Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Got a Question or a Comment? Let Me Hear From You!
(Oh, and few thoughts about Goodwill Industries)

To be honest, I only get really excited about this blog when I get a comment, either in-person or via e-mail, from one of you. So let me try to open up the lines of communication: If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for future blogs, send them to revbdb@woh.rr.com, and I'll do my best to address you in a timely manor. Heck, you might even make the blog, like this excerpt from Bruce Dickerson, a loyal reader from Hamilton, Ohio who writes....

I just finished reading your blog (Ten Things I Think I Think - October 25) and had one thing I wanted to make a note on.
(from the blog) "I played basketball for 90 minutes (with lots of breaks) on Wednesday, and
my legs are still killing me. I've become the middle-aged fat guy I used to make fun as a teenager at the YMCA. Now I can start throwing some serious elbows and blaming it on my lack of conditioning like those guys did!"
I just wanted to ask. . .WHAT DO YOU MEAN START THROWING ELBOWS. . . having
played against you, you should change start to continue.

While Bruce is a loyal fan, he is obviously delusional and must have me confused with someone else, as I, of course, would never "throw an elbow" or cut a corner of any kind when it comes to the game of basketball. My motives, as well as my game, are totally pure.

But see, there you go.... BRUCE MADE THE BLOG! And so can you, so just send me those emails.

Now a quick thought before I head to Koininia...

Early this year I accepted an invitation to become a member of the Board for our local Goodwill Industries. To be honest, outside of the hour or so after a garage sale, Goodwill has never really ever been on my radar screen, but I agreed to serve, anyway. I agreed partly because I feel like I need to serve the community in a way that doesn't directly benefit the non-profit religious institution I help lead, but I agreed mostly to serve because Noreen Parish asked, and there's no way I'd ever tell her no.

For those of you who don't know Noreen, she's a local treasure here in the Lima community. She's got more energy than 10 men, or women, or mixed company, and she's dedicated her life, I believe, to improving the lives of others. The Lord, I believe, has led her to Goodwill Industries, which has an important mission (doing job training and placement for people who have been on public assistance) but a cloudy image (most people just think of it, like I did, as the place that sells stuff other people gave away). Anyhow, nobody knows PR on a zero budget than Noreen, and she's doing a bang-up job helping get the word out about GI.

Well, as I said earlier, there's no way I'm ever going to tell Noreen Parish that I can't do something for her because she's the best Sunday School teacher I've ever had. And, to be honest, I can't remember one thing she taught me. It wasn't the depth and breadth of her bibilical knowledge, or ability to entertain (althought the entertainment thing helped) that her the best Sunday School teacher I ever had. Nope, she's the tops because, almost single-handedly, she helped save my love for the church.

You see, at the age of 10, our family moved from Charleston, West Virginia to Lima, and the move, for me, was not an easy one. Charleston was really the only thing I had ever known, and the adjustment for me, as a fifth grader, was a difficult one. As far as I was concerned, Charleston was home, and what made it home were my friends and our church, Trinity UMC - a little country church tucked in the corner of Kanawha County. As a kid, it seemed like my family practically lived at TUMC. Mom and Dad volunteered as youth leaders, played on various sports teams, (Mom, and not Dad, thankfully) sang in the choir, and just generally spent a lot of time at church, or with church people. And those people, people like Lee Anne Powleson, Jack Reeves, Harry Folden, Joe Myers, and countless others, always made me, in particular, feel like a million bucks (after taxes).

So, in lieu of this move, finding a new church was a major priority for us as family, and initially things did not go well. I can't remember all of the places we visited, but I can tell you, none of them felt "like home". This was as true at Trinity UMC in Lima, as anywhere else. And after we had visited it a few times (at the invitation of my dad's boss), I was ready to keep looking. And I probably would have raised a ruckus about staying too, if it hadn't been for the person I met the fourth week there..... (yep, you guessed it) Noreen Parish.

Noreen had (and still has) a way of making you feel like you belong. Like the place was not quite complete before you got there and that you had completed it. I can tell you that there's no way that either me or my friend, Jeff Gluck, would have ever gone to church willingly each week in those early days (we both hated all those "stuck up Shawnee kids", which is ironic, because Jeff ended up moving to Shawnee his freshman year of HS, and I ended up living and working out here) if Noreen hadn't been our Sunday School teacher. Her energy, enthusiasm, sense of humor, hospitality and graciousness single-handedly made me want to come back, week after week. Which, eventially enabled God to put me in contact with all of the people (Ed Elmquist, E. Larry Moles, Lucy Schnieder, and bunch of Shawnee snobs that ended up becoming pretty good friends) who made church such a great place to be, again.

The moral of the story, then, is that next week, when you're at church, maybe it isn't what you know, it's Who you know, and if you can share His infectious love by expressing it genuinely to others, who knows what kind of impact you can have.... you might even, someday, get a board member who loves and adores you out of the deal.

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