Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Character of the Presidents

On my drive home to Scottsville I finished up a four cassette series on the character of Presidents Reagan, Johnson, Carter and Nixon.  Each of the lectures was presented by a person with a favorable view of the particular president (usually a staff member or political wonk); but even so I found the series to be mostly fair.  I felt like I got to know the presidents as people instead of the cardboard cutouts they are often made to be.

I especially appreciated one of the anecdotes about President Reagan.  As he was wheeled into surgery after John Hinckly, Jr. attempted to assassinate him, President Reagan said to his wife "Honey, I forgot to duck"--which was a kind of subtle grace in the midst of chaos.  And as the surgeon put an oxygen mask on his face, President Reagan removed it to smile and say "I hope you are all Republicans."

I mean...that's funny. 

The surgeon, who is reported to have been a liberal Democrat, said "Today, Mr. President, we are all Republicans"--another subtle grace in the midst of chaos. 

Grace in the midst of chaos is a gift.  These men who have served as our presidents spend many a day in chaos, and I got to thinking we could be better givers of grace to them.  Of course they make mistakes and it is more than fine to vigorously disagree with any of them; however I hope we remember they have the weight of the world on their shoulders.  I really hope we remember that.

Whether it is President Carter or Nixon, Johnson or Reagan, Obama or Bush--I hope we make room for a little grace.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wisconsin: Where It's At.

The Patrick-McKown Family Reunion is coming up!  I can hardly wait.  This year the reunion is in the Badger State.  Speaking of:  On behalf of all people who love cheese allow me to thank you, Wisconsin, for who you are.  Your efforts in the cheddar and pepper-jack worlds are unmatched.

While Wisconsin is known for cheese, the Patrick-McKown clan's main culinary emphasis is pig.  Pig is our thing.  We dig the pig.  We're dorks for pork.  I'll stop...though I could continue.  Every year we lit-rally live high on the hog. 

I'm finished now. 

I still remember Granny's first pig pickin' ('g' unnecessary).  Every year she adds a new element of excitement to the pulling of pork festivities. Last year Granny wore a tiara.  Awesome!  The apple doesn't fall far from the pig's mouth.

Granny, Christmas 2012.
Nearly all of my cousins will be there, which makes me happy.  What a motley crew in the best sense of the cliche, amirite cousins?  I don't see my cousins often--we live in Kentucky, Texas, Wisconsin, Virginia, Alaska, California, Illinois, Ohio and Minnesota--so it's a great opportunity to catch up and get to know one another as adults.  Most years we run a 5K and sometimes we wear costumes.  We don't mind the long stares from innocent bystanders either.  I like that.  Last year Iron Man and friends even made it into the Ohio County (KY) Times.  EXCITING.

Wisconsin contingent, 2012.

Running in formal wear, 2011.
I'm grateful for my family and look forward to seeing them.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Delightful Afternoon at Lakewood Manor

Nancy and John Elliott are names I hear often at Scottsville Baptist Church.  John was the pastor from 1952 until 1968 and they are the first family who lived in the parsonage.  A few weeks ago Nancy stopped by the house and shared stories and memories.  It was a happy afternoon.

At Nancy's invitation I preached at Lakewood Manor today (a Virginia Baptist Homes Retirement Community). And my goodness: What a blessing.  I was able to meet many folks and was honored by their words and encouragement.  Allen Brown, a Virginia Baptist music leader, was running sound. (wow!)  A few years ago I was blessed to travel with Allen and others to India to work at an orphanage in Kerala.

Dinner was off the charts.  The food was great, but I couldn't have asked for better company.  I sat at the table with five strong Baptist women who truly paved the way for me and others.  I loved hearing their stories. Among these stalwarts of the faith were missionaries, WMU leaders, an IMB employee, BTSR volunteers, pastors' wives, Virginia Baptist committee members, Virginia Baptist Women in Ministry leaders, church historians, etc. etc.  One of the women was John Claypool's sister so I was able to tell her how much his writings have meant to me.  They asked good questions and were eager to hear my story.  We spent a great deal of time laughing which brought an extra dose of joy to my day.

Nancy then gave me a tour of Lakewood Manor.  It was a treat to hear her involvement in all facets of Manor life.  We paused for a picture. She is quite delightful.

I am honored to be part of Scottsville Baptist Church's rich history.  I am grateful for Nancy and others who have welcomed me into this family with loving, open arms.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Snapshots of Covenant

I'm having a difficult time writing about the Installation Service. Words are funny, are they not?  Sometimes they rip out of me like the Tasmanian devil. Other times words are as slow moving as a turtle. Perhaps the day is difficult to capture because it meant so very much to me.  

Here's the-Installation-in-a-somewhat-large-nutshell:  I am blessed to be pastor of Scottsville Baptist Church.  I'm grateful for all the ways they bent over backwards to make Sunday special.  I cherish the words of covenant we spoke to one another.  I'm excited about the future.

Here are some pictures to do the talking for me:

Dorothy Somerville, Co-Chair of the Pastor Search Committee, gives a touching welcome.  I mean...people needed tissues (people = me).

Judy Smith reads beautifully from Isaiah.

Albevanna Clergy Group sings "The Summons."  I meet with these fellow travelers every Wednesday for prayer, singing and Bible Study.

The congregation sings "I Love to Tell the Story." Thank you for leading in worship, Richard Buerkle!

Pam Chisholm prays like she knows God real well.  Stand on your head if you're surprised.

Bill Smith being Bill Smith (that is, being awesome).

Speaking words of covenant.

Seeing your name in icing never gets old.

There are more pictures to treasure.  I'll share soon.  Feeling grateful.