Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hurricane Hysteria

We are deep into hurricane season, but much to my delight we haven't had a viable hurricane yet.  I think the weather forecasters/talking heads don't share my glee.  I'm sensing they are getting tired of twiddling their thumbs and getting no attention,  so they are hyping every tropical disturbance into a potential storm of the century.

This hurricane hysteria is out of control.  I've had enough. I resent being bothered with maybe, possible and potential storms.  I wish they'd stop making a sand dune out of a sand castle.

Yesterday, they sent a weather plane into a thunderstorm at the edge of a barely rotating squall.  Luckily for the weather junkies and forecasters, the winds registered barely 45 miles per hour which is just enough to qualify for a tropical depression.

 Next thing you know, with a false sense of urgency the weather people are dragging out graphs of several forecast models and plotting a dozen potential paths.  Within hours they started calling the little puffer Isaac and speculating if this poor excuse for a tropical storm might become a hurricane and ruin the GOP convention in Tampa, Florida.  Excuse me?

Seriously, their sophisticated computer forecast models are admittedly so inaccurate at this stage of the game just about everyone could be in Isaac's path save for maybe Colorado, Washington State, Europe and the African Coast.  I couldn't help but laugh out loud when our local weatherman stated the Atlantic Seaboard is still not out of the woods.  Out of the woods? Man, we aren't anywhere NEAR the woods yet.

I do heart weather people and appreciate all they do to warn coastal visitors and residents of pending danger, but right now little Isaac is literally a tempest in a teapot.  I'm thankful for their advice and all that, but they didn't dish this much hype this soon over last August's soaker, Irene.  I'd rather they let Isaac stew out in the tropics and alert me when he's a real threat to land.

Sunset after Irene August 2011
This season's much ado about nothing is more than irritating and annoying. It can, and just might, backfire.  Every time the weather guys whip us up with hurricane hysteria over a long shot that fizzles into a light rain, their ratings may spike, but their credibility tanks.  People will stop listening for fear of feeling foolish for heeding another empty warning. When the real hurricane comes along, and it will, people won't be able to distinguish the difference between a serious storm and hype for ratings sake. Some will poo-poo the warning and end up up to their knees in deep do-do or worse.

I grew up with hurricanes so I have a huge respect for their power and my powerlessness against a hurricane of any size or force. I road out a few and fled from others long before the Weather Channel existed. Thank you very much.

Despite the hype, I'm headed down to the coast soon. Like last year, I will continue to watch the weather signs, listen to the forecasts with great discernment and act accordingly.  I promise to leave the coast when a real hurricane is coming my way.  I just wish the weather folk would wait until a storm is a real hurricane.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

My future's In God's hands

Recently, I had another opportunity to catch up with two longtime ministry friends. As would be natural, having recently resigned a local church position, these conversations always gravitates toward questions about my future in ministry.  

The conversations go something like this....

Friend - "Are you looking for another church?" 
Me - "I'm not actively looking. "
Friend - "So, what are your plans for the future?" 
Me  - I don't really know. My ministry future is totally in God's hands."

My answers have never changed, but I am no longer parroting what God's told me. I've finally embraced the truth.

Eight months ago, the conversation would have been the same, but I would have squirmed in my seat uncomfortable with a truth I barely understood and sometimes questioned. Admittedly, I was still shell-shocked by the abrupt change in God's directions for my life and shaking in my shoes fearful of an uncertain future.

Back then, I put on a brave face, but there were holes in my faith.  Intellectually, I know I am a work in progress, but inside I struggled with wavering faith. Thank God, I had the support of family and friends to give myself a break. I would have driven myself insane if they didn't so enthusiastically and readily accept my bravado without questioning me further.

This time it was the same questions and answers, but it suddenly dawned on me.  I am totally at peace and relaxed about my uncertain future. I'd finally internalized and claimed it.  It's no act, I'm truly in  God's hands and following His divine plan with complete abandon.

It's still true. I'm not looking for a specific church to serve. At present, I'm focused singularly on serving, as we say in the Apostle's Creed, "the holy catholic church".  This past week, I volunteered alongside my niece at Grace UMC's morning Babylon VBS and visited at another family member's evening VBS.  I don't know if I was much help, but not being in charge allowed me to soak up lots of new ideas and simply experience the wonder of God through the eyes of a child.

This coming week, I go back out on the road as a ministry consultant.  Tuesday, I will train a local church team in Virginia.  Saturday after next, I will be in South Carolina.  After that, only God knows and when he let's me know, I'll go.

Now, back to the recent conversation after I shared my focus on ministry consulting.

Friend -  "Yes, your ministry has changed. It's gotten bigger"
Me - "No. Not bigger, just different."  

Years ago,  I might have bought into that notion that ministry consultants' ministry is bigger.  Of course, that was before I was one.   Experience taught me there is NO bigger job than serving in a local church and I'm honored to serve and support those who do until God comes up with another assignment.

Feels fantastic to say "My future's in God's hands."

Go Ahead - Google it!