Tuesday, July 26, 2005

a tale of 2 daddies

we're smack in the middle of VBS in Katy, Texas. Alicia is in charge of games (not just the usual psychological games she plays) and I run herd on the volunteers. I love VBS. I love the panic and confusion of Monday and the well-oiled machine hum of Friday. I love bringing order out of chaos and giving direction to the lost. Although I am not naturally a high energy person, I do enjoy reaching the fever pitch of excitable kids screaming at the top of their lungs.
Amazingly, we had too many volunteers yesterday. Although we had 377 kids (congregation member size 400) we continued to receive volunteers until stations started returning the people I sent to them.
Towards the end of the opening melee, two dads came up to me at different times and said they would be able to help. Not wanting to miss the opportunity for a) the kids to have a adult male leader and b) the dads to have fun serving and being needed, I placed them in already staffed groups, hoping that they would find a way to help out.
I watched from a distance as they awkwardly tried to fit in. That's hard when you're either 3 feet taller than everyone else or 200 pounds heavier, both wearing business clothes. I worried for a moment about whether it would work out or if they would hate the experience and never return to another church again. But then some kid threw up and I forgot about my 2 dads.
Later that day, I was walking by the craft station and I noticed one of the dads working with the kids and I stopped over to see how everything was going. his words: "thanks so much for giving me the opportunity! the kids are so great...they just jumped right in and accepted me. it's mr. c this...and mr. c that...I will have to work my schedule but I gonna be here every day this week!"
After the closing daddy number 2 came by and introduced me to his kids. he was beaming and you could tell he had been touched emotionally by his experienced "I don't see how I can make it before 6, but I'm gonna be here every day!"
So completely amazing how the Holy Spirit works. How good serving and helping others through Christian love opens up chambers of your heart and even heals areas you didn't know were hurting.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Can't Lose

This last week I've been playing a lot of different games with friends (i.e. Settlers of Cattan, Farkle, Cards) I freakin' can't lose. I was winning like I was paid to do it. like it was my job.
Since the majority of those wins were against some new friends of ours, Alicia keeps telling me that I needed to lose a couple or Matt and Lisa wouldn't be our friends anymore. So last night I split our farkle games 1 and 1. that's right... purely intentional loss. just threw the game in order to keep the tenuous friendship in tact.

Or not... In Maroney genetics, no friendship or marriage supercedes winning. Win at all cost, no matter the casualties and no matter the insignificance of the game.

As kids, my dad would teach us card games and once we had caught on, there was no mercy given and none asked for. cut throat games and rub the loser's face in it. mom would complain and tell my dad that he was being mean to us but this was to no effect. spades, hearts, gin, poker, you name it.

In today's world of everybody wins, nobody loses, this "must win" mentality is outrageous. Even in P.E., kids learn to play games that foster no competition and no score is kept. What will happen to this generation of young people when they run smack into the real world like fattened veal calves into the butcher. Graded papers in purple and green ink so that their padded grades carry no stress. Test anxiety? somebody holds their hand while they take it and points out areas that they overlook. What kind of sissyfied America are we going to be living in?
what happened to pull yourself up by your bootstraps? Today we ask "what circumstances led to you being upside down?" and then we try to figure out how we can help that person have the same luxuries that right-side up people have.
Freaking Pull Yourself Up! Overcome whatever weakness you were dealt. Overcome your situation and learn to rely on yourself. Stop looking for someone to feel sorry for you.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Lower Elements Police RECON Sighting

Apparently colder temperatures affect how the brain functions and limits all logic and reason. You gotta read this article about Icelanders and their quirky elf sightings. Where is Artemis Fowl when you need him?

Saturday, July 16, 2005


With my forray into the secular world, from safe within the confines of churchdom, the biggest shock is the amount of infidelity. Getting to know co-workers in both jobs has been a little too enlightening.
I guess I was pretty naive.

huh. me being naive. who would've thunk?

Friday, July 15, 2005

some time around midnight

This is my quandry: I get off work around midnight tonight and Alicia and I are scheduled to do our turn at the prayer vigil from 1 to 2 am. Now, is it better to try and buy my copy of the newest Harry Potter before or after the prayer vigil?
Of course I'm just joking. There's no way I could grab a copy in that short of time. the lines would be way too long.
My take on Senor Harry is that the books are a pretty good reflection of our times. I don't think that they are the scourge of western civ nor are they going to draw an entire generation of young people from God. The books success does point out the lack of quality literature today, truly good books that capture kids imagination, take them to a far away land and introduce them to these mystical beings called foil characters, multiple plot lines, imagery and depth.
Imagine a kid grabbing a 500 page book and wrestling with themes like good and evil and personal responsibility. Unselfish love and inner turmoil. Fighting against personal demons to do what is right. Going into issues that are not clear cut and easy to label, but instead require soul searching and seeking out advice that has been seasoned with age.
Now imagine if those books were written by modern Christian writers. Instead of the paltry, how to books that are churned out daily (how to be a Christian in Middle School, how not to kiss boys, how to be a cool teenage witness etc) The fiction that does come out is wierd, incorrect and usually pretty lame. but most of all it is written only for Christian audiences with Christian friends to talk about at their Christian gatherings, where they can spend their Christian money to buy more Christian trinkets.
Similar to most of the Christian music out, the youth literature deals with a very whitewashed life and fails to capture the imagination or spirit of modern youth culture.
Gripe and Complain about harry pot-head but maybe we should be trying to find the next Tolkein or Lewis instead.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

what do we do now?

we have entered the dead zone.
when the best thing on tv is a movie on ABC Family that has been out for 5 years...you know that you have gone through the time space continuum into another dimension, one that has neither football, nor basketball to watch and as if it couldn't get any worse, baseball doesn't get exciting until the fall and what does that leave us with? reading Dave Campbell and waiting. remembering what it was like in high school as July was mid-way through and you knew that 2-a-days and 3-a-days were just around the corner and the hot Texas sun is an every day reminder of what is to come. And yet, as much as the sweat and vomiting were unwelcome, and the sweet AC would be missed, a part of you felt incomplete. No bruises to show anybody. No game film to review. No opponent to practice for. Strange things that had become a part of your everyday routine, so that they became necessary, natural, needed.
To have a coach guiding, directing and prodding you on. Setting a clear path and a well defined victory.
As I get closer to 30, and adulthood becomes more real and less an aspiration, I realize it is a lot like Off-Season. Self-directedness becomes so important. Setting your own goals and keeping to the path that You have set out. Knowing that the Coach has given you direction and you will be held accountable for staying on the path He set for you, but that sometimes it feels you are on your own.
The sense that The Game is ahead of you, but in actuality, the struggle is right now.
I know that football-faith analogies are cliche' and i did not intend to write about anything except that Sports/TV sucks right now but couldn't help but go where the train wreck of thought led me.

Monday, July 11, 2005

miss me

life has been too real lately. work has been too much of...well too much work. sleep has been few and far between and stress: overly abundant.
I think back to my youth ministry days when I would feel overwhelmed or (laughing) overworked and...wow. how life changes when your paycheck depends directly on your activity, your hustle, YOUR results. going from work to sleep to work and then have the weekend to look forward to more work. heck of a way to go through life. slushies and starbucks and crazy middle school kids sounds pretty good.
actually, things are starting to work out. you make enough cold calls. you meet with enough people. you throw enough stuff into the funnel, things do start to come out the other end. In a lot of ways, I feel like people's prayers for me are being answered. Not just that, but the kindness and caring that people have shown has been blessed and multiplied. I am truly grateful.
I am pumped because we have new friends. maybe our first friends down here in the land of cane. Matt and Lisa. Matt is the new pastor intern at Crosspoint and it turns out he knows a lot of the same people I do. I hope he doesn't ask them about me though. Might want to wait till they have more skin in the game before they really get to know us y'know.
We have played Settlers of Cattan together and introduced him to Shiner Bock and Guy Clark. They are an answer to prayers.
He is in charge of the communion service called Stauros and he wants to do a lot of great things with it. Give it a pomo feel. I am totally pumped. Alicia and I are going to help with it and I am going to be a part of the planning. I feel like even though my body and even my mind is extremely tired, God is waking up my spirit, bringing hope and faith.
I have talked with him and pastor bill about blogging and they are thinking about it. looking forward to linking to them if they take the plunge.
In other news, I have been trying to drop those LB's. Doing the whole "shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch and then a healthy dinner" Needless to say, I am not an extremely happy camper around 5:30. I start to salivate when I see small woodland creatures and plump co-workers. I think it's working. But then, we don't have a scale anymore (that's one of the downsides to moving 5 times in 4 years - you lose crap) so I really don't have any clue. For all I know, I could be getting fatter.
Sorry for all the inconsistency. Flood or Famine. That's how I roll.