Thursday, October 30, 2008

mission accomplished (I think)

Today I took the day off to attend to business involving the house we’re flipping in White Utopia. We close on it next week.

So in between running errands, I took the two bags of tracts and went to the office of the mega church that the tract-passing crew (TPC) operates from. I didn’t know what to expect, but my plan was to meet someone from their operation face-to-face and make a polite plea for them to begin their own Evang-e-droppings cleanup operation.

Instead, I learned that the TPC does not have an office at this church (which happens to be the same mega church mentioned two posts earlier). But the secretary regularly contacts them and so forth. So I quickly scribbled out a note making my friendly plea, explaining that I was a mere background helper to their ministry, and left it with the two bags of tracts, showing that I did indeed collect these over the past year and I’m not making this up. In the end I signed it agent b, as opposed to my real name.

I don’t know if signing my alias was improper. Had I met them face-to-face I would have used my real name...out of necessity. The TPC’s leader and I have a brief history together. And I wanted to come clean and not hide behind veils, so it seems.

I have no idea if anything will come of this. But I feel that there’s closure. And I needed that.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

evang-e-droppings: coda

It’s official. Today I decided to quit the Evang-e-dropping eradication operation due to lack of time.

As mentioned earlier, my actual human relationships are suffering due to my increased work schedule. So, in the place of tract collecting I will be hanging out with Obi-Wan or whoever drops into my life on Sunday mornings.

I don’t really have anything poetic to wax about this one year plus of tract collecting and trash clean up that hasn’t already been written in previous reports. I think the CEO of the universe has shown me much during this season. And now it’s over. So it goes.

I do wish someone would continue it. And I believe that someone should be a member of the actual crew that passes these tracts out in the first place. Every Saturday night this crew preys on patrons at the door of a local nightclub. Maybe they could come back in the daylight and collect them from the parking lots.

For over a year, I have saved the tracts I’ve collected. Two bags full. I am thinking the time is now to meet my opponents in the faith face-to-face.

Opponents in the faith. That sounds terrible. Anyway, I’m not one to chicken out and mail a load of tracts to their office with some cute note or something. I should meet them face to face and tell them what I was doing: picking up their trash.

I’ll be pleasant about it. And I won’t go into my feelings of tracts in general. I suck at debates. I’ll just say hey, I think it would be a good testimony to not leave behind any trash. Could you please pick up where I’m leaving off?

But then I’d have to find time during the week to actually try to meet up with them. We’ll see.

The operation: it was fun while it lasted. Maybe the kids and I will go out again once in a while.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

under the sun

There is nothing new in the fair mother city. The same 'ole same 'ole.

What has been will be again.

Reports of the largest megachurch in town doubling the size of their facility with a $9 million bank loan isn't surprising. So it goes.

If George Barna's predictions of 70% of all believers living a faith outside the sunday morning social club by 2025 is true, I wonder what buildings like these will be used for by mid century?

All is meaningless.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

tales from the zen #001

This is a new series of possible reports that come to you from The Zen.

The Zen is a place I fall into when I am doing some repetitive task, usually involving loud tools or power equipment while wearing goggles and ear muffs. And it’s like I forget where I’m at because being behind goggles and having loud noise near you yet muffled launches you to another planet. Or The Zen. The CEO sometimes communicates to me in The Zen.

But most of the time I just think up weird stuff.

Recently while working for the jedi master cutting tile, thus under the influence of the wet saw and angle grinder, I thought about the possibility of a future assignment change.

Yes. Me. The guy who has spent half his life in the fair mother city ponders a potential assignment change from headquarters. I’m leaving it that vague. This move may never happen. Or if it does, I’m guessing it will be a few years or so.

A few years back, when we peacefully parted ways with the izzy group ministry, Agent Wife and I pondered why we were still in the fair mother city. We had no jobs or family here. Despite a myriad of friendships, our reason for being here seem to revolve around two vital relationships: Princess and Obi-Wan.

Princess was Agent Wife’s little sister with the big sisters program. They have been friends since 1999. But that relationship recently closed one way or another.

So we strongly feel that we are still here for our friendship with Obi-Wan.

I find it odd that I’d even consider leaving the fair mother city since I admire missionaries who stay within their outreach culture for the long haul. ie: forever.

But recently I’ve been looking at our time in the FMC as a possible training period as opposed to a life-time call. Maybe I’m right about this. Maybe not.

Either way, my plea to the CEO is that I don’t want to die here. God, help me.

Friday, October 10, 2008

twenty four minutes in the fringes

Being wrapped up in my current life of a house-flipping jedi padawan has blurred my past. Or at least I’ve begun to forget how the deep trenches of the poverty culture is where I had once camped daily.

I’ve recently been reminded twice of my past with the izzy group ministry* some five to eight years ago.

1) Recently in the obituaries I learned of Jim Diddy’s passing. Jim was one of the hanger-ons in the Willy & Patches crowd. He was a notorious drunk and engager of escapism and the mole lifestyle like his buddies. I last saw Jim at either Willy’s or Patches’ funeral. I can’t remember which.

Amazingly enough, the obit mentioned his years of alcohol abuse. It also mentioned that in recent years Jim gave his life to Christ and battled his demons one by one until they were no more. He went on mission trips to mexico with his church as recently as last summer.

Thank you CEO for Jim’s change in life. And thanks for showing me the rest of the story.

2) After work today I drove by a slum house where I often have seen Georgia Rusty sitting in the yard with a 40 ouncer. Rusty was there along with Double O. I did a u-turn and pulled over to sit with these old friends and their watered-down brews.

Man. I was in another world. I almost forgot what life was like on the extreme fringes. While I was catching up with Rusty & Double O and Maria (Rusty’s longtime girlfriend and legendary local schizo), some legless guy in a wheelchair kept yelling to Rusty to buy some of his weed. The wheelchair guy had a leg missing below the knee. And I swear I saw a partial bone sticking out, like maybe the doctors didn’t fold the skin over all the way.

And some other elderly lady walked by then sat down in the grass with a beer and stared off away from the street. I assume she had mental problems (or demons, take your pick).

I watched a cop drive by slowly and gaze at us, like maybe this was a house that was always patrolled.

Double O, a notorious drunk himself, filled me in on the details of his grandkids who have been born since we last hung out. Rusty openly shared of his addictions. Just alcohol and pot. But he quit all that “other stuff”. Needle doing and so forth. Both guys kept fantasizing about some government check that might pop into their lives soon.

I just told them about my children they have never met and how I’m remodeling houses now.

The culture didn’t shock me and I adjusted pretty quick. But I’m very rusty within the far fringes. And it was weird that I was looked upon as the "church guy" with their apologetic behavior and so forth. I've always hated getting the church guy treatment.

I may need to go hang out there more. They invited me to.

*izzy group – nickname for the ministry I was once director and associate pastor of. It was a hands-on ministry to the local poverty culture with various apparatuses.

photo - Gary Kazanjian / AP file

Monday, October 06, 2008

jedi padawan #002

As stated recently, my master plan is advancing forward at light speed.

Currently, I am an official full-time employee of the jedi master. And that is a very good thing because I am learning much and enjoying the work tremendously.

I am getting less awkward with tools and at least looking like I know what I’m doing more and more daily.

Just a year ago, I pondered my existence through the desert wastelands of the bible-belt. Now, I drive a truck and wear a tool belt. I am a bad-ass. And that is my existence.

And my big announcement:

As of today I am now under contract with a realtor to buy our next house flip. Yes – I, the young padawan in home remodeling and trades work is now an equal partner on the next project as financier...or something.

And the CEO of the universe employs his ironic humor as this property is located in White Utopia.

Yes. White Utopia: the fair mother city’s eastward bedroom community that I love to loathe and make fun of - a mere microcosm of the fair mother city with heavy magnification on wealth, religion, Caucasian seclusion, and haves vs. have-nots. Or maybe I’m too critical.

Good one CEO. I’m still shocked that my first would be there.

Oh well. Viva la Whitey it is!

Thank you CEO.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

obi-wan sermon files

Due to my busy and quasi-excrutiating work weeks of late, the evang-e-dropping eradication operation has been put on the backburner. I have not planned to quit collecting christian tracts from nightclub parking lots just yet.

But since I have so little time and energy to maintain actual human relationships during the week, I have shifted my Sunday morning time to being with either my family, Obi-Wan, or whoever else shows up.

This morning it was time with Obi-Wan. And I forgot how he can preach, albeit unintentional. I believe accidental preaching is the best kind of preaching.

The sermon topic this morning was almost straight from the Uncle George handbook: the CEO provides.

My friend, elderly neighbor, and Redd Fox stunt double Obi-Wan went on for almost an hour about how in recent years he asks the CEO for everything. And one way or another it shows up, be it some piddly little odd job needing attention performed by me or Mr. Mackey, or not having the energy to cook and suddenly someone is bringing a plate of food through his door, or whatever.

It’s easy and overly tempting to rely on ourselves when we’re young and able-bodied. But my elderly mentor Obi-Wan has taught me a faith level I have only imagined.