Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Two Weekends in New England

My week and a day in Connecticut went by so fast.

Yesterday was my twelve-hour travel day back to Amarillo. That's not the funnest experience (and, yes, funnest is a word), but it was sweet to see Michele when I got off that last plane.

Quick question: Does Chicago's Midway Airport just have short runways, or what? Landing there always feels like we're coming down on an aircraft carrier.

Anyway, here are just a few of the highlights from my trip, in random order and varying levels of importance:

1. As things turned out, I didn't take the course on "Judaism in the Time of Jesus." Sorry, nothing to report about that. However, if you go to the link for that course, you'll see another link that will take you to the syllabus, which is worth a look for those interested.

I hadn't realized until Monday morning that "Judaism . . ." was being offered as an afternoon class. I would have loved that one. But what I really needed was a morning class. I finally wound up going to a great alternative for me, a class called Reel Presence: Explorations in Liturgy and Film, taught by Dr. Teresa Berger.

Wow, what an interesting teacher. She's a German, Roman Catholic scholar, with two earned doctorates, who specializes in liturgical (worship) studies. As you might have guessed, everyone else in the class came from either Catholic or mainline Protestant backgrounds (Lutheran, Episcopalian, etc.). That's something I can count on at the Divinity School: always meeting up with people who come from places that are quite different from the places I know. That can be an education all by itself.

So, as it turned out, the movie buff in me got to learn a little more about reflecting theologically on the films we tend to watch as mere entertainment. Maybe I'll talk about that sometime. By the way, although most of what we actually watched in class were movie clips, one film we watched all the way through is called Whale Rider. Anyone else seen it? That could be a provocative one for churches, to say the least.

2. While in Connecticut, my kids and I got to visit some of our favorite places to eat, including this gourmet vegetarian place in downtown New Haven called Claire's Corner Copia. We followed that up with ice cream dessert at Ashley's. Woobie Doobie.

3. Over the weekend, Friday and Saturday, my boy and I got to attend the Northeastern States Men's Retreat, held annually at the Kent School up in the northwestern corner of Connecticut.

This year's speaker was J. J. Turner, a long-time leader among Churches of Christ and, yes, John Alan's dad. J. J. spoke about "activating Acts in the 21st century." In addition to presenting so many great reminders, he put his quick sense of humor to good use. It was good for me to hear those lessons, to sing with 250 other Christian men, to introduce my son to that experience, to see again so many church leaders from the Northeast.

Oh, and speaking of bloggers, late Saturday morning, as I worked my way through most of the items at the Kent Public Library book sale, I just happened to meet The Blog Prophet himself, Brian Nicklaus. Very cool.

4. Finally, last Sunday I had the exquisite pleasure of baptizing my son, Benjamin, into Christ. This was something he'd had on his mind for a long time, something we had talked about and prayed about and planned. How sweet. Photos to follow (when I can figure out how to copy them).


Anonymous said...

howdy, i forgot about jj being john alan's dad. only know ja thru blogs.

take care, once again, good to meet you, hope we cross paths again.

Adam Gonnerman said...

This is the sort of thing I miss being in a Brazilian church. I live in New Jersey and didn't know about the Men's Retreat.

Now I do.

Maybe next year, Lord willing.

Aggiema (Michelle) said...

I just jumped over here from Dee's blog. I haven't had time to read thru your blog but wanted to encourage you to come on to San Antonio. This is quite the tourist town and lots to see and do. Downtown of course is the Alamo and the famous River Walk. There are several tours of the Missions which are very interesting. The kids might enjoy Sea World or Fiesta TX (be sure and bring your swimsuits to both of those places, haven't been to the water park at Sea World but the one at Fiesta was a lot of fun) If you are interested in a short drive, you could make your way to New Braunsfels and enjoy Schlitterbaun water park or tubing down the river. Those are just the highlights, so come on down and enjoy some Mexican food!

Frank Bellizzi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adam Gonnerman said...


You deleted your comment with the Spanish-looking Portuguese. Why?

Anyway, it'd be "Eu tenho um amigo que me ama."

We sing it from time to time at church. Were you in Brazil at some point in time?

I really need to establish better connections with the American congregations around here in NJ. I never know what's going on.

Frank Bellizzi said...


I was wanting to go back and fix the language so that it might be a little closer, and to fix a typo. (Recovering perfectionist here)Then, I didn't get back to it. Turns out, I didn't need to.
Silly me. That's a simple, sweet, great song.

Maybe we'll meet up at Kent some day.

Oh, yes, Brasil. About 6 weeks during the summer of 1985. I was in Belo H. and a smaller place called Etu (sp?) and, finally, Manaus. Never became part of a team (nobody else from Freed-Hardeman went) and have never been back. But loved it.

Adam Gonnerman said...

The city's name is Itu, and it is located in the state of São Paulo. Antenor Gonçalves is one of the leaders there, as I recall. He (Brazilian) and his wife (American) were a great encouragement to my wife (Brazilian) and me (American) when we got married.

john alan turner said...

my dad is fond of saying that you know we've turned a corner in our relationship when i stop being known as "j.j. turner's son" and he starts being known as "john alan turner's dad"!

glad you had a good trip.