Thursday, August 16, 2007

Monkey + Bulldog = Comedy

Happy Elvis Death Day

Thirty years ago, the king of rock and roll keeled over in his bathroom and died at the age of 42. I am a huge fan of Elvis. Elvis lives in my CD player and all over my iPod. So I was pretty happy to find this in my local paper this morning: On 30th anniversary of Elvis' death, nun recalls their films.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Free Doggie!

I need a favor!

My neighbor has a puppy he's giving away (FREE)!
It's a Dachshund, it's housbroken and it's great with kids. He's giving it away because his wife says the dog "stares" at her when she is undressing, and that it gives her the "heebie jeebies." I think she is just weird. If you're interested or know someone who is, let me know!

Here's a picture of the dog (below).

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

August Arrived Too Early

As far as my job is concerned, the month of July was awesome. I took kids to a poor town in New York where we painted and repaired the homes of the poverty-stricken residents of Hoosick Falls, NY. The next week, I was in Boston for a conference that was a nice working break. I had a good time, but the work was tough too. The past couple weeks, I have enjoyed the office to myself as I followed up with the kids I took to NY and work on arranging a fun day trip to one of those obnoxious "uber-Catholic" youth rally things in the next town down the highway with as many kids as want to go. Work was good in July.

Now it is August.

Now I have to deal with the fact that everything is ramping up all over again and even though I spent the last couple weeks getting caught up I am already falling behind. Now I have to deal with the fact that all the big plans I made for this year over the summer are actually going to take a whole lot of work. I am one day into August and I am already dreading the direction things are going.

Gah. This is me just feeling stressed out after a month of things being pretty dang awesome. Don't take me too seriously. The problem is that this is really two or three jobs rolled into one, and I only enjoy one of the three. In July, I only really had to worry about that one. Now I have the other two pressing down on me too. August. Bleh.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Harry Potter and Christianity

(if you are well-versed in Christian themes in literature)
I'm just wondering if some of the right-wing Christians who have been so vehemently opposed to Harry Potter for the past 10 years will lighten up after reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Christian themes are all over this book. Here's the just one example: A verse from scripture plays a pretty significant role in the story. I'll give you the verse. You can look it up yourself.

1 Corinthians 15:26
For those of you who don't own a Bible or are just feeling a little lazy, go here.

So now we can uncritically embrace Harry Potter, right? Not quite. While the basic Christian message is played out in the story, there are some subtle details we have to be aware of first. I can't go into much detail, because I don't want to just give away the whole thing to those of you who haven't read the book yet, but suffice to say, I think Rowling has at least a passing knowledge of the Gospel of Judas and a basic understanding of Gnosticism, a heresy which has plagued the Church on and off since the first century. If you want me to go into more detail on this, just ask (most of you have my email address).

Does the fact that J.K. Rowling has given us a Gnostic Christian interpretation diminish the Christian themes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? I think it does - but just a little. Like I said, the most important Christian themes and ideas are still there, and the story can be easily employed by ministers, preachers and teachers to underscore Christian themes like service, selflessness, and love.

I'm sure there will be some obstinate people in whose eyes J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter will never be acceptable. But Christ gives us a principle which we can use to judge their acceptability: "Whoever is not against us is for us." (Mark 9:40). Given the strength of the images and the clear connection to Gospel values, I believe that J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter series are definitely "for us."

Monday, July 23, 2007

I've been busy

I just got back to work after about 2 weeks of travelling around the the Northeast doing the Lord's work.
Okay, that makes it sound a lot grander than it was, but I did take a group of 16 young people and 4 of us adults to a Work Camp in Hoosick Falls, NY for a week (July 8 - 14). I did this before with a few kids from St. Stephen's in VA, but this was a totally different experience. These teens were at least a year or two older than the one's I took before, and these teenagers actually wanted to go! Can you imagine that! We were the only Catholic group there, and that could have been problematic (my church had issues with anti-Catholic sentiment among some of our more fundamentalistic brothers and sisters at last year's work camp), but all the other church groups treated us with as much respect and love as I could have hoped for. I had an awesome crew of young people to work with most of whom had been to more work camps than me. As I get pictures back from the kids, I'll post them on my newly-created Myspace page. (I'll get to that in a second.)

Last week, I was in Boston at an "Institute in Lifelong Faith Formation." Exploring the various models and methods of faith formation across the entire lifespan. I learned all sorts of good stuf about multiple intelligences, the 4MAT process of learning, different learning and teaching styles and read a great book about teaching by Parker Palmer called The Courage to Teach. Look it up if you've ever been or might consider becoming a teacher.

Yes, I did just set up a Myspace. I had to, really. I'm currently employed as a youth minister and it would be silly to ignore one of the most popular ways in which young people communicate. I mean, one of the freshmen girls promoed a pretty awesome movie night for the parish almost entirely though Myspace. We had nearly 50 people come out to it. Every one of the young people on my work crew at camp told me that the best way to stay in touch with them is through their Myspace pages. So I have one now. I'll still use this as my primary blog though.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

This Is Not Working

So, my darlin' is spending some time away this summer to check out the lawyer lifestyle in multiple cities while I remain here with only my dog to keep me company. I'm not having an easy time with this. It just points out to me how much I rely on her to make me feel like I'm doing something productive with my life. Even when I'm doing something good and productive, I have an unshakable feeling that my time would be better spent doing the exact same thing in her company. I used to think that fulfilling work and great colleagues in that work would be enough for me. When I found that this was not the case, I got a dog. I thought I had it made. But my dog, my work, my job, and my colleagues and coworkers are simply not enough for me. They don't challenge me, they don't call me to be better the way she does. Without her I am treading water - just trying to keep breathing until she comes back.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

How cool is this!

Scenes from the next Indiana Jones movie are going to be shot in New Haven this summer! I wonder if I can get in on this. I'd be a great "guy who gets run over #4."

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I can't thank you enough... really.

So, there's this guy who does a decent amount of volunteer work for me. More than some and less than others. He thinks of himself as a photographer and prides himself on his proficiency with digital imaging technology. Nearly every time I see this guy, I thank him for everything he does. I tell him he's the best. I thank him via email, I thanked him in the bulletin. I tell other people to thank him when they see him. I know I have a tendancey to use hyperbole when I write here, but in this case you can all take me at my word. Everything here is 100% true. I thank this guy a lot.

So I come in the other day and two people tell me that he was in here complaining that he's not getting thanked enough. He's feeling unappreciated and he wants some kind of written thank you note or something as acknowledgement of everything he's done.


So now I'm going to write him a letter. I'm going to send him a thank you note. I'm going to get all the kids to sign it for him. But, like I said, he is more helpful than some, and less helpful than others. At some point, I am going to get sick of dealing with this guy, as nice and as generous as he is. Basically, as far as I can tell, he has a hobby - digital photography - and he sees me as a way to enjoy his hobby and "help out" the kids.

Like I said. Thanks, but no thanks. Part of me just wants to walk up to him and ask him, "How much credit do you want for doing something I could ask any parent to do and they'd do just as well?" Get over yourself, dude. You are only helpful until you become a pain in my [SELF-CENSORED]. High maintenance volunteers do more harm than good. Thanks for your help this year. Next year? Don't bother.

Monday, April 16, 2007


My stomach is clenched in fear, anger and sadness. I am just hearing about the scope of the killings this morning at Virginia Tech. I can't help but think of the young people I know from my previous position in Norther Virginia. How many ended up going to Virginia Tech? How many were planning on it? How many have siblings there? How many of the parents have children there? It is more than I want to think about, but I can't get it out of my mind.

At least 22 dead.

How many wake-up calls do we need? "SOMETHING IS WRONG HERE!!!"

In a world in which the President of the United States believes that you should strike first if someone might strike you in the future...

In a world in which parents beat each other up at their children's sporting events...

In a world in which Christians embrace and encourage their hatred of people of other faiths...

In a world in which students at Yale Law School threaten to rape their female classmates on the internet and then hide anonymously behind "free speech..."

Is it any wonder that violence invades our lives in dramatic and traumatic ways?


Saturday, March 10, 2007

Why I'm Wearing Red on Tuesday

A few days ago, The Washington Post ran a story about the website This site allows users to log on anonymously and post - well - whatever the heck they want. This sort of site is not new. Many message boards and social networking sites allow this sort of thing. One hears rather regularly about kids in middle and high school using the internet to bully, embarrass, and harrass each other. On autoadmit, young Yale Law School students (among others) have posted such miserable filth and garbage concerning at least one of their female colleagues that she (a student at Yale Law School who has already had her work published) did not receive any job offers, though she interviewed with 16 potential employers. I'm sure that most of the posts on autoadmit are of a purely informative and helpful nature, but there are those despicable people who use the anonymity that the internet provides to indulge in whatever degrading, racist, sexist thoughts pass through their stunted minds.
So, in response, the Yale Law Women are out in force. One of their own has and continues to be subjected to these degrading attacks. Her name was not kept anonymous. She has been ridiculed by name and attacked by cowards who would not dare make such comments to her face. The Yale Law Women are fighting to hold the website responsible. They are fighting to expose the immoral and inhuman persons who perpetuate such oppression and hatred. They are fighting to hold the feet of employers to the fire should they use vicious unsubstatiated rumor as a hiring criteria. They are asking people to wear red on Tuesday, March 13 in protest and in solidarity.
I happen to be in love with one of the Yale Law Women. So I am privileged to see what happens when women who know what they are doing get fired up and angry. It is amazing to me to see man's inhumanity toward women get taken on and called out for what it is - HATE.
There is no way I am going to not join the courageous women at Yale who are willing to put themselves at risk of similar anonymous internet reprisals to show their outrage. Dangit! I am outraged! Women still, in the 21st century, struggle for equal protection, equal opportunity, and equal treatment with men. Garbage like this shows that men in positions of power resent and hate women for the progress they have made and seek to use whatever vile methods available to keep women underfoot.
These small-minded young men whose level of maturity approximates that of an adolescent beagle are hiding behind the first ammendment and spreading their ignorance across the internet. What's worse, they somehow got into Yale. That means that they have a higher chance of being in positions of leadership and influence later in life. The anonymity of the internet gives them complete freedom to say whatever they want and never be held responsible for it. If they (and the men who run autoadmit) get their way their anonymity will be protected, and someday one of these cretins will be a mayor, a congressman, a Senator, or President of the United States.
So I'll be wearing red in Tuesday. I'm going to go to my job in a town far away from this controversy with my red shirt on. I'm thinking of wearing a button: "Ask me why I'm wearing red!" so I get a chance to tell the 250 people I will talk to that day a little of what I wrote here. I want people - young men especially - to know that this kind of violation of any woman's dignity and humanity can not and will not be tolerated.