The day I accidently ran 13.1 miles

Hate may be too strong of a word, but I really am not a fan of running. I know it is all the rage and cool people everywhere have a sticker on their car about the miles they have run. I applaud those who run, but I also think there is something wrong with people who are cool to just take off running. It is said that soccer is the most boring sport among American spectators - I would argue it is running. 

One day in Colorado my father-in-law and brother-in-law (who love to run) invited me to go on a run with them. While I hate running, I love the family I married into and I always look for ways to continue to dupe them into thinking that I am not as lazy as I really am. So I go running with them. 

After about a mile or so, it is clear these two are holding back for my benefit. And because I also do not want to put a damper on their run, I tell them to go ahead. The air is thin, I am out of shape, they are runners, and there was no way I was going to allow them to watch me kill over and wheeze. So they begin to pull away and before long they are out of sight on the trail. 

I decide that when they get to the end of the trail and turn around they will run past me and that will be my cue to turn around and run with them. This is a brilliant plan because it gives the impression that I am not lazy and I also do not damper their run. I smile as a delight in my genius plan as I continue to run. 

They never come back up the trail and after awhile I begin to think that I should just turn around. My pride of not being seen lazy would not let me. So I kept running.

I ran to the next town. 

At this point I realize that I have to have energy to run back and I still have to have energy to make it through the rest of the day. Feeling defeated that I could not even run half of what my family-in-law could run I begin the run back. 

The next time I saw my family-in-law was back at the condo. My father-in-law eating yogurt and my brother-in-law just finishing off a short stack. 

Soaked in sweat and needing to go to the bathroom, I asked how long they have been here.

About 30 minutes. 

I come to discover that the trial that I was on had a fork in it: go left and you circle back to the condo but go right and you go to the next town. They went left and I went right.

To recap, I hate running, I ran just over a half marathon, my family-in-law was eating breakfast. 

I am sure there is some sort of moral here or some sort of lesson that I should have learned in all this. Perhaps there is a deep spiritual truth that is expressed in running beyond what you are able to do or knowing when to submit to forces larger than yourself. Perhaps this should inspire me to run more often and work up to a full marathon since I ran a half marathon without knowing it.

Perhaps, but I really hate running. 

A sermon put to Explosions in the Sky

You have heard of them but you may not know that you have heard of them. However, Explosions in the Sky have an album entitled The Earth is Not a Cold Dark Place. Which you can see why a preacher may use this album often. Especially around Easter time. 

On that album there is a song, Your Hand in Mine. This is a great song and I wish I wrote it. 

Then in a tribute to the stage productions that I do not like (the musical), I delivered the Easter sermon to this tune. 

The entire sermon is the length of the song just over 8 minutes. (As a sidenote I was given crap when I turned in an 8 minute sermon as part of my ordination. If only I put that sermon to music then could have gotten away with it.)  

If you don't want to listen to it...

The crux of the sermon states that in Matthew, the women go to the tomb of Jesus not with spices to clean the body but simply to see. The word used to describe their seeing is θεωρέω (theōréō). This is the root of the word "theater". The women go to see the tomb like we would go to a theater. Passive and without a role to play.

The angel however invites the women to see, but uses the word ὁράω (horaó). This means to see, but often with metaphorical meaning: "to see with the mind". The angel invites the women to see this experience so that it changes them. Seeing not as a passive action like at a theater, but seeing as an action that integrates what you see into your life and actions. 

If I can be so bold as to brag and say the interesting thing for me about this sermon is that it is delivered in a rather theatrical way but it is inviting us to abandon seeing the resurrection as theatrics. (I think it is sort of smart, but it could just be me.) Bragging over. 

There are other great sermons on this site. You will know the great ones because we have labeled them as "by Estee Valendy". (okay now bragging is over).

Stop with the CEO/ChrEasters/Palms and Ashes

It is a "joke" among the faithful attendees of Christian houses of worship to give a name to those who come to worship a few times a year. 

CEO - Christmas, Easter and one other time

ChrEasters - Christmas and Easter 

Palms and Ashes - Palms Sunday and Ash Wednesday (generally found in the Catholic tradition)

We really need to stop this. 

Can you imagine not going to a gym. Then, for one reason or another, you get up the courage to go to a gym. You are a little out of shape and are not sure you know what machines to use or if you are doing anything right. Then, halfway through your workout you hear the gym manager say, "You must be one of those "Febuary fleers" - people who only go to a gym at the start of the year then flee in February." Or, "You don't really care about getting in shape you are just here to look good for summer and ensure your swim suit covers your butt.". 

Would you ever go back to the gym?

One's worship attendance does not make or break a Christian. The desert fathers fled into the desert and rarely went to worship (maybe twice a year?) but their spiritual depth surpasses most of us who go to worship each week. As far as I can tell, according to the gospel's, Jesus only went to the Jerusalem temple a few times. 

So may this be the year we Christians stop with our pharisaic posture of belittling those who may not be in the same place we are in.

You know, like Jesus did.