Saturday, December 31, 2005

Lazy way to ring in the New Year....

So, it's after 10pm here on the east coast of the USA, and I'm using the two major Christmas presents for Mom and Dad this year.

Dad: La-Z-Boy
Mom: Laptop

Notice I didn't put up a fight when Mom wanted to use the desktop this evening, so, ah darn, I have to settle for the comfy chair....

I am still trying to get used to toggling on this thing; it's a pain if you ask me.

So, to the business at hand------2005: A Review

Last New Year's Eve's blog was probably more structured and more packed with facts, events, etc. Tonight, it's a laid-back, informal review, followed by questions regarding the new year about to dawn.

BEST DAY OF THE YEAR: Saturday October 20-year high school reunion. Spent all year helping the ladies on the committee plan the event. I spend most of my time working around and with women. I like that---not for the usual "lust-filled" reasons....I have always had more friends that were female than male. It was weird, in that many people who didn't make it to the 10-year reunion in '95 made it to this one, and, vice versa. A few people I saw for the first time in two decades. Wow.

WORST DAY OF THE YEAR: Sunday July 3rd....which should have been a good day, being that the wife turned 39 (let the never-ending teasing begin!), but it all turned around in quick fashion. This was the Sunday morning we discovered our beloved pet, our cat, Katie Pickles, dead at the end of the street, a victim of, for lack of a better term, a "hit and run". A close second in this category would be Tuesday July 5th, the day the kids got home from a holiday weekend at Grandma's and we had to break the news to them.

WE WELCOME......Cody and Zoe! Brother and sister kittens direct from the Hanover pound, two of five in a litter. They're not Katie, very refined---they are just plain ol' cats. So, they and I are having issues, but we're dealing. :) The kids adore them, and that's what really matters.

ARRIVALS: New employee Johni at work. The Bobeau family at church, complete with the most articulate 2/3 year old I've ever met. I'm gonna really miss her. She called me "Pastor Rob" for the first time the night of the Christmas play with a typical conversation with her.

"Pastor Rob, where are you going?" (We were at the front porch of the church, both families leaving)

"I'm going home so I can go to sleep."

"Pastor Rob, where's your coat?"

"It's at home, keeping my coat hanger warm."

Audrey Raines, her Secretary of State father, Erin Driscoll, Habib Marwan. The cast of "Grey's Anatomy" (for Bonnie's sake, and her pitter-patter TV love, Patrick Dempsey...)

WE BID FAREWELL....Johnny Carson, Chuck Thompson, Chris Schenkel, Don Adams (Agent 86), Eddie Guerrero, Dana Jones, Bob Denver (Skipper!!!!), Rosa Parks, Pope John Paul II, Nipsey Russell (my favorite poet), Eddie Albert, Pat Morita (Arnold's!), Richard Pryor, Frank Gorshin, Anne Kincaid, Thomas Cannon, Peter Jennings, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Luther Vandross, Shirley Chisholm, Anne Bancroft, Eugene McCarthy, Johnnie Cochran, Sandra Dee. And, of course, Katie Pickles. Also, Clinton Terrell, Elsie Bresko, and Virginia Tomko.

WE SAID SEE YOU SOON....our church family at Bethlehem Congregational.

WE WATCHED CABLE NEWS FOR....Hurricane Katrina, the horrific aftermath, the blame game, Brownie, Hurricane Rita, the war in Iraq, the Supreme Court, the Vatican watch at the end of one Pope's life, and the naming of another. The typical partisan shouting, etc.

WE AVOIDED: Natalee Holloway after the first couple of weeks of coverage, subsequently, most issues of missing white females. Discussions of sex offenders. The sight of Nancy Peluso and Ted Kennedy.

WE ALSO WATCHED: A Boring Super Bowl....season four of "24", Desperate Housewives, Pardon the Interruption, Wheel and Jeopardy, news, and sports.

SHE WATCHED: NCIS, Grey's Anatomy, The Closer, Desperate Housewives, Lost, Invasion, Alias, 24 (of course), lots of old movies, and "Miss Congeniality" at least 20 times.

ROBBIE AND RACHEL WATCHED: Cartoon Network, Toon Disney, Disney Channel, Nick.

Robbie listened to whatever movie was on in his room at the moment. Rachel listened to Vacation Bible School music, Hilary Duff, and Jesse McCartney.


--Dan Rather's last "courage"
--Jeanne Meserve's incredible report the night after Katrina in New Orleans
--Shepherd Smith on a bridge in New Orleans, a dead body covered on the side of the road behind him.
--very little on wrestling, what a boring, boring year!
--Rachel's second and third boyfriends
--Robbie's girlfriend who sang in the same choir as he
--Field trip to Busch Gardens with Robbie's choral group as they won, lots of awards, at the choral competition there.
--Officiating a wedding at a wayside on the Skyline Drive overlooking the mountains.
--The I-Book stampede.
--Overheating at Kings Dominion.
--Enjoying Busch Gardens.
--Watching the house get new carpet, hardwood flooring, and vinyl siding.
--The fact that my Cougar made it through another year!! YES!!!!
--My high school reunion.
--An undefeated regular season for Patrick Henry.
--Less is More.
--"Are you lonely?"
--My favorite lady on NCIS killed off on the last episode of season two.
--More neighbors move out of the neighborhood.
--More and more frustration with the kids' schools.
--Another nice, quiet birthday. Emphasis on "quiet".
--Continued trend of buying 80s CDs instead of football cards.
--Live 365 at work, especially nights listening to the 80s Hit Machine.
--The Double Whopper knocks Wendy's double off the perch to claim top burger honors.
--The happiness of knowing my son is old enough to mow the yard.
--Too many Saturdays in bed (including this one)
--The New York Giants (Tiki, Eli, Plaxico, and the comeback against Denver.)
--Robbie's first "character" for radio commercials; the school bully in two ads for "Scotty Z Karate".
--Unusually early snow event, early December.
--DOWNPOUR of rain Christmas morning.
--Running over a LOG on I-95 headed to the funeral home.
--The WalMart in Ashland, usually not by choice.
--Rachel's final year leading praise songs during church.
--NC State beating UConn and getting to the Sweet 16.
--Finally seeing Letterman regularly for the first time in YEARS....
--Rupert G's Hello Deli
--"Will It Float?"
--My creative team's trip to New York and Rodney's first night (ask him, not me.)
--The arrival of a really, really big TV.
--The monthly winning numbers.
--My second sleep study.
--and, of course, Star Wars Episode III.

Well, and then there's 2006......

--Hopefully a better year physically, now that we're down to one job for the first time in forever. Can we ditch some these pills we take daily? Can we stop sleeping Saturdays away?

--Enjoying friends: I love the people who work around me; they are such a great team. I pray I have another year to enjoy their company.

--Making new friends: We're on the search for a new home church! As it unfolds, we'll forge new friendships as we find where God wants to plant us.

--Leadership Break: I've had a "leadership" position, either of a Christian radio station, or a church, since 1988. In 2006, wherever we end up worshipping, we will not be volunteering. I desperately need to fill a pew and get fed for awhile.

--The wife hits 4-0. Get those black balloons ready!!

--Robbie begins high school come September.

--Thinking of people in times past, both recent and many years ago, that I miss and would love to see. Especially a few I'd kill to see, but I'm sure I won't.

And so, the clock creeps past 11:30, Rachel's already asleep and I think Robbie's still hanging with us. I'm gonna go to Times Square, virtually as usual, and see how this new year begins.

Looking forward to another year of blogging, laughter, tears, deep thought, and, of course....

.....trying to figure out how Jack Bauer saves the day one more time. :)

PS: Great to see Dick Clark back at Times Square; his story, and about a minute, becomes one of the most inspiring stories of 2005....and only 24 minutes left, too.

Friday, December 30, 2005

King Keith Calls For Resignation, World Yawns....

Keith Olbermann.

Bible scholar?

Pronoun twister?

Ah, you decide. (Click on Keith's name above for his side of the story)

He wants John Gibson of FNC to stop playing in the cable news sandbox because John (like me and billions of others) have definitive beliefs with regard to our religious affiliation.

I'm sure the average Muslim would, being honest, tell you the way to eternal life is through Muhammed. Hindus? Buddists? Etc?

So, Christians are no different. But, in exactly proving John's point, Keith goes ga-ga over a basic tenet of Christianity since it doesn't fit his worldview of "tolerance for everyone". Gee, does that mean I tolerate murderers? Well, I guess if their name is Tookie, but I digress....

Hey, Keith. Said you read the Bible. Forgot this one?
John 14:5-7 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Jesus the Way to the Father

5Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"
6Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really knew me, you would know[a] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."


John 14:7 Some early manuscripts If you really have known me, you will know


Well, maybe Keith got bogged down in Deuteronomy and couldn't move on....

The essential element of Christianity is this: Jesus Christ came to save mankind from their sins. Believe on Jesus, you are saved. So, if I choose to make this my faith, to not assent to it would be absurd. Well, it would actually deny me the very title I attempt to claim.

Let me bring some of the transcript between John and Janet Parshall directly to you:

PARSHALL: I think tolerance means accommodation, but it doesn't necessarily mean acquiescence or wholehearted acceptance.

GIBSON: No, no, no. If you figure that -- listen, we get a little theological here, and it's probably a bit over my head, but I would think if somebody is going to be -- have to answer for following the wrong religion, they're not going to have to answer to me. We know who they're going to have to answer to.


GIBSON: And that's fine. Let 'em. But in the meantime, as long as they're civil and behave, we tolerate the presence of other religions around us without causing trouble, and I think most Americans are fine with that tradition.

Gee. I'm trying to figure out how this is so damning, coming from a Christian perspective. Keith, I understand that's not YOUR perspective. But, your call for Gibson to leave the "ministry of cable news", leaving more room for guys like you, is unreal.

Gibson here has no problem with any/all religions living under the big tent, the melting pot known as the United States. Neither do I. I can't remember ever seeing the Baptists, after a morning worship service and a potluck dinner (complete with chicken, of course) ever then, storm the street of their hometown to head over to the local temple/synagogue/mosque to torch it and yell for the blood of innocent women and children in Jesus' name. No, actually, most of them, by 3pm, are usually at home taking a nap, or, sadly, are on the phone gossiping about whatever did or did not happen at the church earlier in the day.

On the other hand, I do hear of events like this happening around the world against Christians.

Does this mean only Christians are persecuted? NO!!! Other religions persecuted? Just ask hundreds of thousands of Muslims living right here in the good ol' USA after 9/11.

But, back to the main point. When Olbermann determines what can and cannot be thought/believed/spoken of in the public square, he then dons his judge's robe and demands to deliver sentence on the one he pronounced "guilty".


Yes, Keith, don't eat your balled up piece of paper, you do have it on tape. So what? I, as many hundreds of millions of Christians, happen to agree with his statement. I believe, as stated in John 14, not by me, but by a lowly carpenter from Nazareth, that He is the way to God. (And don't say, "he said father, not god! Semantics are worthless here...)

I also happen to believe those saved by the sacrificial atonement of Jesus on the cross and His victory over death at the Resurrection will live with Him for eternity. Those who do not will be eternally separated from God after life on this earth is completed.

Anyone who spent a few hours looking over highlights of the New Testament would understand this.

So, John's statement, to lots of us, is in agreement with regards to our Christian faith.

And, so, for a sincere belief in an absolute way to God, John Gibson should be run out of town, forced to work at Walgreens on third shift somewhere in Iowa for the rest of his life, so his angry, evil, intolerant view won't cause as much damage.

What, Keith---you think Christians will somehow be UPSET if we get to heaven and there's more than one way to get there?? How ridiculous a thought process is that? "But, wait, how did THEY get in here??".

Have Christians committed sickening and disgusting acts in the name of "Christianity" over the past 2,000 years? You betcha. Is adhering to the basic tenet of one's belief in the Messiah one of them? Nope, in fact, it's the act that set me free.

Keith, I know you will not believe this, but I love you. Honest. Otherwise, I'd be going against the basic teaching of my Savior....

Mark 12: 30--31 (New International Version, as stated above...)

30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'[a] 31 The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'[b]There is no commandment greater than these."

But, that means I love John, too.

My thanks to for the Scripture props.


Wednesday, December 28, 2005


We here in the Witham Nation hope you and yours enjoyed your Christmas weekend!

Mine was an emotional rollercoaster.

Christmas Eve was our final Candlelight Communion Service at church. It went well, and Silent Night by candlelight always rocks.

Christmas Day was the finale. It POURED RAIN much of the way down (so it wasn't a pretty Christmas, weather-wise). The worship service was great; there were more people attending than what I had anticipated for the holiday.

I kept myself together.....until the benediction. Two huge gasps of breath to calm myself in order to force the words out.

And with that, mission accomplished.

Many came to say farewell. One, specifically, touched my heart, for I didn't see it coming. We have a family with three sisters. They were in 3rd, 2nd, and 1st grade when I arrived. They are now a Senior, Junior, and Sophomore.

The Sophomore came to Christmas service and when she hugged me she just cried and cried. She will never, ever know how much that touched me. We had lunch with some people at a private home, thankfully, of the couple I most dreaded saying "farewell" to. It was MUCH easier at their home as opposed to right after the benediction. :)

So, we're trying to get some of them together with us here in Glen Allen for the first two hours of "24", and we've already penciled in some dates in our minds for when we'll go back and see the gang.

Writing a thank you letter to them tonight created, yep, even more tears. This is going to be a much bigger adjustment than I ever thought.

BUT----I do know the right decision was made. Why?

Coming home Sunday, we hit another pouring rain near the Appomattox River on I-295. I notice some breaking sky to the west. What happens when we hit the bridge?

Yep. Right in front of us. A rainbow.

And the promise of God's covenant continues.....:)


Christmas? Oh, yeah, it was here. Mom got a laptop, I got a recliner (presently occupied by my daughter) and a great series of 1980's wrestling DVD's. Nothing like Starrcade '84 with Dusty Rhodes vs. Ric Flair for the NWA World's Heavyweight Title with Bob Caudle on the mic!! Those were the GOOD days of wrestling.

Robbie got the "real" lightsaber. It cannot be hit by another object, or much money Santa spends in vain! Rachel got a piano, and lessons! Starting January 9th.

Cody and Zoe were disappointed to see the tree come down Sunday evening (so my recliner could find a home!)....but it still wasn't the same without Katie Pickles.


Heavens, so much to type; little energy, so I'll get to it one piece at a time. Wasn't ignoring my blogworld, just got overwhelmed with the one I walk in.

And in closing...

Mama passed away three years ago tonight at age 64. Doesn't seem that long. Then, part of me thinks it's been 100 years since we talked.

Love 'em while they're here, folks. There aren't rainchecks on this earth.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Looking for hot sex??

That's right, hot sex!!

Okay, the title is a "cheap pop".

The term "cheap pop" is taken from professional wrestling, where a wrestler, during his solioquy or interview will say something that he/she knows will get a big fan reaction. For example, mention how happy you are to be in "insert city here", and they'll react with delight.

So, I title this entry with the term "hot sex" for two reasons:

1) I want searchers for said category to find this blog entry.

2) So they'll click on the link above. One of my new favorite websites is The Marriage Bed. What a refreshing discovery, to find believers who don't mind sharing the fact that Christian marriages are not "boring", nor do they have to be. We can pray for another, help each other, and get good advice.

Remember, the word MARRIAGE is in the title for a reason. :)

So, if you haven't seen the site yet, click on "hot sex" above (Ha, a preacher advocating hot sex, I love it!!) and go to their message boards. They're great.

Good night!

PS---In an ironic twist of fate, I'm really tired, so.....I guess you know that means I won't put any knowledge from said website to good use on this evening....

...hee hee...

And now, the final countdown, brought to you by change.....

.....well, Tuesday night was tough enough.

Then, Wednesday pounced me and wouldn't let me go.

Tuesday night was our Christmas play at church. It's the third and final installment in the "Cricket County" Christmas Play series. So, all of us have played our roles three years running. We became a dysfunctional family (in that, some had to be really prodded to reprise their role, etc.)

So, with everyone standing on the platform at the end, our fearless director reminds us that:

A) This would be the final time this ensemble would be together...

B) This was my final play as pastor.

Tears, anyone?

Greta did the crying for us at the service (though I teared up watching Rachel play Mary in the final scene), we enjoyed talking to lots of people at the reception afterward, and started having to say our farewells (for now, of course, not for forever!) as some people will be out of town this weekend.

Then, Wednesday, I couldn't spend ten minutes in my car alone without breaking down, thinking of all the people who have been such a part of my life these past nine years and, all of a sudden, they, on a regular basis, won't be there.

One of my current problems, as I've noted here in the past, is that, as a pastor, you are "not allowed" to have friends at said church, for fear of reprisal, jealousy, anarchy, whatever.

So, I'm happy that, as of Monday, I can finally be "friends" with people who have been my friends for years and years.

At the same time, I remind myself God has another door opening for our family to find a new church home where we can be sheep, and connect with new, cool people who can also impact our lives in positive ways.

There are new friends to make, new experiences to come, and new smiles to make.

But first, we cry.

Tomorrow night is the Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion Service. If I make it through Silent Night without a tear, that can ONLY be attributed to the sovereign work of God Almighty.

Then, Sunday morning, Christmas Day, we wrap it up.

Monday? We are all home (no one has to work), and I'm not sure how I'll "feel".

Part of me will be grateful, part of me will be sad, part of me will be tired (that's a constant!!)...

...and I hope part of me is ready to look ahead, which is something I've not wanted to do much in the past few years.

So, who will I know in 12 months who are not a part of my life today?

I don't know......but time, if God allows, will tell. :)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Kleenex stocks should have a good week..... today was my final official "sermon" at church. Next week I'm doing a two-part sermonette, part one on Christmas Eve, and the second the next morning (I don't want to hold people in service too long; trying to be respectful of family and visitor time, too.)

Nothing like wrapping up with Jesus' scathing words to the Pharisees in Matthew 23, coupled with God's reminder to Samuel in I Samuel 16 that, just because someone looks like a leader, doesn't mean they are one.

Afterwards there was a reception for the Witham crew.

They presented us with an absolutely beautiful mounted clock engraved with the final line of I Cornithians 13 on the front, and "1996-2005" on the back. They also gave us a gift card and a beautiful card with great words of thanks.

Kleenex, anyone?? Anyone got a Kleenex???

So, let's see.....we held back tears praying after the sermon, we cried after church, during the reception, and with a couple as they left the reception. Then, before the end of our play rehearsal tonight, I look to the other side of the stage and see my daughter play the part of Mary, remembering that our first Christmas at the church, she was baby Jesus, and fought back tears.

This will be a hard week. Only four days to get five days' worth of work done at the office; last minute presents to get, anticipating the final moments at church, and, to top it off, I'm in a down cycle right now. I'm needlessly, I'm sure (Mr. Obsessive that I am) worrying about a friendship, not wanting to see it in a down cycle, and, of course, Christmas-time is never the same since the nine-day vigil in Mama's hospital room, which began three years ago tomorrow.

But I know, I know, I know that God will see me through, there will be wonderful moments to cherish....

.....and alot more tears to come. :)

As I explained to my daughter at the reception today, sometimes the right decisions are very hard.

Me, being the realist I am, figures; better clue her in now before that reality sideswipes her one day like it did me.

I gotta go night-night.

And then there were three trips left to Disputanta....

Friday, December 16, 2005

Is your church open on Christmas??

I cannot believe all the press and controversy over churches choosing not to hold services on Christmas Day.

Yes, I do fall on the side of "open the church". If we're there for corporate worship every other Sunday of the year, why not on a Sunday that coincides with the day we celebrate the Savior's birth?

This article talks of different church perspectives and reasons why some have chosen not to open.

My problems with this:

A) The pastor at Southland Christian Church in Kentucky defended their church's decision to close discussing the origins of the Christmas holiday as a pagan holiday and how it would be more accurate historically to celebrate Jesus' birth in January or April.

Then why do we celebrate Christmas? I don't get it. The church takes a pagan holiday, uses it to celebrate a birth, and now uses it to justify why opening a house of worship on a Sunday isn't what they want to do.

B) Read this quote from the first article I linked to above....

Cindy Willison, a spokeswoman for the evangelical Southland Christian Church, said at least 500 volunteers are needed, along with staff, to run Sunday services for the estimated 8,000 people who usually attend. She said many of the volunteers appreciate the chance to spend Christmas with their families instead of working, although she said a few church members complained.

The word "working" bugs the heck out of me. If I volunteer at church, motivated by my love for God and for serving others, why would I even consider it "working"?

BOTTOM LINE: Do we worship 24/7? Yes, we do. Do we have to be in a certain physical structure at a certain time on a certain day of the week to look or be "holy"? No.

But I will say this....churches that choose to close simply because Christmas falls on a Sunday are akin to the NFL if it decided, when Super Sunday came, they would play the Super Bowl, but all television and radio feeds would be blacked out and no one would be allowed in the stands.

Football's biggest day and the impetus for its existence, the fans, not there??

The church where I'm concluding a nine-year pastorate on, ironically, Christmas Day, used to have church service EVERY CHRISTMAS DAY NO MATTER WHAT DAY OF THE WEEK IT FELL ON.

So, people will drive to grandma's house on Christmas Sunday, pass the corner church, see the parking lot empty and think to themselves....

"If it's such a big birthday, why isn't the family of God together to celebrate it?"

Come on, people, the least we could do is worship on Christmas; it hasn't fallen on a Sunday since 1994!

What's next?


Monday, December 12, 2005

Tell us your Godly Vision in 50 words or less....

....soon the Withams will begin accepting applications for a new home church.

Megachurches need not apply. Must have strong childrens/youth program. Small is fine, run by two families not preferred.

Don't preach God's Word? Don't bother. I don't go to the church to get a pat on the head. God's Word should kick me in the butt. Then, after that, I get a great hug from my Heavenly Dad. :)

Oh, and one other thing. If I have to get onto an interstate to get to said church, you're automatically out of consideration.

There now. Let the process begin! Beginning December 26th, here, in the Witham Nation.

And this week's search winner.....

I love how some searches end up with people arriving at this blog...

Today's strange engine search:

"things with ham in it".

I used to be called "With Ham and Cheese" in junior high. Apparently, one of my former classmates is back to haunt me.


Post #300------and so far behind.....

Most days I think of the word "blog", and immediately this thought follows...

"....I really need (want) to blog, but....", then I trail off into thoughts of where's the time gonna come from?

Between work all week, wrapping up church responsibilties, and not sleeping very well, time can be, well, tricky to find.

Had plenty of time Saturday! I slept it away. Part of me really enjoyed it. Part of me hates it with a passion; I'll never get that day back.

So, I wax poetic on this, my 300th post, looking forward to a moment where I can sneak in and discuss pertinent issues near and dear to my heart....

---I haven't blogged about Twila yet..
---Did I make Fantasy Football playoffs...
---We're now under five weeks until Jack Bauer returns!
---Is your church open Christmas Day? Does it matter?
---and, of course, the burning question of all time...

"Paper or Plastic?"


Thursday, December 08, 2005

And now, to dispel the rumor.....

....that I decided to boycott blogging in the month of December.....

....when I don't show here for a few days, the reasons are usually:

A) much time at work
B) much time in bed

...the last several days, it's been A).

So, I am around, and REALLY HAVE ALOT of stuff to blog about, so expect a flood of entries when I do get a chance.

Meanwhile, lest we forget....

November's Winning Numbers: 1, 3, 16, 24 and 30.