Testing the Waters

     Yesterday during my sojourning in the land of Illinois, I was assigned a job I’ve never had before.
     I had the distinct privilege of hauling a baptistry from Morning Star in Rockford over to Tabernacle Baptist in Hanover Park. I had never even heard of Hanover Park. The job, however, remained.

     Only the most dauntless of interns could rise to the challenge.

     Actually, Jeremy was more than up to the task. I was coming down anyway so I was thrown onto the mission as back-up and as cannon fodder for jokes.

     I rose to the challenge.
     If I had my Illinois geography down better, I would’ve known that Hanover Park is a suburb of Chicago. that’s a ways to haul a big tub! Upon arriving with a trailer, Jeremy and I securely fastened the baptistry with ratchet straps and… folding chairs? Yes. All manner of common items were utilized to keep said tub good and snug. Penguin hand towels were employed, yes (we don’t want scrapes getting on the veneer now, do we?), and duct tape. Always duct tape.
     I admit to wondering how long our makeshift caravan was going to hold together, but we eventually made to Hanover Park, and by gum! There was a baptistry, a folding chair duct taped to the floor of the trailer, two cement bricks, and two buckets of blacktop sealer!
     Pastor Matt Black arrived after a little while and helped us set the baptistry up in a back room of his church and I at last met the man Jeremy speaks so highly of, and rightly so- he’s an awesome guy! He was missionary to Spain for four and a half years before being called to Tabernacle, where he’s pastored now for five years. God has used him to turn tabernacle around 180 degrees from lockstep fundamentalism to Reformed in that period of time and he says it’s been a tremendous blessing for him and for his congregation.
     We ate at Portillo’s and tried to ignore the massive influx of calories coming our way, happily mowing down chili dogs, hamburgers, and cheese fries while reflecting on hermeneutics and amillennialism. That’s a lunch, in my book! Pastor Matt was very encouraging, very insightful and knowledgeable, and very humble. He clearly loves the Lord and his congregation. He also enjoys scaring interns.
    Driving in Pastor Matt’s van from his church to go have lunch, he definitely tested the wide-eyed intern sitting in the (of course) back seat. The street directly in front of his church is split by a median, so it’s effectively right turn only to leave Tabernacle. Imagine my surprise when he turned left to go to the restaurant. I gulped (twice, if I recall correctly) as we swung headlong into oncoming traffic. I fought the impulse to express my alarm and tried unsuccessfully to suppress the tightening of my esophagus and lungs. Fight of flight has limited application in the back seats of vans, I think.
     I finally mustered an, “Um…?” (brilliant) just before Matt hopped the median to join traffic heading towards Portillo’s. At last- it all made sense. I probably should’ve seen it coming.

Me: Oh, I got it.
Matt: What, were you a little worried there?
Me: Well, you know. I didn’t want to sound like the typical intern and point out you were going the wrong way-
Jeremy: Every intern gets scared.
Matt: (to Jeremy) You got scared the first time I did that!
Jeremy: Okay, yeah, you’re right.
Me: (to Matt) I should’ve figured you’d want to initiate me too.
     Yesterday’s odyssey continued with the adventure that is voting in Janesville, Wisconsin. After taking Kristin to the wrong school and realizing that I’ve been voting in the wrong ward for the last three years, we went over to Marshall Middle School which is literally right across the street from us. After address confusion and establishing my identity, it was a breeze! Mission accomplished. It’s fascinating to me to reflect on how I am a Christian before I am an American, and before I claim any ties to any political party. I say “ties” because my allegiance is not to a party. My allegiance is to Christ and my citizenship is in Heaven. So even though I did vote along party lines, it is certainly not because I belong to the Republican party or even that I identify myself with them. As many differences as can be claimed between me and them, I nevertheless in good conscience couldn’t pursue another option; in my heart of hearts I would be compromising too many non-negotiables. So to quote Zao, “Burn it down and walk away!”*

     What an awesome day.

*For those of you that are afraid that I incited an act of terrorism, Zao is a hardcore band and I didn’t burn anything. But I did walk away!


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