Friday, October 31, 2008

The Week in Review

I really had grand week. It started with a four hour drive across the state to preach at a small, traditional Southern Baptist church. I'm really more of a story teller than I am a preacher and I love the stories in the Bible. They are stories that are important for the day and place where they happened and they are stories that are still relevant today. Although my ministry started out by doing shows and using magic to share the message of the Bible, today I feel more compelled to just tell the stories and share the teachings of the Bible through the spoken word. Sunday I got to do both. In the evening service I shared about my ministry using magic and also shared a few of my favorite effects. In between the two services I had a wonderful lunch and met some new friends.

On Sunday evening I headed into St. Louis to check into the Millennium Hotel to get ready for the Annual Meeting of the Missouri Southern Baptist Convention. I ran into Jim Wells, our Director of Missions (DOM) and his wife in the hotel restaurant and spent some time talking about our upcoming Evangelism Conference. (Funny how you have to travel across the state to have a few moments to talk to a guy that lives and works a few miles from you!)

I was seeing quite a few pastors and their wives that I hadn't seen in a while and knew that it would be a good week for renewing acquaintances. I was up early Monday to set up our Fellowship of Missouri Baptists Evangelists' booth and soon old and new friends began to stop by.
I managed to have lunch with missionary friend that is home from Northern Iraq. I really love to hear his stories of how God is working in this Muslim area of the world and how he and his family are living and adapting to the community.

I spent time visiting the other displays in the exhibition hall and picking up all of the freebies that they offered. I now have a new supply of pens, pencils, notepads, key rings, key rings with flashlights, even a toothpick carrying case! One booth that I spent some time at was the Pillsbury College and Seminary booth. They offer free tuition to bi-vocational pastors. In talking to them about my ministry as an evangelist/air traffic controller, they said that I would also qualify for the program. That eliminates the biggest hurdle of going back to school. There is still the time thing...but that will always be there. I am always reading/studying anyway, I might as well use an organized study program and work towards a degree.

In true procrastinator form, I told them to expect to hear from me about the beginning of the year!

There was also a booth from a new organization that is like Focus on the Family but at the state level. I can't remember the name of the state organization. The lady there was very excited about the group and their promotion of traditional family values. I hope that I didn't hurt her feelings as I expressed my concerns over Focus on the Family and their group. While I believe in traditional family values, I also recognize that we have very few traditional families in our society. Are we to make them feel like they don't fit into our (religion based) idea of what a family is?

The other day I spoke with a divorced mother of two kids. She grew up as a pastor's kid. Her husband was a deacon in the church. She had a job as a church secretary. In her mind, she had a dream life. Then one day her husband announces that he's been having an affair and wants a divorce. All of a sudden, she no longer fits into the standard church mold of what a family should be. She feels like an outcast among the people that she was a part of a few weeks ago. Through no fault of their own, the kids are now a part of a blended family (ex and wife2 are having a baby) and a split family. I'd like to say that through no fault of her own, this woman is now a single parent (but I know there are always two sides and we are rarely completely without fault). So how do we teach and promote traditional family values without ostracizing those that are not in traditional families? I don't have the answer, but I feel like James Dobson's Focus on the Family often comes across as a right-wing, judgmental, self-righteous, you're going to hell and you're not welcome here kind of organization. Surely there has to be a better way.

My St. Louis adventure ended with meeting Mike at Ted Drewe's as I was heading out of town. It's tough to beat a week that has Ted Drewe's!

Aaron topped the week off by making a trip home for the weekend. I doubt that we'll see a lot of him, but it's good to have him home.



Anonymous said...

Great post John. I agree with your thoughts about "traditional families".

What is traditional anyway? Do we find the word "traditional" in the bible?

Pat S.

Mike said...

"In true procrastinator form, I told them to expect to hear from me about the beginning of the year!"

And in even truer procrastinator form you failed to mention 'which' year.

Claudia said...

You could come up to my school once a month for a 3-year Theology certificate, and go to Ted Drewes on Friday night and Saturday afternoon both! You would meet people of every worldview at the Episcopal School for Ministry, where all are welcome and many of us are on scholarship, which brings the cost down by about 80%. You could start in January with the New Testament class.