Monday, December 05, 2005

Ten Things I Think I Think

1) I think that I enjoyed our "Leadership Dinner" last night at the church. Thought everyone did a great job presenting their view of what is coming up in their ministry areas next year, and the food was great. A lot of fun, and a big thanks to Dr. Rob Neidich, who I dubbed the "King of Colons" last night (he's a GI, as if you needed to know that), and an apology to Dr. Dave Immler who I failed to dub the "King of Kidneys". Thanks guys for all you do at the church, and for keeping things moving (if you know what I mean).

2) I think that today we'll be taking the final check over to the West Ohio Food Bank for the community food drive (Harvest for the Hungry) we lead each year. More than 1.7 million pounds of food will now be able to be purchased for hungry people in Northwest Ohio. Thanks to all who participated!

3) I think that it is not a surprise that the elections scheduled to happen in Haiti this month are probably going to be delayed until the new year. As I recall, the main stipulation that the UN put on the pre-election preparations was that more than 4 million people had to be registered to vote, which given the travel conditions and lack of infrastructure is going to make this task very, very difficult. Let's pray that the pre-election conditions get met soon, as it sounds like law and order are breaking down in Haiti in some pretty catastrophic ways. For an interesting take on the Katrina disaster in New Orleans, and some thoughts on where Haiti is at right now, check out this article by Dr. Paul Farmer, a doctor who is leading the fight against disease and poverty throughout the third world:

4) Dr. Paul Farmer has been invited into the nation of Rwanda to fight the plague of disease, most specifically tuberculosis and AIDS, which currently ails that country. What makes this interesting is that unlike his forays into Haiti and Peru, Farmer and his organization, Partners In Health, were invited into Rwanda by its government. They have given PIH free reign to go wherever, and do whatever is necessary to start addressing real needs in that country, which is a bold step. Usually, nation's leaders do whatever they can to hide the plight of their nation, fearing world-wide condemnation, the possibility of alienating potential capital investors, or simply as a means of making themselves look better. This is the second major story about Rwandans partnering with a western non-profit to begin to addressing the massive issues they face their country. Read this to find out what Saddleback Church, and Pastor Rick Warren (author of "The Purpose Driven Life") is trying to do about poverty in Rwanda:

5) Heard from David Grant, a good friend from Goshen via the electronic mail today. After many years of praying and searching, David has started attending Bethel College, intent on pursuing the necessary degrees for ordained ministry. David was a student of mine in a Disciple Bible Study class years ago, and I knew he'd thrive in an academic setting. He and another student in that class, Jeff Johnson, were both excellent students, but just didn't believe in their own abilities enough at the time to make the leap to academic life. Here's a praise that David has made the leap, and a prayer that Jeff knows that if ever decided to, he could do it too. Listen to me gentlemen, because I know these things.

6) Here's a big "congrats and welcome aboard" to Sharon Barr, the new choir director at Shawnee UMC as of January 1st. While it's unfortunate that Bob Freisthler must step down and concentrate his efforts at his full-time job, I am personally gratified that we could find a replacement who is the caliber of Sharon Barr. A leading vocal teacher in this area for many years, Sharon will bring much experience and talent to the position. I'm glad God has led her to us.

7) I think I'm in big trouble. As a part of the Doctoral studies I will begin at Asbury Theological Seminary this summer, my first class will be an intense study of Greek and Hebrew. For those who don't know, I've a long list of foreign languages, some dead (Latin), some living (Spanish, French, Chinese.... yeah, I know. Why would a guy bad at languages take Chinese? Let's just say I'm no member of MENSA.) that I've failed or barely passed. Needless to say, I'll not have to worry about an honor's diploma in the wake of this coming fiasco. God help me!

8) Watched a good West Wing last night (over good company and large bowl of chocolate ice cream at my grandmother's). A particularly poignant moment in the show for me occurred in the midst of a conversation between two of the main characters regarding what it takes for a person to become President of the United States. A candidate for the presidency, the one character said, must feel like his entire life has led him to the place where he is destined to this level of public service, and he couldn't avoid it even if he tried because it was his destiny. It's not something you should have to convince someone to do. Their entire life should be geared toward this one moment.

Pretty powerful stuff! I wonder how many people feel this way about that which they do for a living?

9) Bought a can of Girl Scout honey-roasted peanuts from our Music Director's daughter, and within 24 hours of opening the can, their gone.

"Curse you, honey-roasted peanut makers! Why must you make these edibles so tasty?"

10) And finally, I think that my brother is working his derrier off trying to pass his final exams this semester at Law School. As always, before taking the final, he called so that we could pray together. I'm glad he does that because, (1) I feel like its a simple way I can help him before he does his thing. I don't much about the law (except for this nugget I got from my father-in-law: Never get a tattoo in a place you can't cover up before seeing a judge), but I know something about God, and for whatever reason, he takes comfort from that. And (2) I know that my brother isn't much of a praying man (much in the same way that George Bailey wasn't a praying man in "It's a Wonderful Life"), but he's a man of faith. It's good that he knows that all good things come from the Lord, and that includes the personal values and discipline necessary to pass Law School. Keep on pluggin' brother.... me and my entire blog nation are pulling for you.

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