Monday, July 24, 2006

Ten Things I Think I Think

1) Hello all. Well, the Buchers are officially now living in Wilmore, Kentucky, and will be until May of next year. The grandfathers brought down a bunch of stuff yesterday, and Aimee is getting it all put away faster than you can say, "Bryan, just hook up the TV and computer and stay out of the way." All the rest of our stuff is packed and at the house on Oak Terrace. We'll move it just as soon as we can procure a storage facility and a free weekend to move everything. Thanks to The Clarks, The Yunkers, Sue Dickerson, and our parents for putting in so many hours packing our house.

To re-iterate, we are not leaving Shawnee. I am currently engaged in a year-long intensive (and, by golly, it's intense!) Doctor of Ministry program at Asbury Seminary. The program I'm in is called the Beeson Pastors Program, and it's more than fabulous. Not only are we studying basic principles of spirituality, leadership and preaching here at school, but we're heading out into the field to check out some of finest churches in the world. Out of hundreds of applicants, 12 of us got into the program (I slipped the Dean a couple of "Franklins", and a Speedway gas-card with $7.23 on it to get my spot), and we all live next to one another in a bunch of nice townhouses on the edge of campus. Aimee and the boys were scheduled to live in Lima while I lived here, but they vetoed that plan. They just really like it here.

2) But, for those who have been asking, I am still appointed to Shawnee, and will return throughout the year about once a month to share a few thoughts from the pulpit. I think my first weekend home will be in early September. I really miss Lima, and can't wait to get home (Wilmore needs a Kewpee... or for that matter, a store open past 8pm in evening). The closer I get to that initial return date, I'll confirm it here, on this mighty blog.

3) Recently received a very nice email from a fine young woman, Amber Heistan, who clued me in on a Christian artist named Shawn McDonald. She has good taste in music, because he is very talented. Thanks for thinking of me, Amber, and I hope you have a nice summer.

The rest of you can feel free too, to give me a buzz at my new email address, I am missing all things Lima (it took us eight years to get back home, so not being there a year is tough), so hearing from you all is welcomed, indeed.

4) Mom bought Xavier a full-body speedsuit, which is supposed to be used for swimming, but Xave thinks it makes him look like a superhero, so he's pretty much wearing it everywhere. Today he put on a sequined cape to go with it, which would be the way the "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" folks would dress a superhero, but that's the beautiful thing about being four years old.... you don't think of those things. I say, let him pretend he's the "X-Man", and save the world from endless badguys lurking here in Wilmore Kentucky. Him fighting crime is fun for us to watch.

5) Spent eight hours in class today talking about the dissertation that'll wrap this "Dr. It" (that's how Max spells it) up. Nothing more depressing than spending eight hours talking about all the ways academics have concocted to make this the most complex, involved research and writing experience possible. What's more, even when I am "Dr. Bryan Bucher", I still won't be able to help you with your back.... but if you're having trouble with leadership transition issues in a midwest United Methodist congregational setting, I'm your man! I'm sure the book will be huge best-seller, but I'd advise you to wait for the movie.

6) Received a nice email from Mike Deranek, a former youth group-ite in Goshen. Mike has left the cornfields of Northern Indiana for a four-week internship working for his Aunt in Los Angeles, California. Mike is apparently is engaged in "event planning", which should be a gas, because big events is pretty much what rich Californians do for a living. Getting to know Mike, and so many other people from that town is why I wouldn't trade our time in Goshen for all the coffee in Starbuck's warehouse. Thanks for the note, Mike, and your good thoughts on ministry and life. Thanks for writing, and if someone cuts you off in that LA traffic, just let it go (people out there can be a little crazy).

7) An admitted documentary junkie, I rented "Why We Fight" this weekend, which is a look at "Military-Industrial Complex" that Dwight Eisenhower warned us about as he left the Presidency. It was kind of long, and meandered a little, but it gives plenty of food of thought. Never knew that we spend more on defense than the next 18 countries, combined.... 22% of our federal budget (and yes, that does include China). And, as a guy from a town dependent on a plant that makes and refurbishes tanks, given the fact that cutting the budget means a loss of jobs, the chances that the alliance of military contractors, Pentagon bueracrats, and congressman looking to keep jobs in their districts will ever downsize this "complex" is pretty remote. Also, the movie outlines the concept of "blowback" as it's defined by the CIA, which was interesting, indeed. If you've got a couple of hours, and you won't be up too late, give this DVD a look-see.

8) Aaron Wymer, our next door neighbor, solved our internet issues by getting a DSL line, and inviting us to glom onto his internet signal with a wireless card. Thank you Aaron for saving my wife's sanity and her job. We'll be buying the Wymer family a pizza or two in thanks throughout the year for their gift of access to the virtual world.

9) Just read another great book. If you are struggling to deal with pain, rejection, and a feeling like you aren't worth much because of poor decisions you've made, or poor decisions someone else made that injured you, then check out "Wounds That Heal: Bringing Our Hurts To The Cross" by Stephen Seamands. Dr. Seamands is a professor of Pastoral Theology here at Asbury, and the professor teaching my next accelerated class. Here's an exerpt of this fine book:

On the wall in my home office hangs a framed Scripture verse: "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4 NIV). This wonderful verse encourages us to make the Lord our focus and our joy. If we do, God promises to fulfil our heart's desires. But often we reverse the order and live by our own version: "Delight yourself in the desires of your heart - and ask the Lord to give them to you." In other words, we serve God in order to get what we want. We assume that in exchange for our service God is obligated to grant our desires.

What happens when God doesn't fulfill them? We feel let down, sometimes even betrayed. We were counting on God, but God didn't come through. Yet the truth is, no matter what we assumed when we signed on as disciples, God never promised to pander to our selfish desires. So our disappointments with God are often the children of our false expectations. And behind our false expectations lurk the idols, the false gods we worship.

Deep stuff. Pick this book up here if you so desire.

10) And finally, Aimee turned the big "3-5" Sunday and she celebrated by spending the day unpacking boxes. That girl knows how to party! Wish her a Happy B-day via email at .

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