Things I learned visiting Lubbock, Texas during Christmas

1. I got game

Buffalo burgers and venison spaghetti (with Andria’s homemade sauce) are delicious! Husbanks’ mother sent us home with 11 lbs of gathered meat (Husbanks’ father enjoys hunting). Recipes will get creative.

2. Ryan is a bad ass

Ryan successfully drove, patiently, through 60 miles of iced, snowy, rural highway on Christmas Eve. So many stranded cars. So many cops pushing cars out. The Honda arrived in Lubbock without a scratch. Ryan’s combination of hand-eye coordination, patience, and mastery of machine impressed me to no end.

3. The Snuggie has a downfall

Static cling is shocking in the Snuggie.

4. Itinerancy has a purpose

I have long prayed and meditated over itinerancy. It’s a big challenge for me in the Methodist church. I watch my female clergy friends move from congregations they love and were loved in to small towns that wouldn’t accept women. Where they felt like a guest in their own congregation.

On Sunday, we attended a small Methodist church in Lubbock where Eric and Tara’s collegiate minister and marriage officiant pastored. She preached on the juxtaposition of Jesus’ birth, and watching an experienced minister of higher education in a small rural church was quite the juxtaposition as well. After the service, she and I discussed the challenges of serving in rural Texas. She told us that after two weeks, even her biggest, most conservative dissenters would stop and say “I spoke out against women pastors … but now I am glad you are here.” This is something ushered in by the itinerant system. And I see now that it is beautiful.

The drive to and from Lubbock we tried an alternate route (an ill-fated attempt to avoid ice), and we played a game: tally every church you see. See which denomination has the most churches in rural Southwest Texas.

Methodists won out big time, folks. On highway 87, in the rural-ist and dusty-ist areas of Texas, you can find a United Methodist congregation anywhere. This is something that could only be achieved by the itinerant system. And I see now that it is beautiful.

  1. #1 by Ward on December 31, 2009 - 5:33 am

    Other snuggie downfall: very flammable.

    I’m not a fan of itinerancy. Though you will have situations where a church goes from having a “bad” minister to a “good” minister (where “bad” and “good” are defined by whether or not they are what the church “needs”, not necessarily a moral judgment or capability), you will also have situations where a church goes from having a “good” minister to having a “bad” one—the minister they need is taken from them. I had it happen, and it’s what got me hanging out with the baptists to begin with. For what it’s worth…

  2. #2 by hilstreet on December 31, 2009 - 10:13 am

    I love when you comment!

    What were you doing in your Snuggie, Mr. Ward? 😉

    A friend of mine (girl), completed her MDiv as a Presbyterian (now Methodist). She could not find a clergy job for over a year! At least in the Methodist church she’ll have one (even if she is forced to a bad city – ha).

    But you are right, there are times when you get switched out for a bad one. I totally hear you.

    And as for you hanging out with the Baptists … 7th and James is pretty perfect! I enjoyed hanging out with them too.

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