Monday, January 29, 2007

Ten Things I Think I Think

1) If you missed my four part series (which, if you read it when it was first posted was largely unedited due to some problems I had in uploading... sorry about that) on Steve Chalke, Brian McLaren, and the Emergent Church here are the links:

You might ask, why write a four-part series on, well, anything? I just wanted a reminder of the experience, because I enjoyed it immensely, while it made me think. I hope you enjoy it.

2) The War in Iraq is hitting a little close to home. While serving First UMC (Goshen IN) I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of Wade (here he is):

We met Wade during an interesting time in his life. He was dating a girl (who he ended up proposing to in one of our worship services), attending and playing guitar in a church for the first time in his life (his band at the time, which mainly played in college bars up in South Bend was named "Confidence Johnson"), and was just trying to keep his life moving in the right direction. In the end, the thing with the girl didn't work out, and he ended up moving away from Goshen to kind of figure out his next move. I lost track of him about four years ago, when recently, through the power of MySpace, I stumbled upon him again. A father who has always put providing for his daughter first (she lives with her mother in Elkhart), Wade made the decision to join the Army, where he now serves in the First Infantry Division. I'm sure making the choice to be away from Hannah was not an easy one, but I'm also sure that he saw this as a way, in the long run, to improve her life. I've nothing but respect for his willingness to sacrifice not only for his country, but his little girl.

This week, he sent out a bulletin to all of his MySpace "friends" that as of February 4th, he's deploying (again) to Baghdad for an 18-month stint back in the field doing the necessary dirty work to try and bring some resolution to one of the most chaotic places in the world. Knowing he'll be in harms way troubles my heart.

You know, when you baptize somebody there is a sense that you feel somewhat responsible for them for the rest of your life. Babies, adults, teens.... doesn't matter. In the moment when I'm sprinkling or dunking a human being, my only prayer is that in real ways they'll encounter the peace Jesus promises, and their soul will find rest.

That's what I'm thinking about as I say that prayer now for Wade.... that he finds peace, and peace finds him.

3) Since Aaron Wymer, a fellow BP linked my four part emergent series to his blog, I decided to lift some pictures off of his. They're a few pictures of the recent visit some members of Shawnee made to Asbury to sit in with our class to hear Dr. Tom Tumblin (who is a prof here at Asbury and a DS in the West Ohio Conference) talk about times of transition and conflict in the life of a church. Here, you can see Roger Rhodes, SPRC chair and Charlotte Hefner, an Associate Pastor at Shawnee, sitting on either side of BP Jason McIntosh, listening to Tom:

Here's Glenn Derryberry, Ad Board Chair, putting on his sweater after an exercise Tom had us do illustrating how most people feel about change (don't ask me to explain it):

And here's another shot of Roger in the break room with Alicia and Travis, commiserating over bagels and juice:

Tom lecture was a good one with lots of great input from BPs and Shawnee-ites alike. One of best moments, for me, was a response Glenn, who has basically been a life-long member of Shawnee, talked about how much the church has changed in his life time. How it has been re-invented again and again whenever a compelling vision of the future is laid out.

And how, without this kind of vision, the church starts to head downhill.

Just a great morning with a lot of food for thought. I'm looking forward to not only meeting with all the members of SPRC, but lay-leaders throughout the church to start thinking about the future very, very soon. You can just feel things moving forward now, about 1000 mph. Here's hoping we're all ready for the ride.

4) This week we'll be attending workshops and seminars at the Asbury Theological Seminary Ministry Conference here on the campus of ATS. Here's my schedule for the week:

Monday, January 29th
1-5pm The Challenges And Opportunites of Post-Modernity for Christian Faith (Dr. Chuck Gutenson)

Tuesday, January 30th
8-Noon How to Have A Nice Afterlife (Dr. Ben Witherington)
2-5pm Risking All For the Sake of the Gospel (Karen Greenwaldt)

Wednesday, January 31stdfff
9-11am Worship
1-5pm Celebration of Discipline: Renewal (Richard Foster)

Also, at some point during the experience we will also hear Ed Young Jr., pastor of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX (although the schedule I have doesn't make it all that clear as to when it's going to happen). You might remember a post I made about my experience in Houston about meeting Ed's dad, Ed Young Sr., who pastors Second Baptist Church, which is another huge megachurch in Texas. We're all looking forward to seeing how much the Eds are alike, or different. It ought to be interesting.

5) The boys are all finally starting to emerge from being sick... thankfully. Aimee has taken the brunt of this in a week where they were largely out of school and not sleeping through the night. The bottom line is that Bucher men are wusses when it comes to getting sick. We are sure that we will never get better and that no one could feel any worse. The fact that we're big babies when we get a cold, is amplified when one of us is, in fact, a baby (or at least a toddler). Given the toll of the week, it wouldn't surprise me if I received a call from Aimee on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean drinking some drink out of a coconut. She deserves it.

6) Watched Greg Oden play for the first time with Eric Stalkamp, a Shawnee-ite who was in Wilmore for the weekend with his lovely wife Vanessa, and daughters Abby and Leah, visiting Vanessa's parents. Vanessa's father, Dr. William Clark Crothers is serving as the Interim President of Asbury College, meaning that he's splitting time living here in Wilmore and at their home in Michigan where he runs his own consulting business.

We watched the game at the President's house (which, I kid you not, has 11 outside doors.... ELEVEN! The President of Asbury College must need lots of escape routes out of his home) which was a treat because the Buchers opted for no cable this year (something my wife would like to continue at home which, in the words of my British friends, isn't bloody likely). Considering the guy is recovering from a broken wrist on his shooting hand (he's shooting free throws left-handed as a result, something Michigan State tried to exploit, without success), Oden looked pretty good, but there's no way he's ready for the NBA. He'll need to bulk up his upper body a little more before he bangs with big bodies night after night. Considering he couldn't move the opposing Spartan center who looked like Opie's mutant cousin, Yao, Emeka, Dwight, and Big Ben would eat his lunch if he played with them, as is.

Of course, that being said, he'll still get drafted number one, and get paid millions to develop his game playing for some NBA lottery team if he makes himself available for next year's draft. Eric and I decided he'd be better off letting the strength coaches at OSU work with him another year. Here's hoping he really likes Columbus, and being in school..... I mean REALLY LIKES being in school.

All in all, it was great hanging out with Eric, talking about stuff Buckeye fans and Lima-landers (although he can't remember every hanging out at Arcade City when it was on Elida Road, or lusting after a pair of Air Force Ones, so I'm wondering if he really did grow up in Lima.... you can tell he went to a parochial school) talk about. Thanks Stalkamps and Crothers for the nice evening of college hoops, and for a nice dinner for the entire Bucher clan the night before.

AND, by the way, If you want to find out what it's like to eat dinner with our family, and hang out in our townhouse with five active kids, ages 19 months to seven years, running around like wild banchees, like, just ask Eric and Vanessa. I'm sure they can give you a vivid description of each experience.

Hey Eric and Vanessa.... next time, we'll get babysitters.

7) Here's a link to a recent blog post by Dr. Ben Witherington, a professor of New Testament here at Asbury. It's a great story of the time he heard God speak, which occurred right around the time he faced the real possibility of being drafted to go fight in Vietnam. It also contains an excerpt of Donald Miller's book, Blue Like Jazz, which if you haven't read it, please consider doing so. The book, and Dr. Witherington's post, are both very good.

8) Just for the record, I'm taking Indy in the Super Bowl next week.... but remember, I'm the guy who thought for certain that the Bucks couldn't lose to Florida, so you might want to take that prediction with a grain of salt (or maybe the whole shaker). And if there are any Indy fans who'd like me to change my prediction, I'm sure I could be persuaded to plant the kiss of death on the Bears.... for the right price.

9) We'll be home next weekend, as I'll be in the pulpit at Shawnee next Sunday, and you know what that means? We'll be doing a bit of house shopping.

I don't think finding a house is going to be all that fun this spring. We've been approached by many people looking to sell their house, which is fine. As a matter of fact, if you have a home in Shawnee you'd like to sell to us, or are aware is coming up for sale, please email me at

It's just that us trying to find the right house at the right price has been about as easy as successfully levitating upside down. Considering we have owned two homes, one that was the wrong house at the right price and the other that was the right house at the wrong price, the prospect of doing this again gives me the willies.

To kind of complicate matters, we're kind of looking now for a place that might have a little independent living space for Aimee's dad.... not saying he'll be moving in with us for sure, but it is something he seems open to. Aimee has been soliciting possible homes on the "Mom's Network", and we've gotten a number of good leads there (well, that and a number of homes we'll never ever be able to afford unless I start my own television ministry or write a book that rivals "The Purpose Driven Life" in overall sales). Aimee wants to start looking, and have something nailed down by the end of April/early May, so she's thrown herself into this thing with gusto.

To be honest, the thought of buying a home makes my head hurt because of our first two experiences. Our first was a home we bought in Toledo from the government in a gentrifying (the Old West End for you Toledo-ites) part of the city. It was seized as a part of a drug raid (it was, in all likelihood, a crack house), and was so rundown that even after about $15,000 in improvements and 18 months of living there we never got the sawhorses out of the living room. Ask anyone who visited us... the interior of the house looked like it had been ravaged by wolves.

The second home we bought was in Goshen, and while we loved the house, the weight of the mortgage/taxes/mortgage insurance was heavy. We didn't want to spend the kind of money the the house demanded, but the real estate agent, a lovely woman from our church, was intent on getting us in a "good neighborhood". I can laugh about it now, but every time we'd give her an address of a home we'd like to see, she'd just shake her head and we'd end up in a home that was 20-40K above our upper limit (but well within the limit the bank said we could afford.... no wonder there's a real estate crisis in this country right now).

I mean, how bad could a "bad neighborhood" in Goshen, Indiana truly be? By her reaction you'd have thought the houses we wanted to look at were located in the middle of junkyard next to a family of rabid pitbulls.

We'd have totally lost our shirt after only five years in a town where real estate values were flat, if a member of the church I was serving at the time hadn't been looking for a home in the neighborhood where her parents lived (thank you Angie!). God delivered us, and some spare change, in our pockets.

So, here we go again. I keep hearing that buying a home is a great decision financially, but I'll be hornswaggled if I've ever realized that windfall myself. I guess we'll see what happens.


10) And finally, Happy 29th Birthday, Mom! I am, as your 8 year old son, metaphysically sending you many hugs and kisses. I hope you enjoy your day, and remember that you are growing finer with age. I'm sure my younger, taller-but-less-good-looking brother (he's two) feels the same way.


Beth said...

Sorry kid, but if you're 8, your "younger bother" hasn't even been thought of yet!

Anonymous said...

2? i am 2 if you are 8??

is that some kind of Kentucky math or something??

i would be negative 4 there rocket scientist. Hope this year of "school" for the boy is not putting him too far back... 8 - 12 = 2 YIKES!!

The Thief said...

Oh, boy, Jason McIntosh is one of you BPs?!?!?! You've got to ask him for his recipe for Hillbilly Pies. And if he asks, tell him Daryl Isaacs sent you.