Heading to Cincinnatti today for the fourth...in town for a convention this week...more on this in a minute. Anyway, thinking back on those fourth of July's past. I remember it was cool to blow things up. Back in the 1900's we had these things called M80's. Little sticks of dynamite that could overturn a Tonka Truck and take a Barbie's arm clean off (yes...I did that). We also had real fire crackers...don't find them much any more...now we're stuck with smoke bombs and sparklers and those come covered with warnings. Also remember flags flying everywhere. I like the American flag...reminds me of how blessed I am to have been born and to live in the USA. While we're at it, i remember countless 4th hotdogs (is there anything more American) which just seem to taste better on this day...there was an occasional parade, and swimming (or hoses in the back yard for us more ghetto inclined - I actually prefer running through the sprinkler). Of course, the day ended in some park in Indy watching fireworks with about 4,000 strangers and patriotic music. I don't think we have another day when Americans seem more unified...even had some homeless guys wish me "happy fourth of July" on my run this morning.
Well, Sara, Caleb and I are heading to the North American Christian Convention in downtown Cincinnatti. What is this? well, our church is not a denomination, but a loosely affiliated "movement" sometimes called the "stone/campbell movement" - mostly "Christian churches and Churches of Christ". Anyway, for about 60-70 years there is this annual gathering of all these churches where these Christ-followers from all over the country and from this background come (I'd expect about 5,000 to attend). We'll spend the week listening to great preaching (usually four main sessions a day and this year's theme is the book of Acts - go figure). There are also workshops on various ministry topics (literally hundreds of them) and then a variety of meetings and appointments that I'll take in. But it's really reconnecting with old ministry friends - sometimes people you haven't seen in years that makes this thing special for me. It's a very spiritually uplifting time for me. I would guess that in my 46 years, I've been to about 20 of these things (my first one was in Dallas when I was six - which is where this Indy boy became a Cowboys fan! My favorite one was Indianapolis in 1994 where I got to preach to the teen session of the convention and over 3,500 students. All my family and homeboys and girls were there (and yes, I realize Homeboys as an expression is outdated)
So I'm up for some fireworks over the river tonight in Cincy and some fireworks of the Spirit during the week.