we are in philly…. after a horrendous ride from Boston. It took us EIGHT HOURS to drive here, two of those hours being playing “parking lot” in NY on the Cross Bronx to the George Washington Bridge. We got in around six and dumped our stuff at A’s apartment, dropped off that mini van we drove down in (good riddance, I say), and went to the Fox and Hound to watch the Celtics-Pistons game with A’s friends at UPenn. It was pretty fun, but lets be honest–I was exhausted. By the end of the night, I wanted to curl up in a ball anywhere and sleep it off. Which I did, and yes, it felt delightful.
Our itinerary for today: We planned today on exploring Philadelphia a little bit. I want to walk by BSM if possible, and we were thinking about just walking about in general. It’s a new city for both of us, so it should be interesting and fun to explore together. But first, pancakes. (its a saturday tradition, yo!)
It’s d-day…. A and I are moving to Philadelphia. We spent the last few days packing up his apartment (I had packed my stuff a couple weeks ago), keeping and getting rid of various things, especially recycling paper that had been in A’s possession for far too long. The curb therefore was quite crowded this morning with old articles, receipts, etc that had finally been parted with. We were left with, in the end, a whole lotta boxes for the movers who are coming this morning.
In the end, it feels a little weird, a little sad, a little strange to pick up everything and leave again, but I am also a little excited for the summer and for the unknown that is before us. It is really neat to think that A and I are going to get to explore a new city together, even if I am going to be busy most of the time with Broad Street.
Anywho, wish us well…. the moving van is here and it is time to get going!
Yesterday morning I suckered my ‘rents and my bro into driving up to San Francisco with me to scope out Mission Bay Community Church (I billed it as an “excellent family bonding opportunity” in “sunny SF,” which was incidentally far enough away from the Santa Cruz fires that the air didn’t smell like a campfire or make one’s eyes tear up).
So we piled in the car around 9:45 and chugged up the 101 (yes, I went to undergrad in SoCal and YES I picked up and have held onto that nasty habit of adding an article to freeway numbers). We got there early, or at least got off the freeway early… only we had a bit of trouble at first finding the church. Actually, what happened was that we blew past the church altogether, missing the sign which was shaded by some trees on the side of an industrial looking building. I should have known better than to look for something blatantly “churchy” but obviously not. Anyways, my dad spotted the sign, we snagged a parking space and skipped on in (at least I did) in time with the sound system with 5 minutes to spare.
The church was pretty neat, in terms of aesthetics. BRC and Co. have created an awesome atmosphere that feels instantly welcoming (which was precisely what my dad pointed out when we sat down). There were big couches interspersed with pews and folding chairs, some of which were organized around cafe tables. There was an open kitchen in the back with coffee, tea, and donuts, and the mostly 20-30 something crowd was clustered about throughout the space engaged in conversation with one another. It felt almost like a friendly, industrial coffee shop. We snagged a table and some coffee and chatted with some of the people around us, who were also quite friendly.
Worship itself was, as I heard BRC say before, not all that different and yet different all at once. There was a definite emphasis on music, which was a good mix of old and new led by a worship band, and a definite lack of emphasis on individualism or anything that moved people away from the communal aspect… so there were no hymnals to stare at or bulletins to get lost in, and everything was projected on the front on a screen. Again, my dad seemed to like that a lot. I felt as though, if you were looking for community, it was pretty hard to miss it there (gawd I sound like an ego-booster for BRC right now, I bet.). Overall, the coolest for me was the rationale for why they encourage people to move around or engage the service however they feel comfortable, that being that they want to celebrate and affirm that people process information in different ways, and that it is important to facilitate an atmosphere that encourages people to see church as a home and not a place that asks that people deny who they are (at least, I think I got that right…)
Sermon was decent, I had a question or two, but then again that was welcome in the room as well. Generally, it was a great experience and my brother, someone who would rather do almost anything rather than go to church, gave possibly the best compliment he could: “well, it wasn’t boring, thats for sure.”
So way to go, MBCC. You failed to bore my bro, and my ‘rents loved it–all in all a success in my book. It was fun, it was interesting, it was genuine. I look forward to hearing about how things are going as this fun and welcoming church continues to grow and discover itself.
Ah, beautiful Sunday. I am home two Sundays this time around, a true rarity, and I decided to visit a church that I have heard about in the blogo-emergo-sphere rather than my home church. Problem is, there are so many awesome churches out here! There’s Vintage Faith, Dan Kimball’s church which is not only emergent but is recently merged with a Presbyterian Church out in Santa Cruz, and there’s BRC’s Mission Bay Community Church in San Francisco. Then there is a host of presby churches I would love to see…. my CPM liason’s church in Santa Cruz, Stone Church in San Jose, First Pres. Palo Alto. The list goes on. There are just so many interesting churches, and never enough time. But I guess it is a good sign that there ARE so many awesome churches out here in the first place.
In the end I decided to go to Mission Bay CC, mostly because BRC is unavoidable (also awesomely fun) on the internets and because he’s running for moderator, so I wanna check it out. So we shall see how the man does worship…. *grin*
I have been reading more and more blogs lately that have a tendency to blast those who were born after 1981 as having no culture or no class or no sense of theology. These bloggers call us the “Dissillusioned Generation,” or accuse us lacking any unique culture ” or of whining too much, or finally of being silent (not always a bad thing in this case, but the implication seems to be that we lack passion). I can’t help but feel troubled by these accusations–I mean, we are a generation that has faced many challenges but also one that has grown up in a world extremely different from that of our parents.
Mostly, I am still trying to sort out a coherent response to these blanket-statement claims regarding the twenty-somethings of my time period– but I can’t help but observe that, based on the line that is drawn by most (1981) we are only 27 tops, and it strikes me that the cultural contributions of most generations aren’t fully felt until we get OUT of our teens and out of school and into the world…. and besides, is it really fair for some 35 year old who has a vested interested in his or her own experiences to run around judging what a 15 year old finds meaningful? Is it fair for the older folks to chastise an 18 year old for using the language of his or her generation to express a desire “hang out with Jesus” without considering that language is so contextual to the group that uses it and that it might mean something different for that generation than for another? Is it right for the adults whom my generation ought to be looking up to to simply write off everything we do as “not good enough” rather than seeking to journey along with and attempt to understand more fully the experiences of those younger than them?
Maybe my opinions will change, but it is my suspicion that this tendency to write off an entire generation as a failure is a bit premature….and unloving and unChristian and anti-community. We ought to be using our energies to understand and uplift one another, not tear one another down just because we don’t like what they do. Sure, reality television and most media culture bothers me, but that doesn’t strike me as a legitimate reason to write off an entire age group as useless… if I am right, in fact, it could be thrown back that it is the Generation Xers who are in fact “producing” and “promoting” that junk, and that Generation Y folks are more consumers who have grown up in a pre-existing media culture that encourages their consumption. Not that I would throw back… I’m just saying.
Anyways, my preliminary challenge, before I have had a lot of time to think this through, is that as people seeking to live in community and in faith with one another, we are called to journey with, not against, those beside us, particularly those who will be here long after we are gone. Because like it or not, we are here to stay, and I think the world would be a whole lot better off if we could seek to uplift and love and understand and celebrate one another rather than looking for excuses to ignore or disparage our neighbors. Just a thought.
it’s official. I have moved over to the mac side of the computer world. it feels almost strange to leave behind the PC world, but there is also a sense in which I am embarking on a new technological journey. And yes, I could go all “mac and cheesy” on my blog and write about how amazing and wonderful and gushy I feel with my new macbook, but I prefer to just note here, for posterity, that today I bit the bullet and actually got the computer that I wanted rather than one that was practical (and, somehow, I feel as though I have joined a community of bloggers here… seems like everyone has a mac these days).
Anyways, in other news, life has been pretty chill lately. I am currently in CA, most specifically for my sister’s graduation from USC, which took place with a few minor hiccups last Friday (By minor hiccups, I mean that my grandfather’s heart went out of sync for a few hours, followed closely getting a flat tire on his car when he and my grandmother picked me up at the airport–I fixed the tire by myself, btw–after which my grandmother proceeded to fall headfirst onto a slab of concrete right before my sister’s graduation and spend the day in the emergency room and then an oral surgeon’s office. Her upper lip is swollen up as a result, which makes me think of Larry the Cucumber’s song, “I love my lips” in which he spends a few weeks in what he calls ‘lip rehab’ after a tragic accident with a gate.). Any-who, despite all that the graduation went rather well, I think. My mom and brother and I had a wonderful drive back up the 5 to get back from LA to San Jose (my dad drove my grandparents back) and I have spent the days since our return reading (Lauren Winner’s “Real Sex” and Philip Gourevitch’s “We Wish to Inform you that Tomorrow we will be killed with our families” and part of a horridly disturbing book called “Diary of a Fat Housewife” which I do NOT recommend, even for academic purposes… I was reading it for my potential thesis topic.). I also have spent some quality time running the old trails at Alum Rock Park. I ran the South Rim Trail yesterday morning, and my legs are still feeling it!
So I have read, and I have mac-d, and I have run in the hills. But there is more….. my mother and I experimented and made loquat jam yesterday, which turned out to be an amazing success. My parents have a loquat tree, you see, and it was loaded with brightish fruit that was aching to be used. So my mother and I determined that we had the time and interest (sort of) to devote to utilizing the tree’s bounty. The following photos represent the transformation, from tree to bottle.
Ultimately, the jam was quite tasty, similar in many respects to marmalade. I plan on bringing some, along with my mother’s apricot jam from the fall, back to Boston/Philadelphia with me… (btw if you want some let me know! There is a bunch to spare!)
Lastly, in the interests of experimentation and a virtually endless loquat supply, I tried my hand at drying some of the little suckers today. They have so far been in the dryer for about 4 hours, along with blood-orange, lemon, and apple slices. I look forward to the results.
I guess my conclusion here is that it has been a restful week. I have caught up on sleep, finally gotten around to exercising again, found myself in my parents home and back in my home congregation for a weekend, and begun to recover from the semester. Not bad, I say.