Thursday, August 31, 2006

labor day weekend

Some random thoughts heading into the holiday weekend: my second sermon for Day One/The Protestant Hour will be broadcast this Sunday, September 3. You can access it, and see the listing of stations at the Day One link to the right...Amy Laura Hall has an excellent essay in the current Christianity Today on the stigma of "unwanted" children, and why the church would be more Christian in wanting to welcome all the same issue there is an interview with Nicholas Kristof about evangelicalism, and he makes an interesting comment, that the church is re-branding what it means to be self-conciously evangelical in North America, and this includes a significant response to the AIDS pandemic in Africa...and in the same issue, an excellent feature on Dallas Williard...I don't read every issue of Christianity Today (they have it at the YMCA where I exercise), but this one was pretty extraordinary...although I did not quite concur with their analysis of the recent Barack Obama speech (linked on the blog a few days ago)...I recently concluded a series of summer sermons on the Lord's Prayer, and have been revising them into a little e-booklet entitled "Learning To Pray: The Teaching of Jesus". If you want a copy via email, write me at

Anne, a wonderful soul in our congregation, died late last night...we are searching for a director of music...we are completing a major capital campaign...and we are getting started with the fall three-headed monster (a good and friendly monster) of Christian education, stewardship and nominations. Once Labor Day has come and gone, it is full-speed ahead until Christmas day...I am watching alot of volleyball these days, as our younger daughter concludes her last year of high school...I am trying to follow Andre Agassi in the U.S. Open... a dream of mine is to take that in one of these years...I am finishing up a manuscript on Easter for Abingdon Press---it is due too soon...and I am looking forward to seeing our older daughter at some point this weekend...she is canvassing for a political candidate in the western part of the state...I spent some time this week on the Brevard College campus, where I have had the good fortune to go on the trustees; it is a beautiful campus in one of the most inspiring settings on the planet (twenty minutes below Asheville in the Pisgah Forest). And earlier this evening I listened to a fascinating interview by Terri Gross on Fresh Air with Darrell and Wayne Scott. Darrell is the songwriter ("Long Time Gone" was performed by the Dixie Chicks, and others by Garth, etc.) and Wayne is his father. They grew up really poor in eastern Kentucky, and music was both life-giving in that setting, and a way out for Darrell. I heard them both at Merlefest this past spring, and they were pretty amazing. I highly recommend The Invisible Man...As we enter into the Labor Day weekend, I have been reflecting on the labor of those whom I encounter...Susan, the waitress at a restaurant where my wife and I often have breakfast...the guy who changed my oil this week...the women who serve in the adult daycare center on our church campus...the nurses and nursing assistants who served Anne when she was in Hospice...the guy who coaches (part-time) my daughter's volleyball team...Frank, who owns my favorite chinese restaurant...the guy who vacuums the floor at the Y...people who spend their vocational lives working in church-related colleges...and I am thinking of the flood of those coming from the south, whose food I love, who build the condominiums and football stadiums and basketball coliseums and shopping centers in our area, whom our culture both despises and needs...we are connected by the labor that we give and receive, the works of our hands...and on this weekend I always feel awfully fortunate, even blessed, to do the work that I do.


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