Sunday’s Best: Seasonal Reverse-Engineering?

There were a couple of great strips in the Sunday funnies today, but this one captures something nice about the season we are in.  Here’s today’s Frazz by Jef Mallett.

Frazz Drab Weather(image from gocomics.com)

Posted in Comics | Leave a comment

Math Wizard

Class the last two days has started with a showing of Sam’s speech from the end of The Two Towers concerning stories and the people in them.  Once again, very few students have actually seen the movies (and a smaller number have read the books).  It’s interesting how much the zeitgeist changes.  There aren’t even that many Marvel fans in my classes these days.

This past Sunday’s FoxTrot strip had a nice nod to the Lord of the Rings, or balrogs, at least.  Take a look.

FoxTrot Math Wizard(image from gocomics.com)

Posted in Comics | Tagged | Leave a comment

Sunday’s Best: Chasing Contrails

Here’s today’s Frazz strip by Jef Mallett, chosen mostly for the immediacy of the subject matter.

Frazz Air TravelI’m posting this from the airport in Victoria, British Columbia, where the wait time for security check is always about five minutes.  I’m hopefully that the flight back to Honolulu will be a little tighter than the trip over, when I had a one-hour delay in Honolulu followed by a two-hour delay in Victoria (it was a foggy morning).

It’s my first time leaving the country since Covidtide.  And while it’s not that far away, it’s still something.  I was pleased to find most of my favorite spots still standing (though one big loss was the shuttle from the airport to downtown, which I discovered a couple of days before flying out).  I spent a lot of time walking, which was great.  It was a good way to relax.  It was sunny more than usual, which was nice.  It was also cold, which was to be expected but always its own surprise.  I did get to see the annual “Santa Parade” as a made my way from the lamb kebab shop to the hotel.  The crowd was good and festive.  It’s always a nice way to cap off the time away.

If all goes well, I’ll catch my flight from Vancouver to Honolulu after checking through customs.  Then it’s a good night’s sleep before returning to work in the morning.  Anything is possible with air travel, though.  Still, I’m hopeful.

(image from gocomics.com)

Posted in Comics, Travel | Leave a comment

Sunday’s Best: Slow Motion

It’s a good day in the Sunday funnies, with the regular strips going in many different directions thematically.  Today’s classic Calvin and Hobbes is another creative twist from a story-telling perspective.  The smaller, well-choreographed panels almost work like a strobe-light effect where you kind of have to “fill in the blanks.”

Calvin Slow MotionSpeaking of slowing down.  This weekend was a nice “slow down” that wasn’t particularly catastrophic.  There have been years where breaks both lingered and went by too quickly, like they were really hard to feel them while you were in the middle of them.  That’s been less true of late, which has been nice.

(image from gocomics.com)

Posted in Comics | Leave a comment

Sunday’s Best: Glasses in the Fall

I feel like Jef Mallett has been doing a great job having fun with this Frazz Sunday strips.  Lots of interesting, creative touches.  Today’s strip is a perfect example: a great use of blur and clarity all while acknowledging the season.

Frazz Glasses(image from gocomics.com)

Posted in Comics | Leave a comment

Splish-Splash

It’s been a little rainier and a little cooler on the island these last few days.  While it hasn’t been as hot this year as years past, it’s still a nice change of pace.  This Sunday’s classic Calvin and Hobbes is a nice reminder of the change in weather.  More than that, I like the strip for how Watterson renders the splash from Calvin’s jump in the puddle.  It doesn’t look very “watery,” and yet it gets the idea just right.  It’s one of those artistic flourishes that reminds me of the art of Walt Simonson, who drew things in a similar vein.

(image from gocomics.com)

Posted in Comics | Leave a comment

Sunday’s Best: Cause for Alarm?

In the weekday Peanuts strip, Peppermint Patty is currently waiting in the pumpkin patch in the hopes that the Great Pumpkin will appear and give her a new baseball glove.  Linus found out, and he’s pretty sure the Pumpkin will be unimpressed.

In today’s classic Sunday strip, Patty is experiencing a frustration of another kind: turns out she’s alarmed for the wrong reason.

Peanuts HomeIt would be interesting to trace the various forms of anxiety in Schulz’s classic comic.  It’s one of the many ways his pint-sized characters mirror adults.

(image from gocomics.com)

Posted in Comics, Teaching | Leave a comment

On Stalling

A good word from Seth Godin about organizations and stalling, because “the challenge of a stressful day is rarely directly related to today, it’s about tomorrow or years from now.”

Posted in Organizations and Institutions | Leave a comment

The Creative Use of Notebook Paper

Here’s this past Sunday’s classic Calvin and Hobbes.  It’s a great example of a number of things.  It’s also a good bit of fun.

Calvin Notebook PaperI did wonder about the fact that there are two holes in the top left corner of the page.  I had a vague recollection of their being notebook paper with more than three holes.  I looked it up; turns out that both 5-hole and 6-hole notebook paper exists.  The more you know, I suppose . . .

(image from gocomics.com)

Posted in Comics, Teaching | Leave a comment

Three “Working” Suggestions for Churches

Today’s post by Seth Hedman over at First Things is an interesting take on post-pandemic church culture (which also puts it in line with this piece by Ephraim Radner from the spring of 2020).  In the post, Hedman challenges churches to make make two broad shifts: from white collar to blue collar and from pandemic church to post-pandemic church.

It’s an interesting blend of thought, really.  Hedman cites his time in carpentry and DoorDash driving as a way of realizing how “white collar” the church has become.  In many ways, he’s not wrong, particularly in those who are most prolific in writing and in being read in certain circles.  And his observation lines up with suggestions that the rise in the “nones” has a lot to do with economic and vocational factors as such as anything else.

Hedman gives three suggestions for what “the real work of the church” should look like moving out of the pandemic.  First, ministers should revisit the work of “the Daily Office.”  This isn’t something familiar for most Baptists from my background, but it has entered my experience over the last decade.  The Daily Office is rooted in the ancient practices of “prayer hours,” when religious figures would stop regularly for prayer.  “Every morning and evening,” Hedman asserts, “the work of God should be [the pastors and churches’] primary daily responsibility, through public prayer and reading Scripture.  No more event planning and screen time.  No more closed church buildings during the week.”  In particular, that last part resonates with me.  I’ve never really had a “neighborhood church” experience as such, but I do not that having a place to “rest” in a particular way was an unfortunate consequence of church closures during Covidtide.  “Sacred space” is hard to come by.

Second, Hedman suggests a popping of the “ministry bubble.”  This is where the author brings in more of the “blue collar” perspective.  He suggests churches make a priority of hiring pastors with blue-collar working experience and that seminaries should have requirements for students to do manual labor.  Why? Hedman adds: “Too often, pastors who have only known the ‘ministry bubble’ have little vision for discipleship in the working world.  A pastor disciplined in the mixed life of prayer and work will better be able to minister to his working congregants and invite them to ‘follow me as I follow Christ.'”  That’s a gutsy final sentiment, taken right from the letters of Paul.  The general suggestion is well-taken: regardless of the color of your collar, how great it would be for your pastor to step into the world of your own work to better understand his sheep.

Finally, Hedman suggests a “sacramental revival.”  He mentions things like communion, baptism, kneeling for confession.  Then there’s the the removal of screens and the idea of no longer “catering” to an online audience (though still streaming if necessary).  This is where a lot of church are, I imagine, as there are still senior adults or families who have yet to return in-person.  Hedman suggests making the service more embodied, more physical and less digital.

It’s a piece worth reading and reflecting on, if only because it can help us reflect on our current condition in necessary terms.  I’d like to hear more about the “blue collar appeal” of things.  What he suggests can sound more “high church” than “low church,” which is something most of us aren’t really equipped for.  Either way, these are some things that church leadership should be thinking about, should be talking to their congregants about, especially as we move into “whatever is next.”

Posted in Faith | Tagged , | Leave a comment