Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Only The Good Die Young
You may have noticed I haven't felt like writing for the past couple of days. I found myself just sort of shutting down a bit...seemed to be a reflex or coping strategy my brain decided upon in order to get through recent events. I haven't had much to say, and I had just been feeling far too much lately. The picture you see here is the sky I saw as I was standing in a Wal-mart parking lot on Saturday. I felt it was so appropriate to how I was feeling.... light and dark colliding. The happiness of my trip to Israel next week overshadowed by the tragic events over the past week.

At the visitation on Sunday I met with the couple (friends of the family and business partners) who lost their 20 year old son to a car accident last Friday. Hundreds of us lined up outside and slowly filed in to see the family who stood in a receiving line at the front of the church to greet us. As you slowly made your way down the line and through the church (took about 10 mins) there were bulletin boards along the way with huge collages of pictures of their son Dan through the years as he grew up. I don't think a single one of us had dry eyes after looking at this beautiful blonde boy who would never grow up to have a wife and family of his own. By the time I got to his parents I gave them a huge hug and fought back the tears. The mother pulled me away from her hug and looked me in my eyes to ask me how I was; I glanced down at the floor to try and hide my tears as I mumbled that I was fine, but she was persistent and lowered her head to meet my eyes, holding my arms firmly in her hands almost as if to keep me from fleeing, and asked again how I was .. Obviously she was seeking the truth and I couldn't hide it, or my tears. I said that I was doing okay and that I was so very sorry for her loss. She stood there with such strength and poise, I could only be in awe of her.

I made my way to the father next and was quickly engulfed in his big sincere hug. He pointed to a graduation picture of his son on a table behind him and said: "That's my boy. That's my boy and now he's gone. We had to close the casket this morning and say goodbye". The father seemed to be functioning much more on a level of numbness and shock, and my heart ached for him. It ached for his whole family, as I made my way down the receiving line and saw that the brothers left behind were clearly less together about all this than the parents. Afterwards my mother and I went to the ladies room to blow our noses and to try and "freshen up". Then we all went for ice cream, as if that would make us feel better.

As an odd sidestory to all this, allow me to mention something I saw while standing in line in the front foyer of the church. In the lobby area there was a wall of pamphlets and brochures. What caught my eye was that one of the pamphlets had a picture of a menorah on it. So I stepped out of line, grabbed the pamphlet, and stepped back in. I just *had* to see what this is all about since this was an uber-Christian church.

On the front of the pamphlet it reads:
"Chosen People Ministries" "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved." Romans 10:1

Hm. A quote from the "New" Testament, but okay, whatever.

Inside I read this:
"Our Purpose: To preach the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah to the Jewish people throughout the world."

Ah, it's becoming clear now...they are looking to convert Jews.

"EVANGELISM: Chosen People Ministries seeks to evangelize Jewish people through the most effective and creative means possible"

Most effective and creative means possible!?!? What the hell does THAT mean??

"Our skilled and well trained staff share the Gospel with Jewish people in their homes and on the streets and campuses. We conduct Bible studies and evangelistic services, yet the core of our ministry is one-on-one, heart to heart, home to home."

Uh...do I need to remind everyone how I feel about people getting in my face about their religion in an effort to convert? I seriously have issues with people going out and trying to drum up followers. It creeps me out. And as I read this pamphlet I was feeling increasingly uncomfortable in this church.

"WITNESS: Share the Good News with your Jewish friends. Chosen People Ministries has the resources you need. If you are witnessing to a Jewish person and want us to pray, or to send materials to him or her, let us know by filling out the attached slip"

Don't EVER send me anything like that if you are my friend, ok?
Am I the only one that finds all this eerily manipulative?? Ugh.
For more on this you can check out their website.

Um, and what the frig is going on with Blogger? I won't even get into what a nightmare it was to get this post to publish (at one point it had published it 2 and sometimes 3 times). And WHAT is this super annoying NavBar they have introduced, and more importantly, how can I make it go away?!?!!? (note: the info page says it can't be disabled. You have NO idea how much this makes me hate Blogger. Yes, I'm SO choosey about such things that it could actually force me to investigate other options). And am I the only one that can't see my webpage title ("I Dream, Therefore I Am")??? GRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!

UPDATE: Ok, I fixed it so that the title is back. Stupid Blogger. So now at the top of my page there's the NavBar instead of the usual Google Ads (which I loathe to admit, looks a bit better. It's less intrusive than the big ad banners). What do you guys think? Are ya diggin' the option to search my blog with Google? I am. Ok, I *may* have to take back what I said about hating blogger. We'll see.