Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Thursday, December 25, 2014
Sunday, November 30, 2014
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Monday, November 3, 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
An interesting and mostly objective take on the running business. I am still convinced customers will follow the best service and experience. They want their retail/consumer experience to align with their training/recreational goals.
Whoever merges and provides a holistic experience best will survive the longest.
Could be RSG, could be Fleet Feet Sports, could be Mom-and-Pop, could even be Dick's or Shoe Carnival. I am convinced it will have a face to face interactive component for at least another quarter century.
Who wants it the most?
Oh yeah, it's about a lot more than shoes.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Thursday, October 9, 2014
I love this movie and book, inspired and written by Norman Maclean. I remain ever fond of the quote below:
Until now, I had never really thought of this quote in light of Revelation 22:1-2. Here is the King James version of the Revelation text, which would have likely been the working text for Maclean and is one of mine for today:
And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the midst of the street thereof. And on this side of the river and on that was the tree of life, bearing twelve manner of fruits, yielding its fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Quite a few images come to mind at this juncture from Maclean within the context of scripture. We have imagination around creation and those first words from Genesis, some of the last words in Revelation (above), and the flood words from Genesis' sixth chapter.
Why has this merger never occurred to me? I have preached this quote. I have watched the movie more than ten times over. Here's my trouble up to now: I was mostly thinking of fishermen, disciples, and images such as Matthew 4:19 -- And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
Also from Maclean's pen:
In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing. We lived at the junction of great trout rivers in western Montana, and our father was a Presbyterian minister and a fly fisherman who tied his own flies and taught others. He told us about Christ's disciples being fishermen, and we were left to assume, as my brother and I did, that all first-class fishermen on the Sea of Galilee were fly fishermen and that John, the favorite, was a dry-fly fisherman.
You may appreciate from the weight of this fishing motif how Maclean's visions previously had me thinking solely of the works of man, inspired by God, but nonetheless the works of man. You would not have to know me long to learn that the intersection of ordained ministry and some other activity, fishing in this context, is the basis of my own theology and practice. But it is for that reason, why I had been closed off to a broader brush stroke offered here by the poet, Norman Maclean.
Here we can delve beyond the works of man, those who choose to follow and drop nets and become disciples bearing the fruits and blessings that spring forth from such choices. We are into creation, redemption, and big big waters.
I think of a river that runs through a giant tree.
When the great Flood came to pass
is it possible that Noah scanned from atop the waters
the splitting of a giant tree,
the tree of life,
and it grew closer and closer
seemingly sucking his craft toward it in a great wave
yet Noah and his crew,
expert surfers on this epic tide like none before,
saw the tree(s) at a frightening pace as they screamed headlong through the fissure,
wondering if they would hit either or both sides of the tree with their prostrate tree, the floating wooden craft he and his had built and now clung to for life?
Did they continue on their journey downstream,
far away from the place where the river split the giant tree,
only to one day return,
descendants, generations later
now from the eyes of John of Patmos,
they cruised again down the river observing the tree on both sides now?
Even more forceful as all things now merged.
Searching for images of rivers that have split trees leaves this author dissatisfied. Here is the best of what I can find in order to keep the imagination flowing, a split California Redwood, but it is far from all I want.
We often think of Noah's Flood as water coming up solely from below, from the ground, rising up, but maybe it came in all ways imaginable and unimaginable -- Tsunami's and Class VxV rapids. That'a a Class 25 rapid as multiplication tells us, which is bigger than my imagination. For those who can locate in their minds a basic washing machine rapid known as a Class V, well a class VxV is beyond human imagination in terms of destruction and transformation. Basically, it's a Tree Splitter, A Tree of Life Splitter.
I have left out hokey Sunday School renditions of Revelation 22, for they typically do not lift up my imagination. I don't want to think of a gentle babbling brook that is divided by a tree. It's not just about what I want, but think of the rest of the book of Revelation. Four Horseman and Seven Heads invite us to imagine a Class 25 Tsunami here as we draw near to the end.
I hope some artist will draw this scene, maybe in a tradition such as Transcendentalism, but we need Super Transcendentalism. A rapid with a black hole piercing through it at the speed of sound splitting the largest tree the world has ever seen.
Think of MacLean's language, all things merge into one...
That's a lot of things,
Certainly, all things
a lot of water
And a big ole' tree
I leave you with a ruptured imagination.
|Class VI rapid, barely navigable, just scratches the surface of what we are after.|
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Monday, October 6, 2014
Sunday, October 5, 2014
Thursday, October 2, 2014
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had else where its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But He beholds the light and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily from the East
Must travel, still is nature's priest,
And by the vision splendid,
Is on his way attended.
Genius from William Wordsworth, offered most recently in David Whyte's "The Three Marriages"
Sunday, September 28, 2014
The picture does not indicate that this runner felt close to home.
As the story goes, this young man, Dennis, had a strained hamstring and from what I can tell walked off the course without a finishing time.
This morning he broke the world record in the Marathon running under two hours and three minutes for the first time in history.
If you are injured, do not give up. Great successes may be just over the next hilltop, no further than the CITGO sign off in the distance.
I came upon this hill and this sign about 30 months ago, also dejected, and have not wanted to touch the marathon since. Perhaps I could be more tenacious. Dennis, you give me hope.
Sunday, September 7, 2014
I love seeing great Track & Field news to remind me of the return to Eden. Runners continue to amaze me with their achievements. This time it was in the 3,000 Meter Steeplechase. There is Evan Jager setting a new American record (8:04) in the Steeplechase and Jairus Birech breaks eight minutes for the first time all season by any runner. Somehow the fast running, hurdling, and wet shoes of steeplechase harriers reminds me that we will not suffer this life forever.
The Apoclaypse or Revelation, even sometimes known as Revelations, (but making it plural is false, but we always let it go, because it reminds us of some rural church we love), anyway, Revelation is a series of downers at times--Whore and the Beast, Fall of Babylon, Dragons, Bowls of God's Wrath, Dead Exiled for 1,000 years, 666. There is a lot of tough stuff in there. I avoided the entire book for about 15 years of my life. Seemed like it would only give me nightmares.
Then at the end, it speaks of a crystal clear river of life, no more tears, no more pain, leaves that symbolize healing, a curse lifted, and finally know more night as the path in the darkness will be illuminated by God's light.
You know that Birech and Jager suffered miserably all summer to get in shape for such great races. Tired recovery runs. Grueling speed workouts. Bumping some barriers that could have led to broken bones, even career ending injuries. And then in early September 2014 it all paid off and they raced fluidly, beautifully, and crossed the line with excellent results.
In a manner of speaking, they returned to Eden, back to the Garden and the Tree of Life where life is all balm. Are you going there? Are you willing to suffer to get there? Do you trust that the suffering now will be worth the peace then? When you see glimmers of the peace now, do you tell others about it?
Monday, August 18, 2014
I want to talk about Ferguson, Missouri and Mike Brown and Darren Wilson but any electronic conversation seems petty and misunderstood in the wake of what has happened. I spoke on it at worship yesterday and that will have to suffice. If I have anything hopeful to say or offer, it’s a video of a heavenly banquet. I strongly recommend that you watch the whole movie, Places in the Heart, but this video clip is the hook. I have posted this clip before in other contexts and it might be a starting place for communities to imagine a non-hateful response to violence. This is all communities. No one gets off the hook.
More than a decade ago, I got so mad at the church and its' leaders when it did not speak prophetically and quickly after 9-11-01, but I just don't know what to say now that it is my time to speak. Silence is also a form of prophetic imagination. Sometimes it is just too soon. Still, I am thankful for all who speak out. Continue with courage.
Do not be afraid to fail as you gather for worship and prayer. Get to the trail early and often and help the community with the re-design of these trails. If your church plant does not work--so what? You tried. Effort counts a lot in the kingdom, not for salvation or grace, but for showing courage. Most stuff in the world fails on a first attempt. And if you worship outside and it doesn't work, you do not have a mortgage or a lease to contend with. You are light with burden.
I promise you this; your cities leadership will not mind you gathering so long as others can freely use the space. They want you out there and so does God. Anybody want to plant an outdoor church in or near Ferguson, Missouri? I will bet my back yard there is an abandoned railroad within a stone's throw of where blood was shed. Might have to turn a couple swords to plowshares in order to churn up the earth and get the land leveled so you can lay down a picnic blanket or two.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Maggiano’s Father's Day 5K | Calendar Of Events | News & Events | Make-A-Wish® Eastern North Carolina
Fun for families, kids, singles. Don't be afraid to run whether you are a father or run. Ultimate Father's Day, let your wife run and you hang with the kids.
This is the first official race to cross the new American Tobacco Trail bridge. You don't want to miss it.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Sunday, May 4, 2014
These results reflect a win and a personal best for one of my closest friends, Matthew Waller. I have been lucky enough to call Matthew a colleague for four years, a member of the church where I serve as pastor for about a year, and training partner in running on and off over the last three years.
Matthew is a quiet man. He can be loud at times. Ridiculously funny. But, in his soul, he is quiet. I have even seen him irritated on group runs with too much talking. Strange, that a loud-mouth like me feels drawn to someone who can be stressed among "all the people" with "all the words." He is always professional, knowledgeable about many things from baking bread to building altars to coaching athletes. He takes the running industry seriously though it is one of his most recent areas of expertise. Matthew is an excellent writer, which you might not know.
In his own running and training, he has been prone to injury. He trains and prepares very wisely, but tends to pick up a little nick or a tweak just as things start really going in the right direction.
But it would appear that he is breaking trends. He won what was I am sure was a hot hilly half-marathon this morning in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He ran a 1:14 which his training indicated was very realistic. I predicted a 1:12 or 1:13, but like I said, it was likely hot and hilly and he must have run alone from the gun given that second place was four minutes behind. These are not easy race conditions.
I am very proud to call Matthew Waller my friend. I trust Jesus, that the two of us will be friends for years to come. Even if not, I am thankful for the time thus far.
Pastor, Tobacco Trail Church
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Thursday, February 13, 2014
And it does not even include my favorite:
I wrote a poem, that was partially inspired by this Coldplay song and the poem is called, "Lament to Sunshine," published in Border Ways. If you need a copy of the book it is available from me, or at Regulator in Durham, or Quail Ridge in Raleigh, Barnes and Noble, Amazon. It's available a lot of places, a lot of ways.
The book hasn't sold much and the truth is...I couldn't care in the least. Seriously. That's not why I wrote a book of poetry.
I wrote a book of poetry so I could keep rolling things forward as pastor of the tobacco trail church.
Plain and simple. That's why I wrote the book. I wrote a book of poetry so that I could keep living my life. Some of the time that I was writing I was going through some tough stuff. Some of the time I was going through some pretty amazing stuff. All the while, I needed to write and publish so I could keep living.
If it sells, it sells, but that's not really very important.
I've been thinking about my mentor, David Whyte. He is a great poet. But his first poems are not as good as his more recent ones. You know what that means? I will get better too.
Here is the one from me inspired by Warning Sign, or at least the song by Coldplay gave the poem a rhythm. Truthfully, it was running and Slane, Ireland that made this poem come to life:
Check out: http://www.rossnaree.ie/
I wrote from the second story of this building looking out over the River Boyne and her lush green pastures.
Friday, January 31, 2014
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Races and Places: Little River Trail Runs, Rougemont - News-Record.com: Wooten: Running Shorts
Eddie Wooten of the News & Record was kind enough to use my photo when summarizing the Little River Trail Run.
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Today: We will be running and brunching.
7am at Tyler's American Tobacco Campus to begin run on the American Tobacco Trail. 10am at Tyler's for brunch. Bring cash to contribute to brunch.
Sunday, January 19, 2014
5pm Copa Vida Coffee for a run/walk. 6pm at Copa Vida to get to know their story.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
2pm at McAlpine Park, Charlotte. Various friends running an 8K cross country race. Register at http://www.crcwinterclassic.com/ and make sure to register as "Tobacco Trail Church." We have a mixed team and would love to add you to our team.
Sunday, February 2, 2014
6pm at Copa Vida Coffee, Coffee and Worship, Singing and Fellowship. Preaching and teaching will be based on the "Presentation of the Lord," Luke 2:22-40.
Sunday, February 9, 2014
Noon at Mellow Mushroom American Tobacco Campus to begin run on the American Tobacco Trail. 3pm at Mellow Mushroom for pizza and beverages. Bring cash to contribute to brunch.