Friday, August 10, 2007

Saving Babies, The Y, Moust-age, Cowboy Church and Meeting people where they are

My apologies for the long title. I realized that I have been lacking in telling folks about what has been going on in our lives this summer so here is a reader's digest version of some of the highlights along with some issues I have been working through.

-Saving Babies
So, you can call me Batman, Superman, and/or John McClain if you are inspired. I was fulfilling my pool duty about a week ago. (Julie and I are pool monitors for our apartment complex to make some extra cash) As I was working on come music editing, w/ my head phones on, this little boy comes over and taps me on the shoulder and says, " Can you help us?" I say um sure. Well, his mom had accidentally, shut the minivan door on his 12 month old sister and locked the keys inside.

Mind you it was a sweltering day and the van had been sitting outside for several hours so needless to say, the mom was freaked out. So, I calmly had her call 911 as I went for a screwdriver and hanger. I went to work. And due to my extensive experience, having locked my keys in the New Yorker on monthly basis, was able to have the door open in a matter of minutes. It was weird to break into a car with a police officer watching... I felt good about that day.

-The Y
I have been working at a day camp at the YMCA this summer. It is a pretty easy job with little stress and is way below my qualification, at least so my degree says. It has been interesting being the oldest person on the staff by a few years and bringing a whole different understanding to their concept of child care. The biggest issue that I deal with is having to see the same 50 kids (ages 5-13) for a whole summer (16 wks) with little to zero funding. Most of the kids are dealing with issues ranging from dis respectfulness to lack of having a functioning brain. That is a bit harsh, but if you saw some of these guys, you might be a little crazy as well. I may need rotator cuff surgery from the amount of dodge balls being thrown this summer.

The good that has come out of this however is the relationships I have been building. Two guys I met this summer have become pretty close friends to the point where we have hung out a bit outside of work. This has been huge for me as they are not church guys. I have felt God tugging at my heart to be building relationships outside of the church for a while and have been looking for the opportunity to do so and was really able to do this while at the crappy Y. The best news is that I was able to have a very serious faith discussion with some of the guys the other day. It was very non threatening and really just opened up a discussion for us to learn about each other, and hopefully plant some seeds.

Ok, I came up with a new term. You know how it is sort of funny to grow out a moustache? Especially in college, this was all the riot. The dirtier the better. I never once considered my moustache to be acceptable on any level. Well, I just turned 28 and I recently cut a mustache for a day as it turned to spring (5 mo. ago). Just for fun, but noticed that it actually looked OK. I began to wonder, you see pictures of older guys (Alex Trebeck, Tom Selek, Sam Elliot) that look fine with a stache. My stache was not nearly as filled with comedy as it was sex-appeal. You can view in an earlier blog post ("Stages of my beard") I have decided that, much like coming out of puberty, when parts begin to it together again and zits go away, there must be an age when the moustache becomes right. The Moust-Age. I am sending it to webster.

-Cowboy church
OK, so Cowboy Church happened while Julie and I were on our high school mission trip, which she did an awesome job leading by the way. While on this trip I was able to hang out and minister to some of the leaders there (at Youth Works, the org. we went through) which was really awesome. It is so encouraging to get to hang with young people who are hungry to see God work in their lives. So, the one evening they took us to Cowboy Church. Now if anyone has ever been to a new church for the first time, specifically one that is somewhat different, (ie. Catholic Mass, or a Liturgical Church of Christ, or the Salvation Army, or a Charismatic CHurch) you may get a piece of the shock value of being at Cowboy Church.

This was not quite as awkward as a new faith display (going from a liturgy to speaking tongues) but at the end, all I could say was . . . That... was... Awesome! Couple highlights:
The call to worship consisted of listening to Lee Greenwood on cd singing "I'm proud to be an American" while four flag bearers on horseback road around in a circle with the Christian, American, State and Stadium flags. Oh yes, it was in a rodeo stadium.
We then got to here a poem by a little cowboy complete with buckle, hat and Sam Elliot Stache who got choked about the colors of the flag. We then said a Pledge of allegiance to every flag and the Bible. We then sang a song or two, followed by special music. The preacher and wife sing Ray Boltz - "I pledge Allegiance to the Lamb" Then the preacher gets up there, chew can visibly in pocket and gives message. And there was a church dog that roamed around the whole time. OK, those are the highlights, but the point of telling this story, aside from attempting to get the awesome outside of just me (find and attend cowboy church) was to be a bit marveled at how this is a real ministry that is reaching people.

I guess it ties into two questions and/or observations. The church is community. Cowboy church worked not because its target audience, but because it was a place where community was happening. There may be something to be said about basing a church around some pastime. Call me up when Golf Church needs a worship leader. Are churches aware of the importance of building relationships based on anything in order to build community and spread God's love?

The second, though not exactly drawn from cowboy church is an observation of God's will. Or at least a conjecture to it? Julie and I have been painfully dealing with a second house payment since we have moved to Springfield. Because of this, I took the job at the Y and the pool. Now, had I not been in that position, I probably would have simply done more school stuff and then took a vacation. I would not have built any relationships at the Y, would not have been able to share Christ with some guys, would not have saved a baby ( which could be my actual calling) and probably more things that I may not know. Some of that sounds like I did a lot, but I know I could always do more. I guess there is no question here except to ask do you know your in God's will even when things are not peachy?

That's should keep you all busy for a while.