Two weekends ago I got crunk with a friend, hopped a fence, and climbed around inside the half-demolished First Christian Church on Broadway Avenue. It's now totally gone, but we got in early enough to salvage a "Fellowship Hall" sign and several copies of Lectionary Homiletics, a trade magazine for people who give sermons. One of the great regular features in Lectionary Homiletics is an advice column called Dr. Sermon: Mildew E. Millgrist, D.D. (Question: "Dear Dr. Sermon, When I preach without notes, I sometimes forget things I had planned to say. --Les Warder, Nepenthe, Illinois." Answer: "Dear Pastor Warder, So do I, frequently. Sometimes, when a narthex departee graciously says something nice about my sermon, I'm tempted to respond with, 'Would you like to hear the parts I left out?' But usually I just inflict them on my spouse on the drive home. Maybe it's because of insufficient practice. Or maybe it's the Holy Spirit using our subconscious 'forget-ory' to edit the message, prune off nonessentials and such…")

Anyway, for the sake of literary history, to preserve some peripheral literature from the forget-ory of time, and especially given all the metaphor-rich deconstruction and construction underway at the site, I see no reason not to inflict on you the following excerpt from a sermon called "Road Construction Ahead," courtesy of C. Edward Bowen of Pennsylvania, which I found in Lectionary Homiletics circled in the ink of a blue highlighter:

I once heard about a fellow who called up the highway department to complain about the condition of the road in front of his house. He kept calling and calling, complaining about all the potholes and bumps, but the highway department never did anything. Finally, though, the man kept calling so many times the highway department said that they would do something about his road. But instead of coming out and repaving it, the highway department resolved his complaint another way. They put up a sign that said: "Rough Road Ahead." I wonder if that's not what a lot of us do with our lives. We see the sins that are there. But instead of fixing those sins, we just kind of ignore them.

Once again, we hear John the Baptist calling out to us. "Repent! Prepare the way of the Lord." What do we need to do to prepare the way of the Lord in our lives? Is that road already in the condition that it should be? Or does it need a little patching here and there? Or does that road need to be torn up and rebuilt?

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In actual news: Trisha Ready, managing director of Richard Hugo House, has given her notice. Details next week.

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