Something Really Bothers Me

No, this isn’t going to be a rant about all the mis-information floating around about heath-care reform. In matters of importance, this goes way beyond the health-care debate.

This just might be the most serious issue I have ever addressed. It is especially important to all of my friends and family in the greater Muncie, IN area.

My concern is with the lack of respect that drivers of all ages show fellow citizens when attempting to make left turns on McGalliard. Seriously…Do you not understand that the middle lane running the full length of McGalliard between Wheeling and the mall is to be utilized for those desiring to turn left?

Please, get your entire vehicle into the turn lane so that you don’t block the traffic flow of those of us trying to get from Rally’s to the Cash Stop. Simply making an attempt to use the turn lane does not count as using the turn lane. Get your entire Cadillac Escalade into the turn lane…it can be done.

The worst of these non-turn-lane-using violators are those fascist elitist who are attempting to turn into Starbucks. Not only do they fail to use the turn lane, they also expect you to leave them room to turn in front of you (when you are heading in the opposite direction). To be honest, I normally give room for people to turn in or out of business when traffic is stopped. But, not for Starbucks patrons. Someone has to take a stand. These people can wait an extra 90 seconds to get their Venti (every time I hear that word I think of Role Models) caramel machiato (which is really a latte and not the true sense of a machiato). So, it’s a double fail for these folks…they are visiting Starbucks (seriously folks, go support your local coffee shops…like the Blue Bottle, mtCup, or Coffee Junkiez…though their overuse of the letter “z” annoys me) and they are attempting to turn left without appropriately pulling into the turn lane.

Given that I live only a few blocks away from the horrible beast that is known as Starbucks, I encounter this problem on a daily basis (sometimes it occurs multiple times on the same day). An interesting note, it appears that those visiting the Muncie Liquors right next door to the evil monster that is Starbucks understand how to properly utilize the turn lane.

The turn lane is there…I am begging you to use it!

Why Should the Church Care?

I read this statement in an update from Sojourners. I believe this simple statement gives profound insight as to why the Church should care about health-care reform.

Health-care reform is just as much an issue of justice, of preserving and celebrating life, as it is an issue of caring for the vulnerable.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46)

Cultural Critics & Prophetic Christian Thought

I have always shunned the role of theologian because I have little interest in systematizing the dogmas and doctrines, insights and intuitions of the Christian tradition. Nor do I think that they can be rendered coherent and consistent. The theological task is a noteworthy endeavor – especially for the life of the church – yet my vocation uses Christian resources, among others, to speak to the multilayered crises of contemporary society and culture. So I am more a cultural critic with philosophic training who works out of the Christian tradition than a theologian who focuses on the systematic coherency or epistemic validity of Christian claims. This vocation puts social theory, historiography, cultural criticism and political engagement at the center of my prophetic Christian outlook. I do not believe that there are such things as Christian social theory, Christian historiography, Christian cultural criticism or Christian politics – just as there are no such things as Christian mathematics, Christian physics or Christian economics. Rather, there is a prophetic Christian thought and practice informed by the best of these disciplines that highlights and enhances the plight of the loveless, luckless, landless, and other victims of social structural arrangements.

(Cornel West, from the Cornel West Reader)

After reading this passage, I find myself thinking that maybe what the Church needs today is fewer theologians and more cultural critics who proclaim prophetic Christian thought and practice.

Cornel West- “You can’t lead the people if you don’t love the people. You can’t save the people if you won’t serve the people.”

Health-Care Reform Resource

Jim Wallis and his friends at Sojourners have put together an excellent resource on the whole health-care reform debate.

I’d encourage you to read through the information on the site, especially the Guide to the Health-Care Debate.

Then, if you are so moved, I would encourage you to sign the Health-Care Creed.

So, in case you missed my point, be sure to check out the Health-Care Reform Resource from Sojourners.

For those of you wondering what the United Methodist Church might have to say on the issue, you can read the Book of Discipline statement by taking THIS LINK.

Favorite Charles Wesley Hymns

Last Sunday, I picked “And Can It Be That I Should Gain” as one of our hymns for the 8am service. As we were singing, I came to realize that the majority of our 8am congregation was unfamiliar with this beautiful hymn. “And Can It Be” is part of our Methodist heritage (as are all the hymns of Wesley). Not only that…it has a melody that is a lot of fun to sing!  I found myself thinking, “Wow! These faithful members of a United Methodist church are missing out.”

So, I decided that I’m going to take our 8am service on a journey through some of the hymns of Charles Wesley. There are some that will be familiar (“Christ the Lord is Risen Today”; “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing”) and some will be totally unknown. Each week, one of our hymns will come from Charles Wesley. I might even give a little “story behind the song”. The big idea is to walk us through some of the traditional hymns of the Wesleyan movement.

Anyone out there have a favorite Charles Wesley hymn?