Six Things I Think I Think
1) Sorry for the abbreviated "things". Spent most of the afternoon and evening (save 90 minutes preparing and doing an Adminstrative Board) helping Grandma Great discern what to do about a new TV. You see her faithful RCA console crapped out on her this past Sunday, and it is apparently on its way to "sleep with the fishes". Now understand that having no TV means having no Fox News, C-Span, any of the favorite evening shows, DVD's, the internet ("The Great" has WebTV), Instant Message, or Email. In other words, my grandmother, who years ago told us that she didn't need the internet because she'd never use it, is now the most wired person in our family.
Well, fortunately, tomorrow the good people at Hefner TV (no better place to buy a TV in this county... take my word for it) will be bringing a new 37" flat-screen LCD/HDTV to "The Nest", connecting "The Great" to the cyber universe. We'll celebrate this Sunday night with a viewing of "Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room" (which I have applauded already in this blog - go rent it!) and the eating of copius amounts of ice cream (which is good for the soul, when eaten with good friends or family).
2) An uneventful Ad Board, which is just the way I like them. Had enough eventful Ad Boards in my last church to last me a lifetime, so the nice, quite, short meeting about church business is welcomed, indeed. As a matter of fact, for a variety of reasons, the SPRC chair, Finance chair, and Trustee chair all couldn't make it, so I spent a lot of time making reports tonight. For those that missed it, finances are strong, the SPRC is engaged in a search for a new youth pastor (as Brent left us to take another job in Pandora), and the Trustees are intent on tearing down the old parsonage next door (although the part of the building that is a log cabin will be preserved if at all possible). Couple that with all folks in attendance praying over me as I look to this upcoming year of study, and you've got a complete update of the evening. Now, you can rest easy.
3) Received, via an intra-library loan, a copy of "The Ghost Rider" by Neil Peart (the lyracist and drummer for "Rush", a Canadian rock band). In 1997, Peart lost both his daughter (car accident) and his wife (breast cancer). After a couple of months of holing up in his home in Quebec and realizing that he was spending too much time engaged in activities that destroy ones health, Peart makes the decision to take a trip on "The Healing Road". So he packs his BMW RS1100 with various gear that he needs, and heads west on this fine cycle toward Alaska. The rest of the book details how he spends the rest of his journey (which he interrupts with the a two-month break in the winter to return to Quebec to check on his house and do a little cross-country skiing) of 55,000 miles across Canada, the US, and Central America.
Peart, who was (I have no idea where he's at now) an admitted agnostic, found that the only way he find out if he could love living life again was by going out and experiencing the things that he had always loved to do (namely, ride his motorcycle, visit good friends, hike, bird-watch, write, and eat find food.... strangely enough, the man who makes his living drumming isn't all that into music, which seems odd), and find out if he could still love doing them. I've made it though about the midway point of the journey (he's breaking after riding 25,000 miles over 5 months) and am enjoying every page. If you like riding, you'll love all the detail Peart gives of the places he goes and the people he meets. If you like stories of spiritual recovery, you like how Peart does his best to care for his soul, and begin to wake up spiritually (although, not in the Christian sense) as he slowly begins to heal.
One story I liked in particular involved a memory that he had of his daughter. While on tour with Rush in Europe, Peart flew his family over to tour with him for a number of days. It was during this time that Peart took his daughter (who was 15 at the time.... she would die four years later) to see his a favorite Cathedral in the heart of Paris. Peart goes on to say that his daughter, while not particularly religious. was captivated by the nuns who were singing, the smell of the incense, the beautiful imagery in the art and archetecture, and a sense of being in the presence of "something very holy". He experiences this memory as he's sitting in a large cathedral in Mexico, and the thought that the church inspires makes him feel closer to his lost daughter. Peart describes how places of worship, which had always turned him off, now brought him great comfort because of that memory. Just a great story of grace.
4) Speaking of motorcycles, still have not purchased one. Just can't seem to bring myself to do it, and as a result, the door is closing fast on a beautiful 1995 Honda Goldwing Aspencade 1500. The price on the bike is more than right, but I hate to take out a loan to buy it because Aimee and I have worked hard at acheiving some important financial goals for ourselves, which we are now just beginning to complete. We're praying about the situation, and taking our time to discern what we should do.
As an aside, a good many of you have expressed concern about my climbing on a two-wheeled machine. Thank you for your concern. I intend to take every precaution (including making the assumption while out on the road that every other vehicle is out to kill me, which makes a great motivator for driving defensively) to try and assure my safety. However, I do still intend to ride. The zen-like qualities of the experience promote inner peace (a phrase I got from my Uncle Jack that seemed pretty accurate), and it's probably this or develop some debilitating disease related to stress. I just want to explore where this road might take me. Your prayers for my safety, however, are greatly appreciated.
5) Am placing an order with Dean's Beans for a good bit of coffee I intend to take with me to school. For those who have never tried Dean's Beans, Dean (yep, there is a real "Dean") helps financially support coffee cooperatives in underdeveloped nations, and then distributes the coffee for the grower on the open market. The price Dean pays for the coffee beans isn't set by the open market (free trade), but rather is a price per pound that is paid directly to the farmer and is much higher (fair trade) than what he would have received on the open market. Dean's theory is that by giving more money to the farmer, as opposed to a middle man selling coffee on the commodaties market, or the final processor/seller, who help the people who need it the most, and completed the most important part of the process - grow the coffee! As a result, people who grew coca in various places in South America, are now growing coffee, which is better for the world and for their families (drug dealers are as merciless with those who supply them as they are with those buy their product).
If you are living in the Lima area, and would like to try a pound of Dean's coffee (which I think is every bit as good as any other coffee you'll find out there), go to www.deansbeans.com, pick out the blend for you, and then email me your order at firstname.lastname@example.org . This way, if a bunch of us go together, we can save on shipping. If I may, let me suggest the Moka Sumatra and Samba blends. They both rock!
6) And finally, our theatre seats for the new children's theatre at our church did finally arrive last Friday afternoon (after begging a number of people at a trucking company to please deliver them only three days late). Now, all we're waiting for is our "Youth and Children's Intern", Clint Beasily to return from Israel so that he can steam clean the cloth seat covers, and scrape off any old gum underneath the seats (we bought em used). Just remember, "Intern" is a French word that means "working like a dog for the experience and very little money". Gotta love interns!
I promise at least one more post before the end of the week. And for those in Goshen, we'll see you at Cameron Yoder's graduation party on Saturday, June 10th.
Until next time...