Archive for August, 2009

My Eulogy to James Haynes

Posted in Friends on August 22, 2009 by mccoolio


A friend of mine, James Haynes, passed this week.

His death was sudden. He was at work one day and died in his sleep that night. Not much warning at all, besides the fact that he had remarked that his shoulder had been hurting for awhile and he’s been feeling pretty tired for awhile.

James was very popular, not just with other black guys or just among his Tooling fellow workers. The morning the rumors were flying around about his possible passing, everybody; black, white, blue collar, white collar, male and female were calling, emailing, wanting to find out about James.

James was 57, black, just an ordinary guy. I don’t think he was overly educated, he definitely wasn’t a big-shot, didn’t drive a fancy car, wasn’t that good-looking. He worked in Tooling at Vought, here where I work. Tooling can be a pretty dirty, unglamorous job and James didn’t seem to mind doing it. Matter of fact, he seemed really content.

I believe James’ mother lived with him. He was taking care of her. She was the one that found him, where he had passed away in his sleep. That’s pretty sad. A mother should never have to see her child die. I was also told that James was divorced and had maybe several children. I was told he was just about to finish paying child support as the last child was turning 18. After that he was going to retire. I thought that was pretty cool, that he was making sure he fulfilled his support to his ex-wife and his children, even to the point of postponing retirement.

I got to thinking, what was it about James that was so attractive? As said above, it wasn’t position, looks,  power, or wealth. The way he took care of his mother and his kids says about all I needed to know about him. He wasn’t a leader type. He definitely wouldn’t stand out at first glance. No, I think it was  James’ internal qualities that made him the man he was, it was the way he treated people, his outlook on life that made news of his death so troubling.

He always greeted me with ” Hey big man”. He was so humble. I think that was probably his greatest quality. You would probably think that because he was all the things above and also not all the above, that humility would come naturally to him, but I know that’s not necessarily true in life. Humble circumstances does by no means create humility in a person. There’s plenty of people to prove that false. James had a healthy opinion of himself, plenty of self respect, and plenty of healthy pride, but he didn’t think too much of himself. I believe his humility came from his mindset, a choice.

James had one of the goofiest laughs I’ve ever heard. When he got really cranked up, he sounded like a cross between a laughing hyena and one of those laughing mules in the cartoons. heehneehawhneehwaheehngn

James was never moody. When I said “hey James”, I always got the same thing: “hey big man”, accompanied by some kind of smile, either a big goofy grin if he was feeling real chipper, or at the least a warm smile of greeting. He always seemed to know something that kept that smile at the ready.

James was an avid newspaper reader. For years, he always had a daily Tennessean and  USA Today. Often, at the end of the day, I would make it a point to go by the table where he left his newspapers and grab his leftover USA Today. I don’t know for sure, but I believe  a lot of times he left it for me instead of taking it home, even though he had not had time to read it. Occasionally,  he would even bring it over and give it to me because other people were grabbing it up and not bringing it back.

James, I really enjoyed knowing you and working with you. Thank you so much for being so kind to me and sharing your USA Todays with me all those years. You didn’t have to and most people wouldn’t even think to do it. It wasn’t that big of a deal but maybe that makes it a big deal, huh? But most of all, thanks for your humility, and your friendship. You will be missed.


Lutherans to Debate Gay Clergy

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , on August 17, 2009 by mccoolio


An article in the paper today examines whether the nations largest Lutheran denomination will allow people in same-sex relationships to serve as pastors. One of the revisions of their ministry standards to try to get this passed is to: Let congregations employ gay and lesbian people in “committed” relationships as clergy. This is what one of their Bishops said about differences over homosexuality:       ” They are driven more by the hysteria in the culture than by what  Scripture says. If someone tried to argue this is going to be the test as to whether we are scriptually faithful or not, that’s a hard argument to make because Scripture says so little about homosexuality”

I really don’t get it.

There’s a lot of activities we humans can participate in.I believe we have  a Creator that is interested in how we live our lives and not only that, He has given us a guidebook for us to live by, and in that guide book  He makes it pretty clear what He likes and doesn’t, things we should do and things we shouldn’t.

Now I know that we who are believers in God all have faults, weaknesses, blind spots, monkeys on our back, skeletons in our closets, black eyes, warts, nasty habits, etc., etc. But I believe that scriptures are true that say: If we walk in the Light as He is in the light, then the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin and  He is faithful and just and that if we confess our sins He  will forgive  them.

That said, here’s some problems I have with this whole gays -out-in- church thing. And also let me say this, I’m not a homophobic. I have several gay friends. I love them as much as a lot of my other friends. But  if they were my Christian brothers or sisters, I would have to tell them that God’s word clearly teaches that they have to abandon that lifestyle, abandon their homosexuality, if they want to please God. The bible clearly teaches that if they wanted to live in good standing with other Christians and God they  would have to try to give up that lifestyle, just like if they were in an immoral heterosexual relationship, or if they were involved in some scam, or if they were constantly going out and getting drunk, or if they had a really nasty temper and were always going off on people.

Some observations about what the Bishop said in the above article:

1) He says ” scripture says so little” about homosexuality. How much does it have to say? Isn’t even once enough? Here’s three pretty clear scriptures that deal expressly with homosexuality: Genesis 19, Romans 1:26-27, 1st Corinthians 6:9.

2) The statement “driven by hysteria”:  concerns for the truth of God’s Word is not hysteria.

3) The concept of the legitimacy of a “committed” homosexual relationship versus an “uncommitted ” one. According to this logic, it’s fine if I get drunk all the time, just so I always do it with the same person.

It’s funny. You rarely hear of Christians who engage in heterosexual relationships outside of their marriages try to legitimize their conduct and attempt to claim full church fellowship. Now I admit that there’s a lot of people who try to live on” both sides of the fence” and live for the world and try to live for Christ but usually their vices are secret ones. There’s not too many married church-goers who would blatantly and openly have a mistress or lover on the side and try to fully participate in the things of God. People who do are usually seen as sick puppies. People like Tony Alamo, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim  Baker. Why do homosexuals try this? Is it their special status in our society as the poor, picked-on  minority, picked on because all they want to do is love each other? So, because of this status, gays are given all kind of special considerations: special insurance benefits not given to heterosexual live-ins, special hate laws, and holiness before God. Heterosexuals who violate moral standards usually pay big prices. We see this over and over where business leaders, politicians, and church leaders lose jobs, credibility, and their families for indulging their lusts. And usually rightfully so.

I’m not not saying people who have these urges are not in a struggle. I haven’t the slightest doubt it’s a monumental struggle. We shouldn’t turn our back on anyone who’s searching for God. He knows how all of us struggle with our fallen lives. But we have to try our best to turn away from our base desires and turn to the only answer. The Answer: Jesus Christ.

Rock Climbing

Posted in Sports with tags , , , on August 9, 2009 by mccoolio


We’ve been doing a lot of climbing lately. Indoor climbing that is. My first experience with it was when Christopher, Kellye’s cousin in the Navy, would come in on leave and we’d want to do something cool while he was in. We’ve done all kinds of things : pull up contests, push up contests, roller skating, movies, sushi-eating, sushi-making, wing-eating, gun shows (mostly mine) bowling, shooting. Anyway, he suggested rock climbing. So, I found a place out at Cool Springs: Classic Rock Gym (now The Crag) We went and it was really cool. We’ve gone back to that place several times over the years as has our youth group from church. The same owners of CRG opened a new place on Murphy Road, Climb Nashville. Our former youth minister Sean Judge took us out to that place. It’s way bigger than CRG with way higher  walls.

Jordan never really liked climbing all that much.Wow, has that changed! All of a sudden, a few months ago, he wanted to  go climbing at CN. So, that’s turned into Jordan getting a year membership and going usually at least twice a week. I got a 10 visit deal, which I’ve just about used up already.

A little about climbing: There are levels of difficulty on climbing walls. The walls are covered with thousands of different sizes and shapes of grabs and holds, some huge, some little bitty. The walls also are all different configurations: some are 40 feet tall, others only about 15. Some are straight up, some lean in, some lean backwards, some have huge ledges, some have small ledges. Some have a combination of all these features. All the thousands of grabs and holds have little pieces of different colored pieces of plastic attached to the side of them. At the base of the wall, one of each different colored piece will have a number written on it. The number scale goes from 5.6 to 5.14. This scale represents level of difficulty. 5.6 is the easiest, with big holds that your fingers wrap easily around, sticking out from the wall 6 or 7 inches, spaced just right where you can just go right up like a ladder, a climb that a little child could zoom right up. 5. 14 is the most difficult, with little bitty pieces of plastic sticking out, sometimes as small as 1/4 of an inch for you to try to grab with your fingertips or try to scrunge the tippy tip of your climbing shoe onto, hopefully that when you put your weight onto it, your precarious grip on it won’t slip off. On these routes, the spacing of the holds are sometimes insanely far apart, devilishly created to only allow a master climber with monster fingertip strength and awesome technique to even have a chance to complete.

When you’re standing at the base of a wall,  you  select the route of your choosing, according to your skill, and aspirations. If you want to climb, say, a 5.6 level climb, you just exclusively use the grabs that have the colored tape on them that is associated with the 5.6 written on it at the base of the climb. Usually white tape is the 5.6 but not always, or so Ive been told. Anyway, to complete the 5.6 all the way to the top, you just grab and put your feet on the holds with the white tape on them, using none of the other grabs with different colors on them. This becomes more important as you try more difficult climbs. For instance, if you’re halfway up,  say, a 5.9 climb, and you’re stuck and can’t seem to make that next grab to the hold with the 5.9 color on it, there might be a different color hold right there that you can easily grab to further your climb. But if you want to successfully complete your 5.9 trek to the top, you can’t grab or put your feet on any other color.

Climbing is very safe. You’ve got a harness on your waist that a safety rope attaches to. That rope goes to the ceiling, wraps twice around 2 steel bars, comes down and goes through a belay device  clipped to your belay buddy’s harness. Every single climbing station has a rope there for this. As you begin your climb up the wall, your belayer pulls the slack you’ve created in the rope out with one hand , then pulls the same slack up with his other hand,  brings the rope down into a brake position, both hands slide up the rope again as you continue to climb, and the belayer continues to pull your slack out, all the time watching you as you climb, ready at an instant to pull his braking hand down in case you miss a hold and fall, and stop you instantly from falling. A 105 lb girl can pretty easily hold a 275 lb fella up in the air safely, through the leverage gain accessed by the double loop on the steel bars at the top of the wall.

rock climbing

All the climbing places I’ve been to and heard about are very, very, very safety conscious. You can’t belay unless you prove you can, or are a known regular. If you want to learn to safely belay  it costs about $5 or so extra but well worth it. When you are deemed safe to belay you get a red paper bracelet to wear or hang on your harness.

I’m at about the 5.8- 5.9 level right now. That’s decent, especially for my weight, which is 238. I’m almost always the heaviest person at the gym. Rock climbing is definitely a sport that gives a huge advantage to lightness, especially lightness and strength. Not necessarily big muscle strength but wiry strength. If you combine lightness,wiry strength,  good technique, and experience, then you get someone that’s capable of doing the high levels climbs.

Climb Nashville has special prices on Monday and Saturday evenings for students.

Come climb with us. It’s a blast!!!