Have you seen the movie, A Beautiful Mind? It’s the movie where Russell Crowe does an amazing job portraying genius mathematician, John Nash who suffers from schizophrenia. Despite being so naturally gifted, John can’t get past these characters that keep popping up in his life distracting him from what’s real. Eventually he learns to live with it. I wonder if most of us do. What do I mean? While most of us don’t live with seeing false images of people who speak to us, I’d venture to guess most live with some amount of internal voices that attempt to keep us from real life. Insecurities, jealousies, anger, addiction urges, or simple pride that bing us around in life. For some, we’ve been blessed to have another voice come along. One who has spit in the mud, wiped our eyes, and caused us to see. His voice is so very different. From the moment we heard it, we haven’t been able to get over it. Like dumb sheep to their shepherd, we know the voice of the own who truly loves us. The other voices persist. The thieves and robbers who work restlessly for their master. Because we are foolish, we’ll entertain these voices for a time still. But inside we know something’s not right, and we wait for the voice of our true shepherd. I got to discuss the 10th chapter of the Gospel of John with two of my beloved brothers yesterday, and just got to thinking of these things this morning. Wondering how many who know that true voice have been listening to the liars for too long. I know many hours and days of mine, some not too far in the past have been lost listening to them. The Good Shepherd’s voice is there. Calling us each by name. Has been all along. Telling us we will never perish- ever! And unlike John Nash, we will not merely just learn how to live with the voices. His voice will drown out the rest until one day the voices of the liars are no more. He’s calling; do you hear Him?
I don’t know how many of your famous childhood heroes were real people and how many of them were fictional. The large bulk of mine were both. I have come to terms with a universal truth. Like a lot of the odd forms of entertainment interests, it is impossible for those who don’t have the prowrestling bug to understand those who have it. I have had it in varying decrees since the second grade. Therefore, I will waste no time in trying to explain it now.
When I got that bug in 1989, Hulk Hogan was the main hero; he quickly became mine. His main nemesis at the time was Macho Man Randy Savage. It is a peculiar thing to realize later in life that the guy you booed as a child was actually more talented in 8 out of 10 categories than your hero. This is the case with Savage. In the 1980′s and early ’90s he was second to none at both creating incredibly entertaining matches, performing off the wall interviews, and consistently being part of the most interesting feuds of his time.
Several nights after his death, I popped in the anthology the WWE put out on him several years ago and watched about a dozen of his classic interviews with Mean Gene Okerlund. It came back to me why I loved this crazy ridiculous form of entertainment so much. This guy was absolutely hilarious, and I kept on shamefully wanting to watch more.
Randy Savage was a major key player of something that was so top to bottom fun in my life. As life goes on, you begin to realize how precious those things are. Even though there are many highly entertaining individuals in both the WWE and entertainment today; I have a strong hunch they’ll never be at the level or flavor they were during Savages day. His death has reminded me of childhood friendship long gone, and enthusiasm for this larger than life characters were unmatched. For every kid who did an elbow drop from their parents’ furniture as a kid onto their friends below, Savage’s death reminds those us of more fancy free days.
Keep Christ the main thing, and enjoy the life He’s given you. Don’t despair of it.
In the dust of disappointment, I am left with a void of feeling. Perhaps, since I received the news I have tried too hard to answer the questions I should reserve for tomorrow, next week, and the months ahead. I have not failed. In fact, in the tasks I have been judged and graded, I have excelled. Disappointment is a tricky bit of emotion though. I just was not chosen for this one. His providence remains; it never waivers. My disappointment just needs to be dealt with before I move on. It deserves its moment, but nothing more.
A quickly put together list for my fans for my 30th. The order could honestly change daily, but right now these are the current Ryan Connely favs. enjoy.
The Black Crowes
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Natalie Merchant/10,000 Maniacs
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
The Jackson 5
Stone Temple Pilots
A cigar smoking, profanity spewing, internally insecure Missourian would probably not be in the official job description for the most celebrated literary figure of the wealthiest nation on earth, but it describes him none the less. For the past month, I have walked through the world and life of Samuel L. Clemens by first reading The Prince and the Pauper for the first time and then journeying through his biography, Mark Twain: A Life, by Ron Powers. I found The Prince and the Pauper to be a delightful classic tale. It follows the journey of the son of Henry VIII and Tom Canty, a poor boy from the roughest part of town and an abusive family on top of that. In an odd turn of events, the boys encounter each other. Both are enamored with each others life, and swap clothes and live resulting in a mixed up adventure for both of them. It is a polished contrast to Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
As for Twain himself, he in a nutshell is an odd, eclectic fellow full of charm and vile who I could see fitting in well with my family especially at Thanksgiving time. Twain went through at least six to seven careers and 30 plus years before he found his place as a literary man which gives myself great comfort (it took me only 29 to find my niche). He floundered as a steamboat pilot, lumber company owner, and gold prospector among others with a myraid of characters and events to color up the years. These trials were not failures, but the substance that fueled his writing in his later years. Brushing up against such characters as Ulysses S. Grant, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Charles Dickens. He lived through the Jackson administration, the Civil War, to the turn of the 20th Century and all the change and event in between. His wit and humor made him a magnet for entertaining whether a large audience in New York City or a small gathering of family and friends at his estate. In the book he is referred to as the United States’ first rock star persona. I imagine, if I knew him personally, I would have a coy, but honest affection for him much the same I have for the Simpson’s or Chris Farley. Those things that I think in my head, “I know I shouldn’t like this, but dang its funny.” He is a true picture of what we tend to love about American way, an unrefined, poor boy who becomes America’s first great author in the face of all the rules that say the contrary.
I still have about 150 pages and 30 years of his life left to journey through. I don’t suspect Samuel Clemens will become a hero of mine, but for some reason I think I’ll like him none the less.
I (123 Statements About Me)
I don’t talk much about myself.
I keep my thoughts to myself a lot.
I have been told that’s not healthy.
I am going to break that trend right now.
I am Ryan Charles Connely.
I am 29 years and 10 months old.
I have been mistaken for a high school student at least 5 times this year.
I am loved by God proven by Jesus Christ and indwelled and sealed by the Holy Spirit.
I am loved by my family.
I love them too.
I am distant from my friends.
I am frustrated most often by this aspect of my life.
I am single.
I am not in despair about this.
I like women.
I want to spend my life with one.
I want to really like the one I do.
I want her to really like me.
I am fascinated by connecting with young people.
I love listening to them.
I love pointing them to Christ.
I strive to make them each feel worthwhile.
I am a graduate of Raytown High School.
I graduated in 1999.
I also graduated from Southwest Baptist University.
I loved living in Maupin Hall during those years.
I miss my friends from this time in my life.
I also graduated from Midwestern Theological Seminary.
I have worked for the Mid-Continent Library, Blockbuster Video, and Color-Mart printing shop.
I worked every college summer at my favorite Christian camp New Life Ranch.
I have not enjoyed working anywhere more.
I have worked as a substitute teacher.
I subbed for elementary, middle, and high school.
I subbed at every school in the Raytown district and Lee Summit Community Christian School.
I liked subbing at LSCCS the best.
I have been a 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade Sunday School teacher at FBC Raytown.
I actually miss teaching the junior high classes.
I liked teaching the 7th grade class when Joseph Summers, True Newman, Nic Wilson, Alex King, Thomas Browning, and others were in it best.
I have been a 7th, 8th, and 10th grade small group leader.
I miss these as well.
I have been an Underground volunteer for 6 years.
I miss Halo 2 when it was streamed on at least 6 systems and the volunteers would stay late and play.
I miss Uncle Mike and Fuzzy.
I have been an HG leader.
I liked the year I led with Helmer Jensen best.
I am glad HG groups are no more.
I have been a summer “intern” 5 times.
I don’t know why they’ve even called it an “internship.”
I guess “cheap summer help” just doesn’t sound good.
I have helped lead 1 mission trip to New Orleans and 2 to Houston.
I have been a Know & Go CAMP sponsor for 5 years.
I led recreation for 3 of those.
I helped under 6 youth pastors during my 6 years.
I miss all 5 previous ones at different times.
I miss Ryan the most.
I also miss Nancy’s laugh.
I help with SOS now too.
I think it’s the best thing the student ministry is doing right now.
I am a Title I Reading Paraprofessional at Southwood Elementary School
I am finally really good at it.
I like connecting with the kids the most.
I get frustrated with the curriculum a good deal.
I have worked there for 2 years.
I have worked for 3 principals.
I like my first one the best.
I am almost done with earning my teaching certificate.
I will be able to teach 5th-9th grade social studies classes.
I will start student teaching in January.
I am tired of people thinking I am crazy for wanting to teach middle school.
I like that I am teaching a group of kids who need someone crazy enough to be their teacher.
I like listening and discovering great music.
I like artists from a variety of genres and eras.
I like classic rock and roll artists like Elvis, Buddy Holly, and Chuck Berry
I like soul artists like Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and The Four Tops
I like classic rock groups like the Beatles, the Who, Led Zeppelin, and CCR
I like modern rock greats like U2, the Black Crowes, Bon Jovi, and Eric Clapton.
I really enjoy alternative groups like Counting Crows, Stone Temple Pilots, and Pearl Jam.
I like many Christian artists as well like Chris Tomlin, Jars of Clay, and Third Day.
I like Rich Mullins, Waterdeep, and Caedmon’s Call more than all the rest.
I think professional wrestling is always going to be one of my favorite things.
I love cheering for one of my favorites to win only to get ticked off when the other guy cheats a victory.
I watch RAW every Monday night.
I have been to over 10 live events.
I hope to go to at least one next year.
I like Rey Mysterio and Ricky “the Dragon” Steamboat the best of all time.
I will always have a soft spot for my childhood hero, Hulk Hogan.
I currently really like Kofi Kingston.
I think Rocky is the best movie off all time.
I also really like Braveheart, the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Pursuit of Happyness, The Star Wars trilogy, Amazing Grace, Gladiator and Cinderella Man.
I like reading a lot but I seldom finish a book.
I think C. S. Lewis is my all time favorite author.
I like being out in nature.
I miss campfire side worship. They’re my favorite
I also miss Morning Camp Parties. I think FBC Raytown could use some of them.
I love playing games with friends.
I think I’m the best at Monopoly.
I love Italian food.
I like my mom’s beef stroganoff more than any other dish.
I really like ice cream too.
I like video games a good deal too.
I still think the Legend of Zelda is the best game of all time.
I think the Office is hilarious.
I really like Bizarre Foods as well.
I think the best TV show of all time is the Cosby Show.
I think Marvel has some of the most creative stories.
I think their absolute best stories are the X-Men’s main story and the Silver Surfer’s main story.
I love being an uncle.
I really like the relationship I have with my sister now.
I have two great parents and am proud to be their child.
I have had 3 wonderful grandparents as well; one of which is still going strong.
I love Jesus more than all these things.
I love being adopted by Him as a son.
I long to lift Him up in all things even though its hard sometimes.
I delight in learning from His word.
I wish all my loved ones, all my friends, all my teachers, all my students would know the joy of being His.
I love to write.
I find it very liberating.
I plan on doing more of it soon.
I cannot believe you read this far.
I hope you have a good evening.
WWE Champion Sheamus vs. Randy Orton
Sheamus wins followed by The Miz cashing in his Money in the Bank and becoming the new WWE Champion
World Champion Kane vs. Rey Mysterio
Winner and new champ Rey Mysterio with an assist from the Undertaker
Team WWE (Cena, Jericho, Edge, John Morrison, R-Truth, Bret Hart, & Mystery Partner) vs. Team Nexus
The mystery partner will be Triple H but I have a feeling Nexus is going to win due to some trickery
Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston
Winner and new IC champ: Kofi