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like father, like son

Bloged in worship by rod Friday May 21, 2010

like father, like son

Originally uploaded by rod lewis

I’ve enjoyed watching Jack process through precisely the same steps as I did in this tiny area of life for several years now. But it has all ramped up these past 3 weeks as I’ve watched the culmination of his work here at the end of his senior year.
I’ve bubbled with pride as I’ve watched his performance peak at exactly the time it should. I’ve felt deep emotions with him, simply because I’ve felt them before.
Track is a special sport because its main focus of competition is within each individual. Of course, to everyone watching, it appears as if the athletes are competing against one another. But don’t be fooled, you’re witnessing each and every athlete competing against himself together with all the others.
Of course, this is not said to diminish the importance of other sports that teach us to find our place, and to contribute within team and community, but track provides the opportunity to struggle within yourself to strengthen your contribution to team and community.
The track is a microscope that focusses weakness, laziness, fault, victory, overcoming, and success exactly where it must be dealt with - on each individual on the team. And it forces it to be addressed by the only appropriate person - the individual.
Perhaps, only when we learn to compete with ourselves are we equal to the task of contributing to team and community.

become who you are

Bloged in apprenticeship, life by rod Thursday May 20, 2010

Our culture for quite some time has told us that we can become anything we want to become. These days, in our product-oriented world, the same concept is expressed by “you can buy anything you want to buy.” Perhaps for some time, these were merely two side-by-side attitudes. But I truly believe that today we’ve melded the two concepts.
Once upon a time, people educated themselves by sitting under the teaching, and being around people who knew what they wanted to know, who understood what they wanted to understand. We gathered knowledge, wisdom, understanding, and set about assimilating it ourselves. These days, we buy a product, a program, a fake transformation at a university, and expect - regardless of what the product is - that upon payment, we will become the result of the product.

You cannot become anything you want to be. There are things that are unavailable to you. You can become what you are supposed to be. But that is going to take a lot of commitment, devotion, hard work, and perseverance. No, you cannot buy commitment, devotion, hard work, and perseverance. Yes, it would be much easier to buy what you can’t become.
Don’t be fooled.
You will not be convinced that you’ve become what you’ve bought. Unconvinced, you’ll be burdened with the extra effort required to pretend like you’re convinced you are what you bought.
You’ll be burdened with the extra effort required to convince others that you’re what you bought.
You’ll be burdened by the extra effort required to deal with the knowledge that neither you, nor anyone else is truly convinced that you are what you bought.

Why would you want all those burdens? Why not simply become what you’re supposed to be? And gird your loins, because it’s a lot of hard work.

coffee spoons and paschal moons

Bloged in worship by rod Wednesday March 31, 2010

coffee spoons and paschal moons

Originally uploaded by rod lewis

Gather close my dusty friends,
and sip the cup of conversation,
as deep to deep, the calls go forth and
iron sharpens iron.

Remove the beam that’s in my eye,
then I’ll remove your splinter.
Huddle ‘round the Lenten fire,
and bid farewell to Winter.

Mingled smoke and blossoms’ scent,
fragrance of prayer and resurrection
wisping upward toward the morning –
to the dawn of our redemption.

Smudge my pride with ash and oil.
Teach me rightly numbered days.
I’ll count my friends with coffee spoons,
and measure life by Paschal Moons.

The Errant Evangelical 2

Bloged in church, culture by rod Friday November 27, 2009

Chapter 2, wherein the pitcher winds down

When the little boy left the team and headed home tossing bottle caps into trashcans, the team was absolutely thriving. The changes in the game had moved it to open fields where there was plenty of room for the game, and for spectators. And spectators certainly took advantage of this opportunity. They turned out in droves. Each game brought more spectators each time the team took the field.
Unfortunately, other changes in the game had slowed down the play. The larger space had spread the action out and the rules changes had slowed down play. The spectators and team manager began complaining about the lull in action.
As it happened, the action had been centralized to the pitcher, and therefore, he was thought to be responsible for the lull. The manager began speaking with him regularly about the complaints of the spectators. They discussed his performance. It was determined that his fast ball was fast enough, that his curve ball was curvy enough, that his knuckle ball was knuckly enough. He threw more strikes than balls, and his ERA was enviable. In fact, the only weakness that they could find was that his windup was not wind-y enough. The manager was sure that if they could just wind up the pitchers windup a bit, all would be better and the spectators would be entertained once again.
Always the good soldier, the pitcher agreed to try to lift his leg a bit higher, and to step left, then right then left again just before taking the ball from his glove and finally, to make a huge sweeping motion with his throwing arm, finishing in a rightward lean just as he released the ball. He practiced these visual theatrics until his arm (and legs, and shoulders and neck and ankles) ached, but no matter how well he did them, he couldn’t throw his fast fast ball, his curvy curve ball, or his knuckley knuckle ball any longer.
The manager insisted that he do this in the game, though, so he pitched loss after loss, embarrassing himself with walked and beaned batters.
He spoke with the manager time and again, but the manager expressed that the spectators weren’t concerned with the outcome of the game, only that they were entertained by the pitcher’s motions.
The pitcher didn’t last long knowing that he was no longer needed for his ability, and so left the team to find somewhere new to throw his fast fast ball and such.
Meanwhile, the team found a new windup man. The new guy couldn’t throw the ball across the plate any better than the last guy, but he was so enjoyable to watch that all the fans were delighted and soon forgot completely that the pitcher was supposed to throw stikes.

I Can See You

Bloged in poems by rod Wednesday October 28, 2009

I can see you.

More deeply than you might wish to be seen.

Darkened depths from where loneliness rises,
lighted halls you’ve forgotten exist -
both brought to light through flowered irises,
memories, and desires you fight to resist.

iris windows to soulful depths
widen in the darkness to gather the light.

I can see you.

for the future

Bloged in poems by rod Friday October 23, 2009

There are quiet, chilly nights

when no one has words to quiet the soul –

least of all, one’s self.

But there are words from the past –

past thoughts thought on wordless nights –

thoughts that moved through the future and



Yesterday’s words comfort tonight,

And so for the future,

I write…

Where in North America is Uncle Rod? Day 23

Bloged in worship by rod Monday July 6, 2009

July 7, 2009
Marion, VA
212 miles (5,125)

I was thinking today as I rode a 5 hour, 212 miles, that these miles are not like the miles out west that I rode last year. In fact, all the miles I rode this year are quite different than those I rode last year. Here, on the east coast, there are no wide open spaces. If it is not towns and people, like Connecticut last week, it is mountains and switchbacks. Curves that are 20 mph, even on a motorcycle. Last year’s 400-mile day of straight desert riding, is this years 200-mile day of straight up and low-gear downhills. Of Grouse, and Deer, and Wild Turkeys.
I rode from my parents’ house, straight into the country. For 200 miles, I rode narrow 2-lane country roads. Sometimes one lane got lost, and I squeezed through, narrower still.
Across the mountains of Southern West Virginia, I always feel like someone, years ago, drilled holes, from the top, down into the mountains, and planted little towns. There are no places for towns at all, and yet, one descends a steep mountainside, and there is a town. There are always sides of hills missing to make room for Mainstreet. Houses are stuck into hillsides like arrows shot from across the river. One side of each house is one storey tall, the other side is often 3 storeys high, just to find the foundation. Thus, it seems like a huge drill bit, from above just dropped down and drilled out a hole for these towns. Were it not for the fact that this is a coal-rich land, no one could possibly have ever lived here. There had to be a financial gain for carving out communities in places where only birds could reach easily.
Today, I saw no rain. First ride, since I rode from Cape Breton, to the Bay of Fundy, that I didn’t get rain. Today, the temperature was perfect too. I rode into town after I set up camp, and it was quite cool, but all day, the ride was quite comfortable.
For some reason, I expected the up and down, and switchbacks to stop after I crossed in to Virginia. Who knew they would intensifiy?
I’ve never been to Boone, NC, so I was headed in that direction. Nearby, is the tallest point in Virginia, so I thought I might camp there. I made it as far as Marion, VA, where I have actually been, and tomorrow, I will ride into Boone, begin to make my way home.
I had no idea, how many slices of mountains, and long valleys lie in this narrow portion of Southwest Virginia between West Virginia and North Carolina, but I climbed up and back down, several times, with rolling valleys between, before I happened upon this State Park. Only about 10 miles to the south is I-81, but you’d never know there was civilization nearby.
As I mentioned, Southern West Virginia, is tight. Extremely steep mountains, and very very deep valleys. One rides along rivers here, upon roads that are actually hewn from the sides of the mountains. Even the river bottoms aren’t wide enough to accommodate the river and a road, so extra width is extracted by excavation. At 4pm on a July afternoon, the sun doesn’t reach over the mountains, and so it is evening down between the hills. One meanders through mountain shadows for hours before the sun actually sets somewhere behind those hills.
The last couple of hours of incredible motorcycle roads were so freshly paved that they had not yet been painted. Smooth, without gravel, NO traffic, intensely curvy, and up and down. Who could ask for anything more?
I had so wished to get at least a day or two of what I’d planned to get for 21days. Even if it rains all the way home tomorrow, I’ll have today to count for exactly what I needed.
So here, I am, knowing I’ll see Al and kids tomorrow, sitting by a fire, merely 250 miles from home, depending on the route, and enjoying a fire and night sounds of Whip-poor-wills, and frogs. It is a fitting last night of the Windhorse trip.
The Windhorse, by the way, ran beautifully today after having been cleaned a bit, and is resting beside me enjoying the cool mountain, night air.

Where in North America is Uncle Rod? Day 22

Bloged in worship by rod Sunday July 5, 2009

July 5, 2009
Milton, WV
194 miles (4,883)

Rolled into my parents’ at about 2:00pm. Dinner had just been placed on the table. Grilled Salmon, wilted lettuce, and pasta salad. Yum.
I had planned to take an all day ride to get here, heading south from Parsons and then east to get more fun mountain back roads, but alas, it was raining when I packed the bike, so I decided to ride straight home along with my brother. The scenery is exquisite either way, but the riding is less fun on 4 lanes.
It was nice to be here for longer though. I sat around, took a nap, and watched a couple Andy Griffith re-runs with dad.

Where in North America is Uncle Rod? Day 21

Bloged in worship by rod Saturday July 4, 2009

July 4, 2009
99 miles (4,689)

Still in Parsons, but today, I got back on the bike for the first time since Wednesday. My brother and I rode over to Seneca Rocks, and took a tiny mountain road home. Over in Seneca, there were dozens of Harleys parked in front of Yokum’s Store, but standing out like a jewel, was an ’04 BMW R1200 GS. Turns out that about half the bikes there, all black Harleys, were ridden by Germans who’d apparently rented matching bikes for the ride, but the Beemer was ridden by a guy from Eastern Ohio.
We rode rt. 72 back to Parsons, which is about 20 miles of one-lane switchbacks and gravely, steep downhills until it finally descends along the river and comes out at the edge town.
It was raining again this evening, though we had absolutely no rain for our entire ride.
Cindy had taken a canoe ride down the Cheat, so after we returned, Scott and I went over to the river to take the canoe out and tie it on top of the truck.
Before Cindy and Carleigh left to drive back home, Scott and I took a little picnic with them and I played on the slide with Carleigh while Scott and Cindy visited at a picnic table. That was the first time Carleigh decided I was ok, and we had a really good time.
What a wonderful couple of days this has been. It has been a couple decades since Mom and Dad and all three of us young’ins have been assembled in one place without our daily schedules to contend with. Just hours of talking and laughing and no one having to run off to work, or jump up and tend to something. It was really wonderful.

Where in North America is Uncle Rod? Day 20

Bloged in worship by rod Friday July 3, 2009

July 3, 2009
0 miles (4,590)

Mom and Dad drove up this morning to hang with us. Close behind were Cindy and Carleigh in the Jeep, and Scott on his bike. We visited all afternoon, and then went out to dinner before heading to the fireworks in Thomas at the top of the mountain. The fireworks were spectacular. Who knew that such a tiny town could put on such a show?
I’ve driven through Thomas dozens of times in my life, but I’ve never seen a living soul moving there. I honestly thought it was a Ghost Town. But tonight the streets were packed, motorcycles everywhere, live music, and thick excitement. The dark storm clouds did nothing to discourage the gathering, and though some of the fireworks were actually shrouded by clouds, they were incredibly beautiful.

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