Monthly Archives: June 2009

But I can still hit

We are down three runs in the last inning.  There is one out and a man on second.  I step into the box.  I’ve already hit two solid line drives for base hits, but have not been able to get past first base.  In comes the pitch, a little on the inside, not too much arc.  A perfect pitch.  As it comes in, I dip down a little lower, crank my bat back and turn on it. 

Perfection. 

I barely even feel the ball hit the sweet spot of the bat.  I see the left fielder turn around, which is a very good sign.  Problem: I have to run.  A lot.  As I approach second, I can see the left fielder still hasn’t reached the ball. I head to third, looking for the coach to stop me or wave me around.  He’s still watching, so I say to myself, “what the hell,” and head for home.  I figure at this point, stopping is going to take more effort than just allowing my momentum to run its course

As I head to the plate, I see the catcher is getting ready to catch a ball.  I remember days when I would head home after hits like this, and the catcher would still be watching his fielders try to collect the ball, and I would pull up twenty feet from the plate and coast in.  The last time I did that was three years and forty pounds ago.  As I head home, I make a tactical mistake. 

It has been a few years since I’ve made the 240 foot trek around the bases, so I forget that in slowpitch softball there are safety rules to avoid dangerous plays at the plate.  I don’t have to touch home, just run past it.  If they have the ball on the plate before I pass it, I’m out.  It’s like a force play at first, but I don’t even have to touch home – just pass it.  Unfortunately, I forget this. 

I’m chugging toward the plate, where a catcher is prepared to catch a ball being thrown in from the outfield.  My head and the ball get there at the same time.  The rightfielder tells me later that he could hear it loud and clear as the ball ricocheted off my noggin.  It’s not dodgeball.  Home Run. 

People surround me, half are patting me on the back and giving me high-fives, half are afraid I’m going to keel over.  My head doesn’t hurt.  My lungs, on the other hand…  I get back to the bench, my daughter gives me a big hug, and I start to feel better instantly.

We end up losing by one.  After the game, people ask me if my head is okay.  I honestly answer that I barely felt it.  The 19 year olds on the team laugh a little, tell me it was because I was moving so fast, it softened the blow.  Then one of them looks at me and says with a little bit of awe, “You crushed that thing.”  I smile. I may be a 31-year-old, 310 pound Fat Pastor, but I can still hit.

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Fathers’ Day Litany

Litany for Father’s Day

One:     For fathers everywhere, who have given us life and love, that we may show them respect and love.

All:       Holy God, hear this prayer for our fathers.

One:     For fathers who have lost a child through death, that their faith may give them hope, and their family and friends support and console them

All: Holy God, hear this prayer for our fathers that mourn.

One: For men who may or may not have children of their own, but act like a father to someone in need of advice, support, nurturing, and love.

All: Holy God, hear this prayer for our father figures.

One: For step-fathers who have assumed that role with love and joy, who have loved the children of another as their own, and created a new family.

All: Holy God, hear this prayer for step-fathers.

One: For adoptive fathers, who have heard the call of God to lovingly step forward for those that need their care.

All: Holy God, hear this prayer for adoptive fathers.

One: For fathers who have been unable to be a source of strength, who have not responded to the needs of their children, and have not sustained their families.

All: Holy God, have mercy on absentee fathers.

One: For fathers who struggle with temptation, violence, or addiction.  For those who do harm, and for those whom they have harmed.

All: Holy God, have mercy on fathers that struggle.

One: For new fathers, full of hope.  For long-time fathers, full of wisdom.  For the fathers yet to be, and fathers soon to be.

All: Holy God, hear our prayer for the fathers of your Church.

One: For those that have shaped our lives without claim of family or kinship.  For those who have taught us, guided us, shaped us and molded us into servants of Christ our Lord.

All: Holy God, hear our prayer for the fathers of our faith.

One: God our Father, in your wisdom and love you made all things.  Bless these men, that they may be strengthened as Christian fathers.  Let the example of their faith and love shine forth.  Grant that we, their sons and daughters, honor them always with a spirit of profound respect.  Grant this through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

“Prayer for Father’s Day.” has been adapted by Robb McCoy from the United Methodist Book of Worship, page 441.

 

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More “Your Momma’s so nice…”

So I went back into the old skype chat and found some that others came up with.  Again, I’m not attributing them unless they claim them.

Yo mama’s so nice, that often neighborhood children will perform chores for her, even if she doesn’t ask

Yo momma so nice that people deliver entrees and desserts  to her home even when she isn’t sick

Yo momma’s so nice that her porch is inundated with produce from people’s gardens all summer long

Yo momma’s so nice her dooky makes the house smell better

Yo momma’s so nice, she tried to jump into the pool, but walked on it instead.

Yo momma’s so nice that people buy bracelets that say “WWYMD?”

Yo momma’s so nice, she invited Satan to church, and served him communion. Now he’s working at a soup kitchen downtown.

Yo momma’s so nice that Ozzy Osbourne enunciates properly and refuses to curse around her.

Yo momma’s so nice that violent self-aware robots would make sure she’s safe before engulfing the world in a nuclear holocaust.

Yo momma’s so sweet that I kissed her cheek and got diabetes.

Yo mama’s so nice that Romulans went back in time to build her a planet.

Your momma’s so nice that zombies want to eat her brains and gain her knowledge, but they won’t do it

Yo mama’s so nice that her housecats pee rainbows.

Yo momma’s so nice that Metallica wants her to download their music.

Yo momm’as so nice that Christian Bale asks her nicely for a cappucino.

Yo momma’s so nice that Christopher Hotchens believes in her.

Yo Momma’s so nice that she joined a social networking website and they renamed it YoMommasBook.

Yo Momma is so nice that after an hour with her, John and Kate are happy again.

Yo momma is so nice that if she were cold, Iggy Pop would find a shirt to give her to put on.

Your momma’s so nice that MLK nominated her for the Nobel Peace Prize.  And she won.  And then they renamed the prize.

Yo momma’s so nice that the Rolling Stones won’t smoke in front of her.

Yo momma’s so nice that Puddle of Mudd started singing “She Hates Me,” saw her, then stopped.

Yo momma’s so nice that Rush Limbaugh has nothing to say about her

Yo momma’s so nice that Keith Oberman went off the air when she told him, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Yo momma’s so nice that Mary wears a t-shirt that says, “Yo momma is my homegirl.

There are a few more.

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Yo Mamma’s so nice…

Ever wonder what a group of pastors do during a long, boring set of speeches and resolutions at annual conference?  Well, one group got on their laptops, opened up a skype chat room and started telling “Yo Momma” jokes.  Only with a twist.  I did not come up with all of these.

Yo Momma’s so nice that she always says “please,” and “thank you,” and is very punctual.

Yo Momma’s so nice that she peed in a public pool and all the lepers were healed.

Yo Momma’s so nice that when she goes to a ballgame, the wave starts after her and stops before her because no one wants to make her stand up.”

Yo Momma’s so nice that during the seventh inning stretch she sings “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” for both teams, so no one feels bad.

Yo Momma’s so nice that when she goes to hockey games, no one fights becaue they know she wouldn’t approve.  Don’t even ask what they do at boxing matches.

Yo Momma’s so nice that Chuck Norris stopped kicking ass because she gave him a stern look.”

Yo Momma’s so nice that if her cell phone rings in a movie theater, someone pauses it for her.”

Yo Momma’s so nice that Germany reunited after  she said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall, please.”

Yo Momma’s so nice that, even though she is actually quite obese, no one tells Yo Momma jokes about her

Yo Momma’s so nice that when she faced the Philistines, Goliath surrendered.

Yo Momma’s so nice that she was Satan’s first choice, but God said, “Not her.  Mess with Job.”

Yo Momma’s so nice that when she was in the Garden, the serpent told her, “Whatever you do, don’t eat that fruit.”

Yo Momma’s so nice that when she walked into a bar with Mr. Rogers, people asked, “Who’s that asshole with Yo Momma?”

There are more

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I know what I like

There are a lot of different kinds of snobs.  There are clothes snobs that scoff at anything bought at TJ Max.  There are wine snobs that look down on anyone that drinks White Zinfandel.  There are jazz snobs, coffee snobs, classical music snobs, movie snobs, and beer snobs.  There are also people that just know what they like.

I don’t know much about coffee, but if I have a cup I can tell you if I like it or not.  I couldn’t tell you how it was brewed, whether or not it was freshly ground, or what country it came from.  I feel the same way about theater.  I’m no theater expert, but I know what I like.

Tonight I went to see “Singing in the Rain.”  It was produced by the Vermillion Players.  It was a cast of mostly high school students from in and around Pontiac.  I don’t know what a theater critic would have to say, but I thought that it was excellent.  It was the best $16 my family has spent on entertainment in a long time.   I don’t know what directors do, and I don’t know how to differentiate between good and bad directing.  I know that I enjoyed this show, so as far as I’m concerned, Director Tom Ramseyer did a great job.

I laughed out loud several times, and even let out a couple of “whoops,” during the great dance numbers.  My two year old daughter was captivated.  Every time the lead female, Carrie Chandler, left the stage, she wondered “Where’d Kathy go?”  Afterwards, we were able to see her off stage, and my daughter started to cry when we had to leave.

The two male leads, John Ramseyer (Don Lockwood) and Donnie Sartoris (Cosmo Brown) were great.  They were both excellent singers, but what set them apart from any other comparable production was their acting and dancing.  They had several dance numbers that were full of energy and some acrobatic moves.  When I found out that neither of them had any tap dancing experience before they started the show, I was shocked.

Their acting scenes were great too.  The two played best friends, and their chemistry was great.  Most actors in musical theater that I have seen were not cast because of their acting abilities.  Most acting in musicals is over-the-top and a little schmaltzy.  John and Donnie interacted with authenticity and sincerity, and Donnie is a natural in physical comedy.

Some of the other actors with lesser parts were also impressive.  Dylan Webster sang only, “Beautiful Girls,” but was probably the best singer in the cast.  Sam Alsdorf was a great comic foil to “Don,” and “Cosmo,” in the “Moses Supposes” number.  Jason Williams was a featured dancer, and I wish they had featured him more because he is very talented.    Kallie Setterlund, who played Lena Lamont, had a great performance.  Her falsetto voice and facial expressions were spot on.  She had the most outrageous character, and she nailed it.

The pit did a great job too.  The music was first-rate.  And this is why community theater is so cool – I bumped into a friend, Lon Alderman, who was playing lead trumpet.  He is a fellow United Methodist pastor, and has a very nice blog that I read called “The Daily Build Up.”

Overall, it was a wonderfully entertaining evening.  On an evening that Iwas worn out, and could have easily decided to stay home, I am glad we chose to go and see the Vermillion Players.  It was well worth it.

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Thinking about Chicken and Church

The United Methodist Church has come out with a new marketing campaign.  You may have seen one of the commercials.  “RETHINK CHURCH” they declare.  The idea is to think of church as a verb instead of a noun – a thing we do instead of a place we go.  It is a compelling idea, and it was clearly put together by a slick marketing team.  A team so slick, that I think KFC probably hired them to.

Has anyone else noticed the similarities between RETHINK CHURCH and UNTHINK CHICKEN? Besides the fact that, short of a Men in Black mind sweeping gadget or a lobotomy, I’m not sure how to unthink or rethink something (I mean, I know how to think, and I know how to change my mind, but isn’t changing one’s mind actually just another new thought?), couldn’t they have at least come up with different fonts – maybe something in a seriff. 

think

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Call to worship invoking the Trinity

One:  God is a creating God.

All:    Making all things new through the Father’s love and grace.

One:  God is a redeeming God.

All:    Healing our relationship through Jesus, the Son.

One:  God is a sustaining God.

All:    Empowering us for God’s work through the Holy Spirit.

One:  Holy One, Three in One, we open ourselves to you.

All: Holy One, Three in One, create us, redeem us, sustain us.  Now and forever, Amen.

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Evangelism Books

Unbinding the Gospel, by Martha Grace Reese

Unbinding the Gospel, by Martha Grace Reese

Dear readers,

I’m looking for a few good books.  Right now I am reading, and being challenged by, Unbinding the Gospel.  It has been a remarkable read.  I find myself reading paragraphs and chapters over and over again.  One of the main ideas of the book is to form an Evangelism Team.  The E-Team is to be a small, hand-selected, and prayerfully considered group of people.

I have been praying for this team almost constantly.  I believe that God is pushing me to ask four-five people for this team.  I would love to have six.  Once the team is formed, I want to give them each a different book about evangelism.  I have a few ideas, but I want to know if there are books that have inspired or challenged or intrigued you about sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.

I believe that a powerful E-Team can revolutionize a community.  So please, pray for my church.  Pray for the E-Team, and suggest any books, authors, speakers, that you think are powerful. 

Thanks,

Robb

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Hii does. Do Wii?

 

Do we really?

Do we really?

Last week at annual conference I bought a shirt that read, “Hii welcomes all of His children.”  Next to those words was a picture of Jesus that looked like a Nintendo Wii character (or Mii).  Underneath, in smaller letters were the words, “Illinois Great Rivers Conference of the United Methodist Church.”

 

Annual Conferences of the UMC have been gathering over the last few weeks.  All of the conferences will be voting on a set of amendments to the UMC’s constitution.  These were amendments that were passed by the General Conference last summer, and now have to be ratified by a 2/3 majority of all the annual conference members.  Last week our conference voted on these amendments, and the results of one in particular really saddened me.  This is the amendment:

 

On May 1, 2008, at a session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church held in Fort Worth, Texas, the following Constitutional Amendment was made by a recorded vote of 558 Yes, 276 No. It is now presented to the Annual Conferences for vote.
In the 2004 Book of Discipline, Division One, ¶ 4, Article IV, (2008 Book of Discipline, Division One, ¶ 4, Article IV)) amend by deletion and addition as follows:
After “worth” add “and that we are in ministry to all” and after “persons” delete “without regard to race, color, national origin, status or economic condition” and after “sacraments,” add “and” and after “members” delete “, and” and insert a period and add “All persons,” and after “faith” add “and relationship in Jesus Christ, shall be eligible to” and after “body” delete “of the Church because of race, color, national origin, status or economic condition”.
If voted and so declared by the Council of Bishops, ¶ 4 (¶ 4) would read:
Inclusiveness of the Church — The United Methodist Church is a part of the church universal, which is one Body in Christ. The United Methodist Church acknowledges that all persons are of sacred worth and that we are in ministry to all. All persons shall be eligible to attend its worship services, participate in its programs, receive the sacraments, and upon baptism be admitted as baptized members. All persons, upon taking vows declaring the Christian faith and relationship in Jesus Christ, shall be eligible to become professing members in any local church in the connection. In the United Methodist Church no conference or other organizational unit of the Church shall be structured so as to exclude any member or any constituent body.

On May 1, 2008, at a session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church held in Fort Worth, Texas, the following Constitutional Amendment was made by a recorded vote of 558 Yes, 276 No. It is now presented to the Annual Conferences for vote.

In the 2004 Book of Discipline, Division One, ¶ 4, Article IV, (2008 Book of Discipline, Division One, ¶ 4, Article IV)) amend by deletion and addition as follows:

After “worth” add “and that we are in ministry to all” and after “persons” delete “without regard to race, color, national origin, status or economic condition” and after “sacraments,” add “and” and after “members” delete “, and” and insert a period and add “All persons,” and after “faith” add “and relationship in Jesus Christ, shall be eligible to” and after “body” delete “of the Church because of race, color, national origin, status or economic condition”.

If voted and so declared by the Council of Bishops, ¶ 4 (¶ 4) would read:

Inclusiveness of the Church — The United Methodist Church is a part of the church universal, which is one Body in Christ. The United Methodist Church acknowledges that all persons are of sacred worth and that we are in ministry to all. All persons shall be eligible to attend its worship services, participate in its programs, receive the sacraments, and upon baptism be admitted as baptized members. All persons, upon taking vows declaring the Christian faith and relationship in Jesus Christ, shall be eligible to become professing members in any local church in the connection. In the United Methodist Church no conference or other organizational unit of the Church shall be structured so as to exclude any member or any constituent body.

The amendment, put briefly would make it clear that all persons are welcomed into membership of the United Methodist Church.  There were many arguments against this amendment.  The one that made the least sense was the argument that this amendment would force Pastors into allowing anyone into membership without any standards.  At first, I was torn on this amendment because of this issue, but after re-reading I saw the word “eligible.”  This is not a mandate compelling churches to include anyone that wants to join. 

There are a lot of smoke-screen arguments against this amendment, but the only viable reason anyone would vote against it is that they don’t want a gay person sitting next to them in church.   

I thought that this would be the line that people wouldn’t cross.  I thought this was the dividing point between the moderate majority and the extremes.  I understand that people are divided on issues of pastoral authority and marriage.  But I also thought that keeping people out of churches was going to be too far.  

I believed that the moderate majority would rise and say, “we are a welcoming church.”  I thought that people could get beyond the fear-mongering and the politics and the polarization and say, “We have open hearts, open doors, and open minds.”  This amendment wasn’t about homosexual marriage.  It was not about homosexuals in the pulpit.  Really, it wasn’t about homosexuality at all.  It was about a church standing up and saying simply, “We welcome ALL.”  I really thought that the conference I love was going to vote to approve this amendment.

By a vote of 51%-46%, I was proven wrong.

Hii welcomes all of His children.  Apparently Wii don’t.

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300 pound metrosexual

I had my face waxed today.  Does that make me a metrosexual?  I know it sounds weird, but I hate shaving the long dark hairs high up on my cheek.  I don’t want to have a beard below my eyes.  Plucking them should be on the UN’s list of outlawed torture techniques.  Today when I got my haircut I asked Anne to wax my face (actually my wife did, because I was too chicken).  Waxing hurts, but not that bad.  More importantly, it worked.  

The only problem is that my hairs were particularly stubborn (I don’t know if I should be proud of that or not), so she had to do it like 11 times on the same spot.  I have some skin left on my cheek, but not much.  

I’m not sure why I’m sharing this, I just thought the image of the Fat Pastor getting his face waxed might strike someone as funny.  I might be the first 300 pound man to wax something other than his thicket of chest hair on some kind of dare.

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