Thursday, April 27, 2006

Being Dad

Last night, my son's t-ball team played a game and they won. My son was the pitcher and he made an outstanding double play meriting him the game ball.

The cooler thing was the whole team contributed. It was not just one player, so I think the whole team should have put their small hands on that ball and said, "Awesome."
There is this one kid who has ADHD and when he loses focus, he is hard to work with. If somebody cuts in line, all he can do is focus on that issue. He does not listen to me when I tell him to run, he does not bat well, and he is not that great in the field. He is the kid you would pick last on the team. This kid knocked in the winning run.

I stood on the first base line and I saw that if this kid who is often relegated to the side actually got this hit...he would knock in the winning run. He stood up to bat and I just yelled and yelled. "You just hit that ball hard. Hit is as hard as you can."
He swatted that ball right by the pitcher. He ran to first base and was safe. We now had a seven run lead and the other team could not catch us. He was a hero and my player of the game. I went to the dugout and said to his mother, "You noticed your son knocked in the winning run. You need to tell him that he caused us to win." It was awesome. A mother who felt awful often about her son's behavior and was totally stressed could now beam that her son had worth on that field.

That is why I coach. I coach to love on those kids and to tell those parents they are doing good work. Often, I am too hard on my own son. Sort of sad, but many folks tell me that. Those that are closest have many demands. However, when we went home, I let him be the star player. Lifted him up and beamed a bit of pride myself. He is growing up and hopefully this wonderful kid will not be screwed up by some overbearing father.

Fearless Joy,

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Pinpointing Jesus

One of the issues about reading scripture is that it forces us to do some things we don't like to do which is be challenged with who Jesus is. I have friends who I know what they are going to do, but Jesus is not like that. He changes. I read the gospels and there is another time when Jesus pushes the envelope of my understanding. Todays is Matthew 18:10

"Take care that you do not despise one fo these littles, for I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my father in heaven."

I really had that verse starting at "For I tell you"

You see that whole guardian angel thing really has no place in my spirituality. It is hoky to me. It is Capital One commercial schlock?, sentimentality of "It's a Wonderful Life" good movie, bad theology.

However, here comes Jesus, the very Word of God, blowing up my ideas and my viewpoints. So, I have to wrestle with that notion. I have to entertain these angels a bit in my thoughts and minds. I have to come to the darn frustrating conclusion that I do not have a full grasp of the scriptures. Bothersome, but I think i like it this way. It keeps me humble and it keeps me from becoming all keep me from becoming a god to myself.

fearless joy,

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter End Day

Another Easter day is over. 2 Services. In fact, Holy Week was problematic all around.
Maundy Thursday, the Christ Candle that had been rigged had become unrigged. Note to self, I will buy a new Christ Candle and we will quit trying to save money with putting votives in the candle. So, I solved that problem, but was bothered by it not working perfectly.
Good Friday, had a great video that died and the media presentation died. Oiy!!!
Easter Sunrise, the sound equipment was a miserable mess.
Easter Breakfast, the Men were awesome and a guest brought potatoes to share. Awesome.
Easter Main, great service. It was a good day.
So, I said a couple of things. I will quit messing with sound equipment and let the pros mess with it. As a control freak that is hard. However, I will give it up.

I will do media right or not do it all.

I vistited the visitors this afternoon.
I had family lunch at the in laws.
I dropped off leftover breakfast at SafeHaven, an intermediate housing facility for the homeless.
It was a full day and it was Easter. Easter is easy. It like a hanging curve ball. An elevated Tee with the wind at the back. A 50 degree overcast, still Marathon morning. At the end of the day. I am tired. However as I was disappointed with myself. I thought every contigency this week had been done.
A couple of folks said, "Good Friday service was awesome."
"The video messed up and it was really good."
"I know, but I really like that service. It made my day. You all do worship well."
I needed to hear that. I beat myself up pretty good about not being perfect and for a person to say..."You know that made my day, reminded me that Jesus is more important than I am."

Had another compliment that made my day, several about my sermon but the sermon was good. Sorry, not being a braggart, it was just a good sermon. I will tell you when it sucks. I also will tell you when I deliver. The last comment made my day and gave me hope.

It is a long day Easter and I told a friend of mine, "Why are they not like this every week?" Then I said, "probably some of that has to do with the pastors mostly."

It has been a good day and it is a reminder of why I am a pastor. Love the people and preach about the power of Jesus' life, death and resurrection.

I am heading off the sleep and then tomorrow to pray and recharge.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

being a native border state guy

Lived in Texas most of my life and in West Texas for many years.
Before 9/11, the culture of the Rio Grande was pretty ambigious. When we went to Big Bend National Park, we used to swim across the river to Mexico. I remember rafting one time and winding up on the Mexican side as we overshot our take out location. People come across back and forth and live in between, the Frontier/Frontera. Frontera in Mexico is designated strip of land along the border. 50 Miles I believe. People who live on the Frontera are different. Mexicans or Americans who are influenced by the other country.

Illegals were part of life. I found shoes made out of tires as a kid that an illegal had made as he journeyed north. I have passed through border patrol checkpoints. Illegals were punchline of jokes. Used the term "wetback" a couple of times in my youth. Shouted, "La Megra?" spanish for border patrol a few times as well. As I have aged, the punch line has come that I have come in contact with illegal immigrants. The jokes have stopped, because they do not reveal reality.

I really hate that notion of a fence. It does not work and will not work. It seems communist to me to have a fence. As a child, I would go to our border look across the Rio Grande and think this is America. I would think of the pictures of the Soviet Union where there were barbed wire fences that kept people out. The notion of a fence just seems so unAmerican. Maybe it is America, post cold war...anxious and fearful. Valuing security and fear over freedom and hope.
Israel put hope in the walls of Jerusalem...and they fell.

I guess that is just the Ronald Reagan in me, a border state govenor who became President who granted amnesty. If we put up the fence and one day10,000 people will just cross it at one point and destroy the border. It will happen, because a border fence is not more secure than the Berlin Wall. Jeez, the Bible tells us that walls do not work.

Just a Texas boy who fears Jesus, not a Yankee. So, I know I have a different view of life.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006


One thing about illegal immigration is that it is not just. The Coyotes require that folks pay a great amount of money to come into America. They also will put them in harm's way if it means that the choice is between the death of a client and their own skin. There are stories all the time of folks dying in tractor trailers and box cars. Human Borders provides water and maps so folks will have a clue of what they are attempting. So, there is a justice issue.

The other justice issue is that illegal immigrants get paid bottom tier wages. This is creating a larger divide between the poor and the wealthy. It is killing the middle class. I am a part of this, because I contract out my lawn for service. I pay 25.00 for my lawn to be mowed. The crew is 3 to 4 people. They work 30 to 40 minutes to do my lawn. It would take me 3 hours. Now divide that twenty five dollars. Some goes to the contractor who I pay and then he takes his cut, the largest cut and he pays his workers. I don't know if they are illegal or not. Don't ask, don't tell. But, I want to give the trickle down on this. They are making minimum wage or a little better, remember minimum wage is not living wage. However, there are individuals who would mow lawns and in Kansas City, I would pay 30 to 35 dollars for a lawn mow. 50 dollars for leaf raking. It was to some guy driving down the street looking for work. It was more expensive, but the folks were not illegal immigrants. So, I am not sure what to say, but illegal immigration lowers prices on services. The market might be fair, but it is not always just.

The problem that I struggle with is this. The lawn service is so cheap that it is grossly conveinent to use them. They provide a service that I know my lawn will always look good on Wednesday. Meetings, baseball games, and other things do not interfere with the lawn being done. So, I know I have a part in this issue of justice and I condemn myself in it.


Immigration and protest

Last week, I saw several students carrying Mexican flags as they headed to downtown Dallas. There was much debate about whether or not they knew what they were doing as they marched. I think that is unfair, because I am sure that not all of the children who marched in Birmingham or Selma knew fully what those marches were all about. I doubt if the Million men who marched on Washington were all there for the same purpose.

But, I think what they are expressing without using words is that the debate on immigration has some racial overtones. Folks are not complaining about Asian or European immigration. It is Mexican immigration. I think there are several issues in this immigration debate. I want so share them in the next few posts.