Ardelle's molasses cookies.
I honestly have no idea. But it occurs to me that if there's a common thread in my odd vocational life, it's a preference for jobs that have existed for a long, long time. So I guess that rules out software engineer or astronaut. Maybe butcher? Baker? Candlestick maker?
When a sermon works, it feels like something that involves a lot of interior stuff—prayer, contemplation, straining over ideas and the words to express them—but it ultimately happens in real time and in community. Even if it makes no direct reference to them, a sermon always arises from all the pastoral visits, vestry meetings, shared meals, chance conversations, worship, and all the little interactions that make up a congregation's common life. And then it's given away in the midst of the worshiping community on a particular Sunday morning. I guess I love the diversity of tasks in the life of a priest, and for me almost all of them—the managerial and the meditative, the personal and the communal—hover somewhere in the background in the writing and delivering of a sermon.
The first (and only) time I sang in a church choir was in a little Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs, Ark. The choirmaster was brave and had us sing Herbert Howells's "Like as the Hart Desireth the Water Brooks." I had never heard, much less sung, anything so hauntingly beautiful in a church. Hearing Mavis Staples in Christ Church, Little Rock was a different kind of sacred wow. But I've had transcendent moments—some live, some recorded—with The Who, Dave Brubeck, Bob Dylan, Punch Brothers, Jimmy McGriff, Wynton Marsalis, Chanticleer, Jason Isbell, Andrew Bird, Iris Dement, Kool and the Gang, I could go on...
The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property by Lewis Hyde
The Timeless Way of Building by Christopher Alexander
Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense by Francis Spufford
Mystery and Manners by Flannery O'Connor
My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer by Christian Wiman
Selected Poems by Seamus Heaney
Sharpshooter Blues by Lewis Nordan
Making a chair that is as pleasant to look at as it is to sit in. Well, not one that's ugly and uncomfortable... You know what I mean.