Wednesday, July 20, 2016

An Unexpected Surprise, Steeped in Fear and a New Church Home

I received a package in the mail last week from Lifetime Fitness and more specifically, the folks that head up the Lutsen 99er/69er mountain bike race that I competed in a few weeks ago. Inside the package was a trophy for my 3rd place overall finish in the fat-bike division. What a nice surprise! I can't recall ever receiving a trophy before and neither was that a thing on my bucket list but I'll take it!

So, the Republican National Convention is in full swing in Cleveland, Ohio and I gotta say, I've never seen a group of people more steeped in fear and lacking in any sort of uplifting vision whatsoever. It's disturbing to watch. If I take to heart what I'm hearing I should think twice about ever venturing away from home again out of concern for never returning because a jihadist or an illegal immigrant will end my life. I thought we're the "home of the brave"? What happened to that?

What has me most bewildered is the seemingly misplaced, over-the-top disdain and outrage conservatives have for President Obama and all that's been accomplished under his administration. Why the hatred for this man? Disagree with me but if you're honest with yourself you have to admit that no president (at least in my lifetime) has ever been sworn into office under more difficult circumstances. Contrast Obama's presidency with that of his predecessor and by any measure he's been markedly more successful in spite of the continued obstruction he's had to face from republicans along the way. What am I missing here? What is it I'm supposed to hate about this man that I'm not seeing? He's to blame for the trillions of dollars we've amassed in debt since he took office you say? No, actually, that number would be all it is an even more had either McCain or Romney been given the nod. The drivers of our debt were already set in place before he took over and I'd wager that our debt (nearing $20 T) is less than it would be had we had a republican warmongering president in office. Don't kid yourself. 

I was out golfing yesterday with a friend who's very conservative politically and an enthusiastic Trump supporter. He told me that the smartest thing Hillary Clinton could do would be to distance herself from Obama and his policies. "Really?" I said -- "I think she should allow for as little daylight as possible between what he's done and what she intends to do" I continued. I told him that "it's only too bad he can't run for a 3rd term because he'd win in a landslide." He offered no reply.

Clinton's email controversy continues to hamper her efforts to gain the momentum she's needing thanks to republican efforts to do anything to deny her the office while they make no mention at all about specifics for how they plan to help the country -- only slogans. I'm looking forward to the debates this fall and hoping they will show a contrast between the two primary choices we're being offered. My brother Bryan is all-in for 3rd party candidate Gary Johnson and while there's never been a better time for a 3rd party run at the presidency, he'd better catch fire soon because he's quickly running out of time.

Tammy and I have found a new church home: Family of Christ here in Lakeville and it's a breath of fresh air. I used to be a member there in the late '80s and early '90s but left when their pastor (at the time) was found to be acting less than pastoral. Tammy decided to give it a try a month ago and was excited for me to join her the next week. And I did.

Family of Christ is a small church in comparison to Hosanna where'd I'd been attending until 4 years ago when I stopped. The first Sunday I was back, Pastor Brent was happily telling the congregation how they were able to cobble together $600 of the $900 they needed to get the air conditioning working after it had walked off the job. There's something about that which appealed to me. Unlike Hosanna, this isn't a church with money to burn and the ability to turn away those who don't measure up. That's a not so veiled reference to Hosanna's policy to not allow anyone of the homosexual or transgender persuasion to serve in whatever capacity they've been called to nor is Family of Christ a church where if they had a choir you'd have to try out to see if you're good enough to sing for the Lord as Hosanna requires.

As I said: it's a breath of fresh air. I told Tammy as we were walking out to our car after that first Sunday a few weeks ago that it felt like I'd come home. I've thrown my name in the hat to help out with lawn mowing and landscaping duties. That's my calling for now.

And speaking of air conditioning -- I'm so thankful for it. We're experiencing some very warm and humid weather here in Minnesota. I was out working in the yard this morning, soaked in sweat. I have men's golf league tomorrow afternoon when the temp is going to be in the mid 90ºs (mid 30ºs C) with very high humidity. I went out tonight and bought a white shirt designed to wick sweat away to help keep me as comfortable as possible. And you can bet I'll be using the umbrella in my cart to shield me from the sun.

Shawn and I were finally able to sync our schedules and ride the trails at Murphy Hanrehan Tuesday morning although it required me setting my alarm for 5:45 to make it happen. I was glad to be able to show him what Murphy has to offer and I'm pretty sure he's gonna be a regular there.


John Hill said...

Happy that you've found a church home. It can be pretty difficult these days. I have lost a lot of church members and pastors from social media due to political differences. Most have dropped me, some I have either dropped or unfollowed. In any case, good for you two!

Kevin Gilmore said...

Thanks, John -- we are too. I had pretty much written off organized religion but I see where this can work. After the service a few weeks ago we stuck around for a small group discussion about living with our Muslim neighbors. It was such an intelligent discussion, too.

Tammy had been so involved with volunteer work at Hosanna but she grew tired of feeling the need to hide the fact that she supports our president. She was sensing a good amount of right-wing mob mentality among the faithful there and decided enough was enough. She left without saying a word or looking back. Their loss for sure.

I'm sorry about the losses you too have realized. A part of me wants to just quietly go about my life and let others believe as they do but there's this other side that sees a very destructive force at work and I have to speak up.