Archives for the month of: September, 2013

Tomorrow is my birthday. Anyone for birthday cake and ice cream? I have lived long enough to know that one thing we can count on is change. Good or bad- change is inevitable.

The world today is different from what I experienced as I was growing up in south Alabama and when my wife and I began our marriage and family. The way we live is not necessarily better or worse but it is definitely different.

Change is not negotiable. Change happens. We can accept or reject it but change is just as certain as death and taxes. How we respond to change makes a world of difference.

I know of a married couple who have both been engaged in professional careers for several years. They have two elementary school aged children. Like many folks they have worked long and hard to succeed in their chosen vocations and as good parents. These two objectives have often been in conflict. Two many hours at work and too little time together as a family.

After much consideration these two people/parents decided to make some significant changes. One spouse left their employment and the other negotiated an altered work arrangement with their employer. They moved from the city where they have lived for thirteen years- the only place the children know as home. They have embarked on an adventure that they hope will provide them more time as a family and the opportunity for the children to experience life on a very different level.

This adventurous family will secure housing in multiple cities for long enough to interact with the residents of those communities, each with a different language and culture. The parents and children will each reflect on their experiences and keep written and photo journals. The plan is to use technology and travel as teachers and the world as their classroom.

It is a risky venture but they are counting on it to be rewarding in ways that cannot be understood fully at this point. There will probably be many surprises, both pleasant and undesirable, along the way. I suspect that they will learn more than they imagine and their family ties will be greatly strengthened. I am a bit anxious and very excited for them but I believe this will be a wonderfully positive life changing experience for them individually and collectively.

I am extremely interested in following this family over the next several months. If you want to learn more about their journey, check it out at http://www.anepiceducation.com/.

Oh, did I mention that this family is my son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren? But I still think you might find their venture to be interesting and educational.

Jamie Jenkins

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I have been a baseball fan since my cousin started taking me to watch the Mobile Bears play when I was eight years old. Those many visits to Hartwell Field in my south Alabama hometown fueled my love for the sport and I have been a fan ever since.

Although I have been a baseball fan for over sixty years I have never been to the Baseball Hall of Fame until a couple of months ago. Cooperstown, New York is home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Unless you are a baseball fan or have relatives who live there you probably have no reason to visit the town. But if you love baseball, you should go.

The Hall of Fame and Museum features over 40,000 three-dimensional items, three million books and documents and 500,000 photographs. The climax of your tour of the facility is the Plaque Gallery featuring all of the more than 300 persons who have been voted in by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Denton True (Cy) Young is one of the most recognizable names among the members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Elected in 1937, he is one of the most consistent and durable pitchers having won 511 games, which is more than any other pitcher. One year after Young’s death, the Cy Young Award was created to honor the previous season’s best pitcher.

In 1999, 88 years after his final major league appearance and 44 years after his death, editors at The Sporting News ranked Cy Young 14th on their list of “Baseball’s 100 Greatest Players”. That same year, baseball fans named him to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

Young said, “A man who isn’t willing to work from dreary morn to weary eve shouldn’t think about being a pitcher.” With that attitude and his ability it is easy to understand why he excelled at his profession.

Hank Aaron’s career is prominently highlighted in The Hall of Fame and Museum. The Sporting News ranked him fifth on their “100 Greatest Baseball Players” list. He held the MLB record for career home runs for 33 years, and he still holds several MLB offensive records.

Aaron holds the record for the most seasons as an All Atar (21). and for the most All Star appearances (25); selected from 1955 through 1975 (MLB had 2 All-Star games a year from 1959 to 1962). He is tied with Stan Musial and Willie Mays for the most All-Star Games played (24). He was named to the national League All-Star roster 20 times and the American League All-Star roster one time. He also won three National League Gold Glove Awards.

Aaron became known as “Hammering Hank” and is best remembered for breaking the home run record held for 39 years by Babe Ruth. On April 8, 1974, a crowd of 53,775 people were present in Atlanta when he hit career home run number 715 in the fourth inning off Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Al Downing. He went on to hit 755, a record which was broken thirty-one years later by Barry Bonds.

One statement by Aaron included in the display in Cooperstown gives great insight into his philosophy of life. “The way I see it is its great to be the man who hit the most home runs, but it’s a greater thing to be the man who did the most with the home runs he hit.” That perspective explains Aaron’s success as a baseball player and his continued success as a respected business man.

Both Cy Young and Hank Aaron seem to understand what Jesus meant when He said, “To whom much has been given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48). Or as one paraphrase puts it, “Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities!”

Jamie Jenkins

 

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Nine eleven. These two words have taken on new meaning in the past dozen years. When I hear them spoken or see the odd integers my mind immediately goes to that horrific September day in 2001.

I clearly remember where I was when I heard the news that a plane had hit the WorldTradeCenter in New York. The pictures that would follow in the next hours and days are etched indelibly in my mind. I suspect that is true of just about everyone reading this.

That day- 9/11/01- changed our nation and our world. Things have not been the same since then and they will never return to what they were before that fateful day. The devastation and losses sustained in those few hours have colored our history in deep shades of black. The effects are more far reaching than can be comprehended.

Yesterday, we remembered and mourned the losses of 9-11 and we continue to live in its shadow.

Nine eleven has another meaning in my family. Our oldest son was born on September 11, 1971. That date has been special to us for forty-two years. Its significance is drastically different from the tragedy of the terrorist attacks 12 years ago. The birth of our first child signaled new life and joy for my wife and me. The thrill of becoming parents is indescribable and watching him grow and mature into a fine man, husband, and father is rewarding beyond words.

Life is a series of tragedies and triumphs. Victories and defeats. Privileges and paradoxes. Some of life’s experiences are so horrible that words cannot describe them. I continue to mourn all that was lost on the day the twin towers of the World Trade Center fell and the planes crashed in rural Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon. And the price that is paid every day for those unbelievable events. They cannot ever be forgotten.

But tragedy must not rule our lives. Disaster must not dominate our minds.

Life also has a way of providing us with experiences that are wonderfully exhilarating. They come right alongside the unpleasant and unthinkable. While these moments do not negate the negative effects of other experiences, they do compensate for the pain. We hold both in our hearts. The good times and the bad.

So on September 11 every year I will remember the lives that were lost in 2001 and the dramatic effect of that day’s events on personal and international relationships. I will continue to pray that hatred and violence will not rule the world. I will work to do my part to the end that peace will prevail in the hearts and minds of all people of all nations.

I will celebrate the birth of my son and the hope that life in the future will be more just and peaceful for him and all people of the earth. I will continue to pray that God’s peaceful reign on earth will be realized fully.

Jamie Jenkins

 

 

I remember when people sat on their front porches and talked to their neighbors as they walked by or waved to anyone driving past. Those days are gone for most of us.

With the movement into urban and suburban communities and the advances in technology we have become more isolated from one another. We come home from work, park our cars in the garage and settle into our comfortable air conditioned space loaded with media to entertain us. The next morning we get into our cars and drive away often without any contact with anyone next door or down the street.

I am grateful for the comforts of my modern day home and all the conveniences it affords. I do not desire to go back to the good old days. But I do long for more personal interaction with people around me. It has been said that “man’s home is his castle.” I can understand and appreciate that expression but that does not mean we have to resort to a fortified mentality. I would like to see us be more interactive with one another and be more responsible to and for one another.

This cultural phenomenon has also impacted the church. Much like our routines at home, we enter nicely furnished and comfortable buildings to worship or for Bible study and “fellowship” and then we get in our air-conditioned automobiles and drive away. If we are not careful, what we experience at church will be kept to ourselves- and the Christian faith is one that is expected to be lived out openly.

Before the days of huge and comfortable sanctuaries to worship in, tent revivals were popular in Christian circles. Tents would pop up all over the place and traveling evangelists would pound the pulpit as they proclaimed the gospel. Folks would gather in large numbers for the spirited singing and preaching. Hand held cardboard funeral home fans would provide the only air conditioning during the hot summer months.

There is an old saying, “What goes around comes around.” Recently I have been a part of two worship experiences held under a tent. Shiloh Campmeeting in the Burwell Community of CarrollCounty held its 148th Campmeeting under a tent because their 99 year-old arbor was in need of some repairs. Then I was privileged to preach at McEachernUnitedMethodistChurch’s Tent Revival. Normally both churches hold their worship services inside in air-conditioned sanctuaries but they see value in what many call old-fashioned.

David Blackwood, the Associate Pastor at McEachern, is responsible for the assimilation process of moving visitors to regular worshippers and then to becoming disciples of Jesus Christ. He told me that they were discovering that some of the “old” ways of following up with folks who visit the church are still very effective.

I would not suggest that old things or methods are better or even still useful. But I would urge us not to discard something just because it has some age on it or because something “new” comes along to take its place.

Jesus said, “I make all things new.” I think that does not mean that everything is brand new but sometimes it is an old item or idea that is simply tweaked or re-tooled.

Let us be careful not to “throw the baby out with the bath water” but carefully examine our methods and techniques to see what value they have and how the principles they use might be applied to our new situation. Beware of the mentality of “out with the old and in with the new.” Perhaps you are throwing away something that is extremely valuable.

Jamie Jenkins