40 Years

Screenshot 2015-12-07 at 2.22.41 PMI’m coming up on one of those milestone birthdays; I will turn 40 in a few days. It’s only natural to reflect on how you’ve spent your time in this world. So what have I done in 40 years?

I have lived in two states and visited 12 others. I have lived in Georgia a total of 31 years and Kentucky the other nine. I have visited Alabama, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Missouri, Kansas, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and California.

I have visited one other country, Germany. Teresa and I spent ten days in Germany at the end of 2007; we arrived December 24th and flew back on January 2nd, so I have rung in the New Year on another continent. We took in a Christmas village, drank hot chocolate and watched ice skaters, visited a Gothic style cathedral and rode a tour bus to Triberg in the Black Forest. Thanks to my father-in-law shipping his pickup truck over, I have been on the Autobahn in a Ford F-150.

I have eaten frog legs. They really do taste like chicken. Thanks to the international student population at OBI I’ve also had kimchi, calamari, borsh, Ethiopian flatbread and probably some other things I can’t remember.

I ride a motorcycle. The smallest motorcycle I’ve ridden was a Honda 90, the largest was a Suzuki Intruder 1500. I traded up a few years ago from a Honda Shadow 500 to an 1100 but have never ridden an American made bike (i.e. Harley).

I’ve driven 2 Volkswagen Beetles. The old ones; if it ever comes up I know how to find reverse.

I was on the debate team all 4 years in high school. In 1994 I qualified at the state level to compete at nationals.

My first day on my first job I made the front page of the local paper! They were doing a story on local business owner John Thorton and wanted to take a picture of him out in the mill.

I drive a bus. If you learn to drive a full size school bus in the mountains of eastern Kentucky you can probably drive anything anywhere. After all the training and testing it’s easier to stay certified than it would be to get it back so I still take a CDL physical every 12 months.

I graduated from high school, college, and will soon complete my second seminary course through the SBC Seminary Extension program. I have a BS in History/Political Science and graduated from the teacher education program at Shorter.

I taught high school for eight years (World History, U.S. History, geography) and one year of middle school math.

I was in the senior play in high school, took one semester of theater appreciation in college, help direct while student teaching, and was later the assistant director for 19 high school productions (working not only with actors but also lights, sound and stagecraft).

I worked for one year as an assistant carpenter and nearly a year doing HVAC. I’ve been on the roof of Memorial Hall at Stone Mountain (where the laser show is projected from) and in places inside Emory University Clinic that most people don’t know exist. Have you ever eaten at the KFC on Turner McCall Blvd. in Rome? I framed that building.

I now pastor a small church. I was licensed to preach, ordained as a deacon, ordained to ministry and later called to pastor in that order. I have married two couples, preached one funeral and recently ordained a deacon.

I published a book in 2014 and now write a weekly religion column for the local paper (the same one I appeared on the cover of at my first job 24 years ago). I’ve been a blogger since 2008.

I have had three jobs in food service: Shoney’s, Chick-fil-A and for a short time Schroeder’s Deli in Calhoun. I enjoy cooking but not working in the foodservice industry.

Teresa and I have been married 18 years and have one child.

I have played on two church softball teams (with apologies to Trinity Baptist. That ten year gap was too much and I lost it). But when I caught for Pleasant Hope we actually had an undefeated season!

I have seen the Braves play baseball at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium and Turner Field. I’ve seen the Georgia Bulldogs play at Sanford Stadium. I’ve eaten at the Varsity in downtown Atlanta and at the one in Athens.

I’ve seen The Beach Boys and Rush in concert, and a few years ago Mercy Me, The Newsboys and Zoegirl all in one show. (Met Josh McDowell that same weekend.) Saw Lonestar at Cowboys in Kennesaw.

I’ve left some things off this list (like playing guitar and swimming in the ocean) because there’s just no way to say everything. But I think that speaks to the fact I’ve done lots of things and am willing to try new stuff.

WHAT HAVE I NOT DONE? 

Well I’m pleased to say that I’ve never broken a bone or spent a night in the hospital. I’ve never had my tonsils, appendix or anything else removed.

I came this close to skydiving. During a special promotion you could take a 90 min. class and make one tandem jump for $100. I really thought about it.

I would like to walk my daughter down the aisle and give her away someday, but I’ve never written a bucket list. I’m open to suggestions; what have you got?

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Busy

Ever feel like everything is happening at once?

There are times we get bored and look for something to do and at other times it seems there are not enough hours in the day or days in the week. It’s true that I like to keep busy but sometimes even I find too much on the old plate. The next few weeks are going to be like that; you know, more than the usual amount of too much on my plate. 

I have been pastoring a small Baptist church since October. As a bivocational pastor I also put in 40 hours (sometimes +) on a Monday-Friday job. We have been working on a house and are about to move. I have a seminary class on Monday evenings and a couple of monthly meetings with a writers group that I swear keep coming closer and closer together. I have started writing a new book and just recently (yesterday) launched a new church website. Oh, I almost forgot to mention our 5-year-old, the one out of school on spring break this week.

I said all that to say this: Don’t expect much out of my personal blog in the future. I never intended to have two blogs; I should have repurposed clarkbunch.wordpress.com as The Master’s Table without creating a URL and moving all the content. Hindsight is 20/20. With the theology blog, the church website, one book in print and hopefully another coming out by this time next year, I don’t need another outlet to put myself out there. I’m on Facebook and Twitter to boot, plus the blog and book have their own FB pages and God is Near its own Twitter feed. I don’t have an unpublished thought as it is.

On the other hand: posts, images and other material has been slowly stockpiling here since 2008 and traffic still comes through even though nothing new is posted for weeks at a time. So the archives will not be going away and I’m not pulling the plug on the URL. I liked the total site overhauls that produced Smile: God Loves you and the Happy Coffee Blog. All of the old daily One Liner updates and The Cuteness images are still archived. That’s just not what I’m doing right now.

So if you need me, I’ll be at The Master’s Table and Unity Baptist Church. Happy Monday will always be good for a laugh and my Facebook profile is public. And if you don’t need me… I will still be at all those places! Long live the blog.

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Rant: Every Radio Controlled Aircraft is Not a Drone

Screenshot 2015-03-20 at 8.44.45 AMDrone: An autonomous pilotless aircraft or missile; Unmanned Aviation Vehicle (UAV)

Drones are used in military exercises to fly reconnaissance missions or deliver ordnance. They may fly a pre-programmed course with limited “decision making” ability of their own or be remotely controlled.

Hobbyists have been flying radio controlled airplanes and helicopters for decades. Due to improved designed and new lightweight materials, today’s aircraft look very different from what your father or grandfather might have flown back in the 70’s or 80’s. But unless you belong to a paramilitary organization (militia or a terrorist cell) then you do not have a drone. We have adopted that word into our lexicon from military use and hear it on the news every day used incorrectly.

I know it’s too late. Just like ATM Machine and PIN Number the word drone is part of the American vernacular and people are going to keep saying it. I just want to say once for the record: Those people are wrong.

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No News is Good News

Llamas on the Lam – YouTube videos and social media updates that go viral are nothing new, but every now and then a story garners so much attention the legitimate news media notice. While some people lament the runaway llama story and ugly white and gold dress nonsense being the “top stories” of the week I suggest it’s actually a good thing.

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Back in the day the local news got 30 minutes of airtime followed by a half hour national network broadcast. Today’s 24 hour news cycle, on several different competing networks, means that something must be news all the time. When the black & blue/ white & gold debate is the focus of our collective attention, and every newscast opens with a llama chase scene, that means bigger more important stories are not taking place. ISIS has not beheaded another Christian, a passenger airliner has not disappeared into the south Pacific, there was no threat to the president’s life and so forth. No news, as the saying goes, is good news.

Live Long and Prosper – In what might be considered real news, Leonard Nimoy has passed at the age of 83. Westboro Baptist will purportedly protest his funeral but I will try to avoid launching into that rant at this time. Below is one of my favorite things ever. It features Old Spock, Young Spock, the Ballad of Bilbo Baggins and other good, old fashioned nerd humor.

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Do You Want to Build a Snowman?  This entire post is really nothing but images and wordy discussions that don’t work in the current Happy Monday format, so here is a pic of Johannah and the snowman we made last week. Spring training the same day; don’t worry, he’ll melt long before the Braves choke in the postseason.

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Free Coffee? The Entire Month of February? YES PLEASE!

This video was accidently left out of yesterday’s Happy Monday:

I’m sitting at a Chick-fil-A in Marietta, GA enjoying my first free cup right now. I average Chick-fil-A breakfast about twice a week as it is so the free coffee didn’t draw me in but it is a nice perk. They recently switched to a new coffee supplier, Thrive Farmers Coffee, and this promotion is meant to introduce it to a wider audience. If you haven’t been to Chick-fil-A for breakfast recently they also have some new menu items, such as breakfast burritos, chicken minis, oatmeal with or without fruit, and a yogurt parfait.

It’s cold outside. Have a hot cup of Joe on the Cathy’s, all February long.

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Come Back to McDonald’s, but Don’t Stay Too Long

McDonald’s is aware that they are loosing business to other chains. They are in the process of simplifying their menu and focusing their advertising on the “I’m Loving It” theme to attract customers to return. They have responded to concerns about what their food products actually contain in a hope to regain the public’s trust. But just this morning I noticed this sign in a McD’s dining room:

Photo2005I’ve seen signage in Chick-fil-A inviting customers to stay as long as they like but reserve full size tables for larger groups. They even politely suggest during peak times of the day you might come back later. I arrived at one location a little early for lunch and was going to do my surfing first and then order. The manager came by and ask if I would like anything, perhaps a glass of water. I don’t like using a restaurant’s wifi or a gas station bathroom without making a purchase. I once ordered a Diet Coke at a Krystal and the cashier said “It’s just a drink, don’t worry about it.” So then I had free wifi and a free beverage. Not what I was looking for but very hospitable.

McDonald’s wants you to come back, just don’t overstay your welcome.

 

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Time Capsule Opened

A time capsule buried in 1795 by Sam Adams and his cohorts was opened today in Boston Mass. I imagine we’re all thinking the same thing.

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