Wednesday, February 24, 2010

After the Downpour

The puddles all ’round were still, smooth at last. Except beneath the trees, their bark soaked, leaves dripping. Someone looked up, “Hey! A rainbow!” and everyone turned, no matter what they were doing. Against the dark blue-purpley clouds, squeezed empty of their load, a perfect arc of prismed light. Dim at first, its hues brightened as we watched. We were in shadow, gray and gloom, but there beyond, and up, the tops of pine, palm and cedar were lit with the brilliant red-gold of a dying sun, and over all, a promise writ in living color. Its hopeful decree announced, the rainbow faded, we shivered with cold, we turned to go, the light still in our eyes, ready to tell anyone, why we were smiling so.

(Part of a creative writing assignment for the awesome homiletics class I'm taking.)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Salvation Army Church Service

We were out late Saturday night and therefore not up to rising early enough to get to our usual church Sunday morning. So we visited the nearby Salvation Army Tabernacle. It was ... really something.

Just entering the church was a little bit of a shock, since there were so many people wearing military-style uniforms. Not everyone, but several people. We went into the sanctuary and saw that up on the "stage" (for lack of a better word), there was a full brass band--about 20-25 members. They were also wearing uniforms. And behind them a choir of 40-45 dressed in the same manner.

Throughout the service, the various people leading worship (all in uniform) continued to use military terminology--the ministers being called "Lt. Colonel So-and-So" or "Sgt. Major So-and-So." They talked about their upcoming "Soldiering Class" (Confirmation/New Members Class?). The choir, band and congregation were all conducted in a military style.

Apparently they place a high value on learning to play brass instruments. During the announcements, they gave special recognition to a young man who had competed in Academic Decathlon and won a bronze in Music. After the applause had died down, it was mentioned in passing that he had also won a gold in Economics and silver in American History. Interesting priorities.

Aside from the whole "army" theme, it was a wonderful service--the band and choir were excellent, the congregational songs were very singable and easy to learn (they were neither traditional hymns nor contemporary praise music, but came from their own Salvation Army Songbook). The preaching was quite good ("inspired and adapted" from Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Ministries book). And the people were super friendly and welcoming.

But I think it would take several visits for me to get over the military uniforms and language. I suppose I have some first-hand experience now of what an "un-churched" person might feel coming into a "normal" church service ...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fun Web Comic!

I finally got around to adding Koalition Comics to the blogroll. Check it out. It's an awesome web comic by an artist who went to our church for a brief period before moving to Reno.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

On Crossing the Street

Recently they've put in some new signals for the crosswalks in Pasadena. They're the kind that tell you how many seconds you have. Every time Brandon and I are crossing the street and it's down to the last few seconds, as it turns from 1 to 0, I just have to leap for the corner, flailing my arms around, like a person running from an explosion in a movie. Oh my goodness, it never gets old! It's the most fun I've had crossing the street since we were in Canada. (In Canada, you must cross the street with an erect, jaunty pose, just like the funny little guy in the picture. Here in the States our little crossing the street guy has terrible posture. Now what does that say about us as a nation?)