As added this morning as an example to my Beeson Pastoral colleagues of how a few well-chosen words can have far greater effect than lots of semi well-chosen ones:
Well, travel most of the month of April all over hell and high water, and the result when you get home is just being plain tired. Such is my state of mind now that I'm ensconced back in Wilmore, Kentucky, facing the completion of two late final projects, one sermon, another trip to do some interviews at a church in Connecticut, and final completion of three chapters of a dissertation all in the next nine days. They said you should never get behind in this program, and now I know why. The hammer has fallen. That being said, here are few rambling unconnected thoughts as we speed toward the weekend:
- Here are more updates on my Beeson Pastor colleagues and where they'll be headed when this year is over the end of May:
Alicia Coltzer will be heading back to Houston to serve at a small struggling church in a part of the city that is gentrifying. With the support of a large congregation that has been for a year working with this small church to try and help turn it around it, Alicia will try and take a group of eighteen congregants (most over the age of 70) in a section of town where property values are exploding as people come to take advantage of what have been large homes that had been rundown but are now being rehabbed, and reach a community mostly made up of young singles, married, and baby-boomers downsizing into retirement. It's her dream job.
Nolan Donald will also be heading to Houston to the same church our colleague Jim Martin will be serving for the purpose of starting a new congregation somewhere in that huge city sometime in the next two years.
Matt Scholl will be making the leap from South Indiana to West Ohio to service as Senior Pastor at Aley United Methodist Church, which is in suburban Dayton. Home to his folks, Dayton is a bit of homecoming of Matt. I know he's excited about the church, and the possibilities it presents for ministry.
Aaron Wymer has decided against returning to Grandview Christian Church in Johnson City, Tennessee, and instead has elected instead to join the circus to pursue his dream of becoming a lion-tamer. As he does his training, he'll also be filling out the slate of clowns, tent putter-uppers, and cotton-candy salespeople needed to keep "Pincher and Finch's Greatest Show In the mid-Atlantic New England Area" on the road. Of course the good folks at Pincher and Finch, at this time, cannot afford actual lions, so Aaron will begin his training with nineteen cats from the local Humane Society of Portland, Maine. Good luck Aaron, as you live the dream.
(Note one of the last four updates was faked. Make your guess as to which one by emailing me at email@example.com by May 2nd. Guess the right one and you'll be entered in a drawing to win John Goldengay's riveting best seller, "Models for Interpretation of Scripture" OR the Michigan t-shirt I'll be wearing because the Buckeyes let me down not once, or twice, but thrice against Florida over the last five months, for my last sermon here at school on May 3rd, which I will subsequently also personally deface. Your choice.)
- Reconnected recently with Stacy Foster, a fellow LSHS grad and Spring Street homey, via MySpace. Stacy's name is no longer "Foster", and hasn't been for ten years now, as she's happily married and has three great kids. No matter how old she and her husband get, though, they'll both be the coolest parents among ever, given the fact that Stacy met her husband while he was a drummer in a rock-n-roll band, and he met her while she was working as a graphics artists doing custom graphics on tricked out cars. Yeah... a guy who covered Alex Van Halen and a lady who used to work at a "Pimp My Ride" body shop. Their kids are going to rebel by becoming a stock-broker, environmental scientist, and city planner. Just wait and see.
- I heard Alicia marveling today that rent in the area of Houston she'll be living in starts on a tiny house at $1300 a month, and that you can't touch buying a home in that area for less than $190,000... which would have impressed me, except that I just returned home from Southern California, where on the radio they advertise starter homes "starting only at $600,0000". It's no wonder why they're doing 50 year, interest-only loans out there. Otherwise, everyone would be living on the beach.
Which by the way, is where I had this view while eating dinner my last night (actually on the Huntington Beach Pier at a little fifties diner called "Ruby's" - I'd recommend it to anyone) in LA:
No offense to my family members who live out there, are suburb hosts, and wouldn't live anywhere else, but I'd sooner spend the next three years living above the Arctic Circle than five living in LA. True, it's beautiful, the weather is great, there are no mosquitoes, and you can surf and ski without having to take an airline flight. Couple that with the chance to see the stars (I think I saw that actress in Spiderman at a parking garage getting into a Toyota Spider.... but then again, I could be wrong), and LA is probably the most desirable place to live in the country....
if you like living in a place where every last person is jammed as close together as humanly possible, they all drive cars, and the landscape is largely made up of nothing but freeways and strip-malls.
Not for me, thanks.
I'll be happy to take the wife and kids out west to visit the family, and then go home where, yeah, it snows and you have to wear "Off" all summer, but you can also get anywhere in fifteen minutes or less (as opposed to LA where everything is an hour away, except a Starbucks... there's a law there that apparently you can't be further away than a couple of blocks from one so they are everywhere, which is another good reason for me not to live there - I'd die of caffeine poisoning within three months.) Also, I've decided that I like big open spaces filled with nothing with soybean and corn plants. We'll be getting our Barnes and Noble in Lima soon, so as far as I'm concerned, the town is about perfect.
That's why they call us "settlers". We stopped in a place in Lima, looked around, shrugged our shoulders, said "Eh... good enough", and settled for what we got. I'll take it, happily.
Come visit. We'll go to the Allen County Museum and get a Kewpee. On me!
- Finally, on a more serious note, given the tragedy in Blacksburg, have to tell you I heard a conservative talk show host arguing that what we need to do is arm students in our schools with concealed weapons to deter such things from ever happening again.
Um..... call me a liberal hippy if you want, but I've a sense that might create more problems than it solves. Just a hunch.
More likely, I suspect that in cases where students are obviously mentally ill, like this young man was, instead of letting he or she just hang around campus, that something more pro-active than just sending him for treatment will become the norm. I mean, if a college junior isn't willing to say his name or read out loud in class, something is wrong. Severely wrong. We're not talking about a run-of-the-mill-malcontent here. He creeped out a prof so bad, he had to go to a tutor the rest of the semester or the prof was going to quit. That's a pretty serious sign something was not right. Whether it be greater monitoring of whether or not the student is taking their meds, or the possibility of requiring more extensive treatment, I'd suspect we'll see some changes in how campus administrators deal with mentally ill persons exhibiting wildly anti-social behavior.
At least, let's hope so.