2) Aimee and the boys returned home this weekend to get the rest of our stuff out of our house (we don't own it, and neither does the church) and into a storage facility. Thanks to Dick Putnam, Mike Stinson, Mike Sheets, Tony Cox, Roger Rhodes, Herb Shaw, Charlotte Hefner, Ryan Brenneman, Bob May, Ed Boyer, Steve Jenkins and son Andrew, our dads (Dan and Bryant), Pastor Marius (my last post is a meditation on his help), and the honorable Dr. Joseph Bishman for getting all the stuff moved. A big "thank you" to the Craig and Carol Montgomery for the use of a couple of their storage units (we promise to get our stuff out of there by the end of May... or early June... no later than July - tops!). Everything is out now except our grand piano. If anyone has climate controlled space where we can store this until next spring, we'd be grateful. Just email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help us out. And for those outside of the Greater Lima Metropolitan Area, thanks, but no thanks.
3) Worshipped this morning at Southern Acres Christian Church in Lexington (here's the link: http://www.southernacres.org/). I was there to hear Bob Russell, Pastor Emeritus of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville (one of the ten largest congregations in the nation - here's the link: http://www.southeastchristian.org/). I wasn't there so much because of Pastor Russell's thoughts on whether or not Allah and Jesus' Father are the same God (his conclusion - doesn't seem that way, but doesn't come out and say "no"). I was there for purposes relating to my thesis subject which has to do with leadership transitions in the life of the church.
You see, after 40 years in a pulpit, starting in the basement of his house and ending in a worship facility worshiping over 18,000 in multiple services, Bob Russell stepped down as the Senior Pastor this June. My conversation with him will relate as to how that took place. He was very nice, and I look forward to speaking with him again.
4) We are in the middle of our second complete class (our preaching class meets throughout the year... all the others are about a week each, meaning lots of reading and writing before we hit the classroom). The class is entitled "Theology of Ministry", and it has been very interesting. Lots of highlights, but the lasting piece I'll take from this is the professor, Steve Seamands, asking each of us the question if in our prayers we've been asking God to help us, or if we've been asking Him to help himself to us? There's a huge difference in how you look at ministry in those two statements. In one case, you're asking God to bless what you've started, and in the other, you're asking God to lead the charge. Has got me thinking, that you can be sure.
5) Bit the bullet when we first arrived here and subscribed to a music service where I have unlimited access to over about 10 gazillion songs. I did this because back at Stanton Hall during my freshman year at Miami University, I got into the habit of listening to music while I read. The music really only functions as background noise (to drown out all of the loud craziness happening in that dorm each and every day). I have noticed, however, that the music I tend to gravitate to as I'm doing my work is usually a good read on where my head is at in that time and place. Here are my current "Top Ten Study Tunes" (and you can infer whatever you want)
10) Cool Like You - The Descendents
9) I Will Buy You A New Life - Everclear
8) Symphony No. 9 (The Veni Creator) - Gustav Mahler
7) Landed - Ben Folds
6) Amsterdam - Guster
5) Save Me - Aimee Mann
4) American Mall - HoAg
3) Easy - Barenaked Ladies
2) Appalachain Spring - Aaron Copland
1) Fix You - Coldplay
What's the over-arching theme? If you can figure it out, let me know.
6) If you hadn't heard, the Pastor and Board of Elders at an American Baptist Church in Watertown, New York have decided to remove a woman who has been teaching Sunday School for over 54 years from her teaching position because, well, she's a woman (here's a link to the story: http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/08/21/menonly.sundayschool.ap/ and here's a link to the church: http://www.nnyinfo.com/firstbaptist/ - check out the statement issued by Pastor LaBouf).
The crazy part (as if the removal wasn't crazy enough) of this is that the pastor is a city councilman in a town with a female city manager. LaBouf has made it clear that God hasn't commanded that women shouldn't be in positions of authority in the world, just in the church. Find me scriptural support for that one... win a bag of Twizzlers. One more thing to make Christians look totally insane.
7) Will be spending all of next weekend with Trappist Monks at a 150-year old monastery in Trappist, Kentucky. You've heard the phrase, "when in Rome", well, when in Trappist, we'll do as the monks do (learn more about it here at their link: http://www.monks.org/aloneingod.html - yep, the monks have a web page... I think my head is about to explode). Up and at em at 3:15am for a day of worship, prayer, and study, and we'll be laying our heads down at 7:15pm in the evening. The experience will largely be silent, and I'm assuming the monks won't be watching the Buckeyes take on Northern Illiniois (although, they DO have a web site, so one can hope).
8) Very late at night, instead of answering emails, as a means of emptying out my brain, I have been taking the time to watch an episode or two of the third season of "Northern Exposure" (which my brother graciously gave me as Christmas present). I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the show. Nowhere else on network television would you have an episode on the "Power of Metaphor", "The Triumph of the Human Spirit", "The Role of Art", and an existential search for self-identity. You can't imagine how well these topics go with theological reading and study (something I found out during my MDiv days at Methesco). Gonna scrape my pennies together and get "Season Four" sometime later in the fall.
9) Drafted this year's fantasy football team (entitled, "Dr. Love") in a league of which my brother is the commissioner. All of the guys are frat brothers or friends of Andy, but I've been doing this stuff with them for about four years now, so I'm slowly becoming one of the gang. As to my prospects for victory... well, my best player is a running back on the perennially-bad Arizona Cardinals, and my QB's last name is "Manning", but it's the wrong Manning. I drafted three Buckeyes though (including A.J. Hawk), so I was pleased.
10) Was up until 3am this morning fixing my wife's printer. First I checked the software. Downloaded the drivers. Tech support said the problem was probably some malware, so I ran all my anti-viral stuff, spy-checker... the works. Finally, after two hours, I checked the back of the printer.
The USB cable was unplugged.
Have a good week, and check back cause they'll probably be a goody or two posted before I make this monkish life I've been living, official next Friday.