The 2018 Winter Olympics are almost over. Like a calf looking at a new iphone 8 there have been moments watching the Olympics when I was confused. I listened to one commentator describe what I understood to be the sport of hurling. My first thought was, “Wow, something my daughter could have done!” When Meredith was 14 months old she hurled peas 11 ft. across the kitchen floor, probably an Olympic record at the time. As I listened closer I realized he was describing the sport of curling. In curling a full grown adult slides on one knee down a patch of ice shaped like a bowling lane. He is pushing what looks like a giant chrome hockey puck with a handle on it toward a red circle at the other end of the ice. When he releases it two other full grown adults on his team begin yelling at the bewildered puck while frantically sweeping the ice in front of the puck with brooms. It’s like watching a game of shuffleboard on ice where one participant is on Valium and the other two should be.

Snowboarding is another interesting event. First of all, to be a snowboarder you must look 15, have no fear and bad hair. I look 65, have bad fear, and no hair. I don’t even understand the terminology. One move is called “chicken salad air” and another is “nollie front flip.” “Dialed in” means you are tuned to perfection and a “face plant” is falling on your face. Well, that one I can do.  A “hucker” is “one who throws himself wildly through the air and does not land on his feet.” In the South we call that a doofus.

Here is part of a typical conversation between snowboarders -- First snowboarder, with an attitude: “Oh, dude! I was freeriding a flat bottom halfpipe on my goofy foot when I misty flipped my open mold and poptarted right into the nollie.” Second snowboarder, somewhat perturbed: “Be easy, dude! I did a lip tricking quarterpipe with a stale egg backside rotation and finished with a chicken salad air.” Clueless, and now irritated redneck listening in on the conversation: “Oh yeah? Well, I once done a back-breaking belly buster off the 10-foot dive after eating chicken salad and cleared the pool!”

The Olympics are fun to watch. There are skiers, snowboarders, curlers, ice skaters, bobsledders, and others. Each one is good at his sport but not necessarily at one of the others. There are many events, all coming together to form the Olympics. It’s like that in church. There are many members in a congregation, each one gifted differently, but coming together to carry out the ministry of the church.

Some work with preschoolers, some with youth. Just because someone is great with preschoolers doesn’t mean he or she would be great with youth. Some are not physically able to work with children but they visit nursing homes and shut-ins. Some work with our sound system. I’m clueless when those guys talk electronics because I don’t understand the language.

Can’t do a nollie front flip? That’s okay. Can’t work with electronics? That’s okay. Can’t do an eggplant with a stalefish grab? Neither can I. Don’t know anything about children? No problem.  We have lots of ministries. Find something you can do. Just don’t try to do too much.  Understanding each other won’t be a problem, as long as we speak the language of love.

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