(Channeling the ghost of Kevin O'Keefe...)
Have you got a minute?
We’re running into more and more people here that seem to lack the ability to take conversational shortcuts. You know these people? Well, Sister Sledge moved out some time ago and last week her room was occupied for one night by Father Time, a guy who showed up to the Leadership Summit without accommodation for the night.
So, we took him in. No big deal. Except that the dude could talk for hours. And about nothing. Without even listening to the response. He spent thirty minutes constructing a very complex, very example-laden question about church constitutions even though I spent the first 5 minutes of the conversation drilling into his brain that I knew nothing about such things.
Another chick who will go unnamed will show up at our door and just start gushing – and she’ll ask the same question (and get the same answer) 10 times and in 10 different ways.
We endure it. But it feels good to release the frustration sometimes. So, do with all of that what you will. Thanks.
Thinking of the above…maybe it’s just the efficiency-junkie in me coming out. I am realizing that the older I get, the more I value efficiency (maybe I am growing more impatient and I am trying to spin it with some Protestant-work-ethic lies, who knows). As an example, I spent a good part of a day trying to calculate what the average passenger on the church bus cost to bring in in order to see if there was a more cost-effective way to transport the locals to church. Is this bordering on madness?
Stef is the new transport manager of Mayfair Baptist Church. Ya, she drives the church van all over the city, running errands and picking up the faithful. She gets long looks at almost every stoplight from pedestrians who are shocked to see a woman (and a white woman at that) driving a van. She’s pretty much amazing at it, too. Zipping around corners and climbing uphill in a manual transmission whale of a vehicle…no problem for Stef. And all of this doesn’t mention that people here drive on the left side of the road and on the right side of the car (very weird) all while the pedals (clutch, gas, brake) are in the same position as the US. I’m confused even trying to write it.
If you were wondering, I had my chance to take the job. Unfortunately, I met a curb a little too intimately and ended up buying the church a new back-left tire. Not really the most glorious moment of my life. So, you know. Now let us never speak of this again.
By the way, it has been in the 40s and 50s and raining pretty consistently over the last few days. Borderline misery for the impoverished people of the country...the wind and the rain hurts and the temperatures mean that 1.5 million residents of Johannesburg (ya, 1.5 million live in squatter camps) are having a rough couple of days. We're just regretting the fact that we gave away all but one of our blankets. Alas, with proper perspective, we're in really good shape.
Soccer has something to teach American sports, particularly basketball. You know how the basketball season seems so long? And, as a Spurs fan, you basically just wait for the playoffs? Well, soccer has “Cups” sprinkled in throughout the regular season. For instance, right now the “Telkom Knockout” is going on. It is a single-elimination tournament that takes place over a few weekends in October. What is fun about it is that is offers a chance for teams that may not have the chance to win the league title a chance to bring home other hardware. And the fans of AmaZulu (basically the Milwaukee Bucks of the PSL) are excited by their team’s surprising performance and the chance to win something. 1 – Keeps fans interested during the dog days of the regular season. 2 – Keeps general interest in the league high during long season.
Google the "UEFA Champions League" or the "Telkom Knockout" and see how they pick their teams and what a big deal it is. Possibilities, that’s all I’m saying.
I wrote a new song with Stef. It is called “Home (So Far Away)”. I suppose it’s about some of the feelings of isolation here – but it could definitely be referring to the eternity hidden in our hearts and the longings to know them better than the reality we are currently swimming in. We’ll post it soon.
Had a dream about Paesano’s last night. That’s our favorite restaurant in San Antonio. They had redecorated the whole restaurant in some garish Easter colors. Food was the same though. I woke up from that dream with, errr, my mouth watering heavily. Gross. (Stef says, “Don’t write that!! That’s nasty!!” Too late.)
I’ve been preaching every week. Still strange to type that… I imagine my friends from high school reading this and thinking back to the days when I was running around neighborhoods in the middle of the night doing cannonballs into random swimming pools while possibly being in an impaired state. While quite entertaining, they were not my finest hours and certainly not anything that would foreshadow these moments. Nonetheless…
Preaching strikes me as an art form, although it is a particularly difficult art form to judge success in. If you write a book, you can judge success by copies sold. If you record a record, check the charts. If you cook, you can look around the table see how much of what you cooked was eaten and how much is hiding under someone’s napkin. If you preach, well, everyone sits quietly and stares at you, then gets up when you’re done and leaves. An occasional “amen” is obligatory. An elderly woman telling you how moved she was is also a given. Outside of that, there is no gauge. And it’s OK.
darkness into light…