inch by inch

Thank you to Susan Russell for this, as well as for her words, which I couldn't have said any better:

"For preachers thinking seeds and sowers this week; for activists sowing seeds of justice and pulling out weeds of bias and bigotry; for everyone working to make the Garden of Eden grow green again."


a preview, I hope

I wrote a while back about how much I enjoy the magazine Books & Culture. As I wrote at the time, even though the magazine is published by the publishers of Christianity Today, Books & Culture "takes a balanced and even nearly academic approach. It is not by any means a bastion of liberalism, but the essays are intelligent, balanced, and well thought out."

I did have a couple of logistical problems with B&C. First, about one issue in three never showed up. Second, as much as I enjoyed the articles and reviews, the magazine is oversize and difficult to hold in my hands and read. I think the second point may be related to the first. Such odd-sized publications often don't make it through the postal system particularly well.

I solved both problems last week. I cancelled my print subscription and subscribed to the Web edition. And you know what? When I read the articles on my new HP TouchPad, I can increase the page size so the type is nice and crisp and clear, and I don't see the ads.

That is, I hope, a preview of what my experience will be with the Kindle for TouchPad, which is due out in, I am told, in a couple of weeks. Those predictions, I sincerely hope, are accurate.

UPDATE: I wrote this on Sunday. On Monday evening, minding my own business, my TouchPad notified me that the Kindle app was available. I of course downloaded it immediately. YES! It is there. It looks great! I am delighted. Hope to have a review for you next week. Angry Birds, you are going to have to take a back seat.

when reality peers over the wall

I've enjoyed my time so far at St. John the Divine. Part of that enjoyment comes from simply attending Sunday service without being privy to the inner workings of the church. I had chosen to assume that the church was on solid financial footing because they had a preschool to help support the infrastructure. Now, given the years I spent on the church council at Good Shepherd, I knew perfectly well that that was not a rational assumption.

So I was not surprised when the vestry member representing stewardship announced a few weeks ago that the church needed people to step up to help meet the summer shortfall. Then, in last week's church newsletter, Fr. Phil wrote, "Thank you to those who have been responding to our summer financial slump. We still have a substantial way to go to meet our summer obligation."

Then, just to ensure that I be reassured that St. John the Divine was a real church with real people and real issues faced by every church, he wrote about how he felt a sense of "false guilt" about the money spent on his tenth anniversary celebration this past spring, about "a sense of extravagance in a year when things would be tight plus with the insistence that I take time off, it would require supply clergy expense as well."

So there is an opportunity to read between the lines! The use of the noun rather than the verb form of "insist," allowing him to avoid stating who was doing the insisting. I can only assume that would be the vestry. That's interesting to me, because in the eight years I was on the church council at Good Shepherd (five of them as president, so I bear more than my share of responsibility), the council never insisted that Pastor Koch do anything. I think Good Shepherd might be a healthier church today if it (if we!) had. And I think that that is probably a testament to the health of St. John's, or at least an indicator that the vestry is taking an active role in the management of the church, which, except in extreme and occasional dysfunctional cases, is almost always a good thing.

So reality at St. John the Divine has peered its head over the wall at me. I knew that day would come eventually. And that's OK. I'm still happy to be there.

Sacred Music Friday: This is the Day

John Rutter's composition sung at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

{embedded version not available in the U.S. Try this link: }

programming jazz sets

We've had a CD player (remember CDs?) in our stereo system for some years that holds 200 CDs. Of that, 75 are jazz CDs. For a long time I would program a jazz set on the weekend to listen to during dinner and after. Somehow l got out of the habit, partially due to laziness, and partly because l like the job Michael Berman does on KCSM on Saturday evenings. That and his British accent.

But on Friday, Terry was doing dinner and I had time to put together a set after getting off the treadmill. So I did. I enjoyed doing it, Terry loved it, and it made for a nice evening of jazz.

Need to get back into the habit.

range of tolerance

I'm talking about temperature here. Not people. (Though some days I wonder.)

I notice that Terry and I spend less time out on the patio in the evenings in the summer than we used to. It's not simply a factor of how the weather has been. Last summer was more mild than usual, and this summer has been a mix of rather cool and unpleasantly hot. In either case, we used to stay outside more on both cooler and on hotter evenings than we do now.

Likewise, I found this cool Android app which tracks the course I walk, and records my speed and distance. Nice alternative to the treadmill. But I'm finding that the temperature range within which I'm wiling to go outside and walk to be narrower than I would have expected. I'm getting on the treadmill more and walking outside less than I thought I would.

Is it age? Or are my preferences just changing? I haven't figured that out.

good advice on reading

You know that I have been known to complain (whine?) about my Kindle overwhelm. So I have to say that I appreciate the advice from NPR about books:

As books, magazines and blogs proliferate, avid readers are often frustrated that they
don't have time to consume everything. NPR's culture critic Linda Holmes says
it's time to face facts: your time is better spent deciding how to choose what
to read than bemoaning you can't digest it all.

I like this. I need to pay attention.

Transcript and audio link here.