Burger Building

July 31, 2008

I submitted a recipe to the Sutter Home Burger contest. It’s in honor of my FSC days. Here it is.

Florida Sunshine Burgers

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July 30, 2008

That’s about it.

Can you find it? Part 2

July 29, 2008

Read Part 1 here.

Sometimes I wish people would not help me make a point. I got an email from Julie at GBOD (Global Board of Discipleship.) She’s the young adult coordinator? anyway she’s one of the people that is in charge of young adult ministries for the national UMC. They have a new website (actually just a new URL, the site has been around for about a year.) They added a number of new events and features so I went to check it out.

There was a link for young adult blogs, and since I’m new to the blogging world I thought I’d go look to see what some of my peers had to say. And to my sadness and dishearten-ment (I think I just made up that word) about fifty percent of the links don’t work. So besides being a metaphor… this broken link thing is literally true. I once wrote an email to a pastor who was looking for some tips on the 20-something mindset. Among other things, I said that we are acutely aware that “Facebook friends” are not real friends. And I think that all is a part of what I’m trying to say. We are surrounded by glossy, user accessible, happy/smiley pseudo-community that ultimately has no depth. (And that’s not to say that this is some system being unwittingly foisted upon us; we are master manipulators of it. I just mean that it has become part of what our world looks like.)

So… enough ranting, I promised solutions, (well at least alternatives)

  1. Demonstrate authentic community. Send people actual birthday cards. Ask how people’s families are doing. Help people move out of their house. Work on service projects together.
  2. Follow up on commitments. Show up when you RSVP. Show that welcome is more than hello.
  3. Persevere through rough times. All this stuff takes time.
  4. Show people your weaknesses. That means you’re a real person.
  5. Be Honest or there might be consequences.
  6. Throw out the fanciness when it’s getting in the way of the substance.

I think it’s easier said than done. But that’s the real behind the real.

Read Doogie’s Blog here.

[ht:E!, prslaveDC]

My Purple Curtains

July 27, 2008

This post is part of the 40 day fast. Please read Emily’s post, and pray with us as we fast today.

Something great happened. Within a month after Hurricane Katrina, a number of both religious and secular aid agencies banded together to form “Katrina Aid Today” to serve the needs of the victims in Louisiana and Mississippi. “Katrina Aid Today” operated mainly under the supervision of the Salvation Army and the Methodist Church, and received grants from many denominations as well as FEMA. This program took in millions of dollars and helped thousands of people.

But as the money started to run out the various agencies set up there own relief programs to fill in the gaps. I am a member of the United Methodist Church so I will talk about our efforts but similar problems are befalling all the Katrina relief programs. The national church runs the UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) which continues to fund the recovery process but not enough to cover all the people still in need. So the Mississippi and Louisiana Conferences of the UMC have both set up agencies.

My congregation recently sent a team to work on construction with the Mississippi United Methodist Disaster Response Center, which “exists to aid Katrina Recovery efforts through the healing of hearts and homes along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.” They run children’s programs for survivors. But primarily they run three work camps along the gulf coast to house and feed volunteers who provide skilled and unskilled labor (as well as some of the building supplies) to rebuild homes for single parents, larger families, the elderly and disabled. They reuse as much as they can to make the houses safe, sanitary, and secure. Local church members provide meals for the volunteers. While they were there my fellow church members were able to work on three homes and build relationships with three families, including a grandmother raising her 5 grandchildren in a FEMA trailer, who was able to move back into her home shortly after they left.

Mississippi UMC Construction Project

A Mississippi UMC Construction Project

Camp Hope in Vancleave Mississippi

Camp Hope in Vancleave Mississippi, half warehouse, half bunkhouse

When the team came home they brought some disturbing news. The larger agencies are pulling out and the smaller agencies are running out of money. I got in touch with Rev. Darryl Tate, the CEO of the Louisiana Conference UMC Disaster Relief Center to ask him about the funding situation both for rebuilding homes and churches in his conference. He says

“American Red Cross is finish working for the disaster of 2005, and they have closed up as of June 1, 2008 for funding. Salvation Army is still up with funding but they too are running out of funds. And we still need 4-5 million dollars so that we can finish up all our clients that that we have in our files. This is to help people! To finish up with the churches and pastors that UMCOR Funds can’t support Louisiana still needs $500,000 for this present conference year of 2008- [June] 2009.”

l heard an announcement out of the General Conference of the UMC that proudly prclaimed that nationally the church had collected 2 million dollars to fund the rebuilding and repair of the more than twenty affected churches in Louisiana and Mississippi. I guess that sounds like a lot until I remembered that my home church just undertook a capital campaign to raise 2.5 million dollars to remodel the building that they just bought which will be an annex and home to the new contemporary worship service that doesn’t even exist yet. Maybe we need a to remember the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'” Luke 16:19-24

Notice what it says about the rich man… not much except he was rich. It doesn’t say he was mean or evil or unkind; it doesn’t even say that he was greedy or stingy. All we know is that he was rich and he didn’t help Lazarus. And if I had a guess I’d bet it was because he didn’t even notice him. He was too busy picking out his purple linen curtains. (And, yes those are the curtains I have in my living room… figures.) I think that I’ll wear purple today to remind myself just how rich I am.

There is still a tremendous amount of need and I feel like we’ve forgotten; we don’t notice. As of July 1 more than 3000 people are still living in FEMA trailers in New Orleans. And the residents of trailers are now being asked to leave them because they were always intended to be a temporary housing solution. They will be given rental/hotel vouchers. [USA Today] These people are going to need help now. August 29 will mark the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Let’s try to remember and keep our curtains open to what’s going on around us.

Inspired to action? Places to give your money and your time… MS UMC Relief Center, LA UMC Relief Center, The Coordinated Assistance Network

I’m going to a workshop at the little theater today. One thing about losing half of your funding is that you have to provide some more content that people will pay for. So today’s song selection for auditions will set me back 10 dollars. I think they had an acting audition workshop 2 weeks ago that was 25 dollars so maybe they are lowering the price to get more people to come. The readings of children’s literature seem to be going well too. The formerly free “Actor’s Workshop” (which is mainly a place to go and present work and your fellow actors critique it) will now be costing $5 per session. And I guess that doesn’t bode well for a free director’s workshop. I asked about it one more time and still no info is forthcoming. I even volunteered to help coordinate it. No wonder I can’t get a job… people won’t even let me work for free. Which reminds me that auditions for “The Fantasticks” are tomorrow. Announcements of the directors for the season were finally made, and there are still two positions open. I told the executive director that she should find some one with more experience but maybe less availability and we could collaborate. Again no word.

My totally unoriginal idea to get some cash flow… charge the actors. You could have audition or costume or production fees. Scholarship and fundraising opportunities will be available of course. Maybe they could work off their fees in the box office. It’s a supply and demand thing. I think there were like 50 girls who auditioned for Guys and Dolls, think of all that money.

Time to pay-up

July 25, 2008

I’m saving the planet, folks. I got my electric bill yesterday… Drum roll… Here’s the verdict.

July 2007… 1028 KWH

June 2008… 696 KWH

July 2008… 396 KWH!!!

Savings over last month ~$45, over last year ~$100 wow how

It’s getting harder to do though, who’ve thought it’d be hot in Florida in July. I think come August I’m turning the AC back on at least during the day and paying closer attention to the real temperature. It’s been an interesting experience, maybe a little stinky, but defiantly money saving.

I happened to have my camera while I was driving (that like never happens,) and because I was obviously feeling like a daredevil, and because who doesn’t love a rocket (especially one just feet away from you on the interstate)… for your viewing pleasure

(PS. don’t tell my parents that I photo and drive.)

So I was reading a post about “Secret Garden” the musical, and I remembered the 2001 reality show that I liked, “The IT Factor.” It followed a group of eight new and/or struggling actors as they auditioned for jobs in NYC and LA. The twist is that they all had to go through a rigorous audition process to be on the show, they had do have the “it” factor, get it. One of the people they featured was Daisy Eagan, who won a Tony for her role as Mary in “Secret Garden” but hadn’t had much success as an adult actor. So I went to look the people who had been on the show on IMDB to see if the show was right if these people really did have the “it” factor. Of the 16 actors over two seasons, three have reached some sort of star quality LisaRaye was one of the stars of the CW show that was created and produced by Will Smith. Godfrey became the “7up” guy right after the show and has success as an actor, stand-up comic, and on the “I love…” shows on Vh1. And one of the other girls has a supporting role on the show “Bones.” I think five of the actors show no more than two credits other than the reality show. The rest all appear to have steady work as guest stars on all sorts of shows and movies (which in the scheme of things it is pretty good to be able to support yourself as an actor.)

The weird coincidence… the episode of “House” that was on today guest stars one of the “it” factor actors as a drug addicted rock star. It’s a small world.

Happy Blog-iversary

July 23, 2008

Today is the one month anniversary of my wordpress blog and daily posts. Here’s some highlights in case you missed it…

  1. Soul-Pastor July 14
  2. Crazy Power July 5
  3. I have a secret June 30
  4. An oldie but goodie…Erin may have injured Martin Short… literally February 19