Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday Morning Rant 59

When the preacher (Pastor Lee Parsons) went to the final prayer yesterday morning at Fellowship Baptist Church, I came to a startling discovery. I was so thoroughly engrossed in his topic and his excellent presentation that any vestige of the awareness of time had completely escaped me. Either I am maturing in the faith or else he is one of the most captivating sermonizers I have ever heard. I have to admit that it is the latter. After all, who would not confess, at least to oneself, that he has stolen a peek at his watch during a Sunday service? My reaction was one of surprise and disappointment rather than relief at the close; shame on me and cheers for him.

Although not the subject of his remarks I was provoked to consider what other aspects of my so called Christian life are governed by external forces and not the pure love of Christ and His message. Does my personal budget have an affect on my support of the ministry? Have I found the time to carry the message personally to others? When I contact those with whom I disagree—and who doesn’t during an election—am I aware of their identity as my “brothers” and not ready to brand them as fools and lunatics? Does my faith operate 24/7 or is it practiced at my personal convenience? If indeed, I plan on wrapping myself in the cloak of Jesus Christ by claiming His name as the most important part of my identity, it would be well to rethink some of these questions.

In my travels through Ozark Christendom, I have noticed tradition to be widely varied. The music, the order of worship, the accepted dress for both women and men, those who offer prayers, and other aspects of the services which I have attended appear to be accepted by those who attend and there is a wide disparity between many protestant bodies. Being a geezer, I have some ingrained old time habits. No matter where I wind up on Sunday, you will find I am always dressed the same. Dark suit, white shirt, necktie, shined boots, and a general sartorial presentation consistent with the respect I have for the God I worship. This is in no way meant as criticism of those who are comfortable in casual trousers and a clean pressed shirt. It’s possible us “old guys” are a bunch of stuffed shirts and overdress for the occasion. It does cause some confusion on occasion, however.

In nearly all of these wonderful congregations I have visited, the ones most surely to share my personal dress code are the preachers, elders, deacons and others of rank. On occasion someone will confuse me, by virtue of my dress, with one of the officials of the church. To know me well is to establish firmly that you can’t tell a book by its cover. While I find the misinterpretation flattering, it is often embarrassing. A man I know only casually was close by and obviously very tickled over something. When he saw that I had noticed he came to me to apologize. After a series of appropriate disclaimers we launched a discussion of God, humor, and the general relationship. In this particular church, the pastor has a marvelous sense of humor and displays it often during the delivery of his message. My personal experience has been that humor often provides the tonic to dilute the gravest of problems.

Altogether, the day provided much food for thought and a wonderful distraction to the week’s political nightmares. Please note that the relative importance to me is demonstrated by the fact that it leads the rant. The rest shall follow.

Michelle’s Thesis

Although somewhat unusual, Michelle Obama was required to furnish a thesis for graduation from a bachelor’s program at Syracuse. This was prior to being admitted to Harvard Law. When questioned about the availability of the document, she at first seemed reluctant to furnish it to reporters or the general public. This is, I suppose, a furtherance of the desire to examine under a microscope, every snippet which can be extracted from every scrap of paper authored by anyone remotely connected to the current campaign.

While I disagree with her husband about nearly everything but his choice of waffles for breakfast, I fail to see why anyone would have any interest in the ramblings of a twenty-something undergraduate from Syracuse. However, to satisfy myself that there was nothing earth shattering in the paper, I found it and read it. You may also if you wish to waste whatever time it takes you to read roughly 100 double space pages of typing. Ed. note: Yawn.

If you chose to take my word for it and passed, I congratulate you on your time management skills. Like much of what passes for civil discourse on both sides, there is “no there, there.”

Imaginary Americans

For those who are tiring of the campaign, I have a temporary distraction for you from Dave Burge at Iowa Hawk. In response to the attempt by ACORN to fix the election by tampering with voter registrations, he has written one of his typically astute satires on the subject. Have a look and you can thank me later for exposing you to his clever wit.

One of the big draws I have to Iowa Hawk is his familiarity with areas of the upper Midwest where I have lived or traveled during various parts of my life; Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and the Michigan Upper Peninsula. Given my late-life aversion to snow piled up higher than my 6’ frame it is likely I shall never give any thought to returning to the four season delights (early winter, winter, late winter, and the 4th of July picnic) of that region. Dave is good enough to keep me up to date on the happenings there so that will not be necessary. Enjoy him; he’s very good at satire.

That’s it for the rant this morning. No big revelations or attacks on anyone today, just, as usual, the aftermath of an enriching Sunday.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

No comments: