Tuesday, September 15, 2015
I write this Tuesday morning well before Tuesday evening and even further ahead of tomorrow morning. My anxiety level is high. My blood pressure is stable. I haven't eaten less, nor am I losing any sleep. Yet my Astros are taking me to the edge. Since some are fond of using "edge" as a name for a ministry, I would name this ministry "Ballpark's Edge."
I realize that here in Lubbock there is little sympathy since Lubbock uses "we" when speaking of the Texas Rangers, who are pushing the Astros to the brink in the "Ballpark's Edge." Maybe even some glee when they use the "we." Yet the Astros were forced to wander for 40 years in the desert of baseball for sins of a generation (probably abandoning a perfectly good ballpark called the Astrodome) and as the Astros fell into disrepair, the Rangers began to win (probably because they abandoned a perfectly bad ballpark and built the beautiful Ballpark at Arlington, renamed Globe Life Ball Park). With that, baseball is my angst, albatross, the anchor around my neck, yet it is also my joy, the one game that takes my passion for sport.
Now I'm writing blind of the fact of a win or a loss, and to watch the game is to place my nerves on the scale that measures the strength of a tornado around F8 or F9 (see, that's funny to some who study these things knowing it only goes to F5). These are the joys of sports but baseball, afterall, is primarily about suffering.
What do they sit on the edge of in Uganda and wait in anticipation? Soccer is certainly a sport they enjoy. My son brought back a jersey from Uganda's soccer team for me when he went in 2011, but I didn't have the conversation in an exchange you might have in a cultural exchange. What are their passions? What are those things they talk about on the street corners and in places where people gather?
The church has a definite role in Ugandan culture. One person speaking at our church recently talked about the absence of men within the parenting age, which is probably a result of AIDS which is rampant in Africa. This has left many women of childbearing age, older men and women, and young children fatherless, husbandless, and without support as people age. The church attempts to fill that void with food, clothing, education and other social supports. The church also works with the Holy Spirit to bring faith to those in need of hearing God's Word which hopefully transforms people. We are a part of that support and learn from the church in Uganda as we work within our own community here.
The Ugandan culture has placed faith and its role in our lives in context. There are other joys in life, but the church speaking the message of Christ's suffering, death, and resurrection gives hope. That hope that only Christ can give. We can learn from that in our own community.
We pray for that ministry within our own church, and we pray that all of our ministries, our school, Lubbock Impact, Uganda, Men's Ministry, Lutheran Women's Missionary League, youth, worship and Bible study, and the others all have an impact of spreading God's Word to a world in need.
Hope Men's Ministry