Monday, November 30, 2009

On Dasher . . . On Cupid . . .

Amazing the images you can find on Google when you type in the word "Christmas". So, here's my little offering to your Christmas cheer! (No, this is NOT me!)

Now that Thanksgiving is past, I've started thinking about my annual Christmas letter to friends and family. What should I say? How many lies should I tell?

Well, just to keep things fun, I'll include a short list of some highlights below and I'll let you pick out the truths from among the Christmas whoppers.

* Qualified for a spot at the national olympic-lifting event in Atlanta, GA.
* Turned 16
* Ate his weight in ring-dings in 2009

* Began second year at Ball State in Elementary/Special Education
* Was elected to a leadership role for the international Free the Slaves ministry
* Didn't need any tuition money from old Dad in 2009

* Took a 25th Anniversary cruise with Todd this summer
* Decided to go back to school so she could become a principal
* Thinks that the absence of Todd's mustache makes him an even better lover

* Had three books published in 2009
* Lost 5 pounds on his anniversary cruise
* Never stretches the truth

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Gladwell? Well . . . Glad

This weekend I completed my reading of Malcolm Gladwell's latest book (and the NY Times #1 Bestseller): What the Dog Saw. Gladwell, the towering-haired writer for the New Yorker magazine, has written four consecutive bestsellers, including The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers. I've enjoyed, and learned from, each one.

What the Dog Saw is a collection of Gladwell's New Yorker essays--an eclectic blend of work that demonstrates Gladwell's incredible range as a writer, interviewer and researcher. Gladwell always captivates.

Although I enjoyed the first three of Gladwell's titles, I especially appreciated the blend of topics found in What the Dog Saw (the title of which comes from Gladwell's essay about Cesar Millan, the "Dog Whisperer").

This was a great book . . . and I'm glad I saw it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Another CD

Last week I received copies of my latest CD, The Christmas Collection, which includes several Christmas memoirs. And, should anyone want a copy ($10), I'm giving 100% of the proceeds, royalties . . . the whole shebang, to mission. Always have.

Get 'em while they're hot.

Of course, Christmas is still four weeks distant, but it doesn't hurt to begin some gratuitous panhandling now, even before we've stuffed ourselves with turkey. So, here's my pitch. And here's what other people are saying about The Christmas Collection, by Todd Outcalt.

I was really down in the dumps. And then I listened to Mr. Alleycat's hilarious CD. I decided to purchase my husband, Herb, a Christmas gift this year (deodorant bar). Thanks, Todd.
(Mrs. E.W. Shwartz, Chutzpa, NY)

Never heard anything like it. Mr. Outcalt's sonorous voice lulled me to sleep, and I've been suffering from insomnia for the better part of forty years since I work nights as a pole dancer. In fact, I can't even think of going to bed without his voice at my side!
(Honey Money, Chicago, IL)

There are millions of people who need to listen to this CD! I was one of them. I was ready to give up on Christmas this year and convert to Buddhism, but I reached Nirvana by listening to this CD and decided I'd give the gospel of Luke another try. This CD is the real Christmas miracle!
(Bob, from Toled0)

Once in a lifetime a CD comes along that can rock your world, man! Mine got smashed. Like, totally blitzed. Incredible, dude. Buy this sucka!
(Razor, drummer for the band Hot Nuggets 'n Fries)

Why did you put me on another one of your CDs, Todd? It's embarrassing. Can you tape over the top of that one track?
(Todd's mom)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Yes, Dear

Since I have written for many women's magazines over the years, I certainly know my stuff when it comes to the fairer sex. Heck, what am I saying . . . I'm an expert! But in case there are men out there who haven't learned the secret of marriage . . . read on. Live and learn, my brothers. Live and learn.

Yes, Dear

There's a secret to marriage
That we dare not disparage
And men know it by heart (though it's queer):
That a man can stay sane
If he's content to remain
In the harmony of saying "Yes, Dear!"

Some men, of course, lapse
When they try to take naps
Or attempt to push man-strength or fear.
But in the end, brother,
Your marriage will suffer
If you don't acquiesce to "Yes, Dear!"

Those men are most happy
Who have learned this (though sappy):
That marriage runs best in the gear
Where the man takes the seat
In the rear where the heat
Can best by cooled down with "Yes, Dear!"

When the woman's in charge
A marriage looms large
And a man gets more "nookie" than beer
When he gives her the wheel
To do what she'll feel
Is best when she hears the "Yes, Dear!"

Sure, some might get mad
Or think it's too bad
That a man is more virile in tear,
But listen, my friend,
You'll find peace in the end
If you learn how to whisper, "Yes, Dear!"

And while some men feel "clipped"
Or "neutered" or "whipped"
If they follow their woman with cheer,
You can bet your life, Binky
That their marriage ain't stinky
'Cause they've learned how to holler, "Yes, Dear!"

When you learn this one key
You'll be able to pee
And plop the seat down on your rear,
Because you've been trained,
Reprogrammed, ingrained
By those two words she taught you: "Yes, Dear!"

And you'll sit there and stew
As many men do
Wondering "why in the world am I here?"
But the answer is heard
In the peaceable word:
"Whatever you want" and "Yes, Dear!"

Monday, November 23, 2009

More Methodist Madness

Actually, I've written too many of these lately . . . but here's another ditty about the Methodist church. Enjoy.


If you love to sing
Or hear bells when they ring
And you shake hands far more than you kiss,
Well, if this is your stance,
There's a pretty good chance
That, my friend, you're a Methodist.

And if you commune rarely
And give money (though barely)
And your Bible is oddly not missed,
And you've heard of John Wesley
Or boycotted Nestle
Then you're probably a Methodist.

If you drive a junk car
Rarely sit in a bar
And there's few things that make you feel pissed,
Though you follow the laws
There's still probable cause
To call you a Methodist.

Yes, some like John Calvin
Or Luther or Benen
And I could go on with the list . . .
But if you like boring meetings
And warm, friendly greetings
Then you're likely a Methodist.

And while others like Lent
Of the Council of Trent,
And you're pulled toward the pluralist,
Or while others preach hell
When you're feeling quite swell,
Then you're likely a Methodist.

If you know nothing of Barth
Or of Augustine's heart
And you're not a staunch dogmatist,
And you don't think it odd
To speak rarely of God
Then you're likely a Methodist.

And if you are quick
To comfort the sick
And you're just an idealist,
Of if you don't care
What your pastor might wear
Then you're likely a Methodist.

If most of your friends
Live by middle-class ends
And you know few philanthropists,
And you rarely feel guilty
Convicted or silly
Then you're likely a Methodist.

If you've got just enough
Of religion and stuff
But you're not a sensationalist
And you don't like the strange
Or the newfangled change
Then you're likely a Methodist.

If you like status-quo
And just go with the flow
But there's nothing to which you'd insist,
And you don't feel a slight
To the left or the right
Then you're likely a Methodist.

And finally, my friend,
If you know that you've sinned
But you're not a deep moralist,
Then you've likely deduced
That you've come home to roost
In the church of the Methodist.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Being a writer (and a pastor/speaker) I would say that I spend a great deal of time thinking about words: written, spoken, communicated. Words are important, and words convey not only ideas but feelings, memories, and intellectual weight.

That being said, I also find myself focusing on certain words from time-to-time. And recently that word has been "lollygag". It's an odd word, really--an onomatopoetic feast for the lips that not only sounds funny in the mouth, but sounds funny coming out, too. And it's words like lollygag that help me to create (or even coin) new words for stories and essays.

For example, a person who is lazy might be considered a lollygagger. That's a noun. A person who is caught in the act might be described as lollygagging. That's a verb. Or, perhaps, the word could even be used as a gerund, as in the sentence: "Lollygagging is my favorite activity."

One thing for sure . . . I don't want to be considered a lollygagger, and I don't want to lollygag, and I don't want to do anything lollygaggingly (adverb) either. Nor, I suppose, would I want to be described as "the lollygagginglyiest person in Indiana."

That being said . . . excuse me while I go upstairs and take a nap. All of this writing is making me sleepy.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Silence of the Editors

For the past six months I have been in a game of cat-and-mouse with several editors. Or, I should say, it's just been cat . . . . I email, and get no response. I phone in, leave a voice mail, and get no answer. I write, but no one writes back.

Odd, really . . . given that I've had a good relationship with these editors in the past (or is it just me?). Which sets me to wondering: Is this an editor's way of saying, "We really don't desire to work with you anymore" or "At last, we've figured out that you are a loser and we're eschewing all contact with those on our loser-list" or "Hey, you're trying to contact us, but we don't work here anymore!"

Regardless, the silence of the editors has become a real mystery to me. Perhaps some of them are reading my blog and have come to the conclusion that I am warped or need psychiatric help (or perhaps a better donut). Others may be saving their communication for one big announcement such as: "We've decided to publish all seven of the book proposals you sent us, one for each of the dwarf personalities in Snow White. And we loved your book on Dopey, especially!"

I'm not sure . . . but I do know that I'm going to keep writing. All you editors out there who have gone into hiding . . . you'll hear from me again. And I don't care what cave you're hiding in. I'll find you.

But if you did happen to get my letter of last Tuesday, why not write me back? I'll be obliged and will gladly send you a small tin of mixed nuts.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What Time Is It?

Some weeks back I found myself on a Henri Nouwen kick, and I purchased a batch of his book titles in one fell-swoop. Nouwen was, in case you don't know, a Catholic priest who wrote some amazing books for pastors and lay persons alike--devotional titles, as well as theological works that have held up over time. He worked as a cruise ship chaplain (what a gig!), a parish priest, and also a chaplain to the mentally and physically disabled. A well-rounded guy.

Last night I began praying his The Book of Hours, which is actually a compilation of his work fashioned into a Cistercian model of daily prayer: where monks rise at 3 a.m. to pray, and close their day at 7:30 p.m. with vespers to the holy Mother.

I've never been an hours kind of guy (what idiot, for example, would rise at 3 a.m. to do anything?) and the thought of praying through the day on the hours isn't something I've ever done . . . coffee each hour, well, that's another story. Still, Nouwen's little book has some nicely-woven thoughts and prayers and I will use them (though on my schedule, not the monks').

I wonder if Nouwen wrote any of his book after midnight, or was he sleeping so he could get up at 3 a.m.?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

On File

Last night I began searching for some essays I had written a few years ago. I have yet to find them. They are stored on a floppy, perhaps, or in one of my voluminous "folders" inside my twelve-year old computer. There's so much inside the machine now, I can scarcely locate anything I've written.

I'm still old school in many ways. For example, I keep an index card file/box for all of my submissions . . . one essay/story/proposal etc. per card. I write down where I've sent each one, alongside the date and year. This little card filer has been with me since grade school. It is rusted, completely outdated . . . but I still use it.

Flipping through my card file last night in search of the essay didn't help me either . . . but I did discover that I have stories out there that have never been returned, proposals that are (reportedly) still being considered by editors. Some have been floating out there in the ether for a year or more. I doubt I'll ever see them again . . . and I just forget about them, and also chalk up the loss of postage as one of the costs of doing business.

Should I ever croak, I've told the wife and kids to search the card file for my submissions. That will tell them what else is out there.

With my luck, I'll probably die the same day the highbrow editor calls to inform me that he is moving forward with the publication of my great American novel . . . but then, there are a great many significant works that have been published posthumously.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

F. Scott Fitzgerald

An intersting essay in the most recent issue of The New Yorker about F. Scott Fitzgerald. I knew that Fitzgerald achieved early fame and success as a writer, and then "flamed out" over time, but I didn't realize that Fitzgerald was a total failure as a screenwriter in Hollywood. Evidently, he didn't write a single successful script, as he could not make the leap from literary dialogue to screen dialogue.

Well, dialogue is important in any type of work. We dialogue every day, but don't think about it.

Here's a dialogue I had just last night:

Becky: Why is it so cold in the house?
Me: The furnace isn't working.
Becky: Well, why don't you call and get it repaired?
Me: I did.
Becky: When were you going to tell me this?
Me: When you recognized that it was cold in the house.
Becky: When will it be repaired?
Me: The guy is coming over in the morning.
Becky: Then what do we do tonight?
Me: Freeze.
See how this dialogue works? See how well we banter? See how her questions are peppered with my smart and snappy answers?

Heck, Fitzgerald couldn't have created it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


For the past seven years I've written a column for our Indiana area newspaper (title: Together) of the United Methodist Church. And every year I wonder, will the powers that be want me to continue writing the column, do people read it, and is there someone out there who can do it better?

It's an odd assortment of questions, particularly since the column (or, actually, my photo in the paper) elicits any number of questions, raised eyebrows, and comments like: "Hey, aren't you that guy who writes that little ditty in the paper?"

But there are still many misunderstandings about my columnist status . . . particularly among my fellow clergy, and so I set the record straight here with this mock interview.

Q: How the heck did you merit the privilege of writing a column when that's what I've wanted to do my whole life (and I'm going to kill myself if I don't get to write one of those columns before I die)?
A: I was asked to write it.

Q: How much longer are you going to be allowed to write the column?
A: Until the bishop dies.

Q: Where do you get your ideas? Does the editor tell you what to write?
A: Sometimes the editor does ask for a column on a particular subject. But most of the time I get my ideas from my wife, who tells me what to think about all subjects. And/or I find these ideas in Crackerjack boxes or at the bottom of pickle jars.

Q: How long does it take you to write one of your columns?
A: Five minutes (if I'm having a good day typing) . . . or an hour (if I'm dictating what my wife wants me to say or if we are engaged in other fun aerobic activity).

Q: You think you're so important don't you, writing this column?
A: Sure. Wouldn't you? Everywhere I go, people kneel before me and kiss my shoe laces.

Q: What are you going to write about next month?
A: I've been working on a couple of ideas, but they are so top secret, and of such vital importance to the future of our annual conference, I'd have to stab you with my John Wesley letter opener if I revealed them.

Q: When are you stepping down, so I can write the column?
A: Ask my wife.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Writing Break

Last week I was reading the acknowledgements in a thin little book written by a pastor. I felt my temperature rise when I read the line: "I would like to thank the congregation for giving me six month leave in which to write this book."

A six month break? Are you kidding me? Flipping through the pages again, I realized I could have written the book in six HOURS!

I've read more than my fair share of books recently where the authors thank someone for giving them a break from other responsibilities so they can write. Well, sure, I get a break some evenings from helping out with the dishes (but then, we don't do dishes at our house, we just let them moulder and then put them back in the cupboards after the dog has licked them clean), or I might get a break from mowing the lawn (if I can seduce my sixteen year old into mowing two acres for $5 with an eighteen-inch push mower).

But a break from work, from life, from marriage, from parenting . . . in order to write a book? Who are these prima donnas who need their precious silent space and seclusion in order to work for six months on a 120 page book? I'd like to meet them.

My realities have been much different. I've written entire books in weeks, all the while holding screaming children on my knees, or tossing them dog biscuits while I say, "there, chew on that while daddy writes another chapter!" or writing late at night while the wife hollers down from the upstairs bedroom, sounding like a Jewish mother: "When are you gonna kill that light and come to bed already?"

Six months to write a book? Okay, I can buy six months for a monster volume of 500 pages, or perhaps six years for a book written inside the terrible crush of research, travel or interviews . . . but six months for a book about praying the Psalms or how to tend to an ingrown toenail? Give me a break, pal!

Someday . . . I'd love to have six months to do nothing but write . . . all day, all night, seven days a week. But my family would hate me. I'd fill an entire shelf.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pieces of My Mind

From time to time, I like to offer people some of my wisdom . . . you know, little odds-n-ends I've picked up over the years, but which might add up to something life-changing.

For example, last night I was giving some of my wisdom to Logan, who was asking me questions about the stock market (yes, he's already started investing in high school, just like I did) and about how to start his own business without going to college (the kid is definitely entrepreneurial, though stupid and stubborn).

But I was trying to make him think. For example, did you know . . .

. . . that if it were not for electricity, we would all be watching television by candlelight?

. . . that if your parents did not have children, there is a very good chance you won't have children either?

. . . that morticians have wonderful lay-away plans?

. . . that you can buy most things with cash, which is just as good as money?

Think about it!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Writing for Guatemala

Some months ago my friend, Tom Heaton, sent me a small supply of cloth wristbands which had been made in Guatemala. Tom and his son, Manuel, are serving as missionaries, caring for the people of Guatemala through a health clinic that provides medical assistance, nutrition and care. And me . . . I have been wearing one of these "prayer bracelets" on my wrist since I received it.

Every time I think about the bracelet, or feel it, I offer up a prayer for Tom and the work. And I've found myself whispering prayers in some unique places: in the grandstand at a high school football game, in the car, or while lifting a cup of coffee to my lips.

We don't have to say flowery or lengthy prayers to remember God's work and we certainly don't have to set aside days or weeks in order to remember others. Rather, our prayers can be whispers and sighs.

I'm also remembering Tom and Manuel and their work through my writing, as I have been giving royalties from my books and CDs to their work. Everyone has something to give. Our creativity, time, and effort can have an impact on others . . . even those who live in another hemisphere.

So, do what you do best. Give as best you can. Pray. Hope. That's something to write about.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Mary Heart

My pastors covenant group is now reading Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, by Joanna Weaver. It's definitely a woman's book, but has some nice crossover for men, too. Do men work too hard?

Reading this book has provoked some other possible titles, however:

Having a Coffee Heart in a Donut World
Having a Worker's Heart in a Lazy World
Having a Paper Heart in a Digital World

I'm sure I could think of a few others, but I've got to make some coffee first.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Good Morning?

It has happened again. This morning (was it morning?) I awoke from a dead-head sleep with a head full of book titles and ideas. And so, here I sit, having already written my mandatory emails to the powers that be and taking a break after typing like a madman on two new book proposals.

First, I was startled from sleep when I realized that I'd been trying to write up a new book proposal under the wrong title. I dreamed the new title, and I wrote my editor to say, "Hey, I've thought of the new title, and this has to be it. After all, I dreamed it!" She probably thinks I'm a fruitcake, but so does Becky (who is still asleep) so what else is new?

And I also thought of a new youth ministry book title that would be perfect for GROUP. I've gotta get this one done pronto . . . as in hours, not days . . . and when I send the idea along to my guys in Loveland, Colorado, I know they are gonna go ga-ga. Hope they'll pay me!

But, by God-of-brown-gravy, I'm up so early this morning (is it morning yet?) that I've got time to go to the gym to hoist a few tons of weight when the gym doors open at 5 a.m., get back home before Becky rises, and I can even make another pot of coffee.

Anyway . . . good morning. Welcome to a new day.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hey, Don't I Know You?

Last week, while reading Mitch Albom's book, Have a Little Faith, on the return flight to Indianapolis, I overheard a conversation between the two men who were sitting behind me. I couldn't help but listen in.

One of the men turned to the other and said, "Hey, don't I know you?"

The other said, "You might know me. I am an actor. I've been on many television shows and I'm driving back to Chicago in a few days to be on Oprah. She's doing a whole series of shows about me."

The other guy seemed dumbfounded: "Really!! Holy Cow. I thought I knew you!"

So anyway, this guy waxes on for the next hour about all of his television roles, his career highlights, his up-n-coming appearance on Oprah, etc. And the guy sitting next to him is buying all of it.

Finally, when the plane lands, I get an opportunity to look behind me. The "actor" is some kid who looks to be about eighteen years old. But he's clearly no actor. When I stand up, he looks at me and smiles as if to say, "Can you believe these people? They'll believe anything!"

Anyway . . . it was quite a story, and the kid was a great sideshow (though he, obviously, was no actor at all). He was just making great flight conversation and seeing how far he could push the buttons and the boundaries.

But you know, people believe and see what they want . . . but I'm still waiting for that person to turn to me and ask, "Hey, don't I know you?"

Lord, are they going to hear some tales! Not everyone knows this, but I was once the king of Lithuania, and I am heir to the throne of Transylvania, and I once bit the head off of a lion, just for fun.
Should be a great flight.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I Need You!

Last week I received an acceptance letter in the mail . . . a rather formal note from an editor who was passing along the good news that she was accepting one of my articles for publication. I yelled, "Whoopie" and then pocketed my twenty-five dollar check, which I intended to cash later in the day so I could buy lunch for a friend. (Heck, what else you can you do with twenty-five dollars anyway?)

But I did happen to notice that at the bottom of the letter the editor had also included a handwritten line: "I really like your stuff . . . I need to see more from you!"

Wow, and this from another woman!

Later, I showed this to my wife and asked, "Do you think I should call her and see what she has in mind? I mean, it's not every writer who gets an invitation to earn another twenty-five dollars by performing."

"Don't flatter yourself," Becky said. "It's just a lousy twenty-five bucks, which is the story of your writing life. Think of all you'd have to do just to earn a hundred dollars."

"I can stand on my head," I said. "And you know about some of my other tricks."

"Yeah, I've seen 'em"," she said. "Believe me, she won't even pay twenty-five dollars for one of your standard performances."

"I'll improvise."

"Just get in there and type," Becky said. "That's the best chance you've got of earning enough money to rotate the tires. And don't bother me any more, you weirdo. I've got papers to grade."

Friday, November 6, 2009

Back to Old New York

A couple of months ago I received an invitation in the mail from The New Yorker magazine. They were inviting me to subscribe for a mere $25 a year (26 issues). How could I pass that offer up? So, I subscribed.

Now, I'm receiving The New Yorker via mail again, and I'm enjoying every issue. Great essays, book reviews, stories, poems, and more. There's little doubt that this is still the top American general interest publication available.

I also continue to submit my tired, worn and weary efforts to the magazine in hope that some editor there will say, "Hey, here's some idiot in Brownsburg, Indiana who wrote a great piece. Let's buy it!"

After submitting to the magazine for the past thirty years (yes, 30!) I think I've earned at least one acceptance. And that would just pay for the postage I've used. The way I figure it, I've shelled out at least $1000 over the past 30 years in postage, envelopes, paper and ink . . . just for a shot at appearing in the pages of this one magazine.

So, come on New Yorker . . . make an old writer's day. Say "yes" already! If you don't, I'm going to go broke buying stamps.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Got Faith?

Flying back from California last week, I read the entirety of Mitch Albom's new book: Have a Little Faith. Albom's other books have also been best-sellers, including Tuesdays with Morrie, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and For One More Day.

I liked Have a Little Faith. It's a book that I will likely use for sermon illustrations and other talks, and our little book study breakfast group will be tacking the title in January. So . . . I'm ready to discuss.

Albom's books have also incited a few parodies over the years (I love parodies). And one of the best titles I've seen here is: The Five Jerks You Meet on Earth.

Actually, everyone knows a few jerks. (This is a fact if you know me!)

But if I were going to parody Albom's latest book, I might write a title that would reflect the realities of my life. Titles like:

Have a Little Coffee
Have a Little Toilet Paper
Have a Little Sleep
Have a Little Savings Account
Have a Little Donut
Have a Little Leftovers
Have a Little Time With Your Wife
Have a Little Gasoline in Your Junk Car
Have a Little Time to Write

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Edison the Nut

On my recent trip to California, I took along some books (as always). And the first book I completed in-route was Randall Stross's 250 page biography of Thomas Edison: The Wizard of Menlo Park.

I have always been fascinated by Edison . . . even the myth of the man, but after reading Stross's excellently-researched biography, I have to conclude that Edison was both a genius and a fruitcake. But then, what genius isn't a bit fruity?

One of the things I found fascinating was that Edison would frequently work 48 hours, even 72 hours straight, without break for food, rest or water when he was "in the inventing groove". This was not an uncommon week for Edison, and he was intent on creating new things, or finding improvements for standard inventions. But he often ignored the inventions that would have netted him huge profits, and continued to pine after odd inventions that had no chance of turning into anything substantive. Hence, a fruitcake. That, or Edison was stubborn as a mule. Probably both.

Now, I'm no Edison, but I have worked my fair share of 24 hour days (all-nighters) and I've even written two or three books in their entirety in a 24-hour period. But what human being can endure a 48 hour or 72 hour day without going batty from exhaustion? Or, after 20 hours, who wouldn't want to eat some black licorice while enjoying a coal black cup of coffee?

I liked this book, and have shelved it in my biography section, which has just about consumed an entire wall of my home now. I like reading about people. After all, there's always another nut out there trying to make a buck off a book.

More Methodist Madness

Okay, here's another one . . . a series of limericks.

The Methodist Limerick

There once was a man named John
Who was short, and sallow, and wan.
He was Wesley by birth
But of considerable girth
When he sat on his horse and rode on.

His brother Charlie wrote hymns
And his mother, Susanna, birthed hims
And each boy grew up
With an Englishman’s cup
And a head full of Latin verb-ends.

Both boys went to Oxford to learn
And both became priests by a turn
And they started a group
Filled with Methodist soup
And their hearts then started to burn.

Revival broke out in the church
And John used his dad as a perch
When he spoke from his grave
In hopes some would be saved
For he was never left in the lurch.

And that’s how it was, my friend,
With two brothers who knew how to send,
And the movement came near
And that’s why we’re here,
But it’s just the beginning, not end.

Monday, November 2, 2009

More Methodist Stuff

Call me fickle . . . but all of this charge conference nonsense made me wax poetic. Now, I've got a bunch of Methodist stuff that needs saying . . . oddly, of course. Hope all you Methodist-wanna-be s enjoy these this week.

Aldersgate Street
For All Those Weird United Methodists Who Love a Meeting!

When John Wesley went to Aldersgate Church “very unwillingly”
He was making a statement of curious fact and of serendipity.
And one of the myths that Wesley refuted is that he loved to gather,
But the fact is he really hated these things ‘cause the meetings did not really matter.

Sure, he thought that people ought to pray, and sing, and make right merry,
But he couldn’t foresee how his methods would spread and become rather horribly scary.
For among the many myths, my friend, that Wesley himself debunks,
Is that he loved his conferences (but at more than a few, he blew chunks).

So before we decide that a meeting is needed, or another caucus or force,
Let’s sit for a spell in the silent space and consider a more prayerful course.
And some will say it’s a sacrilege to believe that we don’t need a meeting,
And others might yell, “You are going to hell”, if they don’t have their charge conference greeting.

But consider John Wesley, our brother and friend, before you jump to conclusions,
For old brother John didn’t want to go meet and he sure didn’t harbor illusions.