A simple message this week and yet one that we can’t always seem to get right. Thus, we need to be reminded of the lesson. “ 31Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)Read More
Being a Disciple - Blog
Tuesday’s news brought the report of a disturbing incident on a children’s playground. A man (one with a concealed carry permit who gun rights advocates say is the sort of person who will never do such a thing) had pulled his gun and was pointing it at another man and his small child, as other men, women and children scattered in fear. The report indicated that the incident stemmed from a child with multiple handicaps striking the child of the man with the gun. The incident was and is, I’m sure, extremely important to all the people who had their children in the park just then. But for the rest of us, though we may find it a very serious matter, unfortunately this story just melts into the large, dense fog of violent incidents – from terrorist-inspired stuff, to military actions of all varieties in dozens of places around the world, all the way down to the latest road rage shooting, leaders advocating that reporters should be beaten, and the latest child or wife getting thrown against the wall in homes just down the street.Read More
This cartoon is sad, but true. Our relationships have changed because of the impact of social media. Many have redefined what “friend” means because of Facebook. I know I have “friends” on Facebook that I have never actually met in person. A few weeks ago, while I was in North Carolina, I had an awkward conversation when I met a Facebook “friend” in person for the first time. We both laughed it off as this crazy world we live in today.Read More
“Hey, it wasn’t me! All of that happened a long time ago.” I’ve tried never actually to say that. But I’ve certainly thought it.Read More
Oh, the many levels of conversation this cartoon begs us to have. My first thought was of Maslow's hierarchy. You remember the pyramid of needs. The base of the pyramid starts at physiological, then moves to safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization at the top. Maslow studied only the top level of people like: Albert Einstein, Jane Addams, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Frederick Douglass. He wrote, "The study of crippled, stunted, immature, and unhealthy specimens can yield only a cripple psychology and a cripple philosophy." Seems like good logic, harsh, but good. The point of his study was to discover the pattern human motivations generally move through. In that case, all of these people are functioning in the base of the pyramid.
But...are we as simple of a people as this cartoon might suggest? Do we choose easy personal satisfaction over difficult self-knowledge? If so, that says a lot about the landscape of our churches these days. I argue we are not the people in this cartoon.
Just before worship last Sunday a faithful member handed me a book he thought I might like. The book's title is "CREED:What Christians Believe and Why". It is an exploration of the Apostles' Creed, a handbook, it appears, for helping new believers explore the contents of the faith. The Apostles' Creed is recited weekly in many, many churches throughout the world. It functions, in that fashion, as a regular tutorial on the faith, a regular reminder of what binds us together - together with each other today around the world, and together across the centuries.Read More
This story is a week or so late, but I believe the message still holds true. For several years now, our Evangelism Chair has asked the Ministerial Staff to do something called “Ashes to Go.” The idea is on Ash Wednesday you stand out in a public place and offer the sign of the ashes to those who pass by. Many churches across the country do something similar. A friend of mine in Longview set up
outside of a Chick-fil-a and offered the imposition of ashes. They didn’t even have to get out of their cars!
I just got back from a few days in Black Mountain, North Carolina. I was attending the Disciples Youth Ministers Network (DYMN) Retreat. This group has met once a year since 2008 to network and learn from each other. This year the focus was on the official Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Youth Ministry Design. You know, that piece of paper that every institution creates to give guidelines and paths for how they will live out their call. I don’t know about you, but I always feel like those documents are almost out of date the moment they are created. In this case though, the Design is really out of date – 30 years old.Read More