Ten Things I Think I Think (Sunday Edition)
1) We didn't, for the first time that I can remember in a long time, didn't make it worship this morning. Elijah has a case of "pink eye" so bad that he looks like a prizefighter. This, of course, scares other mothers to death, so much so that by the reaction of others, you'd think he had leprosy. Anyhow, he needed to stay home, so we all stayed home. The boys are playing by themselves (as all the other Beeson Pastor families are at worship). I've been studying most of the morning, and Aimee has been doing some cleaning. Strangely enough, what we're doing is what most of the country is doing today.... staying home to relax after a hectic week. No wonder the lead reason people give (according to the Gallup Research Group) for not attending worship is that they are "too busy". Given this day's quiet morning, I understand the attraction, and the challenge facing the church.
2) As alluded to above, this has been a tough week. I have signed on to something that is less a doctoral program, and more an adventure in self-discovery. Unearthing that which is vile in my heart isn't exactly leading to a "mountaintop experience". Over the course of the last 3 years, I've been visiting Jesus, more than walking with Him, and the reality of this has been difficult to take.
A good example of this lack of attention to detail surfaced in a big way at Asbury College's Ropes Course yesterday (Saturday). Despite the best efforts of many (the encouragement of Tara Yunker and Robin Andes come to mind), my physical life has been a shambles. Thus, the decision on Friday to play 2-on-2 basketball, walk a couple of miles, and then throw an Aerobie for an hour with kids and adults from the community, given the demands of a ropes course, was a poor one. I was so sore all Friday night/Saturday morning, that I slept very, very little. Stiff, tired, and not thinking real clearly, my contribution to the team on the low ropes course was minimal. Let's just say that for the first time in life, out there on that course, I felt like the "bumbling uncoordinated kid" we used to pick last for the kickball team back in grade school.
After lunch, things went from bad to worse when we started the high-ropes portion of the exercise. A pathological fear of heights combined with physical exhaustion resulted in my total rejection of the experience. Despite my colleagues encouragement (and I must say, they were very supportive), and the realization that the ropes wouldn't break, I felt so big, ungainly, and uncoordinated, in my mind I could not envision success... so I didn't try.
3) What I took home from the experience is that I go through periods where I allow myself to be trained up for the journey of spiritual discovery, and other periods where I don't. And it is in those seasons of disconnect from the accountability found in God and his community, that I start acting like the south-end of a north-bound horse. While I suppose these seasons of low-energy and low-commitment are unavoidable, cutting oneself off from those exercises that carry us in the dry times is a work of self-sabotage. I exchanged my devotions for sermon prep and school-related reading. I exchanged intensional prayer for the random moments throughout the day when I'd remember to talk to God (usually moments of crisis for others, or myself).
And the worst part... others have paid for my incompetence. I'd have loved nothing more than giving my fellow BP's the gift of making that trip down the zip line. My rejection of their encouragement was sown long ago. That hurts.
4) It's not like we're really suffering down here in Wilmore. The townhouse we're living in is very nice. The community is very supportive. The work given is plentiful, but not too excessive. Between all their new friends and the public pool in Nicholasville, the boys are convinced that Kentucky was made for them. And we never forget the way that Shawnee is supporting us through this experience. We know that we are greatly blessed..... now it's time to take advantage of such things, and truly become a blessing to others.
5) All of Cleveland, and every true NBA fan should be excited that LeBron re-signed with the Cavs this week. If the reports are true, and he really could have made over $100 million more in endorsements if he signed with LA, New York, or Chicago, then his willingness to stay in Cleveland, in my humble opinion, speaks volumes toward what this young man values. That kind of commitment and unselfishness isn't just a good human quality... it leads to exceptional basketball. You just can't help but be excited if you are hoops fan.
6) Grandma Great (my grandmother, who in this column is known as "The Great One") sent me a copy of an article in The Lima News from July 2nd (http://www.limaohio.com/story.php?IDnum=27279) which established an economic argument by a respected member of the academic community against local casinos. Many of us in the community have been asking, repeatedly, that before any final accord be reached with the Eastern Shawnee on a local casino, that an economic impact study be done by an impartial third-party consultant (possibly commissioned by the Allen County Chamber of Commerce). Claims made by the Eastern Shawnee and their corporate partners that this endeavor will create "2000-2500 high-paying jobs", result in additional revenue coming into the community via increased tourism, and have a minimal impact on the cost of local social services need to be examined. Until they are, one can only assume that the community is being deceived (unknowingly... I think) by local leaders and media who's intentions are less than pure. I am confident that if such a study were done, the costs would far outweigh the benefits. More information has been amassed for you at www.nolimacasino.org. Take a moment and check it out.
7) Given his death this week, what kind of field day would Shakespeare have had with the Ken Lay story? I thought it interesting that Lay's death was actually confirmed by his pastor at First UMC in Houston ( http://www.fmhouston.com/ ), which is where his memorial service will be this week. I'm guessing that there are lot of former Enron employees and investors in Houston who are feeling less than magnanimous toward that church right now (for more insight into this, go rent "Enron: The Smartest Guys In the Room" at your local video store). If that pastor ever publishes a book about the experience, I'll be first in line to buy.
8) Starting next week, I'll be doing profiles on each of the other Beeson Pastors and their families (right after we buy a new digital camera, so the profile can come complete with pictures). The group amassed this year is truly gifted and diverse (except in the sense of geography.... I think two of us came here from north of the Mason Dixon line, which results in things like copious amounts of Sweet Tea and desserts with pecans in them at all of our communal events. People from the south have to have their Sweet Tea and pecans!). I think you'll enjoy getting to know them.
9) Until further notice, you should direct all email to firstname.lastname@example.org . Because the school is on one wireless internet system, and our residence is on another (I don't know why.... I'm guessing it has something to do with cost), it's just made using Microsoft Outlook too hard. While I will continue checking what has been my long-standing email address (email@example.com), I'll just need to use the other one primarily in order to save my sanity.
10) And finally, back in high school, I used to work at Rax schlepping roast beef. As a part of that experience, I started working as the "opening maintainance man" on Saturday and Sunday (and three other days during the summer). As a part of my job, often I'd have to stock and clean out the walk-in cooler and freezer. On certain days, despite the fact that I'd be wearing a jacket, I wondered if I was standing in the coldest place on earth.
Well, all these years later, I was dead wrong. The coldest place on earth are the study carols in the basement of the Beeson Center. This is where Penguins dare not march because of the icy temperatures. Santa Clause comes here to remember how good he has it at the North Pole. There are ice cubes in in my Coke Zero that are wearing sweaters. I keep a scraper in here to keep my computer screen frost free.
Had to write something to make you smile... now I'm going outside so I can get the feeling back in my face.