Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Mid way book review and looking back at my weekend

I'm 2/3 of the way through this book:

It's a good book and has lots of good thoughts, but I realized this weekend that it wasn't much fun. He's pretty much all business about starting churches and "saving souls", and starting them and saving them his way. Lately I've been so wrapped up in reading books about how the church must change and what not that I haven't been having much fun in my pursuit of God. I think I need to remember that Jesus can be fun.

The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners. Matthew 11:19

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

This weekend, Jesus was a lot of fun. Debbie and I took a vacation from our regular church in Durham (our old home) and went to Visio Dei in Raleigh (my even older home and our new home). With all the turmoil the last year at our church, for me it was great just to visit somewhere and worship without thinking how so and so used to be here or feeling hurt by so and so. The music was outstanding and I was really focused on experiencing the worship. I think that is one of the reasons to try and do music well at church, so people aren't distracted and can really try to connect with God. The sermon was very heartfelt, honest, and had a solid basis. I learned something and it made me think. Then, Sunday afternoon, we had a cookout at our new place. Most of the people there were either people from church or (mostly) people who used to go there. But the focus wasn't on that, it was on burgers, beer, and friends. That's how things are supposed to be.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Western Vacation

It's still hard for me to write about my vacation after what happened in Blacksburg the day we returned, but I think it's time. I have to say I feel a little guilty having a great vacation while 32 people were gunned down at my alma mater. But part of this blog's purpose is so I can look back and think of both good and bad times, of the great times Debbie and I (and one day our family) share, and this trip was definitely a good one.

We flew into Las Vegas and drove to St. George, UT, getting late that night, but it set us up for a full day in Zion NP. We did several hikes, but the longest and grandest was to Hidden Canyon. We scaled the side of the east rim of Zion canyon (quite a feat for me, who is scared of heights) to a slot canyon about 1000 feet above the canyon floor. There were great views of Angel's Landing and the canyon from the hike, and the slot canyon was beautiful, including a small natural arch.

That night we drove to Bryce, UT. In the morning, we rode horses in Red Canyon and in the afternoon we hiked in Bryce NP. It was quite cold all day and it threatened to storm, but never did. My horse, Buddy had a bit of an attitude.

We woke to snow and driving to Kanab, UT and Best Friends Animal Sanctuary . We spent the morning on a tour and cleaning the home of some cats with leukemia. Best Friends takes animals from all over the world that would otherwise be euthenized. While feline leukemia is highly contagious amoung cats, many cats can live long, comfortable lives with the disease. In the afternoon, we fed and walked dogs, including 3 of the ~170 dogs they airlifted for Beirut following the Israeli attacks their last year. The attacks destroyed the only animal shelter inLebanon, and Best Friends airlifted over 300 animals to Utah. All but these 3 dogs have been adopted (and they were quite good, adoptable dogs). Debbie fell in love with a Greyhound mix named Bill.

After our day of volunteering, we drove in the dark, fog, and snow to Tuscayan, AZ. We passed the Kaibab NF, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and Vermillion Cliffs on our way. In the Kaibab, we met a hippie who was hiking from Flagstaff to Boulder, UT, and earlier in the day had been kicked out of coffe shop in a small border town, he suspects for being too close to the Mormon girls. The police gave him a ride to a shelter along the side of the highway and dropped him off.

The next 2 days we spend at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. On Friday we hiked and drove much of the rim, and on Saturday we hiked into the Canyon to Indian Gardens. On Sunday we drove to Vegas and stayed at the Luxor hotel, which is the world's largest pyramid. On Monday we flew back to RDU.

Other news: We're still tring to sell our Durham house.

Derek Webb Concert

Well, my first concert since moving to Raleigh last night at the Lincoln Theater. I went with several members of my church small group and some other church folks, organized by one of my high schoolers and all around great guy Andrew.
I had listened to some Derek Webb before (he's been featured in Paste magazine), and Andrew lent me his new album last week. I have to say I have a new artist on my favorite artist lists. Derek was formerly in a pretty good Christian band, Caedmon's Call, but has been on his own for 4-5 years. His music is good, the kind of rootsy stuff I like (he cites Wilco as an influence), and his lyrics are about as tough thought provoking as they get. He's still a Christian artist, but he writes out of frustration over the church, his own sinfulness, and the difficulties of living a life of faith, sometimes using strong language. You will not hear a Derek web song on K-Love. He encouraged the crowd to go buy a beer because the bartender was lonely (although I'm sure they were happy to have a packed house on a Monday night, even if most weren't drinking beer). He himself was enjoying a Red Stripe (I enjoyed my normal show beverage, a cold PBR).
His 7.5 month pregnant wife, Sandra McCracken opened and also backed Webb, along with Andrew Osenga. Alli Rogers was the first act.