Saturday, May 12, 2007

mid-morning time waster: create a caption

the writer of the best caption will be awarded one of preston's yellow and seedy poo dollars. all submissions must be received by 10 p.m. on May 11th, 2007. employees and relatives of musings of a jaded optimist are not eligible to receive prizes. no purchase necessary. void where prohibited.

Friday, May 11, 2007

on unintended consequences
today i had the opportunity to observe a job club* that was facilitated by a colleague that works at rectangle, inc. in melrose, mass. since today's curriculum focused on perfecting the art of the follow-up call it was unsurprising that my colleague opened the lesson with the following lead: "today we are going to talk about what you should say when you follow-up on a lead, so i thought it would be fun if we began this teaching by discussing what we should not say when placing a follow up call."

"ok, you heard me. what are some things we should never say when we are following up on an application?"

in response to the facilitator's rather clumsy cajoling the surprisingly diverse group of job seekers responded** in the following manner:

a) "you got my job?!"
b) "um, hi?"
c) "what's up, my nigga?"

needless to say, the latter comment precipitated a five minute break.

* did you know that in comparison with an individual job seeker job club members are 23% less likely to quit their job search within the first month and 33% more likely to locate a job within three months? did you really give a damn? i didn't think so.
** i shit you not.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


early this morning, in lieu of spewing invectives inspired by traffic, i thought about the way that i value scripture. when i was younger in the faith, i used to look at scripture as the unquestioned foundation of my faith. for this reason if i had doubts about God or felt emotional distance from the calling of the great commission i concluded that a lack of time in the word the core issue. at that time i also thought that the correct, common sense answer for all the social issues facing the church, such as women in ministry, stem cell research and the insiduous suppleness of janet jackson's breast, were located somewhere within scripture. thus, if i could only crack the code i figured that i could ascertain a revealed answer for everything.

i don't really look at scripture in the same way any more. instead of a compendium of absolute life principles and an objective, comprehensive statement on the beautiful, good and true, i now tend to look at scripture as an inspired collection of stories about God's creative, redeeming love and people's varying desire to either converge with or contradict God's story. thus, i read the stories of scripture in hopes of finding points of convergence for my community, family and individual story. conversely, as i listen to scripture i hope to find wisdom as i seek to keep the contradictions between my stories and God's stories as minimal as possible.

i suspect i'm not making much sense, but that's what i'm thinking about today. my prayer is that we will learn to listen well to both God's stories and our stories so that we will experience the joy of convergence as often as possible and avoid points of contradiction a little more effectively than we have in the past. pax.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

memorandum from daddy random

how'd you like that new title?! yeah, i hate it too. i'd love to blame global warming, the recent advent of my only son and rectangle's recently re-inforced draconian internet policy for my lack of posting, but i confess that

last weekend, dr. james, agent b and many others (though not nearly enough...join us next year!) attended the God for those who hate church conference over at the gathering space in salem. although i'm one of the many attendees who generally abhor conferences* i really enjoyed the experience. highlights included a showing of frisbee: the life and death of a hippie preacher,** jim henderson's*** unexpectedly intriguing discussion of non-institutional forms of christianity in india and hanging out with karen ward of church of the apostles and tony jones of emergent. however,**** my favorite part of the conference were the little vignettes provided by pastor phil. there was one moment on friday night when pastor phil asked the audience whether any of us had ever felt like we were currently walking through a swamp, constantly wondering whether our next step forward would land on something solid or send us plummeting into the waters below. for some reason in that moment tears welled in my eyes***** and i was, for a moment, awash in a deep communion that seemed to bind those of us who had gathered. it seems to me that pastor phil is a broken man who is not not called to bind wounds so much as he is to call the broken together through friendship, word and song, so that together we can await the healer.

although i should be giving the cardinals well-deserved world champion free pass this year, i must confess that they are fucking killing me. right now i am one click away from and two clicks away from a live feed, yet i can't bring myself to look. ugh, for good reason. that holliday kid always sticks an alou-sized shiv in us.

that's all for now. there's more to say about how amazing it is to invest one's days in a mission worth believing in and how wonderful my pixie like wife is, but those thoughts will have to wait. much peace, much love.

* i have quite enough pissing contests with co-workers and cubs fans, thank you very much!
** a documentary i'd been waiting to see for almost a year and a half and, when watched, twisted my teeny white panties in a thousand little knots. this documentary raises all sorts of questions about how the church attempts to water down the passion and the glory of the kingdom and how christians of all shapes and leadership sizes carefully manipulate the charisms of individuals in order to satiate our personal ambitions.
*** i'm sure others expected more. call me philistine.
**** and i'm not just saying this to kiss ass!
***** uncle freddy always says that any onrush of tears, especially over a crusty old bastard such as myself, should be received as an immediate call to attention for in those rare moments something beautiful, good and true is likely taking place.