In Lay Terms

Random Ramblings From a Church Nerd

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Good Week

This has been a good week. Let's recap so far:

Monday: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day: A memory of someone who was unafraid to make a difference.

Tuesday: President Barack Obama's Inauguration: Yes, We Can! Yes, We Must!

Wednesday: Presentation to a local non-profit: We can help you do good better.

Thursday (today): Let's remain peaceful and calm.

Friday (tomorrow): Who knows what the future will bring?

This week may be more about my attitude than anything else, but there is nothing wrong with that. I believe that my attitude can shape the week, so I decided early on that I was having a good week!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Living Between the Times

Today, we marked Martin Luther King Day with a convocation. Lots of music, inspiring speakers, and a stepping performance from the members of Alpha Phi Alpha (the Black fraternity that included MLK in its membership).

This is what we do every year, and yet this year was different.

The difference is palpable because this MLK day is not just a day to look back, but to look forward. By some strange circumstances, this year's MLK day falls just one day before the inauguration of the first African-American president in American history.

There has been this gap between Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama. Tonight, as I write this, I'm standing on the very edge of that gap. We, as a country, has done what many of us thought would not be possible. We were able to overcome the racism enough that we can trust an African-American with authority over our government and our lives.

However, as we leave that gap, let me remind you (and me) of a few things:
  • Racism is still as rampant as ever before. For proof, you can look no further than the police brutality that happened in Oakland on New Year's Day. An unarmed man was thrown to the ground by police and shot in the back. We don't just erase a culture of bigotry, fear, and zenophobia with one election of one man into a high office. We won't be free of our prejuidice until we truly trust that all people are God's children and in need of our love and support.
  • Barack Obama is human. There is no way that those of us who voted for him will be completely happy with him. Just as no Republican was completely happy with all eight years of George Bush in office, we will have days and times when we are disappointed. These disappointments may have already happened, even before Obama takes office. I think that it's important for us to continue to pray that our leaders discern and follow God's will, and we help to remind them that they are not infallable.
  • Our country is in a dire situation right now. We are still at war, in case you have forgotten. The economy is taking away jobs and security for all of us, globally. There is no way that one man can fix that. There is no way that one congress can fix that. It is up to you and me to show kindness to our neighbor. We need to love and support one another. If our neighbor suffers, than we suffer as well. We can bring ourselves out of this recession if we all work together to create better communities and a safer world. It is not a responsibility we can simply push onto those whom we elected. It is our responsibility.
Martin Luther King Jr. made ending poverty a part of his civil rights campaign. Barack Obama is calling on us to serve our neighbor (sounds like something from the Bible, right? Or at least something that Martin Luther might say). Maybe we will pick up that work to end poverty.

I think that we have been given the opportunity to come together as a nation and a world. I want us to reach out to those who might oppose us. Build bridges of understanding. Get to know an enemy. People can't hate what they know.

I'm truly joyful tonight. Dispite all the trouble our world is in right now, I can feel hope in a way that I haven't felt in quite a while. I hope that we can listen to the voice of God, calling us to serve and love our neighbor.

I hope you are ready to move into a new era. Blessings on the closing of the gap.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

New Body...New Vocabulary

Since my other attempts at getting fit haven't been working too well, I'm setting my sites pretty low. For Christmas, my parents got Richard and I a Wii and a Wii Fit. They have had one for a while now, and they like it. The Wii fit has some good yoga and strength training. So I've been on a quest to attempt to Wii work out every day.

A new product calls for a new set of vocabulary, so I have decided that doing anything other than the Wii would be called "working out", while working on the Wii would be called "Wiiking Out".

I also have to boast that after some time, I've become quite the "Wiithlete" (that was the word that sent my sister into laughing spasms).

OK - so the Wii shouldn't replace regular cardiovascular exercise, but it's better than nothing. I can feel myself getting more flexible (which is good for me). I also need to keep working on my posture. I've always had bad posture. I grew up with scoliosis, and have had back surgery to try to correct it. I'm sure it could be worse, but I have a pretty tender back. If I don't exercise a little and have good posture (which happens frequently), I can throw my back out pretty easily.

We do have the intention of joining a gym this summer, so a more strict exercise regimen will began at that time.

Onward to a better body!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Good Times, Frozen Butt

Once again, it is butt-freakin' cold in Minnesota. As bad as it gets here in Minneapolis (-20 degrees), I can still remember having -40 quite a bit at my parent's house. In fact, it's still reaching -40 at my parents house.

What does the cold do? Well, it helps you burn more calories faster. You see, when you are cold, you will spend more energy just keeping warm. So, if you want to lose those extra pounds, stand outside in the freezing cold for a while (but come in before you get frostbite or hypothermia).

It also makes you want to be cozy in your own house. On days like today, it's great to look out at the frozen landscape (it's prettier when you don't live in a city) and think, "Gee, I'm glad I'm not going out into that mess." It's good for catching up on those Netflix movies and playing with your Wii (or what have you). It can also be good for blogging (ahem).

Frankly, I'm not a fan of cold. If you've been reading this blog, you can hear me start to complain when the weather turns bitterly cold. I'd rather have an 80 degree day where I can comfortably walk around in shorts and a t-shirt, than a day like today, when I have to wear long underwear under the rest of my clothes. Do you know how difficult it is to go to the bathroom in long underwear? If you don't, you are blessed.

Maybe I'm writing about the cold because I don't feel like I have anything else to write about. But it doesn't matter. It's cold, and I'm blogging. That should be the point.

OK - I think I've totally lost the point of this post (do I ever have a point?), so it's time to snuggle up on my heated mattress pad.

Keep warm, peoples!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Hot Date

My favorite part of Facebook is the status update. I can make a very short, snappy, pithy sentence that will express a kernel of what I'm doing and make it as creative as possible, within a time frame.

Last night, I went on a hot date with Richard. What was funnier was that I randomly took out my phone and updated my Facebook account status (have I mentioned that the status is my favorite part of Facebook...well, it is).

I made my status as follows:
Ross is having a hot date. Right now we are at the Olive Garden. Classy.

I received the following comments:
Hey hey hey. At least you HAVE dates!

And even classier that you're doing Facebook during dinner at said Olive Garden.... :-)

You two are some kind of classy dudes, I am out with the boys (meaning my little boys, as opposed to "the boys") at a local pia place

Perhaps you are checking all of these comments in between the bread sticks and main course. Will we get another posting before the tiramisu arrives?

Wait, wait, get another helping of the bottomless salad, since we're all here.

I could go for some chocolate cake

bottomless salad, endless bread sticks, perky waitress, super-cheesy manicotti -- life doesn't get much better!

You had me until the perky waitress part.

... and with 664 friends, how do you even find the time to have a hot date. Richard is one lucky man.
I took out the names, but I should let you know that these commenters posted multiple times. This became a conversation between all these "friends". I know that there are some blogs that have conversations (and flights) in the comment section. It's never happened on my blog. I don't expect it to. But now the bar had been set. I had to see what I could do. My next status update stated:

Ross 's hot date has moved onto watching Milk off some moovie gift certificates. I'll keep you posted. (Typo kept in there)

The comments poured in again:
Do keep us posted, Sean Penn rocks!

how's our date going? i haven't heard in hours!

"Moovie" - that was good. Were there a lot of people in the barn?

I'm getting a very weird voyeuristic we're all on the date with there a reason updates stopped??

Of course, I couldn't post while the movie was going on (because I'm a classy guy, just see above). So I sort of let down my posters. You can begin to see that in my commenter's concern. So this morning, I decided I needed to put two status updates up there quickly:

Ross saw Milk last night, and now he wants to ORGANIZE!

And got one comment.

My husband, our roommate, and I went to see it as well. It was amazing. I came away with the same feeling--added to that the need to run for office to effect real change--or visit the legislators every day, etc. It can be done!! Sean Penn was amazing.
If I were a real serious-type blogger, I'd comment more on the movie. It did make me want to organize people to make some real change in the world. However, this is about Facebook, so I decided I should give a little end-of-date (next morning) update:
Ross wants to thank everyone for the hot date last night.

And we close with two quick and classy responses:

no doubt it was better for you than for the rest of us

We all collectively kiss you at the door and pause expectantly....

I think I've just completed a recap, not of my date, but my postings about my date. That might make your head want to explode!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Ending Gifts

I spent most of the Christmas break on the road. We first visited Richard's family in the greater Seattle area. Then, we traveled up north to be with my family. In between those two trips, I attended the funeral of Kristen. She was a smart, strong, fit woman of 35 years who died of cancer.

At the reception, following the funeral, one friend commented on our economy. He told me that people were scaling back the presents at Christmas, and spending more time together. He told me that all the people he was talking to were loving it. They didn't need stuff. They needed to be with loved ones.

Similarly, on the drive up to my parent's, there was a story about a family who was being hurt greatly by the recession. The mother talked about how worried she was about presents at Christmas. She said that her kids didn't get nearly as much as they were used to...and they were fine. They didn't tantrum. They didn't cry. They didn't wonder if they were bad.

This is leading me to continue my belief that we need to move away from "stuff" and toward the loved ones in our lives. The gift of Christmas was Jesus, born in a most humble manner. His gift was to be with us. We should do the same for one another.

I love my family, and I love my friends. I don't see either as much as I should. I wish I had spent more time with Kristen before I lost her. I wish that I didn't only spend 2 days with my family this New Years. I want to be with people I care about. I don't need any"thing" to make me happy. I need people to make me happy.

I hope that your holiday was filled with people you love. If not, come by my house.