Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Twins win! It's a start

Last night, the two Red Heads and our nephew, Joey Henning, ventured to Target Field to watch our first Twin’s game of the year.  Our family has shared season tickets at Target Field every year since the ballpark has opened.  We love this ballpark.

Coming to the ballpark for the first time of the year is like seeing a relative I hadn’t seen for a while.  “I forgot about this,” or “look here is something new” or “remember when we were in this place and this happened,” were all thoughts that went through my mind last night.  I enjoyed the new eating area in the left field corner that replaced a Twin’s store.  The area has huge LCD monitors sharing video of the game and other baseball games that are being played.  Good job, Twins!

But of course, our experience is so much better at Target Field when the ball team is doing well.  And the last four years—especially last year—have been hard.  Last year the narrative of the team seemed to be look at all our hot young prospects who are in the Minors.  Which isn’t helpful to people (like me!) who are paying money to watch the current team.

I’m not ready to get on the bandwagon, but I like some pieces to this team.  I was impressed on Monday night when the Twins came back after being down 4-0 in the first inning against David Price.  The Twins had the tying run on second with one out in the ninth.  I’m not into moral victories, but I saw a resiliency to this team that I hadn’t seen before.

The same happened last night.  We fell behind twice against Anibal Sanchez.  Then when we had a rally in the bottom of the sixth Oswaldo Arcia ran right through a stop sign and was out by 20 feet at home plate.  If he had stayed at third Torii Hunter would have been up with the bases loaded.  Major mistake!

But we rallied in the seventh.  Eduardo Escobar doubled in the tying run and Kurt Suzuki batted in the lead run.  Mike Pelfrey was surprisingly very sharp and the bullpen held.  Victory.  We went home happy!

It’s way too early to say that life is different with the Twins, and the Twins don’t deserve any benefit of our doubt.  And our record this year is not as good as it was a year ago.  But I like the resiliency.  I don’t expect the Twins to win the Division, though I’m looking forward to the day when that expectation is reasonable.  And I don’t expect base runners to be out by 20 feet at home.  But so far so good. 

It’s nice to go to Target Field and celebrate more than the quality of the ballpark.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Holy Week at Chain of Lakes

The last part of Holy Week is here.  This is the most dramatic time of the year.  This is what is happening at Chain of Lakes Church.

Holy Thursday worship is tonight at 7:00 p.m.     
Coming together for worship to remember what happened during this day on Holy Week is an important for our faith life.  To prepare for worship tonight I am encouraging everyone to read the devotional reading for today—Matthew 26.  You can find it on-line on our Facebook page.
During worship tonight we will sing, hear the story, and celebrate Communion.  Childcare will be provided

Easter Egg Hunt
We are hosting our 3rd annual Easter Egg Hunt on the property this Saturday, April 4th at 11:00 a.m.  To make this a special day we will have a bunny hop race, pictures with Mr. E. Rabbit, special prizes, and other Easter fun!  The Easter Egg Hunt is one of my favorite events that we do.  Directions to our property can be found at 

Easter Sunday is another “all-hands on deck Sunday” as we celebrate the Resurrection.  We will have two worship services—one at 9:00 and another at 11:00 a.m.  Our music team has put together terrific music.  I have already revised my Easter sermon twice and plan on revising it four more times before Sunday.  I am very excited to see how the Spirit works through Easter. 

Come to Chain of Lakes to enjoy one of these very important events.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Cesar Chavez the movie

Last night I had the privilege of viewing the movie “Cesar Chavez--History is made one step at a time" at Pepito’s Parkway Theatre in Minneapolis.  The theatre showed the movie to celebrate Cesar’s birthday which is March 31.  Becky Booker--who has connected to Chain of Lakes--asked me to join her to watch the move.  Am I glad that I did!

I worked for the United Farm Workers as a full-time volunteer from August 1986 to August 1987 and then from June 1989 to August 1990.  I had the privilege to talk and work with Cesar many times.  When I first started with the farm workers I helped spread the word about the grape boycott among churches and synagogues in Los Angeles.  That experience led me to apply to seminary.  In the spring of 1990 I helped organize a speaking tour for Cesar at eleven the Los Angeles colleges that was very successful.  Ever since then, the farm workers and their movement have been part of my blood.

The movie chronicled Cesar’s successes in organizing farm workers into a Union, winning a strike that started in 1965, and winning the subsequent grape boycott in the late 1960’s.  It was a daunting task.  Until Cesar no one in the history of California agriculture had successfully organized farm workers.  At one point he and his followers were fighting the growers, Ronald Reagan (the governor of California), the Teamsters (who were supplying workers to the growers during the strike), and the political establishment of the area. 

One of the more powerful moments of the movie was when Robert Kennedy came to Delano, California to conduct hearings on the conduct of the police as the farm workers were striking.  His questions revealed that the sheriff of the County was clearly supporting the growers.  It became clear that the sheriff was arresting farm workers and their supporters not because they were breaking the law, but because they were getting in the way of work of the growers.  When brought into the open as truth this practice was unacceptable.  It's unfortunate that it took a white politician from New York to convince the sheriff that he couldn't do this and that he couldn't hear it from the farm workers, mostly Latino and Filipino.

The accomplishments of the farm workers were amazing.  It was only the financial pressure of the grape boycott that brought the growers to the bargaining table.  The support of middle class America through the boycott revealed the power of farm workers and consumers working together for social change.  Cesar and the farm workers were remarkably able to build this coalition.

I learned the story of the movie when I worked for the farm workers, but seeing the story in the movie last night brought back many memories.  I was too young to participate in that first strike and boycott, but I enjoyed hearing these stories when I worked for the farm workers in the late 1980’s.  The film did gloss over some of Cesar’s short comings, but they pale in comparison to his and the farm workers' remarkable accomplishments.