Dolphins, Guns, 2 Churches, Duke, Thailand

I sat next to the great Miami Dolphins quarterback Bob Griese at the Atlanta airport this past Thursday and didn't know it. Then the football commentator Al Maguire walks up to Bob and I think to myself: "You idiot. Bob asks you how long it takes for your dumb cell phone to charge and you say, 'O, probably too long,' then go back to your introverted, quietist, non-conversationalist self, when you could have made small talk."

I'm a long-suffering Cowboys fan. And it was Super Bowl VI, on January 16, 1972, the year of my birth, that Roger "the dodger" Staubach duked it out, and won, against Griese. Griese, Maguire and this other dude were headed to Austin to call the UT Longhorns game against Oklahoma State. My Longhorns won, barely.

Standing in the check out aisle at our local Hobby Lobby, I grab a craftsy-blue measuring tape and tell Phaedra to measure my guns. I pull up my shirt sleeve and flex. Phaedra cringes. "What?" she asks, looking around at the other people standing in line, embarrassed. "Go ahead, measure these guns." We're one person behind the counter, so we have time I figure. The folks behind us won't mind. I'm back in high school and this is what you do: measure your guns, anywhere, everywhere, anytime.
"Here," I say, handing her the tape. "Pull it out and measure." I'm totally living it up and smiling. I don't know how I persuade her, but she does it--hurriedly. "Eleven inches." "What?!" "Oh sorry." She pulls it around properly and this time it's twelve, twelve inches of musclely bicep guns.

Arnold had 22 inches, so I'm definitely on my way.

One of the churches in town, Austin Stone Community Church, is headed in a new direction. They want to be a church "in the city, for the city." I think that's a pretty good deal. They interviewed me for their video series and this is some of what I said.

A Church for the City (Reprise) from The Austin Stone on Vimeo.

Phaedra and I had a great time with the good folks at Union Center Christian Church. We had an unusually excellent connection with the senior pastor, John Hawco, and with Brian (exec pastor) and Tamara Murphy (creative arts director). We spent several hours over brunch on Monday and felt a sweet kindred spirit with them. We admire their courage in taking risks with the congregation in re. the arts--very good, very sound risks.

I preached two services on Sunday AM. My three points, which you could hear here, are:

1) Art reminds us of the unnecessary and therefore, theologically, that all is grace.
2) Art reminds us of the importance of our bodies and therefore, theologically, that the Incarnation is the basis for all our embodied endeavors.
3) Art reminds us of our need to make sense of our lives and therefore, theologically, that God is constantly seeking to pull us out of chaos into order.

An eighty-something year old man came up to me and said in one of those classic old guy quivering voices, "Son, I've never thought about art or about culture, never thought it was important, but this morning God convicted me and I want to respond." I don't know how many years he has left to respond, but better late than never and that's probably as good a compliment as I could ever receive as a preacher.

On Phaedra's end she received continually positive response to her art work. I was very proud of her.

We took a walk down a country lane and this is some of what we saw (which, God help us, we don't have in Texas).

Beautiful barns.

Our future home (we wish).

Beautiful tree.

Yet another beautiful tree.

Our new hospitality-to-the-max-friends Briand and Tamara.

Monday we headed down to Durham for our visit to Duke. Here are some pics.

Phaedra standing at the base of Duke Chapel.

Mugging very reverentially for the camera on the inside of the chapel.

Our fine hostess Carole Baker standing with Phaedra in front of Duke Divinity School.

Gazing at ginormous lily pads in the Duke Gardens.

Duke Gardens.

The site of Phaedra's birthday dinner last Wednesday at the Blue Corn Cafe, which had some pretty mean guacamole happening.

This Tuesday we fly to Bangkok, Thailand. It'll be 1 hour to Dallas, 13 hours to Tokyo, then another 7 to Bangkok where we'll be picked up at 11PM on Wed. evening and driven 2 hours to Pattaya. There we'll join some 250 missions leaders from around the world for World Evangelical Alliance's triannual consultation. I will be facilitating, along with Colin Harbinson, an arts & missions track.

It'll be new territory for me and I don't presume to be an expert. So we go to look, listen and learn. Phaedra and I are looking forward to meeting some pretty amazing saints. This is also dad's stomping grounds so it'll be fun to see it all in action.

We're praying for grace as we interact with folks from all around the world, that God would grant us an expanded vision of His kingdom. We're also praying for joy, that Phaedra and I would truly enjoy each other in this new experience. We're still in our first year of marriage after all.


Heather said…
Can you make that helicopter sound again?
Late at night I lie in bed practicing noises--helicopters, beat-boxes, musical theater ditties. Just ask my wife. Mostly she's humored.
if I were me said…
Hi! It was so fun to meet you (& Phaedra) finally after lurking around your blog for such a long time. Thanks so much for coming to Union Center! I really enjoyed hearing what you had to say (on Sunday morning, at the coffee house and over lunch.) Both of you were an encouragement and an inspiration. Thanks so much for taking the time to travel to our little corner of the world!
I'll be saying prayers for travelin'
Dale Baker said…
It was great to meet you and your wife...wishing you safe travels and hoping Carole has responded to your messages about your ring... Hope our paths cross again!
You came to NY in the nick of time (as the saying goes, and is it "nic" or "nick"?) -- we've had rain since you left and snow on its way today.
May Thailand bring you opportunities to be Jesus and to see Jesus to each other and those around you. And may you meet lots of real-live elephants!
d said…
Your interaction with the elderly man reminds me of a statement from The Artists' Way. As older folks in Julia Cameron's classes would approach her to essentially say, "Do you know how old I would be if I started to follow my creative dreams/convictions now?" she would reply, "The same age you would be if you didn't."I like that, for all of us, and have to remember it for myself even though I'm only feeling the press of middle age.
Ron said…
Calvin Hill, Drew Pearson, Randy White...I grew up enamored with the Cowboys despite living in Lancaster PA, 2 hrs. from Philly. It was scarry rooting for the Cowboys at a home Eagles game which I did once!! The dreaded Steelers were just too much for them.....Tony Romo?! Let's not talk about it!

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