Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A rare quote...

I rarely, if ever, post during the day.

I overheard this though, and thought that I couldn't pass up the opportunity to post it out into the blogosphere.

"Hey , I didn't see you come in. I mean, you come in and out unseen - just like a ninja!" (A woman said this, and yes, there was emphasis added by her when the word "Ninja" came forth).

I'm only glad she's not throwing stars, jumping off walls, or throwing pepper bombs.

Also, I'd like to shoot this link out there. I thought it might be helpful for me (because I travel a good deal for work).

However, I already do all of this. Everything, that is, except for bypassing all the "dawdlers."

Helpful info for those of you who may be traveling soon. And if you can't read, there are pictures to help you along (though, if this is the case for you, you probably can't read this...).

Sunday, March 09, 2008

NY Met = Awkward

We spent the better part of yesterday at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art next to central park (just in case you didn't know where it was). We've actually been to the "Big Apple," 3 times in the past year (Laura's actually been 4 - so, 3 together).

Like most high-profile public venues these days, the Met has a self-imposed security check at the entrance. We actually stayed in Times Square on Friday night (for free @ the Hilton Garden Inn) and so we had two backpacks - one for clothing and one for electronics (a camera, books, cords, and a laptop).

So, walking through the line - I get to one checkpoint and they tell me I have to go back and have my laptop "checked," by other security personnel. Once there, they ask me to turn my laptop on. I obliged. Apparently, they just wanted to make sure that it was a functioning laptop.

A word to the wise - make sure your laptop is working if you bring it to the Met.
Apparently, you're screwed if it doesn't.

So the guy tells me, "Here, you'll have to show this piece of p
aper throughout the museum if anyone asks - that way they won't have to check your bag again."

"Wait," I say, "Can't I just check this at the coat check."

"No, things tend to fall off the rack in there - when you see it, you'll agree that you wouldn't want to check it," he retorts. "Oh, by the way, you'll have to wear your back-pack on the front. There are a lot of people here today and it would be kind of awkward to hit someone with your backpack as your walking through."

Because this isn't awkward:

It wasn't until later that I though
t that I should have been taking pictures of others like me - people who bought into this idea that it was more awkward to hit someone with your backpack than it was to walk around with it on the front of your body like some sort of Baby Bjorn for a laptop. Despite the enforced awkwardness of the day, it was still pretty fun and tiring. Here are a few more pics from our day - one awkward, the rest not so much so.

Friday, March 07, 2008

But what is, “Normal?”

In Alabama, there’s actually a place called, “Normal.” In Normal, there is a historically black college called Alabama A&M.

In high school, some friends and I visited the school. It was our senior year. We had a few “college,” days (days where you could cut school to visit local colleges) and we thought that it would be fun to go to A&M for half a day and grab lunch together afterwards.

Normal is normal in the sense that its school is like so many other public education institutions in Alabama. The outside seemed pretty amazing (to be honest, we weren’t expecting much). The inside of the school was literally falling Apart.

But that’s not really Normalcy.
Things aren’t really meant to fall apart.

My city is similar. The other day, the rain washed the streets of her accumulated filth. Grime, salt, trash, and decay cover her during most of the winter. When it rains like it did the other night, there’s a freshness to the pavement and a reminder of how things are supposed to be.

While the outside streets speak of the beauty of ingenuity and industrialism, they don’t speak to the reality of the people who walk them.

It’s a funny thing to think about. When friends visit (and friends, trust me, I mean no harm in this or disregard for our love of your company) I think that it’s hard for them to see the reality of what these streets hold. What we and many of our friends come from in terms of context is prime American suburbia. I think we even still see our home as an adventure rather than a place to live – a place to be, to engage, to hurt with, and to be angry about and for. When friends come, they see it much the same way – a fun place, exciting, cool, or scary.

But it’s not normal.

It doesn’t often compel us to worship.

It doesn’t often compel us to bow a knee to the most High Who has created the drug dealer, dentist, priest, or prostitute in His image. More often, it causes us to ask, “What are you doing? Can you hear us? Can you hear them?”

When God puts you anywhere, He intends to elicit some sort of action from you. That action at its very core is to Worship Him – that’s the normalcy of the life that He has drawn us (meaning me and my wife) in to.

More often though, I’d rather keep things just like Normal though – a quirky place to visit with friends just to have a day off from life, but not a place I’d like to learn, to grow, to minister, or to change.