When I visited Shipsewanna (sp?), Indiana, a few years ago, I saw in a Christian bookstore memoirs on being brought up Amish and on being brought up Mennonite. I noticed a pattern: several of the memoirs about being brought up Amish were bitter and unhappy, whereas several of the memoirs about being brought up Mennonite were happy and light-hearted. All of this might be changing now, though, on the Amish side: the number of Amish in the USA are increasing because they have large families (that part is the same as before) AND they tend to keep many of their youth in the faith (that part is different from a few years back, hence the growth). Now you find Amish in states not typically considered to be Amish areas--New Mexico, for example.
When we were leaving the ice cream place, a lot of children were entering. I felt like turning to them and saying, 'Don't eat any of the dark chocolate ice cream. It's MINE!', but I restrained myself.
The next day, I ate at a Norse restaurant, so naturally bought Xenophobe's Guide to the Norwegians and got their signature strawberry rhubarb pie to take home. No, I didn't eat lutefisk! (for the uninitiated, lutefisk is fermented fish--Norway has long winters and people needed a way to preserve food in pre-refrigeration days). And at least two of the people working in the restaurant were Czech background, so of course they had Czechs appeal, but if they get too drunk and disorderly and are thrown out of a bar, at that point they would be bounced Czechs.
I was staying at friends' house. When the hostess, concerned about the temperature, asked, 'Are you too cool?', I had to reply, 'Well, I'm always too cool.' Her face fell from trying to get a simple answer, and the host laughed. Great people helping me recover from a sickness I picked up while traveling. Thanks for a rest.
Later still, I ate at a Benedict restaurant, which reminds me of two jokes:
1. Peanuts comic strip: Snoopy overhears two people talking about Eggs Benedict and he thinks, 'I wouldn't know about this--that round-headed kid never brings me Eggs Benedict.'
2. Serve Eggs Benedict on a hubcap because 'there's no plate like chrome for the Hollandaise'.
And I told the lady at checkout that a minister had said he went into a restaurant and was served an ordinary piece of chicken—but with Hollandaise sauce and two asparagus spears, and the sauce made it good. 'The secret is in the sauce, baby!' And so the minister said the commands we get from Jesus Christ are like the chicken—good for us, but work to cut and chew, but God's blessings and joy are like the sauce, which gives taste and flavor. 'Your sauce is so inspirational that people write sermons about it!'
And then I saw a band that had both extremes on hair: a keyboard artist/vocalist with long hair and an organist with none—they symbolized before-and-after pictures of Samson. And in many bands, the drummer is the crazy one—flipping drumsticks around while drumming, etc, or they simply don't play very well—they have HUGE drum sets but confine themselves to the snare, one cymbal and the bass, but THIS band's drummer was talented and moderate—a rare combination. Many places wisely put the drummer in a cage where he can thrash and crash around all he wants and they can turn the volume down or, better, off so he is left alone with his racket. This particular drummer does his work with skill without making a nuisance of himself. Reminds me of a drummer in Washington state—she teamed with the keyboard artist so that they made special effects sensibly. Nice result. I wondered if the long-haired keyboard/vocalist would eventually start screaming and pounding a guitar against the loudspeakers, but he was the soul of propriety. And the organist has a PhD, so if during a mosh pit, anyone calls out, 'Is there a doctor in the house?', he can say, 'Here! Me!'
The followingWednesday night I was at an outstanding church in Detroit:
1. some people know my dad, appreciate his ministry, asked about him
2. one lady was in a youth group that journeyed to India with my dad and Steve Judd. My dad provided a lot of narration for the video of that trip, and once when my father had accidentally stepped in some animal's poo and was thereafter cleaning his shoes off at a neighborhood tap, Steve Judd took 'footage' of that process and pompously captioned it with my dad's name and official title
3. one man was in a choir years ago from Ypsilanti who I heard sing at a camp in Michigan. They sang 'Hallelujah Chorus' from Handel's Messiah, accompanied only by a pianist, a bass guitarist and a drummer, and while they sang, I saw in a vision the ceiling of the building open up and white shining cloud-shaft shoot down to the floor--like someone dumping a huge amount of flour—it hit the floor and scattered, billowed like clouds—an incredible experience reminding me of Handel's own testimony of what happened to him when he wrote it.
4. as I set up materiel for the service, one young lady was talking with her friends, sitting near the aisle, so I asked her to help during the participation-band part of the service by dancing around with the ankle bells on—when that time came, she was willing to shake them in her hands, but too self-conscious to jump around with them on her feet. Children and adults often enjoy doing it, but teens are more frequently too easily embarrassed to do it.
5. I saw probably the tallest man I've seen this year—I have no idea what his height is—closer to 7' than to 6'. He helped in the band along with other guys from the accompanists and congregation.
6. Four young ladies helped on puppets and on a 'living church where God's Spirit lives' illustration, with a toddler wandering into the illustration serving to illustrate God's Spirit living in the house!
7. An elderly lady told me she wears her fedora because her head is so cold. I said, 'I understand that in January, but today it's in the 90s.' She replied, 'Still, so co-o-o-old.'
8. The AV people did a great job projecting my video and Scripture texts—several of them in two languages.
9. Kudos to the translator—lots of Scriptures, lots of ideas, lots of illustrations--not an easy job, but she did it with poise.
10. One ten-year-old kid before church was enthusiastically putting all her Pokeman cards in her 3-ring binder (reminded me of myself as a kid with baseball cards), then enthusiastically running around church, then enthusiastically helping me with puppets and the living-stones-church illustration. After church, when I told someone with a lot of hair that I wished I had that, this ten-year-old girl grabbed the end of her braid and put it on top of my head as if to provide a temporary toupe. Seeing someone full of zest and enjoying life reminds me of me! and makes me happy for that person.