24 February 2008

Guns don't kill people, stupid people kills people...

I haven't let off some steam lately and thought I would this morning.

I was interviewing a dear friend's daughter the other day and I asked her about what it was like to be the daughter of a mom who was a pastor. And she said that she hadn't thought about it until she came this year to the christian university where she is a student. I asked her to explain.

She said that when she was a kid growing up, her mom was well liked by her friends and the adults in the church really respected her and would talk with her about their lives. She was proud of her mom, but didn't think it was a big deal that she was a pastor she was just a working mom. Her dad is highly respected in his line of business.

But when she got to this university, a place of great minds and thinking, she encountered people who said her mother was doing things that were against God and scripture. This was really confusing for her and she was looking for scripture to back up her mom in this argument and asked if I knew of any.

I told her a story...

Not too many years ago, I wrote a memo to the staff stating that their dogs could not be brought to worship anymore because they were causing a lot of problems. They were barking in the middle of my preaching, howling during praise singing (off key), scratching and licking themselves in places only Michael Jackson and Madonna grabbed while performing on stage, and the kicker, they were lifting a leg on the pews. The dogs were not allowed to be in worship anymore!

One of the staff members with one of the dogs, Sophia, was unhappy with my decision. She came and talked to me. I told her that her dog was the worst. This hurt her feelings and said that she loved this dog and said it wasn't fair. I said, it is not about being fair but about being able to behave in worship. I said that she was not able to control her dog and that the dog was not adding to the service but distracting everyone from the reason we were there. The dog needed to be training to behave wherever he was.

She thought about this and she decided would take her dog to obedience school. She looked in the yellow pages and found a school nearby, Mrs. Huppotasso's Canine School, and placed a phone call to the school. Mrs. Huppotasso answered the phone. Sophia asked if she had any openings for her dog to begin classes.

The woman said yes they were starting a class on Mondays and Wednesdays next week. Then she asked Sophia a question, "What do you want to accomplish by taking the dog to my school?"

"Well, I would like to get him to behave and do some tricks and not crap in church." Sophia said.

Mrs. Huppotasso laughed and said, "Alright, then bring the dog on Monday. What is the dog's name?"

"Hendrix" she said.

"Great, see you next Monday. Drop Hendrix off at 5:30p sharp and pick him up at 7:00p."

"Pick him up? Don't I get to be a part of the training?" asked Sophia.

"Yes you do, but this class Hendrix will be trained, and the next class you will be." the instructor said.

"Oh..., alright, see you then." the staff member said a little confused.

Monday arrives and Sophia drives up to the front of the school, which is really a small home with a small yard on the side. She is prompt to drop the dog off at the school at 5:28p, where Mrs. Huppotasso is waiting expectantly in the driveway to meet her. Sophia gets out of the car, opens the hatch, puts the leash on Hendrix, and lets him out of the back of the Subaru. Introduces Hendrix and herself to Mrs. Huppotasso and said she would see her in an hour and a half. Mrs. Huppotasso turns and says, "Remember, 7:00p, sharp."

She drives back home to get her dinner ready and then when it was time to go, she put the food in the oven on low and drives off to the school. Sophia is thinking she hopes this works, Hendrix has been a good companion for her and it would be great for him be obedient so that she could take him everywhere with her.

She arrives promptly at 7:00p and as she drives up, Mrs. Huppotasso and Hendrix are in the driveway waiting for her. But this time there wasn't a leash on the dog.

"You won't be needing this any more." as she hands her the leash.

"Wow, you are good."

"Well, yes but your dog is really smart."

"Um, thanks, see you Wednesday." the staff member says.

"Be prompt, 5:30p," the instructor says as she heads in the house.

"I will."

On the drive home, Sophia looked back at him in the rearview mirror and noticed that Hendrix was looking out the window and not doing anything but staring. He didn't do the usual hyper behavior of running back and forth between both side window, but just sitting and staring. It was as if he was thinking. She asked out loud, "Did you have a good time, boy?" and Hendrix turned and formed a smile and appeared to nod and then looked out the window.

That was odd, she thought.

Wednesday came, and again, Sophia promptly dropped the dog off to the instructor who was waiting in the driveway. The staff member put the leash on Hendrix and took the dog to the instructor, who said, "I told you, he does not need this anymore." and gave the leash back to her and said, "Be back promptly at 7:00p!"

"But just in case." and tried to hand it back to her. Sophia couldn't believe that the dog could be trained that fast to not need the leash.

The teacher paid no attention and turned with Hendrix by her side, to go in the building. The dog was looking up at the instructor as they walked as if he was listening to her.

This was the routine for the next few months. Each Monday and Wednesday Sophia would take Hendrix to Mrs. Huppo's (as she began to call her) promptly at 5:30 and just as promptly pick him up at 7:00. Hendrix was not peeing on the furniture anymore but was still not allowed to come to church. He even learned some great tricks. At first it was the usual, rolling over, sit up, walk on his hind feet, play frisbee,

One Wednesday, the staffer dropped her dog off to Mrs. Huppo, drove home concerned that Hendrix was liking the instructor more than her. She went home and again, prepared dinner and drove back to the school promptly at 7. Only this time, the instructor was not there to meet her, only Hendrix. He was sitting patiently in front of the school and walked over to the car as Sophia opened the rear car door to let him in. Only this time he didn't jump in but walked up to the front passenger door and waited there.

Sophia held the door up and called Hendrix over to her, "Come on boy, get in the car." Hendrix just looked at her. He had never done that before.

"Do you want to sit up front with me, boy?" she says as she walks toward him.

"Yes, please." Hendrix says quietly.

Sophia's jaw dropped and she stops dead in her tracks. "What did you say?"

"Yes, please. I would prefer to sit up front with you."

"Your a dog, you can't talk!"

"Well, yes and no. I am a dog, but I can talk. In fact, I can think, I can express my thoughts and even change my mind. I can be trained but even more wonderful, I can be taught as well as teach.

"Let's go home and we can talk about it over dinner."

That night over dinner, which instead of eating the dogfood, he asked for what she was eating. Sophia wasn't too happy with this idea but ended up giving Hendrix that which she had made for herself. Hendrix started telling her his perspective on some of the issues that he was concerned with such as what life was like for him, how violent people are to their pets and to each other. He told her things that went against some of the things she thought. Sophia didn't say much, except, "Dogs can't talk." Hendrix disagreed repeatedly, but was seeing something in Sophia's eyes. She needed him to be a dog, just a dog. It was going to affect who she was in her own house. Her identity, her place, her control. Later in the evening, she changed her words to "Dogs shouldn't talk."

Sophia didn't take him back to Mrs. Huppo's, she never took the second semester herself and ended up being a bit intimidated by Hendrix. She thought once about taking him to a talent scout because she thought she could make some money off of this trick but ended up just kind of keeping him at home. She quit taking him with her places. And after a while, Hendrix became less talkative, and eventually started barking... and ended up peeing on the furniture again.

21 February 2008

Phantom pain...

There are days I forget that I am bald and fill my hand with shampoo.

14 February 2008

A new Program Manager...

Calvin Crest Conferences is pleased to announce the addition of NICK MASTEN to the staff, as the new Program Manager. He will start March 17.

Nick has served on Calvin Crest staff in many positions such as Guest Group Host, Lead Counselor, and Food Service Assistant. Nick has been serving as Camp Director and Program Director for the past two years at Templed Hills Camp & Retreat Center in Woodland Park, CO. Before that, Nick has been the Youth Director in Turlock, CA, Resource & Referral Child Care Specialist for Stanislaus County Office of Education in Modesto, CA, and Short Term Volunteer Supervisor, in Turkey.

He graduated with a degree in Child Development Programs and Administration from California State University.

Needless to say, we feel that Nick is extremely qualified to be a part of the new team that is leading Calvin Crest Conferences to be witnesses of the love of Jesus Christ... so that lives may be changed.