Sunday November 8, 2009

“Faith In You”

Let me begin by apologizing for not being here with you, enjoying the bacon and eggs that our fine Executive Vice President guaranteed for today. As some of you know, my half-sister, who lived in Atlanta, passed away this week and as you hear President Fay read this speech on my behalf, I am leaving on a jet plane to be with my family. I want to thank all of you for your support and your kind words. It reminds me why it is great to be a Jaycee, because we always have each others backs.

WOW! This is the last breakfast I get to run for the year. Some previous Chappy’s will say they looked forward to their last breakfast, but I find that I am slightly stunned at how fast the year has gone. I have had so much fun in this role and I will miss being your Chappy next year.

Let me take a moment to thank President Fay, once again, for appointing me as your Chappy. I am not sure she realizes how surprised I was when she called me a year ago. I remember when my cell phone rang that night. I was on the I-69/I-94 interchange and when she asked me to be her Chappy. I almost ran into a truck. Perhaps that was because I was driving so fast, but I like to think it was because she caught me by surprise. I am so very happy that she did ask me because I kinda missed all of you guys.

Also, I am grateful for her appointment because serving in this role has given me the chance to go out to folks and do that “preachin’ and teachin’ thing” while at the same time sharing my appreciation for music with you.

I remember early in the year, coming up with a list of songs that I wanted to use during the year and let me tell you, it is difficult picking just four songs to use. I think I should share with you some of the songs that didn’t make the cut, just so you know what other artists were competing for your time. So let me say that the following songs are listed for you, in no particular order and with the full recommendation that you should listen to them:

  • One” by U2 – I came real close to using this song in the 3rd quarter, but then Michael Jackson grabbed my attention in a dramatic fashion. Would have been a great one to remind us all that we’re on the same team, that we’re all one and the same. Probably would have also made me tear up thinking about dancing to it back in high school.
  • Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica – This would have been a similar message to “One” and would have also reminded me of high school football bus trips around the Kalamazoo area.
  • Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zepplin – Considering the amount of Woo that we typically consume on these weekends, I’m sure that we’d come up with a number of different interpretation about this song. However, there’s a rarely used MIJC Bylaw that says “No Stairway to Heaven. Denied!”
  • Colorful” by The Verve Pipe – A nice reminder that we need to be in for the long haul and things always change for the better over that time. “We live in drama but we’ll die in comedy.
  • The Humpty Dance” by Digital Underground – I couldn’t go with this one because I’d look like MC Hammer on crack while it was playing.
  • Heaven” by Live – I actually would have used this one in May, but couldn’t find the CD in time for the Convention. That’s what I get for waiting until the last minute to pack my stuff.
  • Jump Around” by House of Pain – I’d totally break this down for you, but I do worry about having President Fay jumping all around before having her first two cups of coffee.
  • I Stand” by Idina Menzel – It sums up what a lot of us are Jaycees for.
  • Defying Gravity” by Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenowith – From the musical “Wicked”, reminds us that everyone deserves the chance to fly.
  • Conviction of the Heart” by Kenny Loggins – The live version of this song just gets stuck in my head all of the time and reminds me “How long must we wait to change, the world only changes while we live in it.”
  • Ernies Tragic Love Triangle” by Domestic Problems – It’s a happy little song about the stress caused by being “friends” with people who have differing opinions. Or maybe it’s a just a song about Bert and Ernie and Big Bird, who knows?
  • The Rainbow Connection” by Kermit the Frog – How can you not have a song that comes from Kermie?
  • This Side” by Nickel Creek. One of their best songs and would have been a good one for our MC Jim Williams to sing along with since both he and I are big Nickel Creek fans.
  • This Is Your Time” by Michael W. Smith – A song that asks us, if faced with the question of faith, what would we say?

The nice thing about music is that there so much out there, we could stack our Fellowship Breakfasts well into the term of the 200th MIJC President. But since I don’t have that kind of time, let’s get into the song for today. Today’s song continues our exploration of faith. As you will recall, in February we talked about the changing power of faith. Last quarter, we talked about the need to keep our faith. Today we wrap things up with a reminder about the importance of our faith.

Today, we listen to a fellow named Gordon Summner. You will know him better by his common name, Sting. The song for today comes from his album Ten Summoner’s Tales and is titled “If I Ever Lost My Faith In You

Let’s give it a listen:

If I Ever Lose My Faith In You
Lyrics & Music by Sting

You could say I lost my faith in science and progress
You could say I lost my belief in the holy church
You could say I lost my sense of direction
You could say all of this and worse but

If I ever lose my faith in you
There’d be nothing left for me to do

Some would say I was a lost man in a lost world
You could say I lost my faith in the people on TV
You could say I’d lost my belief in our politicians
They all seemed like game show hosts to me

If I ever lose my faith in you
There’d be nothing left for me to do

I could be lost inside their lies without a trace
But every time I close my eyes I see your face

I never saw no miracle of science
That didn’t go from a blessing to a curse
I never saw no military solution
That could always end up as something worse but
Let me say this first

If I ever lose my faith in you
There’d be nothing left for me to do

I must share with you how often this song reaches out to me. During my time as a legislative assistant to a number of state legislators, there were times where all I could do was just scratch my head as I tried to figure out why they did certain things and why they acted in certain idiotic ways. “You could say I lost my belief in our politicians.

There was a while where I didn’t go to Church. I remember the last time I went to my grandmother’s church and the good Rev. Matthew Wright decided to lecture the congregation about the need for women to remain in the kitchen and “fix us some cornbread and chicken!” You could say “I lost my belief in the holy church” after that … because he really did seem like a game show host (and not a very good one at that). Feel free to ask Niki if she agrees with this assessment!

We have seen our country struggle with the wars throughout time. Most recently, we are struggling with what to do in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some will say they “never saw no military solution.

Last night, however, we found ourselves with a new opportunity to believe. Last night, five people chose to rise up before you and we asked you to come along with us on a grand adventure. We asked you to renew your faith in our organization.

Now it is important for everyone here to not only renew your own faith but we must go out and renew the faith for those 2000 people who were not here with us this weekend. We need to band together with President Fay and with President Darlene to dare our members to get excited again and to believe in what we do.

If they lose their faith in our work, our efforts, and our abilities – what are they to do?

So let us vow, together, that we will not let them lose their faith.

Let us vow, together, right now that we will always have faith in this Jaycee thing that we do.

Let us stand up, together, right now, and say that we will spread that faith over the course of the next year in our home chapters, with members new and renewed, with members young and exhausted.

And let us begin, right now, as our current President, Fay Poissant and our new President Darlene Dresch remind us why we are the greatest young persons organization in the world by saying

We believe ….