities were tied up in our names. They told me that I'd said I liked the nickname (sorry, no) and got a little upset with me. I stood my ground and the "Jota" thing died out mostly. Not the way I wanted to handle it but it got the job done. Sheesh.

It's funny when I was a kid I thought my name was dopey. There weren't that many Jays out there (in elementary school there was one other, a really cute red headed girl! I'm not sure there were more than three of us in high school) In the end however it is my name and I should have called them on the name rule earlier rather than let it slide. I guess it's especially important to me because I'm NOT clergy. Most of the staff are, so they're Father John Paul, or Bishop Michael or Mother Ellen. I discourage the use of Mom or Pop (titles for adults working with our Happening movement. I do qualify for that) because not everyone has done Happening (or will) and that should remain part of that community. I know other adults who feel differently and I let them do their thing (again the name rule). So what I DO have is the name the Captain and his lady gave me almost 50 years ago. It's mine and it means ME. I don't know who the hell Jota is but I wish him well.

Of course that was the biggest problem we had (OK we had some organizational problems with the college and the whole electronic lock thing). And that's a very good thing.

I was very excited about the theme for this year and the program I led. I'll share some more about that soon.


Friday, July 14, 2006

Getting back into the swing

Yeah, I know, I've been gone awhile. The whole General Convention, Senior High Conference, daughter graduating from HS, summer time thing has just completely worn me out. I promise starting next week more posts. In the meantime my thanks to Mykel Pickens (I'd say my friend Mykel but I'm not sure we know each other well enough. We've hung out at times on the same boards and lists. So I'll settle on my brother in Christ) who posted this and I really like it. Think about it.


HE DIED . . .

1. For all (1 Tim. 2:6; Isa. 53:6).
2. For every man (Heb. 2:9).
3. For the world (John 3:16).
4. For the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2).
5. For the ungodly (Rom. 5:6).
6. For false teachers (2 Peter 2:1).
7. For many (Matt. 20:28).
8. For Israel (John 11:50-51).
9. For the Church (Eph. 5:25).
10. For "me" (Gal. 2:20).


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Wow, I'm tired

Sorry that there's been such a gap in my posting but the computer system at the college where we hold Senior High Conference apparently has some new level of security that wouldn't allow me to log onto any of my usual sites. I could read anything I wanted but couldn't post anything, anywhere. In the end it was probably a good thing since it focused my limited attention span on the tasks at hand.

I'm still exhausted. Prior to July 1 I had been at home three days in three weeks. I still feel jet-lagged and not at all ready to face my office.

Oh my office! Stacked with boxes from camp, back mail, hundreds of back e-mails (OK those are only "virtually" stacked!), expense reports to finish, camp bills to be paid, money to be submitted, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

The good news is that conference, while small, went well. I got some rave reviews of my teaching bits from people who have no need nor reason to butter me up. I'll share the stories and ideas over the next couple weeks as I continue to catch up.

Meanwhile there are several projects screaming for my attention and there's all this chaos to be tidied...