Seems like forever since I posted something. That's what happens when you decide to skip a day. A day turns into two, which turns into four, which turns into a couple of weeks.
Mea Culpa, loyal readers. Sorry for the long layoff. I throw myself upon your mercy. Here a few random thoughts...
- Don't know if you've been paying much attention to the election in Zimbabwe (isn't everybody?), but the situation has turned pretty ugly today. Days after an election which, thanks to the current regime's ineptitude (Zimbabwe at one time was the breadbasket of Sub-Saharan Africa. Now? Idiotic land policies, fiscal mismanagement, and corruption has driven the country toward out-of-control inflation, bread and gas lines, and on to the precipice of total disaster) was hotly contested, government troops are now surrounding a hotel filled with foreign journalists after recently ransacking the opposition party's headquarters. It appears that the Zimbabwean Army has decided that President Mugabe, despite his apparent loss at the polls, is going nowhere. Thousands of our United Methodist brothers and sisters are stuck in the middle of this mess, as is Africa University, our UM-supported college. The fiscal situation is so dire right now that desperate people, I'm afraid, might resort to desperate measures. The continent is already right now home to some of the deadliest wars in all of history, manned unfortunately by soldiers of all ages (some as young as 7... that's a child who should be in the second grade, hopped up on cocaine lugging around an AK-47 terrorizing villagers). Keep an eye on this situation, and pray that somehow somebody comes to their senses, and Mugabe leaves peacefully.
- Our youngest, Toby, is well, but we are not getting much sleep at the Bucher house. Since I can't breastfeed Toby, Eli, our worst sleeper by far, is now my responsibility on third shift. Last night he woke up at 10:30, 1:30, and 3:30. This is happens frequently, so between Aimee and I sleep deprivation is now becoming an issue. For example, I'm pretty sure I just saw a flying camel over Shawnee Road. Either I'm starting to hallucinate due to a lack of sleep, or they slipped something funny into my fish sandwich at lunch. That or the field of genetics has turned into a circus. What kind of umbrella would you have to buy in a world with flying camels?
Oh well. At least one of us got a nap today....
- Saturday, the Bucher men (save Eli and Toby) will make the trek to Cleveland to see the mighty Cavs take on the Orlando Magic. Dad will ride up with the boys and myself, while Brother Esquire will be coming via the Turnpike from Toledo. This could be a preview of the playoffs as teams in the Eastern Conference continue to jockey for position. Of course, if you've ever been to the Q, the actual basketball game is kind of an afterthought given everything they've got going on at games in order to keep families coming back. Fireworks, dancers, a DJ, multiple mascots, cheerleaders, kiss cams, videos... it's a spectacle to behold. Just as long as we get to see LeBron throw one down and Cavs win another game, we'll be happy.
- Just received an email from my former boss wondering why Shawnee hadn't paid any conference apportionments yet this year. For those non-UM's out there, apportionments are funds we send to the greater denomination. About 30% end up with our national agencies, while the other 70% stay in our conference (which is about 2/3rd's the State of Ohio). Had to remind him that we use the system he helped create which is to pay them quarterly, and that the first quarter ended three days ago. Jiminy Crickets... I've got a DS breathing down my neck about apportionments, and it isn't even my own DS! Nobody said this gig was easy.
- Worshiped last Sunday at the Future Church of Tomorrow, which is located on 12th Street in the City of Lima. The church, which is pastored by Daniel Hughes, has a funny sounding name... The Future Church of Tomorrow. Upon a first hearing it sounds somewhat redundant. However, upon meeting Daniel's mother - who founded the church with her husband in 1973 - I found out the genesis of the name related to the church's original purpose: to reach young people and equip them to eventually lead the church. Hence, they see themselves, and particularly the children and youth in the congregation, as the Future Church of Tomorrow. Makes a lot of sense given the fact that one of those children back in 1973 is now the pastor. But I digress..... it was a fine worship service that blessed me mightily. Quite different than Shawnee's I might say, but it's not like Shawnee has the market cornered on how to conduct worship.
Which, I might add, is one of the interesting things I've learned in the last three months.... it's clear to me that churches, based upon their own traditions and practices, are almost shocked when they encounter a different type, kind, or style or worship. It's like somehow they've been speaking what they thought was English, only to wake up and find out that other people in the world speak other languages. This was REALLY apparent in the Community Palm Sunday service. Since the Black Baptist Ministerial Association had been conducting the service for many a year, it threw them for a loop when a suggestion was made by a non-Black Baptist minister that maybe, within the format of the service - which was pretty much followed the pattern of past year's services - that maybe some music from a non-Black Baptist tradition ought to be included. So, not knowing what that was exactly, the let the non-Black Baptist ministers suggest what this might look and sound like. In the end, a local folk trio sang "Oh For a Thousand Tongues To Sing", while one of them (who resembled - I am not making this up - John Denver) played an acoustic guitar. I almost laughed out loud. It's a wonder Dave Chappelle never came up with the idea for a skit. You couldn't have found a more divergent example of cultural differences. It was like going from this...
In the end, the service was fine, and the crowd seemed to enjoy all the music, but the Black Baptist Community Palm Sunday Service will never be the same.
- Just received an "invitation" from Ed and Lisa Young (here they are!)
to attend with my wife to their "Creative Marriage Retreat", which is a marriage retreat exclusively for couples in ministry, at the Gaylord Texas Resort (Grapevine, TX). Cost? Only $650 for three days (not including transportation and most meals). $650 and three KID FREE DAYS.... they might as well hold the conference in Narnia.
But if Aimee and I did, someday, every have $650 plus expense money, and (too improbably to even say it out loud) THREE KID FREE DAYS together, ain't no way we'd be couped up with Ed and Lisa in the middle of Texas. There's a beach or some nice restaurants or maybe a couple of shows in that dream. If the Youngs want to come with us to dinner, that's fine.
- Finally, a couple of nights ago I'm upstairs reading the paper, when I hear uproarious laughter coming from the basement of our house.
"What in the world?"
So I head downstairs, and what do they think is so funny? A Droopy Cartoon.
The boys have discovered the Boomerang Channel, which is where cartoons from the 60's, 70's, and 80's apparently went to die. Just in the past couple of weeks they've become fans of the Jetsons, Flintstones, and Muttly and the Great Grape Ape, among others that their old Dad used to watch. Upon realizing this, I told Max how many of these shows were new when I was his age. So what does my eldest son say in reply?
"Wow! I didn't know they had color TV back then."
Ah yes.... THREE KID FREE DAYS. Narnia here we come.