On Sunday night, I gathered with some other church leaders in Waco and began a process that I hope will help extract the church from a no-win situation. We are attempting to get ministers to stop signing marriage licenses issued by the state. I have come to the conclusion that the church and the state have come to a parting of the ways.
I’m headed to Africa in a couple of days. This information has been met with numerous different responses.
1. Some people are afraid for me and afraid of me. They think it is at least irrational and at most pathological to be headed to Africa in an Ebola crisis, to which I have developed the following response. By going to Ethiopia, I will be moving farther away from Ebola than I am now. I will be over 4,000 miles away from the Ebola outbreak when I am in Addis Ababa. The distance between Ethiopia and Ebola is greater than the distance between Athens and Norway or Athens and Anchorage or Athens and Paraguay. The fact that it was in Dallas did not keep me from traveling there.
I pulled into the parking lot and saw the bright gleaming chrome and the bright red paint indicating a fire truck was at the church. My heart skipped. This is never how you want to start a day. I could not see anything but the tops of the trucks, so I was uncertain if the firemen were deployed.
I was confused and I made several assumptions which has led me to a series of improbable events.
First, I thought that I was going to sing a song in a variety show raising money for the Athens Theater. That sounded like fun and I was glad to participate. I thought I was going to sing a song from the Sound of Music, which would be fun to reprise the role. Then, I found out that it was not a single night, but multiple performances. I checked my schedule and, oddly, had off every night of the performances. It sounded like fun. Then, I contacted Carol Wilson to see if she would come back from Abilene to sing with us. She said, “Yes!”
I have never been very interested in Ireland. I have
traveled extensively in the UK and Europe, but never had much of a desire to go to Ireland. It seemed like a J.V. version of England. It also seemed like a cranky place with bombs and stone throwing people on the street corners.
We came up to the sign and scratched our heads. It is clearly a warning and it needed to be heeded, but was it necessary? The sign was about twenty feet away from the cliffs of Moher. The reason that any person comes to this spot is to look over the cliffs. The entry gate is labeled with the word, ‘cliff.’ Before a person can get to the warning sign, they go right past the huge Visitor Center describing the cliffs.
I had such great plans for today. I had been fighting a cough and lung junk, which meant I’d been skipping my workout to get more rest. Also, because I swim and that is at cross purposes with coordinating breathing and swimming. This morning, I felt great. I got up early, I had my swimming headphones charged and ready. I bounded out of the house and scooted down the street toward the Cain Center.
I’m a big fan of quiet reflection, it’s just that I don’t get to do it often enough. The noise cloud around me is fairly significant. I am very noisy. I try, but can’t seem to be very quiet. I would sound like a jackhammer even if I was walking on marshmallows. I have always been loud. When I was a kid, teachers were constantly telling me to use my inside voice—which I was, because I was inside and I was using my voice. They meant use a quiet voice, which I was, because my loud voice is really loud.
In 1980, I was Baylor Line President. The “Line” was a guy’s freshman Spirit organization that ran onto the field, greeted the team and ran flags around the stadium when we scored. It was a second tier cheering squad. I had designs on being a yell leader. The Line had a reserved seating section. I always sat on the front row. I had lime green painters pants, not really Baylor colors, but I was hard to miss. I had a blast. I went to every game that season driving to all of them in my non-air-conditioned Mercury Capri.
Most people don’t understand. They look at this picture and can’t possible put the label “vacation” on it. They see the gear, long pants, gloves, long sleeved shirt, a jacket made of mosquito netting (with an attached hood and draw-string waist and wrists), and hat. In addition, the wafting smell of DEET, creates a bit of haze around our little marching band.
Still, if we slow down or take off the hoods for a quick drink from a water bottle, the mosquitoes are waiting and take a dive at any revealed flesh and settle in for a bit of a feast. While we are walking, the high pitched buzzards, circle our heads hoping to drain us of all of our life. It is a battle. Our arms wheel and slap the air like worthless wings. After one particularly bad day, we counted dozens of bites.