Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bubba Floyd and the Bible Building

Back in the day, make that 1992, two student workers were assigned the job of cleaning out a store room in the College of Biblical Studies Building at ACU. Being the responsible workers that they were (ahem) they did the job with great enthusiasm and finished it with pride. While sorting papers in the store room, they ran across a box of about 500 architectural sketches of the proposed Bible Building. These obviously were ready to be trashed because the building had been standing for 5 years or so at the time. The female worker assumed in good faith that the male worker would trash them as he promised. But alas, the male of the species decided they would make great gifts for said female student worker. So, with attention to detail and meticulous timing the male, lets call him Bubba Floyd, began giving them to her, lets call her Ahhlene. They arrived folded into origami shapes, as postcards, as greeting cards, as fans, as paper chains, as booklets, as jigsaw puzzles, as paper strips, as regular old pictures. Bubba Floyd went above and beyond and even mailed them to her while she went home to South Africa in the summers. She would go to check her Mother's mailbox and there they were in all their glory. They would appear in her in-tray at the office, as Christmas ornaments on her tree, as door hangers at her house. For years and years, they kept coming.....
Now lets fast-forward to 2006.....Ahhlene's husband returns from work one day with an envelope addressed to "The Babe Kasselman" (sent to the church, mind you) and the handwriting immediately strikes her. She knows beyond a shadow of a doubt what the envelope contains. And yes, one more picture for posterity. This week, it is rumored that Ahhlene turned 40 and low and behold she got mail! Her husband brings home an envelope addressed to her as Choir Director of the Central church of Christ. The handwriting makes her pulse quicken immediately, but the return address suggests it is from Brandon Scott Thomas. Hmm.... He apparantely was offering her the opportunity to preach at the next Zoe conference. Amazing. But she was hoping that it was actually from Bubba Floyd, and to her sheer joy when she opened it, the joy of heaven erupted and light shone down from above and there before her eyes lay a picture of the Bible building. Bubba chose to honor her 40th with one of the special pictures!

John Grant, day when you least expect it....

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


This is the day!
Not surprising at all is the fact that my friends have come out of the woodwork to shower me with their jibes, jeers and insults. Some in person, some over lunch, some by email, some by e-card, yet others took the time to purchase a card & place a stamp on the envelope and mail their harassment (thank you Susan, Wendy and others). This is the ultimate payback time I guess - all the fun I have had at other's expense is coming back triple-fold - how biblical!

One of the funnier things that has happened this week is that I dreamed I had a perfect triangle of snow white hair in the back of my head. I did not know it was there, but everyone else did and had been chuckling about it for a year. I happened to make the dreaded discovery on my birthday and was so humiliated that no one had told me. Well, I shared this dream with some of my closest friends...why...why.....:-)

Actually I feel loved by my friends and family and look forward to a fun time this weekend to celebrate.

Update: My dear friend, Becky, let herself into my house today and scattered 40's, balloons and 2007 confetti in every conceivable place, plus some places you would never think of! I will remember all year that I am 40 because that is how long it is going to take me to uncover all those pesky little pieces. Love you Bek!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Favorite Things about Seattle

Being with the Johnson's. Not since College have we had that amount of extended time with Mike and Dena. It was awesome.

Seeing our kids all bond and not want to leave one another.

Yummy coffee shops everywhere.

The Glass Museum in Tacoma. The magnificent art of this designer glass was awe inspiring.

Having clear days while we were there.

Pike Place Market.

Let the Party Begin!

Well, it is only 9 days till the big birthday but the fun has begun! On our way back from Seattle we overnighted in Dallas with friends. They decided to do an early celebration of the big 40. I think part of the delight is that I am the baby of the group. What fun! Just to top it off, the birthday cake was my favorite "Tuxedo Cheesecake" from the Cheesecake Factory. Wow and Yum!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Messing with my Brain and Rocking my World

I am reading Shane Claiborne's book Irresistible Revolution. Suffice it to say, God is reaching into my heart and head and really defining a new way of living for me. It is terrifying and fabulous all at the same time.

This journey of discipleship that I am on along with my church family and specifically the ministry team here at Central has my world rocked already. Now layer this piece of revolutionary writing on top and I am in complete disequilibrium.

I have been most moved by the small section in this book called, The Theology of Enough. I do not consider myself too caught up in materialism or the trappings of stuff, although I have some pretty great stuff. But none the less this spoke so directly to me. I feel so convicted by the idea of enough. Perhaps because so much of my recent journey has been focused on contentment and these two ideas dovetail so beautifully.

Check out Ex. 16:16 & Deut. 15. Listen to what Shane says, "I am convinced that God did not mess up and make too many people and not enough stuff. Poverty was created not by God but you and me, because we have not learned to love our neighbors as ourselves. Gandhi put it well when he said, "There is enough for everyone's need, but there is not enough for everyone's greed." One of the first commands given to our biblical ancestors while they were stuck in the middle of the wilderness somewhere between Pharaoh's empire and the Promised Land was this "each one was to gather only as much as they needed". In the story of the exodus, God rains down manna from heaven and assures the Israelites that there will be enough. When they save some for the next day, God sends maggots to destroy their stockpile. Maybe we need some maggots today. God systematically interrupts the human systems that create poverty - releasing debt, setting slaves free, redistribution property. Folks always say the Israelites never fully lived out the Jubilee. But our friend Ched Myers says, "That's no excuse to ignore God's commands. That's like saying we don't need to worry about the Sermon on the Mount since Christians have never fully practiced it."

Consequently you can scap the post you read about me working at Coldwater Creek. After this book, prayer and the discernment of two special girl friends and David I resigned. I don't know how at this stage to take seriously the call of "enough" and yet work in a high priced clothing store perpetuating the idea that you need one more blouse to match that jacket.

There is so much more in this book. Each page is loaded with challenges about how to live as a disciple. God is still speaking. Hallelujah!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Fields of the Fatherless

Last night after dinner here at the Gages, my friend Carol picked me up and we went and had a coke at Sonic. We sat in the car and talked for 3 hours like high schoolers. It was an incredible time to catch up on our lives. Carol and her family came to us when we first arrived at the Riverside church and said, "We want to be those people that you can call anytime to watch Michaela." Michaela was only 8 months at the time and they meant what they said. We started working here in January 1997 and David's birthday rolled around on January 18 and they kept Michaela the first time. The relationship developed from then and as she states, "Michaela is half hers." After we left Riverside, we did not keep touch like we planned but such is life. Last night was a sweet time!!!

During the conversation, Carol mentioned the book Fields of the Fatherless and asked if I had read it. I had not, so she proceeded to give me a copy out of her trunk. She has a box of probably 50. Her life has been dedicated to social work with a special emphasis on Adoption and Grief therapy for children. She is a specialist at developmental psychology and other child focused disciplines. I got back to the Gages and we visited for a few more hours and then off to bed.

I just had to crack the cover of the book and begin reading. Once I started I could not put it down. I read about two thirds of the book and then made myself go to sleep. It is powerful. The basic premise is the idea of living within the will of God for us to live compassionately to the orphans, widows and aliens. It is the unfolding story of their adoptions but the big picture is applicable to many situations where "pure religion is serving the disenfranchised."

I have 4 more classroom hours this morning to finish up my class. Wish I had gone to bed a little earlier. But hey, sometimes sleep is over rated!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Pastoral Initiative

Yesterday in class we were talking about how to deal with people who are openly having a problem with you. Dr. Siburt was talking about the idea of "taking a step closer" to those people. Invite them to go to breakfast to do a perception check. Openly ask the question, "I am perceiving you are having a problem with me or somethings that I am doing. Is that true?" Try to move to storytelling during that time also. The goal is not to build affection, but trust.
He continued to say that we confirm people's worst fears or thoughts when we ignore them.

This is not new information - Matthew lays it out clearly for us. New or not, it felt very energizing to me to hear that again.

This is so counter intuitive that surely it is God-breathed. I pray that God equips me to use pastoral initiative in my relationships.