Wednesday Mind Dump (10/27/21)

October 27, 2021  |  Luke Simmons

• Been back now from New York for about a week, but still kind of flying high from the experience.

• It was an awesome way to celebrate our still-upcoming 20th wedding anniversary (actual date is December 15).

• We’d been planning and saving for a few years, and it turned out really great.

• Here are some photos and highlights:

• Our approach was mostly to pick a neighborhood each day and spend time exploring there.

• We did a few touristy things: the Big Bus tour the first day to orient ourselves, going to the top of the One World Observatory, renting bikes to ride through Central Park, and going to Ellis Island — all of which were really fun.

• But it was also great to just walk around a bunch of other parts of the city.

• I had been there for a few days many years ago and Molly hadn’t been there, so it was a fun and exploratory experience for both of us.

• We probably walked 10-12 miles per day, which is more than our usual. 🙂

• Felt like we got a good mixture of the city — we got to see two Broadway shows, but also popped into a standup comedy place one night where a bunch of 20-something aspiring comics were working on material and doing 7-10 minutes sets.

• And we found another little local theater where they did an hour long improvisational comedic musical based on the audience suggestion of “chicken liver.”

• It was amazing to see that kind of creativity and talent at work.

• But, for real, those Broadway shows were amazing.

Come From Away was the story of how the little town of Gander in Canada took in all the passengers from 38 flights who were diverted there on 9/11.

• It was really well done and a heart-warming story (if you have AppleTV, they have the stage version recorded there)

• And the last day we saw To Kill a Mockingbird, which was adapted for the stage by Aaron Sorkin and starred Jeff Daniels.

• When I was a kid doing theater, one of the shows I performed in was To Kill a Mockingbird, so I was very familiar with the story.

• I absolutely loved the adaptation and it was emotionally moved throughout the whole thing.

• Our favorite day was probably the day we walked down the High Line, which is an old elevated train track that has now been turned into a walking park through Chelsea and the West Village.

• It was really beautiful, gave a different angle on the city, and had some really great spots to stop off and explore.

• Been funny how some people have been very concerned for our safety there — maybe the media narratives have shaped an expectation of violence in big cities, but it was really safe.

• We rode the subway a bunch and never felt afraid.

• Was also interesting to see how they’re navigating Covid there.

• WAY more folks wearing masks than here in Queen Creek (since a single person wearing one is more than here 😆).

• A few stores required masks, though many didn’t.

• If you want to sit down for a meal indoors, you have to show your vaccination card — but if you want to sit outdoors or get it to go, you don’t.

• It’s the same kind of “Well, that doesn’t exactly make sense…” thing that we’ve all experienced for the last two years 🤷‍♂️

• But it was largely hassle-free and not a big deal.

• Speaking of Covid, we’ve been getting an uptick in people asking the church leadership to provide a vaccine religious exemption letter, which is something we’re not doing.

• The basic reason is that to qualify as a religious exemption, one must believe it would be a sin to get the vaccine — that getting the vaccine would violate our religious standards — and we don’t believe that.

• I thought this article by a lawyer who specializes in religious liberty stuff was quite helpful in explaining why claiming a religious exemption might not be the best way to go.

• Though I have a ton of sympathy for folks who don’t want to be forced to do something that they don’t want to do, it’s hard for me to see a legitimate religious exemption reason — and his article explores the best arguments.

• Anyway…

• Was awesome to be back at Gateway Sunday and to get to preach the end of John 14 (watch/listen here)

• It’s just so wonderful to be “home” with our Gateway family.

• And, man, the 9:00am service was a memorable one, with the power completely going off in the middle of the service.

• The whole campus and whole neighborhood just went dark — not one ounce of power.

• I’m still not sure what happened.

• Happened while Robbin was doing announcements and she was able to roll with it.

• People got really quiet, she talked loud, and it was all working out.

• Then it started coming back on quickly — around the time the sermon started.

• A few folks told me they kind of wished it had just stayed off.

• I guess there was some appetite to see how it would all work and to sing with just our voices.

• But, alas, the power turned on and things resumed.

• I was wondering what the folks who might have been watching the livestream were thinking when it all just went black.

• This is a fun week for our family and church.

• My in-laws arrived last night from Ohio for a few weeks, Caitlin has her middle school volleyball playoffs, we’ve got a birthday party for my nephew, and then Sunday we’re celebrating baptisms and doing Halloween.

• There are 13 folks lined up for baptism, and I think it will be a precious morning.

• It’s the kind of thing that I’m sure will make Molly and I turn to each other and say, “This is why we live here.”

• Baptisms are a great reminder of why all of us are on planet earth: to shine the light of Jesus and invite people to follow him.

• So, today, go shine that light!

• All of life is all for Jesus.