this is no longer my blog

Thursday, December 30, 2004


Pastor Chic

I've decided that I'm a big fan of professional pastor-wear. So I thought that I might take some time in the next couple of weeks or so, to highlight different types of pastoral wear and comment on them. Because, as I have said numerous times and as the disclaimer at the top of this blog sets forth, I am indeed a church nerd. And most of the people that regularly read this blog (that i know of) are church nerds to some degree as well.
But, alas, I am at church right now and do not have the software at my exposure that lets me post pictures on my blog. So you will have to wait for my first entry in my new continuing blog column entitled: Pastor Chic. I hope you enjoy it, or at least are slightly entertained.
I know you will be on the edge of your seats AND holding your breath in anticipation of the first installment of Pastor Chic. So I will try not to make you wait too long.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004


what can i say...?

So I did a google image search for "leper" because i'm bored. And evidently feeling the need to be grossed out. Because some of those images are down right gross. But as I was glancing through some of the pictures, the following caught my eye:

praising leper Posted by Hello

And I thought to myself "Self, if you had a fancy website and didn't take advantage of the free resources provided by Blogspot, you could totally use that picture to be like the masthead or whatever you call it of your webpage." Because, if you couldn't tell, it's the 1 leper out of the 10 that returned to praise Jesus. And what better masthead for this blog, than that? Right? Although I could probably draw one. But then that would require a scanner. And I don't have one of those. I'd probaby try to scan my face much like I used to do with the copy machine at my dad's church. That was frowned upon.
Here's a funny and random story that has to do with copying one's face. One day my older brother, who is adopted and biracial, was being obnoxious at confirmation which was conveniently led by my dad. Well, my brother walks into the office and comes back with a piece of paper. Seems he had copied his face, and since the size of his head stopped him from closing the lid on the copy machine all the way, it made the picture a lot darker. And the classic line that my brother said was: "Gee, I'm blacker than I thought I was."

He got sent home.

And with that, I am off to bed.


new purchase

Below is a picture of the new "pastor coat" that I bought today.

new pastor coat Posted by Hello

Here is the story behind my purchasing this coat. It was kind of on a whim, sitting in my office today, I decided that I was going to go buy a fancy new "pastor coat." You see, I had helped at a funeral a number of weeks ago now, and realized that I didn't have a nice "pastor coat" to wear to the cemetery. So I put on a black sweater over my clerical shirt, and then my suit jacket on top of the sweater. I figured that would offer enough insulation and I wouldn't have to go to the cemetery in my Columbia winter coat. Well, I nearly froze to death at the funeral. It was cold and windy and the cold wind cut right through that suit jacket and sweater.

I nearly died. [and dying, when you're supposed to be helping AT A FUNERAL is really considered to be in poor taste]

So expectedly, but suddenly, one of our parishioners passed away either yesterday or early today. And I knew that her funeral would be coming up soon. And I didn't want to suffer from extreme hypothermia at the cemetery. And I had just recently gotten paid, with a Christmas bonus, so I decided to drive into the big city and pick up a new "pastor coat." And the "pastor coat" pictured above is the coat that I purchased. I like to think I look better in it than that mannequin does. First, because I have arms. And second, I have a head. And third, well... I'm not a mannequin. I had thought about getting a double breasted "pastor coat" but when you have monkey arms, as I do, you are appreciative for any coat that doesn't stop with inches yet to go before the sleeves reach your wrists. So I purchased this new "pastor coat." And I'll get to try it out for the first time on Monday, granted for unfortunate circumstances. But at least I'll stay warm. AND LOOK FANCY!!!!!!


four months

So I've been at my internship for 4+ months already. It doesn't seem possible, really. On one hand it seems like I've been here for a while. But on the other hand is seems like only last week that I was moving stuff out of the seminary dorm and into my car to begin the move here. So I have completed one third of my internship. I'd like to think that I've grown into my calling as pastor, but really all it feels like I've grown in is my sweater collection. I know that it is always hardest to tell we've changed when we're in the midst of things, and so it will be on looking back at my time here that I will realize how much I've grown. But really I'd like to be able to have some idea right now. Like when I was little, and my parents would measure my height on the wall. It was easy to see the growth there. Mark, age 8 was drastically taller than Mark, age 7. I appreciated the visible growth. There's not the same measuring tools on internship. No wall or pencil marks. It's frustrating.
Anyway, the New Year is closing in on us!! I hope you all have a great end to 2004 and I wish you all the greatest blessings in the New Year!


just so you know...

if you are driving somewhere and you press on the gas and your car doesn't respond, instead of freaking out and thinking that your car is broken, maybe you should just remove your foot from the brake pedal and move it to the gas pedal. Then everything will once again be alright.

Sunday, December 26, 2004


new poll thingie

so i ran across this place that lets you make polls for your website, and so i was inspired and made a poll about belief in God. and then i was just checking things out, and if you click on the "view" button to see the voting results, the results are displayed in horizontal bars. Rainbow colored horizontal bars. In a poll about God.

I didn't say anything.


mourning the loss

of a good word. I was reading a C.S. Lewis book this evening, and he used the word "quarrel" in a sentence. I took a minute and pondered this word. Not too many people use it anymore. We substitute argument or fight. And definition-wise, argument and quarrel are very similar. But I find quarrel is much more fun to say. "My brother and I had a quarrel," or "I have no quarrel with your decision." But neither of those are sentences we are likely to hear. I'm afraid that "quarrel" is on it's way out of the U.S.American vernacular. And for that I mourn.
So here is my idea: Why not everyone who reads this try to use the word quarrel 3 times this week in their daily conversations. Maybe if we combine our powers we will be able to reignite the excitement for this word.
I have no quarrel with us working together in this matter.


oh yeah

here's something interesting. someone I DON'T know posted a comment on one of my entries. Go check out this one to see for yourself!!!

and when i was talking about VH1's television show in my previous post, I apparently made up a new word: pinterview. I'll give $5 to whoever comes up with the best definition for this word.


random list of thingies that don't have enough in common to have a title that equally applies to all of them

1. The Christmas marathon is officially OVER! Never in all of my years of existence have I ever been so thankful for Christmas to be over. Don't get me wrong. I am very appreciative that God became flesh and lived among us about 2000 years ago to save a wretch like me. But packing so many worship services into so few days seems almost inhumane. It didn't back in the day when I could pick and choose what services I wanted to go to. And especially back in the day when I wasn't responsible for sermons at 3/5 of the worship services. So it's over. And I'm happy. I won't know what to do with a WHOLE WEEK before I have to preach again... Weird.

2. WALMART IS CRAZY. And I don't know what possessed me to think, about an hour and a half ago, that it would be a good idea to go to Walmart to pick up some contact lense solution. And a soda pop. But for some reason I got my arse up off of the sofa, put on a coat and drove to Walmart. I think that today they were doing an experiment to see if they could fit the population of India inside their store. Just numberwise. I don't think I actually saw anyone of Indian descent in the store. There was one in a van driving through the parking lot. Maybe he had enough sense to not go inside.

3. While my arse was firmly planted on the sofa, one of the shows that was on TV was VH1's "My Coolest Years" which is when they pinterview the celebrity C List to get them to talk about their high school years. And they remember them with so much fondness. They could never get me to be on that show. Maybe the first two years of high school were good, and I thought that I might be slowly working towards achieving coolness... But then my parents up and moved and I was transplanted in Hickville, USA. Where to be cool you needed to A)be a cowboy, B)play football, C)be a raging arsehole, or D)all of the above. Needless to say, except for maybe sometimes letter C, I was no good at any of those. But my performance in C was so inconsistent that they didn't even take that into consideration. So I mainly hung out with these two computer nerds. And the foreign exchange student sat at our lunch table. But he was a prick. But I think people liked him less than me, so we let him stick around.

4. Today at our contemporary worship, I think the band was on drugs. Me included. We get together earlier in the week to practice the songs that we'll be singing, so at least those of us responsible for leading the congregation in song will have some idea of what is going on. But with the way we performed today, we may as well have been sight reading. People singing the wrong verses, the piano player playing things incredibly slow. During several songs I had no idea what was happening towards the end, so I just stopped singing. It was FAN-FREAKIN-TASTIC!

5. Speaking of contemporary worship, we had a baptism today. I was in my office prior to our contemporary service when I saw the family come inside with the baby. The mom of the baby stopped at my office and said "Yeah I'm [enter name here] the mom of [enter name here] who's being baptized today. I didn't know if we needed to come in early or not..." "Oh," I said. "That's fine. The pastor is down in the sanctuary." "Oh, okay." said the mom. "Where is that at?" Then 9/10 of the family didn't participate in any real visible way throughout the whole service. So why come? Why bother getting your baby baptized? I'm being bitter.

6. So the Gospel lesson today, on the day that this baby was being baptized, was when King Herod WAS KILLING BABIES!! I thought, as I was preaching, that this might be horribly scarring to the family. So I turned to them and made some comment in the middle of my sermon that Herod just killed the boy babies. Since their baby was a girl, she'd be safe. People laughed. The family kind of did that uncomfortable I-don't-think-you're-funny-in-fact-you're-kinda-weird-but-i'll-just-laugh-to-be-polite sorta laugh.

I've already taxed my tired brain cells beyond what they deserve after this weekend. So I'm going to go replant my arse back on the couch and drink my soda pop and watch some quality intellect-enriching television! SWEEEEEEEEEEEET!

*footnose* (i know it's supposed to be footnote, but i accidentally typed "footnose" and that made me laugh, so i kept it): One parishioner, after the 8am service, told me that I chose the right profession. So that made me happy. I told him thank you. And then I pushed him down the stairs.

Friday, December 24, 2004


tis the season

Oh, how I remember Christmas growing up. It seemed as if things just stopped. School was done for the year. Even Sunday School took a break. There was just so much free time to sit, and sleep, and watch Charlie Brown Christmas specials on tv. It was a great time of year.

I think if I knew then what I know now, I would have enjoyed those times much more differently. I would have clutched on to them tightly and enjoyed every last free moment.

Because it is now Christmas eve. I think this past week I have put in more hours of work than the previous three months combined. I feel as if I am constantly at the church, planning, writing, working, meeting... I think I chose THE profession where holidays (which are normally times to relax and enjoy family) are the busiest days. Christmas? Oh yeah, we have four services in 48 hours. Easter? Five services in about the same span of time (and one being at SIX IN THE MORNING!!!). Not that I should complain. I mean, I really enjoy the work that I'm doing most days. It just can get a bit overwhelming when you're in the midst of an extremely busy week and you have two different sermons to preach on two consecutive days. Not to mention all of the usual duties that you are still expected to fulfill.

Anyway, I should probably go and continue working on my sermon for Sunday. As soon as I get that done this marathon of a holiday will seem that much more enjoyable. And then, after Sunday, we get the amazing lull between Christmas and New Years. And I keep telling myself that if I can hold out for that break, then things will slow down and the world will all be right.

I hope you all have a blessed Christmas. And if I don't die in the midst of this crazy time I shall return with my usual combination of wit and wisdom... Or at least my more usual combination of random and crap. God bless!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


marathon or triathlon or some other really long grueling thing like that

So today was a marathon day. And really I had every intention to be in bed by now. But as I turned off the tv after some much needed down time, I thought to myself, "Self, why don't you check your e-mail [even though you've checked it like 30 times today and each time you've had about the same amount of e-mails - ZERO]?" So I sat down at the computer and checked my e-mails. And, of course, did we ever doubt it, but there were ZERO e-mails to choose from, yet again. But then I thought that my blog reading audience might like to hear what I have been up to today, so I decided to share. My day started, as I said in my previous post, at the "butt crack of dawn." I got up and drove out to the restaurant where the Lutheran Men in Mission meet. That was good. Read about that in my previous post. Then I came back to church and got ready for our weekly text study group. Then we had that. After that I had a little bit to sit in my office and try to figure out what the heck needed to get done this week and to then prioritize that list. The list I came up with was: Tuesday night advent Bible study, Christmas sermon, Day after Christmas sermon, annual report. Those were the most important things on the list. So after I came up with the list and prioritized my objectives, it was time for staff meeting. So we met for staff meeting. That was half an hour, after which we went out to eat as a staff. And at the restaurant we ran into about half of our congregation members. So after lunch I met with the church council president to talk about my goal of starting a Young Adult group here at church. It was after that meeting that I had to go to the hospital to see if there were any members hospitalized because, thanks to HIPAA (or whatever the acronym is for those danged privacy laws in hospitals) they are unable to call us if one of our members is hospitalized. So instead upon entering the hospital, one of the many questions they are asked is if they belong to a church and want to make their hospitalization aware to their church. And if they say yes, and tell them what denomination they are a member of, then their name and denomination is placed on a "clergy list" and we have to go to the hospital and ask the front desk to see the clergy list and check to see if anyone on the list is a member (and you should all be aware as to how I feel about having to do that... It's in a previous post. Go read it.). So I did that, and luckily there were none of our members in the hospital. After that I had to copy stuff for my Bible study, and then go over it so I had some idea of where I was trying to lead the group this evening. So after I was done with that, and after about 15 cups of coffee, I thought I'd take a minute to relax. So I sat on the sofa in my office. Then people started arriving for the Youth Committee meeting. One man in particular who wants to start a water ski ministry at church talked to me for a bit, and I am very aware that he does not have a lot of support for this idea amongst the staff and a lot of members, but I tried to say things like "Well, it wouldn't hurt to check it out, right?" So this Youth committee meeting is at 6 and my Advent Bible study starts with soup at 6:15. So i figured I'd participate in the committee meeting until 6:30 and then go to the soup supper before my actual bible study started at 7. So I did that. Then my Bible Study got over at about 8:30. Then as I was walking back to the office I ran into a couple members who were planning the Women's retreat so I stopped and talked to them for a bit. Then I finally made it home at about 9:00pm, with really only a short visit home to get my car to go to the hospital and another short visit home to plug in my Christmas tree. So basically I was at church doing work for 14 hours today. And strangely, I LOVE MY JOB! Can I just say that? Despite the fact that I'm freaking out about having to write two sermons and an annual report in the span of six days. But I will survive, by the Grace of God. Of that I am certain. So I really am going to bed now, and I hope you are all having a blessed Christmas season.



So I went to the Lutheran Men in Mission breakfast this morning at the "butt crack of dawn." Can't say that I was at my finest, but it was a good opportunity to talk with some of the older gentlemen from the congregation. And this has created a sort of dilemma. Here is what it is:
These gentlemen are perfect examples of what us young progressives would consider roadblocks to ministry. They're the type that some pastors say they just need to wait for them to die and then they can do effective ministry in their church. And sometimes I think things like that. I wonder what if they weren't here, constantly putting up a stink about some ministry decision? Just think of all the things we could do.
But over breakfast today it just kind of hit me like a ton of bricks between the eyes (i know i mixed metaphors. i can do that. artistic license and all. so there.), that these gentlemen are extremely dedicated to their church. They attend services weekly, they give money, they volunteer time to help out around the church (and fix parsonage dryers), really the church owes a lot to these men. They have been pillars of the congregation, often serving as past council presidents, committee chairmen... They have always been and continue to be very involved in the life and operation of this church. It is no wonder that they have loud opinions about what goes on in the church, especially when they see people who do less for the church and aren't as active as they are/once were take leadership roles in the church and start to steer it in a way that these older gentlemen don't agree with/approve of. Of course they'll protest loudly. They have a history here. They've invested their lives and their selves into this church.
And one of these gentlemen who you may know through some of my other messages as the lovely "Tom" has made very clear where he stands on various issues. And he's also made it very clear that he will not be swayed, that he really has no interest in hearing the other side of the issue, and any attempt to get him to listen to/consider the otherside is the work of heathens trying to lead him down the garden path to eternal damnation. So these men (at this point I think I need to make a disclaimer. I am using the term men, because that is the group of people I chatted with over breakfast and who I have heard the most protesting from. I know that in many churches, and mine included, that the women are just as vocal, but since I ate breakfast with the men this morning I am using that gender specific pronoun.) are often very set in their ways, and not open to much debate. So it's not like we can (or at least very easily) sway them to "our side" on an issue. They are very faithful men and the decisions they've come to are often very faithful decisions. But if we go against what they say, they still have enough pull in the congregation to at least make things uncomfortable for everyone. Although, in my experience, not once have they threatened to leave the congregation over these decisions that have been made that they've disagreed with, and to my knowledge they have not stopped being as involved as they once were (they, unlike others, have not splintered off and created their own church. They've, at least so far, decided to remain and to voice their dissent).
So there is my dilemma. Here are these faithful Christian men, who unlike the popular trend nowadays, are involved in church. They give both of their money and time. But they are very vocally opposed to a lot of what I, and others, see as Gospel oriented ministry. Makes things difficult. Why can't issues just be black and white? Wouldn't that make things easier? All this ambiguity sucks.

Monday, December 20, 2004


i must be popular or something.... probably or something

i was just looking and since October 25th, when I had my 100th visitor blog party, I've had 515 more visitors. That's a lot of people in two months, for a piddly little webpage like mine. Weird... Kind of makes me wonder who visits and reads, and if anyone besides my friends come back for repeated viewings and readings... This is sort of like that C&C Music Factory song from the 90's "Things that make you go Hmmm." Or maybe it just makes me go Hmmm.
Well, anyway... it is my day off so I think I am going to venture into Rockford just for something different to do on my day off. Of course it will be by myself, which is descriptive of almost everything I do nowadays. And although it's not as fun as going with friends, it's something I've learned to cope with and deal with. (Can you hear the noisemakers? They're from my pity party...)
So anyway... I guess I will be off. Have a great day (especially everyone who's working...)

Sunday, December 19, 2004


Christ doesn't come at Christmas

Christ is present everyday!! And he made himself abundantly clear at my house this morning. Because of the upcoming Christmas program, all forms of Sunday School were cancelled today. That means that 6th, 7th and 8th grade confirmation was cancelled, and senior high sunday school was cancelled. Well, Supervising's daughter who is one of the high school sunday school teachers asked if I wanted a Christmas tree, because her family had an extra artificial tree and would be willing to put it up in my house. She also thought that would give the high schoolers something to do - they could come over and decorate it during the Sunday school hour. She offered to make cinnamon rolls.
So now I have this 6 foot artificial Christmas tree in my family room. It has the large colored lights on it (just like our Christmas tree growing up) and a bunch of ornaments. Some of the kids handmade some (there's a sheep, and a turtle and Rudolph's head) and even a parent made one (she took the white collar insert from her son's West Point uniform and colored it to look like a clerical collar), and then there are colored bulbs that the kids wrote their names on and such. One particular bulb says "Jesus taught us not to lie." which is a phrase I have used on occasion with the high schoolers.
So it was nice to go from having zero Christmas decorations (with every intention to get some to decorate, but just never doing it) to having a great tree with meaningful and memorable decorations on it. It is times like these that I realize God has definitely called me to be where I am at for a reason.
Thanks, God.

(you may have noticed there was no letter to Mr Yushchenko today... I think I'm done with that nonsense :)

Friday, December 17, 2004


troubled and disturbed

Dear Mr Yushchenko,
It is Friday night. In my life prior to internship, Fridays were spent at the local pub, at the local coffee shop, at the local 24 hour pancake house, at a friend's house sharing adult beverages... basically doing something with someone at someplace other than my room. Basically the antithesis of what my Friday nights are like now. But placing all bitterness aside, it was probably a good thing that I didn't have anything going on this evening because my sermon for this weekend was not finished. So I decided I needed to work on that some. I also thought that I would watch a movie. That is where the troubled and disturbed part comes in...
The movie I decided to watch was "Donnie Darko." I'd heard about it, and that supposedly it was a cult classic, and really helped jumpstart Jake Gylenhaal's (or however you spell that last name)acting career. After watching it, mainly what I want to say is "What the %@$#?!?" That movie was freakin' weird. First of all, Patrick Swayze is in it (need I say more). Second, Noah Wyle and Drew Barrymore are in it but both only have small parts. Third, one of the characters is this person in a horribly demonic looking bunny suit named Frank. I think there was a plot, but I'm guessing you have to be smarter than me to understand what that plot was. Weird, weird, weird....
In other news, my sermon is just about done. I just have to figure out an ending. And I already have that started. But I've been finding that it has been helpful to write in spurts. I'll write a little, do something else, come back and write a little more, then do something else. not sure that this information is important to anyone outside of me, but realized i'm just kind of rambling at this point. So I should probably think about going to bed and finishing my sermon in the morning. It's not like I have that much more to do, and I've already read it aloud like 57 times and that's not much of an exaggeration. I think I'm going to go before I allow myself to type anymore boring nonsense.
good night


update on the battle with the dryer

My dear Mr. Yushchenko,
As I was standing in my kitchen pondering what there was that I could eat (I wanted nachos, but as I had no tortilla chips or cheese, they were out of the question) I looked at my feet to see a spot of dried blood on the floor. "Ew," I thought to myself (actually I may have said it aloud) "There is a spot of dried blood on my floor."

As I was bringing some clothes down to the laundry room, so that they might be washed and then worn once again, I noticed another drop of blood on the laundry room floor. "Ew," I thought, once again, "There's another drop of blood on the laundry room floor." As I turned on the washing machine I noticed some spots on the dryer where there had been drops of blood and the man who took on my dryer had tried to wipe them off, but mainly just kinda smeared the blood around. "Ew," thought I, "there are some spots on the dryer where there had been drops of blood and the man who took on my dryer had tried to wipe them off, but mainly just kinda smeared the blood around."

Then I went into the kitchen again, and this time I saw my roll of paper towels. It seems the man who took on my dryer made a mad rush to get his blood-gushing finger from the laundry room to the sink to wash it off. It also seems that he was not yet finished bleeding as he grabbed my roll of paper towels to grab something to apply to his gaping wound. So there is some dried blood on one end of the roll of paper towels. And I needed some paper towels for something, so instead of getting rid of this tainted roll of towels, I merely tore off the number that I needed and then ripped off the edge that had the dried blood on it.

I haven't found anymore dried blood, but the amount I've seen so far makes me wonder exactly how much blood this poor man who took on my dryer actually lost. He did seem a bit pale when he came over to the church after his victory. I wonder if he needed a transfusion. Blood plays an important role in the function of our bodies, you know. If you lose too much, it is definitely not a good thing.

And this has totally affected how I deal with my dryer. I thought we used to have a pretty good working relationship. Now, however, there seems to be some tension. I wonder when it will stop functioning again, or who it will attack next. And what about the washer? Are they a team? Was the dryer just creating a diversion so that the washing machine could do something ten times as evil? They sit together all day, unattended, in my laundry room. Who knows what kind of evil schemes they could create and undertake.

Anyway, Mr. Yushchenko, I am scheduled to preach this weekend and as of yet I have not finished my sermon. So I suppose I should do that.

Thursday, December 16, 2004


the man who took on my dryer

So Mr Yushchenko, remember when I wrote about my dryer going back on our agreement that we had? Yeah, well one of the perks of living in a parsonage is that when something goes wrong in your house you get to go tell someone else about it and it becomes their problem. So that's what I did. And this poor man spent a couple hours yesterday and most of the day today in my house battling this beast. It was a hard fought battle, and the man told me that if I found any blood laying around the laundry room that it was his. But it works again. And I think just to show it who's boss, I'm going to do a load of laundry. Take that you darn dryer, you. When it comes to man versus machine, man will triumph everytime... Except for that movie Final Destination where these kids were supposed to die on a plane but they ended up getting off, and they THOUGHT that they had escaped death but then they realized that death would get them anyway. And one of the girls steps off the sidewalk and is saying something snotty to her friends when WHAM she gets hit by a bus.... yeah, that's totally a time when machine won. That's why I don't let my dryer watch that movie. It would just give it bad ideas.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


appliance hell

Dear Mr Yushchenko,
Is it not enough that I am a domestically challenged single male? Is it not enough that I set things on fire when I'm trying to boil noodles? Is it not enough that I try to bake bread and it ends up tasting like a salty rock? But now... Now my very appliances have to act up, independently of my ineptitude?

First, there was the incident where my refrigerator peed on the kitchen floor. Several times. When we had a urethral reimplantation and stuck the water tube back into the automatic ice maker it only had a couple more accidents, but now the reimplantation has worked wonderfully.

Then, lights randomly decide to work. Then not work. Then work. Now they don't work. And I would go and buy replacement bulbs and replace them, but when I think about doing that, they decide to work. So if I get a replacement bulb and replace it, what if it's the electric connection and not the bulb's fault at all? Then I've gone and wasted $1.50 or however much it is that light bulbs cost nowadays. And that's a buck fifty that could be spent on soda pop. Or cheese curds from Culvers (mmm.... cheese curds).

Then, the water heater makes funny noises. When it is doing it's business it sounds like the man trapped in my furnace room is smacking something with a pipe. I'm not sure why the water heater has to sound like that. Does it help heat the water to smack things with pipes? I wouldn't think so. But then I'm not a water heater. We've already established that I'm a domestically challenged single male. Definitely NOT a water heater.

Then, when the furnace turns on it sounds as if the man trapped in my furnace room is kicking a large aluminum box. First, I don't know why the man was in my house in the first place. Second, I know that I'm definitely not unlocking the furnace room door because if there is a man down there, he's been down there a while and he's probably hella pissed. Third, I don't know why there would be a large aluminum box in my furnace room, but that is what it sounds like he's kicking. And fourth, I'm not sure why he'd need to kick a large aluminum box to start the furnace. But that is what it sounds like he's kicking. And who am I to argue with a pissed off man locked in my furnace room who's smacking something with a pipe and kicking an aluminum box?

Then, (yeah, I know, you thought I was done... but I'm not) my dryer decided not to work anymore. One day it's working and dutifully drying my wet clothes. It was a deal that I thought we had worked out. I clean the lint trap, it dries my clothes. You scratch my back, I scratch yours. Made sense to me. But then one day, I toss in my wet clothes, turn the dial, push the button... weird clicking-kind-of-a-buzzing-but-not-quite noise. I check the lint trap. It's empty. Did I not get the memo? Did our deal change? And if it did, shouldn't you have told me? Don't you understand that these were the clothes I was planning on wearing today? Do you really expect me to go to work in wet and wrinkly clothes? Not only would I look unprofessional, but damp clothes always cling in the most inappropriate and uncomfortable places. So really, this new arrangement might be working for you, dryer, but not so much for me. Dry my clothes. I turn the dial, push the button. Once again with the strange clicking/buzzing noise only not so loud this time and it kind of fades. I think maybe I should turn off the dryer before it spontaneously combusts. Spontaneously combusting dryers are not fun. Especially when I am within two feet of it. Without flameproof full body armor. WITH flameproof full body armor a spontaneously combusting dryer might be fun. But not in my laundry room.

So there it is, Mr Yushchenko. There it is. Luckily my computer, television and cable box are still functioning (knock on wood). Although I did realize that although I stop watching the HBO and Cinemax channels that my cable company sends to my cable box that does not mean that they are gone. And because they are not gone my cable company does not stop charging me for them. And because the two month period that I was allowed to have these HBO and Cinemax channels free of charge ended a month ago, that makes my cable bill much larger than it has been the previous two months.

And church council meetings should not be allowed to last three hours. That is all I have to say about that.

And now I'm going to bed, Mr Yushchenko. Thank your for your time.

Monday, December 13, 2004



Dearest Mr. Yushchenko,
Several months ago I wrote an entry entitled From a Distance, and received some flack because it was thought that if I had time to theologize about a Bette Midler song, then that meant I had too much time on my hands. But I have since found out that I am not the only one who disagrees with the theology behind this song, and I am also not the only one to write about it as can be seen here.
I, in a small way, feel vindicated.
Yours truly,

Sunday, December 12, 2004



Dear Mr. Yushchenko,
As you may know, I am an admitted Survivor addict. I would faithfully tune in to watch the show whenever I could. I usually have two or three favorite competitors and usually I'm lucky enough to see one of them make it to the final three. That wasn't the case this time, however, but I still kept watching the show. I think it's an amazing sociological experiment, and it's interesting to see relationships and alliances develop and crumble.
Like I said, the people I picked as my favorites were voted off before the final three (although two were lucky enough to make it to the Jury) so when it got to the final two I really didn't prefer either. The guy who made it to the end was Chris, and I thought he was going to get voted off after the first challenge. But luckily he managed to get into an alliance with the other older guys and so they slowly picked off the young ones, which extended his stay in the game beyond what it should have been. The woman who made it to the final two was Twila, possibly the only character in the show who can rival Sue from the first season for Survivor's most nasty, obnoxious and trashy. Oh wait, I forgot Jonny Fairplay... although he only pretended his grandma died, Twila actually swore on her SON'S SOUL that she was with the all-female alliance, I think twice, and turned her back on both oaths and voted against the alliance each time.
I didn't think that Chris was the most deserving man to make it that far. I think he rode Sarge's coat tails and then when it came down to it jumped ship and pretended to be with the women. (Oh yeah, Mr. Yushchenko, I'm done taking the time and effort to link to the Survivor's different pages. I'm sure you are a web-competent man and can figure out how to get there on your own.) Twila was mean and nasty pretty much the whole game. So I thought that since Chris somehow managed to not become the next guy to get voted off in the line of the all female alliance picking off the men, that on the merit of that accomplishment he deserved the million dollars. But when it came down to it, and the jury got to ask him their questions, he totally backtracked. He apologized, he kissed ass, he told the girls that he totally backstabbed and betrayed and played and used and manipulated that he never intended to vote for them and it was a last minute decision to stay in the game. It seemed like he was trying to cover up, to make nice in a last ditch effort to get votes. Twila owned up to her decisions, said she did what she did to win the game, and until the very end didn't apologize... but that was only after people were horrible to her and a few she really respected said that they hoped they never saw her again, and hoped that a million dollars was worth damning your son's soul to hell. If I were there, at that point, I thought that I would have voted for Twila. Just because she said Sure, she pissed people off. She played the game hard. She did what it took to win. She's not proud of her decisions, but they're what got her where she is.
But alas, Mr. Yushchenko, as I'm sure you know, I was not able to vote. Because I was not in the game. So really my opinion mattered about as much as Advil does to someone with herpes, and in the end Chris won. So he's a million dollars richer.
And where does that leave me you ask, Mr. Yushchenko? Well, that is indeed a good question. It leaves me with a free Thursday nights, and a long time until Survivor starts again. And it leaves me with the hope that perhaps next time I will pick my favorites again, and this time they won't get voted off right away because they can't stop puking, or get voted off simply because they're male, or get voted off because you've already won a previous Survivor and so they feel like you don't deserve to win another. That perhaps they might make it to the final four, even the final three, and who knows... the final two and so I will be able to genuinely cheer for someone who I feel whole-heartedly deserves the money (or at least is pretty or cute enough to inspire my support).
And so, Mr. Yushchenko, I bid you adieu. I hope you have enjoyed this past season of Survivor as much as I have. I hope you have been able to take some time from the political mayhem and Dioxin poisoning you've experienced to sit and relax with a cold glass of iced tea to cheer for someone to outwit, outplay and outlast the others.
your new friend,


just so you know...

power point just might be the physical embodiment of evil on this earth.

disclaimer: I know I said that every entry would be like a letter to Dear Mr. Yushchenko, but I think my "just so you know..." posts need to stand alone. They are random interjections and experiences that I feel people might need to know for the enhancement of their lives. I promise the next one will be a letter to you, Mr Yushchenko. Worry not.


dear mr henshaw

I was remembering a book I read a looooooong time ago, so long ago that I don't remember much about it, written by Beverly Cleary entitled "Dear Mr. Henshaw" and it was supposedly the journal of this young boy, and his teacher had instructed him that he was to write his journal as if he was writing a letter to someone (at least that's how I remember it. Could be totally wrong). And I figured that this blog is much like a journal (only I'm bearing my soul for many people I know (and probably many that I don't) to come and read), so I thought for at least the next couple of entries I would write it as if it were a letter to someone. Just for a change of pace. Mix it up a little. So I had to come up with a name. And because I feel bad for that Ukranian man who was poisoned and now has a disfigured face, I thought I would write me entries to him. So now my entries will be letters to Mr. Yushchenko.
Anyway, it's after church and I was sitting in my office and doing a little after worship clean-up when a synapses in my brain misfired and gave me this idea. So I felt inspired to write it down. But now I'm hungry and wondering why I am still at church. So I'm leaving. Ta ta.

Saturday, December 11, 2004


blue suede shoes

I wanted a new pair of shoes. And I wanted a new pair of those trendy retro Puma/Adidas/Converse/etc. type shoes, something that was a little different in color and would not blend in with my collection of white/grey running shoes that I already wear all the time. So I found a pair of blue and white Pumas that I liked, and I mean really blue. So I bought them.
The day I got them was a Monday which is also our contemporary worship band practice. So I wore them. The high school kids were the first to notice them, and they made a couple comments that they liked them. I stuck out my foot and said "They're my Advent shoes..." Because they're blue. And that's the liturgical color for Advent. And I'm a church nerd. So there you have it.
The kids laughed. Supervising laughed. He mentioned that I should wear them on Sunday, and that he wears liturgically colored sweaters for our contemporary service (which I think is because we don't vest, so he doesn't wear stoles, so with a colored sweater he can still wear the appropriate color for the season... I think he's a church nerd, too). So I said I was going to, and not just for the contemporary service.
Well... I talked big game, but I was unsure as to whether or not I should wear them. You see I have some insecurities (what?!? me?!? insecurities?!? surely i mean someone else...) and a lot of these insecurities have to do with how young I look and, because of that, how seriously people take me. I wondered if wearing blue shoes underneath my big, white alb would be a good thing... But tonight for worship I went ahead and wore them. Nervous the whole time, mind you. But afterwards I heard several comments like "Snazzy shoes," and a couple of the high school kids said "We really love your shoes!" and one guy asked me "Are you running from someone?" and, confused, I walked right into it and asked "Why?" "Well, cuz you left your running shoes on! Hyuk hyuk hyuk!" So people's comments led into Supervising's wife launching into a story about a pastor who had a pair of horrible red pants he had bought at a thrift store that he wore every Pentecost Sunday. Then as we were heading back to the offices she said "Well, now you need a pair of white ones for Christmas." To which I replied "Well, I already have a green pair."
So overall I think it went over well, and I might continue with it. I mean, I don't get to wear a stole yet, so why shouldn't I be able to wear something that celebrates the season of the church year? So I'm gonna.

Friday, December 10, 2004


in other news...

want to become very angry?
visit Lutheran Commentator.


just so you know...

Turkeys will not be afraid to chase you if you get too close to them. Even if you really just want to walk home for lunch. They don't understand the difference between a hungry person walking home and a mean person trying to harm them, I guess. Luckily they don't have opposable thumbs and don't know how to open doors. But they will stand in your front lawn and gobble mean things at you.
Believe me, I know.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


just so you know...

if you are a young, single male intern, the older women in the congregation will feel the need to supply you with all sorts of food, especially desserts, and then will whole-heartedly encourage you to continuously eat this food. Especially at church functions where food is involved, such as pot-lucks and soup suppers. It is almost as if they are trying to fatten me up like some sort of Thanksgiving turkey.

I'm suddenly very frightened.

Send help.


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