NAZARENE MECCA. Growing up in a Church of the Nazarene parsonage, I heard a lot about Kansas City. It’s the denomination’s international headquarters and home to Nazarene Publishing House. We used to call it “Nazarene Mecca.” It’s also home to Nazarene Theological Seminary, the graduate school I would eventually attend and earn both a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degree. Becky and I enjoyed living in Kansas City during my seminary years. We lived on its southeast side, near Bannister Road. Becky worked as a nurse at a hospital in midtown. I drove school buses in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. And we worshiped/fellowshipped in Overland Park. I later served one year as a pastor in Grandview, Missouri, on KC’s southeast corner.
ANOTHER GENERATION IN KC. We had no idea we would be turning our thoughts and hearts to Kansas City again until after our daughter Abby married Alexander Butler last summer. Abby chose a masters degree program at Kansas University Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas. And Alex, a theology student, decided to take graduate courses at Nazarene Theological Seminary—my alma mater. So, on my first weekend out of the pulpit, we decided to visit Abby and Alex over the Fourth of July holiday. Becky’s sister and family also live in Overland Park, so we have many good reasons to make the eight-hour trek every now and then.
CYCLING KANSAS CITY. I took my bike, of course. I first started serious bike riding when I was in seminary in Kansas City. During my second year, I commuted to and from the seminary on a road bike. I enjoyed riding the city’s parkways. Swope Park stretches out for a nice ride. Kansas City cycling calls for attention to hills and wind. The whole metropolitan area is hilly. And it’s usually windy. I got caught by the wind this morning. Riding south on Antioch Road in Overland Park, I enjoyed unusual ease climbing the rolling hills, until I turned around and nosed into a stiff headwind. The ride back took me twice as long.
RAIN-SOAKED BIKE RIDE. On Friday morning, I struck out for long ride into the midtown and downtown areas. It was lightly sprinkling when I left Abby and Alex’ place. But within an hour, the skies darkened and I rode through a downpour, lightning and thunder. As much water was coming up from the spray of my tires as was coming down from the sky. If it had been colder, I would have been miserable. But as it was in the mid-70’s, I rode on without too much discomfort. Two hours later, I arrived back at the house looking and smelling like a river rat.
ROYALS GAMES. We took in a Kansas City Royals game on Friday evening. Becky and I enjoyed lots of Royals games in 1983, ’84, and ’85. We’d sit in the left field cheap seats, eat plumper hot dogs loaded with sauerkraut, and watch George Brett lead the Royals in solid pennant competition. Kaufman Stadium has been upgraded and is a great venue for MLB entertainment. We got to watch league-leading pitcher Zack Greinke throw against the Chicago White Sox in front of sold-out crowd. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Greinke’s night. He got rocked for 12 hits and the Royals were shut out, 5-0. We enjoyed great fireworks after the game concluded. Including $1 hot dogs, soft drinks, and peanuts for the game, it was a fun family evening.
WHERE LOVED ONES LIVE. But Kansas City is nothing to me if not for the dear ones we love who live there. I have no particular interest in Albuquerque or Portland. But if one of our children happens to move to one of these places, I’d become very interested in it. I am interested in the well being of our children and their interaction with the places and people where they reside. Bourbonnais, Illinois interests me because Jared attends university there. Bloomington, Indiana moves into my realm of interest because Molly will attend Indiana University there in a few months. I would go around the world to a remote village if one of our children found life, commitment and community there. I would find some way to support their interaction with its people and culture. The place is not inconsequential. But its immediate interest and value to me is in relationship to the children, the loved ones, who live there. So, Kansas City, you are blessed by the presence of one we hold dear. May you be positively changed by her and Alex’ life amid your life.
In the spirit of dialog, I welcome comments and/or questions. Click on "responses" below to post. They're moderated only to reduce incivility.