Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

June 14, 2013

In the House of Wood

Father's Day

Steve Woodhouse
Journal-Express

Knoxville — Sunday is Father’s Day and I hope all of you fathers out there have a good one. 

Watching the Knoxville baseball games this week have really gotten me thinking about my dad. Thankfully, he’s still around and I’ll get to spend some of Father’s Day with him. 

Back in the day, we had a nice field on my parents’ property where we played ball. I can remember spending many, many hours on the field with my buddies, my sister, and my dad. 

I don’t know how many times he played catch with me when I was growing up. Nor do I remember how many pitches he threw for me or how many hits of mine he fielded. What I remember is that he did it, as often as he could and I wanted to play. 

This just seemed to me like something fathers just do. You hang out with your kids, teach them what you know and help guide them through life. 

The idea of some fool being nothing more than a sperm donor, having nothing to do with their children once they are born, baffles and angers me. Being a dad seems like one of the coolest things a man has the opportunity to be on this planet. 

I’m not a dad and I probably won’t be. I’m too self-centered, spoiled and used to my “come and go as I please” lifestyle. I’m more suited for the uncle job, in which I can share experiences with my nieces and nephews, trying to offer a modicum of guidance but a lot more fun.

Plus, at the end of the day when I want to kick back and watch senselessly violent movies, I can send them home and do as I please. 

So to my dad, and all of the dads out there, thanks for being you. 

•••

In case you read last week’s column and are curious how my experience at the Iowa United Methodist Annual Conference went, I’ll tell you. It was disappointing, but I was able to take away a lot.

There were too few opportunities for the “rank and file” clergy and lay ministers in attendance to speak up. I thought that the purpose of this conference was to “confer” with our peers from across the state to try to improve and grow the First United Methodist Church.

I was wrong. 

Instead, we were treated to lectures, discussions about the importance of ending malaria and many, many offerings. 

I agree that ending malaria is important. I just sometimes think the church does not recognize the fact that there are people in need in America, and, sadly, we are not the country we were. Our ability to step up and be the world’s savior has been hampered. We need to restore America before we can successfully do this as a church. 

Beyond that, I thought the church would be better served in trying to educate the general public about Christianity and leaving Rotary International to eradicate malaria, as it has polio.

Because I’ve never known my place, I walked up to Bishop Tremble during one of the breaks and expressed my disappointment in the conference. I told him I thought that decisions were already made by leadership and that the hundreds of us in attendance were there as a procedural formality, without our input. 

The whole thing reminded me entirely too much of the Iowa Legislature.

He didn’t say much, but suggested I try to attend more local conferences. When I said I’d like to sit down with him sometime after the conference, he tried to suggest I talk to someone else. That, too, was disappointing. 

I took advantage of the opportunities I had at the conference to speak up about things. It might have worked, too. I spoke out against passing the church’s resolutions in one vote and, luckily, several were tabled. Each of them were too political. Not just liberal, but more political than something a church needs to state. 

I signed up for a leadership post, because, as I told my pastor, you can’t make change by simply complaining. You have to get in there and try to change things from the inside. 

Let’s hope I have some luck. 

Take care of yourself and thank you for reading.