Pick My Turkey Trot Playlist!

Last month, I ran a 10k. I crowdsourced my playlist on Facebook and Twitter. I tried to incorporate every suggestion I could, which meant against my better judgment Chris Tomlin and Sisqó’s Thong Song made the playlist. Of course I got more musical suggestions than the amount of time it took me to run 6.2 miles (1 hr, 56 seconds), but I had fun seeing what people suggested.

Turkey TrotGuess what? I’m running another race this month, an 8 mile Turkey Trot. I’m going to earn my dinner this Thanksgiving (Nov. 23) and I’m looking for some new playlist suggestions. Though this time I am going to be a little more discerning about which songs make the final cut. So if you want to help me pick my playlist, here is the criteria for which songs make the final cut:


  1. 8 miles! I do run this distance or more regularly, but this will be my longest race to date, Songs that reflect on going the distance, or this distance specifically would be great. (e.g. Eminem’s 8 mile).
  2. This for Thanksgiving. I am going to eat too much later that day and the meal itself can provide inspiration for songs or artists in my playlist. For example, a rousing edition of Turkey in the StrawDreams by the Cranberries, or Let’s Get it Started by the Black Eyed Peas. Any other suggestions? You could make me do the Mash Potato.
  3. Giving Thanks! The theme for the day is being thankful! Do you know a good running song that reflects thanksgiving or gratitude? One of my favorite running songs that fits this theme is God is Good by Northern Ireland, Christian Artist, Brian Houston. I need more music like this!
  4. Music which honors First Nations/Indigenous people groups. November is Native American Heritage Month. In the American iteration of Thanksgiving celebration, we remember the Wampanoag tribe who helped the pilgrims survive the first winter at the Plymouth Plantation. We also remember the troubled racial history of Colonial America and beyond. Cheryl Bear’s Road to the Reservation and Frank Waln’s AbOriginal are already in my playlist. What other suggestions do you have?

I’m doing this for fun and don’t really care about how long I take running the race. So if you have a good song that meets the above criteria, I’ll probably take it, even if it isn’t a “running song.” Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.  Be creative!





Back in Black: It’s Thursday But Friday’s Coming!

Black Friday is the high holy day of conspicuous consumption. Thanksgiving is supposed to be the day that we look toward God in gratitude for his provision. Instead we glut ourselves and whet our appetites for a day at the mall. It is the Friday after Thanksgiving when most retail stores go from being in ‘the red’ (owing) to ‘in the black’ (turning a profit). We awake from our tryptophan-induced slumbers to hunt for the best prices, the biggest and best Christmas gifts (some of which are for ourselves).  We will push carts through the crowd and will maneuver to get what we want. We will hunt for the gifts that say, “You are special and we love you” at the least personal cost to us. Nothing says I love you like a new blender for $14.99

In previous years I have abstained from Black Friday, at the very least avoiding big stores and shopping malls.  This year I am working at a hardware store and have set up the displays for tomorrow’s sale. I am complicit in the mass consumption.  Others will participate by going to the mall or big box stores because of the promise of the best prices (or best shot of getting the item you want).

I find the name ‘Black Friday’ ironic. There is another Friday we call Good where the sun disappeared from the sky, the ground shook and God died. We call that Good Friday because through such a death God opened up the way to new life for humanity. A day of buying and selling of goods, we call Black Friday and the name communicates more than the move from credits to the debits. Black Friday has left an indelible mark on our souls.

In Desiring the Kingdom (2009) James K.A. Smith explores how the ‘liturgy of the shopping mall’ both reflects what matters to us and shape what matters to us (93).  The telos of the mall is antithetical to the Kingdom of God and represents an alternative vision. Smith observes that the mall’s version of the Kingdom carries  an implicit notion of human brokenness (I’m broken, therefore I shop), a strange configuration of sociality (we size up people based on our own shopping habits), promises the hope of redemption through consumption (always something newer, better, shinier), and provides an unsustainable vision of human flourishing (96 ff).

Smith uses the mall as an example of a secular liturgy. His project  is to get us to pay attention to our practices of worship and the implications for Christian education (and formation). My question is, if Smith is right about the mall both reflecting what matters to us and shaping what matters to us, what does it say about us that we begin our Advent season every year with a day of mass-consumption? If our participation in Black Friday shapes us into good consumer capitalists, how are we being shaped as citizens of God’s Kingdom? What practices nourish us? Where can we find an alternative vision of the mall?

Black Friday has muddied our souls and still many of us will brave crowded parking lots and long lines tomorrow. No judgement. If you come into my store tomorrow, I will sell you a power tool you don’t need for someone who doesn’t really want it. I want you to know that consumerism is a lie which subverts the truth and dulls your senses. Shop if you must, but guard your heart.

Keeping the Feast: a book review

Keeping the Feast: Metaphors For the Meal by Milton Brasher-Cunningham

As I sit and write this review the scent of two freshly baked pies fills the house and my hands smell of orange,curry,  mace and ginger (remnants from my cranberry sauce). Tomorrow is thanksgiving and  we are looking forward to our Turkey dinner, complete with all the fixings–stuffing, mashed patatoes, yams, brussel sprouts, green beans, and gratitude.

In Keeping the Feast: Metaphors for the Meal Milton Brasher-Cunningham draws on his gifts as a writer, chef, minister and teacher to explore the meaning of ‘the meal,’ relating his reflections on food (and cooking) with the central meal of the Christian faith, Holy Communion. Brasher-Cunningham presses into what the meaning of community is and how community is built around a table. He also opens up the meaning of ritual (not a lifeless act, but as a meaningful routine which shapes us through our practice). Preparing food and eating a good meal around the table show us what the Eucharist is; the Eucharist makes our daily meals sacred.  Each chapter opens with a poem and closes with a recipe and Brasher-Cunningham shares lots of stories of his experience as a musician and lyricist, an apprenticed chef and as a UCC minister.

The focus of these essays is the Body of Christ gathered around the table.  Often reflections on communion either talk about communion as a sacrament (a means of grace) or as a memorial (do this in remembrance of me). What Brasher-Cunningham writes seems to accommodate both views but he doesn’t delve too deeply into theology (his own movement from the Baptist tradition to a mainline denomination signals a shift away from a mere memorial view). Instead he focuses on the experience of gathering as a community and the effect communion has on us.

I enjoyed these essays a lot and found that they appealed to my inner-foodie. My inner-theologian wanted more robust reflection but these are well written and thoughtful (not fluff).   I love the way poetry and recipes punctuate this book and give it shape. It is beautifully written and well crafted. Through reviewing this book I discovered Milton’s blog at www.donteatalone.com and his recipe blog. I recommend this book to fellow foodies and for those of us who find communion meaningful and those of us who wonder what all the fuss is about.   There are a couple of recipes in here I will try (cooking the brussel sprouts recipe tomorrow).

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Keep the Feast (Eucharist means thanksgiving so if you do your Thanksgiving right, you also will re-member Christ).

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.