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I’m falling back in love,
with scribbling ink on paper.
with sitting quietly while sipping coffee.
with being still in the middle of the day.
with making eye contact with people I pass on the sidewalk.
with dreaming of the future without forgetting today.

with the smell of books.
and humid air.
and silent morning walks.

I feel as though I have been really busy lately.  I don’t know that this has truly been the case, but I feel tired and lazy.  I don’t like it.  I’ve been so lazy that I’ve got 3 tabs on my Firefox browser that have been in place since Monday that I haven’t taken the time to read.  I’ll get to it, hopefully, but I thought that maybe I could post the links here then you could read them and let me know what they are all about.  It’s a win-win, really.  I win because I’m posting a blog post, and you win because you get to read some good stuff.

I just realized that the three posts that I’ve been holding onto are a pretty good representation of three of my biggest interests:  natural and sustainable foods, gardening and food production, and thinking about the role of a pastor other than through the lens of a CEO.  So here you go.

The Food Renegade blog is a great blog that talks about food that is good for you, good for the growers, and tastes great.  She is a renegade against industrialized foods that have shown up on the scene and have brought with them increases in heart related disease.  This post is called “Real Food Hits the New York Times”.

The New York Times has an article about gardening in a “slow” way.  Gardening in a way that works with the natural seasons and climates rather than forcing things into place.  Check it out, “Slow, Cheap, Easy, and Green”.

And lastly, a post by Scot McKnight at the Out of Ur blog.  Scot is using a book entitled, “The Pastor As Minor Poet: Texts and Subtexts in the Ministerial Life” to talk about the role of the pastor.  I really like Scot.  I’ve had the chance to meet him on a few occasions and have really enjoyed our conversations.  Plus, he’s a Cubs fan.  Read “The Poetry of Pastoring.”

Read them and get back to me ASAP.  Thanks.

p.s.  I find it a bit ironic that WordPress’s spell-check doesn’t recognize the word “blog” as a correct word.

It’s January 13, 2009.  If history is any indication, then I would have given up on all “more or less” resolutions by now.  Since I was more specific with resolutions this year I feel like I am still on track.  I have intentionally worked on 4 resolutions so far.

Slow Down- This is perhaps one of the more generic and vague resolutions to try to evaluate, but here’s some of the effort that I’ve put into it.  I have made an effort to not surf around the web while watching TV or a movie.  One thing that I have noticed so far is that there are times when I am watching a show and wishing that I had something else to do at the same time.  This most often happens when I am just watching a show to kill time or watching something because I can’t think of anything more engaging to do.  My purpose of this resolution isn’t to simply help me recognize areas of my life but it’s intended for me to act on it.  If I find myself using the TV as a crutch, I would like to be able to act on it by turning the TV off and finding something else to do.  Maybe I should make a list of “TV alternative activities” to utilize.   The biggest thing that I’ve done to slow down was to clean up my Google Reader feeds.  Before I cleaned it out I was receiving feeds from over 180 sites, but since I’ve cleaned it up I down to near 50.  By doing this I’ve been able to narrow the feeds down to sites that consistantly offer stimulating opinions and are mostly from people that I stay connection to.  I’ve used this as a way for me to controll the amount of time I’m spending online.

Read 12 new books this year-  I bought Eugene Peterson’s latest book, Tell Is Slant, last week.  Peterson is one of a hand full of authors who I find to be a constant source of challenge and encouragement.  When I think about being in a pastoral position again Peterson is the type of pastor I’d like to become.  I grow tired of reading books about why a particular theology is more right, and reading Peterson helps ground me with the things that I think are the most important: People, Language, and Simplicity.  In Tell It Slant Peterson introduces three distinct methods of speaking that Jesus uses throughout the Gospels: Preaching, Teaching, and Informal.  Regarding preaching he says, “Preaching is the news, the good news, that God is alive and present and in action: ‘Maybe you didn’t know it, but the living God is here, right here on this street, in this sanctuary, in this neighborhood.  And he is at work now.  He is speaking right now–at this very moment.  If you know what is good for you, you will want to get in on it.'”  Of teaching he says, “We often dichotomize our lives into public and private, spiritual and secular, cut up our lives into separate parts, and stuff the parts into labeled cubbyholes for convenient access when we feel like dealing with them.  Teaching puts the parts together, makes connections, demonstrates relationships–‘connecting the dots,’ as we say.”  And of this “informal” way of speaking he writes, “A kind of intimacy develops naturally when men and women walk and talk together, with no immediate agenda or assigned talk except eventually getting to their destination and taking their time to do it.”  I’m really looking forward to the way that Peterson looks at the words of Jesus and the language that is used by the gospel writers.

Host 6 “slow food” evenings- Cuyler and Shannon came up over the weekend.  We had planned to make empanadas and some other South American foods.  We filled the empanadas with beef and onions (and green olives. mmmmm.).  We also made a “tres leches” cake for dessert.  You need to make this cake!  Do it right now.  Quit reading this nonsense and bake this cake.  The afternoon was filled with food and conversation.  It was wonderful.  During dinner we (read: I. sorry, guys.) talked about some of the issues of “slow food” and what are some of the limits to it.  I’d really like Shannon to write about her thoughts about this given her relation to the children she works with at her school.  I really enjoy these opportunities to get peoples opinion about food.  It help give me a welcome perspective on things different from the people who write about how “the world would be a better place if all we ate was local organic food.”  I hope that over the course of the year and over the next 5 evenings my ability to critically think about all of this will greatly expand.

Become disciplined in using a planner/calendar/schedule- I have to say, I’m most surprised at my efforts in this area.  I’ve filled my iCal with my class schedule for the fall and added in other events throughout the year.  I’ve synced my phone with my calendar.  And I’ve looked at my calendar each day.  Pretty impressive, huh?  Next week, when classes start, will be a big opportunity for me to find a rythm with this or to simply let it slide by.  I’d really like to keep on top of this throughout the year (“that’s what she said.”  come on, I know you were thinking it.).

What do you think?  Are you surpised at my efforts in these resolutions this year?  How are your resolutions going?

Yesterday I stopped by Black & Read to browse for some new, used books.  I haven’t been to Black & Read in a while, mostly because I rarely have any luck in finding anything of interest.  The other problem is that most of the time that I do find a good book there it’s marked at $6 or $8 bucks.  I realize that this is half off of retail price, but when I go looking for used books, I’m really hoping to find cheap used books.  I think I was spoiled when I lived in New Hampshire.  It seems like there are more used book stores out east then there are cheese selling stores in Wisconsin.  When I lived in New Hampshire I was able to buy 3 or 4 books for $10.  Alas, yesterday felt like I was shopping in New Hampshire again.

I bought two books.  The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel for $3.00 and Freedom of Simplicity by Richard Foster for $2.00.  Two incredible books for $5.00!  What a great day.  I’m more familiar with Foster than I am with Heschel, but what I know of both men make me excited to read these books.

Of all the books that were at Black & Read, these two stood out to me.  I wonder if this is one of the times when God is trying to tell me something?  Hmm.  A book about living a life of simplicity and a book about rest.  Very interesting.

Has anyone read either of these books?  Familiar with either of these authors?


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