Monday, April 06, 2009

Reflections from our trip to the south

Reflections from our trip to Wilmore, KY and Marion/Amboy, IN

April 4, 2009

1. We drove past the last homes of my great grand-parents and visited the graveyard in Waldron, MI where my grandfathers and other family lie awaiting the resurrection of the dead. I’m repeating some of the same patterns of my father when I was a young boy. I think my kids care about as much as I did then – not much.

2. Kalida, OH – Moses remarked about the massive Catholic church – impressive and beautiful structure in the midst of small town surrounded by fields.

3. Lima, OH – the town looks to be growing, construction projects visible from the highway were striking. It could be that the addition of a Panera Bread store makes all the difference.

4. Kentucky embraces spring early. The Dogwood trees were in full bloom and other bushes had already flowered. The grass has been cut in some yards. If only global warming were true, then Michigan could experience some of this pristine weather.

5. The people of WMFC are near and dear friends. We were welcomed back with glad faces and much joy.

6. God is good. As I sat in the sanctuary at Wilmore Free Methodist I saw several people who at different seasons had significant struggles in life and faith. Some of these stories were not concluded when we left Kentucky. What we see further down the road is that God is always working His redemption and people are discovering his faithfulness at work in their own lives.

7. The world economic situation has personal repercussions. The seminary is having to scramble for revenue and is cutting jobs and programs. Graduates are straining to find jobs in fields that they are prepared for and interested in. Our brother-in-law’s job, working for a parts supplier to GM, may be done if GM files for bankruptcy.

8. A biblical theologian made the following comment: “I can believe that God loves the world, I can believe that God loves sinners, I can believe that God loves the church, I’m beginning to believe that God loves me.”

9. A historical theologian made the following comment: “I’m beginning to get over my sense of guilt and able to receive grace.”

10. I was asked why we home school our kids. After giving a three point answer, the questioner replied, “you’re going for character formation, for developing persons, and not simply knowledge transfer.” My response – this has implications for the parish too.

11. God can do big things with little churches. The Friends church we served in Amboy while in college isn’t huge – somewhere around 100 or less in Sunday morning attendance. But for the past 10 years they’ve been running Upward basketball, reaching about 120-150 kids a week and their families. Several people have received Christ and others have found a community of faith to belong to.

12. Hospitality is quite possibly one of the most profound spiritual gifts. Being on the receiving end is hard, but essential for grace and joy to flow. Diane Munoz has the gift of hospitality – that’s one of the reasons she’s such a great Hospice Chaplain, and why we’ve always enjoyed her company.

13. You know you’re loved when people favor you with Kentucky’s finest beverage – Ale-8-One.

14. One improvement in hospitality we need to make is in our guest bed – it’s time to get a Tempurpedic mattress for the guest room. Once you sleep on a Tempurpedic mattress you hate sleeping anywhere else.

15. God takes care of a lot of things we fret over in a moment. He takes care of people who leave his path for a while. He restores relationships that look to be irreparably broken. He answers kindly to the prayers of His people regarding their children and grandchildren. His mercy is new everyday.

16. ½ inch PVC pipe 2 foot in length makes great dart tubes/guns.

17. The Christian Ministries building at IWU has been transformed and is looking like a superb learning environment for scores of people. The preaching lab is a most surprising throw back to the 1950’s furniture and architecture.

18. The new College Wesleyan Church – ginormous (giant & enormous) amounts of liturgical space and symbols. It lacks adult Christian education space – showing a new kind of expectation. Pews in the (big) sanctuary. Kneeler pews in the chapel with Episcopal appointments. Baptismal pool/font in the narthex – we enter into the life of Christ and the church through the blood and water of Christ, by the Holy Spirit. Alternative worship space – worship around tables, etc. In this space there were plastic grapes and bread on the communion table and the red candle . . . add a tabernacle and . . . you could have 24 hours of adoration.

19. Delta the dog – not a great idea to take a dog on a trip. Hair everywhere.

20. Protestants turning to Rome or the Canterbury Trail – I’m always surprised to hear who is finding their spiritual home in these communions.

21. Indiana is flat – mostly, and wonderfully gorgeous. I love seeing the lights emanating from farm stead to farm stead across miles.

22. White is the color for barns in Indiana and Ohio – mostly. They look sharp, clean, and respectable.

23. Driving with a GPS is a hilarious experience. Being a co-pilot is not so hilarious.

24. A Chevy small block 350 motor in a Massey Harris 30 (tractor) looks exhilarating. Mr. Boyer knows how to put an amazing tractor together.

25. Dr. Steve Lennox, Biblical Professor at IWU, continues to be warm and generous in his spirit. The boys loved seeing his pictures from Egypt and all the wonderful artifacts, including papyrus that appointed his office.

26. Old Friends Horse Farm near Georgetown, KY was a great tour. Old stallions like to bite – old mares do not. Old stallions can’t live with another horse in their paddock, old mares can. The tour guide hinted to the women in our group that they might learn some things about men by knowing about stallions.

27. Coming home is exciting. The anticipation for the trip and going on it were great fun. Aravis exclaimed with gusto when we drove in the garage – “We’re home.” Everyone was glad to be home.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jason, re: comments 16 & 17. As always, I am amazed how institutions of higher learning in the Wesleyan church often emphasize the importance of the past, while the denomination as a whole is pell-mell down the steep hill of "contemporary"- "cafe" worship, indifference to the sacraments, and an utter loss of the work of holiness and union with Christ (not to mention a lack of a coherent ecclesiology). Anyway, it's just fascinating-- a '50's style preaching chapel? That's not what most will face now in the pastorate. Baptismal fonts, chapels, and reminders of the Eucharist everywhere?! Are these seeker-friendly? Are they too Catholic/Episcopalian? Is this who we really are as Wesleyans? These and other similar questions, I'm sure, are being asked. At least, I hope they are being asked and responded to. It is a discussion that desperately needs to be taking place all over the denomination.

Christ is Risen!
Have a joyous Pascha!
--Rich Wollan

Duke said...

Rich

Anna and I read your comment and we had the same response - you're sounding very Orthodox.
Christ has trampled down death, by death, glory, Hallelujah!

Anonymous said...

Jason,
Sorry for the curt e-mail. But with all the stress in our lives right now I knew we didn't need the subject of the "the East" to come up :>)
There is no more danerous road for an Evangelical to take than the one that leads to a serious conversation with the Fathers. While there is plenty in Rome and Constantinople that makes me uncomfortable, and a good deal in the Tradition that I believe needs greater prominence than it currently has (especiallly for the cradle Catholics & Orthodox), the LACK that exists in the Protestant/Evangelical worlds leaves a quite large gap in my heart and mind. I hope this is helpful to other fellow travelers.
The bottom line, however, is that I am not my own-- I am a slave, and I must be obedient to my Master. And for this season, at least, He has called me to labor in this particular field (ie, Wesleyan-holiness denominations).
Thanks for your prayers,
Peace to you,
--Rich