Sunday, July 24, 2016

Oven fixed (again!)

Our oven stopped working yet again this past Thursday. Of course it happened to be when we had all the kids here visiting.

We just bought it in May of 2014 at the local appliance store down the street. It's nice that they can come fix it in a reasonable amount of time, but this is the FOURTH time it's stopped working in 2 years!! I'm beginning to think the Whirlpool model WFG530SOAW1 gas range is perhaps a lemon.

Anyway, last week when they fixed it they just adjusted the igniter elements - because it wasn't lighting (which has always been the problem). Since we were idiots and didn't pay for the extended warranty, we had to pay for the labor. Well, when he came to fix it Friday he just went ahead and replaced the igniter. He only charged us for the part and not the labor because he admitted he probably should have done that to begin with. So that was at least nice.

While I don't regret buying local, I do dread the thought of replacing ANY appliances. They honestly don't make them like they used to (said the appliance repairman). Gone are the days when you could buy a refrigerator, washer/dryer, oven, dishwasher, or any such standard item and trust that it would last a good 20 years or so. I suppose that's what they call "progress."

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Isaac and ricci visit

The son and his wife were able to spend a couple days with us this week. They arrived Thursday late-morning and stayed until this morning. So we had a couple nights and days to visit and hang out.

Thursday night we stayed at our house and the Feipel Five came over. We had a Mexican themed night, with Mexican style food and drinks. Friday we went to Two-EE's Winery and were going to eat supper and listen to music, but it was so oppressively hot that we didn't stay there long. The hillside where we sat was right in the sun and, while it wasn't bad if you sat really still, the kids were just drenched in sweat from running around. I was worried they were going to overdo it. So we didn't stay long. Drew took the kids to their house and put them to bed and the rest of us went back to our house and had pizza. We also watched The Barkley Marathons again on Netflix because Isaac and Ricci had never seen it. I think it's hilariously interesting.

This morning Jane, Isaac and Ricci were going to go watch Anna and Bennett play soccer, then they would have to leave. I had to work. I've been working 6 days a week lately, which doesn't really bother me, but I hope it doesn't become a permanent thing. Working in this heat (and driving my car with no AC) is really making me feel old anymore.

So, that's about it. It was nice having them around even for a brief visit. They have a lot of people they need to see when they come up North. Hopefully we can make a trip to Atlanta sometime this fall.

Friday, July 22, 2016

3 years

Facebook reminded me this morning of this tragic little tale I posted on this date 3 years ago:
I don't want anyone to wonder - in case I put any odd cryptic messages on here - but apparently I only thought I was on a sabbatical. I was asked to not return to my church last week. Jane and I are still in a bit of shock, but I am honestly a little amazed they put up with me for 14 years. I may not always say what people want to hear, but I would like to think you know that I am always going to be honest with you. Regardless of what you may have heard please know that this was not my choice and we would be happy to hear from any of our friends. If you are a praying kind of person I would appreciate them for my family, and for our former church family as well.

Not exactly how I wanted to start my day. Thanks, Facebook. Anyway, I can't really believe it's been 3 years. What's worse is, I can't believe the people responsible have still refused to ever meet with us or talk to us in 3 years. I'm also fairly disappointed that no one, not one time, has ever even mentioned the possibility for reconciliation of any kind.

As I've probably said many times, the worst thing wasn't being asked to leave, it was the way it was done. It was the rejection, degradation, alienation, and abandonment. I wish I could say I was over it, but never having had the chance to put any kind of closure on the situation, I just don't see how it can ever really be put to rest - at least in my mind.

I guess I didn't realize just how naive I was. I always thought my church was different; my friends were different; I thought *I* was different. But we are all the same. None of us any better or any worse than anyone else. All of us capable of good, and evil, and at any time.

I don't know if someone wanted revenge against me for something, or if they wanted to see me 'put in my place,' or to simply see me take a fall, but I hope they are happy. They got what they wanted. If they thought I was unfit for church leadership then, I certainly am now.

Perhaps the hardest thing right now is the feeling that maybe we really DON'T fit anywhere. I have not lost faith in God, or even in the church, but I seriously wonder if there is a place for us in it. I don't know. It's been 3 years and we're still wandering in the desert.

Well, again, not really how I wanted to start my day. This didn't bother me as much when I first saw it, and I'm hoping that writing this out will get it out of my system. At least I've got other things to occupy my mind and my time today.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Beer and hymns

I'm not sure how I have never heard of the 'Beer & Hymns'... thing? I can't say that I know very much about it just yet, but it sounds interesting.

I have written before about the 'Beer Study & Bible Tasting' I've often thought about trying to organize. This seems to go in a slightly different direction, but, honest to God, I have actually considered posting something on Facebook for about the last year asking if anyone had a bunch of old hymnals they wanted to unload. While I wasn't necessarily thinking about this, it does seem a little coincidental.

I first heard about 'Beer & Hymns' just yesterday from a post Andrew Jones shared on Facebook. So I started investigating a little. Here are just a few resources I've found so far:
 I even found a link to a beer & hymns meeting at the Trion in New Haven, IN in 2015. Apparently it was conducted by someone from another city who was visiting for a conference of some sort.

I have to admit, I do like singing the old hymns. I also like beer (though I'm starting to get burned out on it; fortunately you don't HAVE to drink at these events). Most of the gatherings simply consist of getting together at a bar, and singing old hymns. Apparently this is part of the Christian tradition from around the time electricity was being introduced.

So..... I dunno. Something to think about.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Thin skin

I have been told often throughout my life that I needed thicker skin. It's a popular phrase in seminaries and other places preparing people for church ministry. I heard it many times while I was pastoring as well. I never much cared for the phrase "thick-skinned," or the sentiment.

I realize what people mean by having "thicker skin" is that we shouldn't take things so personally. When someone gets angry, or they say negative things about you or someone else, or they seem to intentionally do things to make life more difficult, often it has nothing to do with you in particular. You just happen to be the person they are taking it out on (sometimes). I get that - we shouldn't get our feelings hurt so easily.

But I've been reading the book of Jeremiah lately. He is referred to as the "weeping prophet" because his heart broke over the plight and condition of his people. He was sent to deliver a hard message - a message that required people to repent, to change and alter their lives. Then, just like now, rarely do people respond well to messages that require behavioral change. A gander at Jeremiah chapters 8-9 gives you a glimpse of what things were like.

Jesus wept for pretty much the same reasons. His heart broke "because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd" (Mt.9:36). I believe Jesus' ministry broke his heart, even to the point of death. And he prayed for them (us) because they knew not what they were doing.

What bothers me when people say things like, "don't take it so personally," is the fear that we, as a culture, seem to have grown comfortable with that attitude towards God too. We commit sin after sin and calm ourselves with the thought that God doesn't take it personally; He knows we're just sinners, after all. And now we have a culture, similar to so many cultures of the past, that doesn't take our actions seriously. In other words, there is no real fear of God.

Now, to be sure, I am not advocating for a legalistic, finger-pointing attitude towards the world, or even the church. What I am suggesting is that maybe we need thinner skin. I guess I tend to equate thin skin with a softer heart. I believe more people should have their heart broken by things that are hurtful. More people should be moved to tears by the things that break God's heart. Rather than thinking others shouldn't take things personally, maybe it's time we started to understand the consequences of our own actions - how the things we say and do can impact the lives of others.

I don't know, I don't like living on an emotional roller-coaster, but I think I would like to have thinner skin again. I want my heart to break for the things that break God's heart. I want to feel again. I want to be motivated to care more not only about my fellow human beings, but about what God thinks as well.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Unassigned ministers recovery group

I had my weekly breakfast with my friend Tom this morning and it got me thinking about something. Tom pastor's a church, but also serves as a cohort leader within his tribe. That means he not only meets with several other church leaders (pastors) on a regular basis, but he also has an interest in their churches. When there are issues, he meets with the board and listens to all sides and tries to get them to work together. At the same time he feels a responsibility to pastors who have stepped down or been asked to step down from churches. I find his approach so refreshing and life-giving. It's nice to know there actually are people out there who really do care about the "body" of Christ.

So he talked for a bit wondering how he could better connect with church boards in his cohort circle without making the pastors feel threatened. He also mentioned getting churches, and pastors, involved in their "recovery/reconciliation" process. That's what piqued my interest. So I began to ask him about it.

I've been trying to guard against negative thoughts and talk lately and really don't want to bash the people in leadership within my particular region of our denomination, but the truth is, we really stink at things like this. Honestly I'm not sure if it's because we don't have any processes, or if it boils down to the people responsible for carrying them out simply aren't very good at it. Or, I suppose it's possible it's just that my expectations are too high.

Personally, I feel that once I was asked to resign from my previous church, there was no one within my region who felt any responsibility towards anyone. The person that I thought should, seemed to stick his head in the sand. He wouldn't respond to me, he only passively met with the church leaders to satisfy my request, and he has done little to nothing in the years since. My last attempt at correspondence - which was a direct question - remains unanswered.

I have talked to others in similar situations who have left churches, or ministry entirely, and have felt equally abandoned. So it kind of got me thinking about this unassigned ministers group.

I have no idea what it would look like, what it might be called, or how it would operate, but it just seems to me someone ought to give a shit about pastors/ministers who have either failed, been driven out, or for some other reason are no longer serving and feel abandoned by the tribe they once called their own. So this is just an initial jotting-down-of-the-idea in hopes I can think through this some more.

Some things I'm thinking:
  • I don't want it to be anything official, but I can think of several former pastors right here in my area, and maybe we could just get together somewhere and see what happens. Or, maybe it could be a skype group??
  • I don't want it to be a "bitch session" or a time to put others down, but rather a way for us to try to help one another up.
  • I probably shouldn't assume that everyone is in need of recovery, but it seems to me most people probably do to some extent. I know I could use some help.
  • I should check our regional directory and see just how many are listed there as "unassigned."
  • I need to do some research on recovery groups - even pastoral recovery groups. I have no idea what resources there may already be.
I will probably forget about this in a couple hours, and I also don't think I have much clout with anyone from within my tribe, so I can't imagine anything coming from it. I still wanted to jot down some thoughts just in case. We'll see....

[I just ordered the book "The First Step to Celebrate Recovery"]

Monday, July 18, 2016

A visit to illinois

We went back to the place of my growing up this past weekend. It was the two of us, and the five Feipels. We all stayed at my parents house. We also attended the annual Music On Main event in Sheffield on Saturday.

Jane and I took our car and left around 2:30 pm Friday. The Feipel van was about a half hour behind us. Traffic was a bit thick through the Gary to Joliet area and it ended up taking 5 1/2 hours to get there. That's about an hour longer than usual.

On the way back to Fort Wayne we left around the same time (2:45) and it only took about 4 hrs. 45 minutes to get home. Traffic was still heavy, but not as bad as it had been earlier.

We occupied the upstairs at my parents house. They have two big bedrooms and a full bath up there. Things went okay and we ate my mom's cooking plus a TON of junk food they always have around: cheese trays, potato chips, cake, etc. I'm sure it throws my dad into quite the loop having so much activity - compared to the normal lack of it - but we all survived.

Jane, Carrie and I ran a 5k in Sheffield Saturday morning. It was some kind of fundraiser, and not really part of Music On Main. I didn't pay much attention to the organization, and got a child's shirt and gave to Anna because the only shirt colors were pink or powder blue. Anyway, there wasn't a very big turnout, and I hardly knew any other runners. Carrie beat us, but Jane and I both broke 30 minutes for the first time this summer (barely). It was a bit hilly, but it was fun. I was kind of surprised and disappointed there weren't more local people running it. I had actually planned to wear my old track uniform (shirt) but I'm glad I didn't because I doubt that anyone would have known what it was about. I'm still glad we did it though.

Nephew/Dr. Tim's non-profit organization organized kids games for late-morning/early-afternoon. So we went to my parents house and got the kids and headed back. They had an obstacle course for little kids where they ran through water, spun around, crawled through shaving cream, and things like that. They then all ended up in the nifty splash pad area they have now. All three grandkids had a blast. It was pretty neat.

Afterward they served lunch and the kids played on the playground equipment for awhile (the same equipment our kids used to play on). Eventually the boys started getting fussy, so Drew Carrie took them back to my parent's house and Jane and I stayed at the park with Anna. At 1 pm they had a Soap Box Derby for kids and Anna wanted to give it a shot. It was actually pretty cool, and I was super proud of her for jumping in and giving it a go. There was a shoot that held three cars at a time, and they used gravity to race down a hill. I have a Facebook video of Anna's race but I'm not sure how to put it on here. She said it was a "little scary" but fun.

I went back to the house and took a nap, then Jane and I took Drew out to let him see the Psycho Silo Saloon for the first time. They have really added onto it, and it's even cooler than it was before. There was a band playing in the new stage area and there were a million people there. Well, maybe not a million, but could have been a thousand. Most people were bikers but there was a mix of regular folk too. We saw a few people we knew and chatted for a bit, then went back to Buda.

Jane, myself, and Drew Carrie then headed back to Sheffield for the official 'Music On Main' event. They block off main street and have beer and food and music. It was a good time, but as with the race, I was a little disappointed in the turnout. At a couple of these there had been some class reunions going on at the same time. This year there didn't seem to be much in the way of people like us coming back to visit. In fact, this summer should have been my 35th reunion for high school, but we didn't do anything. It was my sister's 40th, and there was about 20 from her class. It was also Jane's brother Terry's 50th, but I think their reunion is later in the summer. Anyway, we hung out; talked to some people; ate and drank; and listened to music. It was a little on the country side, which isn't really my favorite, but it seemed to go over well with the crowd there.

Eventually we all migrated into Brothers Pub which is right on Main Street. The brothers that own it have a band (Windjam) and they played from around 9:30 pm to 1 am or so. We used to follow them around when we were in our early 20's and beyond, and they're still going strong. They pretty much only play in their own bar now, but they are about as good as any band I've heard. There was a nice crowd - mostly thanks to my sister's class - and I was again a tad disappointed in the lack of old friends around, but we still had fun.

I'm always a bit down after a visit home, but I sense I am feeling more than that now. If you notice, I didn't say we made a "trip home," but rather that we 'visited' Illinois. It is feeling less and less like home to me all the time. That's kind of sad in and of itself, but something has changed. I don't know if it's me, if it was just a matter of time, or what it is. I didn't really even have the same level of anticipation as we got ready to visit. And it just wasn't as fun while there.

I would guess most of the change is in my mind. I don't think I look forward to seeing old friends as much anymore because..... I don't know if I'm a little ashamed, or embarrassed, or what. Those aren't really the words I'm looking for, but it's like I have nothing to say anymore, and no reason why anyone should really want to see me. I'm also just not really all that interested in anyone else either. It's kind of like I'm just existing. I suppose it could just be a phase, but whatever the reason, the thrill is gone from my love affair with the old hometown.


So, I guess that's about it. I'm sure I've forgotten some details, but I doubt anyone is keeping score. It was a nice time, we had fun with Drew Carrie and the kids, and it is always nice to visit. Until the next time...

Friday, July 15, 2016

Updated race schedule

I updated the race schedule this morning. Added 3 and 1 had changed dates. I put ** in front of the new ones. I would like to do at least 2, maybe 3, of these.

6 - Field & Road 5k/ St. Al's, Yoder, IN/ Start 1 pm
12 - Ft. Wayne Firefighters 5-kilt/ Ft. Wayne/ Start 9:30 am. (completed)

2 - 36th Annual Nutri Run 20k, 5mi./ Woodside middle school, Ft. Wayne/ Start 11 am.
16 - 7th Annual Discover Roanoke 10k, 5k, 1 mi./ Roanoke, IN/ Start 9 am.
17 - IPFW Mastadon Stomp 5k/ IPFW, Ft. Wayne/ Start 2 pm.
23 - Speak Up 5k/ Grabill Missionary Church, Grabill, IN/ Start 9 am.
30 - Heroes & Villains 5k (costumed)/ Foster Park, Ft. Wayne/ Start 10 am.

7 - Bishop Luers Run With the Knights 10k, 5k/ Foster Park, Ft. Wayne/ Start 9 am.
14 - 3rd Annual Pink Ribbon Run 4 mi & 2 mi/ Lutheran Hospital, Ft. Wayne/ Start 9 am.
21 - AJ Arnet 5k Honor Run/ Concordia HS, Ft. Wayne/ Start 8:30 am.
21 - Spring Vineyard Tr. 5k/ Two EE's Winery, Huntington, IN/ Start 12:45 pm.
21 - Race for the Warrior 5k/ IPFW, Ft. Wayne/ Start 9 am.
28 - Nun Run 5k & Brother Boogie 10k/ Huntington, IN/ Start 9 am

4 - COME UNITY 6k For Water/ Shoaff Park, Ft. Wayne/ Start 9:15 am.
5 - 36th Annual JP Jones Just Plain 10k & 3.3k/ Foster Park, Ft. Wayne/ Start 2 pm.
*18 - Ribfest 5k/ Ft. Wayne (not sure on date)
18 - MicroBrew Mi & 6k Road Race/ Moline, IL/ Start 4 pm.
18 - 6th Annual Frontier Run 'N Fun 10k & 5k/ Ft. Wayne/ Start 7 pm.
18 - Quackers Riverway 5k/ Johnny Appleseed Park, Ft. Wayne/ Start 6:30 pm.
*25 - Zanesville Lions Club 5k/ Zanesville, IN (not sure on date)
25 - Run Like A Hero 5k/ Summit MS, Ft. Wayne/ Start 9 am.

2 - Leo-Cedarville Freedom 5k/ Riverside Gardens Park, Leo-Cedarville, IN/ Start noon.
4 - Crooked Lake Freedom 5/ Angola, IN/ Start 8:30 am.
9 - 22nd Annual Runners On Parade 5k/ Ft. Wayne/ Start 8 am.
*16 - Music On Main 5k/ Sheffield, IL/
**23 - Dr. Phillip O'Shaunessy Walk/Run for Health (Matt.25), Foster Park/ Start 7:30 am
**30 - 6th Annual New Haven 10k/ Start 7:30 am.
**30 - Gator Gallup 5k, Yoder, IN/ Start 7 pm

6 - Seton Fest Miracle Mile 5k/ Seton Catholic Church, Ft. Wayne/ Start 8 am.
**7 - 1st Annual 5k/10k to support Temp. Home Ministries/ Grace Gathering, New Haven/ Start 1 pm.
20 - 8th Annual Rotary 5k to Eradicate Polio/ Shoaff Park, Ft. Wayne/ Start 8:30 am.
27 - Taste of the Arts Beat Beethoven/ Ft. Wayne/ Start 8:30 am.

**3 - Parlor City Trot, Bluffton, IN/ Start 7:30 am

1 - Fort 4 Fitness/ Ft. Wayne
*30 - River City Rat Race/ Ft. Wayne

19 - Turkey Trot 5k/ Fox Island, Ft. Wayne/ Start
24 - Galloping Gobbler Thanksgiving Run/ St. Francis, Ft. Wayne/ Start

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Oven fixed, running and random

We had to have our oven repaired AGAIN yesterday. We bought it in May of 2014 and I believe they've had to come fix it twice before since then. This time the burners and the oven would not light, or were not lighting consistently. Anyway, they're always good about coming and fixing it, but now the warranty is expired so we have to pay for it. Jane said it was around $60.

My running has not exactly been 'on fire' lately either. I've been trying to run 3-4 days a week, and generally I will run a 5k and then walk a mile. Sometimes more. But I just have no leg or lung strength and I just can't seem to get any speed. Yesterday I struggled to run 3.5 miles and thought I was going to die. I just never hit the zone.

This morning Jane and I went out and we ran 4 miles and walked another mile. I actually felt better than I had been. It was a bit cooler this morning, but another thing occurred to me: I used to always struggle up to 3-4 miles. It was always around the 5 mile point that I would start to gain a rhythm. So maybe that's been my problem. Granted, I am not in as good a shape as I had been in, and I need to start doing some speed work, but I also think I need to start added some longer runs. Perhaps I need to mix things up a little more. I dunno.

I haven't been too motivated to blog lately. I haven't been reading much either. Just not feeling it, I guess. I'm not depressed at all, but pretty much just caught up in work and home and reading about Illini basketball. I haven't been "making time" to write. Not really sure why, or where I'll go from here. It just doesn't matter that much to me right now.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Parking in the garage and other book and basement news

I was finally able to park my car in the garage again last night. Since we'd moved things out of the basement after the flood in May I had been parking the Buick outside. It wasn't a big deal, but it felt like an accomplishment to get the garage emptied and things mostly in there place in the basement. We also got rid of quite a bit of stuff.

The living room area is pretty much settled. The L-shaped rec room is still quite unorganized, but I did get all my books on shelves - minus 4 boxes of ministry books that I am donating to our church library. We are debating on what to do with the pool table. We don't use it much, but the kids like it. I do think we are agreed that the rec room will be the "toy room." We're also considering getting a futon so it could double as a bedroom if needed.

As for the books.... I've debated what to do. I remember when I unloaded all my albums when I converted to Christianity. I regretted that later. I've wondered if that would happen with the books, but at least I should still have access to them for awhile. Most of the ones I got rid of are on preaching, church leadership, and emerging/missional church stuff. I just don't see needing them even if I were to ever go that route again.

Another big project yet to be undertaken is deciding where to put the Jesus pictures in the basement. Fortunately we don't need to be in any hurry.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Runners on parade

Jane and I ran in the 22nd annual Runners On Parade 5k this morning. Apparently it is a part of the Fort Wayne Three Rivers Festival. It started and ended at Headwaters Park West. It was a beautiful morning for it.

I didn't realize until this morning that the name "Runners on Parade" signifies we run the parade route. That was kind of neat to have a bunch of people lining the streets.

We actually ran pretty good for us. Nothing spectacular, and I am still far from in shape, but we ran 9:55-minute miles. I got 568th and Jane 569th out of 859 runners/walkers.

The race started at 8 am, we were done at 8:30, and then I had to work from 9-2 today at Dupont. So other than having to drive separate cars it worked out alright because I was already halfway to work. I was just a little sweaty and stinky, but nothing too serious. It helped that it was cloudy and not as hot/humid as it had been lately.

So, I think that is the 3rd 5k so far this year. We have another one next Saturday. I would like to run a couple more, and a 10k or two in the next couple months also.

Thursday, July 07, 2016


There is no picture to describe how I feel today. Yesterday I gave two statements to the police, talked to four different officers, and for the last two days I've had a lady screaming accusations at me for something I had absolutely nothing to do with - other than trying to help her. I don't want to go to work anymore.

It was a terrible mistake that occurred, and I cannot go into detail, but I totally sympathize and empathize with the person it happened to. I have been busting my butt to try to help her, and all she has done is yell and scream at me and accuse me of all sorts of things that aren't even remotely true. My parking lot at work was literally littered with police cars yesterday for half the day. The company has offered to do whatever it takes to resolve the situation. However, sometimes that's not enough. And, again, I had absolutely nothing to do with any of it! I'm just stuck in the middle and bearing the brunt of most of it.

I know life will go on. It's nothing serious, even. But I am mentally drained. Apparently I can't deal with very much stress anymore.

That's probably more than I should have said. I have been advised to refer all questions and/or inquiries to the general manager or our company lawyer. My "incident report" is currently 3 typed pages and growing.

This, too, shall pass. Right?