such a random day

Today was a long and pretty random day…

It started with the usual Friday 8:30 meeting (not random), afterwhich we headed up to Edinboro for the Campus Ministry Board meeting. The meeting was… okay, I feel like it could be far more effective, but it’s a good start – there needs to be an evaluation aspect of it.

Afterwards Carrie and I tried to get an email address through the computer center, we’d like to be able to take advantage of Facebook if we could get an addy. While there, we ran into Justin Hoenke while there (random)… we didn’t get to talk long, but it was nice to see him.

Lunch at Uncle Charlies.

At Behrend we split up and asked people to give feedback on the Bono article where he talks about karma vs. grace. While doing this, Rein and I started talking to some people with the Multicultural Council (something like that) and made a deal with them since they were doing a raffle; I’d buy 5 dollars worth of tickets (12). They were giving away 5 different gift baskets as well as a mountain bike; I put one in each basket and 7 in the bike. We sat and talked for a while, there was a taller guy with a large red beard just milling around who refused to talk to me, or even give me his name which was awkward (I later found out he’s the president of Trigon, the LGBT group at Behrend) – to be honest, his appearance and mannerisms reminded me of Big Chris.

Rein and I wandered off to talk to some other people (the conversation there went very well) and afterwards we saw a few people walking out of the building with baskets so I figured I’d ask if I won anything as well.

I won the stinking bike!

There was only one problem… no way to get it home in the Lumina, so I rode it up to dad and Julie’s old house up on Yale (not sold yet) and stored it in the side shed to be picked up at a later date. Let me say this, riding up that hill proved how out of shape I really am.

Carrie and I decided after this to go down to Gannon and walk around to pray for the campus and see who we could run into. While we were there we met 2 girls – Karen and Krissy. Karen mentioned that she was leading a oil painting seminar that night and invited us (even though she new we weren’t students)… sweet.

We went out to dinner with grandma Shirley and headed back for the painting seminar. Let this be known – I painted my first oil painting ever. Nothing spectacular, but I’ll post it here soon.

Then off to Starbucks (at this point it’s 9pm) to meet Jenn and this guy Josh who is going to be an incoming Freshman at Gannon next year. While there we ran into Mike Farag and Shawn… that guy from shows, the one who is super nice… you know, Shawn.

Back home now and tired… the double espresso has finally worn off.

IAM – Part 1 – NYC/Culture

Thursday through yesterday had Carrie and I in New York City for the International Arts Movement (IAM – 15th anniversary conference entitled Artists As Reconcilers.

We rented a car to drive there and back (for hard-to-explain financial reasons). I went to pick the car up Thursday morning, the woman working at Enterprise informed me that they didn’t have the car in that we had reserved, so she’d have to give me a free upgrade. Oh, darn! So, here’s what we got:


Yep-yep. A 2006 PT Cruiser with 42 miles on it (as in the meaning of the life, universe and everything). Overall it was a nice ride and compact enough for east maneuvering in NYC, I liked it – even if it didn’t get any better mileage than our ten-year-old Lumina. That’s all I have to say about the car.

our roomWe got going at about 10:15ish and drove straight through to our temporary residence for the days. Our route took us pretty much straight across 80, through the Lincoln Tunnel and down 9th Ave to 23rd St where we unpacked at the Leo House – a Catholic hostel in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. While Carrie got unpacked and cleaned up I drove up to park about 7 blocks away (because I’m an idiot and didn’t notice the plethora of parking lots I passed on the way there).

We decided to walk over to the conference which was being held at the historic Cooper Union.


Cooper Union is significant for its role in bringing Abraham Lincoln to the White House; it was there that he delivered the speech that many believe was the launching point for everything he did as a president – even to the action of freeing the slaves from bondage. Peter Cooper was a successful buisnessman who was a true democrat (in the non-party sense of the word), establishing it as a place for education that should be, “as free as the air we breathe and the water we drink.”

On to the actual conference… my brain still hurts. It hasn’t been streched so much in a long, long time.

The presenters were really amazing! Actors, painters, poets, musicians, pastors, government representatives… really comprised of every role that you could think of that would have anything to do with the union of faith and art.

I want to share some highlights of what I learned and saw over the days…

After some various introductions and vignettes they screened a movie called The Bituminous Coal Queens of Pennsylvania ( which is a documentary about a beauty pagent of the same name from Green County, PA. The movie was pretty good, I enjoyed it. I thought it was great that there is now a documentary of the ridiculousness of western Pennsylvania rural life. Ahh, coal country.

The interesting part was that Patricia Heaton of “Everybody Loves Raymond” fame is one of the producers and was one of the people presenting the film (yes, she is a Christian). Here’s to the magic of cell phone cameras.

The hostel slept nicely… bed was pretty comfortable and the common shower wasn’t too gross – at all. Oh, and when we turned the TV on Everybody Loves Raymond was on.

Friday started my brain on its course towards a hemmorage…

The day started with a devotional from Sam Andreades, the pastor from the Village Church (Greenwich Village). He came up and said that, pretty much, his job was to wake us up, so he’d be “speaking on the headcoverings passage, 1 Corinthians 11.” Everyone laughed, then we realized that he had begun to actually open up his Bible to read the passage – he wasn’t kidding!

1 Corinthians 11:2-16

2I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you.

3Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. 5And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is just as though her head were shaved. 6If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head. 7A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. 8For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head.

11In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God. 13Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. 16If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God.

At this point I was scrambling to grab my notebook to write down what was going to come next. How was he going to pull this off? I have never in my life heard a very complete, or wholistic explanation of this passage – my mom and Roy’s church still practice it to the letter, but that never seemed completely right; I couldn’t put my finger on why.

Follow this closely…

Here Paul is challenging the Corinthian church to do two things

  • challenge their surrounding culture
  • bring thier surrounding culture into their worship
  • First, challenging culture: The Greek word for church ecclesia carried a meaning that is missed when it is translated out of the culture. An ecclesia was a town-hall meeting in its original context; the place where the city’s actions were planned out and where women were not allowed to attend, let alone be an active participant. In the Christian ecclesia women were not only present, but active – even prophesying and praying.

    Next, conform to culture: Paul looks at the culture that the Corinthians are immersed in and pulls out a piece of truth that lies within its foundation – gender identity, the fact that gender was a seperate thing, even in a depraved and sexually charged city such as Corinth (NY?). The cultural norms of Corinth were such that a woman’s glory lay in her hair and how much, how long, how beautiful it was. When he refers to what is “proper” he is referring to decorum, not morality; for the life of me I could never figure out how the natural world showed that long hair on a man was disgraceful – but the word here in the Greek refers to “the nature of things” – or how the culture worked.

    Along with the way culture worked was the idea that the hair of a woman was sensual and a central part of the sexual experience, which is why it was “proper” to make sure the woman’s hair was not shown – as not to be distracting in worship to God, or to distract from His glory.

    The idea of conforming (in non-sinful ways) to culture is even more reinforced when you look at the end of chapter 10 where he says that he does his best to not offend anyone and to “please all men in all things;” to conform to culture.

    Hudson Taylor was a missionary to China in the 19th century – he determined that he would dress as the Chinese scholars did so that he would be more effective in bringing the Gospel to them that basically meant that he would wear pigtails and a dress (that’s how it would appear to his peers back in England, yet it was the acceptable thing to wear as a scholar in China). If he would have worn the pigtails and dress in England it would have been just the opposite – it would have been disgracefull because it was completely against the culture.

    Our worship, if it is to express a genuine heartfelt outpouring of worship from us will always contain parts of our culture. It is like a candy apple – the truth of our worship is the apple itself, but every bite had the flavor of the candy in it until you get so deep that you’re only biting into seeds and core.

    Or, it is like clothing, or a bedsheet draped over someone standing – there is the distortion of the cloth, but there are distinguishing marks that would help determine if the person underneath were male or female.

    Okay, I’m going to cut this post off now, it’s become far too long… I’ll write more tomorrow.