Friday, December 28, 2012

Books of 2012

I had a habit during seminary of sharing the books I had been reading. In my heart, I'm not sure if it seems boastful to continue this tradition. I may need to do some work to discern my inner motives. For this time I shall, once again, share with you the books I've read and listened to throughout 2012.

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
J.K. Rowling, The Tales of Beedle the Bard
J.K. Rowling, Quidditch Through The Ages, Kennilworthy Whisp
Daniel Keyes, Flowers For Algernon
Paul W. Pruyser, The Minister as Diagnostician
Jill Bolte Taylor, My Stroke of Insight
Manfred Waldemar Kohl, Congregationalism in America
Rod Bell, Velvet Elvis
Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle In Time (Strangley, the worst book I've read in a long time!)
John and Stasi Eldrege, Captivating
Stewart Wolff, Father Stories
Martin Luther, Concerning Christian Liberty
Kenneth C. Haugk, Christian Caregiving: A Way of Life
Ruth N. Koch and Kenneth C. Haugk. Speaking The Truth In Love

Also, this year I added a new category to my reading list: Audiobooks! When I graduated from GCTS I decided to splurge and buy myself an iPod. I have it filled up with all sorts of good stuff from sermons to lectures, audiobooks from the library, and even music!

The list of things I've listened to this year include:

The Complete ESV Audio Bible
Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion
Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man in the Sea
C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
David G. McCullough, 1776

Well, there you have it. I find great joy in reading. There is something about me that is excited by learning. I think this year I'll try to go through the New Testament twice since I had so much extra time driving. Either way, I'm sure to enjoy it and grow from it. If we get a chance, I'd love to talk about what I'm reading, too!

May 2013 be filled with lots of other good books!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Connecticut Remembers Newtown

I received this email earlier in the week:
Connecticut Remembers Newtown this Friday
On Friday December 21st at 9:30am Gov. Malloy has asked us to offer a moment of silence in memory of our Newtown, Connecticut neighbors who died tragically last week. We hope you will join us and all of Connecticut in this solemn observance.
A link to Gov. Malloy's official proclamation can be found here:
I think this was a very good reminder. The link takes you right to a pdf of the proclamation that describes the significance of remembering the events at Sandy Hook Elementary.

It's hard to think that this horrific shooting happened just a week ago. Even harder still to think I was blogging about "Change." As information about the shooting came trickling in via various sources of news, it's hardly the time for blogging. But little did I expect how life would change for those families. The impact of this trauma has left it's mark on me for sure. It is so sad to even wrap my mind around it at times. It's too close to home for us, too hard, too powerful an anger, too deep a sadness to even get words around. There is a hardly any answer to my "Why?" questions.

In our on moments of silence, may we remember to speak honestly, love deeply, and hug sincerely.

For some really great pastoral reflections, check out the sermon given by the pastor of our church.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Found Objects: A New Starbucks Logo?

In a recent article entitled, A Look at the Future of Starbucks, Howard Shultz announced as of January 5, 2011 that the company would be changing their image as they move forward. Sure this happened over a year ago. But I'm still adjusting to the new life with a different logo.

The question rings in my mind: "You're changing your logo?" The conversation goes on in my head, "But I love your logo!" I've since adjusted to this new logo. But when it happened, I had to really think about all the emotions that swept about me as I thought about the change.

Anyone like change? Sometimes I do, I suppose. It wards off boredom. It keeps you moving. Float like a butterfly  sting like a bee. Often I don't. I read a book recently called, Who Moved My Cheese? It was a realistic (very short and very worthwhile) book that helped me remember that change just happens and those most fit for survival are the ones who adjust to change and even anticipate it.

I wonder how else I could anticipate change in my world? How could I prepare and even welcome it rather than resist it and become embittered by it?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Re-Start Your Engines!

Ever feel like life gets too busy? Sometimes I feel that way. There are times when I get so anxious about the things to do and the deadlines I have to face that I get frozen and don't feel like doing anything. It's a terrible feeling.

A group of men from our church started meeting together to read a book by Patrick Morley. It's called, The Man In The Mirror: Solving The 24 Problems Men Face. I hadn't read this book before even though I have owned it for about five years. The first chapter is entitled, "The Rat Race." This chapter stuck out to me. Simultaneously, H (my wife) had been thinking about a women's study with church with a book called The Unhurried Life. Sounds like a good book to me. Seems like our thinking aligned with what was going on in our lives. Seems like we need to learn how to live our lives and make better choices as to how to spend our time.

One fine morning I brought my car for an oil change. It was a full experience: I met this nice guy in the waiting room, the mechanic tried to sell me $300 worth of preventative maintenance, I resisted a majority of these "improvements", and I got a free coffee. After all this, I headed to work. As I was driving up a hill I noticed the car was going kind of fast without me pressing on the pedal- the kind of "fast" that raised my suspicions since I was heading uphill. As I headed over the hill, unable to figure out what was worrying me about the car, it hit me. My gas pedal was stuck down. No matter how hard I braked, I would only be able to slow the car down but not stop it. I was scared. I did some quick thinking and plopped the transmission into neutral and coasted to a stop with the engine revving. Turns out I needed to press the gas again (and unlock it) before it would release, and since that experience everything has been fine. I knew this was an event to learn from. I felt so out of control. Lost at the mercy of this machine. Unable to experience full control of my path.

My life feels like that sometimes. Things get so busy and seemingly out of control. I go passive and just go along with life rather than being assertive and exhibiting some control over things. Maybe that was a conversion experience for me. Since that quarter mile of fast and furious fear, I've felt like I want to be in control of my life. This gift of life is so precious and worth living to the full that I want to exhibit the power God has granted to me over in my own life.

Part of my assertive living is taking time to reflect. I want to make time for reflecting on life. Sometimes this is called self-care. Blogging helps me do that. It helps me think and reflect and draw conclusions in my thinking. Inside I'll feel more settled if I do this kind of reflective writing once and a while. So at the two year anniversary of my last entry, I'd like to begin this anew.

So let us try this blog thing again. Or as the psalmist says in Psalm 19:14 (HCSB):

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to You, LORD, my rock and my Redeemer."