Note: This day five years ago, I was in Chicago, Illinois at the Community Christian Church of Naperville for the Leadership Network's first ever Multi-site Church Conference. I can still remember, driving through downtown Chicago, stuck in traffic, watching thousands of people pour out of large buildings, heading to their cars, and home. The eeriness of that day, and the weeks thereafter, are never far from my mind. For the families who lost a loved one that day, for a nation forever changed, and a new generation of extremists who'd rather die than live, you are all in my prayers.
1) Was great to be home yesterday. The second annual "Back To School Blessing" was an unqualified success. Much thanks to Tara Yunker and her team for putting together another great event. Hope all the students, teachers, school administrators, and support staff felt blessed (despite the fact that I could barely speak). Can't wait to get back home!
2) Haikuapalooza is still going on, so here's a quick recap. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, location of log-in, and some info about yourself, and I'll write you your very own Haiku on this very blog. Everyone who plays gets entered to win a coffee-mug (Asbury or Shawnee UMC) and a pound of Bourbon Chocolate Fudge from the Abbey of Gethsemane in Trappist, KY. The whole ball of wax ends September 15th, so get that email in TODAY!!!
3) On the Haiku front, heard from an old friend, Mark Barton, who is now the proprietor of Barton Motorsports Services (Goshen, IN). Mark is the crew chief for Muzzy Racing, a team racing in the World Challenge GT (www.world-challenge.com). Mark is about the best mechanic I've ever come across in my life. If there's another person in the world who can work faster and more efficiently I've never met him (should have seen him rebuild engines underneath a tree in CapHaitian... outstanding!). Hello to you Mark... give our best to Stacee and the girls. Here's your Haiku..
With a laugh and smile
a quick wrench and a sharp mind
he'll make you go fast
4) Also received a hilarious (and I mean hilarious) email from Steve Clouse, another Goshenite who is currently the Music Director at First UMC (my former stomping ground). One of my favorite people and good friend, Steve leads First in song as we works toward an MDiv at Associated Mennonite Seminary. Gotta love a guy who grew up Baptist, now working at Methodist Church, while earning a degree from a Mennonite seminary. Treat him good First UMC!!!! You have truly one of the greatest talents in ministry today in your employ. Steve, here's your Haiku...
Rocky the squirrel
found dead in your blow-up pool
Bullwinkle Moose mourns
5) Also heard from my Aunt, Beth Diehl, who lives in paradise (Logan, Utah). Blew my chance to make the break out west when as a young, impressionable teenage, I turned down what amounted to a full-ride from Utah State to stay close to home at Mother Miami (which was a university before Florida was a state). Beth made the break not long after High School, met a great guy (Dennis) who became her husband. They have three lovely girls (Jen, Trish, and Ally) and three grandkids who love coming to Ohio for visits (Hailey, Cade, and Branson). We'll get out there for a visit soon Aunt Beth... I promise. Can't wait to see you in October. Dennis drew a special hunting license this year, and with that in mind, here's your haiku...
Bullwinkle Moose should
thank his lucky stars he's not
an Elk in Utah
6) The Kneppers, Willetta and Don, sent a nice email from Lima this morning. They invited me to this week's "Ride and Dine" (a group from the church who on Wednesday, take a cruise on their motorcycles and get something to eat), which is a catered meal from Stites Grocery at a Ottawa Metropark Shelterhouse. Can't make it this week (Missiology calls!), but hopefully next year, I'll be out with the crew, enjoying Ohio's byways and highways (on my own bike???? One can only hope!). Here's your haiku...
Willetta and Don
see the world - serves it's people
servants of Jesus
7) Was soundly razzed by the guys in my Football Fantasy League about the team I chose this year. Well, guess who leads the league in total fans points as of today? Don't mess with "Dr. Love" boys cause when it comes to Fantasy League diagnosis, I got the cure.
8) I guess someone forgot to tell the Bucks that you don't mess with Texas. After that game I concur with Dr. Eric Stallkamp (doctorus footballus buckeyeus) that I can see why people down there were so frustrated with Mack Brown as a coach before last season. Vince Young carried that program last year.
9) Aimee spent a nice weekend with the spouses at Shaker Village (here's their website: http://www.shakervillageky.org/ - first the monks are on the web, and now the Shakers. Batten down the hatches, kids, the end of the world is near!). They talked about marriage and ate at meals that lasted 2 hours each. Aimee didn't like the pickled watermelon, but enjoyed the weekend all the same.
10) I leave with an excerpt from the book, "How Does America Hear the Gospel" by William Dyrness:
Our study has made it clear that it is precisely the Christian heritage that has given American culture its dynamic and its optimism. But what we have made of this heritage - hope without sin - has now become a fundamental obstacle to a proper hearing of the gospel. Here the characterization of H. Richard Niebuhr can hardly be improved upon. In "The Kingdom of God in America" he argued that the kingdom of God has been institutionalized and secularized in the American self-image. Or, in Niebuhr's words, "For the golden harps of the saint it substituted radios, for angelic wings concrete highways and high-powered cars, and heavenly rest is now called leisure. But it was all the same old pattern; only the symbols had changed"
Wow! See you soon!