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24 April 2009

Morning at the Arboretum.

This morning was a great morning. Katie and I took Caroline to the Arboretum for her photo session with the great Emily Mulkey. We are seriously so excited to see the pictures! Emily does fantastic work, and I whole heartedly endorse her, so check her out here.
Amazingly, outside of a friend's wedding, I had never been to the Arboretum. Even then, I just saw such a small portion. Well, to be honest, I only saw a small portion today as well, but I was absolutely blown away! I never realized there was such a vast and beautiful park in Dallas that so well organized, catalogued, and so clearly labeled the works of God's creation. Seriously though, I can not wait to go back with my girls and spend some quality time exploring.  Here's a snapshot of the conversation between my brain hemispheres:
Right: Wow! This is so beautiful!
Left: Observation affirmed.
Right: This is such an amazing jewel of Dallas!
Left: We are in Dallas? This does not adhere to experientially dependent assumptions of Dallas. Error encountered.
Right: The flowers, and trees, and lake, and...
Left: Attempting to locate substantial amounts of concrete and billboards to confirm body is actually presently located in Dallas. Begin processing...
Right: So many colors! Even the buildings are wonderful and fit so nicely within the landscape!
Left: There remains an insufficient quantity of concrete and billboards to verify Dallas as immediate location. Expanding search of visual evidence to include pickups, baptist churches, branches of North Dallas Bank, Parkies, and I Am Second signage.
Right: Everything is so wonderful! Beauty in Dallas! Dallas actually has something of aesthetic value, a treasure to the eyes and soul!

22 April 2009

The Sacrament of Reconciliation as Corporate Ritual.

The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation is not merely a time for spiritual direction (as wholesome as that is), or a time for seeking moral guidance (as necessary as that may be at times). Reconciliation is primarily a sacrament—a corporate act of worship which builds up the Body of Christ. . .

. . . Communal celebrations show more clearly that Reconciliation is a sacrament, a corporate act of worship. When we celebrate together as a parish family, we are reminded of the social nature of sin—that every sin, even the most private and personal sin, has implications for the larger community. In addition, when we celebrate Reconciliation with others, we are more clearly reminded of our obligation to "forgive those who trespass against us" even as we ask God to forgive us our trespasses.

Interpersonal forgiveness and reconciliation are part of the hoped-for outcomes of this sacrament. Christianity stresses the relation of the "horizontal" and the "vertical"—interpersonal forgiveness and divine forgiveness. "Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift" (Mt 5:23-24).
Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M., S.T.D. from Catholic Update.

21 April 2009

Buy Katie's Old Car.

It's great. We'd still be driving it but needed more room. Check out the ad, and tell your friends. I'll even throw in a bottle of Chimay Grande Réserve.

11 April 2009

Holy Saturday.

Today a grave holds him
who holds creation in the palm of his hand.
A stone covers him
who covers with glory the heavens.
Life is asleep and hell trembles,
and Adam is freed from his chains.

Glory to your saving work,
by which you have done all things!
You have given us eternal rest,
your holy resurrection from the dead.

From a matins hymn for Holy Saturday, quoted in Orthodox Lent, Holy Week, and Easter: Liturgical Texts with Commentary by Hugh Wybrew (London: SPCK, 1995).

(Thanks to Michael Rich)

08 April 2009

Reversing America's Culture of Debt.

Short but good read by Ken Blackwell.

(Thanks to Mike.)

07 April 2009

Top Ten Albums re: danno.

Recently, Danno asked me for a Top Ten of albums for basic literacy to those who grew up in a bubble. This is a pretty large task. Impossible, to a degree. Still, I thought I would take it on, but first I have to give my criteria for the following list.

1. I would only select one album per musician. When I am limited to ten, I have to make these count on breadth.
2. I would not choose "best of" or live albums. This, I feel, would be cheating.
3. I would limit myself to not select my current flavor of the months. These albums need to have withstood the test of time with me. Sorry Taylor Swift and sorry MGMT. Maybe you'll get there, and I think you well might; however, there simply hasn't been enough time to bear witness.

Having decided on those ground rules, I basically thought I would pick the albums that I would want if I were stuck on a desert island the rest of my life with an unlimited power supply and an indestructible iPod and earphones. So Dan, here is your shopping list...or just come by the house and I'll give them to you. These are listed alphabetically, as ranking them would be much too difficult.

Jeff Buckley, Grace

Lyle Lovett, Joshua Judges Ruth

Mussorsgsky, Pictures at an Exhibition (Dutoit and MSO)

Oasis, (What's the Story) Morning Glory?

Radiohead, The Bends

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, Cold Roses

Sting, Mercury Falling

Travis, The Invisible Band

U2, Joshua Tree

Vertical Horizon, Running on Ice*

As a bonus, I'm breaking my rules to include a live album as my no. 11 pick: Pat Green, Here We Go (Live)

*Interesting note of Vertical Horizon's Running on Ice: It features Cary Pierce and Jack O'Neill from Jackopierce and Carter Beauford from Dave Matthews Band, among other guest musicians. Pretty cool.

04 April 2009

What the Bride testifies.

I have been thinking lately of the description of the Church as the Bride of Christ. Particularly, I have been meditating on the testimony that a bride should give of her husband, if her husband is indeed honorable. First let me say that by no means does this post advocate "putting on a good Christian face" to the public. Such is an expression of inauthenticity, isolation, and pride - none of which are of Christ. Having said that, let us consider.

What as husbands do we want our wives to reflect in character? Here is a short list from my perspective for what I want Katie to be as my bride.

1. Secure. When people think of Katie, I don't want them to associate insecurity or constant worry about future provision in where she will live or whether she will have food or clothing.

2. Confident. I would hate to think of Katie living in fear, that she is unprotected and in a constant state of vulnerability.

3. Faithful. It is my desire that Katie is satisfied in our marriage and friendship and does not feel that she is in the wrong relationship or at least in one that can not last or is in constant decline.

4. Peaceful. I want Katie's yoke to be light.

5. Patient. Does Katie feel constantly rushed or as if she is running out of time? I don't want her bearing unnecessary pressure. I don't want her thinking she has to do it all by herself right now, not trusting in my help and timing. I certainly don't want her not having margin in her life to invest and spend time with others who love her and those that need her own love and encouragement.

6. Gentle. If I am harsh and domineering with Katie, then I believe it would be hard for her to show gentleness to others. How sweet does she feel my love is to her?

7. Kind. Staying in frame of fruits of the Spirit, kindness is a quality I desire Katie to have as my bride. For her to lose her kindness would mean that she would be poisoned with anger. What would I be doing to her or how would I not be protecting her that would cause her to be filled with such darkness? I hope we never endure such a time.

8. A good steward. If Katie hoards or wastes, then she has a poor concept of community and lives focused on herself. As such, she would see little in me or of a larger meaning for our life to impact those who could benefit of our resources, both material and immaterial.

9. Truthful. It is a great testimony to have nothing to hide, to love the light. I would hope that Katie lives in such freedom.

10. Gracious. When one experiences true grace, then that person should extend it to others. It is my prayer that Katie, when errors do occur, always experiences grace beyond her measure.

So, there's a simple ten. There are more, but you see where I am going.

Here is my point then: how do we, as the Bride of Christ, reflect these qualities and others? When we interact with the world, is it obvious that we have a Savior that is our provision? Do our lives testify that we have been changed by grace and that our yokes are easy? Do we interact with our community in a way that communicates that we have time for them and are called to serve them? Are we a vision of Christ in being a Bride that is epitomized by kindness and love? You get my point here as well.

An the other side, what does the way we are living now currently say to others about what we believe about our Savior and who he is? What through our words and actions are we telling our community about God or Christ? To be honest, I feel my life is a promotion of lies. I silently tell the world that God does not provide and that His yoke is not easy. I give the impression that God has hurt me or that Christ is not enough.

We must always be authentic and honest in where we are in our walk and how God is working in our lives. We all still live in a fallen world stained with sin, and none of us have completed our journey of sanctification. However, as we do grow, I hope that the world looks upon the Church as the Bride and instantly recognizes her inseparable Savior.

01 April 2009

Happy Birthday Katie!

Katie, with Caroline (Kangaroo Style), in the Santa Barbara Courthouse

Today I unveiled a new private blog to Katie that will consist of and catalogue a collection of my future love notes to her, a sort of online book of notes to my bride. Here was my description of the site:

This is my book of love notes to Katie, at least as of her 29th year. A few months ago, Caroline was born. A few days ago, Piper was hunting for our socks. We have a good family.

This morning I was writing a note to Katie, which is something I have not done very much of late. I was considering the tension between the ease of writing such words with the infrequency of actually doing it. Today I am nearing the conclusion of a period in our marriage when I didn’t pursue Katie very much. I know that I have not pursued her well. She knows that too. Also, I am arrogant, self-righteous, and angry. Yet, Katie loves me. Very much. In this way, her marriage to me and love for me realizes the mission of marriage: to represent the love of God, to be a vision of Christ in my life. I love Katie very much.

I love her, but I don’t write her. I was thinking how I want to write her something every day. Something textual that would serve as a reminder, more than a reminder, a profession of my love. I thought about always keeping my stationary and pen with me; however, it took a mere nanosecond to realize that this would last maybe half of a week. I then entertained the idea of just consistently writing her a note every morning with my stationary safe at home. Then, I remembered that “consistency” is not always a friend I love and that I also don’t like writing notes when Katie is home. It is like wrapping a present in front of the receiver. Tacky.

What I needed was something convenient in time and location. I wanted a solution that would allow me to write whenever, wherever. So often I think of writing Katie when I don’t have anything to write on or write with. Such is our time. I always have connection to the internet; however, a simple pen and paper often evade me. So, this was partly a choice of convenience; however, it was mostly a choice of necessity, for otherwise, I would not consistently write my bride.

There was, however, thought of other perks. As easily as I can write my love notes, Katie can read them. Whenever. Wherever. (Assuming she has a computer and internet connection, of course. Still, this beats a box under the bed). Also, this allows a timeline, each note stacked upon the one before. My hope is that years from now, Katie will occasionally choose peruse past entries in this online book of love notes and be reminded and encouraged through the progression of our love and life together.

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