Friday, February 26, 2010

He's a good guy...He loves the Lord...He's a good guy

I'm sitting at a Panera on a Friday afternoon, attempting to find inspiration for the sermon I'm supposed to preach on Sunday. I just heard a guy, when asked about some other guy, say, "He's a good guy. He loves the Lord. He's a good guy." I've always been intrigued by that description of somebody. He/She loves the Lord. I guess it's just a given that the Lord loves him/her. Which lord? I mean, doesn't everybody love one lord or another? I guess the definite article helps us know that we're talking about Jesus. What kind of love are we talking about? Is this an active kind of love? A social justice-minded kind of love? An "I believe what they say about Jesus" kind of love? A "Jesus is my boyfriend" kind of love? Is loving the Lord what makes him a good guy? Is that the only thing that makes him a good guy? When I was in college, my friend Molly Nahm pointed out that whenever she asked me about guys in my fraternity, with one exception, I would say, "Yeah, he's a Beta, he's a good guy." She wondered about my qualifications for "good guy." I guess I'm wondering about He loves the Lord as an adjective. It seems like some of the guys in Acts would have been said to love the Lord, and it probably meant something different than it does today. Anyway, you never know what you'll hear at a Panera on a Friday afternoon.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pastoral moments

Sometimes, being a pastor means being busy: Busy preparing lesson plans, busy making copies, busy collecting materials, busy with meetings, busy updating websites, busy, busy, busy. But sometimes, being a pastor means sharing intimate moments with parishioners. This week held more of those intimate moments than the busy moments. Here are two such intimate experiences.

Tuesday: I took a parishioner to lunch. We'll call him Tom. Tom needs a wheelchair to get around, so going to lunch is always takes more time and energy than simply meeting someone for coffee. On this particular day, we went to lunch and then decided to make a visit to another church member who is in a rehab facility following surgery. We'll call him Bob. While we were there, the Bob told a wonderful story of a Sunday, 20 years ago, when he was ushering and felt frantic, and saw Tom wheeling in the door. Bob asked Tom to help pass out bulletins as folks came in the door. As Bob told this party of the story, he got a bit teary-eyed, and Tom finished his sentence by saying, "And I've been doing that ever since." It was a beautiful moment shared between two old friends, and I had the privilege of witnessing it. Bob promptly told us to get out of there because we were making him cry.

Wednesday: Ash Wednesday. It was my turn to impose the ashes on the foreheads of parishioners and say "Remember, you are dust, and to dust you will return." What a profoundly intimate moment that is, to remind every person there of their earthly mortality, while marking them with the sign of the cross...the cross that both reminds us of the crucifixion of Jesus and his eventual resurrection from the dead. Marking people with mortality and hope for an eternity spent with God. That's powerful stuff.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Travelers and "for here"

Despite all of my best efforts to be as eco-friendly as possible, I often find myself stumbling and bumbling. I've become a "publix bag" shopper, and I definitely recycle, and most of the time I drive around with a coffee traveler in my car so as to eliminate the waste caused by those paper cups at the coffee shops. As a side note, I'm currently down two travelers because I've left them places or they've been borrowed and not quite returned. Anyway, I didn't get to The Frothy Monkey with a traveler today, so I ordered my white chocolate skim milk mocha (yeah, I know, pretentious) "for here." Apparently at The Frothy Monkey that means I get to drink it out of a paper cup here at The Frothy Monkey. I swear they have mugs. I've also noticed that sometimes when I order a similar coffee drink at Panera, and give them my traveler to use, the person making the drink makes it in a plastic or paper cup, then pours it into the traveler, and...wait for it...throws the cup away. Oy! Maybe I just need to be more like Mr. Bancroft and just order coffee straight up. Good ole Mr. Bancroft...hip without even knowing it. :)

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Proving your birth

I was at Southern Thrift Store in Nashville yesterday, buying a couch for my office, when I looked up and saw a sign announcing a senior citizen's discount. It read, "Discount for Seniors 65 and up with Proof of Birth." Um, isn't the fact that the person is standing there a proof of birth? It could be that the sign used to say Birthday. For now though, it brought me a chuckle.