[Rough Draft]

A weblog about god, doubt, insomnia, culture, baseball


dc4free#21: playin' in the snow

it took 'til january, but the first snow of the season finally came (all 1 inch of it), and i got to break out my snow shirt. i've got an old j-crew flannel shirt that is (a) out of style, and (b) about to fall apart, so i only wear it on the first snow day of every year. i got the idea from my friend, george, who is church-planting in london, ontario now. this year was a bit different b/c the snow came so late, and we live smack in the middle of the city, so there's not a lot of room for the kids to run and sled.
some friends stopped by, though, and we made some snowballs and even ate some snow ice cream (nobody else had ever heard of "snow cream," so maybe it's just a southern thing, i don't know). it's been cold almost every day since, but no more snow.

washington dc winter = sham.



ok, i confess: i really was moved by "an inconvenient truth." i think protecting the environment is a moral issue. it just so happens that it's currently cool for evangelicals to get gushy about the environment, so i feel a little smarmy for not being so green when green wasn't the new black, and i'm wary of bandwagon-jumping.

that being said, however, our family is intent upon becoming less of a drain on the earth this year, and i'm in the market for suggestions. how easy is it for my friends (you know who you are) to go green? seth suggested looking into the citizenre REnU program. i'm buying a terrapass for our minivan, we use twisty lightbulbs, and i intend to keep the environment in mind if i get input on decisions about the asa physical plant renovation. i've got to start somewhere, so -- any ideas about what else my family can do?
  • update: i bought the terrapass (since we live in the city, we don't drive all that much, so the pass was only $30 for the year), and i'm taking some of the suggestions in the slate green challenge (thanks for the link, amy): unplugging what i can and using power strips to cut down on passive energy drain; buying more cfls and led bulbs; dropping the thermostat a couple of degrees; buying locally-grown produce and shopping @ our farmers' market; line drying more clothes (it's hotter than 900 hells in our basement laundry room, so i just fling clothes about and come back in 5 minutes) and cleaning the lint filter more often; using less water washing dishes and showering; and shutting down my laptop @ night.



eve of st. agnes

tomorrow is the feast of st. agnes, the patroness of ascension & st. agnes here in dc, and i'm scheduled to preach. the picture @ left is of the st. agnes window in our sanctuary, and you can see her name @ the top, an image of a lamb in the middle (the latin for "lamb," agnus, sounds like agnes, plus lambs symbolize virginity and innocence), but all around are implements of torture: a dagger, a pyre, a sword. wha?

well, i read about agnes this week, and the story is that she was martyred by the roman emperor diocletian around the year 305 when she was only thirteen years old. one source says she became a christian when she was ten, and she got in trouble when she rebuffed the advances of a high roman official and told him: “the one to whom i am betrothed is christ whom the angels serve. he was the first to choose me. i shall be his alone.” not a good idea, survival-wise. she was cast into a brothel and finally sentenced to die, purportedly b/c she was a christian and an empire-wide persecutions of christ's followers was underway about that time.

so, here's my question: what, if anything, am i supposed to learn from agnes' story? supposing, for a moment, that the legends are true (they actually conflict, some of them saying it was the emperor himself that was smitten w/ her, some saying she was beheaded, others that she was burned or strangled, etc.) . . . what that got to do wit me? i'm writing this in dc @ a caribou coffee, for god's sake. nobody @ the next table's going to throw down w/ me b/c i've got a bible in my bookbag.

i suggest we can learn that there are things worth dying for, whether we actually have to do so or not. i read an interview with gordon brown, the english chancellor of the exchequer (a cool-sounding job), who said courage is “not the absence of fear, because we are all afraid. courage is the belief that there is something more important than safety.” agnes reminds us there are things more important to our souls than, in no particular order: acquiring stuff, getting that next promotion, living in the right neighborhood, driving the right car, going to the right parties, wearing the right clothes -- more important, even, than living. the question for us today probably won’t be whether we are be brave enough to die violently for our lord, but whether we are brave enough to put to death our sinful selves for christ’s sake day after day after day, in the petty, unnoticeable, haphazard circumstances of our lives. the stories of our saints remind us that, by god's grace, it may be so.

saint agnes, pray for us.


a long strange trip

twenty-five years ago tomorrow, i was fourteen (i think) and delighted that mississippi high schools were observing one of a series of several snow days. where i grew up, a quarter inch of snow = no school for a week. my friends, squeak and ed, spent a lot of time @ our house the next few days, sledding down the big hill toward town and getting my father to pull us back up w/ his 1960 corvair fitted w/ snow tires. oddly enough, what i remember most about the storm is how ed got so upset over how an airplane crashed into the 14th street bridge over the potomac river. ed was always a current events kind of guy, and he was irate that such a debacle could happen. the post article reflects about how the accident changed aviation and, in retrospect, makes ed sound like he was a 16-year-old prophet.

now, a quarter of a century later, i live two blocks off 14th, and that bridge was my main way to work until we moved into the city. long and strange, indeed.


billions of balls

you know, i've said for several years that i want to live in a city, i want to live where it gets cold, i want to live right next door to the church where i work doing cutting-edge urban ministry, i want to live in a place where you don't have to own a car, etc.

forget all that.

i just want to live in a place where this happens.

(thanks to amy, who nurtures and cares for cool blogs here and here, for the link)


ascension and st. agnes

every once in a while i update our 20/30s page @ asa w/ a new pick. this one is one of the coolest i've seen, although i can't say i took it. actually, i did "take" it, just in the sense that i nicked it from the website of a new apartment building going up down the street. i especially like the darkening sky and whatever aperture they used to get the little blurry auto headlights on m L street. anyway, if you're in dc and you can't find us, look for this steeple. find it, then just stand outside and shout. eventually you'll be arrested, and you can just call me to come pick you up @ the precinct.

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dc4free#20: national cathedral

we've made the trip to the national cathedral several times now, but neither renee's parents nor mine had been, so we went again over xmas. it's a beautiful, awesome building to tour, even if it does leave me a bit cold sometimes. i much prefer little tiny incense-scented anglican chapels in the woods of england somewhere (although i've never actually been in one of them) to huge stone buildings that took like 80 years to build and have no steel in them (my father-in-law was quite impressed by that architectural detail). this pic is one my mom took of the altar in what i believe was the st. joseph chapel. the whole place is beautiful, but i'm always happiest when i think that i am standing in the place where pres. jed bartlet gave his great "two cathedrals" soliloquy.

gratia tibi ago, domine.
haec credam a deo pio, a deo justo, a deo scito?
cruciatus in crucem.
tuus in terra servus, nuntius fui; officium perfeci.
cruciatus in crucem. eas in crucem.

best. tv scene. ever.

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