Ten Things I Think I Think
1) I think that Fall Fest last night was totally amazing. Having organized the first one, years ago, to witness how this thing has grown over the last 15 years blows me away. For those out of town (as I have discovered in the past week that there are definitely more than 2 people reading this thing... thanks to you all and keep the emails or conversations coming), Fall Fest is a totally free party for families that Shawnee UMC has sponsored ever since the dark ages. What started as a little "trick-or-treat alternative" event put on by 10 teens with no budget, is a multi-faceted extravaganza drawing hundreds (dare I say, thousands?) of people from the community. We do it so that moms and dads, or grandparents, or whoever, don't have to say "no" for at least three hours in the year. All the rides, all the food... everything is free, and you can tell that people really appreciate what is, for us, one of the closest examples of grace we exhibit each and every year. Just a great event. Thanks to all the volunteers (particularly Cathleen Baker, who as the fearless leader goes above and beyond) who made the day a great one, and to the Lord who gave us great weather and the opportunity to give to others.
2) I think that I enjoyed "Grandparent Sunday" (Shawnee's annual celebration of grandparents and grandkids) yesterday. Many of you expressed the same sentiment I did in the sermon of why you returned to make your life in, of all places in the world, Lima. I can do what I do for a living, virtually anywhere in this country, but there's only one place that my family can be near their grandparents. And, to be honest, given my work habits, my boys need the support and time that grandparents give. I am so thankful that we live so close to Dan and Judy, and Bryant and Carol.
3) And I also think that I'm grateful to live so near to my own grandmother. Sunday night is now my night at "the nest", where grandma and I eat ice cream (well, at least I eat ice cream) and watch TV. One of the few truly stress-free moments of my week.
4) I think that right now I am facing one of the most challenging periods I've ever faced, professionally. I see so many opportunities in the life of this church, that I'm beginning to wonder why I'm not stepping up more to lead the charge of taking advantage of them. The future is now... it's just a challenge to figure out how to lead others into that future.
5) I think that if you told me back in 1991 when a high school student (now living and working in the Big Apple) introduced me to a little band named Green Day, that they'd someday be the most important American band on the scene, I'd have called you crazy. But now, given how you hear their sound in hundreds of other bands, and the socio-political bent that their music is moving toward (a good lesson for bands like Sum 41, the subject of my last blog rant), they might just be the only interesting American band right now. A very strange turn of events.
A quick note to the band HO-AG (www.ho-ag.com) : You are winning the ear of some important people of your generation... so what are whispering into it? Are you just telling the audience you've attracted what they already want to hear, or are you trying to do something more? Just a couple of questions a loyal fan wants to ask as you continue to grow as artists.
6) I think (in response to a blog reader, Mark Whitt, who asked me the question of what I think about the sudden emergence of occult-esque horror movies out right now) that the whole horror genre really fell on hard times after it's last heyday in the 80's (Nightmare on Elm Street, The whole "Jason" thing....). For about 20 years, not much has happened with horror (outside of the Blair Witch Project, or the "I Know What You Did Last Summer" movies, everything else has kinda just came and went without a lot of attention), and now, I think, what you are seeing is a re-discovery of this particular style by a whole generation that's never experienced anything like it before. So movies like "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" are going to appeal to young adults and teens because its "new" (to them, anyway), where as, those of us who actually paid full-price to see "Jason Lives in 3D" (yep - guilty as charged) have kinda had that "fix" and have moved on to bigger and better things... like Adam Sandler movies. Thus, Mark, I don't think there's greater occult activity among teens, per se, but I think people are going to greater lengths to pull $8 out of the little darlings.... hence the re-emergence of horror films. Hopefully, a resurrection of good hair metal isn't too far behind.
7) I think that the article in yesterday's "The Lima News" about Lima's economic future being tied to energy development and generation was the most upbeat and hopeful thing written about this community since I've been alive. After years of "Lost In Middle America" jokes, could it really be that a possible expansion at the refinery, a new coal-gasification electric generation plant, and a new ethanol refinery, that Lima's future could actually be bright? Nothing would go further and faster, in my own mind, in convincing me of this than the start of construction on the new Global Energy plant on the site of the old Lima Locomotive/Clark Equipment works. That'd be the sign that we really are turning the corner from becoming less "rust belt" and more "the fuel tank of America". I'll just keep praying.
8) I think that ten things is a lot of things to think today.
9) I think that it was great that both the Shawnee Fire and Police departments showed up full-force yesterday at Fall Fast. I hate to keep raving about this crazy thing, but the community is really starting to own it. Just a great, great experience.
10) I think that bigger things are in store for this church. It's been awhile since I've seen as many new people come through the door as what we're seeing now. Be in prayer as we seek to reap the harvest before us.