Work in Progress

Baseball, Seminary, Wrestling, and the Dreams and Days of one Mike Work's Angeles experience

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Ideas do not exist.

Friday, February 25, 2005 - MLB - FleetCenter officials reject 'vulgar' Jeter Center

So the renaming of Boston's premier indoor sports arena (for a day) will proceed Surf Ninjas style. For those of you who don't get what I'm saying, Zatch (Ernie Reyes Sr.) led the two young heroes...and Rob Schneider to a secret cave once they arrived on Pa-tu-san. Upon inquiry as to the contents of the cave, Zatch responded that it was something that not even money can buy: the knives of quan-su.

This led Schneider's forgettably-named character to crack several jokes about going into a store and dropping five hundred dollars.
"Here's five hundred dollars; can I buy a knife?"
"No, money can't buy knives."

This little exchange from a film that not even I would designate a cult classic has become a running joke in the Work household, and as such, I reference it with respect to the FleetCenter naming rights charity auction. In this case, the winning auction bid was unable to purchase a name deemed to be obscene and vulgar. That name? The Derek Jeter Center.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

My dry-erase board is wet!

of course it's also in the same corridor as my shower, even with a shower curtain.

maybe this isn't so stunning after all...

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

In a few days, Amare Stoudamire, Josh Smith, JR Smith, and Chris Anderson will attempt to join such luminaries as Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Vince Carter, Kobe Bryant, and Harold Minor, as they compete in the Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk Challenge. Word is, they'll be competing for a grand total o $60,000 in prize money, but nobody's told me if the winner will be getting a trophy or a plaque as well.

I vote trophy, for all those interested. As to the reasons, I cite the possibility of smashing an adversary's trophy over their back, which can't really be done with a plaque. Such a dastardly deed could kick-start a heated feud between the Hawks and Hornets, which could bang the ratings...

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Chatting with my co-worker on Saturday, i used the phrase 'I believe that the academy and pop culture aren't mutually exclusive,' pointing out that I want to bring the two into the same orbit (where they aren't already). Later in the night, while doing my rounds, one such connection came to me, that between the work of Avril Lavigne and social psychologists on the relational self. Avril's first hit song, 'Complicated,' focuses on seeing someone change identities in different relationships, and the frustration caused by such changes.

excerpted from the 1st verse through the chorus

I like you the way you are
When we're drivin' in your car
and you're talking to me one on one but you've become...

Somebody else round everyone else.
You're watching your back like you can't relax.
You're tryin' to be cool you look like a fool to me.
Tell me

Why'd you have to go and make things so complicated?
I see the way you're acting like you're somebody else gets me frustrated.
Life's like this you
And you fall and you crawl and you break
and you take what you get and you turn it into honesty
and promise me I'm never gonna find you fake it
no no no

Nothing more to say at the moment, other than that I hope someone somewhere before me have pointed out that, like Don Hagner and I on certain exegetical issues, Avril and the social psychologists are on the same wavelength, if using different terms.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

As pledged, the second preaching-related post in as many days. While the lecture portion of homiletics hasn't been the most enthralling experience, I have come to appreciate the practicum component, in which groups of seven students are together for the quarter, with each giving two sermons.

Going into the experience, my group was a mixed bag of friends, acquaintances, people I recognized, and unknowns-to-me. At this point, six of us have preached, and I've appreciated the sermons given, which have illuminated both the biblical texts and the speakers. The cool thing is that in hearing certain people speak, I can get a vague picture of their life settings, including where they (and their words) come from and are going. Hearing my classmates preach, I've thought, 'They're right there, and are teaching in a fashion that will connect, especially in that setting.' Pretty cool.

When I came to Fuller, I was looking forward to a diverse student population. In some of my other classes, I've been frustrated because it has seemed a hindrance to learning, specifically with classmates from more conservative perspectives from my own (this probably says more about me, a cocky young WMA, than about the school, & probably isn't saying good things about me, but expunging the remark wouldn't be integrous, and would derail the thought, so it remains). In this class, I've seen student diversity in a positive light, and that has been quite cool, and worth mention.

Friday, February 11, 2005

"This is the most aggressively inarticulate generation in history."

I heard the quote above while listening to a session from Reformission 2004 taught by Chris Seay, who wrote a book entitled "The Gospel According to Tony Soprano." This second listen occurred approximately 36 hours before I was to preach for the first time, and I must say, he nailed me.

Skipping over thoughts worth thoughts I think...

I talked about Matthew 11:2-6, where John the Baptizer sends messengers to Jesus from prison, asking 'are you the one we've been waiting for? or should we wait for someone else?' I wanted to call attention to the world that Jesus stepped into, steeped with expectations of deliverance, and to John's own expectations (found in his preaching). When Jesus became a public figure, his work looked very different from these expectations, and John wondered what's going on, not doubting his call and message, but whether Jesus was the one that fit the picture.

Jesus' answer to John called attention to what he'd been doing, stuff that was all out of Isaiah, where the undertones of John's message were found. James Dunn's Jesus Remembered caught my attention by pointing out that the collage of imagery Jesus alludes to in his response comes from several passages which share a common thread. These words of restoration all pop up in close proximity to judgment passages, the major note of John's recorded preaching. It was as if Jesus was saying 'John, you're on the right track, but look closer.' You love Isaiah, but look and see Isaiah happening right before your eyes. That was the key point I hit, the re-adjusting of our eyes to see what the kingdom of God looks like in our midst.

During preparation and rumination, imagery came to mind from hours spent becoming a DVD pundit five years ago, specifically a presentation (still archived at The Digital Bits) on the benefits of original aspect ratio, and why to go widescreen instead of full-frame. More specifically, the re-editing done for pan-and-scan mutilates directorial vision, focusing attention on one central image, but obscuring, even cutting out, people and things that, while apparently minor, are actually essential to the scene. This connected, and seemed to have much in common with Jesus' words to John; 'put on your widescreen lens' and look at the full picture.

So that's what I preached in class yesterday morning. The sermon went well, connected with everyone, and the key points made it across, with illustrative material adding concrescence to rather than detracting from biblical insights. (This is where I hyperlink to a brief and a copy of the manuscript, once I avail myself of available the meantime I plan to post it in my comments.) Feedback was positive, with the chief points of constructive criticism related to things of which i was aware, reinforcing rather than blindsiding.

...this post is getting long, so i'll split it in two; the next post will be closely connected, dealing with the appreciation i'm gaining for the practicum portion of the class.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

ESPN recently interviewed Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Blink, both of which are high on my 'to-read' list. This interview brings Gladwell's work on the power of unconscious thought and gut instincts into conversation with pro sports, specifically focusing on the Super Bowl.

From my vantage point, there're also points of contact with religious practice, and a reading of Blink in conjunction with George Lindbeck's The Nature of Doctrine could be fascinating.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Nicholas Cage - Leaving Las Vegas
Sean Penn - I Am Sam
Craig Shaffer - The Program
Russell Crowe - A Beautiful Mind
Matt Damon - Good Will Hunting