Archive | April, 2009

The Politics of Church

30 Apr

Oh, be careful little mouth what you say . . .

Whenever you get a group of people together, politics exist. Plain and simple. Someone will have an agenda. Someone will not get along with another. Someone will feel slighted or left out.

That is a fact. Tommy Dowling used to remind us that some personalities will naturally shun others, as two magnet faces with the same polarity will push away from each other. That WILL happen.

Paul wrote much about how we handle it. He told us to love each other. Peter wrote love covers a multitude of sins. Jesus said the greatest things we can do are to love God with all of our hearts and love each other more than we love ourselves.

So why do politics exist in the church?? Pride and self-righteousness (which is a child of pride). That inner need to be proud, to do something that makes us feel important or special. That inner drive to be better than others. IT TEARS A CHURCH APART.

And I am finding that I have not only grown tired of all of that, it is starting to make me sick. Physically sick. And I have enough stress in my personal life right now, so I could do without it.

Know what I mean, Vern??

Oh Lord . . . IF

29 Apr

Paddy was driving down the street in a sweat because he had an important meeting and couldn’t find a parking place.

Looking up to heaven he said, “Lord take pity on me. If you find me a parking place, I will go to Mass every Sunday for the rest of me life and give up me Irish Whiskey!”

Miraculously, a parking place appeared. Paddy looked up again and said, “Never mind, I found one.”

Thought for the day============================
Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate.


The Bucket

28 Apr

When Krissy was in fifth grade, her rec softball coach yelled at the end of practice, “We need more pitchers. Anybody want to try??” Krissy looked at me and said “I do.” I okayed it, but thought “Oh, goodness.”

She went out to the mound and threw a few pitches, and low and behold, she was not half bad. Okay, so her coaches worked with her but told her the only way she would be better is to practice off the field.

Hence, the bucket. We would go out into the yard, I would sit on a bucket, and she would throw the ball ANYWHERE BUT to me. I dreaded it. I made Drew go stand behind us, knowing he would catch far more balls than I.

As she continued to work, a friend started working with her. Helping her develop form. He did that for a while. She eventually hit seventh grade and made the JV team at West Florence. As a pitcher. She was tiny compared to all of the other girls. And our friend told us he had helped her as much as he could.

We asked the coach for a recommendation and she brought us to our current pitching coach. She told us Krissy had potential. Over the years she worked hard with Krissy and inspired Krissy to work hard. And I spent more time on the bucket.

Yeah, I tried to get her to throw to a bounce-back net. I bought a sports net with a target. No good. She needed a live catcher.

So the bucket became our time to talk. There has been pain on the bucket. There has been anger on the bucket. There were a handful of times that I thought we would never pitch again. NOT that I pushed Krissy, because I never really had to do that. But she wears her emotions on her sleeves, and there were times when we packed up and I never thought we would go back. But we always did.

The bucket is a symbol of her work ethic. And she is a worker. When she is determined to do something, watch out, because she WILL do it.

The bucket also became a great time for a dad and daughter to talk. And talk we did. We have been through some tough times over the years. And our pitching practice was always a time to talk about that stuff. The ups and downs of life. The times where advice was sought. Over this winter, I started realizing that I would miss sitting on that bucket. In spite of all of the times I got hit, I didn’t feel like being there, or other things in life were pulling me away, I will miss the bucket.

Because the bucket is no more . . . Last night ended all of that. NO, I won’t get rid of the bucket. I might have a grandson or granddaughter (MANY, MANY YEARS FROM NOW) who wants me to sit on that bucket again. And if I am able, I will. But for now, it will have a place of honor in my garage and in my heart.

I will never forget the bucket.

The Last Night

27 Apr

Yep, we are getting ready for the last night . . . The last night of the softball season for the West Florence Lady Knights. And the last night in a WF uniform for Krissy!

It has been a good ride. She started playing softball in third grade. Couldn’t even catch the ball. In fact, Krissy has broken her nose three times so far in her life, and TWO of them were softball related (the first was when she was learning to catch).

She started pitching in the fifth grade. That is when I started catching her in practice. Those times have been some of the best we’ve had, and I plan to blog about that later.

Needless to say, this will be a tough night. Walking off that field one more time. But she has nothing to be ashamed of, and no regrets . . . I can assure you that Krissy Wike has given it her best EVERY TIME SHE TOOK THE FIELD. That is what really matters in all of this.

So, we are grateful for one last night.

Fat Man’s Prayer

23 Apr

Victor Buono was an actor . . . Comedian . . . An extraordinary entertainer. I first saw him as King Tut on the old Batman tv show. He was AWESOME!!

From his standup (perhaps a poetry reading) I heard a recording of Buono reciting the most well known of his poems . . . The Fat Man’s Prayer:

I think that I shall never see… my feet.

I think it only proper to end this portion of our discussion with a prayer.

Lord, my soul is ripped with riot,

Incited by my wicked diet.

We are what we eat, said a wise old man,

And Lord, if that’s true, I’m a garbage can!

I want to rise on Judgment Day, that’s plain,

But at my present weight, I’ll need a crane!

So grant me strength that I may not fall

Into the clutches of cholesterol.

May my flesh with carrot curls be sated

That my soul may be polyunsaturated.

And show me the light that I may bear witness

To the President’s Council on Physical Fitness.

At oleomargarine I’ll never mutter,

For the road to hell is spread with butter.

And cake is cursed, and cream is awful,

And Satan is hiding in every waffle.

Mephistopheles lurks in provolone,

The devil is in each slice of bologna,

Beelzebub is a chocolate drop,

And Lucifer is a lollipop!

Give me this day my daily slice –

But cut it thin and toast it twice.
I beg upon my dimpled knees,

Deliver me from Jujubees.

And my when days of trial are done

And my war with malted milks is won,

Let me stand with the saints in heaven

In a shining robe – Size 37!

I can do it, Lord, if you’ll show to me

The virtues of lettuce and celery.

If you’ll teach me the evils of mayonnaise,

The sinfulness of hollandaise

And pasta a la milanese

And potatoes a la lyonaise

And crisp fried chicken from the south!

Lord, if you love me, SHUT MY MOUTH!

You GOTTA see this!!!

23 Apr

More Softball

23 Apr

Yes, as soon as prayer meeting was over I was the one that left a vapor trail between Ebenezer and Darlington High. By the time I got there it was too late . . . In the first inning, they scored three runs. Game was technically over at that point, as we did not score a run. In the second, they scored four. The ONLY positive in this, for me, is that Krissy was not on the mound. Yet another rough night.

I keep telling Krissy to enjoy these last few games . . . We have one Friday, one Saturday, and one Monday. And then it is all over. Not looking forward to Monday. Brings back memories of my last high school basketball game and how I felt afterwards. Nope, I am not looking forward to Monday at all.

What would YOU like for people to say at YOUR FUNERAL??

21 Apr

I often remind people at funerals that you preach your own funeral . . . WITH YOUR LIFE. What a pastor says at your funeral will seldom be remembered . . . What people remember is HOW YOU LIVED.

What kind of funeral are YOU preaching??

Think about it . . . What would you like for people to say??

Three good friends were driving along on the highway one Saturday: a doctor, a teacher, and a lawyer. All of a sudden, a brand-new SUV cut them off. In an attempt to miss the shiny big vehicle, the driver swerved to the left and hit the median. The car flipped several times and all three friends died instantly.

They all found themselves in line waiting to get into Heaven. The doctor asked the others, “Hey, what do you want people to say at your funeral? I want them to say, ‘She was a great doctor, and she never let down any of her patients.'”

The teacher said, “I want people to remember me as a great educator, so I would want to hear people say, ‘He was a wonderful teacher, a great role model for children, and he changed countless lives throughout his career.'”

Then the lawyer said, “I’d like people to say, ‘Look! He’s moving!'”

(Okay, I got the last part from

A View from the Cheap Seats

20 Apr

This spring has brought something to the Wike family that we knew would come someday . . . Krissy’s LAST season of softball (sniffle sniffle). She has played softball for eight or so years now, has pitched for six of them, and it all comes to a close in a few weeks. The regular season for the West Florence Lady Knights is almost over, and tomorrow night we play a regular season game that will determine whether or not we go to the playoffs. And it is senior night. No pressure.

Like most dads and a few of the moms, I sit in the bleachers for every game. The coach in me would LOVE to give a pre-game motivation to them. The jock in me would love to somehow make a difference (although girls softball was NOT one of the four sports I played in high school many moons ago).

This year has been a tough year. We were picked to finish near the top of our region, and the season just hasn’t panned out that way. We’ve been caught in the quicksand trap of errors, had nights when we just could not hit the ball, and our record is marginal at best. And I think I know why. And, as a former high school coach and one who has played on many teams, this is a killer . . . We are not gelling as a team. We are not playing together.

Some choose to blame our coaches. Some sit and criticize EVERY MOVE they make. If coaches have the batters swinging away, they should be BUNTING. If they have them bunting, they should be SWINGING AWAY. No matter WHAT the coaches do, it is wrong. Attitudes among a few of the parents are ROTTEN, and this is factoring down onto the field.

Yep. I said it. A large contributor to our problems on the field this year comes from the parents. Bad attitudes that filter down onto the field. The reason our team is not playing together is that some have no faith in what our coaches are trying to do. They are NOT PERFECT. They might not do things the way others would do them. In fact, NO ONE would satisfy some of these folks unless THEY were coaching themselves.

And knowing some of our parents, I might get cussed out for writing this. And I don’t care. They will stand before God just like I will one day and we will ALL answer for our lives.

Some will recognize this as truth. Some will never admit it. Some will go on thinking that their daughters should be playing at this spot, batting in that spot, and if things are not just as they think they should be they will continue to fuss. To undermine. To write emails to our principal and to our athletic director. To second guess EVERY CALL made by the coaches. They do not realize the damage they are doing to their kids!!

As a pastor, I deal with the other side of this. With young adults who CANNOT FUNCTION in life because their parents continually bail them out of everything they get themselves into. Most of those adults wind up in and out of trouble for their entire lives!!! And it all goes back to parents who did not equip them to survive in life!

And part of that is allowing their kids to earn their spots, to play ball and function independently. To start growing up.

Yep, it will be a sad day for this dad when Krissy turns her uniform in. But I will tell you two things:

1) I thank God that we have coaches who have CHARACTER, and that is exactly what we have with Denise, Herb, Colleen, and Amanda. That is unquestionable.

2) I am glad my daughter will walk off that field and be better prepared for life, because Diana and I have allowed HER to earn her spot, to fight her own battles. And Denise has really helped her learn that (and again, I am thankful).

PS – You can post responses, but if they are anonymous or trash WF in any way, I won’t be posting them!!!

For all my friends in the Palmetto State!!!

16 Apr

1) A possum is a flat animal that sleeps in the middle of the road.
2) There are 5,000 types of snakes and 4,998 of them live in SC.
3) There are 10,000 types of spiders, and all 10,000 of them live in SC.
4) If it grows, it’ll stick ya. If it crawls, it’ll bite cha.
5) “Onced” and “Twiced” are words.
6) It is not a shopping cart, it’s a buggy.
7) “Jaw-P?” means, “Did y’all go to the bathroom?”
8) People actually grow and eat okra.
9) “Fixinto” is one word.
10) There is no such thing as lunch. There is only dinner and then there is supper…
11) Iced tea is appropriate for all meals, and you start drinking it when you’re two.
We do like a little tea with our sugar.
12) Backwards and forwards means, “I know everythin’ bout you.”
13) The word “jeet” is actually a phrase meaning, “Did you eat?”
14) You don’t have to wear a watch, because it doesn’t matter what time it is. You work until you’re done or it’s too dark to see…
15) You don’t PUSH buttons, you MASH em.
16) You measure distance in minutes.
17) You switch from heat to A/C in the same day.
18) All the festivals across the state are named after a fruit, vegetable, grain, insect or animal.
19) You know what a “Dawg” is.
20) You carry jumper cables in your car – for your own car.
21) You only own five spices: salt, pepper, Texas Pete , Tabasco and ketchup.
22) The local papers cover national and international news on one page, but require 6 pages for local gossip and high school football…
23) You think that the first day of deer season is a national holiday.
24) You find 100 degrees “a bit warm.”
25) You know all four seasons: Almost summer, summer, still summer, and Christmas.
26) Going to Walmart is a favorite past time known as “goin’ Walmartin” or “off to Wally World.”
27) You describe the first cool snap (below 70 degrees) as good hog killin’ weather.
28) Fried catfish is the other white meat.
29) We don’t need no dang Driver’s Ed… If our mama says we can drive, we can drive dag-nabbit.
30) You understand these jokes and forward them to your SC friends and those who just wish they were from South Carolina !!!!!