Skip to main content

throwback thursday: airplane clown

after my freshman year in college, i spent the summer working in marion, illinois as an intern to the youth pastor at a large united methodist church.  even though i was far away from home, i had a great summer just loving on youth and growing in my own faith and understanding of ministry.  during that summer we went on a mission trip to mexico.  and on the way home from that mission trip (and probably at many other times during it), i employed one of my favorite ways to relate to young people: being an absolute crazy person.  for some reason, i have just always found that if i can lose my conventions and inhibations enough to do something fun and memorable, it tears down all sorts of barriers and walls and allows me to seem like a regular (if a bit odd) person and not an intimidating "leader."  so, during the flight home from somewhere in texas to the st. louis airport, i went ahead and just let loose and had a great time and, in the meantime, made some great memories.  i had actually forgotten about this until my recent birthday caused some folks from that chapter of my life (1995) to call it to my memory.  my friend and mentor, hal, who was the youth pastor there at the time, even reminded me that i was sitting next to a lingerie model on the plane whom i proceeded to talk to.  i looked through the skymall catalog with her, asking her advice on a gift for my girlfriend.  meanwhile, i was wearing, well, you need to see for yourself.  i dug this morning and found this picture that pretty much tells the story:


for those of you who are currently in my congregation, i'm sorry that you had to see this.  you are just going to have to reconcile this with the guy you see in the pulpit.  i am one and the same! 

after deciding on the automatic dog feeder from skymall with the lingerie model, i passed around a barfbag and got people to sign it, including the flight crew!  unusual ministry practices?  perhaps.  but it certainly made a memory that endures 15 years later.  this picture is a reminder to me that even with all my idiosyncrasies and strange behaviours, God can use all of us - even me - to love people and make a difference for the Kingdom. 


Comments

Fred said…
...and that is only part of the reason you communicate as well as you do - even from another part of the state. Thank you!!
red bank billy said…
looks like a typical sunday to me...

Popular posts from this blog

#thoughtsandprayers

i made these comments and prayed the following prayer at one of our worship services at SPWF yesterday, and had a few folks asked if i would post them, so there they are: 
It has been a season of terrible tragedy.  And I have noticed in the news a trending phrase: thoughts and prayers.  It even has its own hashtag on twitter and other social media, but net necessarily in a good way.  People are understandably tired of hearing about others’ thoughts and prayers, when that is only a thinly-veiled way of saying that our only obligation to those who suffer is a brief moment of silence, or nothing more than a tweet or public statement.  The truth is that, for those of us who follow Jesus, much is required when our neighbors suffer.  We are called to do justice where we can, to love kindness and mercy, and to walk with God through it all.  But let us be careful not to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.  We are, as people of faith, those who know that prayer is not simply an em…

vote. and pray. but do not be afraid (the King is alive).

i'm not sure how many americans right now are feeling optimistic about the government.  i know i'm not.  in fact, while i didn't live through the civil war or anything, i have to think that faith in our elected leaders - indeed the whole system of electing them in the first place - is at one of its lowest points.  i just don't have a great deal of confidence in those individuals who have been elected, or in those who want to be.  i find myself slipping at times into what feels like a swamp of apathy: sinking, to be sure, but not sure that i care enough anymore to do much about it.  i see this attitude all around me: in conversations, on social media, and in popular culture.  perhaps there is no more clear indication of our nation's view of the government than this current election season, when we would teeter on electing liars and thieves, crooks and clowns. 

which is why i was so startled as i sat down to read psalm 72 this morning. as i read the ancient song, i…

Steelers Training Camp 2016

on friday i had the opportunity to lead a group of 10 of us to latrobe for the annual friday night lights steelers practice at latrobe memorial high school stadium, along with 12,000 of our closest friends. we drove out there, did the steelers experience with the kids (including bounce house races, rock wall, face painting, spinning the prize wheel, football toss, and a photo op with the steelers' 6 lombardi trophies, among other things). then we waited in line to get in, so that we could get our position around the autograph fence, and then there was a significant amount of waiting.  but at least the weather was beautiful!  we enjoyed good conversation and laughter along with homemade steelers cookies.  finally the team and coaches arrived on school busses and the autograph session began.  you never know who might come your direction, so we were pretty surprised when ben roethlisberger came near us and started signing.  sure enough, he came our way, and i got his autograph on his…