Monday, October 17, 2005

Ten Things I Think I Think

1) I think that its amazing just how deep America's addiction to methamphetamine has become. Went to Walgreen last night to pick up some Tylenol drops for Eli (he's pretty stuffed up), and literally everything that has pseudoephedrine in it is now behind the counter. Makes you wonder how we'll win the drug war if its main battleground extends to the cold and flu counter at the local Revco.

2) Am pretty amazed at the amount of coverage and press that Scientology and Kabballa are getting these days. Between Tom Cruise's antics and the recent wedding marrying the talents behind "Striptease" and "Punk'd", the tabloids have gone a little wild over these two "emerging religions". In the case of Scientology, you can spend literally hundreds of thousands of dollars paying for time on an "E-meter" getting rid of "engrams" in order to get "clear". And if you practice Kabballa, you need to buy bracelet (for only $23) made out of red string in order to ward off the "evil eye", are encouraged to buy Kabballa water (it's been blessed by a rabbi), and apparently should consume large quantities of "Kabballa Energy Drink" in your quest for enlightenment.

I know what response I'd get if I started selling "Official Shawnee UMC Bottled Water".... am kinda wondering why these spiritual "traditions" are getting a free pass? Or, given the nature of celebrities, is celebrity faith supposed to look a little bit absurd?

I do feel badly for Katie Holmes parents. The choir director my wife worked with while on faculty at Toledo Central Catholic, had been Katie's choir director/musical director at Notre Dame High School. Apparently, her parents are faithful Catholics, who love and respect their daughter immensely. That they are reeling (if you believe the press) over their child's choice of husband, and now apparently, religion, isn't a surprise. I hope this doesn't end badly.

3) I think that I have had a lot of people come up to me the past couple of days and start pointing out parts of Romans 12 that are speaking to them right now. I would encourage everyone to read Romans 12 either on a daily, or weekly basis, and use the time to see what the text might be saying to you.

4) I think that a lot of people where struck by yesterday's sermon because they had not really thought about how culturally captive they have become in terms of how they treat and see others. It's very real though, and I've experienced it, first hand.

Until I moved back to Lima in 2004, I had very long hair, which made it very hard for some people to distinguish that I was anything other than a drug dealer or lead guitarist for a rock band. While living in Goshen, as a result of my rear lights being shorted out, I was pulled over by a police officer, who upon my appearance, began to give me the third degree regarding whether or not I had any drugs. The situation was turning pretty ugly when an assisting officer showed up, and fortunately, had been to church that past Sunday, and recognized me as "that funny preacher fella". I got off with a warning, but the message I received was clearly expressed right before I left.... "Sorry about that. Usually people who look like you have something to hide".

Who look like me? I was pulled over repeated in college for excessive speed, and never once had any officer asked to search my car. Do all males with long hair do drugs? Apparently so, except when you discover that they don't. And yet, when I approach someone who looks a certain way on the street or at the mall, I wonder if I treat them any better than that officer treated me that day?

I think than when it comes to how we judge and treat others, we all probably need to have our minds renewed (Romans 12:2)

5) One of candidates for a local election is running an interesting TV commercial. I think that the entire premise for the commercial (I'm guessing) is to give you a "life-picture" of the candidate. It consists entirely of random images (including one of the candidate riding around on a mini-motorcycle in a church parking lot) running over the top of bluegrass music. No words of any kind are used. Not, "It's morning again in Lima", or a detailed position on an issue, just bluegrass music and canned images. The commercial certainly did make me laugh. Was that the point?

6) Speaking of politics, I think I probably need to stay out of them from here on out. For the first time, ever, Aimee and I have consented to let candidates for a local election put signs in our front yard. The first sign I put up was for a candidate (Clay Balyeat), a person who attends the church whom I've known and respected for quite some time. Clay was essential in getting Shawnee's last levy passed, and given his commitment to the local school system and Shawnee community, I figured he'd be a good addition to the school board.

Well, last Friday afternoon, after doing the grocery shopping, I was half-asleep in my basement, trying to get some study done for Sunday, when my wife's voice drifted down the steps...

"Honey. Ellen Rovner is running for School Board and wants to know if she can put a sign up in our yard."

Now, I meet lots of different people who already know me (kind of a hazard of the profession), and I have a hard time recalling names. While it was obvious by "Balyeat for School Board" sign that I allowed politically oriented signs in my yard, I couldn't place this name.

"Who's Ellen Rovner?", I replied, with much confusion and probably (given the fact that my impending sleep had been interrupted) irritation.

"Well, why don't I just come down there and introduce myself!", came a reply.

Have you ever wished you hadn't opened your mouth, and also wished your wife would have told you that Ellen Rovner was in your house standing at the top of the stairs where you can't see or hear her, all at the same time? I have.

Needless to say, we have a "Rovner for School Board" sign in the front yard (Aimee apparently knows and respects her, so it's all good... I trust her judgment), and I am retiring from political activity. It's just too embarrassing.

7) I think weather in Ohio doesn't get any better than in the fall. It's the most beautiful time of the year in my book.

8) I think the Chuck Summers, who sang and played saxophone here at church yesterday, is an immensely gifted musician. Thanks Chuck for sharing your music with us yesterday.

9) I think that Sue Dickerson, who acted in a skit I wrote for the early services yesterday, is a heck of a good sport. When you have to play a comedic part which involves not just acting, but also singing "If I Only Had A Brain", in church, you've got a pretty good sense of humor. That the congregation would appreciate the fact that you did it speaks highly of how much you are respected in the community. Thanks again, Sue!

10) And finally, I'm blessed to have shared these few moments with you. Thanks for reading!

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