There's nothing like two hours on an airplane with no Internet access to help the seriously backslidden blogger find his way back to the web's straight and narrow. I'm on my way to Oklahoma City this morning for the MinistryCOM conference and the trip allows me something that has been very hard to come by the last three weeks... time to write a blog post.
A lot has happened in the last three weeks, much of which I planned to blog about. Some of it I will still get around to writing about in more detail, Lord willing.
John McCain surprised everyone and picked rookie Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate and a media sensation was born. A lot of my friends see this as the reason they have been waiting for to support McCain who, up to this point, to say they have been unexcited about him is a gross understatement. I have a slightly different take on it. I, too have been less than enthused about McCain, and I find myself less so now.
John McCain is 72 years old, and a two time cancer survivor. There is a greater than normal chance that he will not live out his first term. That means there is a possibility that someone could be President of the United States who just two years ago was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, population around 6,000. I understand that her job is to energize the conservative base that has been so lukewarm about McCain, but I am concerned that her strident, in-your-face, almost belligerent tone will make 2008 a repeat of the last few elections, where we are left bitterly divided almost down the middle between red states and blue states.
I agree with my friend Ed Stetzer. He pointed out a bumper sticker he saw recently that summed up his feelings about the 2008 election season. It said in large letters, "Jesus 2008." Then in smaller print below that it said, "Please come get us before November 4!"
Noo Yawk, Noo Yawk...
My friend Rick Hawkins and I made a pilgrimage to New York August 31 to be present for one of the last dozen or so games that will ever be played at Yankee Stadium. It was a quick trip: we flew up there in the morning, went to a 1:05 pm game, flew back that night. The last time I attended a game there, I was seven years old, Whitey Ford was pitching, Yogi Berra was catching, and Mickey Mantle was in the outfield.
The game itself was forgettable - the boys from the Bronx lost to the Blue Jays 6-2 - but we did get to see solo homers by A-Rod and Jason Giambi. The locals we sat near were friendly, especially when they found out where we were from and why we were there, and a fantastic time was had by all.
Rick I decided we would come back next year and give the new stadium a try, but there's something still almost unbearably sad about losing a place that is home to so much history. Yeah, it's really, really old and run down, but c'mon... it's Yankee Stadium.
Two weeks ago, my beloved Aunt Sara passed away in Florida. "Sarie" was more of a second mom to me and my siblings than an Aunt. So many of the significant memories of my childhood and early teens are wrapped up with this remarkable lady. We spent our summers at her beach house on Dark Island, 25 miles north of Steinhatchee on the Gulf Coast. She taught me how to fish, how to crab, how to go scalloping, how to drive a boat. Later, she taught me how to drive (when I was about 13) using an old 1959 VW Beetle on the deserted beach roads.
Everyone should grow up with an Aunt Sara. She was the one who, when all other adults saw you as a pain in the butt, she saw you as her fishing buddy. The summers of my childhood were magical because of her. There was no place on earth I would rather have been than sleeping in the hammock on the screened in porch, listening to the boats come out and in. Uncle TJ passed in 1990, the beach house was destroyed in 1993 by the "storm of the century," and now, Aunt Sara is gone, too, and with her passing, there is nothing left of that time in my life but the memories. But, oh, what memories we all have!
My life is infinitely richer because she was a part of it for more than fifty years. Her memorial service was vintage Sara. Some tears, of course, but lots of laughter, great stories, and even a Bob Dylan song, "When He Returns."
Heaven is a lot funnier, even more joyful place today with Sara there.
Wall Street Blues
Then there's the meltdown on Wall Street. It will be interesting to see how this effects the presidential election. You can argue that Congress is at least as much - if not more - to blame for this than the Bush Administration, but historically we tend to fire the coach when the team is losing, so to speak, and McCain is both a part of Congress and tied to the current administration.
It has been interesting to hear the words that have been used by the media to describe the failure of giants like Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, AIG and WaMu: "Tsunami," "Disaster," "Category 5 Hurricane." On the other end of the spectrum, President Bush called it an "adjustment." I suspect the truth is somewhere in between the two extremes.
It is a bump in the road. A larger bump than usual, maybe the largest bump we've hit in 6 or 7 years, but a bump nonetheless. My suspicion is that as a result of this bump, we will see significantly lower prices at the supermarket and at the gas pump.
We're preparing to land and the flight attendant is giving me "the eye," which means my laptop needs to go back under the seat. More from OKC later. Maybe. I don't know, I've gotten pretty adept at this slacker thing...