Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Joshua Nesbitt for Heisman

Avid Georgia Tech fan. Here is a sampling of who the Jackets are this season, including Heisman candidate, quarterback Joshua Nesbitt.

First, coach Paul Johnson. A guru for college football.  He is taking Tech to the promised land:

Second, Anthony Allen.  He is a powering "b-back" or running back. He will be on many highlights films this year:  Here he is responding to an ESPN analyst's pick that the Jackets would not repeat as ACC champs (this is a must view):

And finally, the heisman candidate himself:

Most of this is hype.  More videos to come when the Jackets hit the field in 3 days.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Muslims in New York City

The muslim community center proposed to be build in downtown NYC near "ground zero", has resulted in much outrage from people who are worried about what it means for a muslim community to be established near the place of an attack that popular America says was a Mulsim attack on America, Sept 11, 2001.

I was a little shocked this was even an issue.

I don't really have much to say against the building of the community center.  I have too many Muslim friends and colleagues to pretend like I can categorize all Muslims as terrorists. That's not even possible to put so many people of the worlds second largest religion in a box like that.

But here are some reactions against those who protest the development of the project:

CNN Host, Fareed Zakaria, returns ADL award as protest over Ground Zero mosque

A Presbyterian minister in NYC, whose life, interestingly enough will have significant intersection with mine over the next several years, posts his thoughts here.

And finally, from the syndicated radio program: Native American Calling.  This program, aired on Aug 18, 2010, reflects on how Native Americans have faced similar opposition in the past.

Who are we America?  WWJD?

Luke 14:1-15 - “Backscratchin’ Party”

Westminister Presbyterian Church, Santa Fe
August 29, 2010, Chester Craig Topple

Do you ever get an itch...while your just sitting in a chair reading, eating, or watching TV, and you try to scratch it but you can’t quite get to it, you reach around, you stretch your arms, you search for some kind of relief.  It gets so bad you have to stand up. What can you do?  just. can’t. reach.  The wall?  A fake wooden hand? Where is a backscratcher when you need it?  
File:Back scratcher.jpg
higher higher a little to the left, little more...there, ahhh.

I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.  Those are good people to have around.
quid pro quo - Something for something.  Do me a favor now, you’ll be sure to get on in return.

It is a very utilitarian way of looking at the world.  We associate with certain people because we know we can get something out of the relationship, and perhaps that person is just as likely to get something out of it to.  In other words, how useful are you to me? How useful am I to you? We all have backs that itch a lot...So we have to see who may be willing to give us a little scratch...

Even 2000 years ago people sought out useful relationships.  Jesus is at a party at a pharisee’s house.  Sounds a little weird....Jesus at a party and he is at a pharisee’s home.  He had been invited by a leader of the religious establishment to hang out...or maybe to be trapped. We don’t know. Jesus didn’t seemed bothered by it either way. He went.

But before he goes inside...he sees someone outside the party.  In fact he was standing right in front of him; almost blocking his way to the door. Someone with a terrible condition- dropsy, swelling-- that leaves him a social outcast...and Jesus couldn’t just walk past him, before going to the party. Jesus heals the man (fourth time he heals on the Sabbath day in Luke--in case you were counting). The man goes away... and in the story doesn’t even say thank you.

Then Jesus goes in and sees all the to do and putting on.  People sitting here are moved to there.  “Why, you are a very important to me, please, come sit here.” “Hi Friend, yes you. You are nice, but you don’t quite meet my needs like this fella here...you mind sliding over?”

Jesus suggests that people should sit far from the place of honor and then get moved up.  And let me tell you, some in this church have done that pretty well...only a few like to sit close to the front....and it’s not to get close to me, no, it’s to get close to (point to the painting). He’s the one who is hosting this party right now...and he’s right there!). The point Jesus is trying to make: The one exalted will be humbled, the one humbled will be exalted.  Don’t think yourself better than anyone else….The humble Jesus exalted on the cross. The humbled Jesus, exalted in resurrection.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

WPC Grasshoppers

I was very proud that with the help of Bruce Webster, I was able to organize enough able bodied people in a very last minute fashion (we literally registered 10 minutes before registration ended at Big 5) for a church softball team consisting of friends and members of the church.  We finalized the roster before our first game.  Here are the names (question marks indicate not sure)
Rachelle L
Allan G
Chester T
Trasie T
Donna Ormerod
Keri Brinegar
Cliff W
Julie W
Antonio L
Elizabeth J
Andrew B
Jennifer T
Milee G-R
Gabe R
James R
Mikaela A
Arlene O
? Jennifer P
?  Steve B
?  Dan Guevara
?  Lynette Guevara

Bruce agreed to be the team manager.  A role he took very seriously.

He tried to organize us. Here are some sample valiant email attempts:

Uniform T-shirt fee:  $13.50

League fee:  $31.00

cash or check payable to Chester Topple

Chester-Allan and Rachelle wrote that they paid you for t-shirts

any questions, ask Chester

And then another email responding to a question from Keri B:


In previous e-mails I have specified that I am collecting $31.00 league fees, with the caveat that this fee was not final.  Chester paid the $550 league fee, so he has the final word.

There are fees that include softball purchase for games and possible equipment purchase for team.  Right now we have only Chester's bat.

I have not been too specific with other associated costs because team member's have trouble remembering values for t-shirts or league fees--apparently it is too complicated.

Do you want to be the manager?


And before our first game:


I talked to Manny of SFe Softball and he said we did NOT need to put numbers on t-shirts tonight (Royal Blue t's or as close as you can come to that color).

Anyone volunteering to pitch?

Andrew- I will need your help sorting through rules.

Anu-Do you want to help with scorekeeping?

Chester and Julie- Please pass on to Los Reyes' y Los Guevara's

Finally another sample of his attempts:

1.  Below is the link for our team schedule, we are THE GRASSHOPPERS.

2.  We are a re-cre-a-tion-al co-ed team representing WPC.  We have Chester's $40 bat (legal bats for our league can be over $200).  We have inexperienced members on our team.  We are mostly church members.  Please "keep your cool and let it ride."  We are there to have fun.

3.  Play safe.  I am glad to see no injuries, 'cept for Milee's shins.  LOL.

4.  Show up 30 minutes early (females especially).  I will try to be 30 mins early this week.

5.  We are going to try a 2-inning rotation.  You are out in the field twice and how we are hitting will determine number of times that you bat.

6.  PRACTICE on Thursday, 630pm, Alto St fields.  (Don't forget to go to batting cage sometime this week).

7.  GAMETIME Friday,5/21,830 pm (show up at 8pm), FIELD #1, we are HOME team

Have a good week and hope to see you Thurs for practice,

he tried to motivate us....We lost our first game in dramatic fashion 17-0.
Here are his reflections after the game:

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother GRASSHOPPER


Well, I think we learned a lot last night as we took our whippin' 17-0.  But, we had fun.

For future games, I am going to need someone to step up and provide some coaching.  Last night, I was muy ocupado with keeping score (HOME team responsibility) and line-up and substitutions.

There are batting cages in Santa Fe and ABQ for getting in batting practice.  I suggest that you take advantage of those facilities.

I suggest that you practice throwing a ball and playing catch with someone.

In the immortal words of Crash Davis:
"This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains."

See y'all next Friday,

And coach us:


We are NOT the Home team, so I do NOT have to keep score--so hopefully I can be more "nurturing" as your manager.  Hahahaha.

Be there at 6pm.  Let me know if you will not be able to participate.  Keri is out since she has previous engagement.

Just some notes to remember since we do not practice.

1.  Do not stand still after ball is hit.  Basemen (y mujeres) cover your bases.  Outfielders & pitcher & catcher move to back up play in case of overthrow.

2.  Wait for your pitch.  This is slow pitch softball.  You will have time.  Attempt OFF-hitting meaning hit between 1st y 2nd base.  Hit behind runner for sacrifice.

3.  When the ball is popped up and coming towards you or near you--call for it by yelling,"I GOT IT!!!"  If someone calls for the ball, move to back up in case the ball somehow gets by him/her.

4.  Do NOT get injured.  This is recreation, there are no slow softball scouts in the stands looking to "discover" you.

Seeya manana,
Bruce Webster

We were not a very responsive group: and we didn't do so well.  Regrettably (now because I thought it was a good move at the time) He ended up resigning after our fourth or fifth game we had to forfeit during which he and I got into a little scuffle (we both were pretty heated, but..good resurrection story, we fell apart Friday, but made up Sunday).

Steve Brugger ended up managing/ organizing for the rest of the season, and did so enthusiastically. We won our first two games after he became manager.  However, we lost steam, people were inconsistent, and our final game ended in a whimper as only 6 or 7 people showed up and we ended up scrimmaging the other team.

I had fun at the games I went to, but our schedule was very busy this summer and we missed several games.  Milee, Gabe, James, Stever and Rebecca were definitely our most consistent and dedicated players.  Jamie Martinez was next once she was added to the team.

I was cleaning out emails recently and came across a whole bunch from Bruce in regards to the grasshoppers.  I was impressed.  I wrote him to tell him thanks, and to sympathize a bit:

You Did try! I'm cleaning out emails. This Grasshopper group was a hard one to work with. 
Thanks for your time yesterday. And good scripture readin'

His response was classic (note: he was the scripture reader in church that morning and he references the passage he read.

Yes, I saw great potential in the Grasshoppers...that was left unrealized...and now I will tell you what I will do to the Grasshoppers. I will remove the Grasshoppers' hedge, and the Grasshoppers shall be devoured; I will break down the Grasshoppers' wall, and the Grasshoppers shall be trampled down.  I will make the Grasshoppers a waste; the Grasshoppers shall not be pruned or hoed, and the Grasshoppers shall be overgrown with briers and thorns; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon the Grasshoppers.  

(Yeah, I might still be a little bitter...jajaja)

Hopefully we can regroup during the off-season and get em Grasshoppers next year!!!

Thanks to Bruce for all he did as the first ever WPC GRASSHOPPER MANAGER!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

I'm gonna sing...I'm gonna shout

Music has a funny way of getting under our skin and into our heart and soul. Songs that are familiar or have a catchy tune have a pervasive way into our psyche. We've seen it before. People who don't like to dance, who can't help but tap their foot to the beat.

Rev. Richard Avery has been the music director for WPC for a little over a year now. He has a unique style- both of leading music and musical selection-one that has taken some longer to get used to than others. But, he takes his role very seriously and reverently, and sees the way music can transform an experience of God.

This past weekend we were at our annual Church Familly Camp at Loma Verde. This is one of the perks of my job...getting to go camping with whomever shows up in a very rustic and beautiful place outside of Taos, NM. The camp is called Loma Verde. Dick drove an hour and a half drive with Cindy Piatt to not only come to worship, but also to help lead the singing.  As we sang familiar songs and hymns, I looked around and saw people singing, tapping their feet, patting their legs...getting moved by the spirit. It did not escalate into dancing and shouting, but we made a joyful noise to our Lord in that beautiful gathering place at Loma Verde.  Thanks be to God for Rev. Avery and for music!