Kennedy at Seminary

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

How to keep Turkey Day from being lame

I'm back home in Arlington for Thanksgiving break. I had a wonderful visit with the Beckmans in Nebraska. Lincoln is a pretty cool town. I had fun hanging out with AJ in Arkansas. Now I'm chillin' at home. Working on Bible class for this Sunday, filling out never-ending seminary paperwork, catching up on e-mails, seeing family and friends, stuff like that.

Here's a helpful and well-written article from today's Star-Telegram:

Give 'em something to talk about over turkey
Don't get stuck discussing Uncle Ed's hernia this Thanksgiving. Take our handy menu of conversation starters to the dinner table, and you'll never be bored again.
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

You're dreading Thanksgiving dinner, aren't you? It's not the cooking or the shopping or the dishwashing. It's all those hours of awkward, agonizing, maybe even angry conversation.
No wonder you start developing a nervous eye twitch every November. For many, Thanksgiving means a house full of extended family -- the crotchety great-uncle who spews hateful remarks, the new fiancee who laughs like a horse, the 15-year-old who's going through a difficult phase -- all forced to have one meal, one conversation and one very good time together, even if it kills them. Sometimes it feels like it just might.
Conversation can be excruciating. The desperate "How's school, kiddo?" The passive-aggressive "Oh, I wish you had told me you were bringing salad." (Followed by "No, it's fine, I'll just put mine away.")
And, perhaps worst of all, those painfully silent moments of thoughtful chewing, every second of silence getting more and more tense as everyone at the table avoids eye contact, racking their brains for something to say -- anything, anything! -- that's somehow both interesting and inoffensive.
But wait. Don't give in to the dread! Do not let your eye start twitching this year -- because we are here to help.
Follow our guide for breaking the ice and you might just survive the meal. We've come up with a dozen questions to help get you started. Clip and save.

In the movie of our family, who would play you and why?
If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would it be and why?
If our house was burning down, what would you try to rescue?
Tell us about a memory that still makes you laugh.
Is there someone who changed your life, though you didn't realize it at the time?
What's the biggest disappointment -- the job you didn't get, the relationship that didn't work -- that turned out to be a blessing?
Have you ever thought about what life might have been like if we'd lived in another place?
Tell us about the best holiday you can remember.
Is there someone who you wish could be here today?
If you could stay a certain age, what would it be?
Where is your favorite place to hang out at home? What makes it so comfortable and cozy?
Do you have a favorite quotation? Where did you first hear it? And why is it your favorite?
Thanksgiving is an occasion to celebrate change and growth. How have you changed this past year?
If you could invite any famous family, from any time in history, to join your family for Thanksgiving dinner, what family would you invite and why?
The first American settlers had to create ways of sustaining a living in their new society. Tell us about your first job.
How many generations has your family lived in America and what has their experience been like?
Can you remember someone thanking you for something that you didn't realize was special or extraordinary?
What is your earliest Christmas memory?
What is the best thing that has happened to you since last Christmas?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I started physical therapy Monday for my elbow and shoulder. I'm not wearing the sling now. The physical therapist gave me four exercises to do three times a day.

I'm dying to exercise hard. I've been going for walks, but that's not satisfying. I've been riding the stationary bike and elyptical machine in the gym. Those are more challenging. What I'd love is a nice run. But the doctor said running might aggravate the elbow with the back-and-forth motion. So I have to be patient as it heals.

I went to the seminary's food bank and got free food today. All we have to do is write three thank-you notes in exchange for the food. I ate brats, rolls, and green beans tonight. I'm not a huge fan of brats or any German food, but these hit the spot. Without cafeteria service over the break, I'm thankful for what I can get.

I'm enjoying leading the main adult Bible class at my field work church. I'm teaching for seven Sundays on St. Paul's letters to the Thessalonians. Two weeks ago we looked at the context of the letters, highlighting Paul's visit to Thessalonica recorded in Acts 17. Last weeek we talked about evangelism. I showed a Rob Bell Nooma video called "Bullhorn" as an example of how not to proclaim the Christiam message. No one likes someone yelling at them with a bullhorn and condemning them.

That reminded me of when I was at UT-Arlington for my first two years of college and encountered some interesting people. It was a blonde-haired family of dad, mom, and kids. They were in the middle of the campus holding up "Repent or die" signs. I walked up to one of the girls and casually asked, "So, where are you guys from?" She answered, "We are not of this world." Oh. OK....

Go Cowboys. 8-1. Nice win against the Giants on Sunday.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Football champs again!

Sorry I haven't posted at all this quarter. Two events have made me feel like not posting. One, Kristin and I broke up after dating for eight months. That took some recovery time. Second, I severely sprained my right elbow and injured my shoulder in a basketball game. I was in a cast for a week and a half and now I'm still wearing a sling and going through physical therapy.
Now that time has passed since the break up and my arm is healing, I feel back to normal and I'm ready to post again. I'm especially eager to post to share the exciting news that for the seond time in my two years of being a captain with my buddy Josh, we won the football championship! Four of us - Josh, BJ, Niles, and me - played on the champion Geckos team two years ago.
The playoffs were yesterday. Usually our defense was the main reason we won. But yesterday, we had an offensive explosion, scoring nine touchdowns over the two games. We got down by two TDs in the championship game but battled back and won, 27-18. My team this year is The Gideons. As you can see from the picture, our yellow shields on our uniforms helped us stand out when it got dark at the end of the game.
The quarter is wrapping up this week. I'm almost done with my assignments. One short take-home test left. Over my two-week break, I'm planning to visit Pastor Beckman, my former pastor from Arlington. He and his family moved to Nebraska this year. Hopefully I'll get to stop by my buddy AJ's apartment in Arkansas on the way back to Texas for Thanksgiving week. I'm looking forward to seeing family and friends during the break.