Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Extreme definition

We're in Evanston, where we went to a movie -- something we haven't done at home since last September. At the ticket counter, we were told that the showing at the time we'd selected would be in XD (Extreme Definition). "Better sound, sharper images, leather seats." (Leather seats?!) And twice the price, I should add. We were about to turn the tickets in, but decided that we'd try it once. But we didn't last past the 4th preview.

XD actually means Extremely Deafening. Even with fingers stuffed into my ears, I couldn't stand the volume. A shock of bright images and repeated, rapid movements coming from all directions made me queasy and dizzy. My nervous system felt assaulted. J didn't fare much better. We left.

We returned for a different showing of the movie (Inception), without the extremes. That was better, though both of us closed our eyes during the Big Bad Gun shootings and constant explosions, neither of which were advertised in the movie synopsis. Much of the acting, at least, was fine. But the story seemed silly, and the ending predictable. One teen behind us, after the show was over, joked, "Where am I?"

I enjoy viewing films on the big screen, but it's a highly unpleasant experience to sit through half a dozen excessively loud, boring, or offensive previews, and then watch the violence at which (apparently) much of our culture doesn't bat an eye. And we think this explains, in part, why so many people are losing their hearing while they're still young.

Monday, July 19, 2010

History or mystery

"From my Shelf" is the name of the used book store in Wellsboro, PA, where we're visiting family. J and I wandered into the store, and I deliberately browsed away from the Religion/Theology section. We're on vacation, and even though we've engaged in multiple daily conversations about church, I was making an attempt to think about Something Else.

A woman passed by with a tall stack of books. She paused and asked the person behind the desk, "Do I shelve this under History, or Mystery?

I became momentarily obsessed with finding out which book she had in her hand. I didn't want to ask, because who the heck was I to be listening to her conversation? So instead, I followed her around for a moment or two, oh so discreetly. I figured that whatever book this was, it must have to do with church. When I figured out the reason for my interest, I decided to abandon the effort. Vacation, vacation, vacation...right?

In the end, though, I don't ever really let go of church. I miss it when I'm away, and although it's great to let go of responsibilities for a few weeks, passion for the work remains alive no matter where we are geographically. What would it mean if we never gave church a thought during this time? I don't suppose we'll ever know the answer.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Keeper of fortunes

Gentle reader, this blog post does not concern money. It's about something frivolous: fortune cookies. I confess to a fascination with the fortunes hidden inside (usually stale) cookies that in their best days revealed just a hint of orange.

The best fortune I ever received proclaimed: "You will have god luck." This one came years before I began the ordination process, and still I marvel at it. First runner-up, opened on the weekend of my ordination to the transitional diaconate, said: "You are going to have some new clothes."

Another favorite is a keeper because of the lovely image within: "Alas! The onion you are eating is someone else's water lily."

Today's, however, remains a puzzlement: "The luck that is ordained for you will be coveted by others." I'm still trying to reconcile "luck" and "ordained" inhabiting the same sentence. In the meantime, all of this reminds me how great my passion is for Asian food, and how I wonder if my colleagues find it peculiar that I have an entire collection of chopsticks in the desk drawer in my office -- just in case.