Tuesday, September 25, 2007

John Connor Brown Jr. High Building

We were honored yesterday to be in Midland for the dedication of the John Connor Brown Jr. High Building on the campus of Midland Christian Schools. The speakers said wonderful things and it was moving to have some of Connor's best friends perform the actual unveiling. The thing that touched me the most however, was the respect that the student body showed during the ceremony. From the smallest to the biggest, the 1,100 students of MCS were patient, respectful and loving in the way they listened and participated. It meant the world to our family.

I was thinking about my sisters kids on the drive out to Midland. Every time I see them I notice the changes in them. Like how beautiful Bailey is and how much she looks like her mother or how I can tell Hutton has been working out because he's so solid when I give him a hug or how Reagan has somehow become even quicker on his feet which seemed impossible the last time I saw him.

The last year or so of Connor's life his physical appearance changed significantly. He lost the last of his baby fat, his face thinned out and he looked so grown up to me. Stephanie and I mentioned several times how much he had grown. What hadn't changed was his wry smile, his sweet demeanor and his loving spirit.

I'm extremely grateful to the Board of Trustees at Midland Christian for the honor bestowed upon a good kid like John Connor Brown. But the truth is I wish I could hug him again and watch him grow some more. I wish my sister was not having to suffer through this terrible loss. I wish I were dead and gone from old age before the occasion to name a building after him had ever arisen.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Trip to Abilene

I spent Monday and Tuesday at the ACU Lectureship. Here are my top 5 highlights:

1. Eating at Harold's. Harold's Bar-b-Que literally makes my mouth water. Seriously, I'm drooling on my computer keyboard at the mere mention of it.

2. Hearing Landon Saunders speak. His words Monday night will stay with me for a long time.

3. Seeing my niece Bailey. She was beautiful, enjoying college and steady on her feet.

4. Spending time with the Fisher family and seeing their new house. Great food, great house, great kids!

5. Being reminded of how thankful I am for my time at ACU. I'm not a rah-rah kind of alumnus. I know that people have had great college experiences on numerous campuses around the world. In fact, I'm sure that there were certain aspects of the college experience that I missed out on by going to ACU (big time college sports just to name one). However, my time there provided me with wonderful memories and most importantly, friends who continue to walk with me 15 years after our graduation day. I spoke with three of them today.

Thanks to Mark Love and his crew for putting on a great lectureship.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Bride of Christ vs. The Stepford Wives

I feel it only fair to warn you that what I'm about to say is coming from a place of frustration. But if you can't spout off on your own blog, then where can you?

Recently I found myself amongst a group of christian mothers. We were not at a church building, but we were at a business that while opened to the general public, tends to cater to christians. Perhaps because I was the only dad in the room or because I didn't know anyone there or (I fear) because of the way I was dressed (not very nicely), no one seemed all that interested in speaking with me. They were however, very excited to speak with each other. I lowered my head and tried to remain as inconspicuous as possible, but my ears were attuned to my surroundings. In other words, I did some big time eaves dropping!

Wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. When I arrived at this establishment I noticed my dirty Honda stood out like a sore thumb in a sea of top of the line mini-vans and SUV's. I hesitated after entering and almost stepped back outside to make sure I was in the right place. I thought I might have mistakenly joined a Mary Kay cosmetics party. Finally, as I made a quick scan of the room I was surprised to see that apparently I was the only one there who was neither a member of a tanning salon nor had participated in breast augmentation surgery. Hey, I'm a healthy guy! Give me a break, it was difficult not to notice.

So, I began to listen to the conversations around me. The themes were common: kids, husbands, school starting, etc. There was talk of vacation homes, husbands' great new jobs and boasting about how talented their children were. There was also a lot of talk about church. These ladies were all church attenders, but did not seem to attend the same churches. Some bragged about their churches programs, while others complained about theirs. Some spoke about how awesome their pastors were, others rolled their eyes and said they wished they had a cool pastor.

I began to consider what a non-church attender would think of what he/she heard. The more I listened, the more sickened I felt by it. In fact, if you replaced "church" with "country club" and "pastor" with "tennis pro" you could not tell a bit of difference between this and any other group of rich women.

There were a few "God blesses" and some talk of prayer thrown in, but that only seemed to make it worse. "My Brittany is such a gifted dancer! You'd have to be blind not to see she's the most talented one in her class. If she doesn't get the lead in the upcoming production, it will be a crime and I will have to have a talk with that director, God bless him. So, we're praying about it."

It was the PTL networks version of the Stepford Wives.

I felt a mixture of anger and embarrassment welling up inside, so I stepped out of the room and called my wife (the polar opposite of these women). She talked me off the ledge, but I haven't been able to shake the frustration of that experience, partially because I know in similar situations I have contributed to the problem.

I'm going to try not to do that anymore.