Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Ten Things I Think I Think

1) I think that the world always looks rosy after a Buckeye win over Michigan. O-H --------- I-O!

2) "Hung Up" by Madonna is my favorite guilty pleasure right now. There's nothing like sampling an old ABBA song to hook those of us who grew up in the 70's. Somebody take the hook out of my mouth, please, or tomorrow I'll be listening to "Dancing Queen".

3) A comment on JB's sermon on "Pre-Emptive Goodness". The good doctor referenced the movie "Pay It Forward", which if you haven't seen it, is the story of a middle school student who comes up with the idea doing good things, things that really matter, for somebody else as a part of a school project. What's interesting is all of the unexpected outcomes of all good deeds, particularly to the main characters of the movie. The boy's mother ends up reconciling with her own homeless, alcoholic mother. The boy's teacher ends up falling in love as well accepting his physical appearance which stemmed from being physcially abused as a child. A heroin addict saves the life of a woman who is about to commit suicide. And, tragically, the boy who starts the entire movement, dies in the end (which, for you English majors, is a clearly an attempt to draw the allusion that the boy is the "Christ Character" in the story). If you haven't seen it... rent it. It's an interesting flick.

4) Another comment on "Pre-Emptive Goodness". I gave a sermon similar to this one about four years ago (using clips from the movie as illustration), and I referenced the "servanthood evangelism model" pioneered by the Cincinnati Vineyard. Basically, people from that church grew it by serving strangers in the community on regular basis.... washing windows at the gas station, passing out bottles of water on hot days, and even cleaning toilets in various community venues. The results of all this work have been pretty amazing. Wonder what we could do here in this community?

5) Heard from an old friend, Scott Perry, who was an early supporter of "The Peak", an alternative-style worship service I helped start in Goshen. Scott just wanted to thank me for my time in that community, which he's done many times. He plays bass in the Peak Band, holding down the spot I held for many years (until, thankfully, a real bass player emerged). I say back to you sir, "Thank you for all you gave, and give, to the church. The gift of your service is greater than you'll ever know". And those goes for all of you, everywhere, who give of your time in a variety of ways to the church. You are all greatly appreciated.

6) I think that as of next summer, I'll be starting my doctorate. Was notified Monday that I've been accepted to Asbury Theological School's "Doctor of Ministry" program. Sounds like a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. I get to take an accelerated biblical language class this summer. Can't say I'm real excited about that.... I've failed, bailed, or just barely passed (it's where my motto, "D = Diploma" came from) every language class I've ever taken. It comes from barely understanding English (a pox on all those elementary and junior high english teachers who failed to assign all those parts of speech/diagraming sentences assignments.... now I'm a total English moron). It'll be a long two weeksk but I think it'll get more interesting from there on.

7) I think timetables for withdrawl from Iraq are unrealistic, given the mess that exists over there, but I am beginning to wonder what "mission accomplished" for this war actually looks like. In WWII "mission accomplished" came in the form of the Marshall Plan, which rebuilt the infrastructure, and created economic opportunity for our war torn Allies, and enemies. How do we win that kind of peace in Iraq, now?

8) I'm a member of the District Transition Team for "District B" of the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church. For those who don't know (which is virtually all of you), our Conference (think of a conference like a state, a district like a county, and a church like a town.... that's the structure of our church) is re-structuring, which is really just another word for downsizing our bueracracy. By consolidating our 14 districts into 8, we're able to sell off quite a few assets, and eliminate 6 District Superintendency positions, which will, over the long haul, theoretically, save us money (although the jury is still out on that one with me).

As a part of the transition, I've been named the "Technology Liason" from the District to the Conference, which means.... something, I suppose. I know that I'm supposed to have something to do with an eight-country "intranet system" which will enable the powers that be to use the internet wirelessly on their laptops , but I don't know much more than that. As a matter of fact, I don't know what an "intranet" is. I got the job by virtue of the fact that I was able to load a Powerpoint file onto a computer at a conference event last summer. Seems like pretty shaky crendentials for something that sounds as complicated and important as a "District Intranet". It's kinda like making someone the Fire Chief because he knows how to turn on a garden hose. Stay tuned to find out how this ends....

9) I'm having lunch today with George Ricks, an old friend who I worked with at the Rax that used to be on Elida Road years ago. We're brothers in roast beef. It'll be good to catch up on the last twenty years (good grief.... TWENTY YEARS! Where did it go?).

10) I think I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving. Here's to eating yourself stupid and a day of endless football... a man's holiday if there ever was one. Hope yours is a good one!

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