Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Family Christmas

When people ask me 'Did you have a quiet Christmas?' I don't know quite what to tell them. Yes, I had lots of time off around Christmas. Yes, we had a nice Christmas Eve service at Hillside. However, I can't really say that Christmas was really quiet. We have a large family. There are no shy people in the family. Even when family members get married, the new family members, they're not shy either. Anyways, we had a great Christmas, I got lots of power tools and a few odds and ends and now we're back on the campaign trail. Here are some pics from the family Christmas.

The family Christmas was quite a 'production' (see Jazz hands right). :-)

How was your Christmas?


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Bono's Christmas Story

This is one of the most brilliant points in Bono's interview book, In Conversation.

I remember coming back from a very long tour. I hadn't been at home. Got home
for Christmas, very excited of being in Dublin. Dublin at Christmas is cold, but
it's lit up, it's like Carnival in the cold. On Christmas Eve, I went to St.
Patrick's Cathedral. I went to this place, sat. I was given a really bad seat,
behind one of the huge pillars. I couldn't see anything. I was sitting there,
having come back from Tokyo, or something like that. I went for the singing,
because I love choral singing. Community arts, a specialty! But I was falling
asleep, being up for a few days, traveling, because it was a bit boring, the
service, and I just started nodding off, I couldn't see a thing. Then I started
to try and keep myself awake studying what was on the page. It dawned on me for
the first time, really. It had dawned on me before, but it really sank in: the
Christmas story. The idea that God, if there is a force of Love and Logic in the
universe, that it would seek to explain itself is amazing enough. That it would
seek to explain itself and describe itself by becoming a child born in straw
poverty, in shit and straw ... a child ... I just thought "Wow!" Just the poetry
... Unknowable love, unknowable power, describes itself as the most vulnerable.
There it was. I was sitting there, and it's not that it hadn't struck me before,
but tears came down my face, and I saw the genius of this, utter genius of
picking a particular point in time and deciding to turn on this: love needs to
find form, intimacy needs to be whispered. To me, it makes sense. It's pure
logic. Essence has to manifest itself. It's inevitable. Love has to become an
action or something concrete. It would have to happen. There must be an
incarnation. Love must be made flesh.

It's Christmas time and it's time to celebrate the blessings that God has given us, the redemption that He's offered us and the example He portrayed for us. It is overwhelming, the thought that the God of creation, the One who is in and of Himself, the all powerful Being humbled Himself to the most frail and dependent of forms to start the redemption journey. This sets the tone for all of human existence. The promised Messiah has come to bring God's kingdom to earth.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 12, 2005

When I Look at the World

When you look at the world
What is it that you see?
People find all kinds of things
That bring them to their knees
I see an expression
So clear and so true
That it changes the atmosphere
When you walk into the room

So I try to be like you
Try to feel it like you do
But without you it's no use
I can't see what you see
When I look at the world

When the night is someone elses
And you're trying to get some sleep
When your thoughts are too expensive
To ever want to keep
When there's all kinds of chaos
And everyone is walking lame
You don't even blink now, do you
Or even look away

So I try to be like you
Try to feel it like you do
But without you it's no use
I can't see what you see
When I look at the world

I can't wait any longer
I can't wait till I'm stronger
Can't wait any longer
To see what you see
When I look at the world

I'm in the waiting room
Can't see for the smoke
I think of you and your holy book
While the rest of us choke

Tell me, tell me, what do you see?
Tell me, tell me, what's wrong with me

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Snow is here

We've been dodging the snow bullet for a while, expecting snow but not getting it, but that changed last night. We got a pile of snow, probably 15 centimeters, I'd guess. Now, some people are happy about snow and happy about the seasons changing but not me. As nice as it looks, I know that I've got to go outside now and shovel it all. Give me summer any day!

Anyways, here is the view from the newly reconstructed VIP Deck.

Oh, and I'm still wondering who toilet papered my car the other night. Was it a random papering or is the culprit too afraid of the retribution? I am the guy who suggested to a friend that in response for his brother crazy gluing his BBQ shut that he put cool-aid crystals in his brother's shower head. If you want to play the prank game... lol


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Only in Texas

I'm going to guess that we won't be using this one at Hillside any time soon.


Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Show

More from Monday's U2 concert.

Yes, it was an amazing show. Yes, I did meet Bono, The Edge and Adam Clayton. Yes, I do consider myself quite fortunate. No, Bono didn't ask me for my autograph.

Here are some pics (compliments of David Gillis who was standing a few feet from the stage during Saturday's show) and the set list.

City of Blinding Lights
Electric Co.
Still Haven’t Found
Beautiful Day
Miracle Drug
Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own
Love and Peace or Else
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Bullet The Blue Sky
Miss Sarajevo
Pride in the Name of Love
Where the Streets have no Name

Until the End of the World
Mysterious Ways
With or Without You

All Because of You
Love Will Tear us Apart

The highlight of the show was Miss Sarajevo. That's not the song I would have expected given how much I love the song One and how powerful Sometimes You Can't Make it on Your Own and Sunday Bloody Sunday are. However, Bono started to introduce the song and the historical background of the Miss Sarajevo pagent taking place amidst the violence and chaos of the war there. I thought it was curious that they were playing the song but figured they'd play a track of Pavarotti singing his part of the duet. Instead, Bono says 'Along with learning French, I've also been learning Italian so I'm going to sing the great Tenor's part.' And the crazy thing is, he did. I was floored. I had no idea Bono had that kind of vocal range to the point that it didn't even sound like him. David, who was at the Saturday show, said that Miss Sarajevo was his highlight too, even before we had discussed it. That's how powerful the song was.

If you're looking for a good explanation of where U2 is coming from spiritually and what some of the significance of the Vertigo album is, check out what Mark Harris from Grace had to say. I heard him speak and thought it to be quite insightful.

More stories and pics to come.