Saturday, June 09, 2007

Therefore ... (things that occured to me while drifting aimlessly through Lowes)

1. Nearly all churches want pastor's who know everything that there is to know about God. Nobody knows everything that there is to know about God. Nobody ever will. It is impossible. And yet churches will not accept pastor's who freely admit that they don't always "get it." Therefore ... churches insist that their pastor's lie.

2. God expects His kids to be truthful. Being truthful often leads to undesirable results in life. Therefore ... if you tell the truth in a difficult situation and pay a difficult price for doing so, and then realize that if you had it to do over you would probably lie to avoid the consequences, you are not a godly and honest man. You have nothing to feel good about. You are simply a man without the foresight to see the results of your actions before taking them.

3. When you buy a bible that prints the words of Jesus in red you are buying a bible that assumes that the words spoken by Christ are more true, holy, and inspired than the words in black. (What other possible reason could there be for seperating them?) And yet we claim that the entire Word of God is inspired and "God breathed" by the Holy Spirit. The bible does not simply contain the Word of God, it is the Word of God. Therefore ... all of the words should be in red OR the words of Jesus are somehow more inspired than the words of the Holy Spirit. There is no third option.

4. God loves me. In my brain I believe that He said that and I believe that He meant that. The Holy Spirit whispers it in my ear. And yet my brain often refuses to assimilate this truth into my everyday living patterns. I live as though God tolerates me. Evidently in my heart I actually believe that God tolerates me. This is shown by the fact that I allow the dismal cloud of failure to float over me even when I am not failing. I only out run it when I do something really, really good. Therefore ... when I fail to live as though God loves me no matter what I have done, I am calling God a liar and I am doing so based upon my least dependable personality trait ... my feelings. And yet after thirty-nine years of knowing Christ I still, on most days, live the lie.

5. Point #4 brings us back to point #1. I am a pastor and truth sometimes is lacking in my life. Therefore ... I am going to stop thinking and try to figure out how to break the cycle. And I am going to begin with a long nap.

Friday, June 08, 2007

My Shuttle Muddle

Ladies and gentlemen, your "Airport Customer Transportation Transition Specialist" ... is officially and permanently grounded. I know, I know. "How can this be?" you ask.

Simple. I flunked the drug test. No, not the illegal drug test. The legal drug test. You know, prescription medication. My fun times with adrenaline exhaustion requires that I take a particular medication that caused some unknown doctor that I never even got to meet to slap my wrist through his physician's assistant and say, "No, no! Bad driver!" It seems that they think I will inevitably fall asleep while piloting people through the city. Nevermind that I have not had a ticket since 1978. Doesn't matter that I have not been involved in an accident that was my fault since 1972. I am a danger to all serious travelers seeking to go the two miles from the airport to the rental parking lot. So what if I drove a youth group in vans the equivilent of three times around the globe without so much as a fender bender. Mother's ... lock up your children. The killer almost got loose in the short bus.

Yeah. I'm doubting it. I seldom fall asleep before 1AM as it is. Most of the drivers they currently have are clearly on drugs too. The back alley kind. But nevermind. My personal doctor told them and told them that they are wrong and that I'm "good to go." You know, "Give the guy the keys. Let him drive." But a nurse called me into a side room and told me that it wasn't really about doctor's. It's about lawyers. If I actually WERE involved in an accident the mean lawyers would search and find out the meds I'm on and then they would sue not only Enterprise but the doctor that cleared me to drive.

So congratulations are in order. I have managed to complete two careers in just six months and twelve days! This is cause for celebration!

And tomorrow ... I'm going to get a paper route. Then again, those bike's can be pretty tricky.

Your almost "Airport Customer Transportation Transition Specialitst" signing off ... for the last time!

Feeling Good Is Good

So it is June and that means it is hot. This is, after all, St. Louis. What is hotter than June in St. Louis? July in St. Louis. We have so much to look forward to.

And I began the day right too! I fried my cell phone. You know how to fry a piece of potato, right? Hot grease. You know how to fry a cell phone? Water. Any temp will do. I chose luke warm because that was what was dripping from my hair when the phone rang and I answered it. It was playing my wife's ring tone and I make it a commitment to do what ever is necessary to get to the phone whe she calls. I stepped out of the shower, dried off my hands so as NOT to fry the phone ... and promptly fried it anyway with "head drippings." Way to go. But this was a problem I could make go away by simply throwing $299 at it. As a matter-of-fact, I am a problem that will go away if you'll just throw $299 at me. Care to give it a try?

So I had a fried phone and after driving to the Sprint store in West County I had a fried head too. But the best part of the day was the trip. It was the drive. On Emma-the-Mustang the top was down. Outside the temps were up. Above me the sun beat down. Around me the stereo was turned up.

And then I looked up. Up at the blue sky. And I felt Him smile. You know ... Him. Abba. Father. God. And it was not about the drive or the warmth or the music or the sun. It was about suddenly, unexpectedly being awash in His love and His presence. Why, at that moment, did God choose to flood my soul with Himself? I have no idea. But I am so grateful. It has been a long dry period. I have felt barren ... cracked and scorched from the heat of life. Amazingly, inexplicably, all God has to do is ... be there ... and allow me the grace to sense Him, and it is enough.

I have felt bad and I have felt Good. And feeling good is good.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Because He said so, that's why

I learned something today. Brace yourself. Here it is.

I am right and they are wrong.

That's it. Thought you might want to know.

Blog over.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

My ... I look so natural

Tonight Debbie, Laura, and I attended a free preview of the upcoming movie "Evan Almighty." (Keyword: "free") I was invited because I was/am/will be a pastor. Whatever. By the way, GREAT MOVIE. Go. As soon as it comes out. No they did not pay me to say that. I still had to shell out $13.50 for popcorn and cokes but it was worth it.

So the entire theatre was filled with pastor types, their wives, and in our case their son's girlfriend. We were seated on the lowest row of the stadium seating section. Before the movie began I turned around, sat on the railing, looked at the people behind me and said in a semi-loud voice, "So. I suppose you are all wondering why I called you here tonight." Most people kept up their own conversations and ignored the doofus down front. But the couple sitting behind us asked me where I pastor. I told them that I didn't any more. They asked why. I told them that they did not want to know. They said that they did want to know. I told them again, "No, you really don't want to know." They insisted. Sooooo ... I told them.

Big mistake.

They asked where I was working now and my wife proudly told them that I was an "Airport Customer Transportation Transition Specialist" for Enterprise. I beamed. Yes, I really did.

The man of the couple, obviously a pastor somewhere, stood up and slid down so that he was hanging right over me. He put out his hand and I shook it. He did not let go. Instead he launched into a TEN FREAKEN MINUTE STORY to drive home his point.

What was his point, you ask?

I am going to die. God is going to kill me. I am called into the ministry and because I have accepted a job outside of my calling I am doomed.

We are talking death here.

I was not able to engage the man in a conversation. He held my hand tightly in his the entire time and he never NEVER never stopped speaking. Every time I would try to say something he simply spoke louder. Then you know what he did? He prayed over me. You know what he prayed? Neither do I. I was afraid to close my eyes and listen. I figured there was an outside chance that he was packing at least a knife and was going to appoint himself as God's messenger or avenging angel.

Drat. This is so inconvenient. I had so much to live for. My oldest son is getting married in one month. He and I have been planning the trip of a lifetime the week before the wedding. We have already bought airplane tickets, made hotel reservations, procured a rental car, purchased New York Waterway Ferry tickets, and have tickets to watch the Orioles play in Baltimore and the Yankees in New York. As if that was not enough I now realize that I have never spent the night in Toledo. I don't know why that makes me so sad. It was not important until I found out that it was not going to happen.

There is a lightening bolt with my name on it. Or a car bumper homing in on my tushy. Or a meteorite plunging in my direction. Or a sinkhole preparing to swallow me alive in bed tonight. Or a hot dog prepared especially to lodge in my esophagus. Perhaps an insidious disease is multiplying its evil cells in my body right this very minute. Bailey the Killer Beagle may be ready to pounce and live up to her namesake.

It really doesn't matter how I go. Oh crap, I just polished my shoes yesterday. What a waste.

Well, it's been a good life. I cannot complain. And there is no use running from God. In my experience when He shoots, He scores. So I'd just like to take this opportunity to say ... it's been good knowing ya. Sorry to leave so soon. I'll try to get my various messes cleaned up before I go. Debbie, keep what you want, let the kids go through the rest and sell the remainder on e-bay.

One last time.... Airport Customer Transportation Transition Specialist ... OUT!

P.S. Please note that I am resisting the urge to say, "So long and thanks for all the fish!" But now I suppose I've said it. So nevermind.

OOPS! I did it again ... (with apologies to Brittney)

Yes, I must be doing something wrong because, darn it, I keep getting hired. First there was the substitute teaching thing which really went well (if you don't count that one kid that stood ON his desk and dared me to touch him. I, of course, declined and told him that I had just walked up next to him because I'd never really heard anybodies brains go "SQUISH" on a concrete floor before and I didn't want to miss this opportunity.) But, alas, school ended and once again I have been sleeping late and getting reaquainted with Ronduh the motorcycle. (Named because of the way I treated her the first time I got on her ... "Ron. Duh." Let's just say it was messy.)

And now I have accepted a position with Enterprise. You know, the people that rent cars. I will be an "Airport Customer Transportation Transition Specialist." I get a cool Enterprise polo shirt and everything. Gosh, I hope it is blue. It brings out my eyes. And once again I've managed to score a job that does NOT make me go to meetings. This is important to me. My personal opinion of meetings is as follows ... if the meeting lasts longer than it takes me to consume one half of a can of Vanilla Coke SOMEBODY is wasting SOMEBODIES time. Know what I mean?

So much for sleeping the summer away. I'm hoping that if and when I decide not to do this anymore I'll be able to score a job in the airport control tower.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Hi. My name is Ron and I work on the shuttle...

Oops. Sorry. Wrong shuttle.

Your Airport Customer Transportation Transition Specialist ... OUT!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Reasonable Service

(Authors note: Those of you who know me or have followed my journey via this blog over the last months know that I voluntarily resigned a long held ministry position in a church that held my heart passionately captive for over two decades. It has been six months and a few scattered days since I left that place. It has been a time of personal healing, internal inventory, dis-equilibrium, gut checking, reflection, and God seeking. The months were very well spent and very helpful. I have separated the questions and issues which can be answered and understood from those that cannot. It was a lot of very hard work.

And this morning God told me it is finally time to put it down. As if that is not significant enough He also told me how to do it. This brief blog is not written for any purpose other than "stake driving." This is simply a "note to self." Please do not interpret it in any other way. If you choose to do so let it be known ... that is on you. There are pieces of history in every person’s life that they can never really make peace with. That is certainly true for me. But there is always a time to close the book. Seal the envelope. Lock the drawer. This, for me, is that day. That hour. May it all be for a greater good.)

God spoke to me this morning. He spoke loudly and clearly. I heard His voice through another human being. He is a guy that is 400 miles removed from this desk in my home office. But through the miracle of the World Wide Web I was able to listen to him "real time." I heard his words and saw his face through my computer as he was speaking them.

His topic was Romans 12: 1, "Therefore, in view of God's mercy, offer yourselves as living sacrifices, unto God. This is your reasonable service."

Reasonable service.

To give God my all ... everything I am and have ... is nothing more than my "reasonable service." Why? Because He has given me everything. Life. Forgiveness. Family. Health. Friends. The ability to sit back, look at my life as I have lived it to date and simply exhale, knowing that it is all OK. The pressure is off because of what Jesus did for me.

Reasonable service.

No man owes me anything. Neither explanation nor apology. Neither applause nor condemnation. I am not owed applause or even a "thank you" because all of the good I might have done, even if it was at great personal cost, is simply my reasonable service to God. I am not owed condemnation because any mistakes or even blatant disobedience on my part have already been paid for by the sacrifice of Christ.

If I owe you an apology please accept this as that offering. If I have hurt you ... I am sorry. I honestly don't know I have hurt you because I have tried to cover all of those bases in real life conversations. But if I missed you ... I am sorry.

Danger, injury and even risk of death are required from Christ followers. Because of what He has done for us it is our reasonable service. It is not out of the ordinary, unexpected or to be looked upon as shocking.

Reasonable service.

Serve to the best of your ability. Give it all. Everything. Hold back nothing. When you walk off of the playing field of life one day exit knowing that you "left it all on the field." Do all you can and leave the rest to God.

I cannot say that I have done that in every day and in every circumstance of my life. But I know that I can say it as it applies to the last two decades. I gave it all. I left it all on the field. I left the field drained and pained. I was rather useless to anybody.

And today the book of that time of life ... at God's command ... I intentionally close mentally, emotionally, spiritually. To paraphrase Paul again it is time to turn away from the past and run the race toward the future.

I left it all on the field. God has spent the last six months refilling my energy levels and when He is ready He will show me how and where to pour that out again.

OK, so this has not been a fun blog to read. My apologies. Most of you have no idea what in the world this crazy guy is talking about. That is good. For those of you who do ... thank you for putting up with my confession. I thought that this was something that I did not want to write for public consumption. And then I realized that I had to. Not for you. For me. Do not try to understand it. Just forget it and wait for a better blog tonight or tomorrow. This is just something that I had to do.

Reasonable service. Leaving it on the field. It is a good day.