Thursday, October 9, 2014

I’ve been away from my Interim Geezer blog.  I think the last time I contributed to the blog was when I was still on drugs.  I have had another project that has consumed my time and energy, but it has been a project that turned into a labor of love.

This last April I had a lunch date with my son, Jonathan.  I value those lunches with him.  He is a neat kid and never one to suppress his feelings. Even when he is all pouty and pissy I know how he’s feeling.  But having lunch with Jonathan means a lively conversation.

I don’t remember what led into the new paragraph of our conversation.  I did not see him indent, but he was waxing on about all that I have seen and experienced in life.  I think it was a flattering way of telling me that I am an old fart. “You should really write down all that you have experienced.”  Was he questioning my memory or was it more of a challenge?

Actually, I had been considering assembling my thoughts and my story for the sake of my kids.  I had recently heard a husband and wife tell they had each written their personal story for their family.  But they were much older than I am.  They surely had more to write about than I did.

But wait—I have been accumulating stories about my ancestors.  Since my kids never knew my grandparents and Emily and Jonathan hardly remember my parents, maybe including the three previous generations within the document would be an additional perspective to my story.

I started writing shortly after that special lunch in Monona with Jonathan.  I was pretty well recovered from my knee surgery and waiting to get back to work.  I had time to get a good start on the project.  I plopped my laptop on the kitchen table, much to the displeasure of dear wife.  She didn’t like the power cord running from the laptop to the outlet.  Hey! I am of an age that I think things like laptops work better when they are plugged in rather than depending upon a battery.

I decided to begin with my great-grandparents because that is the first generation that is complete.  What a hodgepodge of people: a 1st generation German-American, a Danish immigrant, a stern and snooty great-grandmother boastful of her Huguenot heritage, a great-grandfather silent about his forbears who settle Connecticut, survivors of the Irish potato famine.  It was like the set-up for a joke, “there were eight great-grandparents who walked into a bar,” but no way would any of them have walked into a bar.  Why did they come to Wisconsin?  What lured them or their parents to come to a place with harsh winters and hot, humid summers?

There were a few coincidences how families from different branches of my family tree seemed to have crossed paths in different parts of the country. My Schaub great-grandparents met in church choir.  My parents met in church choir.  My sister and her husband met in church choir.  Peggy and I sang in the same church choir but at different times.

Writing about family members is not the same as writing a college term paper.  There’s emotion and memories that the writer has to stop and acknowledge. I often had to pause to relive those moments in my mind. Such was the case as I began to write the story of my grandparents. A grandfather, my namesake, who I never knew but the stories about him make me wonder how much I am like him.  There was another grandfather who was not a warm individual.  I had two kind grandmothers, but both were too sickly to remember doing many fun things.

The story of my parents was interesting:  a taciturn farmer and his hot-tempered, smart-mouthed wife.  Theirs was a common story that ended sadly.  They were unable to enjoy their senior years because of my mother’s early on-set Alzheimers and my dad’s ping pong match of mini-strokes vs diabetes.  My mother often said she wanted to live to be 90 and then be shot in the back by a jealous lover.  Things don’t happen in life the way that we would like, thus, the title of my project: Shot in the Back by a Jealous Lover.

My portion of the project was about my life as a Lutheran pastor.  Golly, that will never be turned into a Hollywood blockbuster.  Maybe I should take some literary liberties and rewrite about a life of booze and drugs, sex and wild parties. But, then, I would have to Photoshop pictures to fit the story.  I don’t have the ambition. I will keep myself boring and unexciting.
Putting one’s story into black and white demands a certain emotional energy.  The result, however, is therapeutic.  This Sunday’s lesson in the narrative lectionary is Joshua’s recitation of the history the people of Israel endured in the wilderness.  One of the key points of the lesson parallels my feeble project:  knowing one’s story defines our identity.

Maybe I know myself a little better for having taken the time and energy put things in writing.  Maybe I’m a little happier with myself for naming the demons.  Maybe I’m proud of myself (but not too proud—I am Lutheran) for having done this project especially for my kids whether they read it cover to cover or not.  Maybe my wife will be happy that my laptop isn’t plopped on the kitchen table.

The big question:  who should play me in the movie version of “Shot in the Back By a Jealous Lover,” John Goodman or John O’Hurley?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Endure Boldly--More Than a Motto but a Way of Life

St. Patrick’s Day has become a celebration for all sorts of Americans whether they are of Irish descent or not.  For those of us with Irish heritage and who know the family story, St. Patrick’s is more than a day for corned beef and green beer.  It becomes a day of remembrance

I saw an editorial this week lamenting the absence of the Irish Potato Famine in current U.S. History textbooks.  At best, it has be deferred to a paragraph.  But the Irish Immigration in the 19th century became a turning point in our American history.  Irish were treated with prejudice and disdain.  Even in Wisconsin the German immigrants were livid that Irish refugees were taking away jobs in the breweries.  Did you know that the Lutheran Church-Wisconsin Synod began as a movement of Germans trying to rid Milwaukee of the new Irish Catholics?  But I digress.

History books might gloss over the Irish immigration but I have a personal interest in this period of history.  My middle name is Lindsay which was my mother’s maiden name.  I am very proud of my middle name and the history behind it.  It links me to ancestors who endured boldly.  In fact, the family motto is “Endure Fort,” Gaelic for “endure boldly.”

The Lindsay name is not exactly Irish but rather has Scottish origins.  I wish I knew more about British history and the rebellion in Scotland which drove many Scots in the 18th century to cross the Northern Channel and resettle in Ireland.  I have never watched “Braveheart” in its entirety.  That might enlighten me.  Robert of Bruce may be an ancestor.

My Lindsay kinfolk settled a little further south than many other Scots-Irish. Another branch of the family tree settled in County Donegal.  William Lindsay settled in the village of Killala in County Mayo.  It is a seaside village on the Bay of Killala where another historic battle was once fought.  Now I begin to develop the story with names which personalize my story.

William Lindsay was married twice.  His first wife, Euphemia, died at a young age.  William and Euphemia had children.  William then married Jennie.  They had several more children including my forbear George, Sr. I will spare my readers of all the “great-greats.”  William must have prospered because he donated the organ in the Protestant church just before George, Sr. married Isabella.

Soon after George, Sr. and Isabella were married the Irish Potato Famine began as the blight hit the crop that the Irish people had become dependent upon. Potatoes were the food that the people could grow for themselves.  Absentee landlords demanded crops that could be exported.  A confusion of domestic laws paralyzed the land.  A million Irish people died during the famine.  A million more emigrated.  Historians have said the Great Famine was directly or indirectly genocide!

The Lindsay family was directly impacted by the famine.  Two of William’s sons from his first marriage emigrated to Australia and became started a rather famous vineyard.  William’s younger sons were distressed by the growing famine.  As difficult as it must have been to leave his wife and children behind, George, Sr., a sister, two brothers and a new sister-in-law made the decision to go to America.

The voyage was perilous.  The Lindsay siblings were crowded together in steerage with many other seeking the American dream. The conditions were miserable and putrid. All they had was a small fry pan to prepare some meager food.  (The fry pan now hangs on my sister’s wall.) Brother Robert and his new bride were both fatally stricken with typhus and buried at sea.  Montreal was the port of destination.  From there, Brother Stuart parted from George, Sr. and Sister Margaret and remained in Canada. 

George, Sr. and Margaret made their way to Steuben County, New York, where a half-brother had established himself as a justice of peace and commissioner.  George, Sr. went to work to earn money so that he could send for Isabella and their children. No information tells us where he worked but Steuben County has historically been known for its glass works.

After about a year of saving enough money, George, Sr. sent for Isabella and the family. When he left the village of Killala, they had four children and one on the way.  When Isabella arrived she only had two children with her, Arthur and Jane.  While George, Sr. was gone Isabella had to bury three of their children one after the other including the baby he never knew.  Three small stones still mark the graves in the village cemetery.

George, Sr. and Isabella were reunited in New York and stayed there for a short time.  It was there in Steuben County that George, Jr. was born.  During that same period George, Sr.’s sister, Margaret and her new husband, Isaac Hanna, came west to the Territory of Wisconsin.  Margaret sent word urging George, Sr. and Isabella to come to Wisconsin where there was rich farm land and other Scots-Irish folks.

The Lindsay family traveled to Wisconsin by way of steam ships on the Great Lakes.  We do not know exactly where they landed but eventually they rafted upstream on the Wolf River as far as Northport.  The first winter in Wisconsin was spent in something little more than a lean-to. George, Sr. and Isabella made a land claim in the Town of Little Wolf in Waupaca County and the Lindsay farm was established in 1856 where they raised their family.  Arthur became a business man in Manawa. Jane was the proverbial Irish maiden aunt and George, Jr. stayed on the farm which became known as a very progressive farm in the 20th century.

The story of William, George, Sr., and George, Jr. Lindsay has made a significant impression upon my own life.  I think of the hardships they encountered, the desperation of hunger, the pain of separation from loved ones, the back-breaking toil of plowing new ground. Those men and women personified the family motto of “Endure fort.”

Our family does not have specific customs that connect us to Killala.  The only recipe from those people is for potato pancakes which tells us to use lots of butter.  There simply was no money to develop or continue customs.  Their Calvinist influence made them to be restrained and simplistic.

St. Patrick’s Day may be a time of revelry and partying.  The Lindsay family has never really followed such a tradition.  Maybe I will simply brew a pot of tea and ponder what I have endured.  Nothing compares.

By the way, no other Lindsay woman has since been named Euphemia.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Family System Theory and a TKR

Life is gradually returning to normal since my total knee replacement at the end of January. The advice from the knee replacement alumni has been to be diligent with the physical therapy and I have to agree.  The stretching hurts but according to locker room philosophy, “no pain, no gain.”  I thought I would be ready to begin my next interim by March 1, but it probably has been good that I have to wait a bit longer.  The time gives me opportunity to analyze and synthesize.

In my interim training I became acquainted with Family Systems Theory.  It is a theory developed by Dr. Murray Bowen in the 1960’s.  It has been used by many family therapists since then.  One of his students was Rabbi Edwin Friedman who was also a family therapist.  But, Friedman then adapted the theory for churches and synagogues.  Within a congregation one begins to see how one sub-system impacts all the other sub-systems.  For example, if Ladies Aid is a toxic organization, it will impact the Sunday school organization and the choir and the support staff.  I may be just a beginner in using Family Systems Theory but I keep learning.

All of a sudden as I lay in a hospital bed the theory became very real how one system impacts all the others. It’s not about one family member against another family member nor about church council vs youth ministry.  No, for me the realization came after surgery and how one body system impinges upon another.

I went to the hospital because I was going to have orthopedic surgery.  When I came out of surgery my right leg was bandaged up as I anticipated.  But, it was not isolated to orthopedics.  I also had an oxygen tube in my nose to help me breathe better.  I had a catheter so that I could. . .well, you know.  They kept asking if I had symptoms of clotting. One nurse was testing my blood sugar every hour for the first evening. A different nurse wanted to know when I passed gas (not a problem).

Presto!  A light bulb flashed on.  I am a living example of Family Systems Theory.  (I guess we all are for that fact.)  Because my skeletal system was acutely disrupted, all the other body’s systems were also affected.  Since the day of surgery I could have asked every “ologist” in the clinic some sort of question about what is going on in my system: endocrinology, hematology, psychology, gastroenterology, tinkleology, belly buttonology. We indeed are one system made up of many parts.  Didn’t Abraham Lincoln say, “When my feet hurt, I hurt all over?”

Who would have ever thought that the scar running down my right leg is my certificate of continuing education in Family Systems Theory?

Can I take my hospital bill as a tax deduction?

Monday, February 17, 2014

B.S Is More Than a College Degree

According to personality indicators I am an introvert.  The results of my Myers-Briggs Temperament Inventory was no surprise.  I would rather have an intimate conversation with a small group than to be a social butterfly flitting from one shallow conversation to the next.  To the surprise of some, the majority of pastors are introverts. Conflicts occur because lay people think their pastor should be super out-going and gregarious and when the cleric appears reticent, lay people label their pastor as aloof.

That being said, let me declare to all humanity:  introvert or extrovert, have a line of baloney! There is nothing more dull than a person who cannot make at least a little small talk. As trite as it may be, even commenting on the weather with a stranger will break down the walls of humanity.

My mother was the queen of banter.  For years Ruth Lorraine did store promotions in the local grocery stores.  On any given weekend she would be hustling wieners on a toothpick, or a dinky scoop of ice cream atop a dinky little cone, or a postage-stamp sized piece of pizza. She was a natural saleswoman. We always said that she could sell prophylactics to the pope.  Her key? Mom had the gift of gab.  She had a line of blarney (cf. “Heinz 57 and Proud Of It”). Ruth could chat people up without being overbearing. She spoke to everyone, little children, colorful pensioners, snooty mill wives resentful of their husbands’ transfer to small town Wisconsin.

I have become more and more aware of that need to have a line of blarney: to be able to compliment a woman’s piece of jewelry; to encourage a person with the progress of their recovery; to pleasantly tease a bashful adolescent.  Certainly, parish ministry has pushed me out of my comfort zone to engage people in conversation.  After writing verbatims with patients during clinical parish education it made me especially aware of that need for small talk which would lead into to a deeper level of communication.  But, banter became an art form during my sentence working at Home Depot.  Standing at the register, an appropriate amount of banter would neutralize a defensive customer who could not find what he was looking for.  Some clever comment on the weather would fill that awkward moment while the customer was unloading her shopping cart. Some sort of chatter with a manager or department head might result in greater cooperation when they were actually needed.

Hear ye, hear ye, to all who work in the service sector of our economy: please develop a line of BS for your work.  Life can become so impersonal.  We can easily throw up walls around ourselves.  Isolation is one of the greatest threats to society.  When someone can make a tiny effort to break down the walls with brief, casual conversation a victory has occurred.  It’s not just a ploy to make a sale or to solicit a generous tip.  It is an acknowledgement of human to human contact.  Humanity will not be defeated by the walls the world tries to build.

If you are an introvert, suck it up, Buttercup. Make the effort to engage in appropriate human contact.  To another group of people I say, “Pull out that stick.  You are no better than anybody else.”  If you are an extrovert, blessings upon you.  Just use that personality to bring a smile to somebody’s face or to make somebody feel better about themselves rather than inflate your own ego.

Trust the Geezer—there’s nothing wrong with having a little line of BS in life. It’s a vital sign of the health of humanity.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Heinz 57 and Proud Of It!

Years ago, when our daughter was a toddler we played a little game at the supper table to help her claim her identity.  We would ask, “What’s Mommy?” and her reply would be, “Mommy’s ‘Norwigian’.”  What’s Emily and with pride she’d respond, “Emily’s Korean.”  Keeping all things equal, “what’s Fritz?”  “Fritz is a cocker spin” (really, a cocker spaniel).  Finally, we would ask, “What’s Daddy?”  With great delight Emily would belt out her reply and scrunch up her face “Daddy’s a mutt!”

And, I am quite pleased with my heritage:  I am a mutt.  I have a Germanic surname.  I have a fluency in German only by way of a university degree.  People just assume that I am a knockwurst or two away from the Vaterland.  Truth be told, Great-grandfather Schaub was the last twig of the family tree who was entirely German.

But the joy of being a mutt is that whenever I hear the oom-pah, oom-pah of a polka band, that 12.5% of German blood rises to the top and I suddenly crave sauerbraten and knödel washed down with a liter of bier.

Then, the month of March comes along and corny local advertising turns to shamrocks and leprechauns.  On those occasions my Irish heritage rises to the top.  The blarney is the biggest supply of corpuscles flowing through my blood stream coming from both my mother and father.  More specifically, it is Scots-Irish, Scotsmen who for political and religious reasons traveled across the bay to Ireland.  Nevertheless, I get excited at the sound of a jig and the sight of things in plaid.  I have visited a couple pubs in Dublin while on an overnight layover.  I am sure my Protestant Irish forbears rolled over in their graves with the thought of my lips tasting a pint, but it was a token connection to the old sod that I was able to make.

While interviewed at my first congregation I was asked off the record if I was Norwegian.  “No, I’m not,” I replied, “but I’m one-eighth Danish.”  “That’s close enough” was the pleasant response.  Yes, I claim Scandinavian heritage as well—not much but at least one-eighth.  My grandmother’s father came from Copenhagen to this country and he gave up all his Danish ways.  But, seeing sights and images of Denmark gives me a yearning from within that wants to do things Danish or learn to read Søren Kirkegaard in the original Danish.

Another face of my multi-personality disorder responds to the raising of the Union Jack and the playing of “God Save the Queen.”  My Grandma Bessie, the source of my English blood tributary, was the one who taught me how to drink tea which initiated those anglophile stirrings.  With the help of, they told me that Geoffrey Chaucer was my 18th great-grandfather.  That was enough for me to shout out, “Pip, pip, cheerio, old chum."

 I am proud to be a mutt! I am delighted to be a one-man European Common Market. I feel sorry for those folks who claim only a single heritage.  Their heritage tour to Grandpa’s birth country would be so dull.  But, when we make our pilgrimage, we will certainly climb the mountains to Lillehamer, Norway, and soak in the Nordic culture of my gracious wife.  But, I look forward to bouncing around the continent and visiting the villages where family members once lived and where festivals were celebrated and where those Germans, Irishmen, Danes, and Englishmen and whoever else, worked, raised families, endured hardships, and longed for a better life in the new country for their children.

Now, after a certain point, the ethnic pride begins to fade.  True, I appreciate the history of my French Huguenot ancestors but I have never been motivated to celebrate the fact that I am 1/64 French. Sacre bleu!  

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Minimum wage in a Maximum world

Somewhere recently, I read the suggestion that pastors should take time off and work at a minimum wage job.  I don’t know if the author of the article was being snarky about pastors in ivory towers or whether it was a suggestion to get in the thick of things to identify with people working for minimum wage.  I did not spend time reading the article.  After all, I’ve been there.  I have worked for nearly minimum wage.  I know what it is like.  Trust me; it’s not a good place to be.

I love doing intentional interim ministry but there is a major downside to being an interim.  Once a new pastor is called and the interim is completed, there is no guarantee that there will be another position waiting for me.  Interim positions are dependent upon clergy mobility.  In recent economic times clergy mobility has slowed considerably. But that is another story.

Three years ago I found myself in one of those furlough times.  There was no sign of something coming on the horizon. I applied to various businesses.  I sent out résumés and cover letters. I tried networking.  I even considered leaving the ministry for secular employment if I would be hired.

It was a tough time.  Peggy was in her last year of teaching full-time.  We had two kids in college.  We had a mortgage, car payments and standard maintenance expenses on our home.

Finally, I was interviewed at The Home Depot and immediately hired as a cashier.  I had retail experience from my college and seminary years.  What impressed The Home Depot assistant manager was my telling how working at JCPenney during the Cold War I sold a U.S. Air Force parka to a violinist from the Warsaw Symphony touring the United State by speaking German to the bass fiddle player accompanying him. He may have been KGB.

On The Home Depot flow chart cashiers are the bottom feeders of the store.  For over a year my hourly wage was 50¢ more than minimum wage.  After 13 months it was bumped up another 50¢.  They didn’t give me all that many hours—less than 20 hours a week.  The head cashier was not very patient with newcomers to the registers.  Cashiers take crap from customers because of the action or inaction of associates in other departments. Some customers are just plain sour. We were motivated by candy bars to get credit card applications so that managers got their chunk of profit-sharing. When there are not many customers in the store the shift is long and tedious.  Cashiers must stay within 10 feet of their register at all times.  (Sometimes I would go 15 feet, envelope-pusher that I am.)

By that time we were really feeling the pinch at home.  Savings were dwindling.  Our frills were eliminated. Things taken for granted like life insurance premiums had to be suspended.

Eventually, I got another interim position but it was a rural, two-point parish that provided a low salary and no housing allowance.  I needed to keep working at The Home Depot.  By springtime, I was experienced cashier and the revolving door of cashiers made me among the “senior cashiers.”  

I often worked at the register in the garden center.  As a gardener myself, I was in my element.  But I soon discovered I knew more than the staff from the garden department.  I was a damn cheap garden consultant as I stood by my register on chilly spring mornings and in the heat of summer.

The interim came to a natural conclusion and I was on furlough once again.  The Home Depot was able to give me nearly full-time hours.  But still, it was a crunch.  I reached 59 ½ and I could draw on my pension principle without penalty.  Standing on a concrete floor for a full shift was exhausting. I would come home with my knees aching. I’m sure that contributed to my current physical state. What really hurt was to have a synod assistant come through my register, give me big smile and say, “hang in there.”  I wanted a job damn it! You bet I was angry at the church; certainly the administration.

As one might guess with minimum wage jobs, it is a revolving door of employees.  But I also got to know a wide range of people.  These were not the same folks that I had coffee with during my seminary years.  These were not the same folks I would see at church because because church surely was not on their agenda.  These are not the same folks I would see in my white bread neighborhood.

I acquired a wealth of new friends.  I think of the young, black woman who was pregnant and couldn't keep working at THD because the scheduler could never accommodate her need to ride the bus to work.  There’s another young woman who watched her beloved pet ferret die because she couldn't afford to take him to the vet.  I have friends who drove many miles to get to work spending a big percentage of their paycheck on gas. I have friends who have had multiple, multiple marriages. I have friends who wanted to find other employment but the schedule was so helter-skelter they could never plan time for an interview.  I have a friend who is politically opposite from me who must keep schlepping shopping carts despite the diagnosis of Parkinson’s. I have friends who wanted to work full-time and qualify for benefits but were told, “It’s not in the budget.”  I worked side-by-side with LGBT individuals and with rednecks.  I heard some pretty tough language. I worked with people with limited intelligence and I worked with people who left successful professions to escape the rat race.  I have friends who have floated from retail job to retail job just barely making ends meet.  But, they are my homies who I cherish and with whom I share the common bond of the orange apron. When I return to the store I feel like Norm in an episode of Cheers. 

I hear of protests in the state surrounding minimum wage and I want to go join them.  I know what these men and women are experiencing.  I've been there.  But yet, I had the good fortune to fall back on some things.  We had excellent health insurance.  We had another income in the house.  These people do not have that luxury I had.  They are a step away from being homeless.  They can never afford a flu shot.  They may have never seen a dentist in their life. So they come to work sick.  They come to work with their kids being watch by whomever.  They come to work weighed down with worry not by the future but by what might happen tomorrow.

Oh for that day when all who work will be earning a living wage.  Oh for a day when the minimum wage removes men and women people from the captivity of worry and fear of daily existence.  Oh for a day when there are no longer those people who accuse those minimum wage employees of greed and sloth.  May those people be forced to wear a cap and ask their former colleagues and associates, “Do you want fries with that?”

Monday, November 25, 2013

Get a Leg Up on Your Legacy

Some months ago, I had an aged uncle pass away. Quite frankly, my uncle had been a curmudgeon.  He was a product of his society:  racist, sexist and opinionated.  There were just so many topics from which we had to steer clear.   My aunt died before him and sadly she had been the one to keep him grounded.

He died leaving a good-sized estate.  His will included a specific amount that their congregation would receive.  My aunt and uncle had been members of that congregation for their 70 years of marriage.  They attended worship every Sunday even when my aunt’s dementia was well advanced. They had many friends from that congregation. I was saddened and offended that they set aside a paltry 0.4% of their estate for their congregation.  I am sure the congregation will receive their bequest with gratitude and thanks.  It is a congregation of kind and gracious people.  But as an outsider looking in, I was hurt by his stinginess at his life’s end with a 0.4% bequest.  I now am suspicious that in life, his annual contributions were seen as a crass tax deduction more than an offering of gratitude to God. I am hurt that the man who I thought was thoughtful and benevolent left his memory to be tight-fisted and manipulative.

This is not my idea of healthy stewardship.  So let me shift to something a bit more positive and up-building.

Estate planners and professional stewardship consultants speak about leaving a “legacy.”  My first thought was that “legacy” sounds presumptuous and snooty.  I thought of statues and monuments, bronze plaques and lead inlays in stained-glass windows.  But, I was wrong.  A legacy simply is an inheritance and a remembrance.  A legacy is a thought-filled end of life gift intended to do good for individuals and institutions.

My first word to those who are superstitious and creeped out by discussions of wills and estate planning is this:  Suck it up, Buttercup! Let’s be adults and deal with the realities of life.  Put it in writing! You’ve got some dough stashed away under the mattress or in a cookie jar so, put it to work.  Find a trusted consultant who will make those moth-infested dollars grow.  Next, deal with the fact that you are not immortal.  Determine how your estate is going to be distributed at the time of your death.

Let me make a personal announcement:  Oh, Emily and Jonathan, you ain’t getting the whole enchilada!  As Peggy and I have attempted to be tithers in this earthly life, so, too, in death we intend to set aside 10% of our estate to be divided between our congregation and Wartburg Theological Seminary.  (If I pre-decease Peggy she may also bequeath a percentage to the Chippendale Dancers Training Facility.)  In other words, we want a percentage of our legacy to be used for goodwill. We may need to tweak things so that it is used for programmatic causes rather than utility bills

When the time comes, there may not be a whole lot left.  Regardless, we will have made a statement of faith.  We will have impressed upon our children and (if there be) grandchildren what has been important for us.

Imagine the impact if every household in a congregation had a will with 10% set aside for the work of the congregation.  Think of the leadership that the youth could follow.  Imagine the teaching tools that could be purchased for Sunday schools. Consider the possibilities of nursing care coming from the church to the community.

In life and in death there is no reason to be a tightwad.  I’ve never seen a U-haul trailer behind a hearse.