I was a “big brother” to a sorority when I was in college and we had meetings once a month or something, and what I always looked forward to was the end of the meetings where the girls would put index cards anonymously in a box labeled “Hoots & Salutes.” Then the president would pull them out one at a time and read them. You know, like, “Hoots” to Joe for getting 4 parking tickets this week…or “salutes” to Jim for winning the intramural swim meet. I liked that sense of community where we could laugh with/at each other as well as celebrate those things worthy of celebration. I brought that little tradition to my student ministry and they loved it.

So, today, just a bit of that for my own amusement:

HOOTS to the parents who took their five-year-old kid to a Major League Game, handed him an iPad in the first inning and let him play video games (with the noise level on high so we could all enjoy them) for five innings before you left: You didn’t take your kid to a ballgame. You took your kid to a stadium and ignored him. And that’s a vitally important difference. Next time, put your arm around him, ask him to count the players. Have him point out the bases. Ask him to name the positions. Ask him if he thought the pitches were balls or strikes. Ask him to point to the fly ball. Engage him, don’t placate him. You’ll both be glad you did. For years and years and years.

SALUTES to my newspaper delivery person: It doesn’t go unnoticed that you put my newspaper in two protective sleeves on days you think it will rain. For those of us who still enjoy the ritual of a cup of coffee and the daily miracle of newsprint to start our days, a perfectly dry newspaper during a downpour is not something I take for granted. This is why we tip big at Christmas. You rock.

HOOTS the the 16-year-old cutie who was texting while driving and running over the road-turtles and coming dangerously close to my car: Look, I know it’s a part of your life, but when you’re driving a 4,500 pound machine, we need you focused. If for no other reason that you stay a 16-year-old cutie. However, you gotta admit you’re not quite experienced enough to pull off what you’re trying to pull off. And I know your parents probably do it, too. So let’s all put the phones in the glove box or the armrest compartment and pay attention to what we’re doing. Try to remember that safety of you and others is more important than telling whoever whatever it is you thought was so important.

HOOTS to a few potential employers: When we have a great conversation on the phone and you tell me you’re going to check my blog, Facebook page and such after we hang up, please at least send me an e-mail to let me know you’re not interested. It’s just rude to say nothing…for a month and still counting. Look, I know I’m not everyone’s cup of tea and I know that my resume has over two decades of what you’re looking for. But I’d also venture to say that over two decades of ministry and 15 years in one spot might say a little more than some tattoos and long hair…which are not at symbolizing anything you might think they are (just ask, okay?). And, yes, I get that we might not be a “fit,” which I’m okay with, but an e-mail (at least) is common courtesy, no? Same for folks who get resumes, a form e-mail saying you got it and will review it and get back to me seems appropriate. I’m not letting you off the hook for common courtesy just because you love Jesus.

SALUTES to my daughters: I’m constantly amazed by both of you, for entirely different reasons. The universe knew what it was doing when it gave me nothing but daughters and watching you both go the way you’re both supposed to be going makes me smile whenever I think about it. You’re both wonderful enigmas that make being a student of you fun while at the same time making me proud beyond words. Stuff from this weekend reminded me about that reality.

HOOTS to Dallas Area Rapid Transit: You know that raising rates and charging people for parking in your lot (after a decade of free parking) is not the way to increase ridership, right? I’m precisely the guy that wants to use public transportation, and when you charge me and my family $2 to park, $4 per person for a day-pass, well, I can get downtown and park in 3/4 the time and for half as much money taking my car. Here’s an idea with gas prices climbing: Cut prices in half and see if your ridership doubles or triples.

HOOTS to all my friends who tell me that your company leaves tickets to baseball games unused in somebody’s drawer at work: Stop doing that. Grab some and let’s go.

SALUTES to the folks who made P90X and Insanity: Thanks so much for helping me get in shape…35 pounds lost from P90X and 7 more from Insanity with one week to go. Sure, your instructors are kind of hokey, but that has been money well-spent in our family.

SALUTES to my friends and family who have been so supportive to me while I try to figure some things out. Every time I turn around, the people closest to me are encouraging me with insights and kind words at precisely the right time. Even when it seems my ability to tune-in to the Holy Spirit is at ebb-tide you people show me you care or want the best for me. Trust me when I say the process is difficult as it lies, but without you people willing to let me ask hard questions that require you to say difficult things to me (or when I ask easy questions that let you say fun things to me), well, I don’t know how I’d do it. I’m getting to a point where I’d really appreciate resolution and you guys are so helpful in making sure I get His resolution rather than any old resolution. But it’s fun dreaming with you folks, that’s for sure.

So, patrons, what HOOTS or SALUTES do you have for us?