Thursday, January 23, 2014

Slowing Down to Speed Up

I changed my training regiment in mid-October. I slowed down my longer runs in order to avoid injury, but increased my speed work to up my speed. It hasn’t worked. In three months I’ve injured myself more times than I have in the previous three years. I’m not sure what I’ll do but I’m nursing another hamstring injury and can’t start to train in earnest for the Boston Marathon. Late October I ran 8 miles at 6:30/mile pace. Figured that would put me sub-three hours in a marathon pretty easy if by late February I could run 16 miles at at 6:30 pace. That ain’t happening. Not sure what to do but I’m going to have to change something. Those races are expensive and to waste the money by hurting myself—something I seem to have a penchant to do—is unwise.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Welcome Adeline (Sweet Adeline)

Remember that old barber shop quartet song, “Sweet Adeline, my Adeline?” My oldest daughter had baby number two the other day. Adeline (Addy for short) means noble. She’s noble alright! Six pounds and eleven ounces of nobility and lots of brown hair. She’s a milk guzzling machine. I’m thrilled. But I wondered, “Uh, what’s with the brown hair? Every other kid or grand kid around here is or was pretty much blonde. What’s up?” I got no answer. 

Laurel ended up in the hospital with endometriosis. But she got better by God's grace and modern medicine. One hundred-fifty years ago she would have probably died. Here's a picture of Addy (Adeline). It's all good!

Check out this 1939 vintage barber shop quartet singing Sweet Adeline:  

Check out this more recent version of the same song with an explanation of its history. Pretty interesting:

It’s (not) better to be European

We had a tile guy come in to our house the other day. After 10 years, we were finally putting up our back splash in the kitchen. It was one of my sabbatical projects along with making sure we had a generator wired directly into our house so the next time Hurricane Sandy (or a black out or a brown out or anything else, for that matter) shuts out our electricity, we’ll be all set. At any rate, the tile guy comes and he’s named German. But he’s not German, he’s from South America.

 I said, “Wow, that’s an interesting name. German! Sounds very European.” To which he responded, “Well, yes but unfortunately, I’m not.” That took me back. Because the tone of voice, the way it was said, etc. all communicated, “I wish I was white and European. But I’m not white or European even though I have a white European name.” It bothered me. I asked about his ethnicity. He was from Ecuador. I said, “You have a wonderful culture.” He nodded, smiled, and agreed with me, then we talked about tile. I was going to lean into him a bit but it would have been inappropriate.

 Who knows exactly what it meant? But it took me back. What are the standards for beauty, privilege, and success, even in today’s American culture? White, blonde, blue eyed, and western? I am white. I’ve been white my whole life. I like white people. (I once said that in front of a white congregation in Maine and they thought it was a racist statement—from a white guy! Go figure.) But white isn’t right and the west isn’t always best. Caucasians have made a wonderful imprint on the culture of the world. Our culture, and the many varieties it contains, will be represented in heaven (Rev 7:9-11). But we have a lot to repent of as well. The same white skin that made so many wonderful scientific discoveries and gave us Bach and Mozart in the 18th century also raped the Belgian Congo in the 19th century (Read the book King Leupold’s Ghost for a nauseating study of that), and started a good chunk of World War II in the 20th century.

 I believe each cultural group has wonderful redemptive gifts that it brings by divine design to the world community. But each cultural group as well, must come to grips with the reality that sin has tainted those gifts and they must come to grips with that, for true cultural healing to take place. Speaking about the Germans, consider my post on my trip to Berlin to see what cultural repentance may look like—even for a culture or government that’s not distinctly religious (See January 2012—Post entitled The Topography of Terror).