Monday, November 07, 2005

Ten Things I Think I Think

1) I think a good time was had by all at Captain D's and at the Harvest Tournament of Champions. I failed to defend my "Harvest Idol" championship, but then again, last year I voted for Eric Truxal and Don Fischer's duet ("To All The Girls I Loved Before") which was far better than my own rendition of "New York, New York". All in all, lots of money was raised yesterday for the West Ohio Food Bank. Thank you to everyone who participated.

2) Watched parts of CBS' Movie of the Week, "Catagory 7: The End of the World", last night with my grandmother. I won't say it was written or acted poorly, but after 30 minutes of viewing we were both rooting for the storms to wipe out all the characters. In was a "disaster movie" in every sense of the word.

3) I think that going to trial this morning as a prospective juror was an interesting look at what my life might have become. I was on my way to law school when this whole ministry thing came up. To have witnessed the culmination of what I'd have spent most of my time doing as a lawyer (researching cases, meeting with clients, and haggling with other attorneys over a multitude of issues) was interesting. Maybe its just a mid-life crisis talking, but I can't help but wonder, "what if?" I wouldn't trade twenty days I've spent in the ministry (although there must have been at least 19 specifically rotten days I'd trade for a Yoo-Hoo Cola in a heartbeat) for anything, but you always wonder about the roads you failed to take.

4) I think that in a world filled with hunger, poverty, and pain, that I'm finding it difficult to care that Terrell Owens dissed his quarterback, and that it's caused chaos in the Philadelphia Eagles locker room. Boys, if you're reading this (which isn't likely), you get payed to play a game. Get a grip.

5) Checked out a great book from the seminary library in Findlay. "Sermons from Duke Chapel" is basically just what it sounds like, a collection of sermons given in the chapel of Duke Theological School. Here's an except from Peter Storey's sermon (a Methodist pastor and Bishop who was active in the Anti-Apartied movement in South Africa) entitled, "When the Cross Lays Hold on You":

When the cross lays hold on us, it moves from religion to faith. There's a crucial difference between religion and faith. Everybody's got some religion. We pick it up from our parents, like having blue eyes or black hair. We absorb it from the culture, like the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving. We begin to learn that "life goes better," not only with Coke, but with a little religion as well.

But religion is not enough; religion alone can be deeply destructive and dangerous. It's religious people who murder each other in Ireland. It's religion, among other things, that is tearing Lebanon apart. It's religious people who invented the obscenity of aparteid in my land, South Africa. Religious people were part of the process that crucified Jesus. Religion often becomes nothing more than a label to distinguish ourselves from others and to deepen the divides between people in the this world. Religion often becomes a mask behind which we can live out our prejudices and blame them on God. You can keep religion. I don't want it!

Faith is coming face to face with the one who God sent into the world. Faith calls you out of the crowd: out of the safety of non involvement into risk; out of hereditary belief into relationship with the suffering Jesus; out of the crowd into a confrontation with the cross, and the person carrying it. That is the powerful pressure of the cross, when it lays hold on you. There are those who call it an offense and there are those who call it foolishness, but when it lays hold on you, your life changes forever.


6) I think that this is the thought from Romans 12 I'm meditating on this week: "Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality." What does this passage, if anything, say to you?

7) I think that fall is the most beautiful season of the year. While I'm not a big fan of raking leaves, to watch them change colors, and paint the canvas that is God's beautiful creation with hues of gold, yellow, and red is a faith-affirming event for me, each and every year. In some respects, it makes me long for the hills of West Virginia, where I grew up as a child, for I remember the beauty of the mountains as the season did its wonderful thing. But there is enough beauty here in good ol' flat Northwest Ohio to fill up my soul, and for this, I give thanks.

8) Well, the Ellen Rovner saga continues. If you don't know much about the evolution of my political endorsement of Ellen Rovner, check out the last two "I Think I Thinks...". Last night, the story opened a new chapter as I met her husband for the first time at the Harvest Tourney of Champs. Thankfully, he liked the blog, and laughed at my "Who's Ellen Rovner" story, cause he looked to be in pretty good shape and definitely capable of messing me up, bad. He asked if he could put an "Ellen Rovner" sign in my basement, where this whole story began, and I told him he could do whatever he wanted.... just as long as he didn't think I was insulting his wife. I think I'll try to continue to stay on his good side, and encourage you to vote for Ellen Rovner (and Clay Balyeat) as a member of Shawnee's school board. I know who she is, and she is good.

9) And, for that matter, I think all of you should go out and vote and tommorrow. I don't care if the most important item on the agenda is who your county is electing "Assistant Dog Catcher", do the duty of every free citizen in a democratic republic, and vote. Think of it as a moment alone, where nobody else in the world can give you a hard time. Take a cup of tea, and make an event of it.

10) And finally, I think you should join my grandmother, and support "Harvest for the Hungry". Every penny raised (including all the money from our church's offering this Sunday) will be donated to the West Ohio Food Bank, which feeds thousands of hungry people each through through the agencies it supports all across Northwest Ohio. Grandma wrote her check for $25, and she's not exactly in Bill Gates' tax bracket, so join her as we seek to eradicate hunger in our community as the cold months approach us. And, if you want to boss my fat can around, I'll be working as a server at the Arby's on Shawnee Road after church, this Sunday. I'll fetch you whatever you want, or you can spill your drink and make me clean it up... whatever suits you. See you there!

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