How’s Your British?

Two weeks ago there was a preacher visiting London from the U.S.After he was introduced, he got up and told a story to try to warm up the crowd a little bit.He told about a rather large guy who was worshiping in a church when his pants suddenly fell down.The story was kind of strange but it was also kind of funny… to me at least.

The British audience found it a bit awkward since the word “pants” means something different here than it does in the U.S.When the crowd explained to him that he meant to say “trousers” he realized his mistake and got quite embarrassed.He spent the next minute or so trying to dig himself out of the hole that he had just fallen into.  It wasn’t exactly the best sermon introduction I’ve ever seen and it was a good reminder to me that I better work on speaking the same language as my audience.

So here’s a quiz for the non-British out there to see how well you would do on this side of the Atlantic. Continue reading

Adventures on a Double-Decker

I stood up quickly and stumbled forward, slamming against the Plexiglas wall.  I grabbed a pole to steady myself and pulled myself toward the stairs.I found myself tumbling down them, jarring my forearm against the rail and stopping myself by throwing my body into the wall at the bottom.

Was I getting mugged?  Had I spent too much time in one of London’s pubs?  Neither.  It was my first day on one of London’s famous double-decker buses.I was in the front seat watching the scenery and trying to make a call to my phone company when I realized that we were pulling up to where I wanted to get off.  The driver was positioning the bus as I was trying to make my way to the door.  After finally getting off in one piece, I realized that I was at the wrong stop.

Since that first day, I’ve learned to respect the double-decker bus.  I should have known in the first place, these things are like moving houses.  They’re close to 20ft tall.  If they were in the U.S., they would have cars ahead and behind with the “wide load” signs.  Not in London.

These drivers are more aggressive than most Porsche drivers.  They have a game they play with the traffic.  Since there are often cars parked on the side of the street, there is only room for one-way traffic.  The bus drivers are particularly aggressive to plug the open slot in the road before oncoming traffic can get in the way.  And the buses are specially equipped with superpower engines make sure that they have the upper hand (they have hydraulics too).  Now I understand why everyone wants the front seat on the upper deck: you get a great view of the action.

Since I now spend about two hours a day on the bus, I thought I’d make a little video of the first half of my trip.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t do justice to the true London Double-Decker experience.

4,500 Miles

US to UK

I recently moved from Cohasset, MN to London.I thought it would be helpful to show a comparison of some of the key characteristics of the two cities:

Cohasset’s population: 2.5 Thousand
London’s population: 7.5 Million Continue reading

Latitude Adjustment

I looked up to the next level of the mall and spotted the grocery store that I was trying to get to. I walked around the escalator and proceeded to step onto the right side and quickly realized that it was rapidly descending toward me. I quickly turned away and tried to pretend that I didn’t just try to step on the escalator going the wrong way.

My Current DigsWhen I finally made it to the grocery store, I found my way around and picked up a few groceries. I headed toward the checkout and found myself waiting in a line before a series of checkers. I noticed that one didn’t have any customers. When I approached her, she notified me that she hadn’t turned on her light indicating that she was ready for the next customer. I sheepishly walked back to the line and then was informed by a little girl that there was a checker open. I asked which one and I detected a hint of annoyance in her British accent when she told me it was number six. I’m sure she was thinking, “Hasn’t this bloke ever bought groceries before?”

Since I moved “across the pond” (almost a week ago), I’ve been habitually disoriented. Continue reading

New Year’s Eve 1986

21 years ago today, we had a comedy/talent show at our church. I happened to be missing my front teeth that year and my dad thought it would be a good idea for us to do a little variation on the classic “All I Want for Christmas.”

So we came out and my sister sang the line, “All he wanted for Christmas was his two front teeth.” Each time she said it, I would smile, exposing my missing teeth. Then came my grand finale… which comes through quite audibly in the video.

Interim Top Ten

I preached my 28th and final sermon as interim pastor this morning. Although I’m looking forward to going to bed before two a.m. next Saturday, I know there are things that I will miss about being a pastor.

Here are 10 things I learned while being a pastor for six months:

  1. Having six days off every week really helps your golf game. Continue reading


Alexis came to my house for the first time one morning in September. At first I wasn’t sure what to think of her. She wasn’t really my type. We had no similar interests and she wasn’t much for conversation. She can also be a bit moody and isn’t a lot of fun to be around when she’s upset. I usually avoided people like her because I was never sure what to say or to do when I was around them.

I couldn’t avoid Alexis though. Every Tuesday morning she came to my house and there was something about her that I couldn’t resist. Continue reading

Just Eric

There is a doll sitting on a rocking chair in my parent’s living room. The doll’s name is Just Eric. My grandma gave him to me when I was about five. She made him herself. He has brown, curly hair and a flat, pale face and he is wearing a stylish plaid outfit. I loved the doll, mostly because my grandma made it.

The house we lived in at the time had a staircase in the center of it and for some reason, I kept walking around the staircase carrying my doll. My aunts were sitting at the kitchen table and every time I walked by them, they would ask me questions about my doll’s name. Continue reading