This week has been a week of reflection. Here are some of the random things I have been thinking about:

  • How can the Texas Longhorns stand on the sidelines and watch OU play Missouri for the Big 12 title and perhaps a shot at the national title when Texas beat both teams head-to-head this season? I’m no fan of UT (I went to TTU), but, I must admit that they have a legitimate gripe. Somebody ought to devise a better system in what has become the most exciting venue of football available in the country. Granted, progress has been made – the BCS is an improvement. But, we need to take it to the next level.
  • How can we not be deeply concerned about the direction being taken among our churches? Cascade College had to close its doors because there is not enough ground support among Churches of Christ to drive the institution. Our major publication companies are teetering on the edge of financial ruin. Why? The market for Church of Christ materials is shrinking every year. Why? Because our churches are rushing to the poles. A publishing  enterprise trying to navigate “the middle of the road” is doomed.
  • How can someone who is a Christian refuse to attend the assembly of the church based on the identity of the person who is leading the singing? Especially when that particular assembly has been designed to honor the Shepherds, some of whom have served this church for thirty years and who are dear friends to the refusing attender? Makes one wonder just how deep the grace of God can penetrate our brokenness.
  • How can we not at least celebrate the milestone we have reached in this country with regard to race relations? An African American is to be our next President. Frankly, I did not vote for him. Why? Because I thought John McCain’s experience would serve us better. But, now that Obama is my president I must admit that I am proud of how far we have come as a people. It might actually be true that anyone can become anything in a free society.
  • How can I break out of this ridiculous pattern I have gotten myself into? I really want to be more directly connected with people on the street. But, living in the West End, preaching for an upper-middle-class church, preparing sermons and Bible Classes with neurotic obsession, and worrying so much about my role here makes it very difficult to simply go out and meet people. Hanging out with a few homeless people all day does not satisfy my ingrained work ethic. Tragically, neither does spending the day visiting people in the hospitals or people who are home bound. One snide comment, “How come you weren’t in the office today?” and I’m back to my old pattern: arrive early, study all day, leave late, and never cross paths with anyone outside our membership. And, believe me, these comments are quite common: “How come you never return my calls? how come you ignore my emails? how come you don’t fly my flag?” 90% of the membership can be involved in the activity, but if a leader – Elder of Staff member – does not show up, someone is going to be angry. Ah well, such is ministry. I would not be doing anything else!
  • How can anyone not absolutely love the Christmas Holidays? What a beautiful time of the year. Cold nights, crisp mornings, even snow! A roaring fire, a gorgeous family, a warm bed. Life is good. Merry Christmas everyone.