Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cool People

I know or have known a lot of cool people. By cool, I don't mean Eskimos or people with an abnormally low body temperature nor do I necessarily mean people that you'll see on TV or read about in the newspaper. I mean people who, just by knowing them, have made my life richer. There are too many of them to write about in just one blog post (and I've already written about some of them) so I'll introduce you to them occasionally, one at a time, here and there, and in no particular order. (That is to say, not from coolest to only slightly cool.)

Allow me to introduce you to Marjene Adger, a great lady. She was probably in her late 80's when she died the afternoon of her husband's funeral. I guess her job was done because Mr. Adger was a diabetic, an amputee and she had been his primary caretaker for many years. I appreciate the picture of Mrs. Adger that was provided to me by Anne McNally but I wish I had a picture of her the way I remember her because she had a Lauren Hutton-style gap in her front teeth and a wonderfully warm smile. She drove a ragged old station wagon (something my kids would call a hoopty) but it knew the way to town and it knew the way home and that's all that mattered. She lived in Battle Wharf, just south of Fairhope, in her childhood home on Mobile Bay. It wasn't one of those multi-million dollar houses, just a modest white clapboard house that was probably about a hundred years old. There wasn't an ounce of pretense about Mrs. Adger. She was genuinely sweet and kind. I don't know anyone more consistently cheerful than her. I will always remember the camellia bloom that she brought to the bookstore several years ago. Truth be told, I don't even like camellias but that was not the point. I loved that she thought enough of the people who worked in the stores where she shopped to pick a flower from her yard and share it with us. I am richer for having known her and I hope that in some small way, I can be like her.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

There's a first time for everything

There's a first time for everything. Recently I heard a pastor use the phrase "load of crap" in his Sunday morning sermon. This church is not your traditional church, the folks sitting in the chairs are not your stereotypical Sunday morning crowd and that has a lot to do with why it was not offensive but was, instead, completely appropriate.

Mark Michael of Crossbridge Christian Church in Tallahassee was talking about how he had lost his mother when he was 4 years old. He said that while that experience was a part of who he is and how he was shaped for this calling, that telling us that he would not trade his current calling in life to have his mother back would be a "load of crap." He'd gladly trade his present position to have his mother back and he had faith that God would still find a way to use him even without the experience of having lost his mother as a small child. Three cheers for honesty!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Gift of James

Several years ago, a customer came in my bookstore with her teenage daughter. In the course of our conversation, I learned that the daughter had recently turned 16 and had been given a new car for her birthday. Cool gift, huh? Mom told her to tell me how she came to get the car. It seems that her father had made an offer to her and to her brother that if they memorized the book of James in the New Testament, he would buy each of them a car when they turned 16. Although among the shorter books of the Bible, the book of James is 5 chapters long and contains over 2,300 words. Hmmmm . . . let's see, she just had to memorize a few more than 2,300 words. How hard could that be? How about you try it and let me know how it goes for you?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Checking my blog pulse

I'm a rookie blogger and I'm sure that I've made my share of rookie blogger mistakes. One example is that I added FeedBlitz to my blog so readers could subscribe to get updates via e-mail not realizing that this was no longer a free service if added to your blog after January 1 this year. Consequently, I have removed that widget but will try to find another similar service to replace it.

This blog was initiated by the church that I serve as a way for the church family to get to know the staff better. Each of the 7 of us on staff who are writing a blog have taken a different approach and I chose to make mine somewhat personal, writing from my experiences, about what I've learned recently and about the questions that I have. I've also broadened my intended audience to those connected to me in various ways other than through Christ United Methodist Church. I enjoy writing so I might do this even if no one read it but I 'd value your feedback. One of my objectives is that this blog would be a conversation between readers on the the topic of the blog posts but I haven't been particularly successful in facilitating that.

Please take a minute to share your thoughts with me on how the blog is going so far; I've included a few questions here to prompt your thinking:
  • What do you like?
  • What do you dislike?
  • Why do you read this?
  • How did you come to connect with this blog?
  • Are the issues relevant?
  • What would make this blog more useful to you?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Say it like you mean it

I attended a wedding recently where the officiating clergyman challenged both the couple and the congregation during the course of the ceremony. After confirming the intent of marriage with the couple, he prompted the congregation that his next charge of commitment would be directed to them. He added that, when prompted to answer his charge, "Say it like you mean it."

How often do we say something without really meaning it?
  • "I'm here for you."
  • "I'm praying for you."
  • "I'm behind you, buddy."
  • "I do."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"Honor your father and mother . . ."

This is my mother . . . at least, this is who she is now. Sad looking, isn't she? This candid picture doesn't portray who she was most of my life but time has a way of changing things and changing people. At 87 years, she's not the healthy, energetic, out-going, friendly person that I knew as my mother. I don't want to remember her the way that she is now but the way that she was in her younger days. In my case, I think that's at least part of what it means to "honor your mother."

Why do you think that some people are taken from this life in their prime and others live into years that are tough for them and those that love them?

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Task Force

It was recently announced at the Administrative Board meeting that the church has formed a task force to study and offer guidance for the future of Crossroads. Anytime that you share that kind of information with a large number of people, there's ample opportunity for misunderstanding and miscommunication so I wanted to make sure that you have a clear picture of what is actually unfolding.

The term Task Force conjures up a number of different images in my mind (one of which is depicted here) but this group is comprised of representatives from the church staff, finance, trustees and long-range planning. They will be evaluating the effectiveness of the Crossroads ministry and making a recommendation to the appropriate group(s) as to what direction we should take with regard to this ministry and the property that we occupy. What does this mean? Just what I said. This task force is a group of highly qualified men and women representing various aspects of the ministry of CUMC. They will study our present position and make recommendations for the future very soon. Please support them prayerfully through this process.