Archive for September 2007

Find Our Way Home

September 24, 2007

Debbie and I went out last Saturday with our friends Beth and Robert. We had Vietnamese food and then went downtown to experience the Portland Taiko performance, The Way Home. You can find the Oregonian review of the performance here. I had not been to a Taiko performance before. To quote the Portland Taiko’s website,

Taiko (the Japanese word for drum and the name of the art form) has its roots in ancient Japanese tradition. Today, taiko is a dynamic and evolving performing art combining rhythm, movement, energy, and culture into a single art form. Through artistic excellence and innovation in taiko, we affirm Asian American pride, inspire audiences, build community, and educate about our culture and heritage.

I loved the performance. The venue, Newmark Theatre at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts,was a great place for this event. The room was filled with the sound of the drums and the movement and colors were as special as the sounds. The piece I appreciated the most was one entitled News. Portland Taiko was joined by Lawson Fusao Inada, Oregon’s Poet Laureate for this performance. The News Piece featured Inada reading a poem about the challenges of being an immigrant. The performers used papers and sticks, in addition to drums while creating great sounds!

I am glad that we got a chance to experience the Portland Taiko and will look forward to attending another performance. I am also quite interested to read more from Oregon’s poet laureate. Thanks, Beth and Robert, it was a great evening.


Parts and Salvage Only

September 14, 2007

My friend, Dave, shared with me recently about the difference in selling a used car “as is” and “for parts and salvage only”. While Dave was concerned about being fair to customers and about personal integrity, the term “for parts and salvage only” got me thinking about how much of myself I am willing to give up to God on a daily basis. So, as odd as it might seem, I am thinking about my relationship with God in terms of the type of conditions under which a car is sold by a dealer.

A brand new car usually carries a manufacturer’s warranty that provides a guarantee to the seller. This guarantee is not unlimited, but at the time of purchase, the dealer and manufacturer are assuring the buyer that the car is in brand-new shape. Now, as cars age, they lose their newness and when it comes time to sell them again, a dealer of used cars may offer some type of limited warranty on the car. After a certain point, however, the car carries no manufacturer’s warranty. Normal wear and tear and the variability of care that different owners provide make it difficult for a car maker to carry a complete warranty over a lengthy period of time. Therefore, a limited warranty is sometimes provided to the buyer of a late model used car.

There is a next step in the lessening of warranties that are granted car buyers. After a time, cars are sold “as is”, meaning that the seller cannot guarantee the condition of the car and the buyer is agreeing to assume all responsibility for the condition of the vehicle. At this point, a dealer with integrity would encourage a potential buyer to have the car checked out or may offer a checklist of the current status of the car. Further on, as cars increase in age and wear, there comes a time where a dealer would sell a car “for parts and salvage only”. At this stage, the seller is informing the buyer that the car has enough challenges associated with it that the dealer, in good conscience, needs to inform the buyer that the car may only be worth buying for parts and its salvage value.

So, what does that have to do with my life in God? Well, this is the way I see it. I need to go to God on a daily basis and offer myself to God “for parts and salvage only”. I want to make my life so open to him that he has my permission to part my self out, sending ambitions, hopes, talents and commitments to whomever and whatever. I don’t want to make guarantees to God about the condition of my self, I want to acknowledge that with him as the owner/operator, he can choose to use me for whatever he deems appropriate. Indeed,making myself available for parts and salvage only also implies that I realize that God is the one to do the salvage work in my life and that I am realizing that my entire package my be so worn out that much salvage work must be done to get it back on track. One definition of salvage is, ” Something saved from destruction or waste and put to further use”. Am I willing to say to God, “put me to further use as you save me from destruction and further waste”? I don’t know. If I said that, I would be willing to admit that there is something about me that is wasted and destroyed. Hmm…

Community Events

September 10, 2007

Over the weekend I was once again presented with a number of opportunities to consider community. Friday evening, Debbie and I took the four girls out to Chapters, a local bookstore that participates in the First Friday Art Walks in the downtown area of Newberg. We went to hear the African drumming that Christian Kofi and his friend, Felix performed. The drumming was great and so was my visit with several neighbors and friends that stopped by. I know that the First Friday events were initiated by the business community as a way of getting folks to visit galleries, restaurants and shops in the Newberg downtown. I must admit that I am not much of a shopper, but I did greatly enjoy seeing folks having fun and visiting with one another. I met a Portland author, Hunter Greg. Hunter was promoting his book, Where Dogs Run, a self-published work of fiction. Check it out here.

I must admit that I was not extremely excited to go out on Friday evening, but thanks to Debbie, I ventured out and had a great time. I realize that for me, it is necessary to make a commitment to honor family time and community time when I often only desire to be at home working on a project by myself.

On Saturday, I participated in a Friends meeting for worship at the Friends meeting house on Sea Turtle Island in Second Life. This is the first time I had been in meeting in Second Life in about 4 months. I had to re-adjust my attitude to enter into worship in this environment and did not find it as worshipful as I have in the past. I did meet Jon Seattle, who had helped in the building of this meeting house and who also (I believe) owns the land on which it sits. I intend to re-commit myself to meeting with Friends in SL on a regular basis. I find it a meaningful experience, and it does help me reflect on how and why I relate to or choose not to relate to others.

My three courses began this weekend. All three of the courses are delivered online through George Fox University. I enjoyed reading messages from students as they entered the course spaces and began their journeys of learning this fall. I do enjoy the sense of community that is created in the courses and I must admit I am longing for more live and f2f interaction with my students.

On Sunday, at North Valley Friends Church, we had a ministry fair, as part of our Sunday morning worship service. Afterwards, we had a barbecue and ice cream social. During the ministry fair, I positioned myself, along with my colleague Amy, at the Education Committee table. I had good visits with a number of folks that came by, as we shared about educational activities at North Valley. I can’t say I was overly gregarious during the barbecue and ice cream time, as I was watching kids (is that an excuse?). It was fun to have food and fellowship. I really enjoyed the peanut butter ice cream, but the raspberry was my favorite!

It is great to be alive and to have friends, family and colleagues to interact with. I have’nt the time to share about Bible study or watching football with Paul, or cleaning the roof off with Becky, but all three of those activities were, in some regard, community building as well.

It does take work to be a community member. But, work can be quite meaningful and enjoyable. It does take risk to be a community member. But, what is growth if not risky business. We have to give up a little of what we believe about who we are and perhaps surrender our comfort to learn more about ourselves and one another.

Carry On!

Back on the Trail

September 3, 2007

Late summer in Newberg brings a hint of fall in the morning air. I felt the cool breeze this morning, even though the temperature has risen to the mid-80s this afternoon. With fall comes the beginning of a new academic year, and the opportunity to begin anew the academic cycle. There are all sorts of opportunities out there and many projects pending. What is left for today is to make preparations for courses and wrap up several summer writing projects.

A2Z had become a significant venue for me in the spring and I expect to be back this fall. As I have reflected on my lack of contributions to this space over the summer, I realize that lack of purpose, lack of time and lack of organization all have contributed to the lack of words. I am rethinking the purpose this week, I am working on the time allocation and also on becoming more organized in my approach to my writing.

I look forward to sharing with you here on a regular if infrequent basis.


September 3, 2007


Originally uploaded by scotheadley.

It was a really big show!