29 December 2010

Campus Ministry News - December 2010

Every semester we send out a newsletter reporting on the semester at Lutheran Campus Ministry.  This year has been particularly...tumultuous, and writing this fall's newsletter article has been difficult for me.  This morning I finally forced myself to sit down and put it on paper. 

22 December 2010

Familiar Voices

I subscribe to the Writer's Almanac - you should go sign up before reading the rest of this.  Go ahead - I'll wait.  

12 December 2010

Sermon for the Third Sunday of Advent: "What Do You Expect?"

“He emerged from the metro at the L’Enfant Plaza Station and positioned himself against a wall beside a trash basket. By most measures, he was nondescript: a youngish white man in jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt and a Washington Nationals baseball cap. From a small case, he removed a violin. Placing the open case at his feet, he shrewdly threw in a few dollars and pocket change as seed money, swiveled it to face pedestrian traffic, and began to play.
It was 7:51 a.m. on Friday, January 12, the middle of the morning rush hour. In the next 43 minutes, as the violinist performed six classical pieces, 1,097 people passed by. Almost all of them were on the way to work, which meant, for almost all of them, a government job. L'Enfant Plaza is at the nucleus of federal Washington, and these were mostly mid-level bureaucrats with those indeterminate, oddly fungible titles: policy analyst, project manager, budget officer, specialist, facilitator, consultant.
Each passerby had a quick choice to make, one familiar to commuters in any urban area where the occasional street performer is part of the cityscape: Do you stop and listen? Do you hurry past with a blend of guilt and irritation, aware of your cupidity but annoyed by the unbidden demand on your time and your wallet? Do you throw in a buck, just to be polite? Does your decision change if he's really bad? What if he's really good? Do you have time for beauty? Shouldn't you? What's the moral mathematics of the moment?
On that Friday in January, those private questions would be answered in an unusually public way. No one knew it, but the fiddler standing against a bare wall outside the Metro in an indoor arcade at the top of the escalators was one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made.” [1] 

08 December 2010

Desktop Diaries

Jan Edmiston at A Church for Starving Artists posted an interesting thing last week - a picture of her desk, with no tidying or dressing up done.  Apparently NPR presented Oliver Sack's desk on Science Friday last week, and she was inspired.  I thought it sounded like a fun thing with which to play along, so here's my Desktop Diary for today.

Like Jan, I don't do a ton of writing in my office.  Work, yes, but the kind of thing during which I don't mind being interrupted.  Worship planning, professional reading, administrivia, phone calls and setting up schedules, that sort of thing.  Occasionally, because my library is in my office, I'll do my preparatory exegetical work in my office, but during afternoons when I know that my train of thought is unlikely to be derailed. 

There are a few things I love about my office.  First is the light - in the afternoon, like you see here, there's no need for the fluorescent lights and their "just-below-audible" buzz.  Even in the morning, with my four windows I only need the lights if it's cloudy or rainy.  Second, the comfy furniture.  I have two recliners, one overstuffed chair and my desk chair, all of which are good places to spend a lot of time.  I've never understood why you would want to furnish an office with chairs in which no one feels comfortable.  Third, the plants.  I'm developing a little bit of a green thumb at the church; that is, when I can keep my youngest from ripping the plants out of their pots.  The peace lilies you see will soon be going into the big pots and back into our sanctuary, and hopefully we can keep little fingers away from them until they're good and toughened up.

Anyway, that's where some of the magic happens.  Tomorrow or Friday I'll send a picture of my sermonating table at Cafe Milo - I know, I know, you'll be waiting with bated breath.  All three of you.  Until then -

Grace & peace,

07 December 2010

The Feel of Peace

Every night when we put the girls to bed, we lay down with each of them for a short while; five, ten minutes, tops.  This started with Ainsley, who would cry for close to an hour if we didn't stay with her for a little bit after we read a book, said our prayers and hugged and kissed good night.  Ten minutes of snuggling with your toddler is a far better use of our time than listening to one or both of them scream for thirty minutes.