NOTES ON THE MOVE

All four Greenbeans arrived safely in Central Texas in late July.  It took a long time to get all of the utilities up and running.  The last thing to get was the internet.  This was not about order of importance, mind you, but in order to get unlimited internet access and high speed connections we had to mount what looks like a large telescope from the movie Contact on top of our home.  I keep thinking Jodie Foster (or Stephen Hawking?) is going to show up and request time on the dial.

On Top Of My House
On Top Of My House

Alas, though, things are operational.  Before I launch into full blown blogging again (like telling you about the dreadful sermons I’ve sat through the past three weeks, oh dear) I thought I might share some adventures from the move itself.

We used professional movers for our move.  The crew in in Port Orchard was wonderful, kind and courteous.  Mrs. Greenbean met them on this end and reported the opposite.  The Central Texas crew was awful.  They broke a bookshelf, dropped several boxes and even kicked them around.  They also scuffed the wall and dropped the love seat from two floors up.  In case you are wondering, the company was Allied.  I highly recommend against ever using them.

However, everything made it.  All of our things arrived even if a few of the picture frames were shattered and one of our owl statues was destroyed.  It’s here.  We thought for a while that wasn’t the case because we couldn’t find the box with my diplomas, ordination certificate, and personal pictures.  We did indeed find them two days ago.  What relief.  Those types of things are really irreplaceable.  We hung them on the wall in the study.  Which, by the way, we had to buy four book shelves once we got here for all our books.  It was a real pain in the neck integrating my theological/ministry library with our home library.

Everything Made It, Finally.
Everything Made It, Finally.

I traveled with my two daughters and the idiot dog from Port Orchard to Central Texas.  We did it in three days spending the night in Twin Falls, Idaho and Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Thank you, Best Western, for your pet friendly hotels.  I am certain I would have roasted the dog on an open fire somewhere in the middle of Utah had we not gotten a decent night’s sleep.

Here is the playlist for my road trip.  I built it in advance to avoid the onslaught of One Direction coming from the backseat.  It is loaded with favorite bands and with road trip songs (like the first one), but all of the songs were chosen with care to reflect my mood or thoughts about leaving FBC Port Orchard and my new adventures.

  • Take It Easy–The Eagles
  • The Reflex–Duran Duran
  • Suspicious Minds–Elvis Presley
  • Rooftops–Erin Ivey
  • Sweet Child O’ Mine–Guns-N-Roses
  • Welcome to the Jungle-Guns-N-Roses
  • Peaches–The Presidents of the United States of America
  • Ramble On–Led Zeppelin
  • Black Dog–Led Zeppelin
  • Immigrant Song–Led Zeppelin
  • The Cave (Live)–Mumford and Sons
  • Taya Tan–Pink Martini
  • She Blinded Me With Science–Thomas Dolby
  • The Hairbrush Song–VeggieTales
  • Space Oddity–David Bowie
  • Rocket Man (I Think Its’ Going to be a Long Long Time)
  • On the Road Again–Willie Nelson
  • Shiny Happy People–R.E.M.
  • Belong–R.E.M.
  • Texarkana–R.E.M.
  • Gimme Shelter–The Rolling Stones
  • Gloria (Live, Remastered)–U2
  • “40” (Live, Remastered)–U2
  • 11 O’Clock Tick Tock–U2
  • La Grange–ZZ Top
  • Cheap Sunglasses–ZZ Top
  • Sultans of Swing–Dire Straits
  • Walk of Life–Dire Straits
  • Everybody Have Fun Tonight–Wang Chung
  • Werewolves of London–Warren Zevon
  • Sharp Dressed Man–ZZ Top
  • Another Way to Die (Quantum of Solace)–Jack White and Alicia Keys
  • Bad (Live)–U2

I have not yet had time to begin writing, which is the essential reason we moved.  I have, however, had a couple of really interesting ideas which I hope to flesh out soon.  I appreciate everyone’s prayers and thoughts, and am looking forward to what lies ahead.  The Lord has been very good to us, and for that I praise his Holy Name.

CHRIST IN THE RED ROCKS

Sedona Arizona has one of the most interesting tourist stops I’ve seen in a while.  Nestled against the high red rocks of central Arizona is the Chapel of the Holy Cross.  It is a catholic church administered by the local Roman Catholic diocese—of Phoenix, I think.  The signage out front indicated the hours it was available for tours and noted that a prayer service was held on Monday evenings at 5pm.  That I could see, it said nothing about Sunday services.

chapel of the holy cross

 

The draw of the chapel is its unique architecture and geography.  Let’s begin with the geography.  Sedona looks like the very place where Wile E. Coyote is foiled by the Roadrunner.  The beautiful mountains and hills show off the lovely red hue of the rocks like artwork in a display case.  The day we were there a storm was blowing over the Arizona sky and it made the whole endeavor that much more mystical. 

The church building itself is built against a cliff.  As you enter the building there is a font; but the font is not in the middle of the entryway.  It is off to the side.  A gigantic rock cross forms the central chancel piece behind the altar table.  The roof is high and vaulted.  There are candles burning and that bring the temperature up significantly the closer you get to the altar area.  There are wooden benches without padding, an open Bible on a stand.  The church building is not very large.  I dare say it is much taller than it is wide. 

I paid my dollar to light a candle and sat on the pew bench to say prayers.  It was hard, though, with all those tourists around.  Two or three other pilgrims around me were trying to focus on Christ too; but it was difficult to center—too many non-centered people milling around.  Being the kind of person I am, I read all the plaques and all the signs looking for words about Jesus.  I found none.  All the writings and plaques were about the architect and designer of the church building and how it came to be.  The only homage to Christ was in the artwork—a lovely sculpture of Christ’s face on the altar and a few pictures.  The only place I could find anything about the living Christ was downstairs, the gift shop.  There were lots of Jesus items to buy down there.  There just wasn’t much to focus worship upstairs.

Touring something like that, especially with my wonderful wife and daughters in the midst of a long travel day, made me think hard about it.  Driving down the high way I had much time to ponder the Chapel of the Holy Cross—its purpose, function, and place.  It doesn’t seem to serve as much of a house of worship.  I perceive it was designed to be a place of worship; but that is not what it has become.  It is not a place of discipleship.  People do not learn how to follow Christ better there.  It might function in some kind of tourist evangelism way, I suppose but I don’t think that would have much lasting effect.

In my final evaluation there really is only one purpose the building serves.  It is devotional.  Surrounded in the natural cathedral of Arizona’s red rock the Church of the Holy Cross serves as a place for people who are already seeking Christ or who follow him to have a liturgically oriented encounter with the Lord in nature.  The odd thing is, for me; as a pilgrim and sojourner through life as well as on the highway this devotional moment came for me not in the chapel itself but outside the building looking at God’s handiwork.  It was the church that made my mind pregnant with the thought of Christ, but it was the landscape which gave it birth into a moment of consecration.