Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I shouldn't be surprised

I guess when you don't post for months and months at a time, people stop reading. Heh. That'll learn me.

Sometimes I wish I wasn't so darn good!

I mean really! I have to pull back a little or I'll end up doing here what happened back in Virginia. Namely - "We don't have to worry about anything, 'cause Zuke is so darn good!" Let's look at the facts:
  • Going in to last nights event, everyone here on staff was freaking out about it, myself included. And frankly, if I was not on staff here there would have been moments last night that would have been painful and awkward. I am an EmCee by nature. Put me in front of a large group of people (it does not matter how old they are) and I'll charm the socks off them and give them an enjoyable experience.
  • I had previously predicted a number of the challenges that arose last night. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that 30 minutes is not enough time for dinner (fer crying out loud!).
  • Please take note: I have been in this position for a month and a half and feel like I have my stuff together better than people who have been here for years.

GAH! If I'm not careful, I'll end up being "indispensible" to the success of anything we do here. I don't want that (though it offers substantial job security). I don't want to have to be physically present at every event - I'll end up working 60 hours a week if I do. That might be fine for people who have a problem setting boundaries and letting go. That might be fine for people who come to work to escape their home life. But neither of those statements describe me. I love my job, but I love my life away from my job too. Frankly, no one at work is half as important to me as my darlin'. Heck - I almost rate my dog above my job (almost, but not quite).

Anyway - I think I need to bring other people into active roles at our events. I'll start tonight. We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Summer Movie Reviews - the Short Version

The DaVinci Code: Not bad - I enjoyed it and found it entertaining. Don't get started on me with the whole Mary Magdalene thing either! Dan Brown is no historian, and the ones who thought up that little "Jesus & Mary were married and had kids" theory are not historians either no matter what they call themselves. On the other hand... the movie had some pretty good theology in it in a couple places.

X:3 - The Final (or was it Last) Stand: Not bad - it was more reminiscent of the first one than the second. It threw things like character development out the window and went full throttle with the action. At least Wolvie kicked a lot of butt in this one. It always bugged me how Mystique and Fingernails Girl in the first two movies were able to go toe-to-toe with the Clawed One. These are two characters upon which Logan routinely opens up a can in the comics. I don't mind that the Juggernaut kicked Wolvie's butt in X:3. That makes sence. They did a great job on Pheonix, though. It's a pretty good flick, but ranks third in the series with X:2 being the best by far.

Superman Returns: thie was the highpoint of the movie season for me. I loved this film front to back and bottom to top. I am a die-hard Superman fan and love the way this movie was basically an homage to the origninal 1977 classic. I could go on and on, but I won't. Except to say that I still get chills remembering certain moments in this movie and I felt like I was a little kid all over again. I can't wait for the DVD (which I will purchase along with the Donner cut of Superman II - coming out this November I believe).

Lady in the Water: I liked this movie. I can't really describe it, but I love the way ol' M. Night can work a fairy tale fantasy story right into the midst of the strangeness of today's world. The characters were the best part. My personal favorite was the film critic who thinks he knows so much about film conventions - conventions which the director thrills to break at every turn.

The Descent: This movie was more than a little bit disturbing. It is a horror film that pulls no punches. Basically, six women go spelunking and end up fighting for their lives against some sort of mutated humanoid lifeform that likes to eat - well - anything and anyone. I don't want to poke holes in the plot - which is not hard - and I found the experience of the movie satisfying on the whole. In the end, the "descent" we are talking about is not dropping oneself down into a hole, but the descent into madness which could await anyone if they are confronted with the wrong thing at the wrong time.

The Illusionist: This was another fun one. Go see it. I liked it. Did I mention it was fun? Ed Norton was great. So was... whatshisface - he always plays medieval type bad guys - whatever. It had a good story and good characters, a great plot and old timey magic tricks. Good stuff.

Hollywoodland: Ben Afleck playing George Reeves playing Superman in the 1950's series The Adventures of Superman. For those of you who don't know the history, I'll ellaborate. George Reeves probably could have been a true Hollywood movie star, but the first role of any note he picked up was that of Superman/Clark Kent in the series. Apparently, something like 91% of American families watched the show every week. And George was amazing. He was real and likable, dashing and noble. A real hero. But George never got another job after that. He couldn't shake the cape off his back. He eventually committed suicide under mysterious circumstances. This film tries to tackle the mystery. Adrien Brody plays a PI hired to investigate, but he's all PI cliches. Diane Lane plays the wife of a studio executive who has an affiar with Reeves, but she's all cliches too! Afleck plays Reeves. And at first you think he's all cliches too. But he's not. His portrayal is dead on. Ben Afleck is not my favorite actor. But I think he did a good job. In this case (and in this case only) I will allow him to wear the red and blue. But don't get any ideas, Ben. You are no Brandon Routh.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

It's too early to be disillusioned

I began my new job here in Connecticut with high hopes and a lot of excitement. This place is doing something new and exciting in my field and I am thrilled to be a part of it.
This place is not all that much different after all...
Yeah, the programs we're working on are innovative and cutting edge, but the mentality of some of the people running things is still the same.
I guess all church work is basically the same. The pastor feels like he has to do everything or it doesn't get done right. The Coordinator of Faith Formation is really the same as a DRE who also thinks she has to do everything or it won't get done right. The Assistant Coordinator of Faith Formation (me) is really just a "youth minister" who is expected to do everything himself so it gets done right.
I don't work that way. I never have. Ask Joe, Pat, Alan, Julia, and Marilyn. They know. I generally only do those aspects of church work that genuinely interest me and try to get other people to do the rest. I'm not all that interested in "doing" youth ministry. I like kids - I like hanging out with them on occasion. But, if I do it all, then what happens to those kids when I move away, or get an infection? Nothing. This place has almost no youth ministry to speak of right now and I think its because it was focussed on a "youth minister" doing all the "youth ministry." Feh. BAH! HRMPF!
Oh - here's another thing. Right now, this church is offering four Faith Formation "sessions" every month. They are all full. There are still people that want to enroll. Why are we not doing another session to accomodate them? There are two reasons I have been given. 1. It would mean that the pastor, the Faith Formation lady, and I would all have to be there for another night and no one wants that. The main problem being that the pastor (who is not a young man) can't physically handle it.
There is a problem here (and I think you know where I am going with this) - why does the pastor feel like he has to do everything? Why is it that I get brushed aside when I make the suggestion that the pastor shouldn't be doing everything. Why is it that when I mention we might consider mentoring people along the way who can fill some of our shoes so we don't have to be there every night I get ignored! Phooey!
I don't know what model of Church these people are working out of, but I know which model of church they talk about: they talk about collaboration. They talk about whole community involvment. They talk about doing something different and new. But as far as I can tell, they are hindered by old patterns of thought and activity from which they simply refuse to fre themselves. And I am stuck in their world too.
So. I've decided to ignore them. For the most part, I can get away with it. I am going to build this program so well that it runs like a well-oiled machine whether or not I am at the helm. I can't force anyone to see the big picture when they all seem so focussed on what's right in front of them. I can just do my best to show them a different possibility. A new way of doing things that will build a better community, parish, and world by extension. Disillusioned? With the job maybe. But not with the work.