Saturday, May 29, 2010


NIMBY (not in my backyard) seems to be the operative word in Nashville these days.  This week a campaign to stop the building of a mosque in Wilson Pike succeeded.  The Tent City homeless, searching for a place to put up their tents since the flood destroyed their site, were loaned (only for two weeks, as I understand it) a site on personal land by Lee and Kelly Beaman.  Residents and churches nearby immediately howled protests.  As I looked at the picture of the land, I did not really see any residents nor businesses nearby, but nevertheless.....

Let's see, what would Jesus do for these folks?  I don't know what he would do about the mosque, but for the homeless there are many passages about taking care of them.  The Otter Creek Outreach Minister, Doug Sanders, has been instrumental in trying to find a place for the homeless.  There is a plan in the works with several cooperating churches and businessmen to find a more permanent place for those who wish to go there.  Surely those in the Hickory Hollow area (not too far from me) can wait with Christian patience for that plan to develop.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mrs. Stark

I taught in elementary schools for almost 25 years and worked with many magical teachers, but outshining them is Ella's first-grade teacher Mrs. Stark.  Dedicated, compassionate, loving, and yes--magical--Mrs. Stark had the knack of making each student sure that that student was her favorite.  She nicknamed Ella--Ella Enchanted--and winked and squeezed her everyday. 

There were the usual first-grade experiences like field trip to the farm, the symphony and theater,  incubating chicks, field day, art projects and history lessons.  I loved that she had each student choose an historical figure,  research in the library and on computer on that person and do an oral presentation as well as a written essay.  The presentation was accompanied by dressing the way the person would have dressed.  Ella chose Sacajawea and did a wonderful job with both the speech, essay and costume.

She stressed the value of friendship and moral values and was always, always smiling.What a wonderful year for Ella.

Brandon has a video on his blog showing Ella singing Pray for Me at the end of their program last night.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

To lament or not

David Rubio preached on Psalm 19 Sunday: "  How long O Lord, how long?..."  Then we spent time in our small group discussing why we are so reluctant to broach the topic.  Kerry transitioned into it with a video on You Tube about an evangelical church in Hungary dancing in the town square on Easter Sunday--we are also reluctant to show extreme praise.

What is it with us?  Is our tribe so ingrown with Victorian rationalism that we just don't like for anything to show in our faces and bodies as we worship?  We also got into the topic of "dancing before the Lord" and liturgical dance.  We have had a few examples of this in special programs at Otter, thanks to Brandon's inclusion--but most think it very strange and uncomfortable.

As for myself, I just can't see me dancing before the Lord--I don't want to dance before anybody--but is beautiful to watch when done well.  One of my favorite things about the Zoe conferences is Teresa's
deaf interpretations.

Maybe the youth who follow us can do better.  God does not care (I think) how we express worship--but it is enriching to others to see full-blown praise of Him.

Speaking of lamenting:  How long O Lord will it continue to rain in Nashville?  Turn it off, please!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Affirmation and Nourishment

Nashville is full of volunteers these days.  Luci Shaw once said, "As Christians we give nourishment of all kinds to each other...we provide sustenance, whether it be money, or soup, or kind words.  Producing nourishment is a part of community."  Christians are filling the streets and homes of those who lost everything in the flood and providing them with all kinds of nourishment.  When he covered the story for CNN, Anderson Cooper said that he had been all over the world, withnessed all kinds of catastrophic happenings, but had never seen anything like what was happening in Nashville.  The paper is filled with stories of people helping--some with big trucks full of needed equipment, some with trunks filled with sandwiches and water, one lone guy riding down a street on his bike giving out masks, etc.

This is where one sees the face and the hands and feet of God. It doesn't take heroic measures--just bread, mayo, cheese and love.

Do all the good you can
   in all the places you can
at all the times you can
   to all the people you can,
as long as you can.

John Wesley

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink

Yes, the devastation here is horrible--there are no words to describe it.  We are all safe and without loss--but thousands of others are not.  Please add a word of prayer for them.  We have lost 10 people here in Nashville; most drowned.  Yesterday an older couple was found in the Green Hills area--they had driven through high water, and decided to get out of the car and were swept away.  Some teenagers thought it would be great fun to tie inner tubes together and raft down Mill Creek.  They (3) died.  Some who refused to leave their homes have been found dead.

Of course, the tales of heroism abound.  Creatively, Otter Creek has opened its nursery for those who are helping others to leave their children during the day.  We have begun a day-care program as well.  Our building leaked a little in the gym area, but other wise is o. k.  We do have a creek behind the church, but it is now going down.  The Red Cross has done a terrific job opening centers and getting people food and water.  Lipscomb opened its Allen Arena as a place for people to spend the night.  They have had over 200 people (capacity) each night since this began.  Otter had scheduled a big breakfast to kick off a building campaign on Sat. morning, but the power went out and it was cancelled.  We took all the food (for 400 people) over to Lipscomb for the folks there.  And such things are happening all over town.

As for water, one of our purifying plants is under water and the other one is being sandbagged today.  They are asking us to conserve--to use only one-half of the water we would normally use.  One of the saddest pictures yesterday was of a house surrounded by water burning to the ground--electrical fire.  The woman who lived there had left in the nick of time.  Private boats are patrolling all over town down streets looking for those who might need help.  There have been over 1,000 water rescues.  Sadly our new symphony buidling downtown has been hard hit--they said that water just came through the floor.  Their wonderful 2 million organ was destroyed.

I guess one good thing to come out of all will be the work provided to those who can repair and rebuild.  When my brother was in a flood in Abilene several years ago, federal and state help was slow to come--and look at New Orleans--I do hope they help us faster.

Thanks for your calls.  If you have it, donate money to the Red Cross.  They need it.