March 27th, 2005


All the juggling bears and dancing elephants

A blessed Easter to one and all!

Ours began with that_guy_zach leading the Sunrise Service, with Yours Truly sitting in on the organ. That was followed by a leisurely breakfast and Sunday school. Then came the Main Event.

We were stuffed with people -- 203 by last count (in a congregation that averages about 110 in attendance). There were lots of visiting family folks -- and some new people, as well -- always cool. It was Luella's 98th birthday. The sermon was from John 20 (the story of Doubting Thomas): "My Lord and My God." We received 5 of our 7 confirmands (2 were visiting family and will be received next weekend): four baptisms; one confirmation. Then holy communion. (And we still got out in about an hour. This is what learning the preacher trade in a three-point charge teaches you -- I am rarely rushed, no matter how many special things we've got going on.)

All the banners from the last six confirmation classes were hanging along the sides of the sanctuary, with this year's banner standing in the chancel. The kids had made a banner with Jesus walking on the water out to a boat with seven faces in it. The caption was "Be Not Afraid."

My favorite thing in all the world is to teach confirmation class. And when they come, eager and happy, to present themselves to Christ with souls like shiny, new-minted pennies, it makes my heart leap with joy.

Christ our Lord is risen. Alleluia. He is risen, indeed!

You say tomayto, I say tomahto

I have a friend who describes himself as "the last Calvinist in Methodism." He's serious about it, too. We were talking about the differences between Calvinist and Arminian once upon a time, and he said, "Did you ever notice that when we pray for our unsaved friends and family, we all pray like functional Calvinists? We all say, 'Lord, open their hearts,' etc. But that's only possible if God is a Calvinist God."

He's got something there, I suppose. Only if you believe in the absolute sovereignty of God and his ability to override our human mulishness would such prayers make sense -- and yet we all offer them.

On the other hand, I replied at the time, "Yeah, well, did you ever notice that when we pray for the illnesses of our friends and ourselves, we all pray like functional Arminians? We all say, 'Lord, heal me/them,' and we try to get all our friends to pray, too -- as if God took our wishes, and the multitude of the wishes of others, into account. But that's only possible if God is an Arminian God."

Of course, all this really proves is that we can be whatever we think we need to be, without our worrying over whether we're being consistent in our ideas of God. If we were honest, we'd admit that what we need is for God to be whatever he needs to be, without his worrying over whether he's being consistent with our ideas of him.

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"O, the moonlight's fair tonight along the Wabash"

You Know You're From Indiana When...

You drive for three hours and the scenery outside doesn't change.

There's three feet of snow on the ground and school is still in session.

You only go to the mall once a year 'cause it takes too long to get there.

While driving all you see is corn.

People still have Christmas decorations up at Easter.

You start saying to yourself "More than corn in Indiana my butt."

Anyone with a cell phone looks out of place.

Walking through Wal-Mart with two carts full of kids is normal.

Wnyone with a tan is rich.

The hip hang-out place is McDonald's.

There really is more than corn in Indiana. There’s soybeans, too.

When you plan an orgy and a Euchre game breaks out.

A restaurant has an invisible wall in the non-smoking section and you believe it works.

Speeding consists of 2 miles over the speed limit.

You think you don't have to use a turn signal on your car because you don't use it on your tractor.

You build your dream house on a cornfield, and you considered it posh.

You warsh your clothes and you think George Warshington was the first president.

You're proud to be called a Hoosier, even if you don't know what one is.

You have no problem spelling or pronouncing "Terre Haute"

Detassling was your first job. Bailing hay, your second.

You can stack hay, swim in the pond to clean off, and then have the strength to play a couple of games of hoops all in the same day.

You say things like "catty-wumpus" and "kitty-corner".

You own a dirtbike or a ATV.

You live in a city ... and there's a cornfield in your backyard.

High school basketball game draws a bigger crowd on the weekend nights than movie theaters.

You can see at least 2 basketball hoops from your yard.

You can name every one of Bob Knight's "exploits" over the last few years.

You shop at Marsh.

Damon Bailey was your childhood hero.

The biggest question of your youth was "IU or Purdue?"

Indianapolis is the "big city".

"Getting caught by a train" is a legitimate excuse for being late to school.

People at your high school chewed tobacco.

Everyone knows who the town cop is, where he lives, and whether he is at home or on duty.

You actually know what the CART vs IRL debate is about and have taken a side.

To you, a raccoon is simply a "coon".

The vehicle of choice in your area is not a car, but a pickup.

Someone you know is BIG John Mellencamp fan.

You've been to the Covered Bridge Festival.

To you, a tenderloin is not an expensive cut of beef, but a big, salty, breaded piece of pork served on a bun with pickles.

You call a green bell pepper a "mango".

Sometimes, you call the toilet the "commode" or the "stool".

In the fall, one of your favorite pranks was corning cars.

You know what FFA and 4H stand for.

You know what chip-and-seal is, and your high school was located on just such a road.

You go the county fair every night of it's week-long duration.

You can say "French Lick" without laughing out loud.

There's actually a college near you named "Ball State."

The last "g" is silent in any word ending in "ing."

You think the state Bird is Larry.

You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from Indiana.


Just my opinion

As my father lay dying, some of our family gathered and celebrated holy communion at his bedside. I gave my sister, the Respiratory Therapist, an eyedropper full of the grape juice, which she carefully trickled into his mouth. It was the day before his birthday, Maundy Thursday, 1998.

I'm exhausted with the whole Terri Schiavo case, and I want to think the best of all those involved; however, to deny a dying person the last rites and communion of one's faith -- and to deny to others the possibility of sharing those last sacramental ties with the dying person -- is beyond shame. If Michael Schiavo, or the courts, or whoever, has actually done this thing -- forbidden her to receive the comfort of her faith -- then he or they should be for that condemned and shunned by all decent people.

Maybe those on the other side see this as merely the tip of the iceberg. Or as one more way to make Michael Schiavo look cheap. I don't know. I'm not sure you can make him look cheaper than he is, if this tale be true.