Sunday, December 31, 2006

The new blogstravaganza

Let the blogcitement re-begin!

(Oh, and if you're looking for my China adventures, you can find it here:

Monday, July 10, 2006

Home Run Derby

What a show. It's the sort of thing you figure you'll only ever see on TV, but then when you're there it's just ridiculously cool. My two brothers and I were sitting in right field right about 10 rows underneath the "Hit It Here" sign that the Phillies' Ryan Howard hit with the last (and winning) home run of the night. Amazing. The Mets' David Wright hit about a hundred (actually, 16) in round one but looked tired beyond that. Howard, on the other hand, got better as the night went on. Those two and Boston's Big Papi, David Ortiz, put on the best shows of the night. Speaking of Howard, there's a rumor going around these parts that the Pirates could've had him a few years back for Kip Wells, straight up. If this is true, heads must role. Ryan Howard looks like the NL's own Papi, except he's not Latino or anything. Better yet, if Howard played in Pittsburgh, he'd simply be the next Pops. For Kip Wells. Think the Phillies would do that now? Tomorrow I'll be back at PNC Park for the All-Star Game with my brand new Freddy Sanchez jersey, ready to see teammate Jason Bay and Freddy "The Rake" himself, who I'm saying will take home the MVP award. It's just been that kind of year for Sanchez, the kind where tomorrow he comes off the bench, plays some mad D, then later gets a big hit, maybe one that drives in the winning run for the Good Guys on the NL squad. Bam boom. The Rake.

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Some thoughts on marriage

I wrote this a few months back when there was a chance I'd be speaking at some part of Bill and Stacy's wedding. It wouldn't really serve well as a toast, and I'm sure not giving the sermon, so my blog will do just fine. Your thoughts would be appreciated:

I’m no expert on marriage, but I heard somewhere that putting pen to a marriage paper is like signing a death certificate along with it. Sure, marriage is “til death do us part,” and there’s certainly that element of finality and closure that marriage brings, but that’s not my point--really. If I can speculate, it seems to me that a successful marriage is about the hundreds of thousands of deaths that happen before the big death does its part. It’s about dying to ourselves daily and thus truly living out Christ’s command to love others before ourselves.

Marriage intimately and ultimately kills any sort of illusion we hold that we are the center of the universe. The days of wanting our own way come to a close when we give all of ourselves: our money, our bodies, our stuff, our space, our dreams and our futures to our spouses willingly. We sign away any right we have to putting our interests first and instead take on the interests of others: specifically, one other—-our Beloved.

This is modeled for us perfectly in the Bridegroom of the Bible, who gave Himself willingly, taking on the very nature of a servant, thinking of the interests of His Bride—the Church—above all else. He too signed a death certificate and He calls us to carry that same Cross. Marriage is a way to do just this. In fact, this is the deep down core of marriage or of any human relationship, that, as we seek to love each other more we realize it’s about loving ourselves less in the end. And this is why we’re gathered here today, so that Bill and Stacy can commit their lives to one another, to sign their death certificate along with their wedding one, and to model the sacrificial love of Christ to one another in doing just that.

I can remember when Stacy was deciding whether or not she liked Bill in a husband sort-of way (which wasn’t a simple process even with eHarmony’s help), somebody reminded her that looking for a spouse is not about looking for the best-looking or best-dressed in the bunch, but about deciding who you want to be there with you when you hear the news of a death of a parent. The important things. I’ve learned over the years from my sister Stacy that loving someone is not about whether they’ve got it all together or you’re getting along great or whether you deem them lovable. Those are the unimportant things.

I’m so happy and so thankful that Bill and Stacy have found each other, found someone to love, that they’ve found a best friend to share with, to be with, and that they’re willing first, to die with. If you’ll now raise your glasses: Here’s to my big sister Stacy, my new brother Bill, and to their love for each other and the love they share for their Savior Jesus Christ, who taught us that true love is love willing to lay down its life for a friend.

Wedding bells & Blue Angels

There are two big events in Moon Township, PA, this weekend: my sister’s wedding and the annual Pittsburgh air show. I love the air show, and living just across Business 60 from the runways has its plusses. For example, sitting directly underneath the flight path of the performers with a great view of the loops, dives and takeoffs from my own front yard is one of the coolest happenings of the summer. Earlier today I watched the Blue Angels practice their routes for tomorrow’s big show, and later I rehearsed my own routes for tomorrow’s big wedding (take mom’s arm, walk up the aisle), both scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. To be honest, we’re a little concerned as the air show always brings a lot of traffic to the area, and to compound that, the F-18s require a few more restrictions than the usual Thunderbirds, causing all of Business 60 to close down tomorrow from 2 to 4:30ish. The local streets (along which sit our house, church and the site of the reception) might be crowded, and loud. Flyovers are awesome, but perhaps not in the middle of my sister’s nuptials. Congratulations, Stacy and Bill, and to everyone else, enjoy the show.