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5:29 a.m. - 2003-04-28

HAIL, HAIL, THE PUN'S RIGHT HERE

For those of you who treat your computers like wayward Jehovah's Witnesses who won't leave your front porch on a Saturday morning ... I updated this weekend.

In that update, which features a few plugs for people and causes that may or may not warrant your attention, I also focused on the bizarre storm that we endured on Friday afternoon/evening.

I may have said it in the actual entry, but it bears repeating ... we were under a Tornado Warning for three hours here. That means that Doppler Radar (the name of my second child, if I ever have another) had spotted tornadic activity for three hours straight.

That means sirens were wailing for three hours.

That means that the sky would turn black, then grey and then yellowish-green within minutes.

It really was pretty creepy.

And I documented it all on videotape.

Yes, "Uncle Bob's Storm of the Century/Decade/Week" has been captured for generations to come.

I had so much fun doing it. Usually when I videotape something, I stay quiet behind the camera and let the action speak for itself.

But here, I was acting like Geraldo Rivera, making ludicrous comments about the storm.

I interviewed a makeshift babbling brook behind our home that was a result from the intense rainfall.

I'd ask the brook a question and it would just "babble".

(Get it??)

I inspected the hail damage on my neighbor Troy's car as he stood there thinking I'm some sort of lunatic as I spoke in an investigative journalistic tone, asking him "What kind of idiot leaves his car outside in a hailstorm?"

He walked back inside when I asked him that. I really wish he would have put his hand on the camera lens and said "This interview is OVER!" for dramatic effect.

Anyway, I got a few pings on my car hood as well, since I left my car outside during the hail storm.

But in my defense ... I wanted a new paint job at the insurance's expense.

And baby...I'M GETTIN' ONE!!!

WHOOOHOOOOOO!!!


For the last couple of weeks now, Susie and I have been trying to write a resignation letter to send to the church, resigning ourselves of all duties with the church.

Last night, Susie finally wrote something that she feels comfortable enough to send in which we will be sending this morning.

In essence, we have quit the church, but aren't saying that in the letter in case we change our minds and want to come back. All we say in the letter is that "We feel at this time in our lives, we must make some changes to our commitments. We have struggled with this decision, but feel we can no longer serve this church in leadership roles."

There's several reasons for us leaving the church, some are perfectly acceptable, some we are really trying to come to terms with and others are ... as I've said here before ... way too controversial to get into here because you guys would light up the message board with your input and frankly, I don't feel like reading it because bottom line...you may think you know me, but only a small fraction of you really do.

The basic reason is that we are a church full of old, retired people. Andrew is the only two year-old kid in the church. When young couples with children visit the church looking for a new church home, they are looking for a church with other young couples with children.

We're the youngest couple with children here.

And I'm 41 years old.

We literally do not have one single member of our church who are in their 20s.

We have a handful of people in their 30s.

Even less people in their 40s.

Some in their 50s.

And the rest are in their 60s and older.

We have no REAL friends at church. Everyone's nice and chatty on Sunday morning.

But as soon as we walk out that door, we don't hear from any of them until the following Sunday.

We want a church where we can be actively involved with other people throughout the week. And where Andrew can interact with other children, rather than sit in his "Sunday School" with an older woman who reads him stories about Jesus.

That's the main reason we're leaving.

The second reason, which is somewhat stupid, I understand ... is that we don't care for the new minister who starts this Sunday.

We've heard her preach. We've met her and her crazy, wild-eyed magician husband...and we simply weren't impressed.

We're not the only ones. Three other families have already left the church because they hired this new minister.

And I found out some of the reasons why this minister was hired, which infuriated Susie.

There was a search committee that was looking for a new minister.

Seven members of our church made up this committee. I found all this out through one of those members who was so disgusted with the process that she and her family quit the church.

Apparently, the head guy of the committee was looking for a minister who gave the shortest sermon.

Today, ministers have DVDs of their sermons that they send out to new churches in hopes of getting hired. God meets technology...ain't it great?

So anyway, this new minister's sermon was 11 minutes long.

After the sermon, the head guy grinned and said "Eleven minutes. I think we've found our new minister!"

This pissed Susie off when she heard that.

Second ...and I've been grappling with telling this part because ... well...here comes the hate mail, etc. But dammit, it's my diary, this is affecting my life and I'm going to talk about it. Controversial or not.

There was a woman on this board whose sister is a lesbian. The sister doesn't feel comfortable coming to our church and goes to one of the churches geared toward gay people in our city.

This woman REALLY wants her sister to come to our church, like she used to. Frankly, I like the lesbian sister. I've been to her house twice for parties and worked with her on several projects for the church.

This woman was asking each of the prospective ministers one question..."Where do you stand on alternative lifestyles?"

That's ALL this woman cared about. Finding a minister who accepted homosexuals in her church so that her sister could come back to the church.

Nevermind that the sister is probably more comfortable and loving her new church. This woman won't accept that. She wants her sister WITH HER at HER church.

Our new minister was the first minister out of 12 to say that she accepted homosexuals as God's children and that they were welcome in her church.

The lesbian's sister, upon hearing this, got out of her chair during this group interview, walked over to this new minister, and DEMANDED a high five from her for her answer.

The minister, taken aback, gave her a high five.

The lesbian's sister then asked for high fives from everyone else in the group, and received them.

Keep in mind, I have nothing personal toward gays. I've never had a single problem with gay people and have had plenty of gay friends in my life. Susie's best friend is gay and she was one of our bridesmaids.

Granted, she demanded wearing Birkenstocks under her plaid flannel bridesmaid dress but that's neither here nor there.

(I'M KEEDING! I'M KEEDING!)

So in essence, one guy wanted this minister hired because she gave the shortest sermon and he could get out of church in time to catch his NASCAR races.

And one woman wanted her because she's the only one who said that she welcomed gays in her church with open arms.

So this woman was not hired based on the needs of the church family as a whole, but rather the alterior motives of the people on the board.

That doesn't set well with me.

We all had to fill out surveys of what we were looking for in a new minister. The board then pooled these surveys together and were SUPPOSED to determine what we as a church family were looking for based on these surveys.

And I know that not a single one of my wishes or the wishes of others in the church were met with this new minister.

So we're outtie.

Keep in mind, I'm not leaving because this woman preaches short sermons and I want to hear long ones. Or that she accepts gays while I want a gay-free church.

We're leaving because our church simply does not offer us what we want out of it. And that is a youth program, and a younger congregation that we can relate to. A young congregation that can step up to the plate and do some of the duties of the church that need to be done, because right now, it all rests on Susie's and my shoulders.

The old people have done all the duties in the past, so they can't be asked to be a church deacon or webmaster or head the evangelism division or head the adult Sunday School classes or teach the choir. So they come to me and Susie instead.

And we're just tired of being the ones who have to do everything there. It got to the point where we didn't have a life outside of the church. Some of you already knew this.

Plus...yeah, sure...I'm disgusted with the people on the board who rather than trying to find someone who met the needs of the church as a whole went with someone who satisfied their own personal agendas.

I expressed this dissatisfaction during a board meeting and was made to feel like an idiot for speaking my mind. Nevermind that I was speaking for all the people who were too afraid to speak up for themselves, of which there are a LOT of. Everyone I've talked to in the church about the new minister did not LIKE the new minister.

Yet, she was voted in by a majority of people.

Why?

Because the head guy on the board demanded a "vocal vote" rather than a "paper vote".

So everyone had to say "Aye" or "Nay", rather than check a box on a slip of paper and do it anonymously, which would have prompted more honesty from the congregation.

I know in my heart, had it been a paper vote, this woman would not have been hired.

But she has been.

And now, we're looking for a new church home.

And we're the fourth family to do so.

The first family had three teenagers in their family.

The second family had two teenagers.

The third family was an elderly couple that had been going to this same church for more than 50 years.

And then there's us...the only family with a child below the age of 5.

All within a month.

And these are only the families I know about.

Since we haven't been going to church for the last two months.

Anyway...sorry so boring on a Monday.

But I just had to get that off my chest.

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