End of Semester Hiatus

Tags

, , , , ,

It’s that time of year – the end of the semester.  For me that means I’ve got a crap-load of papers, projects, and sermons to prepare, turn in, deliver, etc. by Dec. 15 and the all important Approval Interview from my candidacy committee.  That doesn’t give me much time.  But it is doable.

So I’m taking a two week hiatus from blogging and tweeting.  I have a couple of last tweets that are ready to go and if you follow my twitter accounts you’ll see them, but then after that, I’m taking a short break to focus on finishing up the semester.

The only thing I will continue to do during this time is the daily prayer that I post on social media.  That’s just as much for me as it is for anyone else who reads it and prays along with me.  I need that.

Otherwise, I’ll see you in a couple of weeks.  Pray for me – I need it.

Miniature train display

Tags

, , ,

Miniature train displays are loads of fun.

DSCN0580.JPG

There is a huge train display at the Carnegie Science Center which displays the area all around Pittsburgh.

DSCN0581.JPG

The attention to detail is amazing.  And you can identify specific areas and buildings if you look closely.

DSCN0582.JPG

Another neat feature is the change in seasons as you move around the display.

DSCN0583.JPG

Incredible!

DSCN0584.JPG

This one was instantly familiar – it’s Falling Water.  I always wondered what it would look like really small.

DSCN0585.JPG

Water, water

Tags

, , ,

One of the sections of the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA, USA is dedicated to water and all the neat things that happen with water.

One of the coolest things was this:

DSCN0572.JPG

It’s the impact of light on water.  The water starts as a steady stream and then you can play with the light hitting the water and guess what – you end up with water droplets.  Pretty amazing.

And of course, when we talk about water, we have to talk about pipes – it’s how water gets moved on land.  There’s a wall at the Science Center that lets you play with pipes to see what works best.  The boys loved this.

dscn0575

Making this Sunday’s Gospel fit society

The Gospel lesson for today is:

Matthew 24:36-44

36 “But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, 39 and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41 Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. 42 Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.

Given how our society pretty much ignores Advent and completely misunderstands the church season, I decided to re-write today’s Gospel lesson in such a way that society would understand and could relate to it.

A reading from the 24th e-mail of Black Friday savings:

But about that day and hour, no one knows, neither the clerks, nor the managers, but only the CEO.  For as the days of shopping in person were, so will be the coming of the Sales of the season.  For in those days before the internet they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the store, and they knew nothing about the sales until Noah came back home with his presents already bought and wrapped a month before Christmas and swept them all away by showing off completed shopping list, so too will be the coming of the sales of the season.  Then two will be in the football stadium, one will be getting text messages and one will be left wondering how they missed the sale.  Two women will be making Thanksgiving dinner together, one will do all her shopping online with one finger on her phone and one will be left wondering why her friend isn’t listening to her.  Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your savings e-mail is coming.  But understand this: if the owner of the iphone had known in what part of the night the hacker was coming, he would have installed malware and would not have let his phone be hacked.  Therefore also be ready, for the Black Friday savings are coming to your device at an unexpected hour.

The Gospel of consumerism.

Here’s the deal – Advent is a misunderstood season.  Mostly because so many people misunderstand who Jesus is.  Jesus isn’t just a nice cuddly baby who was born some 2000 years ago, then grew up and was a nice guy and a good teacher who taught people to be nice to one another.  People don’t get tortured and executed to being nice and teaching people to just be nice.  If that’s all he was, then guess what – Jesus has no impact on our life today, nor should he.

But Advent reminds us that Jesus is more than that – Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah who is coming and who is bringing the Kingdom of God in the future, in our present and who started the process in his birth so long ago.  Jesus isn’t a one time event in the past who has no impact on our lives today.  Jesus messes with our lives and with the world.  He isn’t the messiah that you buy at the story, or elect.  He isn’t the messiah that entertains us.  He is the messiah who turns the world right side up.

Jesus brings us the gifts that matter – the gifts of love, peace, joy, forgiveness, hope and so much more.  He gives us these gifts and calls on us to share them far and wide telling us not to worry, they won’t run out.  We are called to give the gift of respect to those we disagree with, the gift of mercy to those we can’t understand, the gift of love to family, friends and neighbors, the gift of forgiveness to those we claim are our enemies, the gift of patience to our children, the gift of attention to all those who feel lost and left behind and forgotten.

Advent messes with us because Jesus messes with us and our world by making all things new, reconciling broken relationships, and giving us the gift of salvation.  This is something the worldly version of this crazy consumer season can’t ever provide – not even close.

Space…the final frontier

Tags

, , ,

We went back inside the Carnegie Science Center for more fun.

First stop…space.

dscn0562

Because what else would you start with at a Science Center?

We got to explore what it would be like to be an astronaut – specifically what it would be like to sleep in space – well, sort of…

dscn0563

And we got to get a little sense of what weightlessness is like.  Again, just a little.

dscn0565

 

USS Requin continued

Tags

, , ,

Our tour through the USS Requin continued.  We enjoyed seeing all the sites and were amazed at the fact that the sailors could live in such tight quarters for months at a time.

dscn0551

Even the mess, the largest open area is tight.

dscn0552

The biggest lesson from the tour – technology is amazing.  The engineering that made all of this possible is beyond comprehension for most people.  Yet humanity has been able to do this.

dscn0558

Just imagine what we could do towards peaceful ends.