Johnny’s preschool class went on a field trip to the local fire station. The firefighter giving the presentation held up a smoke detector and asked the class: “Does anyone know what this is?” Johnny’s hand shot up and the firefighter called on him.”You know what this is?” “Yes! That tells Mommy when supper’s ready!”
I recently had an appointment with…a Federal Investigator! A former parishioner has applied for a job that requires Federal security clearance, so this gentleman is doing a background check and I was listed as a reference. When the gentleman called me to set up the appointment, he sounded like he was about 16 years old! I made the appointment for a couple of days later. That day, he showed up about 4 minutes early, with a freshly pressed and creased pair of pants, a freshly starched white dress shirt and right smart tie! He was much more “business” in person than on the phone, sounding and acting like a…grown up! He showed me the badge (I wonder if they EVER tire of that- it seems it would be pretty cool to be able to flash a badge!) and explained that our conversation was subject to the Privacy Act. I nodded and smiled…as if I actually knew what that meant! (Oh well!)
I take the dog out EVERY morning…about 6:30AM. Within a few minutes either way, you could pretty much set your watch by it. I get up, get the dog’s bed and take it into the the living room (she SUCH a cupcake!), use “the little pastor’s room”, then put her on the leash (she’s a very spirited black lab-English pointer mix and runs off if she get loose outside!) and take her out for her “morning constitutional”. (Do you like all the euphemisms for “bathroom” being thrown about?!) Yesterday, as I stood out in the dewy-wet morning grass, trying to fully wake up and wishing I had about another hour in bed, I heard something. And unlike some sounds you hear that you can’t immediately identify, this sound was EASY to place- it was CLEARLY a woodpecker, rat-a-tat-tatting its way through the quiet morning.
There is a new “initiative” in my town- a small group of doctors, along with a small group of pastors AND the mayor, are trying to put into motion a health initiative that is focused on certain basic approaches aimed at improving the quality of life, even extending life. The idea is to combine sound preventative medicine with spiritual support. It is being offered to the community “at no charge”. (The mayor doesn’t really like to use the word “free”!) Those of us involved in it are very excited about the possibilities and really believe that is can be extremely beneficial to the community as a whole. BUT…we have to get that very same community on board with it before anything else can happen. And that brings me to Tuesday night!
I live in s small town. Well, actually, it’s NOT really even a town. TECHNICALLY, it’s a VILLAGE. (And we ALL know that it takes one to raise a child, at least according to Hillary Clinton!) In our town…excuse me…village…we don’t have Rush Hour. Instead, we have what our mayor calls “Rush 5 Minutes”! Well, recently I was caught in the veritable ONSLAUGHT that IS the Rush 5 Minutes, and as such, I had a whole extra 2-3 minutes to think…and examine life! But…I didn’t! Instead, I began to ponder, of all things, the shift level that is on the steering column of our 2002 Ford Windstar. (I REALLY need a hobby, don’t I?!) As I pondered it, it dawned on me (I mean, I’ve only had the car EIGHT years…why would you think I would have noticed it sooner?!) that the shift lever on my “soccer mom” van is much like our faith! (And you can STOP rolling your eyes…I’ll get there eventually!)
As I clearly (and proudly) state as a function of this blog, I am a United Methodist minister. And us United Methodists are infamous for being rather…shall we say…RESERVED…in our worship style! I have a preacher friend from a another denomination who I once heard say, after a worship service, “That was really a spirited service! I actually saw one of my Methodist brothers take ONE hand out of his pocket!” While that understanding of “us Methodists” is painting with a rather broad brush…there is more than a kernel of truth behind it!!
I recently read an article in the Christian Post entitled Preachers Who Don’t Believe – The Scandal of Apostate Pastors. The gist of the article is that there is a surprisingly high number of clergy in this country who…don’t…believe…in…God. Let me say that again (more for my own benefit than yours)- they DON’T believe in God! As I read the article, I thought to myself, “How can this be?” How can ANYBODY stand up in the pulpit every Sunday and profess Jesus Christ as their Savior and NOT mean it? How can anybody lead worship of God and be pretending?