Friday, March 22, 2002

Stewart Mandel in his column at CNNSI lauds IU coach Mike Davis for the tremendous job he's done at Indiana, most recently demonstrated by IU's surprising upset of the Duke Blue Devils. As a Purdue fan, I've realized that much of my dislike of intrastate rival Indiana was concentrated on Bobby Knight, it isn't as fun to hate Indiana now that Knight's gone. In fact, I'm actually happy that Mike Davis is in the elite eight while Bobby Knight got knocked off in the first round (AGAIN!) by unheralded Southern Illinois University, coached by ex-Purdue assistant, Bruce Weber. Anyway, Mandel is tired of hearing how Davis is just riding on the success of the Indiana program that Knight built, and thereby dismissing Davis' ability as a coach. Even Duke's Coach Krzyzewski kind of dissed Davis in the pregame press conference by piling up praise for Knight. In the face of all that Mandel says it better than I could have to all the "Knight whiners":

Get yourself to Wal-Mart, buy a black sweater, put your home on the market and move to frickin' Lubbock, Texas. Because it's been 15 years since Bob Knight accomplished anything on IU's behalf even remotely approaching the magnitude of what Davis did Thursday night.

I just love a well-turned phrase...especially at the expense of Bobby Knight.

Monday, March 18, 2002

Yesterday, March 17th is known to most people as St. Patrick's Day. And indeed, St. Patrick deserves to be recognized, but from now on, I'll be celebrating not only St. Patrick's Day on March 17th, but also Chalmers Day. Thomas Chalmers was born on the coast of Scotland (Anstruther) on March 17, 1780. He was a brilliant young student who entered St. Andrews University at about the age of 11. His first love was mathematics, but likely to please his parents, he began to study theology and train for the ministry. After graduating from St. Andrews, he served the rural parish of Kilmany, while simultaneously serving as an assistant instructor in Mathematics at St. Andrews. By his own admission, he was more dedicated to mathematics than to ministry, but after watching two of his thirteen siblings die, and suffering from a serious illness himself, the Chief Shepherd got hold of this undershepherd's heart, and he began to tend the Lord's sheep wholeheartedly.


After 12 years ministering in Kilmany, he took a call to the Tron Church in Glasgow, a prestigious pulpit in Scotland. There he began to experiment, against conventional wisdom, with reviving the parish model, which he had done so effectively in rural Kilmany. "Maybe in the rural areas ," his critics said, "but not in Glasgow." Not only was Chalmers successful in reviving the parish at the Tron Church, but he was inspired to plant another church in the poorest and most corrupt section of Glasgow. The St. John's experiment was born in 1819, and quickly became an incredible success, ministering to 10,000 of the city's poorest inhabitants. Chalmers remained at St. John's until 1823 when he left to take the chair of Moral Philosophy at St. Andrews, followed by a position as Professor of Divinity at Edinburgh (1828-1843). In both places he trained aspiring pastors to minister the gospel and encouraged them to plant parish churches among the poor. In 1843 he led the conservatives out of the Church of Scotland, and was elected moderator of the newly formed Free Church of Scotland. He was immediately appointed Principal and Professor at New College, Edinburgh.

So what is the parish model that set Chalmers' ministry apart, and so transformed the worst neighborhood in Glasgow? Chalmers' parish model sought to battle the worst effects of the industrial revolution - dehumanization, horrible poverty, and the rapid increase of population in the city (mostly very poor families). Scotland's answer was the "poor laws." Chalmers vehemently opposed them, convinced that the parish church could better minister to and provide for the needy within their bounds, and could do so on a "human scale" combating the tendency toward "gargantuanism" which was so anonymous and untailored to individual situations. Chalmers believed that the paish serving its own was not only good for the poor, but was good for those of the higher classes too. He believed in class networking, which allowed relationships to be built between and among the classes within the parish, thus setting a natural context for ministry to those in need. In a charge to a young crop of deacons he said:

By putting ourselves under the roof of a poor neighbor, we in a manner put ourselves under his protection, we render him our superior...The true object is not to subsidize but to elevate...What now looks so formidable in the distance will on the actual encounter, dwindle into a very moderate and manageable affair. Both the facility and success of it will very much astonish yourselves.

This brief account of Chalmers ministry is woefully inadequate, but gives you something of an idea why he's one of my heroes. You can read more about Chalmers here, and I encourage you to do so.

Happy belated 222nd Birthday Dr. Chalmers!!

Saturday, March 16, 2002

For comparison with my times in the post below here are the winning Men's & Women's times:

Men's - 25:12 (That's right, I wasn't yet to the three mile mark)
Women's - 29:34

Men's winner in my age group (30-34) - 25:33

And, in the interest of humility:

Men's winner age 70 & over - 37:57 (Pops was about a mile ahead of me)

Women's winner age 55-59 - 41:07

Bottom line...if I want to be competitive next year, I'll have to train harder and enter the women's age 60-64 bracket.

Well...I finished the race!! You may have noticed that I haven't posted about my workouts for a couple of weeks. That's because I didn't get out to run at all over the last couple of weeks. I was playing basketball twice a week, so that kept the legs & lungs somewhat in shape, but I hadn't gotten out to run.

Anyway, after loading up on pasta (carbs) last night with some friends. I woke up early this morning, did some stretching and then headed downtown. The weather was clear, but the temp was around 35 degrees...a little colder than I had expected. There were 6,000 runners competing, I ran in the non-competitive category. I felt pretty good most of the race with the exception of a mild diaphragm cramp from about the 2.25 mile mark to the 4 mile mark, when, thankfully, it went away. I really thought that the last mile would be easy, because I would be mentally tough enough to overcome whatever fatigue I was feeling, but that last mile was quite grueling. I wasn't sure I was going to make it.

Here's how my race timed out:

1st mile - 9:25
2nd mile - 18:10 (8:45)
3rd mile - 27:07 (8:57)
4th mile - 36:00 (8:53)
5th mile - 44:58 (8:58)

I would have never guessed that my first mile would have been my slowest, but there were so many people that the first 1 to 1.5 miles was just trying to find a space to run without bumping in to someone.

This was the farthest I've ever run in my entire life. I guess a 10K is next...if I decide to continue to up the distance. A 10K seems difficult -- but possible, a half marathon (13 miles) seems completely out of reach.

Thursday, March 07, 2002

I'm guessing that I'm kind of late to the game on this one, but in case some of you are not (as I was not) aware of some helpful web resources, let me pass them along to you. Two journals that have significant archived issues online for your perusal are Touchstone and Theology Today. Both journals will contain articles of varied quality and usefulness (IMHO), but there is quite a bit that is helpful and thought provoking in both journals.

Touchstone's archives contain
issues from 1999-2001 (Vols 12-14). Each issue has selected articles available for reading (except for Volume 12 which has all of the contents each issue available, excepting the last issue of that year).

Theology Today's archives contain all of the issues from 1958-1994 (Vols. 15-50). Although I didn't check every single issue, it appears that the entire contents of every issue in that range are available for reading online (inlcuding book reviews).

During a Bible study yesterday with one of the teens that I work with, it came home to him that Adam's sin plunged us all into sin. His response:

Maaann, if I straight up saw Adam & Eve, me and my boys would straight up jump 'em...straight up!

Here's a great little article about Gary Letteron, who is attacking South West Baltimore (SoWeBo) with trees! He's declared war on vacant lots and treeless spans of sidewalk. He's not a government official who is commandeering public funds to plant trees, but is a private citizen who is doing this often at his own expense, because he believes it's right. From the article:

His kindness, sweat and ability to get others to help him are responsible for more than 100 new trees in the past year, and a half-dozen Hollins area parks -- including a small peach orchard -- sprouting from formerly trashed lots.

Though I don't know that Gary is a believer, he sets a good example for what I think should be an important part of any biblical urban ministry -- beautifying the often desolate and blighted landscape of the inner city. For example, the work of the great Scottish minister Thomas Chalmers in the poorest section of Glasgow in the 19th century included a program to proliferate window boxes full of flowers to beautify both the look and the aroma of the city.

Saturday, March 02, 2002

I am the furthest thing imaginable from a health food nut...but let me tell you something. The "oreos" from the health food store beat the stuffin' out of real Oreos.

My oldest turned six today. Hard to believe she's that old. She awoke and emerged from her room this morning at the exact time that she was born in 1996, 7:29 a.m. (technically an hour late since we now live in a different time zone). She had a flower birthday party with all of the girls from her kindergarten class as well as her two younger siblings. She had a great day.

We had a quieter celebration this evening around the dinner table, with just the five of us and tokens of love sent from out of town grandparents and aunts and uncles. We adapted a simple Birthday Liturgy from Robert Webber's The Book of Family Prayer that went like this:

My dear friends, today is a special day in the life of our family, for on this day we celebrate the birth of Abigail. Let us begin by giving thanks to God Almighty.

Let us pray.

Father, we praise you for every perfect gift that comes from above. You have gifted us with the life of Abigail. Now we bless You for her presence in our family. Grant, we pray You, that Your blessing may rest upon her all the days of her life. Amen.

Scripture Reading:

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

This the Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Abigail, these gifts are tokens of the love and esteem we have for you. Before you open them we wish to express our love to you in words. Each of us has thought of something about you that we appreciate. We want to acknowledge you in this way.

Following those words of appreciation...

Let us dedicate Abigail to the Lord.

Father, we dedicate Abigail to Your service. We ask that her life might bring glory to Your Name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Well, the Boilermakers finished the regular season with a bang beating Penn State 92-57. Wouldn't it be hilarious if momentum from this strong finish, plus being overlooked by other teams in the Big 10 tournament propelled the Boilers to the tournament championship followed by an appearance in the Big Dance?! Oh well, it's always nice to dream.

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