Happy Birthday to Dave the Engineer

Happy Birthday Dave the Engineer!  During my time at Home.FM’s Mornings at Home and our evening version Mornings at Home – Baywatch Nights, David Benson oversaw all engineering for the radio station, which I believe he still does.

Anyway, Dave was kind enough to lend his voice to the Mornings at Home inbox.  Thanks to advanced internet technology, here’s just a snippet of the birthday boy, circa 2011 or so.

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Yes, There Will be a Recession

Economists and politicians are bantering about a likely recession in the coming years.   These are bad optics for some, stark truth for others, and dismissible news for optimists.  To be honest, I can’t help but pay attention.  My hunch is that more than a few are watching, especially as it relates to retirement, 401Ks and all that.

Listen, I’m no math major, but recessions are inevitable.  Economies get bigger, get smaller, lurch back and forth and find their way.  The numbers morph in weird ways. Straight lines only show up with certain kinds of depreciation.  Things are too unpredictable and complex to follow a well charted course.  We have to project, forecast, go with our gut.  It’s like being a meteorologist: It’s probably going to rain, but maybe not.  If I’m right, I’m good, but if I’m wrong, the uh… models were off.  It’s like this: when you’re right 51% of the time, you’re wrong 49% of the time.Growth without some loss is impossible because economic systems need to correct themselves.  Think of them like respiration.  Breathe in (expand, grow) / breathe out (contract, shrink).  It’s the nature of the free market.

Followers of Jesus don’t freak out over threats of bad news.  Jesus tells us not to worry, so, when economists start wringing their hands, we don’t wring along.  We stand firm.  Of course, this way of living both ways.  If a portfolio fattens up during the good times, we know better than to put our hope in money.  We stand firm.

Of course there’s going to be a recession, because economic recessions follow economic expansion.  And…?

The real question is: what are the people who claim hope fixated on?  his, by the way, is a first-world problem and should be seen as such.  Many of our sisters and brothers in the world don’t care about stocks because dinner — and where it might come from, if anywhere — is more pressing.

Just a thought.  A sermon for myself, perhaps.  I think I needed to hear it.


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I Ate Two Hamburgers, ok?

I was snagging lunch with a fellow pastor at the jazzy and swanky Union in downtown Kalamazoo.  He and I meet a few times a year for food and fellowship, always at The Union, and always on Tuesday, because that’s the day burgers are really cheap – like more than half off.  That’ll do, cow.  That’ll do.

We both ordered the Angry Burger, which is basically a cheeseburger with a Siracha Mayo topping and some jalapeños.   That’s why it’s called angry: it bites back, both at the meal and later on (in case you were wondering).

As I ate my cheeseburger, I did the math.  I needed more calories, and this was the cheapest way to get more calories, as well as more protein and some outstanding sautéed vegetables.  After I finished my Angry Burger, I ordered another one of the same.  The server thought I was joking (admittedly, I’ve dad joked before re: their refill policy on the pop and also the hamburgers, ha harrr haarrrr, so her skepticism was aptly warranted).  Eventually she believed me and hit Ctrl+C, then Ctrl+V on her restaurant terminal.

You read that right.  I sat down, ordered lunch, ate it all, and ordered the same thing again and ATE THAT MEAL TOO.   Like a glutton.  Or that one guy from Popeye who loves hamburgers.  Google suggests Wimpy was his name and that he looks like this:

“I’d gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today!”

But I did the math and, I promise, social graces aside, this was the best way by far to procure more calories that weren’t essentially Pizza. I’m not sure why I’m so adamant to defend myself on a blog post that my friend Ed (and about 20 other people) will read, and it’s not that I fear being judged.  Or… maybe I do fear judgement?  Is that the burning in my stomach?

No, wait.  That’s the Angry Burgers.  I’ll be ok.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. Am I the only one who has done this before?
  2. Is Siracha a condiment or a subculture?  People sure are into that stuff right now.  Are you, or is it too spicy?
  3. Do you have favorite restaurants that you go to specifically for the timely discounts?  Any suggestions for some sweet deals?  Protein is important.  Thanks.
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Stormy Days in Ann Arbor

Twenty five later, and I can still go back on rainy days

A grey canopy of sky, a consistent sprinkle, squeaky windshield wipers

I’m driving in Kalamazoo but my mind is on State Street and University Avenue

It’s 1994

Hundreds of Wolverines cross the street at the stop sign with the blinking light

Impervious to the rain, some in yellow (maize) ponchos, but most just wet

Their backpacks emblazoned with block m’s, their walk consistent in the rain

From one class to another, Basia playing on the tape deck in the Ford Tempo

We crawled through the intersection as the wipers did another cycle

And Dad did his best not to brush anyone’s kneecaps with the wet bumper


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Just One Verse — Luke 11:1

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place.  When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teaches us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”   – Luke 11:1

Everything Jesus does is on purpose.  Throughout the gospels we see Jesus regularly and intentionally praying.  One day his disciples finally asked what they had already been asking amongst themselves: how do you do that, Lord?

Jesus is a teacher, so he naturally takes the opportunity to teach them what we now call the Lord’s prayer.  Most followers of Jesus have the Lord’s prayer memorized, and rightly so, because it gives helpful structure for our conversation with God.  These words have played a central role in the faith of billions around the world and over the centuries.  Jesus basically taught us prayer in a nutshell.  What a gift this is!

The prayer gets a ton of attention (as it should) but did you notice the setup for this moment between Jesus and his disciples?

  • The disciples see that Jesus has something they don’t: a completely different kind of prayer life with God.  They want what He’s got.
  • The disciples have seen Jesus do this enough times that they finally asked, and it was only when they asked that he taught them.  Jesus is always ready to teach, but he often waits until we’re ready to learn.
  • The disciples want to pattern their lives after Christ, not just their location.  “We don’t want to just walk behind you, Jesus — we want to interact with the world and the Father the way that you do.”  Discipleship changes our path and our practices.  They say, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”  They saw what other discipleship scenarios brought about, and they wanted the same with Jesus.   Today we live in a culture of discipleship, which happens whenever we pattern ourselves around something we perceive as bigger than us, thus giving it a god-like authority in our lives.  We become disciples of a certain celebrity, pattern our lives after wildly successful people, even at the expense of faithfulness in our own context.  Though we don’t call it such, people inherently understand discipleship because they see it modeled everywhere and passionately practiced.  We need to make sure we’re on the right path, following Jesus in our steps and our practices.

One of the biggest unspoken lessons here on prayer is this: we’ve got to be intentional.  Jesus showed them a revolutionary way to pray, not by doing a seminar but by simply being faithful enough that a pattern became apparent.  The disciples just had to ask.

What do you see Jesus doing in the scripture (or in the world) that inspires you to make it part of your ritual?  After all, that’s what discipleship truly is.  When Jesus shows you, ask Him the question: “how do you do that, Lord?”

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USPS Email, Printed Newspapers, CodgerTalk™

Did you know that the United States Postal Service (USPS) can email you images of what pieces of mail you’ll get later in the day?  Every morning, ’round 8 or so, I get a message from my friendly Postmaster that has a bunch of Xerox coper-era jpg’s of my mail.  I said to Emily even this morning, “there’s a bill coming from [redacted] in the mail today.”  It’s pretty neat, you know, to be able to spy on yourself like that.

It makes me wonder how long until they just open the mail, and send me images of what’s inside, foregoing the whole walk to the mailbox.

Then I think to myself “well, if they can send me an image of the correspondence itself, why not just write something back to the sender, scan it, and email it back to them?” which is a great example of both overthinking and reinventing the wheel.  We call that “email.”  The “e” stands for electronic.  Kids don’t use it.

Listen, I still get an analog copy of the newspaper every morning.  The ceremony of finding it in the driveway/lawn/snow is something I look forward to.  Reading actual print on paper is a delight.  Screens are so… everywhere.  Having a whole paper to read makes me want to at least skim the whole thing, if not read many articles from top to bottom.  No invasive ads, no notifications, no rabbit trails.  I even do the crossword.  What am I?  Old?


What about you?  Do you read a print paper?  Do you get the email from the post office?  By the way, it’s called “Informed Delivery” which sounds like a James Bond movie or a pamphlet at a Lamaze class.  If you want, here’s the link (to the mail thing, not the other stuff I said: https://informeddelivery.usps.com/box/pages/intro/start.action

Or, you can google it. You can google everything I’ve mentioned.

Posted in Hot Topics

Follow Her Lead

History has been made in the Free Methodist Church as we have finally elected our first female bishop ever.  A whole new board of three bishops (also counted as a roster of bishops, a basket of bishops, and a battery of bishops) now take the lead for the coming four years.

I’ll tell you this: from what I’ve gathered, Bishop is a difficult job.  Your role?  Oversight of, you know, everything.  Thankfully Jesus is Lord of the church.  Yet He lets us get involved with leadership, and for real.  Jesus is a confident leader who has every reason to take total control, yet He wants us to join Him in this work.  Mysterious.  As far as organizations go, the church is an odd duck, which is, by the way,  the origin of the phrase “flock of bishops”.

Here’s to gifted women and men leading the church.  Lead on Bishop Keith Cowart, Bishop Linda Adams, and Bishop Matt Whitehead.  I’m praying for all three newbies this evening.  What an impossible task.  May their strength be made perfect in weakness.



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