Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: pandemic. Pandemic! PANDEMIC! How much longer, we all wonder? When will we as a planet — or at least as a country, or really just statewide would be nice — reach that quixotic goal of “herd immunity”? When can we go back to wandering within 2-3 feet of each other and resume absentmindedly taking everyday life for granted again? For us, Easter weekend represented another stepping stone toward that goal.
Our view of church this morning at 8 a.m., remembering and worshiping before the crowds who’ll be flocking in for the 9:15 and 11 a.m. services. We sat in the back with Anne’s grandmother and enjoyed the message, in which our lead pastor skillfully worked in a brief but topical detour to refute Lex Luthor’s flawed theology in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Apt timing.
Happy Easter to you ‘n’ yours from Midlife Crisis Crossover, and may you have a truly blessed day.
Pictured above: the main auditorium stage at our church home throughout the month of March.
It hasn’t been an easy, gracious month ’round these parts. Everywhere we turned, believers and non-believers alike were up in arms. Christians of all denominations, at all levels of faith, at various save points of their walkthroughs with Christ, have had plenty of questions, countless disagreements with others, even debates with each other. Anyone among us who never felt challenged or moved to sincere contemplation all month long wasn’t paying attention.
Easter Sunday is one of those too-rare moments when we collectively set aside our divisions, recognize why we do what we do, remember what our successes mean, realize what our failures don’t mean, and reaffirm why we ought to keep trying to do better.
We’re looking forward to service tomorrow morning. We welcome it. Right now, we need it.
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“So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” — 2 Thessalonians 2: 15-17 (NIV).
Dateline: the Saturday before Easter 2008. My family and I took a trip beyond the confines of Indianapolis into other parts of the state for a most unusual holiday event. Our Master of Ceremonies: the Easter Bunny! Everyone likes the Easter Bunny, right? Sure, the weather was ugly and conducive to death of cold, but that didn’t stop the Easter Bunny from his appointed rounds. Here he makes his grim march to the playing field.
The Bunny conscripted some little helpers into his service. Under his strict tutelage, his disciples milled about the land, planting and stashing his dyed Easter eggs here and there and everywhere.
Once their task was complete, Lord Bunny and his li’l henchbunnies evacuated to a minimum safe distance…
…and out came the wolves.
The “faith” aspect of the Midlife Crisis Crossover tagline may seem downplayed here more often than not, especially while diving into the deeper ends of geekery and pop culture, but rest assured it’s never far from my mind. What matters most, what keeps us going, what makes everything possible, what sees us through all that we do together — the hints appear around us everywhere we go.
Even on our 2013 road trip, examples weren’t hard to find. Whether it was a giant cross that would be the last thing we photographed in Ohio on our way home at the end of Day 9…
First things first, above all else: Happy, glorious, wondrous Easter to one and all!
My laundry list of thank-yous and expressions of gratitude relevant to this celebratory occasion would go on for pages and surprise no one who knows me. Even something as simple as an ordinary day in my life is cause for joy, though I’m just as likely to take too much of each one for granted.
Behold the city of Indianapolis, where my ordinary average day begins. It’s above-average in size, but still treated as one of the runts in the major-American-city clique, though the positive reviews of our Super Bowl LXVI hosting experience went a long way toward convincing other cities to stop calling us names. Many of the fruits produced in my life wouldn’t have been possible if Indy were the nonstop battleground that local news would sometimes have us think it is.
Confession time: when I launched MCC eleven months ago, I didn’t expect that aspect of my life to receive such short shrift here compared to the other parts of my life. Truth is, writing about my faith is challenging because the majority of examples set before me from other writers, family, and friends (in writing or in simple conversation) are either memorized Bible verses, Christian song lyrics, or common quotes that sound so much like real verses that everyone assumes they are and keeps passing them around. For the purpose of self-expression, I have a hard time settling for that.
Years before my life took a conscious turn toward a new spiritual direction, I was once an English major who had one critical writing lesson drummed repeatedly into my head : “Put it in your own words.” While the Bible contains a wealth of advice more useful to me than Bartlett’s Quotations or Twitter, I’m not sure what I’m accomplishing — either for the Kingdom or for myself — if all my writing and speaking consists of recycling the exact phrases and paragraphs of everyone who came before me. Becoming a living, walking re-blogger holds no appeal to me. I’m hardly the most original guy in the world, but I’d at least like to try to form my own sentences into useful structures. Problem is, all the best wisdom and aphorisms are taken, leaving me to cobble together what I can from my own odd experiences and pale talents in hopes that it doesn’t reek of copy/paste plagiarism. More often than not, my frustrated approach is if I can’t say something different, I don’t say anything at all.
I don’t recommend that mindset to anyone else. I’ll concede that’s me being stubborn. Arguably, I’ve set the bar too high for myself. We’ll see how my thoughts on the subject progress as I age and hopefully keep growing. Until then, here I am, doing the best I can with what I have. That usually means I end up focusing on my other specializations here, those that predate my faith, originated in my childhood, and are sometimes at odds with it. Thus is the conflict that fuels some of the fight scenes in the Midlife Crisis Crossover.
I was brought up to observe the standard annual rites. We bought a Paas egg-coloring kit at the grocery that came with all the paraphernalia you needed for starters: color-coded aspirin to toss in cups of water and turn it Crayola-colored and undrinkable; a wire hook to rescue submerged eggs from their watery prisons after a dozen tries; non-stick stickers, most of which would later be thrown away still attached to their original release paper; a wax crayon for drawing gunky, invisible shapes on the eggshell for no one to see and the dye to soak through anyway; decorative paper collars to use as Easter egg stands, as if the results would be museum-worthy; and the box that contained it all, designed with the punch-out holes to transform into an egg-drying rack that would collapse under the weight of three or more eggs.