Christmas morning, 2006

The family is tucked in. Had to peek in every room as I came downstairs. All asleep, including the dog Sandi, who generally is asleep most of the time anyway. No snoring tonight in the house. A quiet resting. I am at peace.

My two guys are doing eating/gaming 24/7 over the holidays, and then sleeping off the eating and gaming. Sharon’s and my job is to keep the refrigerator full, the oven warm, the wood stove stoked and not to walk in front of the TV when football is on. The guys job is to enjoy being home.

They might be my boys but I am under no illusion that they are living in a boys world. They are men on leave, on a break from assignment and mission. Soon enough they will return to the rough and tumble world of making impact, conquering and winning, recovering from defeats, refocusing and getting back into the game. There is still so much ahead of them. They will be stretched, tried and often trapped with no clear next step. Their values will be pummeled, their priorities strained, and their capacity to endure tested to tears. If Christ was made perfect only through suffering, holy though he was, then nothing less will be on the agenda for my guys.

On Christmas morning I pray for them. Hang in there, men. Believe deeply, hold fast to Jesus, stand by your values, obey the naked and unsupported word of God, drink deep at the oases God provides along the way – and then rise to do it all again. For the rest of your lives. I won’t be with you for the whole journey. I wish I could. But while I am here you have all of me. There is nothing I would not do for you. I mean it. And when God takes me home, you will have the prayers of a man who sees the face of God. Wherever I am and in whatever state, I will always be your dad.

In the meantime this Christmas rest and laugh and eat and sleep. I might not be able to tune out the drumbeat of the war to which you will return soon. Sometimes I think I hear those sounds louder than you do. But for now, just for a moment, we’ll pretend – that you will never have to leave and that it will always be okay.

My Day/My Week

I am finishing up the heaviest teaching load I have ever had at college as an adjunct faculty member at Eastern Nazarene College. The Communications and Fine Arts department asked me to teach on the traditional day campus this semester teaching speech to freshmen, 7:45 AM on Monday, Wednesday, Friday of each week. That meant leaving the house at 6:45 AM. In and of itself that’s bearable, but additionally for the last five weeks I was teaching two evening classes in the Adult Studies Division. Continue reading

Born again iPod and other episodes from my world

The iPod update didn’t work. The techs thought it would. I hoped it would. But the volume control is still erratic. Of course, that only happens when I use it and not when the techs examine it. But they took my word for it and gave me a new one. No use monkeying around with the old one. Reminds me of Jesus. Didn’t try to fix the old spirit, so he gave me a new one. Continue reading

My Week

I’ve been going crazy. Teaching at Eastern Nazarene College is keeping me up to my eyebrows in class preparation, class time and grading papers. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the worse. I teach 4 hours on Tuesday night, teach a 7:45 am class for freshman at the traditional campus the next morning and then teach another 4 hour class on Wednesday night. The classes on Tues and Wed night are the same, Professional Business Communication, but each one is on a different lesson. So I get mixed up a bit. Plus I am working through a new module I revised for this class. It gets a bit overwhelming. Continue reading

My Day

I just revised a course at Eastern Nazarene College, Adult Studies Division titled “Professional Business Communication.” You might think this is sort of outside the pastoral role, but I have taught this course many times and enjoy it, probably because it has to do with writing. I am scheduled to teach the first class after the revision next week for a new class.  I started a new class tonight supposedly using the older module, and that is what I was prepared for. Lo and behold, the students had received the new module and I came prepared to teach the old one. Some chaos. Felt sorry for the students. They have enough on their plate already. We made it through the first class with some patience and understanding.

Worked on our new web site design. It’s looking pretty good. I like simple and clean. So many church websites look like amusement parks. Somehow it seems to be that the more bells and whistles on a church’s website the less I am inclined toward them.  I am always torn about these things. I want to communicate well, but I don’t want to treat people like consumers who are only driven by need fulfillment. The emerging church movement is a reaction to stuff like this

I had a lady call the church the other day seeking information about our church. She had her list: what times are your services, what do you have for children ages 5 and 8, what size is your church, etc.? She had no interest in engaging in any kind of conversation. Not irrelevant questions but nothing about God’s work among us, the character of our fellowship, our journey, our experience of Christ, and absolutely no interest in me. This is all too typical. This is the “church-as-Walmart” syndrome. The bottom line is service and not community.