When I mentioned on my FB status last week that our family was going to the rodeo, an old high school friend commented, "You? A rodeo? ......... not buying it!" I understand her skepticism.
But we DID go to the rodeo Saturday night, and I actually did enjoy it when I wasn't shivering (I always forget that Iowa is two states further north than I'm accustomed to). Eastin rode the bucking bull ride and had a blast. Leslie loved the horses. The clown was amusing. I did have to explain to a teary Eastin that roping the calves didn't hurt them -- and then eat my words when they carried one off on a stretcher.
However, the most memorable moment for me was in the opening "ceremonies". They had a very patriotic opening -- lots of flags and proud-American music. Then, the announcer said (and I'll paraphrase), "Now, let's celebrate one of the freedoms we have in this great nation by thanking the God who gave these freedoms to us." And he led the whole crowd in prayer.
I cried. Not enough for anyone to notice (because most people had their eyes shut praying). But I was very moved. Well, actually, I'm not sure if I was moved or if I was saddened at the fact that this felt like such a subversive act at a public gathering.
When Leslie was a baby, we inexplicably found in her diaper bag a cassette tape of a local speaker telling about his calling to, and preparation for, mission work in Salt Lake City. Never figured out where the tape came from -- for all I know, God plopped it into the bag out of the sky, which wouldn't surprise me because I listened to it many, many times and it has profoundly influenced me over the years.
He (don't remember his name now) talked about how he felt led to approach this as a "Daniel ministry". Can't go into the Mormon world as David about to slay Goliath. You go as Daniel to Babylon -- a foreigner, on their turf, there by their invitation and grace, simply living truth in their midst and praying to be given a willing audience.
I feel like Daniel these days. My friend Randy said something a while back about this being the first post-Christian generation. The truth and significance of that has taken a while to sink in. I often felt like I was in Babylon on the east coast, but I didn't expect to feel that here, back in the midwest Bible Belt. Yet, here it is.