Modern Marvels

I am sitting here working on my notes for a wedding that I am officiating on New Year's day, so I decided to turn the TV on for some background noise. I flipped through to the history channel which normally has something moderately interesting on it. I have found that the history channel often has programs that make you look up every 3-5 minutes, but can't keep your attention for 30 minutes straight. Of course there are exceptions, and tonight was an exception.

It was a Modern Marvels show, which can be quite interesting. For instance, I watched one of Thanksgiving Break about Hoover Dam. This one happened to be on a Turkey Factory. Normally this type of show would cause me to turn it, but something piqued my interest. They were showing a Turkey farm and how they take the eggs from these tens of thousands of turkeys and incubate them in large heaters , on shelves like the ones they bake the bread in at Panera, until they hatch. Then in a little over 38 days they transform from 1 ounce babes into 10 pound birds. Not natural.

From the farm they went to the processing plant and this is what grabbed my attention. I was watching the workers do their portion of the assembly line; cutting the top, cutting off the wings, etc. Finally it came to this man standing at a station in the assembly line. A bird came to him every five seconds. At this point it is only the torso and legs left. He takes it off the hooks and places it on a conveyor belt that then brings it into an automated process that takes off the legs and moves the torso on. They paused on this man for an extended amount of time as they explained this part of the process and over a couple minutes I saw him continually doing this repetitive motion and I felt so sad.

I thought about that job and why it was created and why he may have applied for it and how he is probably a hard worker who is providing for his family the best that he can. I was thinking about how a job like that would possibly drive me insane, but that sometimes in life you just have to do things that seemingly may drive you insane, because in the end you need a job and you need to provide for your family.

Tonight we had some new friends over, Brody and Emily (Rhoton) Boggs and their kids. We were sharing about our current jobs and what led us here. One thing I shared was that I felt this need to do something where I could directly see how I was positively impacting other people's lives and "making a difference". Brody shared this same need and motivation for him to pursue his current job, working with mentally handicapped people. Watching that show I realized that everyone may not have that same need or motivation that Brody and I do. I realized that if we all did there would be a lot of jobs that would be hard to fill. I realized that a lot of our society is built on those types of jobs that potentially wouldn't be filled (which leads to another post altogether about industrialization). I remembered that many people would never want my job. They wouldn't want the stress. They wouldn't like the need to be creative, to think outside the box, to look for process improvements. They wouldn't want the awkward conversations, the need to confront at times, the need to back off at times. They wouldn't want any of it.

I am glad God made us different. I hope that God always provides a job for me that fits how he made me. I am thankful he opened this door, and put me on the path I am currently walking on. I don't know what I am really trying to say, other than, watching that guy repeatedly move turkeys, and thinking about doing that for 8 hours a day really disturbed me. I think I hurt for him, but perhaps I was mourning the idea of every having to do something like that myself. Or maybe both. I think part of it is that I just wanted more for him... which may lead me back to that other post about Industrialization... which I will probably never get to writing.

I also saw how Turkey Bacon is made... I may never eat it again.
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Dance In The Rain Melissa

If you do not know Melissa Prater or are not aware of what is going on in her life right now follow this link and read the most recent post, so the rest of my post makes sense.

I admit that I am just plain mad right now. That is my primary, dominant feeling.

Kelly is crying in the other room, but I am mad. I am aware that these are the different stages of grieving, or working through pain and disappointment, but it doesn't change how I feel. I sit here typing angrily. Kelly lies in the bed with Halle cuddling through the tears.

I am helpless. We are helpless. Only God can do miracles and I am not very clear on how much our prayers influence him in those decisions. Am I allowed to say that? I feel like I have to right now to be authentic and real, because I definitely feel it.

I am reading "Jayber Crow" by Wendell Berry right now. The section I am read last night/this morning is so applicable right now:

"But the worst day of all was when it hit me that Jesus' own most fervent prayer was refused: "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." I must have read that verse or heard it a hundred times before without seeing or hearing. Maybe I didn't want to see it. But then one day I saw it. It just knocked me in the head. This, I thought, is what is meant by "they will be done" in the Lord's Prayer, which I had prayed time and again without thinking about it. It means that your will and God's will may not be the same. It means there's a good possibility that you won't get what you pray for. It means that in spite of your prayers you are going to suffer. It means you may be crucified.

After Jesus' terrible prayer at Gethsemane, an angel came to Him gave Him strength, but did not remove the cup...

But now I was unsure what it would be proper to pray for, or how to pray for it. After you have said "thy will be done," what more can be said? And where do you find the strength to pray "thy will be done" after you see what it means?

And what did these questions do to my understanding of all the prayers I had ever heard and prayed? And what did they do to the possibility that I could stand before a congregation...and pray for favorable weather, a good harvest, the recovery of the sick and the strayed, victory in war? DOES PRAYER CHANGE GOD'S MIND? If God's mind can be changed by the wants an wishes of us mere humans, as if deferring to our better judgment, what is the point of praying to Him at all? And what are we to think when two good people pray for opposite things- as when two devout mothers of soldiers on opposite sides prayer for the safety of their sons or for victory?...

"Father, remove this cup from me, " I prayed. And there I stopped. For how would I know what God's will was, even provided I could have the strength to submit to it?...

By then I wasn't just asking questions; I was being changed by them. I was being changed by my prayers, which dwindled down nearer and nearer to silence, which weren't confrontations with God but with difficulty...of knowing what or how to pray..."

Any yet... I prayed with Halle tonight... like every night...for Melissa and Doug and the kids and many other things. I prayed for healing. I prayer for a miracle. I did not pray "but thine will be done", because THAT IS NOT WHAT I WANT MOST RIGHT NOW! If God's will is not to heal this AMAZING WOMAN then I can't honestly say I want it. Who honestly could? Honestly?

I want your will, but I don't understand how that can possibly not include Melissa's healing. I can, on the other hand, clearly see how it could/should include her healing. You and I have been here before, at this place. This is where faith and common sense collide, and the collison breaks me and confounds me. My faith persists, but my heart and head and body hurts. I beg that your will and my will are aligned on Melissa's healing. I beg you Lord!
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Community, Loving Your Neighbor, Family

I realized recently that I am passionate about things in my "preaching ministry".
Christian Community
Loving Your Neighbors (Holiness in Action or Active Holiness)
The Role of the Family in Discipleship (both biological and faith families)
(EDIT: I also preach about the Body of Christ quite often, which Kelly just reminded me, but I kind of connect that and flow it into Christian community)

I have known this for a while and felt guilty about it, but realized recently I don't need to. Those are passions God has placed in me. Those are topics I continue to dwell on, research, discuss and grow in. I don't need to know all things, and certainly don't need to preach about all things. This is probably one of the most daunting things to me about the idea of preaching every week, if that were my assignment. I think I would want to talk about these three things every week. Perhaps, if that were my call/assignment I could just rotate them on a once per month basis and then throw in a wild card every fourth week to mix things up and cover other key tenants of the faith. Then, on a fifth Sunday we could just all eat a meal together and allow people to share their stories and God moments of the month.

Another daunting aspect about preaching every week is this... I honestly just don't find that preachers are dynamic enough to preach every week and truly keep most people's attention. Sure, there are some who can do it, but even in those cases I generally think it would be healthier to hear multiple voices from the body sharing from the Word and their experiences. So, I guess that if I ever was the pastor of a Sunday morning church I wouldn't preach every week anyways. Because
a) I don't believe God only, or primarily speaks through one person per congregation/body of believers and
b) I think people need variety, they need different flavors, different perspective. They need to hear from Christian brothers and sisters of different ages and genders and backgrounds and personalities.

So, for me, every time I would/do speak I think I will continue to explore what I know and care about most:
Christian Community
Loving Your Neighbors
The Role of the Family in Discipleship
(EDIT: Body of Christ)

So, if you ever ask me to speak be prepared. If you want something outside that range, make sure I know ahead of time. :-)

I may write my thoughts on each of those topics in the days ahead, but I am done making blogging promises at this point in my life, so we'll see.
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