Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Hutchmoot Story

It takes a whole lot for me to want to resurrect this blog, if only for a while. Hutchmoot'll do that to a guy, I guess. The funny thing is, while all of the Mooters are telling their stories about how they were affected... nah, let's say changed, over the weekend, I'd just like to tell a small story about a thing that very few people saw or even heard about. It's a story about a few Hutch-heroes, none of whom would want to be named, so I'll keep 'em anonymous. I've renamed them too, cause it's more fun that way.

This is a story about selflessness and love, about pain (the literal kind) and healing (also literal). It's really a story about the kind of people that are drawn to the Hutchmoot in the first place. Our story takes place while most of you were enjoying Phil Vischer's talk (which I heard was fantastic). While Mr. Vischer was killing dreams, something else was going on in the church. This'll be in the third person. In fact, let's do this from a divine perspective, want to? I'll steal the first two sentences from the great Jack Butler and his novel "Living in Little Rock With Miss Little Rock." Thanks, Jack. It's not "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," but it's close.

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Howdy, I'm the Holy Ghost. Talk about your omniscient narrators.

So it was Friday. Or maybe it was Saturday. The days of the week thing is difficult for me, you understand. Strictly a human construct. Anyway, it was one of those things and it was the evening and I'd been drawn to this place that I love in a little part of Nashville. I'm there all the time, of course (you guys talk about omnipresence in class, right?), but sometimes I've got a little more reason to be paying attention to a thing. And I just couldn't stay away from the Church of the Redeemer that week. There was so much of the Father's business being done that I was all over that building (yes, I saw when you did that thing. I still love you.).

The body of Christ (understand that when I use that phrase, I don't use it lightly) had gathered in the sanctuary to learn some things from a wise man. It's funny how sometimes We put the wisest words in the mouths of the people that love speaking to children. It's rare that I find adults who will listen. This is two years in a row for Hutchmooters and I am pleased. Anyhoo, while most of the body was learning from the sage, there were other events afoot in the house part of the church.

Sometimes, over the best food, the most amazing things happen (just a reminder here - We didn't have to make the food thing mandatory. But aren't you glad We did? Just wait until you taste the real stuff.). Hearts are healed, dignities are restored, and love wins. But even when the best food causes a man to choke, I'm still there, and those things can still happen.

One of your Hutchmooters, a guy I'll call Donald (after one of my favorite human writers, Donald Harington), ate a piece of the finest pork loin this side of the wedding feast and it went down the wrong tube. Now, I could give the specifics of what happened there, but they don't really add to the story, and the doctors have to earn their paychecks somehow, right? So Donald basically inhaled some pork and as happens when you inhale food instead of air (or pipe smoke - good on ya, by the way, Hutchmoot pipe smokers), Donald couldn't breathe very well.

Well, two amazing humans that I'll call Courtney and Bob saw Donald's distress and did the best thing they could think to do - pray with him. Now, before you stop me to say something stupid like "Why didn't they call an ambulance right away" or "Why didn't they do the Heimlich," please understand that he wasn't so bad off yet, just really uncomfortable. In fact, if you could get a Great Physician on the case at the very beginning of the problem, wouldn't you? As it turns out, they could only think to do that because they'd learned well. And their prayers were honored. Closeness to the Father will do that, you know. Pay attention.

Well, Donald got worse. He sat on the couch in the living room and couldn't hardly breathe at all. So Courtney, being the caring sort, ran for help and hollered at the first person she found, a no goodnik named Tuck. Tuck, despite generally seeming to be a guy who knows what he's doing (although that's rarely actually true), freaked out a little bit and went up. Not like Courtney and Bob... Tuck actually went upstairs (his insides flipping like a Lewis Graham pancake) and requested the assistance of Father Benjamin. Since Tuck wasn't from around those parts, he figured (rightly) that the right Reverend Benjamin would instantly know what to do. Benjamin was cool and composed, even a little snarky. The two of them raced back down the stairs to where Donald was waiting. Benjamin assessed the situation, and sent Tuck running back to the sanctuary to retrieve Donald's amiga, Doris.

Tuck raced back down the hall, all-stars flopping all the way, and burst into the filled room (ok, to be fair, he really didn't 'burst.' 'Slunk' maybe. Yeah, let's go with 'slunk.') to look for Doris, not an easy task when all the faithful are gathered and faces can't be easily registered. So again, he enlisted help - this time from a guy I'll call Thorin (want to? that's such an awesome name, right? It's so perfect for this guy, too, although he probably thinks of himself as a Dori, Ori, or Nori). Thorin helped Tuck locate Doris and the three of them awayed to the living room. They returned to find Donald, still in distress, along with a doctor (unnamed in this story, but a hero nonetheless), Courtney, Bob, Benjamin, and a new hero that we'll call Roy. Roy has a big part to play in this story, but truthfully, nobody even noticed he was there. And so, this little Fellowship had assembled, although none realized yet the respective parts each had to play.

The good doctor had prescribed an aspirin for Donald (I know what you're thinking, but trust Me, this doctor is no dummy). Thorin took control of the situation, decided that the emergency room was in order and that there was nobody better to take Donald than himself, requisitioned a vehicle from Tuck, and made ready the battle plan. Doris would call Donald's wife to apprise her of the situation. Tuck would get the ride ready. The others would assist Donald to the car. Benjamin would lift up Donald to the Father before the assembled body.

The car was provided (a blue minivan, natch), Donald, Doris, and Thorin mounted up, and they rode away. Tuck returned to the lobby to hear a bit of wisdom through the little black speaker box. Benjamin ascended to his office to prepare what he would say. The others made their way back to the sanctuary. Except Roy. He hung around. "You never know," he thought (well, I do, but you don't)...

Unbeknownst to Tuck, Roy, and the rest; the minivan was making an about face. The intrepid trio returned quickly from their journey, bearers of good news. It seemed that after a few minutes in the car, Donald was feeling better. The combo of Bob and Courtney's prayer and the good doctor's aspirin had him on the mend and the ER was no longer deemed necessary. But, Donald still wasn't back to his normal self, so Tuck and Roy decided to stay with him... just to be sure he wouldn't be alone (and really, what's a better picture of Me than that?) Tuck went back to the minivan for a blanket and Donald stretched out on the couch. A mysterious beauty named Vivienne appeared from nowhere and delivered some water to Donald. And then, since breath had been found, the three men, Donald, Tuck, and Roy, talked. (Ever notice that the words in the Bible for Spirit and breath are the same thing? I'm just sayin') They talked about their lives and how they had come to be at the Hutchmoot. They talked about their families. They talked about missing the wise man (Tuck was never one for speeches, Donald wished he could be in there, and Roy never missed a beat - for him it was enough to be present where he was). After awhile it was decided that Donald was well enough to go to the lobby and listen via the lobby speaker. The three men ventured there and sat. Tuck got busy, doing something that seemed important, but wasn't. But Roy never left Donald's side. They stayed that way, the two of them, talking about nothing, but always talking about Us, until the wise man emerged from the sanctuary and their reverie was over.

The story ends there. No magical happy ending. Did Roy and Donald become lifelong friends? It would be cheating to tell you. A life is a long time, and those stories are yet to be written down. But I will say this: even if the two men never see each other again, they won't forget this story. And when they're reunited one day, they'll remember this story fondly. And the rest of the small Fellowship will wander over and laugh together. And they'll say, "Man... wasn't that pork loin amazing?"

So be sure to note, reader, that a Fellowship doesn't have to have an axe, a sword, and a bow. An aspirin, a glass of water, a minivan, and a prayer will usually do just fine. Blessings upon blessings to Courtney, Bob, Tuck, Thorin, Benjamin, Vivienne, the good doctor, Donald, and Roy. You all played your parts to perfection. When the Son says things like "You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect," these are the kind of things He had in mind. Well done.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

For Currey

Right Click this link and choose Save As

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Art of Encouragement


A shameless plug, if you'll indulge me. Amber, over at the run-a-muck is a wonderful lady that I only e-know, but she has managed to make me blush from ear to ear. This is a quote from her most recent post:

Something else: There are these super cool guys who review films, and they L-O-V-E Jesus in that cussy kind of I've-been-in-the-pit sort of way. They're complete strangers to me, though friends of some of my friends, and they're my brothers. Has a movie review ever made you cry? Or has a review made you laugh until you slobbered on your keyboard and made the f stop working for a while? I'm not kidding, more than movies, you get what you feel are pieces of the writers that can only come out when art moves them out - as if a piece of art tangles into the brain near where we keep secrets, so to speak of the art is to tell of ghosts, what we saw as children out of the corner of our eye, or of deep, hard crushes and that wind that caught your breath the first time you realized God, those things that only art could shove out into the seeing/hearing world. Go here: Three Hands in the Popcorn Bag.

How's that for a compliment? Made my month.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Skinny (In More Ways Than One)


I have this group of friends that sits around and discusses working out. No, they're not super-jocks or meatheads or anything, they just like to stay in shape. So when we all get together, there's always talk of "have you seen this new workout site?" or "I managed 40 reps last night." I, being a superiorly trained doughboy, usually have nothing to add to this conversation. Until now. Behold, the landscapers diet! Push a fertilizer spreader, sling 50 pound bags of granular weedkiller, spread mulch in 90+ degrees (with no AC in the truck), all for 10 or more hours a day! You too will lose weight at an alarming pace!

Yesterday, I stepped on the scale and it read 202. I haven't been this close to a weight with a 1 in the front in many, many years. I think I'll be there by next weekend.

Problem is, after next weekend, the landscaper's diet goes away. Next Sunday, our church votes on me as the new (title to be determined) tech and facilities guy. Assuming that there's no general undercurrent of dislike against me, the vote shouldn't be an issue. So I will be working in an air conditioned office, sitting on my rear all day. Bye bye 100s...

Anyway, back to the job. When we sold our business back in March, I figured it wouldn't take too long to find something new. I was wrong. First, I was supposed to go work for my dad's company. That didn't fly. So I applied and applied. I applied for things that I was eminently qualified for and i applied for long shots. I got exactly one interview in three months. So, my friend Jason had mercy on me and hired me to work for his landscaping company. And it's been a blast, really. It's been totally out of my comfort zone and completely good for me.

Before going to work for Jason, I met with our pastor at Bojangles, just for some career advice. He said he'd pray for us and the direction we were supposed to go. Turns out, unbeknownst to me, later that day or the next, the tech guy at Providence told Chad he would be leaving in a few weeks. A few elder meetings and some prayer later and here we are. It's pretty amazing how God answers prayer by closing door after door. Eventually the right one opens.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Over there -->

Zip over to THREE HANDS IN THE POPCORN BAG. I've got a new review of WALL-E up there...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Be Kind, Check this Out


I don't know if BE KIND, REWIND was screwed over by the marketing department or if director Michael Gondry was making a point about the way we brand movies. What I do know is that a movie with Jack Black, Mos Def, and an extraordinarily wacky premise isn't supposed to turn out as a loving treatise on the importance of community.

Quick summary: Mos Def works in a video store where Jack Black (who becomes magnetized in a great scene involving ingenious camouflage) accidentally erases all of the videotapes. Because no one carries VHS anymore, they can't replace the tapes. So they do the only logical thing: they remake the movies themselves with an ancient camcorder and a process they term "Sweding." They begin with GHOSTBUSTERS and by the end, they have Sweded over 200 movies, including ROBOCOP, KING KONG, THE LION KING, and, DRIVING MISS DAISY. The community comes to like the Sweded films better than the originals and a phenomenon is born.

Everything about this film screams unconcerned about whether people actually come to see it. Jack Black, Mos Def, and all the rest treat the movie as a kind of love letter to both film and to community. They have the aura of artists who so truly love the material that they are doing this for free, and the result is an electric kind of chemistry that shouldn't work, but manages to defy all logic and does anyway. A movie that includes Jack Black's magnetized urine shouldn't be lovely and touching, but is.

Gondry, who also wrote the script, turns Hollywood stereotypes on their heads throughout the picture. When Danny Glover's video store (which only carries VHS) is on the brink of demolition by a developer, every other movie ever made would have portrayed the developer as a money-hungry Texan who has no sympathy for the people and culture he's displacing. Gondry treats the character as a sympathetic man who is truly trying to improve the quality of life of the people of Passaic. Mia Farrow's character, an old lady that is the impetus for their movie-making (she's the one that wanted to watch GHOSTBUSTERS) is a beautiful woman that cares selflessly for the young black men of the community.

Race, although always present in the film - the three main stars of the Sweded movies are white, black, and Hispanic - is never discussed directly, but wonderfully and hilariously shown in context, such as during the filming of DRIVING MISS DAISY where Jack Black is the Jessica Tandy character to Mos Def's Morgan Freeman. When Jack shows up in blackface to play Fats Waller - he figures he's the right man to play him since he too is fat, Danny Glover takes him outside gently to discuss the problem. We don't hear the reprimand, but we do see it in what may be the best scene of the movie.

BE KIND REWIND ends with a scene out of a Frank Capra film, a scene just short of sappy, but so lovely that both Janna and I had the beginnings of tears in our eyes. Overall, the movie is a paean to interconnectedness. It's a simple film with a small budget that is more than the sum of its parts. It's a sort of anti-HAPPENING for me. Rather than liking it less and less the more I think about it, I like and admire BE KIND REWIND more and more.

4 and a half magnetized drops of urine out of 5.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

What's the news from your bed?



A few updates for you:

1. I use ellipses way too much.
2. This is completely self-indulgent. I mean, this is totally, wholly, egotistical on our part. I know this. But it's so much darn fun. The hamster, Myles, and I have started a new blog where we do nothing but review movies. Check it out - it's boss.
3. Benjamin loves him some Blue's Clues. Amazing. Steve (and Joe, I reckon) have helped raise all three of my kids.
4. There is some big news on the horizon. We hope. Should be happening in the next week or two. Cross your fingers for us. And say a prayer or ten.
5. Do you have to be married for, like, 30 years to renew your vows? Cause I love my wife a whole lot. She's groooovy. And she puts up with me getting tired and going to bed at ten o'clock.
6. The new Ben Shive record is jawdroppingly gorgeous. Go to The Rabbit Room and buy it. It's worth the ten bucks - seriously, what's ten bucks anymore, an extra value meal from McDonald's? Go buy "The Ill Tempered Klavier."
7. I bought this great book from the used bookstore this week. It's called Peculiar Treasures: A Biblical Who's Who by Frederick Buechner. Awesome.
8. I am officially a Tennessee state certified commercial C3(turf grass and ornamentals) pesticide applicator. As my mom says - "Every mother's dream."
9. I really want to go see WALL-E this weekend. Have you seen the reviews?
10. This one's from Laney, "I love you, world."