this is no longer my blog
Sunday, October 31, 2004
trail of carnage revisited
So I was out driving today and saw several reminders of Illinois drivers radical indifference towards the plight of small furry animals needing to cross the street. And I realized that I am saddened when I see a dead squirrel or a dead opossum, and deeply saddened by the occasional cat or dog... but really emotionally untouched by the carcasses of raccoons. And so I wondered why that is, and I remembered this story that I thought I would share with my community of readers. Now, of course, this story is much better if I tell it in person, I can't as easily relay the emotions that I was feeling through the written word. But if you bear with the inadequacy of the medium, I think you might be at least moderately entertained.
It was the summer after my first year of seminary, and the church at which I had been teaching senior high Sunday School asked me to be a male chaperone on their summer senior high camping trip. There was a group of about 10 senior high kids and we went to Devil's Lake which is in Wisconsin. There was a plethora of snack foods, and several coolers full of hot dogs, and hamburger and buns and drinks. We were ready to do some good eating. We set up tents, but it was such good weather that most of the kids decided they wanted to sleep outside. That sounded good to me, so I decided to do the same. We were in a big long row of sleeping bags, and I was somewhere in the midst of all the kids, and a couple of the boys beside me thought they needed snack foods while we were all getting ready for bed. So they brought a couple bags of chips over to the sleeping bag area, and when they were done they must have just tossed them by our feet. Well, in the middle of the night I was awakened by something touching my feet (through the sleeping bag) and when I moved I felt it run away. I think that I was groggy enough that I wouldn't have thought much of it and gone back to bed, but then I heard a loud bang come from near our coolers. So I sit bolt upright and grab my flashlight and shine it over at the coolers. One of the coolers had been knocked over, and some of the food strewn on the ground, and surrounding it were about 5 or 6 raccoons. Now, in the pictures that I have seen of raccoons they are made to look cute and innocent and cuddly. These raccoons were big and mangy and nasty and mean looking. When I shone the flashlight at them, they looked at me like I was interrupting them, and growled at me. I see that they are invading our food, and they clearly out number me, so I begin to freak out. I try to wake up some of the kids, but they are proving entirely to difficult to wake up. So I start chucking rocks at the raccoons. They make some indignant noises and keep munching on a bag of buns they had torn open. I think I was still feeling the affects of deep slumber, otherwise it would have occurred to me that chances are if I got up and moved towards the raccoons they would get scared and run away. But no. I sat there for a good five minutes (or it seemed like it) throwing handfuls of rocks at these raccoons and listening to them complain. So finally I think they got tired of being pelted with rocks, and figured the hamburger buns were no longer worth the trouble, so they amble back off into the woods. So being the smart guy that I am I got up and figured out that the coolers were just the right size, so I could slide them under the picnic table benches and then the raccoons wouldn't be able to open them. I toss the opened, half eaten bag of buns into the woods and then I go back to my sleeping bag, clutching my flashlight to my chest. I stayed there sleepless for quite some time, jumping at every noise and expecting those damn raccoons to come back and raid our campsite again. Well, I dozed off to sleep, but was awakened again by another loud bang. I sit up and shine my flashlight, this time to see several pissed off raccoons beating the coolers because they can't get them opened. When I shine the flashlight on them they give me such angry snarls that if there wasn't a good fifteen feet in between us, I may have wet myself. So once again I started the process of chucking rocks at the offending raccoons (who somehow managed to seem even mangier and dirtier and uglier and meaner than the first group) and they were quicker to give up this time, I think because they had not yet received any fruits for their labors. So after they retreated this time I laid back down and dozed off to sleep clutching my flashlight to my chest.
So that is why I am moved by the plight of the squirrels or skunks or opossums who do not quite make it across the road, but am really unaffected by the dead raccoons. I guess I figure that is one less mangy, dirty, smelly, mean animal that will try to get my food the next time I go camping.
Now, really, this is a good story. And told in person I receive lots of laughs because I demonstrate the faces and noises the raccoons were making. And with the spoken word it is much easier to convey excitement and panic and all of those fun emotions in the appropriate spots. But yeah, I just thought I'd share this story with you anyway, and hope that you received at least a little enjoyment from it.
God bless, good night, and VOTE FOR KERRY!
comedy of errors
Well, here is my regular weekly post-Sunday entry where I tell the world all the blunders and mistakes I made during worship. Although this weekend, my supervising pastor seemed to chip in his fair share, as well.
It was Youth Sunday, and unlike most other Youth Sundays we did not completely hand the service over to the youth. We thought there needed to be some sort of pomp and circumstance because it was Reformation Day AND Bible Sunday (where we gave Bible's to second graders) AND reception of new members. So Supervising and I were still in charge of a lot of stuff, i.e. liturgy, preaching... basically everything the pastor is normally expected to do. The youth were ushers, crucifer, Bible bearer, readers, communion assistants, acolytes... all that fun stuff.
So, Supervising was supposed to hand out Bibles at each service during announcements when he would call all the second graders that were present forward. Well, Saturday evening service, he totally forgot, and I think the youth that were there just ended up taking theirs out of the box they were sitting in in the narthex.
He also forgot to announce the stewardship temple talk we had scheduled during announcements, so we stuck that in after the opening hymn (this time it was a proecessional hymn... I like processions). I think that may have been the only blunders during the Saturday service...
At the 8:00 service we went through announcements and temple talks and passing out the Bibles, and Pastor remembered all of that. Then we processed forward and pastor and I walk to our respective sides of the altar, when I realize I didn't have my microphone on. So I walk over, behind the altar as if I somehow thought that would hide me from the congregation, and tell him that I forgot my microphone. He tells me to go back and get it, and while I'm back there, to turn on a couple switches of lights that had been left off. So I scramble back and turn on the lights and grab my microphone and finally make it back up to the altar in time to chant the liturgy.
Then I had to do Children's Sermon... there was no blunder there. I just wanted to announce that I did it. It was fun. Although the 9 year old of the family that we were welcoming into membership (I wrote a post about this family earlier... I don't remember what it was called, but he's the one that has the fun antagonistic relationship with me) walks from his pew all the way to the front with this strut and look on his face like he was going to cause trouble. After the Children's Sermon he used me as a crutch to get up. The congregation enjoyed the dynamics between the two of us. There was a lot of chuckling/
So after the sermon, we're singing "The Church's One Foundation" although it was printed in the bulletin "The Church Is One Foundation" and supervising announced it that way at the Saturday service... And after the post-sermon hymn is when the non-preaching pastor (which would be me) is supposed to go and invite the congregation to say the Apostle's Creed and then pass the peace. So it's the last verse of the song and I'm getting ready to go over, when Supervising comes up to me and tells me that we're welcoming new members and the Creed and the Peace are included in there, so I don't need to worry about that... Thanks for telling me 10 seconds before I was supposed to do it!! But it was no big deal. So we were only welcoming one family into membership, and they were called forward and then we did the Affirmation of Baptism service for new members.. and then we passed the peace and the family went back to their seats, and right there on the altar was their certificate of membership, which is where it stayed for the rest of the day. Supervising forgot to give it to them.
Well, at the beginning of the 10:30 contemporary service, I was up front singing and realized I didn't have my cordless mic on, so during the first lesson I had to run back to the library/changing room and get my microphone. One of the high school girls that sings in the band was back there too and she made fun of me because I do that a lot.
At the Saturday service there is a guy who always gives me a good natured hard time when I mess up on something. We always joke about it, and laugh... I even will ask him if he doesn't mention anything. I'll say "What?!? I didn't mess up this time?" Well, this weekend he came out and pointed out to me how Supervising had messed up. I said I appreciated it much more when we pointed out Supervising's mistakes. People laughed.
Well... those are the blunders I can think of today. Not nearly as mamy as were included in The Tales of a Blundering Intern... although I'm sure I'll make up for the lack of personal blunders next weekend or sometime soon.
But for now, I am hungry. So I am going to go and eat something.
Saturday, October 30, 2004
more thoughts on reformation day
It is a good thing that we remember Reformation Day. It reminds us of our roots, of how the Protestant faiths got their start from the deep and rich history of the Catholic Church, and how when people thought that the church was becoming corrupt and losing sight of the Gospel they boldly spoke out, risking excommunication, and brought to light what they saw as the evils and heresies enacted by the church. So we, as Lutherans, claim to be a Church of Reformation... a church of change, of allowing the Spirit to work in us to renew us and to enliven us and to guide us... Yet my experience in many Lutheran churches is that we've settled. We've become comfortable often to the point of complacency. We're fine with the way things are, which is they way they've always been done, and anything else is obviously different and therefore wrong. But where would we be if everyone thought that way? We'd be sitting in churches while the priests spoke in Latin, and we'd be buying certificates at greatly inflated prices to ensure that our loved ones weren't stewing in purgatory. But thank God there were people who were willing to take a stand, to raise their voices, to say "this is wrong and it needs to change." And as a result we have Protestants. PROTESTants. The name suggests raising your voice, speaking out against injustice and oppression. But are we protestants? Or are we That-sounds-good-as-long-as-I'm-not-inconvenienced-ants? Was the Reformation, which took place around 500 years ago the only change we needed, or is the Spirit still calling us to be vibrant and alive and open to change and willing to speak out? It is easy to think that Luther and his peers were great reformers, and that it takes someone special to do that sort of work, but I firmly believe that we are all called by God to be reformers - to work for change in areas and institutions that we see injustice... To raise our voices for those who are silenced... To be the hands of feet for those who cannot help themselves... To bring the vibrant and living Word of God to the world...
Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go eat some cheetos and drink some root beer with my friend Green Luther. Thanks for reading.
happy reformation day!!
So it is (or is very soon to be) Reformation Day! The BIG day of the Lutheran church, and most other protestant faiths, because without Oct 31, 1517 and the act of Martin Luther nailing the 95 theses to the door of the Wittenburg Church, we'd still all be Catholic. Here, we have a photo from the movie "Luther." Although probably not an accurate representation of the way our good pal Marty actually looked, it is the representation widely preferred by the female audience (at least one that I know of...).
Alas, this photo is probably more in line with the way Martin actually looked.
And I've included this picture I found of Luther during a Google image search, because it kind of weirds me out.
Anyway, I'll add a post expounding on my thoughts and feelings of the Reformation and what that means for us today as modern day protestants, but right now my brain is kinda mushy. Check back later.
Friday, October 29, 2004
Well... I have already received my first new responsibility for when our youth director leaves (her last day is november 7th for those of you who care)... I will be in charge of the Sunday night youth Bible study. Now, what I think I'm going to do - this is something i've thought about for quite some time, even before I knew I'd be in charge of a youth Bible study on internship - is read and discuss the lectionary readings for the next week with the kids. I think the youth would have great insights and be able to point out things that I might take for granted. And if I have to preach that following weekend, I can tell them that they'll have to listen to see if anything they said winds up in the sermon. I'm proud of myself!
In other news, I spent my last four bucks on a pumpkin. My wallet is empty (luckily my bank account is not). I was coming back from hospital visits and buying some root beer, and I spotted two of the high school girls staffing out church's pumpkin patch. So I pulled into the garage and walked over to them and talked with them for a bit. There were a few pumpkins that were kinda gross and getting soggy, so I said I was going to go over and kick them. Well, I was still wearing good church clothes so I didn't want to kick too hard. Anyway, that really doesn't have much to do with the story at hand. So they asked me if I had bought a pumpkin yet, and I said no. So they were giving me a hard time for not supporting the youth or whatever. I asked how much the pumpkins were, and they said $4 and I said I probably didn't even have that much money in my wallet, but I'd check so I pull out my wallet and wouldn't you know it - exactly $4. So I picked out a pumpkin... I made a comment about how I liked the tall skinny ones better and they commented about how it must be because they look like me... and so I picked a tall skinny one. So as I was taking the pumpkin over to my front step, one of the girls says I should get a marker, draw an ugly face on it, and name it after the other girl who was helping her sell pumpkins. I said if I did that, then all of the animals that like to frolic in my backyard would be scared away.
Now I kind of have a headache. And I have to go to work tomorrow to get some stuff done. I miss my three day weekends from seminary, and waking up on a Sunday and telling myself that I didn't HAVE to go to church... *sigh*... those were the days.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
i can't really think of anything to put here
After the burst of "creative" energy that spawned the 100th visitor blog party, I really haven't had the motivation to write much else... But here is something I've been meaning to write about for a couple of days now:
It was this past Monday, my day off, but I needed to get something from the office (namely my paycheck which I had left there)... So I walk over after everyone was supposed to be gone because I didn't want to get caught up in something and end up staying longer than I wanted to. But I hear noise coming from the youth director's office. It sounds like her daughter, so I walk down and peak my head in. The youth director is at her desk, so I say "hi!" and with a flustered/frustrated look on her face, the youth director says hi back. So I ask what's wrong. She takes a piece of paper from her desk and flips it over so it is facing me. I approach her desk and look at it. It is a letter of resignation. She doesn't feel like she's the right person for the job, or that the youth are responding to her, or that anyone is benefitting from her being there. So she's turned in her two weeks.
Now there are some mixed emotions that followed this. At that time, I tried to be supportive, and acknowledge that turn-out for her events have not been the greatest, that youth who seem to be active and show up for social oriented functions aren't willing to put in the time for fund raising events, so she really feels like she's been fruitlessly laboring. So I tried to acknowledge that, and validate her feelings and thoughts. I've been in her position, although I loved the youth and had a great time at my functions with them, but I knew how she felt to have a job not turn out the way you had thought, and to just feel like things aren't meshing. And she was in the midst of writing her letter to be put in the newsletter, so it wasn't the right time at all to sit down and have the "what could have been done differently?" or "why do you think it didn't work out?" conversations.
But there was the part of me that thought, you know... this is probably a good thing. Maybe you aren't the best match for this job, maybe you haven't been putting enough of an effort in, maybe you should step down so that someone more qualified or with more of a sense of call can step in, maybe you do have enough other things going on in your life that are detracting you from giving this job what it deserves. But that just didn't need to be said right then, either. Or really at all, because what good would that do? I'm sure she was feeling crappy enough.
Of course after the conversation there came this little nagging voice that asked me "What more is going to be expected of you?" So the youth director is leaving. Sure she's only part time, but still that's 20 or so hours a week of youth oriented stuff that is going to need to be covered. That's a synod-wide ski trip that the kids are thinking about participating in. That's a joint lock-in with the other Lutheran church in town that someone needs to head up from our end. That's a Sunday night Bible Study and a 5th Sunday of every month Youth Service that someone needs to think about and plan. Who's going to be expected to pick up all those loose ends?
To tell you the truth, I would LOVE to be doing that stuff. I love working with youth and interacting with them, and I'd agree to that stuff in a heartbeat. But there's that part of me that says "Mark, internship - YOUR internship, especially - is not about that. Sure you love youth and are gifted in youth ministry but you are here to experience broader ministry." And although the longer I am at my internship site, the stronger I feel called to youth ministry (you don't realize how important something is until you don't get to do it as often as you used to... you realize how important it was to you) I know that I need to be about stretching myself and working outside of my comfort zone.
So yeah... that is what has been dominating my thought processes these past few days. And I've been trying to get information from people, like I asked my pastor what we were going to do, and he said that his motto is don't rush to fix something. We're going to wait and talk to the youth committee and see how things go, and of course we'll be expected to pick up some of the loose ends, but we'll have to wait and see what those are. Doesn't really give me any concrete answers, or a clue as to what my job will look like three weeks from now... But I guess we will see.
Monday, October 25, 2004
100th visitor blog party
So, following a friends suggestion, I decided to throw a party here at the colony after our 100th logged visitor. It was a great time. People came from all over to celebrate the accomplishments and the ground breaking work of this blog. Here we have a picture of a bunch of the distinguished guests socializing.
Those of you who know me know that I love and appreciate children, so no party would be complete without activities for the young ones. Here is a picture of them enjoying themselves at the 100th visitor blog party.
We even had some top-of-the-line entertainment. Bernie Heimerschein brought his polka band "Sexual Polka" and played some hardcore polka music for all the guests.
We even had some random flight attendants show up to help us party hard. I'm not sure who they are, or what airline they work for, but we invited them to stay and party anyway!!
And do not worry. We did, indeed, have the requisite drunk people dancing on tables. I'd like to say that it happened towards the end of the evening, but these two proved that they could not hold their liquor at all. This was five minutes into the party.
We even had Billy Bob who worked at Showbiz Pizza before it became Chuck E. Cheese's. He was fine most of the evening but then he, too, had too much to drink and started ranting about losing his job to a rat and then he became a traffic hazard. A drunk traffic hazard.
This guy was the first one to pass out. So we scribbled on his face with permanent marker. It was funny.
So that was my 100th visitor Blog Party... It was a great time. Be watching for invitations to our 200th visitor Blog Party. It will be even better! I promise!!!
Sunday, October 24, 2004
sunday bloody sunday
Okay, so the title for this entry really has nothing to do with the actual content of the entry, other than it's about today (sunday). I usually have a list of bloopers or blunders that I commited, although I don't really have any today. During our 10:30 contemporary service I was the preacher so I got to distribute communion, and while I was doing this, I just had the weirdest feeling of being at peace and also a sense of awe... because I was participating in something so much bigger than myself. These people came up, and regardless of what they have done or where they have been I spoke the same words to each of them: "Body of Christ, given for you!" It felt pretty cool.
Oh, and after each service the pastor and I (in typical pastor fashion) stand at the entry way to the sanctuary and shake parishioners' hands as they exit. Well, one woman looks at me and says "That may be the best sermon I've heard in a while!" I was floored. I nearly pooped my pants. So I said "Thanks..." and then she says to Supervising, who was standing next to me, "He's going to make a great pastor!" People are amazing. Have I told you how much I love people? And it's so cool because just when you think you know someone, or have them pegged as a certain type of person, they do something that totally surprises you. I love people.
And this evening we had a special new members session, where the whole church council was invited to meet and welcome the new members. As a full time ministry staff member, I sit in on church council, and I was supposed to be there. Well, the only new members this time are a family of five: mom and dad, daughter who's a senior in high school, and two sons - one an eighth grader and the other is in fourth or fifth grade. Well, the eighth grade son is in my confirmation class, and several weeks ago on Rally Sunday I witnessed the two brothers giving each other a hard time to I walked up to them and said "'John' is your brother giving you a hard time?" ("John" is the eighth grader, and as you can tell it's not his real name) His brother tried to convince me that "John" was being a typical mean older brother, so I said "I don't know... I've met "John" and I don't think he's mean." But he kept trying to convince me, so I said if he could prove to me that "John" was a mean older brother then I'd take his side. Well, now whenever the little brother sees me he says "There's that pastor who's on my brother's side!" So tonight at the new members reception, we had to go around and give a little introduction and say our names, what we did, sort of background stuff... so it got to me and I said "My name is Pastor Intern Mark, and I've been here... What's the day today? The 24th? I've been here two months and one day. I'm originally from Nebraska... yadda yadda yadda..." Well, it goes around the circle, and it get to the younger brother and he introduces himself, says he's in Scouts and football, and he likes everyone around the table except the guy who used to be from Nebraska. Well, everybody thinks that's hilarious, so we all laughed. Someone asks why that is, so I tell them it's because I don't think that "john" is a mean older brother. Supervising says "it's something that's been going on for a while" (I had told him about it earlier) and the younger brother says "Yeah, two months and one day" and everyone just cracked up at that... So after that was over I ate some pretzels and a couple little cupcake thingies with rolo candies inside, and drank some coffee and then went to the sanctuary where they had the red sox/cardinals game on (which, last time I checked had the red sox ahead... Go Boston!)... and then i came home.
So really, that's the excitement in my day that I feel like writing about right now.
I'm tired and I get to sleep in tomorrow because it's my day off... You do NOT know how excited that makes me feel. And this Tuesday is not a Lutheran Men in MIssion breakfast Tuesday, so I don't have to get up at a God forsaken hour in the morning (truthfully, I do not believe any hour of the day to be God forsaken... but it's a figure of speech, and not to be taken literally). Yay for sleeping!!
I can sleep better at night knowing that this agent of evil has been apprehended. Now maybe it will put an end to his international reign of terror, and give closure to those who used to consider themselves among his friends and loved ones. Although for those closest to him, I'm afraid it will take a life time to reconcile and repair the damage that has been done.
So, Bert... although you managed to live a double life and pull the wool over our eyes for so long, I think I am not alone in saying "NO MORE!"
oh... and be sure to say Hi to Martha while you're in the big house.
i have just seen a commercial for possibly the worst idea for a show EVER!
it is called the 25 million dollar hoax, and it's where this person fakes having won the whatever stupid sweepstakes that Ed McMahon is with, and he's in on it because he shows up at her house, and this woman's whole family thinks she's won it, and then they watch as she spends all of it on herself and they get nothing. basically, i guess it's to show us how greedy we can all be. but i think it's horrible and exploitative or exploitive or exploitovational or however you use that word in that context. so i am not going to watch it. i encourage you to not either. but now i must go to sleep as i have church tomorrow and i'm preaching and i want to be coherent.
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Isn't it weird when you go into a situation fully expecting to be the pastoral caregiver and at the end of the interaction, you realize that you were more the receiver than the giver?
I came to the hospital today to see a member who had a recent knee replacement (he's the member in tale #1 of Tales of a Bumbling Intern). I made it to the correct room but saw that someone was in there talking to him. I stood in the hallway for a few seconds. The thought of leaving crossed my mind. But I stayed firm and decided to just go on in. So I peeked in and "Hal" noticed that I was there. He smiles and calls me in and introduces me to his sister, who was visiting. I ask the usual "How are things going?" and he says good and then starts telling his sister how great he thinks I am, how he thinks I'm going to be such a good pastor, and he likes it when I preach because I get up there, get to the point and get down. I was a little taken aback. I wasn't expecting that at all. So I say an embarrassed thank you, and we exchange a few more pleasantries, and then I say that I'll go and let him visit some more with his sister, and that if he's still there on Thursday that I'll see him then.
The purpose of my visit was to be a caring presence in Hal's day, to offer him words of hope during his hospital stay. And I think I did, but I also think I received much more than I gave. Hal was a caring presence in my day, and offered me words of hope for my internship and my calling to the ministry.
And I don't like to do hospital visits because why?
tuesdays with Marky
There is this older woman in the congregation who has been persistent in inviting me to Tuesday morning breakfasts with the Lutheran Men in Mission in our congregation. Her husband passed away sometime within the past couple of years, but when he was alive he was a regular member of these bi-monthly breakfast meetings. The men would meet and eat at one table, and their spouses would come and meet and eat at another. After her husband's death she kept coming, enjoying the company, friendship and support of her regular breakfast partners.
For some reason or another, I had been unable to attend. There might have been some reluctance on my part, because they do meet at 7am, but there were also conferences and things that have gotten in the way. Well, this past weekend I made the decision that I would go this time. So after church I asked her if she was going to the breakfast this week and she said yes, so I asked her for a ride. The restaurant is a little ways out of town behind some other buildings. I had already attempted to find it myself and that had proved unsuccessful. So she arrived at my house at 6:45 this morning. The sun had not even risen yet. It was still dark. I am not a fan of being out and about before the sun rises. To me if the sun isn't up, then it isn't morning and I should still be in bed...
Well, anyway, at breakfast this morning God proved that God has a sense of humor. There are quite a few older gentlemen that usually show up. Supervising-pastor has come often and he had given me a list of people that normally show up, quite a few nice older gentlemen from the congregation. So we get to the restaurant, we walk in the door, and who do I see? Just the man who came to our sexuality study at church that I've written about several times. He sat alone at a table and his wife sat a few tables away. So I sat with "Tom" (that was his name in the past posts. I'm striving for some continuity). I was a little hesitant, mainly because I've not agreed with him in the past and thought that this might be the longest breakfast I've ever had. Well, Tom and I chatted about all sorts of things. Seems the wife he was with at the restaurant is his second wife. His first passed away in the 70's, he has three sons, had been in the airforce for 5 years, helped start a mission congregation in Texas... aside from thinking several of my friends are unGodly, he seemed like a very nice and faithful man... And that got me thinking, both sides of this argument of homosexuality are trying to demonize the other. On one hand we have a group of people saying that homosexuality is an abomination, "those people" are living lives contrary to the Gospel, they are living lives of sin and therefore we should not recognize their immoral unions, nor should we even think about ordaining/commisioning/consecrating them. On the other hand we have a group of people saying that "those people" are close-minded bigots, or hate-mongers who are standing in the way of authentic Gospel-minded ministry. It's almost like the presidential election, each side slinging mud at the other. And while, in the past, I've tended to lean strongly to one side, meeting Tom and getting to know Tom and engaging in conversation with him, has really made it hard for me to look at him as a member of the other(dark)side. And although we didn't directly talk about the issue of homosexuality, we were able to come to the table and talk about a lot of other things, and I saw how faithful this man really is. And I think that's what we need to do in the midst of this argument... We need to look at the otherside and see them not as an argument or a stance on an issue, but see them as people. They are people who, just like us, have experienced love and pain, anger and happiness, joy and sorrow... Although we may not agree with them on certain particularities they are still beloved children of God. And by seeing them through that lense, rather then a lense of anger and resentment, perhaps we can "kill them with kindness" as they say, and they'll be led to look at others through a kinder, softer, more loving lense as well.
And when that's accomplished, I'd like to buy the world a Coke and teach them to sing in perfect harmony...
Monday, October 18, 2004
we claim to be a church based on the teachings of Jesus... but instead of clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, visiting the lonely, including the disenfranchised, loving the unloved, embracing the children, sharing the good news, sheltering the vulnerable, and all the other things that Jesus taught and lived we argue about money, worry about too many groups using our building, gossip about the person who hasn't been to church in a while, stare in disbelief that someone wore that
to church, assume that the church is just a weekend-only country club for people who look and think and act and dress like me. We sacrifice mission for the sake of the budget, we substitute glorified baby-sitting for real ministry to our children, we cloister ourselves inside the walls of the church rather than reaching out to the people on the outside. And God help you if you don't believe everything we do (or at least do a damn good job of pretending) because you'll probably end up in hell. We claim to be Christians - followers of Christ - but if Jesus were here today, would we be the ones he'd be eating with? Or would we be the ones offended and grumbling to each other in disbelief that Jesus ate with those
Sunday, October 17, 2004
So this past summer I travelled to different Lutheran church camps as a part of the "Two by Two" program (referring to when Jesus sent the disciples out two by two, not the animals coming onto the ark... Easy to get those mixed up...). I got the opportunity to meet a lot of cool people and see some cool places (Flathead in Montana and Holden Village in Washington are definitely two of my favorites!!) and I got to have some great conversations with people who were trying to figure out where God is calling them. But one of the side benefits was being able to perfect my "Interrupting" jokes. A friend from Youth Ministry Certification School came up with one or two along the lines of the "Interrupting Cow" joke, and I've taken them and made them my own. I have interrupting gecko, starfish, praying mantis, wood tick, among others. Well, at a camp in North Dakota these jokes became the hit of the week and a group of campers I sat with at lunch a lot kept trying to get me to come up with more. Well, one girl suggested "Interrupting Sloth" and so I made it up and everyone loved it. Of course it takes several minutes for the sloth to interrupt, so you say "Knock knock" and they reply "Who's there?" and you say "Interrupting Sloth" and they say "Interrupting sloth who?" Now in most interrupting jokes, say for instance the cow, you'd interrupt them so they'd say "Interrupti-" and you'd say "MOO!" before they finished. Well, since sloths are slow it takes several minutes, so they finish saying "Interrupting sloth" and you're still in the process of reaching over to interrupt them... Anyway, it's much funnier in person. But I've included a picture of me performing the interrupting sloth joke with the high school girl that suggested it. I did my repertoire of interrupting jokes for the talent show that week. Oh, and in the picture, she's laughing. Not yawning.
p.s. And if you're wondering, the girl on the left side of the picture is one of the three girls I upstaged during the talent show... Now it wasn't my fault. I signed up with my talent being "stupid jokes." These three girls signed up with the talent "dumb jokes." So the staff member thought that we could all just get up and do them together. I said it was up to the girls. They were okay with it. Well, when it was our turn we get up and I tell them they can just do all their jokes and then I'll go. They say no, we're taking turns. So they do dumb jokes like "Knock knock, who's there, Dwayne, dwayne who, dwayne the tub i'm dwowning." and they receive minimal crowd response. Then it's my turn and I do one stupid interrupting joke and the kids explode with laughter. Then each girl tells a joke to minimal crowd response and I tell an interrupting joke and the kids explode with laughter. Lather, rinse, repeat. I felt bad, really. I enjoyed being the center of attention, of course, but not at their expense. Anyway... it's over and done with. Although I did use the girl on the left for my interrupting wood tick joke, so at least she, out of the three of them, was included in a joke that received a lot of laughs...
tales of a bumbling intern
I was supposed to visit a member in the hospital, because he had requested communion. So Thursday afternoon I go to the hospital, check the sheet especially for clergy to find out what room he's in, and then I go to his room. Well, there were several people in the room, looked like possibly family and/or friends, and I didn't want to interrupt so I just figured I'd come back the next day. The next day I come back and the room is much less busy. Although the patients in the room are not the one that I was supposed to see. Bewildered, I walk back to the front desk, check the sheet again, and find out I had been going to the wrong room the whole time. So I head for the right room, only this time the door is shut. I have no idea what to do. Rather than knocking or asking for help I hang around for a few minutes to see if the door will open. It doesn't. I figure supervising-pastor can get it on his visit because at this point I'm a little flustered, anyway.
Tale #1 happened much the same time as the broken window and the fridge whizzing on the floor. While not so much a direct result of my bumbling, it still adds to the whole thing. Therefore they get a tale of their own.
So last night at the Saturday evening worship service, I had just finished holding a chalice of wine and a chalice of grape juice for communion, and Supervising and the other communion assistant had to walk out into the congregation to commune one of our less mobile members. So I turn around and start walking up the stairs to put the chalices back on the table when the toe of my shoe catches the hem of my robe and I stumble up the stairs. Luckily I did not fall, nor did I spill any blood of Christ on the stairs or my robe. So I tell the Supervising about it, and he asks a couple of people if they notice. He asks a high school girl if she noticed, she says no, but I guess her little brother thought I ran into the candelabra... I didn't even notice that I did that, though. So I must have been so focused on the fact that I almost fell in front of everyone, and everyone has to have noticed, that I didn't notice running into the candelabra... and THAT is what other people noticed.
So on non-preaching weekends I am in charge of leading the congregation in the Apostles' Creed and passing of the peace. So after we said the creed I turn to the congregation and say "The peace of the Lord be with you always!" To which they reply "And also with you." Then I say "Share that peace with one another." or something similar. Today the something similar sounded more like "Share that piss -PEACE- with one another..." I was slightly embarrassed. I didn't quite say piss but it was pretty darn close. I distinctly heard some chuckling in the congregation. I would have chuckled, too. So I couldn't be indignant... Much like the pastor's comment about my house being "almost like a real house" or whatever he said.
During the contemporary worship service, those of us who sing in the band stand in front of the congregation one step up on the stairs that lead to the altar area. Our microphones and stands rest on the floor one step down from us. Since Supervising preached today i helped sing during distribution, rather than distributing. Supervising asked me to watch him and if he held up a wafer it meant that he needed me to go and grab extras. So I glance and notice that there are no extras out, so I figured before we started singing I would run back and grab an extra packet of "Christ Crispies" (as someone called them... they are the little round styrofoamy wafers). So I do so, and as I'm coming back down the stairs, I am looking down not paying much attention and run head first into the microphone. It makes kind of a thunking noise, and I say "Oh!" and this sets the two high school girls next to me into a fit of the church giggles. Well, that gets me started to (okay honestly I would have had my own fit of church giggles regardless of the reaction of those around me). So the mother of one of the high school girls who also sings and plays keyboard for the band is noticing her daughter and daughter's friend not singing, so she's mouthing "Sing!" at them. I confessed that it was my fault afterwards, and everyone enjoyed a good laugh at my expense.
So after the contemporary service, which is our last service of the weekend, I head back to the library (which also serves as robe storage and dressing room) to take the battery out of my microphone and put it in the little machine that refills it with power (i've done had a brainfart and can't remember the right word! Not recycle... not renew... Dangit!). So I open the battery hatch and noticed that there is no battery in it. Which means there wasn't a battery in it for the Saturday service or either of the Sunday services. Hopefully people heard me.
Wow, so sometimes my ability to bumble amazes even myself. Luckily most people in this church have a sense of humor and were able to laugh with
me about everything.
p.s. in case you were worried, after finishing this entry and reading through it I remembered the word I was looking for is "recharge." The battery was rechargeable and needed recharging. Grood.
Saturday, October 16, 2004
a trail of carnage and destruction
So I wrote a post a while back about how Illinois drivers seem to aim for small, furry creatures. I stand behind that comment 100%. Everytime I take my car out for a drive, it's like driving through a battlefield. Little broken and bloody corpses are strewn about. Too many squirrels and opossums have given their life in this war... I'm thinking about getting like a furry ribbon to put on my car that says "support our wildlife" or something like that. Okay, probably not really, because I'd get lynched. But it would be funny. It would be made of faux fur, of course, because in the process of defending the lives of these animals I wouldn't want to take one to decorate my car...
So I think my kitchen decided to self-destruct the other day. I had the window open and when I went to close it, it wouldn't, but the little cranker started to separate from the windowsill. I could still open the window, just not shut it. And the weather has been getting cold lately. Well, then my fridge decided to take a whizz all over the floor. And I am not mechanically inclined in the least, so I was afraid to look at it, for fear that I would cause more damage. So I wiped it up. Well, then it whizzed again. Not immediately afterwards, though, so it wasn't like it was purposely trying to spite me. But then I told supervising-pastor and he came over and helped me fix them both. Now I just remember not to open that window, and if the refrigerator whizzes again it's probably because the little tube for the ice maker has become unattached. So two problems solved in a relatively short time. Oh, and when he was in my house he said "Wow, it actually almost looks like a real house." I would have been indignant, but I think the same thing a lot. So I just nodded and said "Uh huh."
Anyway, gotta get ready for the worship service tonight. Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow.
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Sunday, October 10, 2004
sometimes it's the people we least suspect
Oh Bert! How could you! I feel like the innocence of my childhood has been ripped away. And I can't help but think of poor Ernie, whom you've misled for so long. Pretending to be his socially awkward roommate... Pretending to have an odd fascination for pigeons... Just WHO were you sending messages to with those pigeons, Bert? I guess we have our answers now. And the death of Mr Hooper? Did he really die or was it foul play? Did he know what you were up to, Bert, and so you had to do away with him?
I think I need to be alone....
bert and osama
In our contemporary worship service, both supervising-pastor and i like to sing in the contemporary band. This leads to some needed creativity during communinion distribution, which we do every weekend, since the band sings during distribution. So what we've decided is that the pastor-type that is preaching that week is in charge of communion preparation and distribution. Because I'm not ordained and don't have magic hands, yet, there is no question about the whole Words of Institution. So today I didn't preach, and I was having an off day, anyway, having issues remembering what I was supposed to do and all that. Well, supervising was back behind the altar after communion, and he finishes up with all of that. I'm right at the bottom of the three stairs that lead down from the altar area, with the rest of the band. I turn, look at supervising, and mouth "is it my turn?" he nods. I turn back to the congregation and begin the whole benediction, say something along the lines of "May God, the Father, + Son and Holy Spirit watch over your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever more," I do the little cross in the air and then I get ready to sing the closing song. Supervising says "How about we do the post-communion blessing first." I become embarrassed. "Did I skip that?" I ask. "Yes." the pastor says. "I am SO sorry!" I mutter, the congregation titters with laughter. I lead the congregation in the post-communion blessing. I look back at the pastor. "Do you want to do the closing blessing now?" The pastor asks. "Can I really?" I ask. The congregation chuckles. So I do it again, and this time I stress the "from THIS time forth and forevermore." Then we sing the closing songs, the pastor and I recess, and I let out a sort of "I can't believe I did that" sigh. Although on the plus side people were more vocal about their appreciation of me. Lots of compliments, one woman told me her jr high/high school aged children really love my sermons. What about you? I thought, but I didn't press the issue. So, it wasn't bad. I didn't trip and fall or spill the blood of Christ, or hit a really bad note while singing loudly or anything like that. It was an easily forgivable mistake. But embarrassing.
Anyway, I have to get stuff ready to leave for the internship cluster meeting I have coming up for the next two days. It will be fun and exciting and I'm sure I will have some fun stories to share, that at least a few of my readers will enjoy... At least I'll try... although I will NOT be kicking anyone. I repeat, I will NOT be kicking anyone. Unless you want to slip me a Benjamin... It's all about the Benjamin's baby.*
*for those of my readers who are not ghetto or gangsta, "Benjamin" refers to a $100 bill which features the face of our forefather Benjamin Franklin.
Saturday, October 09, 2004
two things i've noticed about illinois drivers:
1) They are unable to remain at a constant speed, and
2) They aim for small, furry creatures.
from a distance
So last night on my car ride home I heard Bette Midler's "From A Distance." It's a very singable song, and I used to really like it. But as I listened to it I begin to really think about what the words are saying. Thanks to seminary I can't even listen to a song about God without analyzing... So I thought I'd go through the song here on my blog and share some of my insights and thoughts. The song will be in italics and my thoughts will not.
From a distance the world looks blue and green,
and the snow-capped mountains white.
[This is true. I've seen pictures of the earth from a distance. It does look blue and green and you can see some white from the snowcapped mountains. But there is also browns and there is some white that is not from snowcapped mountains... We do have a large continent that is mainly white, and it's kinda greyish, too...]
From a distance the ocean meets the stream,
and the eagle takes to flight.
[I would like to think that these things occur even when not from a distance. But don't streams really run into rivers and rivers are the ones that run into oceans? I suppose maybe occasionally a stream might run directly into the ocean, but that would be a rare occurrence...]
From a distance, there is harmony,
and it echoes through the land.
[Depends on where you're at and who's singing... (see my post about church choirs for more thoughts about this)]
It's the voice of hope, it's the voice of peace,
it's the voice of every man.
[I would like to think this voice of hope and peace is the voice of every woman as well as every man... In fact, men are often known as the ones with the predominantly violent dispositions, and it is often the women who are voices of hope and peace and reconciliation. Anyway...]
From a distance we all have enough,
and no one is in need.
[Even from a distance the slums in India look pretty poor and lacking... In fact from a distance I think they look a lot worse than up close and personal. But most people just see them from a distance and are too scared to get any closer...]
And there are no guns, no bombs, and no disease,
no hungry mouths to feed.
[I don't know where she's sitting, to watch from a distance, but I wouldn't mind sitting there too... Holy crap all I hear about in the news are guns and bombs and disease. And Compassion International keeps sending me information about all those hungry mouths to feed... She must be sitting in some fancy mansion where all her neighbors are multi-billionaires.]
From a distance we are instruments
marching in a common band.
[Well, especially during this election year, it is painfully obvious - and the candidates strive to make it even moreso - that we are not in a common band. In fact there are so many things that divide us- abortion, guns, prayer, homosexuality, international relations... the list could go on]
Playing songs of hope, playing songs of peace.
They're the songs of every man.
[And what's this about us all playing songs of hope and peace? More like songs of dischord and strife and conflict... And, once again, I'd hope the songs of hope and peace were the songs of every man AND woman...]
God is watching us. God is watching us.
God is watching us from a distance.
[This is the part, in particular, that really gets my goat. God is watching us. Nice. I like that, I can agree with that. I believe that God does watch over us... Our goings out and our comings in... But from a distance? So our God is impersonal, and watches us from a far away throne up in heaven through binoculars? Or God is present in and with and among us, in the daily striving and working and living and breathing and eating and loving and fighting... I like that image of God better than a detached and distant one... But that's just me, I guess...]
From a distance you look like my friend,
even though we are at war.
[Indeed. From a distance it is hard to distinguish those things which set us apart. From a distance you cannot tell if someone is Buddhist or Republican or Catholic or Gay or French or any of these other things that we often use to keep us separate. From a distance we all just look human.]
From a distance I just cannot comprehend
what all this fighting is for.
[Even up close it's hard to tell what all this fighting is for. Seems pretty stupid and pointless to me.]
From a distance there is harmony,
and it echoes through the land.
And it's the hope of hopes, it's the love of loves,
it's the heart of every man.
[see above comments... I don't want to type them again... Or copy and paste... too much work.]
It's the hope of hopes, it's the love of loves.
This is the song of every man.
And God is watching us, God is watching us,
God is watching us from a distance.
Oh, God is watching us, God is watching.
God is watching us from a distance.
[how about God is celebrating with us, and God is struggling with us,
God is loving us right here among us.
Oh, God is working with us, and God is playing with us,
God is loving us right here among us.
I like that version much better... And it has the same singable tune. Neat.]
Friday, October 08, 2004
Just watched this movie tonight. I knew it would be a funny take on close minded Christianity... but I didn't know it would be so good and SO FUNNY!
I AM FILLED WITH CHRIST'S LOVE!!!
LET'S KICK IT JESUS STYLE!!!
Saved! the movie
Well, my only godson and oldest godchild is 14 years old today. So in honor of that I am posting a picture of him and me on my blog. Perhaps not the best picture, but I like it well enough. I think he's a darn cool kid and even though we live a fair distance away, and I don't get to see him as often as I would like or spend as much time with him as I wish I could, I am glad that he's my godson and in my life. As far as 14 year olds go I think he's pretty darn cool, and I don't think I could ask for a better godson. So happy birthday to him, even though neither he nor his family reads this... Oh well. It's the thought that counts, right? Right[editor's note: picture removed to protect the innocent]
So this morning, randomly, for some reason I was thinking of monchichis... And often times people don't remember this little gem of 80's culture, so (because I can) I decided to post a picture of them... Does anybody else remember monchichis? Or have one? I had a real monchichi and then a generic rip off monchichi that I got at our church's annual rummage sale. I thought I was cool......
oh so soft and cuddly
Thursday, October 07, 2004
the sad small thing called a church choir
In smaller churches, church choirs are often sad and small. For some reason you just can't seem to get enough people to be interested in singing. Even when you try to come up with a fun new name for it like "Sunday Singers." People just think "Same crap, different name." A root canal is still a root canal, even if you call it "Happy Fun Time." A church choir is still a church choir, even if you call it "DJ Jazzy Jesus and the Funky Fresh Bunch" or something like that. Such is the dilemma at my church, and I had intended to stay away from it... until a member came into my office this morning and asked if I was going to be at choir tonight (see! she knew! call it 'Sunday Singers' but she knew it was really just choir). Now, if you know me at all, you probably know these two things: 1) I'm a horrible liar and 2) I can't say no. So I had an open evening this evening, so I really had no excuse to not be there, and she asked me in person, so I couldn't really say no. So I said "I could probably make it." Nice lady responded with "Oh good! We need people to help sing!" Well... 6:30pm rolled around and I wandered over to the church. They were meeting in the church balcony so I started to walk up the stairs. The stairs come into the balcony behind the pews and in such a way that you can see underneath the pews all the way to the front. I walked up and saw two pairs of old lady ankles and one pair of middle aged lady ankles. I stopped. They were chatting and I was quiet. They hadn't heard me. Really did I want to commit to being a part of THIS?!? I tured around and started to sneak down the stairs when wouldn't you know it someone comes around the corner and sees me. "Oh Mark!" he says "Are you going to sing with us?" DAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMMNNN! "I was thinking about it," I say. "Good. We can always use more people." So I turn around and start to follow him up the stairs. "You just came down the stairs and now you're going back up? Were you going to get something?" "Oh, yeah..." I say. "I totally forgot." So I walk down the stairs wander aimlessly for a couple of seconds and then go up the stairs. They were all glad to see me, Supervising-pastor, his wife and daughter came to sing, too. We sang fairly badly. It's hard to harmonize when you have three men who can't really find their part. And the pastor's wife admits she can't really sing. But she likes to, and that's all that matters. So we had fun. We enjoyed each others company while we were there, made some jokes, I suggested the pastor's wife could do some interpretive dance while we sang... I guess it doesn't matter that we weren't the Mormon Tabernacle choir or anything like that (frankly I'm glad I'm not the Mormon anything... no offense to my Mormon brothas and sistahs who might be reading this, that stuff just ain't for me... and seeing as how mostly seminary friends read this, then why are you at a Lutheran seminary if your Mormon (besides to work there... of course)) but I don't think that matters. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord? Is that how the Psalm goes? So does it matter if our joyful noise sounds like a wounded moose? I say NO!
And now, for no other reason than because I can, I'm posting a picture of my main man Gandhi.
gandhi is the man!
so they have this program where you can upload pictures onto your blog... neat. so i've decided to upload a picture of me rocking out to my cousin's three year old son's Elmo toy. You shake it and it makes music. It's neat.[editor's note: picture removed to retain some shred of anonymity (whatever's left of it, anyway)]
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Tonight is THE last night of my church's Journey Together Faithfully study on homosexuality. WOO HOO!!! Words cannot express how thankful I am that I will not have to go to another one of these sessions. In theory, it is a good idea. People come together, both sides of the issue are presented, they are given opportunity to discuss the issue and look at it from an angle they may not have previously considered. Not so at my church.
Perhaps you have read some of my previous posts. Perhaps you have read the one titled something about Left Handed Mowers. Then you would have heard about the man known in this blog as Tom. (at least i think that's his name in the previous entry. If not, oh well, it's his name now.) Tom is one of the six people that regularly attend the study. Tom is also the only one that normally talks. He was absent one day, with his wife, and the other couple that normally comes actually talked and it was wonderful... Anyway, Tom is sure that this study is meant to "lead him down the garden path" to agree with homosexuality and forget about what God wants which is right there in the Bible. The study obviously agrees with the homosexual agenda which is to put the needs of the minority above that of the majority and to get rid of God altogether... Basically his thoughts, perhaps a little different wording - although you'd be surprised and horrified to realize how close to the actual wording those words actually were... Anyway... Tom dominates conversation, and refuses to consider the other side. Now Supervising-pastor (God love him) strives to remain neutral and objective during the sessions, but if someone leans to far in one direction he will strive to present the other side of the argument. Needless to say most of Supervising's time is spent presenting the side of the argument opposite of Tom. One time Supervising was in the process of doing this, and Tom says "Are you going to keep talking until I change my mind? It's not gonna happen." Obviously this whole study's purpose is to get Tom to change his mind and become a Godless heathen. And here I thought its purpose was to faithfully consider both sides of an issue that is prevalent in the church... Weird...
Now many of you might be thinking "But Mark, it is evident in many of your other entries where you stand on this whole issue. And here you are talking about Tom who has come into this study with his mind made up and he refuses to budge. How does that make you any different from him?" And if any of you asked me that I would respond with "Good question. Let me explain." And then I'd explain. And this is probably what I would say: Tom has his mind made up. He knows what he wants the church to believe and profess and proclaim, and anything to the contrary is not Scriptural and is basically Godless. He proof texts, takes verses out of context to support his argument, and doesn't take the historical context or recent advances in biology and psychology into account when he makes up his mind. Now I, on the other hand, have my mind made up. I know what I want the church to believe and profess and proclaim, and while I may not agree with anything to the contrary, I am open to listening and learning from it if it is presented in a civil and compassionate manner. I do not believe the other point of view to be anti-Scriptural or Godless, I believe some of the people who believe this way to be faithful and loving people who are interpreting Scripture as authentically and faithfully as they can. I try my hardest to read verses speaking against homosexuality in context within the larger writing, as well as in context of the entire Bible. I try to understand the historical context within which these verses were written, as well as recent advances in biology and psychology and how they might speak to attitudes and beliefs that people held when the Bible was written. I know that the way we read the Bible has changed when it comes to issues such as slavery and women, and am not foolish enough to think that it cannot happen again. God is a dynamic God, constantly creating and redeeming and to think that everything that was valid and appropriate in the early years of the last millenium are entirely valid and appropriate today is ludicrous. But as I said before, I am open to listening to the other side of the argument, I am willing to come to the table and engage in concerned, honest and faithful conversation. Sure, I might not agree with what the other side as to say, but that does not mean that they are wrong or Godless or that I cannot learn something from them...
Anyway, like I said, tonight is the last night. And what had potential to be a great opportunity to come together in open and honest discussion turned out to be a chore, but at least after tonight it will be over.
And then we have only until January when the task force comes out with the result of their meeting and studying and they issue their response or suggestion or whatever (I've had a brainfart and can't think of the right word at this moment). And then where does it go from there? It will be interesting to see.
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
i seem to have been struck dumb
I went through a spurt where I wrote a lot. Sometimes more than once a day. Now my brain seem to have run dry. I am out of rambling nothings to say. Most people will not see that as much of a tragedy. Most people will think that the fact that I am writing less means that there will be less internet pollution. Most people don't read this, anyway.
I think I'm getting sick, too. Like the plague. I might be knock-knock-knocking on heavens door. I don't think I've been near anyone with the plague, or close to any infected rats. So it is beyond me how it happened, unless the person I've locked in my furnace room has connections and someone is secretly giving me infected food so that they can stage a rescue mission to free him from my basement. But really all they would need to do is ask, and I would let him out as long as there was an agreement that he wouldn't hurt me. I'd even let him take some canned vegetables. I'm a nice guy, really. It's just a misunderstanding about him being locked in my furnace room, in the first place.
I need to go lay down.
Saturday, October 02, 2004
So in the early days of my blog, I was sure no one was really reading it. That would be because I didn't tell anyone about it. I had a freedom to type whatever I wanted, and if it was a big pile of steamy poo it really didn't matter because no one else was reading it. Now the ante has been upped. I told a few people about it and they told a few people about it who told a few more people about it, so now I really don't have any idea who reads my blog. And that really isn't a bad thing. If people get enjoyment or any amount of insight or it aids in someone's procrastination than it has done more than I ever had originally planned. Of course, now that I know I have an actual audience, I feel an increase in the pressure to have decent entries. I feel like it's a performance and I need to make the effort and time that people put into finding and reading my blog worth it.
So when a week or so goes by and nothing blog-worthy happens, or I am not struck by the theological significance of anything, I feel as if I am disappointing my faithful readers (some more faithful than others... Hi Melissa! [and for those of you who are interested, Melissa got a new car.]) So it's back to that dilemma of making stuff up so that it seems as if I have a more exciting life. But then, as I told the senior high youth at a recent lock-in, Jesus told us not to lie. So by making up falsehoods and trying to make it sound like they actually happened, I am responsible for the weeping of my Savior. And I'm not sure that I can handle that guilt right now. So would you like to hear all the non-excitement that happened to me today? Here goes: Set my alarm for 8:00, hit the snooze until 8:30. Got up, showered, dressed, headed over to church. Loaded boxes of quilts onto a horse trailer (not sure how many boxes, but there were 523 quilts... luckily about 7 other people were there). Went back home. Watched some tv. Checked my e-mail. Drank some root beer. Drove to the gas station for a cup of coffee (I really need to invest in a new coffee maker). Ate some chicken noodle soup. Watched the Beverly Hills 90210 reunion on VH1. Checked my e-mail. And there you go. Here I am. Oh, I read over my sermon a time or two in there, too. But I had that finished last night. What I really need to be doing is washing my pastor costume for this evening, because we have worship at 5:30 where I have to preach aforementioned sermon. Then two more services the following day. And I have to teach 8th grade confirmation during the Sunday School hour and I really haven't gone over the lesson at all, yet. Probably won't, either. We are supposed to be focusing on Service, but we ended up talking about homosexuality and how one girl doesn't believe in God for most of the time last week. Then a bird flew into the window and I totally lost the kids. Of course I laughed for a couple of minutes when that happened, too. The kids have already learned that I am easily distractable and they take full advantage of it. I ended up telling them that if in the end of the class period they can give me a basic overview of what I tried to teach them, then I feel as if my job has been accomplished.
Anyway... I've rambled on about nothing for far too long now. So I'm going to go and put my pastor costume in the laundry, and then maybe drink some more root beer. And probably watch some more tv. Although there really is not much on. I did see Charlie's Angels 2 the other day, which made me think of my friends from seminary the Carlsons because when I lived with them for a summer while I was a chaplain at a hospital in Duluth we watched the first Charlie's Angels movie like 462 times. And I don't care if the action scenes in the movie are not believable in the least... they ARE entertaining and enjoyable... Okay, the quality of this blog entry has greatly degenerated and I need to stop before it gets worse. So in the words of my friend Mike:
Shanti, and stick it to the man.
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