Sunday, August 31, 2008

It’s Sunday morning and the faithful have gathered. The pastor has been talking about Esther. Now at the end of the service he is making available cards that say “…for such a time as this. Esther 4:14” I think Stephen Grellet would have appreciated this service.

Stephen Grellet (1773-1855): “I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow human being let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

Saturday, August 30, 2008

My early impression is that Sarah Palin is a good person and it seems obvious she is a gifted politician. But I don’t think anyone knows if she is a statesperson. I expect we will occasionally hear her name in the news after November, but as I see it the next two months will be the summit of her political career.

If by some chance the political power of the Republican Party managed to twist their way to victory, I expect Palin being a heartbeat from the presidency would create an outbreak of heartburn and insomnia across the country.

Friday, August 29, 2008

I like Barney Smith. Barney lives in Marion, Indiana, but last night he was on the stage at Invesco Field. He’s been a Republican most of his life, but the economic policies of the past eight years have put him in a place where he is glad to stand in front of 75,000 Democrats and say, “We need a president who puts Barney Smith before Smith Barney.” Barney was one of several “regular people” who represented the millions who need a government that cares about the socially and economically disenfranchised.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The last four days we got some pictures that will likely show up on our Christmas greeting in December. Since they fall outside the “work, eat, sleep” cycle, these photos will help create an impression that we live a balanced life.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I had at least two legit reasons it might not be a good idea for me to go out in the kayak with my teenage son. I asked myself if I might regret a missed opportunity more than I would regret the orthopedic consequences. Then I put on sun screen and ditched my shoes. We went up the Siletz Bay, under the 101 bridge, and turned back downstream at the house where Sometimes a Great Notion was filmed. I thought we would then be going down stream, but we quickly discovered incoming tide trumps river current. The sky was clear, but a physical and emotional cloud drifted over the "against the tide" return trip.

The bottom line is that I made the right decision.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I’m sure the IOC has carefully defined and strictly enforced rules about how country names appear on Olympic uniforms. It seems to me there is something wrong about “China” in English on the Chinese uniforms. I’m wondering how I would feel if I were Chinese and sitting in the stands reading my country name in English. I’d probably make some cynical remark like: “I guess size and host status doesn’t mean as much as I thought it should.” Or maybe I would be so influenced by the international dominance of the English alphabet that I wouldn’t give it a second thought.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I would not want the word to get out that I was the only guy at a chic flick yesterday afternoon in Lincoln City at the Bijou Theater. And I certainly would not start talking about what Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 might have said about relationships with parents and friends. When I said something positive about the experience when talking on the phone with our son right after the movie, Ethan’s skeptical response was: “The only reason you’re saying that is because Mom is right there.” I don’t think it’s true, but I understand why he said it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The “express yourself” question this week on the Barclay Press Web site asks which of the deadly sins is the most dangerous. I’d say John Edwards ate the pride/lust combo. That’s one toxic sandwich.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

It’s Sunday morning and the faithful have gathered. Early in the service we each wrote our name on a strip of colored paper. Then these were taped in linked loops to create a chain. Now I’m thinking about the next layer of community—people like the adult daughters of the couple to our right. And I’m thinking about our own children. I connect with a variety of people in a variety of ways, but the parent-child relationship is obviously unique.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

I think there is something to be said for living in the moment—giving attention to the people and activities of this point in time. Sometimes, like even right now, I use living in the moment as a bubble that provides a thin membrane giving only a sense of isolation from (1) the things coming up for which I’m unprepared, and (2) tasks not completed that ideally would now be relegated to the past.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

My use of “emotionally safe” a couple of days ago has started to bother me. The thought I was expressing was my feeling that Surfside camp at Twin Rocks is a place where it is okay to be yourself. I think the campers are accepted as they are. But is a teen ever in an emotionally safe place? Can they ever escape the concern about what other people think? Are their fears and questions ever out of sight and out of mind? Do they ever get a recess from hormonal changes raging inside? I’m afraid “emotionally safe” falls into the category of hyperbole.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I have zero interest in reliving my high school years. But if I were a high schooler in 2008, I would want to be at Twin Rocks Friends Camp this week. Sunday afternoon I watched as more than 200 young people checked in.

This is not a cookie-cutter group. I see the variety as a good thing.

One of the reasons I would want to be at Twin Rocks is because it is an emotionally safe place where everyone from counselors to cooks would want me to be a better person when I left than when I came.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

I was confident we would have leftovers when I was cutting beef, and then chicken, for kabobs. I was wrong. Abbie’s 21st birthday is Monday, but our barbecue celebration was last night. Of the roughly 35 people who showed up, Abbie was the only person who knew everyone in the mix of family, Tilikum summer staff, and other friends. The age range went from mid-teens to early 90s. When Abbie so naturally took the lead in the call-and-response penguin camp song, I saw the confidence and competence of a girl who has become a fine young woman.