Saturday, August 23, 2008

Pool Bash (part 1)

This morning a group of men from Ridge Church came over to help me remove the in-ground pool from my back yard. We gathered at 8 am, sledge hammers in hand and began the destruction. Thank goodness, Buddy brought an air jack hammer, otherwise we would still be out there this evening.

Today had to be the hottest day of the year, and we were all toast by 1 pm. Unfortunately, we did not get it all done, so the good news is, all of you who wanted to come, but were busy today, don't worry: Pool Bash 2 is coming!

Thanks: Buddy, Jim, Richard, Bill, Wes, Steve, Dick, and Matt!!

The beginning of the morning
The end of the day

Locked Rooms

Laurie King is the author of a series of books based on the character created by Conan Doyle, Sherlock Homes. In King's novels, Sherlock Homes has met (and eventually marries) a young American named Mary Russell. This is the third in this series that I have read (there are eight currently) and this is the latest, written in 2005. The problem with the series is King writes as if you have read the previous books, so sometimes I think I am missing an inside joke. Regardless, the story flows no matter which books you have read.

In this adventure, Mary and Sherlock are leaving India and have decided to go to San Francisco to visit the home that Mary grew up in. Mary's parents died in a terrible auto crash, and Mary thinks that she is to blame. The story focuses on Mary as she deals with her past (her parents died ten years earlier) and tries to reconcile dreams she has been having with the reality of her past.

What I like about the stories is that they are complicated, yet at the same time, not so complicated that you are constantly trying to figure out who is who. The story is fun and engaging as Mary deals with her memories of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the lies and deceit that followed her family because of it.

The Venetian Betrayal

I have just finished Steve Berry's The Venetian Betrayal , this is the fourth Berry book that I have read. Two of the previous of the books have followed the Adventures of Cotton Malone and Cassiopeia Vitt as they have solved some of the worlds great mysteries. Earlier I have commented on The Alexandria Link and The Templar Legacy. Once again this duo works to rid the world of a horrible despot.

While the title suggests that it is about Venice, the book is really centered on Alexander the Great and the desire to find his grave. It was a face paced book, filled with all kinds of historical references, some real and others created to fit the story.

Overall, the story is a bit far fetched. But Berry does a great job in weaving an complicated, let very engaging tale. I thought that he might end it differently than it had, but he obviously is hoping to have the book made into a movie because the ending had Hollywood written all over it.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sermon Series

Every once in a while I come across something that really makes me think. Often the books I read do one of two things, they affirm what I already believe (hence why I probably chose them) or they drive me crazy because they see the world sort of as I do, but we differ on some major fundamental beliefs. But every now and again, I find a book that does both of those things, but also challenges the beliefs that I hold.

Months ago, Kathy had given me Brian McLaren and Tony Campolo’s book Adventures In Missing The Point. I stuck it in a corner and totally forgot about it. The other day, I picked it up and began reading. WOW. As I read, I thought, "This will make a great sermon series . . ."

So, on September 5th I will begin a series based on this book. I only have three weeks free, so it will be a short series, and one, if successful, I might come back to in the fall or winter.

In the introduction they write:
What this adventure is about is facing our own blindnesses, our own insanities, our own foggy thinking and clouded judgment. It’s about admitting that we haven’t seen things clearly, and about wanting to think more clearly than we do.
I hope that you will come and join me on this adventure. Invite a friend as well. Who knows, maybe we will all see a little clearer and want to talk about the journey.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Fishing in Canada

I wrote earlier about the great time that I had fishing in Canada. I am glad that everyone has gotten a kick out of me locking myself out of the cottage at 3:00 am. Part of the joy of getting older . . .

I wanted to post a couple of pictures. All of my pictures can be found on my Flickr site, but these are some of my favorites.


I am getting ready for a Quinceañera service, actually the rehearsal, the service is tomorrow. If you are like me, you probably have no idea what a Quinceañera service is or why you would do one.

It is a Hispanic celebration, celebrating the 15th birthday of a girl. The tradition started out pretty simply, but like so many traditions today, it has taken on a life of it's own. Trying to find out anything about this service was difficult with Wikepedia and the Roman Catholic Church being the best sources. Believe it or not, there is actually a Quinceañera prayer in the United Methodist book of worship.

As I get ready for the rehearsal I keep wondering why I said yes. The family does not belong to the church, however they have attended in the past, and I presided over the marriage of an aunt a few years ago. IF I had thought about it, I would have said NO, because that wedding was almost an hour late getting started as the bride seemed to have her own personal clock that we were operating on (or maybe it was a cultural clock?)

Oh well, too late to second guess myself at this point. It is what it is, and it will be an interesting experience I am sure

Sunday, August 03, 2008

A Flawed Bible?

I recently came across this great article in a blog that I regularly read by Mystical Seeker. This very provocative blog always makes me think outside the box.

In this one he challenges our notion of the Bible.
Click here to read the full article.

Friday, August 01, 2008


Last Sunday, after getting home about 11:30 the night before from WV, the Conger clan climbed into our trusty Mini-Van for a journey to Indianapolis. We went to see Jessica in the play "Transformations" which was being put on by ShadowApe, a local theater troupe from Indy. Jessica spent the summer working on the show, and Sunday was the final performance. Nancy had gotten to an earlier show, but this was the first one that I could go to.

To be honest, I did not know what to expect. It was Grimm's Fairy Tales being retold through the eyes of Anne Sexton. I know virtually nothing about Anne Sexton, other than she was a poet and she committed suicide in the 70's. Peter Gabriel's song Mercy Street was written in honor of Anne Sexton. Transformations is a book that Sexton wrote, ShadowApe took the text and created an original adaptation. It was a bunch of vignettes all linked together -- 90 minutes without a break.

It was AWESOME. Not only was the show very, very good, I was shocked at how good Jessica was. She is really maturing into a fine actress! She still has some of her Jessica-isms, but she did things that I don't think she could have done a year or two ago. I wish I could have seen it more than once!

ASP part 3

One week ago I was very frustrated because I was not able to finish the porch and stairs that we were building. I know the other group was frustrated because they did not get everything that they wanted to get accomplished. But overall it was a fantastic week.

I know that we made a huge difference in Lisa and her families life -- that is what it is all about. Hopefully she has electricity in her trailer now and can get moved in before school starts up again.

We had two "accidents" on the trip. Michael fell off a ladder and landed on his tailbone. His trip to the emergency room was less than pleasant. M2 broke her leg while swimming (not sure how you do that), and her trip to the ER was very positive. Both of them had to miss the whitewater rafting trip on the way home. The three of us sat around, ate breakfast, and twiddled our thumbs until the others returned after about 4 hours -- then we all got the ten hour drive home! The youth who did the rafting had a ball! I hate that I had to miss it.

I would do ASP again, but I would want to be better prepared. We did not have any idea what we should bring, until we were there and realized what we should have brought. The ASP leaders did a terrible job in preparing us in that regard. In their defence, they are just kids themselves --- they are college students who had wonderful ASP experiences as students and now are the leaders of the project -- unfortunately they often are lacking in maturity but that is too be expected. Their hearts are in the right place.

I really enjoyed the chance to spend the week with the youth. I look forward to participating with the youth again on a mission project, but this time Nathan gets to be in charge and I get to come along for the ride.

The youth are putting on a spaghetti dinner on August 17th at 6:00pm at Ridge Church to thank everyone who supported them on this trip and to share their stories. Come and join us!