Beyond doubt, the Bible for many Americans is, as Martin Marty phrases it, an “icon” as well as an object of study. With no American group is this more the case than with evangelicals… Evangelicals, by reputation and self-definition an antiliturgical folk, have nevertheless made a formulaic phrase, “the Bible says” (or its variants, like “my Bible says”), an all but essential part of the sermon. The iconic place of the Bible accounts for the fact that so many evangelicals profess belief in scriptural inerrancy, yet know little about the book’s actual content. It also helps explain why many different bodies of evangelicals continue to insist that they follow “the Bible alone” and are not influenced by historical or cultural conditioning, as they go their mutually exclusive ways in doctrine and practice.
- Mark Noll, Between Faith and Criticism
After the Weiner Dog extravaganza in Savannah, Whitney and I head down to Orlando. We spent the week shopping, sightseeing, seeing friends, relaxing, and having a good time. Our resort was in Kissimmee (think Vegas has an illegitimate lovechild with Myrtle Beach—lots of illuminated signs and tacky tourist shops).
The week started off great because we got to see one of Whitney’s dearest friends from childhood (Christina). And got even better when I got in touch with an friend from my Fuge days (we worked camp together in West Palm Beach). Turns out that Kari (mad props) is a cast member at Disney now. She got us into the park for two days with free parking and hooked us up with some tour guide action at Animal Kingdom. She was awesome!
Because of Kari’s generosity we were able to enjoy all the fun stuff at Disney. At Epcot we were able to eat our way around the world during the Food and Wine festival (think Chilean tacos, Bavarian pretzels, French crêpes, and much more).
Disney was a lot of fun. It was hilarious to watch all the angry dad’s yell at their exhausted children: “Do you know how much I paid for you to come here? You’re going to stop crying, get on this ride, and LIKE IT.” Also, Whitney is like a four year old around Minnie Mouse. She gets REALLY excited. The roller coasters were great, the entertainment was superb (we saw the Finding Nemo musical in Animal Kingdom and I loved the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor in the Magic Kingdom), and the food was delicious. Disney just does things well. Everything was clean and efficient. Even with the large crowds the lines were managed well.
We mixed in a lot of shopping and swimming during the rest of the week. It was such a smart decision to have “days off” from Disney. It allowed us time to sleep in, work out, and just chill. We finished the week with Cirque du Soleil La Nouba. It was PHENOMENAL (the video does not do it justice). It was worth every penny. The acrobatics were jaw-dropping, the performances were very creative, the clowns were hilarious in a sophisticated sort of way, and the live music was top notch. I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed the show. My mouth was open and my stomach was in knots the entire time.
This shot is a once and a lifetime moment caught on camera. But the best part of the shot is not even related to the golf but the most amazing real-life spectator in the background—toward the right of the gallery!
Whitney and I made one of the best decisions when we decided to stop in Savannah, GA on our way to Orlando, FL. As we rolled into Savannah we thought it was unusually busy for an October weekend. It didn’t take long for us to realize that we (unintentionally) were in Savannah during Oktoberfest festivities!
We had an amazing time shopping in the Oktoberfest booths set up on the riverfront and browsing the other retail shops. Whitney found some great clothes at a consignment shop in the heart of the city and we both enjoyed great food at the seafood restaurants lining the riverfront.
The highlight of our stay, however, was the Annual Savannah Wiener Dawg Races. We saw an advertisement at the hotel on Friday for the Saturday morning event. We figured it was worth the 10 minute walk. On Saturday morning we approached the park where the races were held. We walked amid a sea of Dachshunds to the site of the races where we joined in the “Wiener” and “Dog” chanting (respectively). I have never seen so many Dachshunds in one place! The races were hilarious as some of the dogs frolicked aimlessly in circles.
Apart from the charm of the buildings in Savannah it was fun to be in such a creative and artsy environment. I also enjoyed how pet-friendly everything was. One day we’ll have to bring Freckles with us to Savannah! There were dogs in the restaurants and the stores (I even saw a Chocolate Labrador in Banana Republic).
I heard a radio ad for a local Hampton Roads, VA business. The company was Powers Business Machines. Everything was basically by the book until I heard their web address.
Whitney and I just returned from a nice vacation. The whole experience was relaxing. I genuinely love spending time with Whitney. Hours in the car are simply fun as we talk about life. There were a lot of important questions asked, as well as a lot of laughter. I hope to share more pictures of our time in Savannah, GA and Orlando, FL over the next couple of days.
Either way, it is good to be home. I am particularly excited about worship with our church family here in VA. As is our habit, while out of town we visited another church unannounced. We just dropped in to study the Bible and meet some new brothers and sisters. Our time of worship was a little disheartening.
We walked into a gorgeous building in the heart of downtown last Sunday, a beautiful fall day. A nice gentleman greeted us at the door. When we stepped inside the foyer the building was eerily quiet. As we walked into the “sanctuary” I noticed an ornate, traditional room with finely crafted columns and embellished windows. I imagine it could hold 1,000 or so people. Sadly, as I looked at the room in front of me, most of the pews were roped off and I saw maybe 50 people spread out around the massive chamber. I know numbers are of little significance but in the middle of a bustling southern city, the one place I expected to find life, was filled with a listless and deteriorating faith community.
The service was standard fare: a few songs, a mediocre performance sermon and we left. There was no community. There was no life.
There are lessons to be learned about stewardship, resources, buildings, property, and institutions. I think the central thing I was challenged by was the need for a church to be a center for missionary activity. The church must go into the community. In the case of this church, they had built impressive resources and a massive institution but the community which they were called to impact with the gospel was left unaffected.