Observations from a Middle-Georgia Pastorate: Food and Fur

It’s still a work in progress, but take a look at my new writing spot!

It’s not the most comfortable seating position (in relation to the keyboard), but I think I’ll get used to it… Oh, cool! I just lowered my chair and the keyboard’s in a better position! Sweet!

Anyway, it’s been a really long while since I sat down to write a brand new post, so here it goes!

Culture Shocks

Moving to a new city and a new culture brings with it a multitude of “shocks.” You’d think that a distance of 250 miles (201 as the crow flies) wouldn’t make that much of a difference, but you’d be wrong. Life in rural middle Georgia compared to metropolitan Chattanooga (Gig City) is totally different, and some adjustments are easier than others.

For instance, back in the Chattanooga area there are tons of restaurants, and not just the fast-food variety. There, for instance, you can find several very good barbecue restaurants, all within a few miles of each other. Yet, when my wife and I decided we wanted to find some barbecue down here, we had to drive 45 minutes to a place that was open only on Fridays and Saturdays, had outdoor bathrooms, had no air conditioning, and the floor was sawdust.

I asked a lady sitting quietly nearby, “So, tell me about this place.” With matter-of-fact tone and an attitude that gave me the impression she didn’t enjoy strangers asking stupid questions, she replied, “My daddy woke up one day and decided he wanted to sell barbecue, so he did.”

Hey, the food wasn’t bad, but even more, you didn’t have to worry about slipping and falling!

As we find other culinary establishments to visit, I’ll be sure to keep you updated. Should you come visit and get tired of my wife’s cooking, you’ll be better aware of your options.

Critter Shocks

We left not only our daughters behind when we moved away, but we left two little dogs we loved, too. However, even though I have no wagging tails to great me when I walk in the door; there are plenty of wagging tails on the outside.

Imagine waking up your first morning in a new house, sitting down on your front porch to enjoy the cool, misty air while you sip a cup of coffee and read your Bible. Then, imagine looking up to see two dogs trotting down the quiet two-lane road, one with a shoe hanging from its mouth by the strings. With only the sound of a few birds singing in the trees and the faint squeak of the antique glider you’re sitting on going back and forth, imagine saying to yourself – as I did, “Well, that’s different.”

Here in the equivalent of Mayberry, the dogs are happy, wander the neighborhood, enjoy being petted, and steal any shoe left overnight on a front porch. Literally, the very next morning this same dog came from the opposite direction with a different shoe … only this time she came into my yard and dropped it long enough lick my hand and roll on her back to greet me. A neighbor, out for a walk at the same time, hollered from the street, “She’s the community dog … she doesn’t belong to anybody, but she’s a good watchdog … her name is Dog.”

…There’s also the gnats.

Did you know there was such a thing as the “Gnat Belt”?

Well, we are in it!

Continued Observations

Honestly, there’s a lot more I’d like to tell you, but I don’t want to wear out my welcome. If I bore you now, you might not come back. How sad would that be?

I mean, I’ve left my hometown; I’d hate to lose you guys!

So, hug the ones you love, thank the Lord for His blessings, and be on the lookout for some more posts. What I’m learning I’ll certainly share with you 🙂

God bless!

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16 Comments

Filed under animals, blogging, community, Food, General Observations, places, writing

16 responses to “Observations from a Middle-Georgia Pastorate: Food and Fur

  1. evolution is a hoax

    What is under my bonnet now is a desire to start movement.
    It will be called ‘the reconciliation.’ I might even start a church called the reconciliation. But past that. this Idea is about branding and Churches personal inventory.

    Its my belief all this trash we here on the Web from day to day, much of the popular Church Music being sung now, is about self. Bickering and arguments online to breaking chains and a flare for the rebellious in worship
    music is thwarting the mission of the church, True Worship and Full Salvation.

    Our youth deserve fighting chance and the Lost deserve a chance.
    Have you heard of a thing called ISO 9000
    ISO 9000 is defined as a set of international standards on quality management and quality
    assurance developed to help companies effectively document the quality system elements needed to maintain an efficient quality system. They are not specific to any one industry and can be applied to organizations of any size.
    —————-
    I want to start a movement that has standards for churches to ensure they are evangelistic and teach the whole gospel. The Name of the Initiative will be called “the reconciliation”.
    And those who qualify and make their churches compliant will be part of the club of sorts, and can add to their literature, their signage, and to their preaching that “we are part of the reconciliation”

    The Idea is birthed out of the Scripture where Paul says :
    2 Corinthians 5:17-19 King James Version
    17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed
    away; behold, all things are become new.
    18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus
    Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
    19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
    The Initiative is not to bring denominations together as some sort of ecumenism. The Belligerent
    stubbornness of Doctrinal differences is not what this is trying to solve or spats between one church or another. This is about Reconciliation between the World and God, and Reconciliation between people in a general sense. There would be absolutely no move to even suggesting churches might join each other. Catholics to stop being
    Catholics or Protestants to join the Catholics. This is not that.

    This initiative is not rocket science.
    Its Christianity 101. Its simply Identifying whether your church is in the business of the Reconciliation
    of God to Man and Man to each other.

    The fundamentals are that regardless of how you present your gospel, the Mission of God was to re-connect to
    his people and to provide a means that they could know him and eventually live in eternity with him.
    The Second part of reconciliation is almost like something in the 12 step program. Making Amends. It
    turns out there are two Laws that Jesus put on the top of the list, But then, (sarcastically) what would Jesus know about Gods plans, and about reconciliation. (see the unsaid, that Jesus is the focus and chief on this initiative not a church or a preacher.)
    Mark 12:30 The context is pretty clear.
    Two Basics Love God and Love your neighbour. A reconciliation is a restoring of those relationships. Its
    really the work of the church. The question is, Are you facilitating such a reconciliation to the world or with those in your church with their families, to their wives, to their children. While churches may do the thing of holding services, re their people getting reconciled and are the tools being laid out tht people can use and thoughts explored so that people will soften hearts, and know what is the problem, why there is distance between parties.

    What are the requirements:
    1) To Define what the gospel is, and why is it going to reconcile people to God. What is the formula

    2) To explore if your church has steps being taken, pathways or
    systems in place that route traffic so that people hear the gospel
    or are exposed to it and then are invited to church

    3) Are special events set up at good times in the year so that less qualified people even children could simply invite people to one or all of these events , (skipping the dishes, and the work) and simply let a quality program do the work, and the gospel would be presented.

    And the Second initiative in the reconciliation is the Love your Neighbor part.
    What are the requirements:
    1) Define what Loving your neighbor is:

    Explore what steps your church is doing to create relationships within the church, programs for both adults and
    children that teach things like Philipians 2 or 1 John 1 and much more about forgiveness like in Matthew and the teachings of Jesus on forgiveness and kindness.

    Are Options open for councelling, and human resources available to deal with Addictions, family break ups, Poverty, and mental health issues, and the social side of getting Old. One might ask why is the church the church if it does not care for or focus around the needs of People and their needs physically. A social gospel does not have to exclude religion or salvation, in fact its about those things Its about True Religion undefiled. And
    two people in a home arguing or Bickering in the church is about the conduct of people. Is the church teaching what good conduct is about. What events and programs are set up concerning these things.

    This is different than being an ambassador movement because the term Reconcile suggests laying down guns and a meeting of two people not a meeting of three. Its not about a pastor or a church its about the Great commission and the core of why a gospel is needed, to reconcile God to his people, and to reconcile others to each other so that some sort of Harmony can exist.
    How this could go wrong:
    1) Ever pastor know that there are vampires in the seats of the pew who have pride, who undermine, who gossip who if provoked could work to destroy him or others in the church. Some pastors let it get to them and get Jaded. And to some degree need to be reconciled with their own congregation. Not teaching people how not to be those sorts of people leaves time bombs for them and future Leadership. So, some teaching on cooperation might start something like this first before a word of it is mentioned. People learning about blame about forgiveness, about judging and jealousy may if the spirit is permitted to work in those few will give a bit more room for this new initiative to blossom.

    2) Outside Blame and Opposition could come from for example a Homosexual group who targets Christianity because of the biblical stance against strange sexual practices the bible prohibits, and they may ask how is this reconciling us to you, shouldn’t you drop your standards so we could be deemed acceptable. Again some
    fundamentals need to be discussed about what counts, and of course, God, the bible, and the gospel and morals come first over compromising these sorts of things. There is always the potential of having mud slung saying you are not reconciling with anyone.

    3) Some who would point fingers or throw blame might say the church is wrong in some way and try and lead some sort of church split, but church splits can be the break toward revival if offence is not taken and people are taught about things that divide.
    Rewards and Certification:
    So what would church need to do to get a sticker to hang on their Church sign or a Banner saying, “we are part of the reconciliation.”
    Would a District give a BBQ or a church tent or maybe help with setting up a shelter for homeless, what sort of reward or help would a district give for the best church out of 50. would they get a $1000 toward a church dinner around Christmas Or 50 turkeys to hand out ?
    Would the church itself give out rewards to those who have helped close the gap in their church, making the mission to become a church in the business of Reconciliation a thing for that church? Do you get a rain coat or a bible or mitts or a crock pot?
    In the end it is about US Changing s not about God changingl Its not about our spouse changing, its about US changing. Etc.

    So what is the church doing:
    does it have a BBQ? Does it have Mission statement? Does it have an outreach? Is evangelism on the boards mind. Is the teachings of Jesus being taught, Is there Education at all levels?
    Does the church spend money on the poor? Is their building a trashy place or respectable, is it doing things to make it warm and inviting, Do Ushers know the people, to they know when a newcomer is at church and do they know who to sit them with?
    The list might be extensive. And the parts of Puzzle locked in box. Or has the church have a plan for these things, and a working pathway where a reconciliation has taken place?
    What do you think of this Idea and do you have some Ideas or even some editing for this presentation? Where does your church rate ? Where to you rate and do you have any Ideas? Are you part of the reconciliation?

    • You’ve really been thinking about this, haven’t you?

      • evolution is a hoax

        Well, its nothing new, the Idea just reframes the great commission and makes an assessment tool that can help Churches give themselves a report card and refocus them on why it is we need a gospel in the first place.

        I think there is only two sins. the sin of Adam and the Sin of Cain. and only two commandments, to love God and Love your neighbour, and Law can be summed up in one word. Love, and Gods bent can be summed up in one word Love.

        Laws only showed the outward way love might play out, but the Cross and the intent of the heart shows a Philippians 2 sort of Love. and it circles it all around to Relationship and reconciliation to that love relationship.

        The Cross is a method, and the blood personally spilled but still a tool, to restore a person to being white as snow in one two edged Category, Love toward God and man.

        Catholics might have a way, Jews might have a way, Muslims really don’t have a way, Christians Evangelicals know Jesus is the way, but the way to what. Reconciliation.

        So are we match making, putting people back together with God. I think we should start a movement,
        And if All you get out of it physically is a big sticker or Banner made by your own church, so Be it. And it would read, “We are part of the reconciliation. ” And the question we want people to ask is, What is that about?

      • evolution is a hoax

        over the last 10 years I have posted to different sites sharing the gospel and debating theology. Just recently Disqus a posting system decided they will be dropping a whole section of their blogs that are not hosted by individual websites.
        Some guys are starting up sites and using discuss as a means of commenting. I don’t know enough about the details or if that is what would best suit. I don’t want something to become something about Me and my blogs, Unlike most churches, I don’t believe a Minister is given all the gifts while the laity got the gift of helps. its more likely God gave 10 o 15 out of a 100 with the gifts of teaching and as many with a gift of Preaching. And while it might be undeveloped because of the bad church model and controlling behaviour, I think many now avoid this control by sharing online. I don’t know if I want to be to forward. I rather be a part of a group.

      • I don’t strongly follow the Pastor is the only boss idea, but that’s because I have a pastor that is skilled in shepherding others until they feel confident in their gifts and callings.

  2. Sue Caswell

    I enjoy your blogs. Thanks for sharing.

  3. You crossed my mind last week. One of the sheriffs in the town I work for rescued a father and a son from a burning vehicle and the son didn’t make it. As you can imagine, the officer is beating himself up pretty bad. He’s not availing himself of any pastoral counseling but I sure wish he would.

    • Oh, that really breaks my heart. I’ll pray for him. God knows who he is.

      • Amen friend. The weird thing is, this has sparked a lot of reconciliation in the city.

        This officer is the current husband of the woman (council person’s daughter also) who decided, along with her officer husband, that I made too much money.

        I don’t, and I realize they only went after me because I’m friends with the Mayor and he instituted some changes that mean their family will lose some control over the city. But still, it’s been weird.

        I feel so sorry for him. I know he really tried to save the boy.

    • Wow! I shall be praying for the officer as well as the family who lost their son. Our law enforcement communities need ots of prayers and lots of healing.

      God, please bring comfort and support to the officers and the community as a whole. Lord, please bring comfort to this officer. Lord, whenever a child dies it kills the entire community but God cause the opposite to happen here. Lord, allow the officer to not believe that he didn’t do his best. God, give him a supernatural peace. Lord as this family grieves the loss of a son will you bring peace to each member of the family. God please just bring peace to the entire town. I ask this all in Jesus mighty name amen

  4. Another great post from the moving on up Pastor Anthony and beautiful bride Valerie! Anthony, I hate moving. I grew up military during both Korea and Vietnam and believe me being the new kid on the block is a hard place.

    Leaving all you know for the unknown is not something for the weak of heart for sure.
    Now, since, when I think of BBQ I think of something totally different but when I moved south of the Mason Dixie line I learned the south has things like BBQ and Brunswick stew along fried okra and a language all it’s own.
    Now, living in a hot desert with little rain and all kinds of critters that wanna kill me if I fail to check my sheets before crawling into bed or putting clothes on or shoes.
    As you and Valerie get acclimated to Ga I pray God’s anointed favor go with and before both of you. I will wager that within a matter of weeks you will be talking Ga lingo no problem!

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