Monday, May 22, 2017

Are We Too Polite?

The other day I was driving and came to an intersection. There are two stop signs here and the other road is allowed to go straight through without stopping. We've all seen these many times.

But here's where it got interesting. Someone who had the right of way and no stop sign felt like being polite and stopping so the person with a stop sign could go. The person with the stop sign didn't know what to do. So they paused. This caused the car behind the nice driver to take the initiative and go when no one else would, which caused the driver who paused to jut out then pause again and the nice person to sit completely still because now they had cars passing them. And I'm in the back of the log jam waiting to go.

Sometime we mistake nice for right. The "nice" thing to do is always the "right" thing to do, isn't it? "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you", that's the goal, right?

Maybe there are times when being polite is wrong, or even when the right thing seems impolite. The right thing in this situation was for the driver without a stop sign to keep going. Nothing bad would have happened if they had just done what they were supposed to do. How many times do we get these things confused? What's "nice" and what's "right"?

Jesus wasn't very nice. It goes against what most people think of Him (in a study a few years ago almost 75% of teenagers interviewed described Jesus as "nice") but He really wasn't. Jesus was more concerned with someone's growth, their soul, the real right and wrong in a situation than being nice. He would throw tables, take people into life threatening situations, even call one of His best friends "satan".

Maybe sometimes we should worry less about being nice, especially at the expense of doing what is actually right...


Monday, May 15, 2017

What Difference Will This Make In _________?

The other day I was reading about a strategy some people employ so they don't fight with their significant other. It's really simple, before starting to argue something ask yourself, "Will this matter a year from now?" Usually the answer is no so they don't fight. Smart idea.

Liz and I were having a discussion earlier. We were talking about some of the things the church has argued about in the past century, many of which seem so stupid now. They could be big or small, but do we still have a problem with things like mixed race marriages or which side of the stage the piano is on?

Maybe this is a good question we should be asking ourselves before we get upset about things at church, will this matter in a year? Five years? Twenty years?

Maybe it would be better to stop looking at things we shouldn't do. What can we as a church and I as an individual to that will make a difference a year from now, five years from now, twenty years from now...?


Monday, May 01, 2017

The Desperation of Absence

It's a phenomenon we're all familiar with but probably don't think much about. I lived through it (and to some extent still am) this weekend. There was an internet outage in our neighborhood Friday that blew up our router. Because of this we didn't have phone or internet until Saturday afternoon. Then on Saturday morning I dropped my iPhone and it became unresponsive. Suddenly, I was at home with a toddler with no TV, no internet, and no contact with the outside world.

It's at points like these we hit our desperation. I didn't think about my internet until it disappeared, now I'm desperate to get it fixed. Our daughter has a million things to do in the house that don't involve internet or TV, but when those disappear now you get a little antsy and decide it's time to come up with a plan.

I was reading this phrase a few weeks ago in the light of Jesus' departure. While Jesus was here we/the disciples didn't need to do much. Jesus had it handled. They didn't need to preach, pray for healing, even get dinner in some cases. Jesus took care of it. But when Jesus leaves now there's a desperation of absence. Who is going to preach? Who is going to pray? Who is going to tell the world about a God who loves them?

In many ways we need to be living a little more in the desperation of absence. We need to stop thinking someone else will do it, someone else will love them, someone else will be Jesus to "them".

What if it's our turn?