Brother Esq recently rattled my cage about this blog so I decided to go back and see how long its been since I've posted anything.
September ?!? Gads!!!
Doesn't mean I haven't written anything (there are many partially completed quasi-sermon outlines and manuscripts) but I just didn't feel, for whatever reason, to post what had been written. In any event, it's been a while. Here are some updates, random thoughts, and whatever else comes up.
- Right off the bat the reason I haven't done much posting (besides being so busy my head has been spinning) is really related to the end of my dissertation, which has still not been completed. I think in my mind every time I started to write on this blog, I though, "If you are going to write, might as well be dissertation writing." Only problem is, the two kinds of writing aren't remotely similar. In this forum, I just spout off a bunch of random, off-the-top-of-my-head stuff. Most of it isn't all that helpful, or well-thought out, hence so many more non-posts than posts over the four years or so this thing has been going.
Dissertation writing is tedious. You have to comb through hours of transcribed interviews (which is really, really boring), make notes about quote and figures, and then compile them into something that makes sense. I know it's not supposed to be fun but still.... with a million other things that need to be done, getting focused on doing the Dr. stuff is tough. Top that off with getting violently ill during the ten days you carved out to finish it up, and you get 40 percent of what you wanted to accomplish done... and not a lot of incentive to pick it back up.
I have neither done the writing I enjoy and don't enjoy (sigh), and I ended up in this pickle largely because I wrote a book on the same topic of the dissertation that the publisher who talked me into the project said HAD TO BE DONE last summer. Well, that's a great segway to...
- "So, is that book published yet?" Well..... no. And I can't really expand on things much more than that. Suffice to say, if and when the portion of the manuscript I wrote ever comes to light, I'll have more than enough fodder for a great blog post. Until then, you'll just have to wait.
- Been an incredible holiday season as it relates to need in the community. With this sort of thing I don't know if things are actually worse economically now than in the past, if people have discovered we rarely say "no" to requests for aid (particularly at Christmas), or some sort of combination of the two. Doesn't matter. We don't mind helping folks out, but the sheer number of requests this year is pretty incredible. Right now more than 100 children in the community will receive gifts and clothing from the congregation and I expect that number to grow. The amazing part is that I still haven't exhausted the volunteers willing to do the shopping and foot the bill. Pretty humbling.
- So a quarter (or so) of the NBA season is gone, and what do we know? The Lakers are heads and tails better than everyone else. The Celtics are better than last year, but Kevin Garnett's days of pogo sticking around the court are over. The Houston Rockets are proving that team work both on D and O still mean something.
And as for the Cavs.... well, it's tough to say.
As a suspected, the signings of Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon were good moves on the part of Danny Ferry. Parker, while still not fully comfortable in the offense, is slowly working his way in while Moon is the kind of defender the Cavs missed against the Magic in last year's playoffs. Shaq's signing, well, is just as underwhelming now as it was then. Mo isn't having quite the year he had last year but part of that is the new faces getting worked into the mix. Varejao is still the energy guy and Big Z is slowly winding down toward the end of his contract but still effective. Hickson looks solid off the bench. Booby Gibson should have been traded about ten different times (for Stephen Jackson at least once) but leads the team in "artistic haircuts". LeBron is still LeBron, which means he's still largely carrying the team.
Nope, the big question mark for the Cavs is Delonte West. Who'd have thunk a guy they traded for as a temporary solution as a point guard would have become so critical to their chances. He's the best defender (not named LeBron) on the team. He can create his own shot off the dribble. He helps immensely with moving the ball around because he passes so well.
And yet, the guy is obviously not well. Weapons charges. Domestic abuse charges. Riding his motorcycle at over 110 mph. Bouncing off and on the active list without rhyme or reason. You can see his teammates really dig him. Without the mental issues they are loosest team in the league, enjoying one another's company and learning how to play well together. But DWest isn't well and it is the major issue hanging over that club. They're worried about the guy. If they cut Delonte loose to remove the distraction, I think it messes the team up. But if they keep him around everyone is just waiting for the other shoe to drop? Very difficult situation and one that will largely play out outside the public eye, but will define the season.
- Since we last posted there have been big changes for Brother Esq. After a couple of years in a firm with his in-laws, BrotherEsq signed on with Balyeat, Balyeat, Daily, Leahy, and Miller here in Lima. Now he's learning the ropes, hustling new business, and integrating himself into the Lima law scene. He and Melissa are expecting their second child, and we just found out they broke the Bucher Curse.... there's actually going to be a girl born into the family. We're delighted. Not only do we get to buy pink but I get to make jokes like "Are you saving up the wedding now?", "Isn't it tradition the father buys the first training bra?", and "Only fifteen or sixteen years til she dates someone like her father." It's like the best Christmas gift I ever received. In any event, they'll be moving down to Beantown sometime after the baby is born this spring. We can't wait.
- The wife has been losing weight via participation in the PRISM Ministry here at church. At first she was a little miserable to live with as she counted calories, but with the loss of weight have come little milestones that have made her happy. The latest? She can no longer shop at JC Penneys because she's now a "four tall", and they don't carry "four tall". Now she has to go out of town or buy stuff online (with her new Neiman Marcus card... WHAT?). Kudos to her. Maybe I'll join her in the new year (although right now she says I'm writing this just so y'all will leave me alone.... can you feel the love?)
- Speaking of the wife, right after I informed her that I'd be flying to LA to go see the Rose Bowl (with Eric the Buckeye, Principle Cox, Keyboard Larry, Rempe, and Dad), she informed me that she was taking a week-off by herself sometime in April. After all the travel for the dissertation, and a couple of side trips to LA for football games, seems like she's ready to cash in the accumulated chips and get out of dodge. She deserves it, however, if during a week in April you see a man and four boys at your door around dinner time, please don't turn them away.
And if you see some hot chick on a beach somewhere south, remind her we have a 20th Anniversary to celebrate this August and to do so, she has to come home first. Admittedly, this might not make much difference, but do it it anyway.
- It's been a great year at SUMC. Lots of growth (spiritual and numerical). Road races for charity, Fall Fest, Blessing of the Bikes, a great partnership with The Future Church, a fledgling ministry to area prostitutes, a fantastic Koinania Bible Study, 300 pairs of shoes for area school children, about 1.8 million pounds of food for hungry people, all kinds of cool stuff for people of all ages, the largest single financial gift made in church history...... it's been a great ride!
But as good as 2009 has been, 2010 has the possibility to be not only the most important, but community-altering year this church has ever seen. It will also be a year filled with change... some of it dramatic. It could make us, or break us, or at least make or break the current Senior Pastor's leadership. Never before have I entertained as a leader taking the degree and amount of risk I'll be taking this year.
Bring it on.
In any event, if you are in the Lima area on Christmas Eve, come join us for worship. There's a Kid-oriented service at 6:30pm, a Contemporary Candlelight service at 8:30pm, and a Traditional Candlelight service at 11pm. No strings attached, just come on out and worship with us. I'd love to see you.
And, on that note, I leave you with what is becoming my favorite Christmas song.
May there be this Christmas, peace on Earth, goodwill toward all.