My wife and I just shared an hour’s long jaunt down 8th Street in Holland, MI. It was nice. Not that we had any money to spend at the Talbots, Chico’s, Merle Norman, and JoS. A. Bank (with the weird big ‘S’ in “JoSeph”) type stores we passed, but it was a nice, kid-free walk that ended with a White Cow from JP’s Coffee (for which we didn’t pay). Not earth-shattering, but nice enough to blog about.
Nice to be on vacation. Had to look up the date. That’s a good sign.
Went to the beach. Yes, Michigan has what can legitimately be called a beach. There’s a lighthouse there called “Big Red.” I walked the pier with my wife on what was a perfect day for the beach. We’re talking Platonic Ideal kind of beach day… not too hot, nice breeze, sounds of kids, seagulls, and crashing waves. The kids both got their first real beach experience. I read for about an hour… in the shade, a healthy distance away from getting cold, wet, and sandy. I know, I’m a boring killjoy. But I’m quite content enjoying God’s creation from afar when I’m (a) tired, and (b) 30 pounds overweight. All in all, it doesn’t get any better than this.
Brief digression… I’m quasi-watching Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom while blogging. Did you know the Bowhead Whale’s mouth, when open, is the size of a garage door?! Crazy. Narwhals can have tusks up to 9 feet long. Y’know, nature is pretty incredible. Arctic cod are so prevalent under the ice that a school can be up to half a mile long and so dense that entire swaths of the ocean turn black. Locust swarms are so thick that their numbers are in the billions and can be up to 40 miles wide! That’s biblical proportions, people! Crazy. Dagny and I have watched a bit of “Planet Earth,” which is a phenomenal series by The Discovery Channel. Mind blowing cinematography. Like, we’re talking, to film some of the penguin stuff, a guy and his camera equipment lived in the same unfit-for-humans habitat for a year to get the right footage. That’s dedication. We plan to buy the DVD.
A generous family in Holland, MI has provided us with new transportation. For a brief lament on my previous vehicle’s increasing deterioration, see the previous post, “On Being A Has Been” and check out this recent picture. This new vehicle is a 1994 Mazda MPV mini-van. It’s ideal for us. And it has cruise control, which is my only real desire for a vehicle. I can do without everything else, and we’ve done without cruise control in either of our cars for a long time now, but it’s nice for traveling. So, thanks to the Groots! My previous car, the Escort, was also a generous gift to us by a couple in our church. For two years it has served us well, without any real issues. I think the only thing we’ve done is purchase new tires. Not bad for a car from 1993 that now has 170,000 miles! We’ve given the Escort to a kid in youth group who’s gonna need it for school this Fall. Hope it serves you well and isn’t problematic for you, Joseph!
We worshiped at Mars Hill Bible Church this morning. It was pretty cool. It’s definitely not your typical East Tennessee church worship experience. It was obviously intentionally spare. There were no signs outside the church telling you you’re in the right place. There was very little signage inside and almost no advertisement at all. The pre-service visual was, if I remember correctly, just one picture of a Habitat build they were working on together. The songs and all sermon points and illustrations were simple white text on black background. I liked that part, actually. Overdoing font craziness and colors can be distracting sometimes, I think.
The music was like a Coldplay concert. Slow, ethereal, almost far off feeling in the beginning to a growing beat that was loud and driving toward the end. I did very much like how all the instrumentalists were facing inward, which is almost necessary because the entire worship area is a stage in the round. It was God-directed visually. The colors of the walls in the worship space are pretty much, uh, greyish, with grey chairs. Outside of the worship area, the walls aren’t really that much better, but there are some occasional spots of color… solid colors, very warm and pleasant. It was cool to visit.
Going to Holland, Michigan to be with my wife’s family. Much needed break. I need to do some reading: Sex God, by Rob Bell, To The Best of My Ability: The American Presidents, by James M. McPherson and Paradigm Shift in the Church: How Natural Church Development Can Transform Theological Thinking, by Christian Schwarz.