Thursday, January 01, 2009

reflections from the road: sunday, december 28th, monday, december 29th, tuesday, december 30th and wednesday, december 31st

crap. i really lost my way with these reflections. i was hoping to write on a daily basis in order to reincorporate the practice of blogging into my life, but i, obviously, fell far short. anyway, here are some scatter-shot reflections from our final days on vacation. please note: the date of the activity precedes the drivel.

28th: kellie, preston and i went to my home church to attend the morning service. due to the need to return the tire shredded rental car that morning, we arrived late and walked in just when the sermon was getting started. when the sermon began with three long, scarcely related, political quotes and then continued with step-by-step instructions on how to "forget your past" and prepare for the future, i realized once again that i really don't understand a lot about bible belt homiletics anymore.

the sermon was well delivered and it seemed to connect with the audience, but, from my perspective anyway, it lacked the provocation and subversion that marks a good sermon. i think that sermons should bring a sense of dislocation to christians who tend to become a little to comfortable in the midst of their exile and should shock visitors with the grace and compassion of the gospel. it appears to me that the christian churches we visited on this trip expect their pastors to serve more as chaplains than prophets, storytellers and social advocates. maybe that's part of the reason why, much to my dismay, i can't seem to fit in there anymore.

in the afternoon we celebrated christmas with the gentry side of the family. i was encouraged and surprised to hear that my cousin jeremiah, who is currently a captain in the air force, is pursuing an online theology degree through liberty university. so we had a lot to talk about and we enjoyed watching the patriots put a wind-blown pasting on the bills.

not that the pasting mattered, because brett farve SUCKS!

in the evening we celebrated christmas with the davis/holland side of the family. during that celebration, a minature replication of our traditional christmas eve gatherings, preston, kellie and i were showered with gifts. i'm not going to run through the particulars at any length, but preston received a game quality cardinals warm-up jacket, kellie received a gift card for a sewing machine, i received money to purchase some new clothes and we all received a snazzy sony handi-cam. a good time was had by all.

after the latter celebration, my cousin chris, my brother josh and i went to the fox and hound pub for a few beers. as josh and i drank skanky $2 shiner bocks and chris enjoyed tastier libations we had a great conversation about where we are, where we might be going and what the hell this might all mean. i really enjoyed our time together.

earlier that evening i also used a couple of gift cards to purchase hbo's generation kill mini-series of dvd. i really enjoyed the book on which the mini-series was based and apparently i'm such a devoted fan of the wire that i've decided to purchase anything david simon and ed burns produce. i'll let you know what i think about the series once i complete it.

jeez this is getting long already...

29th: the morning was fairly uneventful. i enjoyed a late mcdonald's breakfast with with ian and landon, josh's fiances' two sons, and rounded out the morning and early afternoon hours by playing with preston, who was in the process of gorging on his new petro-chemical products toys.

at 3 pm i met slowfo for a coffee at one of the dozens of starbucks that have sprouted up around town. scott and i were having a nice, breezy conversation concerning our role in our respective family systems and how much the ou sooners suck, when he asked me whether i thought that the church of our youth "prepared us for life in the real world." obviously the conversation that followed that question was long and drawn out as we questioned the unified telos, i.e., individual salvation, that was the apparent focus of our church's mission at that time, touched on the anemic perspectives on sexual ethics that were bestowed by youth groups and pondered the historicity of the divine genocide recorded in genesis 6. more importantly, after our conversation i walked away with confidence that slowfo is asking the right questions about life and is serving his family well. i love that guy.

after 3 pm, there's no nice way to say this, i entered my, "i'm tired of being away from home so now i'm going to be an asshole" mode. this happens on the backside of every trip that lasts for more than 5 days and there is generally little excuse for it. i apologize to those i victimized and will try to make the trip shorter next year.

in the evening, kellie, preston and i were planning to have dinner with wesley-wesley wilson and his lovely - yet, until now, completely unseen - wife amanda. but wes' food poisoning and my decision to spend a little more time with josh and crystal, made those plans untenable. next year in jerusalem! wesley.

in the evening, we went to see the CURIOUS case of benjamin button, which i thought was a pretty good flick. the original story was written by f. scott fitzgerald, but the setting and style reminded me of walker percy's the moviegoer. anyway, the movie was decent, with an excellent performance by cate blanchett, characteristically funny touches by david fincher and noteworthy cinematography of an epic scale. that being said, i wasn't sold on brad pitt's performance - although he's a fellow, characteristically handsome, oklahoman, i have to agree with one of the npr reviewer's accusation that there is little of interest going on in his face. aside from makeup, there was little nuance to his performance. i also thought the movie was a little self-important and would have benefited from both a few more touches of fincher's absurdist humor and a stronger editor.

30th: we enjoyed a great southern breakfast with my Pa Pa - for the record: little p adores big p - and we had a great lunch with my old seminary friends crystal and jenn in okmulgee, ok. after lunch, crystal showed us her beautiful, roomy, shotgun style house that sits on 3/4 of an acre, features two large porches and a fire pit and was purchased for well below 100K. i am now insanely jealous. i suppose at this point i should note that for all the bitching i do about s.h.i.t., i walked away from that experience with some excellent, long-term friends. i love you guys! and girls for that matter. always remember i'm an egalitarian eh-vangelical.

later that evening we celebrated my grandmother's 84th birthday with grilled steaks and cakes. it was great to celebrate my grandmother, who is a wonderful woman with a fascinating life story, and fun to reconnect with my uncle phou and aunt jeanie from texas.

31st: kellie, preston and i woke up at 4:45 am, which was probably about 15 minutes late, so we had to rush out the door to catch our plane. we were worried that the impending snow storm on the east coast would strand us in newark, nj, but, surprisingly - since most folks on the east coast are cowards when it comes to snow - our flight was released three hours late from newark and we made it back to providence. after which we had to struggle through three and a half hours of 30 mph driving to get home.

when we arrived in our beloved beverly, i went to pick up an order at china river, and unexpectedly ran into the pope, who told me he and aime are expecting a ____* in the spring. after our conversation, our food was finally ready so we slogged our way back to judson - where we had to make an illegal turn to access the homestead - put a screaming little p back down, enjoyed our food and watched a little killing.

btw - we didn't stay up to watch the balldrop. i may have some insecurity issues, but i respect myself far too much to subject myself to ryan seacrest and lionel richie.

* you'll have to ask them yourself!


kristi said...

i've been so bad about keeping up with your (and everyone else's) blog lately, and i'm so glad i read it today.

i love, LOVE this line: "it appears to me that the christian churches we visited on this trip expect their pastors to serve more as chaplains than prophets, storytellers and social advocates."

wow. really. great sentence. great truth. great insight.

glad you guys had a great time away (well, except for that part about you reverting to being an a-hole). :)

happy new year!

g13 said...

kristi - thanks for your kind words. i'm always trying to understand - and, hopefully, serve - my tribe.

after rereading that segment i would like to clarify that this statement is an observation and not a judgment.