On Valentine’s Day, a New Semester, and Anything Else

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. At some point this weekend, couples all across America will increase Hallmark’s profit shares, purchasing an endless supply of cards, flowers, chocolates, and who knows what else.

I never have understood that.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love doing things for my wife and enjoying getting her things that she likes or wants. I never understood why on Valentine’s Day we have to stop, spend money on exuberant gifts just to show someone you care and love them. My biggest gripe – and, yes, I believe we can call it a gripe – is that it devalues the little things, which are often more important than some big purchase, and places love’s value on material things and not the relationship itself. Why does buying a bracelet from Kay’s (No, I don’t go to Jared’s), a box of chocolate from anyone other than Reese’s, and a dozen roses signifying my great and undying love for my wife?

Personally, I’d rather do things that are more meaningful to show I love her. Buying a gift, just to show that I love you on Valentine’s Day, seems a little like I’m buying one’s love for the next 365 days.

For the record, my wife and I decided no gifts as a joint decision and put the money elsewhere – debt reduction – that was more needed.

It’s A New Semester

The Spring semester officially kicked off this week and it’s going to be an interesting semester. I’m taking 5 – yes, 5 – classes for a grand collection of 12 hours. They are each unique and will offer different challenges. Of course, a lot of reading as well.

The History of Methodism will allow me to become more acquainted with the theological leaders of the denomination and the history of the movement. So often we hear of John Wesley, Charles Wesley, Francis Asbury, and Thomas Cooke and fail to mention some of the other leaders of the movement. It should be an interesting class.

Preaching with a focus on the Trinity has already been a blessing in disguise. I might have to offer a weekly capsule of comments from this class as it has inspired and been transformational, in only a week. We’ve talked about how trendy and fashionable movements do not last, how people need more than 3 points and a poem, and how we need to connect people to the ongoing story of the Christian faith. It’s going to be an amazing journey.

Cross Cultural Communication is one class is one that I recommend all pastors to take. We live in an ever-growing multi-culture society and, as pastors, we must know how to interact with the societies and cultures around us, not just globally but here in the United States as well. Growing up in rural West Virginia, I only had small interactions with different cultures when I would travel for school trips and wasn’t until I went to WVU, and really left West Virginia for North Carolina that I experienced different cultures. I yearn for, as our professor said on Thursday, a world without stereotypes. It may take time to get there.

Pastor in Christian Discipleship will be an interesting class, I’m sure, as will my Ethics of the Environment course. I don’t have a lot of perspective, yet, from these two course to really focus on what to expect this semester.

Final Random Thoughts

West Virginia men’s basketball team can’t play 40 minutes of basketball. As an alum, this saddens me. This could be a great team, but now they don’t want it. … Tomorrow is the Daytona 500. My prediction that is bound to not happen: Tony Stewart to win, Kevin Harvick second, and Mark Martin third. … I’m thinking through, for my Sunday School classes, the teachings from Jesus that occurred right before the Passion. … I’m tired of winter and phrases such as Alberta Clippers. The only Alberta Clipper I would like is if the Clippers decided to move from Los Angeles and take up a home in Calgary. … Monday is President’s Day and as Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia has pointed out, it’s not a day to celebrate all the presidents, just selected ones and really Washington and Lincoln.

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