20 September 2005

Looking at the BBQ

"What are you guys doing?"
"Justing looking at a barbeque."

The downward trends

I have been experiencing a lack of employment lately. Ever since the big July crash its been a sporadic route in and out of temporary positions.
I've got return visits to Kaye's and AMS and ABC Seamless. Then I got to work at Roman Meal mill. That was tough. My fingers felt arthritic for a week.
Alas with only 2.8% unemployment in this town I am wondering where in the world is this leading me. Did I miss my cue for something? I am what one of my favorite verses says?
(John 3:29-30) "The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less."
From how I feel I seems like a time to go back on the shelf.
But that seems like retreat. What am I to do? Let the downward trend continue?
If there is anything I have learned through these times is to persevere through them and have faith there are better things on the other side of this valley.
So I guess it may become an upward climb.

13 September 2005

Pork camp

Making camp at the site in the BWCA I affectionately call pork camp because Phil made one of the most delicious meals of the trip here- pork helper delight. Also was my pick for pest campsite of the 2005 trip.

This Gen- Part 3

The Loss of Localization- the local church is spurned

The very medium I use to write this is part of the problem. So ironic. I must be hypocrite. However, the Internet has aided (for better or for worse) the delocalization of much of the world. This generation has grown up with it, harnessed its power, and are virtually living online. My home is not considered Zeeland, North Dakota anymore (hypothetical of course). I am a citizen of the world!
This attitude has its good and bad points. First the good. We no longer can keep a narrow view of this world. Zeeland is just as close to Berlin as Warsaw or Munich. This generation wants to go places. To the distance lands, to the exotic isles. Missions are booming. They want to see all nations come to worship the creator of the universe.
On the flip side, they become so globally minded that the local church is ignored or even spurned as not being a vital link. This is a terrible thing. Although I agree the body of Christ extends beyond borders and denominations- the local church is the essential buiding block for reaching the world- not "ministries" or organizations or agencies- it's the church! This generation has become a consumer of church meetings, events, but has not attached itself to the vitality of the body that has Christ as its head. All ministry should flow from Jesus and since Jesus is the head of the church why not be part of one?
Some reasons why I thing local church is spurned
  1. It requires time, effort, and commitment. This reason sort of relates to the problem I wrote of in part 1.
  2. It is too institutional and cumbersome.
  3. It does not feed my soul. Everybody has said this at one time or other about the church. Face it. It's not fast food. We need to learn to receive from God not rely solely on a minister. The local church should help you reach that stage.
  4. It is full of strangers. Yah, I agree with that. Some local churches have all the charm of a wet noodle. It should not be that way of course. I guess that is a prayer point- that local churches would exude the love of Christ. I know it can happen.
  5. I'll join when I am married, hurt, etc. Face it. By failing to connect with a local church you wind up missing a whole aspect of the body of Christ. I don't think being part of a local church is optional. If we received Jesus, we receive his people too.

09 September 2005

A prairie home at the fair

In the evening of my state fair visit, I was entertained by Garrison Keillor and his Prairie Home Companion show. My father bought tickets for all of us and we had great seats on the infield.
Garrison was at his best that evening. The show was superb. It featured some New Orleans tributes and 2 groups. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, a stranded New Orleans jazz group that also sang harmony. They were a blast. Then there was a Candian trio of ladies called the Wailing Jennings (a play on the musician, God rest his soul, Waylon Jennings). These ladies were fabulous as well. One played an accordian. The all sang heavenly harmonies reminiscient of the Indigo Girls.
At the break Garrison lead the audience in a sing along. We sang "Oh Beautiful for Spacious Skies", all the verses of "Amazing Grace" and the Elvis tune "I Can't Help Falling in Love." During the sing a long Garrison was about 20 feet from us. I did not ask for his autograph.
The second half of the show was just as good. In is monologue he recounted the time he was asked to recite the Gettysburg address at the State Fair for a re-enactment of the Battle of Gettysburg. This incident was mostly fictional (there was a re-enactment a number of years ago) but real enough to get plenty of laughs.
An especially humorous part of the monologue was when Richard Nixon came to give a speech at the event. On the podium Garrison had put the Gettysburg Address. Nixon finishes and takes the address with him leaving the already nervous Keillor hoping for a miracle since he has not memorized the second half. He ends up reciting the first lines a few times over and then where the second half would be he blurts out in his memory lapse "for the wages of sin is death.."
At the end of show Keillor lead another sing along to the "Star Spangled Banner." A moment after the audience sang the last words, fireworks launch into the sky, bursting with reds an blues and bringin a hush over the entire cast and audience. What an end to a remarkable evening!
Final comment: Lots of the songs on the show were spritual in nature. Hey we evening sang "Amazing Grace." Rather peculiar but pleasant.

Fair chance

The beginning of September found me back at home in order to enjoy a long overdue visit to the State Fair. I was glad to be relieved of working at Roman Meal where I heaved 50lb bags of Dolly Madison Donut Crunch unto pallets for 8 hours the past 2 weeks. I left feeling sore, especially in my fingers.
We arrived at the fair early but not as early as we had to when we worked there. Back then we were on the fairground at least by 6 AM. There was so much to see and unfortunately I did not see it all.
I did get to return to the 4-H building- a big white ediface with a central tower which accents the evening skyline of the fair with its green lights. As a younger person I spent much time in the structure; In particular the 3rd floor dormitory. The place has changed little since those days. The stage I performed on is still there and Arts-In continues to put on its productions albeit without Art in the Park. This year's show was OK. Nothing like the glory days of the late 80's. It was unfortunate that such a large group could not project well. I heard about a 3rd of the songs and they were amplified.
Besides 4-H the building we made it around most of the fair except the horticulture and dairy buildings and the bazaar. Another place we also missed was the Territorial Pioneers cabin. My father and sister hurried through places and at times I completely lost them.
I am much of a fair food eater. I bought 2 1919 Root Beers and had a shake. Outside of the gates I bought some cheese curds before packing myself onto a crowded shuttle bus.
Nevertheless, it was a fine visit. I wish I stilled worked and lived at the fair as I did in the past. That way I could really take in all the fair without the rush.