Wednesday, June 28, 2006

My Bodacious Summer To-Do List

I was going to post this on the first day of summer (remember that day, when there was actually some nice, hot weather – the kind you should have all year long?), but things being what they are, and work being what it is (grrr), it didn’t happen.

Remember the first day back at school, when you had to write those stupid “how I spent my summer vacation” essays? I have always hated writing essays; I would get writer’s block just from staring at that blank page. Plus it was always hard to write what you “had” to write, versus what you “wanted” to write. Blogging is better, because I can write anything I want – no grading, no judgment.

While I certainly don’t have summer vacations off anymore (those were the days!), I can still relish in what I’d like to accomplish over the summer (at least I have Fridays off until September!). And I am describing my list as “bodacious” because it seems to be my word of the week this week (for whatever reason, I ended up replying to a co-worker’s email with “Bodacious – thanks!” and it seems to have stuck).

Anyhow, without further ado, here is my “bodacious” list of things I want to do this summer.

1. Yard work – I love mowing the yard (all 0.18 acres of it!)

2. Work on obtaining some color other than pasty white or lobster red (isn’t there some middle ground that I could find; why does it have to be one or the other?) Fortunately, this is one type of multi-tasking even this uni-tasker can manage – do this along with #1 and increase my vitamin D intake all at once!

3. Finish Patti’s afghan for the bedroom. I have so far (since February when I started crocheting again after not having done it for over 10 years!) completed afghans and coordinating pillows for all three kids, plus a set for Patti in the living room. I am currently about two-thirds of the way through crocheting this light brown (latte colored) afghan, with all sorts of textured patterns in it. Not an original design, but working from a pattern (I’m not quite comfortable designing my own crochet projects yet), but certainly very nice and will go well in our bedroom once we redo the color scheme in there the way we want it (cappuccino and light sage green). I’ll post a pic of it when it’s done (the afghan that is, not the room – the room makeover is a couple of years down the road).

4. Make a pair of coordinating crocheted pillows to go with the afghan. I am planning on doing them in a medium sage green, in a pattern inspired by the afghan. That’s as original as I get with crochet projects for the time being. Again, I’ll post a pic when they’re finished.

5. Barbequing – MMMMmmmm. Nothing like hangin’ out by the grill, beer (or cooler, or margarita) in hand, hanging out with the wife and kids. We need to have some friends over a time or three, I think.

6. More yard work (I think there are some shrubs I need to dig up)

7. Further living up to the ‘CraftyGuy’ persona, I’d like to get some woodworking projects out of the way as well. Mainly some covers for our ugly old radiators throughout the house. A good beginner project from what I’ve heard, so I shouldn’t cause too much damage. Perhaps a bookcase or two as well – we shall see.

8. Take the second (out of three) Wilton cake-decorating course. Hone my frosting flower skills a bit more.

9. Nurse those inevitable sunburns.

10. As if my plate wasn’t already full, I would really like to get back into a quartet again at some point. During most of my time with the Sounds of Concord barbershop chorus, I also sang baritone with a quartet named Z Street. That lasted about 3 years, then we called it quits (perhaps a topic for another time). It was great fun while it lasted though. While I clearly don’t have the time or energy to devote to a highly competiton-oriented chorus such as SoC at this time, I miss the quartet experience and I’d love to get back into one at some time – either baritone or tenor (not lead, as I’m far more comfortable singing harmony, and my bass isn’t nearly powerful enough), but would be nice, even if just for the fun of it. But realistically, this may need to wait. The reasons why I left the Sounds of Concord would speak into why I should perhaps not bite off more than I can chew, schedule- and priority-wise.

11. Yard work. I think we have a meadow growing behind the fence – where’s the weed killer?

12. Actually get out to the driving range sometime. Would be nice to get to the point where I don’t embarrass myself before going to a real golf course!

13. Power-wash and re-stain the deck.

14. Clean out the garage. Oh look - I found some golf clubs!

15. Look for the SPF-7000 sun block.

16. Clean out the basement (wow – an inside activity, who woulda thunk it?)

17. Play with the digital camera a bit. I’m no professional photographer by any stretch of the imagination, and I’m certainly no artist by anyone’s standards, but I have started to dabble with photography a bit as of late (perhaps I may have been inspired by a friend of mine from college, Carol Schiraldi, who now lives in Austin, TX, and is an absolutely amazing photographer – she has had work displayed in some number of exhibits already, some of them juried). I tend to favor nature pics (capturing odd angles and shapes) and I like sepia tones (that funky yellow-brown color you see in the older photos - I like the idea of taking new or modern subjects, and photographing them with an “old” appearance), but all that’s a topic for another day I suppose.

18. Oh, and did I mention yard work?

Whew! That’s a long list. No excuse for being bored this summer. Now if only I could figure out how to play hooky from work – that would truly be bodacious.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Episcopalians Refuse Affirmation of Christ

I normally wouldn't directly blog stuff that I have received in email or read online, but this was so mouth-dropping, I had to post it. A sad state of affairs, indeed...

Episcopalians Refuse Affirmation of Christ

By Hans Zeiger, VirtueOnline Correspondent

COLUMBUS, OHIO (6/20/06)-The House of Deputies of the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church today overwhelmingly refused to even consider a resolution that affirmed Jesus Christ as the "only name by which any person may be saved."

"This type of language was used in 1920s and 1930s to alienate the type of people who were executed. It was called the Holocaust. I understand the intent, but I ask you to allow the discharge to stay," said the Rev. Eugene C. McDowell, a graduate of Yale Divinity School and Canon Theologian for the Diocese of North Carolina.

The convention's Committee on Evangelism first heard the resolution and discharged it to the chagrin of that committee's chairman, the Rev. Colenzo Hubbard, a noted evangelist and director of Emmanuel Episcopal Center in the Diocese of West Tennessee. The Rev. Hubbard motioned to lift the resolution from the discharge list, but after heated debate, more than seven tenths of the House of Deputies rejected the motion.

Drafted by the Rev. Guido Verbeck, rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Western Louisiana, Resolution D058 declared the Episcopal Church's belief in an "unchanging commitment to Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the only name by which any person may be saved," and it acknowledged evangelism as "the solemn responsibility placed upon us to share Christ with all persons when we hear His words, 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No-one comes to the Father except through me' (John 14:6)."

The resolution further affirmed "the substitutionary essence of the Cross and the manifestation of God's unlimited and unending love for all persons," while calling on the Episcopal Church to renew its Scripture-based witness to "all persons."

The Rev. Hubbard said that he voted for the resolution in committee because of his simple responsibility as a Christian. Hubbard quoted several verses of Scripture to demonstrate his conviction. "I do agree that Jesus Christ is both the substitutionary essence of the Cross and the manifestation of God's unlimited and unending love for all persons," said Hubbard, once a star on the University of Alabama football team.

Echoing Hubbard, Canon Dr. Kendall Harmon, a leading conservative in the denomination, argued for a "reaffirmation of what some have called 'the scandal of particularity' of the Cross."

Judy Mayo from the Diocese of Fort Worth also opposed discharge. "My friends, this is a church convention, and this is the very essence of our faith. This may be the most important thing we deal with at this entire convention...Surely we can say together that Jesus Christ is Lord. And if we can't, we have no reason to be here."

But liberals outnumbered Hubbard, Harman, and Mayo by far.

The Rev. McDowell of the Diocese of North Carolina told VirtueOnline after the floor vote, "In the Episcopal Church we don't do up and down votes on Jesus Christ as Lord, and to do so is potentially a mean-spirited approach, to ask questions that aren't meant to be questions."

McDowell explained that how one lives his life is the more important issue than whether one affirms Jesus as Lord. To place a statement of belief over actions is the essence of "self-righteousness," he said. "Actions speak louder than proclamations...What Jesus calls us to do is to live our lives."

McDowell outlined his basic theology of grace: "Salvation by grace is remembering that we are the children of a living God. Grace is already there. And salvation is realizing we now live into that salvation. And sanctification is the transforming of my life from one that's me-centered to one that's God-centered."

But to acknowledge the exclusive Lordship of Christ in a resolution would be too much for McDowell and the majority of deputies at the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church.

The Rev. Robert Certain of the Diocese of San Diego told the House of Deputies that he refused to consider the resolution because the General Convention of 1982 had endorsed salvation through Christ alone, and a resolution was unnecessary.

But the message was clear to the Rev. Donald Perschall, rector of St. John's Episcopal Church in Centralia, Illinois, as he left the convention hall Tuesday, shocked by the events of the day. "On top of leaving the Anglican Communion, we've decided to leave Jesus Christ behind as well."

It was not a surprise vote though; the liberalization of the Episcopal Church predates 1982. Episcopalians have made it clear by their rejection of traditional marriage and other recent innovations that a new set of principles now dominate the Episcopal Church. Though the trend toward liberalism in the Episcopal Church has been ongoing for decades, it was in 2003 that the consecration of a homosexual as Bishop of New Hampshire crystallized the departure of the denomination from its bearings in classical Anglicanism.

Dr. Michael Howell of the Diocese of Southwestern Florida and a member of the Special Committee that deliberated the Convention's response to the global Anglican Communion's Windsor Report, told VirtueOnline that the discharge of Resolution D058 is "very much related" to the failure of Resolution A161 moments earlier.

A161 would place a moratorium on the consecration of homosexual bishops and the blessing of homosexual unions in a minimal effort to comply with the Windsor Report. It was soundly defeated on the floor of the House of Deputies Tuesday.

"If we cannot affirm the unique salvific power of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are no longer a Christian church." Switching to a sarcastic tone, Howell declared, "We have no need for a Creed. Why do again what we did in the past?"

"This clearly shows that we are of a mind that does not affirm Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. And we should not be surprised that our church is dying spiritually," said Howell.

The final tally on the electronic vote was 70.5 percent for discharge (675 votes) and just 29.5 (242 votes) to consider the resolution affirming Jesus Christ as Lord.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Coffee and hot-melt gun on ciabatta? Lunchtime ramblings...

No, I'm not planning on making a habit of blogging about what I had for lunch (whether I have grilled cheese or whatnot for lunch isn't really anyone's business), but bear with me on this. Let the rambling begin.

So, I'm having my lunch - a tomato, mozzarella and basil sandwich on ciabatta that I bought at the $tarbuck$ near work. I love Starbucks despite their exhorbitant prices [I suppose if I am going to let them be my coffee pusher and fuel my caffeine habit, they can pretty much charge what they want], and I really love their TMB on ciabatta sandwiches (kinda like a Caprese salad, which I also love). Anyway, while I'm eating lunch (yes, in my office - sadly I've allowed myself to become too much of a hermit at work) and this email pops up. Seems this one guy has misplaced his hot-melt gun and has sent a company-wide email inquiring as to its whereabouts. This must be one special hot-melt gun to warrant a company-wide email! Carol Duval needs to be told right away! Heaven forbid that a special hot-melt gun turn up missing! (Who's Carol Duval, you ask? She's on that one artsy-crafty show on HGTV in the morning which I will watch when I'm home sick from work - it's kinda fun, sometimes interesting, sometimes boring, but beats the heck out of most of the other swill on TV.)

Anyway, that email just struck me as funny. I'm sure that guy will find his hot-melt gun (I hope he doesn't accidentally sit on it or anything - though that might be one way to find it), and we can all return to our lunches, be they tomato, mozzarella and basil on ciabatta, or PB&J or chicken gra prao (Thai food! Mmmmm!), or whatever.

Ah well, my lunch is finished and I have to go back to work (after stopping by the kitchenette for a cup of coffee-flavored[?] battery acid - hey, at least it has caffeine in it). Hope your lunch was enjoyable (and entertaining) as well.