Thursday, September 29, 2011

What if Robert Were an Apostle??

You know him, you love him. 

If you've spent any time in almost any organization or club, you have no doubt met Robert.  His "Rules of Order" have been stimying and confounding people since 1876, and reviewing the history, I was saddened but not surprised that the rules were originally created for use at a church meeting.

I recently read the minutes from our church's first business meeting, dated October, 1944.  And yes, you guessed it!  Robert was there.

NOTE: for inclusion in our church newsletter, a request was made for a title for these minutes.  My suggestion of "Motion Made and Seconded" was rejected after it failed to get out of committee when I was ruled "out of order" for failing to make the proper motion and securing a valid second.  This is still under review by the newsletter parlamentarian.

Anyway, as my "out of order" mind works, I immediately wondered what would have happened had Robert been one of Christ's apostles.  I can imagine Matthew 16 being amended to look something like this:

Jesus: Who do people say that I am?

Judas: Point of order.  For a proposed agenda to become the official agenda for a meeting, it must be adopted by the assembly at the outset of the meeting. At the time that an agenda is presented for adoption, it is in order for any member to move to amend the proposed agenda by adding any item that the member desires to add, or by proposing any other change.  As the Lord did not request his question to be on today's agenda at the outset, I move we table the question until such time as He can correctly present it for adoption.

Robert: Do we have a second? No?  Jesus, you may proceed.

Jesus: Thank you Robert.  All, who do people say that I am?

Peter: I move that you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Robert: Does Peter's motion have a second?

John: I second.

Jesus: Call to question.

Robert: All in favor of agreeing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, say "aye."

Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaes, Thaddeus, and Simon the Zealot: Aye!

Robert: All opposed say "no."

Judas: No!

Robert: Motion carries.  Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Kinda makes you wonder if Robert was what the Lord had in mind, doesn't it??

I move to close this edition of "The Dagger."  Feel free to second my motion below, make any substantive points of order, or move to adjourn.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Facebook, Restaurants, and the Church

Example 1- I woke up earlier this week, turned on my computer, and was immediately confronted with the most alarming thing to hit this world since we discovered that Milli Vanilli was lip-syncing.  What was it you ask? Did the stock market crash? Was the government overthrown in a violent coup?  Did Congress officially recognize New York pizza as better than Chicago pizza (further proof that we need term limits!)??

NO!  Egads, Facebook changed its appearance again!

(Side note: any time you can work "egads" into a conversation or blog post is time well spent).

For the record, I really don't care what Facebook wants to change.  I'll roll with it.  But the crisis of the situation was, predictably, the world-wide outrage that a provider of a free service (i.e. costs us nothing) would have the gall to attempt to improve the free product that they provide.

Is it really worth the little layers of dead skin that come off of your fingertips when you type to voice your protest- over and over and over again?

Example 2- Yesterday over lunch, I saw a really interesting segment on the news.  It was an interview with Ted Brunson, who hosts a TV show where he travels around America reviewing local restaurants.  The segment can be accessed here.

What I found most interesting (other than the food of course) was his answer to one question- that about whether he has received negative criticism or comments for drawing more customers into these restaurants.

If you watch(ed) the clip, his answer starts out in a sort of "duh, of course the owners like more customers" way.  But as he continues, he points out that the real criticism comes from the long-time customers of those restaurants.  They don't like the fact that their little secret has gotten out, making the restaurant more popular.

Example 1- provider of free service attempts to make improvements, and it upsets people.

Example 2- owner of a business sees his/her business grow, and it upsets people.

My theory is that the complaints about both have less to do with the quality of the products in question and more to do with how the changes inconvenienced ME.

I like the way Facebook looks, so don't change it!  I like knowing my little corner booth in my secret little restaurant is always available, so I don't want more customers to come in.  I, I, I!

Which brings us to the Church.

Disclaimer: the following only applies to you if you feel a certain "ouch" when you read it.  My comments and observations are by no means universal, which means that they do not apply to every single person.

If you ask people in churches, to a person I'm sure every one will say things like "we need to do 'more' to reach people" or "we need to be 'better' at ____."  People will say that they want to see God glorified in worship; they want to see more people attend their church; they want deeper sermons; they want better music.  Each of these statements implies a change of some sort.  But making changes to see these types of results too often upsets the very people who want to see those results!  Deeper sermons may mean longer sermons.  Better music may mean different musicians or songs.  More people means more crowded pews.

Yes, people want major changes, at least to the extent that we can still preserve the status quo.

The moral?  Once we all realize that Facebook is a fun toy, with some nice benefits, but created for a world-wide community and not for the individual, changes will be easier to handle.  Once we understand that business owners open businesses to see a return on their investment (i.e. make money) and not as a vehicle to meet my every want or whimsy, I'll be more understanding when I'm inconvenienced.  And once we all acknowledge that the church is the earthly assembly that God ordained to bring glory to Himself and His Son, we will see real change- real life-giving, world-rocking change!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Gospel Polemics, Part 1

Wow, exactly!

FYI- polemics is
1a: an aggressive attack on or refutation of the opinions or principles of another   
b: the art or practice of disputation or controversy —usually used in plural but singular or plural in construction

I had to look it up too :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Jesus Wept

Jesus wept.  (John 11:35 ESV)

The shortest verse in the Bible, yet perhaps the most poignant.

To think that the God who made the universe, rules over it, and has complete control over every aspect of it would still feel such emotion is mind-blowing.  Of the many counter-intuitive things in the Bible, this has to be in the top 5.

Such a statement bears repeating.  Jesus wept.

Is it because this verse is so short that we overlook it (and thus overlook the fact that the Lord does take a personal, emotional interest in what we do and what happens to us)?  Is this why we ignore the fact that Jesus really does care about even the mundane things that happen?

Jesus wept.

Have you considered how your actions or inactions might still cause the Savior to weep?  Has it ever crossed your mind that every impure thought, every evil deed, and every unrighteous attitude can cause our greatest Friend to either weep or smile?

Jesus wept.

Do you understand that actions have consequences, and sometimes those consequences are a hindered relationship with the only One who truly matters?

Jesus wept.

Do you realize yet that every unnecessary argument, every unwarranted attack, and every impulse you have that does not align squarely with the entire counsel of the Almighty, as revealed in His written word, grieves the Joygiver and hurts the Healer?

Jesus wept.

Oh that we would weep at the things that make Him weep.

But wait, it doesn't end there. 

Do you know that rather than pain, you can cause our Friend joy??

Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.  (Luke 15:7 ESV)

Did you know that by repenting, literally by changing your mind about things and turning your life's direction to follow Christ you too can know this joy?

How does this work, you ask??  The Apostle Paul wrote:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  (Romans 12:2 ESV)

Wanna know what makes Jesus happy? Renewing your mind, walking away from the things of this world, and working to understand God's will, i.e. what is "good and acceptable and perfect."

Have you repented? Have you given your life to Jesus?

If not, Jesus weeps.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Technology and Theology; More than Just Words that Sort of Rhyme

OK, I'm an anomaly.  An enigma.  A mystery wrapped up in a riddle.

I think I'm discovering technology.

Not in the "I'm Al Gore and I invented the internet" sense.  And not that my wife and I read Dickens by candlelight.  I just mean I've been learning about all sorts of cool toys lately.

Why didn't anyone tell me about these things???

My latest obsession is the Nook.  For those of you even less savvy than I, the Nook is Barnes and Noble's e-reader.  Think Amazon Kindle, but more democratic.

NOTE: Amazon is an online book seller.  To be online means to be accessible over the internet.  For more on the internet, see the above paragraph re: Al Gore.

I've already asked my wife to get me a Nook for Christmas, and I'm holding back with all my might from buying one beforehand.

Why this new obsession?  I just discovered that a) with a Nook I could actually check a book out of my local library without actually going there, meaning no little old librarians could "shh" me;b) that with a Nook I could carry a bible (yes, there are e-bibles!) at significantly less weight (plus lots of other books, commentaries, etc.); and c) it would be fun to shock people in church who saw me reading a Nook instead of a "real" bible.

Other new technology?  Well, truth be told not new to me, but at yesterday's Worship Cohort meeting, some of the other Worship Leaders learned about Planning Center and Service Builder, two online worship planning tools.

Also discussed was the increasing use of tablets on the platform during worship, and a floor button that allows the musician to turn pages with his/her foot.

What does all this have to do with technology you ask?  Well, it makes me wonder sometimes how much is too much.  Where is that line between using useful tools that God has provided to facilitate our worship of Him and worshiping the tools themselves?  How easy it is to slip into a sense of inadequacy because I pray, but do not iPray or e-vangelize.

If you have been made aware of the internet, how about commenting below with your thoughts???

Friday, September 2, 2011

Wierd Stuff About Me

OK, time for a little mental garage sale.  Lucky for you I'm giving away all of this mental clutter for free!

Here are some wierd things that for some wierd reason I feel compelled to share:

  • I found myself singing, "Jimmy Crack Corn and I Don't Care" as I opened up this page to write.  Perhaps it's prophetic of the interest level among my readers.
  • I am incredibly decisive about some things, yet incredibly indecisive about others.  I've negotiated contracts worth tens of millions of dollars, but I've changed the name of this blog 3 times!
  • As my wife will tell you, I have freakishly strong thumbs.
  • I am a conservative that drives a Hybrid.  That means I drive it because I'm cheap, not because I'm green.
  • I am never quite satisfied with my hats.
  • I can still sing both the theme song for Underdog and the theme song for Cuddly Duddly.  Maybe that's why I tend to create songs for my dogs.
  • I have seven toes on my right foot.
  • I tend to joke about imaginary physical abnormalitities.
  • I'm afraid of geese, as you should be.
  • I kinda like the "Little People" you see at weddings and Christmas parties, and believe they should be in the Finals of America's Got Talent.
  • Speaking of AGT, I still find it amusing that none of the judges are American.
  • I would list more wierd things, but what you might call "wierd," I call "special."