Saturday, September 17, 2005
I went to "The Fair" yesterday. It's one of the great American insitutions that that I really love. I mention that because there are many that I don't for a million different, mostly selfish, reasons. I love the fair though. I have an even greater appreciation now that I'm a city dweller. In my last phase of life it wasn't as big a draw because I lived the fair nearly every day. Everywhere I looked there were cows, goats, ducks, sheep, straw hats, tractors and PU trucks. That's P.U. trucks. You can figure it out. Anyway, the fair is about everything that makes America great. Everywhere you look you can find innocent children, women in long skirts with sneakers, flannel, plaid, braids, bare navels, nearly bare butts, shady salesmen hawking the answer to every problem that you never knew you had. There's PU trucks, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, country music, old heavy metal, old carnies and elephant ears. There's an abundance of culinary creations that promise much and deliver more (fat and calories that is). I see the memories of my children as we walked through the midway. I donated more of my hard earned cash on the same games that I gave freely to in my childhood. I thought back to days when I used to take a bus with my Junior high and High school buddies for an unchaperoned day of exploration and mischief at the annual State Fair where I grew up. Now I wrestle with how long I'll allow my Senior class daughter to spend with her friends at a significantly smaller venue than I used to prowl. It's a different world now. I'm not too afraid though because as the world has changed much, the fair has changed little. It's still relatively safe. It's a world of their own, and everyone becomes integrated into that world, if only for a time. It's Saturday now and because of the nature of my profession, I'm looking towards entering into another world tomorrow. It too can be like the fair. Many of the people haven't changed over the years. In some churches I've been in I can honestly say thay neither have many of the styles. Many of the things that happen in the world outside aren't visible on the inside. It's not because they don't exist. They are just merely forgotten for a bit. This can be good be a good thing, but not always. It's a safe place. This can be a good thing, but not always. It's a good thing to have a safe place as long as we remember to communicate that faith is really a dangerous thing. Jesus brought a dangerous message. It's dangerous partly because it transcends all of the culture that I see at the fair. It's dangerous because it demands that I interact with all of the culture represented at the fair. The niceness and safety of the fair is that we can just watch if we want, kind of a people zoo. For the more adventerous (foolish?) there are plenty of opportunities to push the limits of sanity, gravity, and downright common sense. For others, a safe place to sample a scone, wash it down with an elephant ear and exert ourselves climbing onto the people mover. As I get older, I find myself more and more on the safe side of the fair. I'm thankful for those who aren't. They keep it fun. They're encouraging, sometimes inspiring to watch. The church has those people as well. The older I get, the more I fight the urge to watch. Those who keep me going are encouraging, sometimes inspiring to watch. Others remind me that there's also safety here. There's room for all of us at "The Fair".