Tale of Two Towns

An original poem

The Thuzzlewaps live next to the Muzzlewaps town,
They run and they jump all dressed up like clowns.
Then one day the Thuzzlewaps were mad;
They wanted something they could not have.
The kids of the town wanted to play on some slides,
To swing from bars, to soar and to glide.
The Muzzlewaps kids they could slide all day
“Your kids can’t come over,” The Muzzlewaps would say.
“This is not fair,” the Thuzzlewaps yelled
As all of their spirits suddenly fell.
“We need to get even to settle the score,
Friends of the Muzzlewaps we are longer no more.”
So they planted some flowers and planted some trees,
The Thuzzlewaps town the Muzzlewaps could not see.
They fought and they talked and they talked and they fought.
More and more trees the Thuzzlewaps bought.
The Muzzlewaps yelled from the top of their shacks
“We will cut down those trees with our tree cutting packs!”
The Thuzzlewaps said “these are our trees not yours,
We will not let you come over here any more!”
Pretty soon the trees covered the town,
No more did anyone dress up like clowns.
The elders got together they fought and they swore
Then a small boy said, “Let’s not fight anymore.”
“I wish you would not be so angry and mad;
I wish we all could be happy and glad.”
“Let’s stop this fighting and cut down the trees,”
He said while begging and adding the word please.
The feeling between the two towns was much better,
“Let’s build a big playground,” they shouted together.
They cut down the trees with the tree cutting packs;
Together they built a playground with no holes or cracks.
It was big enough so everyone could play,
The Thuzzlewaps and Muzzlewaps kids played all day.
After awhile things were just like before,
They made a promise that this would happen no more.
They agreed “no more tress between the two towns”
Once again they were happy and there were no frowns.
The Thuzzlewaps and Muzzlewaps continued to play
They would not fight for the rest of their days.

5 Questions

I have been interviewed! Eric has interviewed me! This is part of a meme that has been on a few blogs I look at daily. I have worked on them the last few days and here’s what I got. If you want to be a part of this, look at the rules at the end of this post. Enjoy!

(1) What one class does the seminary not offer that they should?

I think it would be great for the seminary to offer a class about all the “specalized” ministries out there. Maybe that is impratical but there is really nothing (at least at LTSP) about outdoor ministry, prison ministry, campus ministry, hospice ministry, or one of the many that I am not including. I have found that while I have been doing this work on my independent study on prison ministry there seems to be a large interest within the student body to learn about it and experience it.
If this would not be a class then at least an opportunity about for us to explore what they are without the feeling that I am doing something wrong or getting looked down upon for being interested in something other than parish ministry. Because this is the feeling that I get when I explore the idea that I might want to do something else than parish ministry down the road. I feel that I should only be thinking parish minsitry when there is a world of ministry that needs leaders and it is okay for us to explore that.

(2) When did you first know that you were called to ordained ministry? Who did God sound/look like (i.e. In my call story God sounded and looked like my dad)?

I have been told since I was in Junior High school that I was going to be a pastor when I grew up. I was always active in the church and I started preching in church when I was 16 years old (I would love to find and post that sermon) However I did not want to go down that road when I was in high school or even college.
I realize now that I was lost when I was in college. I did not know what I wanted to do or which direction I wanted to go. I left college after my junior year and I started working at Camp Calumet in New Hampshire. After spending a few months at Calumet I started feeling the call to ministry stronger then ever. I was only going to be at Calumet one year but one year turned to three years. At that point I knew that I was feeling called to do ministry for the rest of my life, now I am diserning where that is going to be.

(3) You have a list of 100 things to do before I die. Which ones are the most important ones for you to accomplish?

14 – Participate in a Triathlon. – This is important to me because if I do this then I know that I will be on my way to a heathly body.

27. Learn not to say yes when you really mean no. — This will be important in my ministry and my life in general

66 Make Master Coordinator with Shaklee– If I do this thenI know I will be set financially for the rest of my life. I also know most of the other things on my list will be easily accomplished because I will have the time and money to do them.

86 Go to a Patriots Game- becuase they are awesome. I also have never been to a NFL game before

(4) What is the great piece of advise you have received? How has that help shape who you are? How you approach ministry?

This is one of the harder questions for me. I don’t know if there has been one piece of advice that I have carried with me. For me I think the one thing that has helped shape who I am today is the supportfulness of all the people around me. From my parents growing up, to my friends throughout the years. Even until now I feel the love and support from the people I go to seminary with and even my experience blogging.

I guess if I had to pick advice it would have to be to make sure whatever I do, keep my family happy. I do not want to be (but I am afraid I will become) a pastor who “loves” his church more than his family. I don’t want to miss out on my families lives. I want to be there for my kids and for my wife. I have seen the opposite too many times.

(5) And finally…a “fun” question: What cartoon character do you relate to the most and why?

I have always related to Shrek — i feel like Shrek; I am on a journey and that I have many layers – – Like Onions!!

And…to continue Diane’s addition to this meme: What is one question you would like someone to ask you?

If you did not go to seminary where would you be right now?

I think if I did not go to seminary I would of been more lost than I was, but I would of found my way into music recording or culinary. Cooking has been a natural thing for me (as it is for all McGarry men) and I would of liked to pursued that. I still dream about haveing a cooking ministry tied to a church that I am a leader of. It would be a “normal” resturant but daily it would provide food to the homeless.
I also love music, I play seven different instruments and when i first went to college I majored in music education. I was not in a good place when I started college and I could not make myself commit to the time and effort of being a music major at Luther College. And even now in my music, I mainly play the guitar and want to learn more about that – where when I was a music major at Luther my main insturment was the tuba.
Just before I started seminary (3 years ago) I was really into writing music and recording (that’s why I got into Macs) and I found that I really liked recording music and wanted to learn more about it.

Finally, here are the rules of the Meme, which you must post with your answers:

1. If you are interested in being interviewed, leave me a comment saying “interview me.”
2. I will respond by posting 5 questions for you. I get to post the questions.
3. You will update your blog with a post containing your answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment, asking to be interviewed, you will ask them 5 questions.

Thank you Eric for those questions. It was really fun to do. I hope I did these questions the justice they deserved.

Identity

I was thinking about my identity last night while driving the Dunkin’ Donuts truck. Who am I and what is important to me?

I know that first and foremost I am a child of God. God’s love in my life is evident and I would never change that.

I know that I am a husband and a father. I have two great kids who make me smile and laugh everyday. They can instantly change my mood and I am grateful for that. I also have a loving, beautiful supportive wife. I don’t know how I would of made it through seminary without her.

But after that what is there? What shapes me and keeps me going? What do I do during my “free time” — I look around and see people with these hobbies that they support and that they take time out for and it has been awhile since I have done that. I was talking with a friend the other day who asked me how my guitar playing was going. I can’t really say the last time I played guitar for “fun.” It is always church related. Part of that is my fault and part of that is life.

I think what brought this up was the fact that I was out at 1am driving the Dunkin Donuts truck. “Why am I still doing this?” I was asking myself. I belong to this great company called Shaklee, and we have started a home business from Shaklee. Our hope is to one day earn enough with it where Katie can stay home with the kids and maybe one day I would go to part time ministry, or we can travel and just have fun for awhile, between calls (I don’t think I could ever give up ministry totally). Until then Shaklee is keeping us healthy and happy. But instead of putting time and energy into that I am driving a truck at 1am doing something that I totally don’t like but having some extra money is good.

I would love to have Shaklee be a major part of our identity and I need to this week (among the other hundred things I need to do, thank God I don’t have class) is to figure out my priorities and I need to align them to come to a solid understanding of my identity and live that out in my daily life.

Things you see at 1am…

Over the summer I picked up a job working at Dunkin’ Donuts. At first I was coming on board to make some extra money by picking up shifts here and there. Now I am on a regular schedule picking up donuts from one shop around 1am and then driving back to the D&D that I work for and drop off the donuts around 2am and then I drive home. It is simple enough. It is not brain surgery. The only thing that stinks about it is the hours. Sometimes I go to bed around 9 and sleep for a couple of hours, I get up at 11pm wake up and I am picking up the delivery truck around midnight.

But there have been things that I have seen which I can’t explain during my two hour excursion. Driving the back roads, late at night I see lots of deer. That is one of my big concerns; I don’t want to be hitting one of them in the middle of the night.
The place where I pick up the donuts is in a plaza of stores. It has a huge parking lot and it is the gathering place for many teenagers. Now I can think back to my teenage days and I would hang out in parking lots with my friends, but not at 1am….especially on a week night! Now these kids seem pretty harmless, they are just hanging out or skateboarding. But I have been approached a few times while I have been loading the donuts and I have been asked for free donuts….I usually respond by saying “I will sell you one for 50 bucks!” Then they usually say something under their breath and drive away. The one time I was really upset was when I saw three teenage boys going through one of those yellow bins where you drop off clothing to get picked up for the less fortunate. Now I don’t know these kids situations – but I am guessing they are not so desperate where they need to be going through bins like that….but somehow I doubt they need too, especially when they get into their Hondas, and Toyotas and drive away.

The strangest thing I have seen, and this was just the other night. I was driving along and these police cars start coming from the other way. Their lights were flashing but they were not speeding….In-between the two cars was a big army-like vehicle. It was like a tank but on wheels. Now I am not sure why this vehicle needed to be driving at 2am, I don’t know why it was in the middle of nowhere and I had no idea where it was going or coming from. Just a little strange……

If I had it my way, in a perfect world, I would not be doing this job. But I enjoy the extra money every other week, to help pay for things around here and I have this other part of me where I don’t want to “leave anyone hanging” – they really like me there and they said I can work as much as I want too. It is kinda flattering – but I only work where I don’t have class the next morning, so I can sleep in.
We will see how things are next semester and if I can keep this schedule up. For now it works.

Worship in Prison

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a worship service at the prison where I am a “student intern.” For those of you who do not know, I am doing an independent study this semester on Prison ministry and pastoral care. It has been great to spend one day a week at the prison talking with Chaplains and inmates and just getting a sense of how a prison operates. It is something that I might think about doing down the road in my ministry. It has been an experience that’s for sure, one that I am very glad to be participating in.

Well I was very impressed with how everything went at the service. The Chaplain and I arrived around 8:00am and things seemed to be moving along. Everyone who participated in the service was an inmate (besides the chaplain and I), and there were ushers, musicians, and a worship leader and then there were about 250 inmates there to worship.
I first noticed the dress of the inmates, some were wearing their “regular” clothes issued by the prison, all the ushers had white button shirts and others had blue button shirts on. I am sure there is some significance but I am not sure what at this point. But the one thing that I noticed was their shoes. It seems that one of the things they had control over is what shoes they wore and you can see the guys who were really active in the service were wearing the “nicer” shoes. Again, a dynamic that I was picking up on but I am not sure how everything really plays out.

The Christian Chaplains rotate on who is leading the service on a Sunday morning. Yesterday was the Lutheran Chaplains turn (he is the one that I am working with on this) and he said when he started working there he tried to do a “Lutheran Type Liturgy” but for that community it really did not work. So it is more of a free form where there is music at the beginning and then some prayers, some more music and then scripture and a sermon and then they end with an “Altar Call” and then end with the Lord’s prayer.

I have to say the music was great. There were three different choirs and they all had a full band behind them. The “lead Choir” was VERY good. They had 5 singers with one lead singer and the rest was all in harmony. I was very impressed with the quality of music and thought these guys should do a CD and call it “Soul in the Cell” — I said something to the Chaplain and he said that the state would not let them. Which is too bad – they could of done some good with that money.

Anyway, during the service some guys were up with their hands in the air and others just sat there and then there was a mix of in-between. It is hard to tell who was there to worship and who was there just to “look good” for the guards, staff, parole, and what not. It is terrible to think that but it is a reality. I think as long as they are there at least hearing what the Gospel has to say who knows what might happen because of that. God works and we cannot limit that, even when we think God might not be able to reach someone, God does and how dare we put a limit on that!

After the service I had a lot of guys come up to me and thank me for coming. They asked a few questions about who I was and they told me that I was welcome back at some point. I must say, out of all the churches I have been too while in seminary – (about 6 church in field rotation my first year and about 6 church since for various things) this was the most “friendly” congregation I have been too. It did not matter what you were wearing, what you were doing during the service or who you were, you were welcome.

Overall, it was a good experience for me as this whole independent study is good for me. I think it is good for any church leader to have something they are passionate about. Something that drives them in their ministry. I am interested in a lot of things and it has been hard for me to take on a focus, to take on something and put my whole self into. Granted a pastor needs to be a jack (or Jill) of all trades – to be good at many things and a master of a few…… but as I learn more about the issues that revolve around prison ministry I think I have found something I can really sink my teeth into.