Thursday, June 14, 2012

In Essentials, Unity. In Opinions, Liberty. And in All Things, Charity.

The church I am working at this summer just finished up a series on Church History, ending with several weeks on Restoration History. Before you click the "back" button because I said the word "history", I promise this will not be a history lesson.

The great thing about history is that it helps us see where we've been, where we are, and where we're going. I've grown up in Churches of Christ (this post need not be strictly read by those in this movement) and learning a little bit about our history has really helped me see where we've been, where we are, and where we're heading. We truly started off as a unity movement, one designed to bring people together with Christ and His Word as our center. There have been rough patches along the way because of one factor that always seems to mess things up: people. I was once told something that is not entirely accurate, but struck me very deeply and does have an amazing amount of truth in it: "Churches do not divide over doctrine, churches divide because two people with big heads desire power and come up against each other." There are most definitely exceptions to this, but the truth is that most splits happen because of strong and misguided opinions disguised as doctrine.

We do two things that are truly tragic. The first thing we do is allow preferences to become matters of disfellowship. The second thing we do is allow sometimes obvious truths to slip by as preferences. It's quite a messy deal. There are most assuredly things addressed in Scripture that I believe we should cling to ever tightly, while being very respectful of those who might see it differently. There are also things very much not addressed at all in Scripture that might have validity in the arguments for either side, but mostly come down to a matter of preference.

As far as our future in churches across the board with every kind of name and background, I hope that we do all things in love. I pray that we study diligently and find out what our lives should look like according to Scripture. I also pray that we come to a point where we can honor and respect each other's opinions and preferences and seek to find where we are the same, not where we are different.

I end this post with a quote that when googled, does not seem to have a definitive author, but could not be more appropriate a charge for the church today.

"In Essentials, Unity. In Opinion, Liberty. And in All Things, Charity."

Friday, June 8, 2012

Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend

Today, I buy a new (old) car. I finally found a car yesterday in my price range that still meets all the criteria: Runs great, looks like crap. The experience was one to remember. I by no means am a car expert, and so I took a youth deacon who does know a thing or two with me. We ended up "talking the guy down" $300, but this can by no means be credited to myself. I am in fact quite possibly the WORST "wheeler and dealer" in North America and probably the Western Hemisphere. I end up feeling so bad for the person that I would almost give them a little extra. Horrible experience. My accomplice claims to have almost lowered the price another $100 when I completely caved, tears welling up (metaphorically speaking).

This story is two-fold however, if you know the piece of crap that I've been driving since I was 16 - The Jackpot. With nearly 400,000 miles on it, The Jackpot has lived a good long life. At one point I named the car "The Bumblebee" because nearly everything in the car vibrated to the point of back massage. This problem has persisted, but a new set of problems arose. One day, nearly every light in my dash started flashing and enough bells for a sleigh started going off. No apparent reason for this commotion, none at all really. This is the day my car earned the name "The Jackpot". A while after that, my headlights started not working on me unless I would hold my "brights" on with my hand. After a few dark and mysterious convenience store runs in which the only time I had lights was to warn other people I was there, I extended the name of my car to "The Batmobile Hit The Jackpot" or just "Batman Hit The Jackpot", I can't remember which. Eventually this phase of my car ended (on its own I think) and it went back to just being "The Jackpot". These days, The Jackpot smokes and leaks profusely, dies intermittently, only cools the passengers occasionally, and sometimes takes five minutes to even start up!

Yesterday as I drove out with my car-knowledgeable-friend, The Jackpot did none of these things. No smoke, amazing AC, no lights or dinging, started up the first time EVERY time - it was truly a model car. It knew I was looking at something else, I swear it. My car hasn't run that well in months. But I made an offer to pay and pick up the new car today for I know these things will not last. As I was exiting my car to go inside for the night, just as I shut the door my car started making a siren type noise (only from the inside and the first time for the day) as if to yell, "PLEASE DON'T SELL ME TO A JUNKYARD". The Jackpot has a mind of its own. I shall indeed miss it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Introduction

Well, this shall be somewhat of an informal intro. I have been thinking for quite some time that I need a place to share some thoughts that doesn't require my hand cramping from pencil use or the constriction of thought to 140 characters or less. I've always enjoyed (or hated) looking back at things I have written and seeing what I was like and how I have changed. Blogging (although a rather unpleasant term) appears to be a rather accepted practice these days and thus seems like the best solution to my predicament.

Every now and again I just get on these topics in my daily life that I would like to share my viewpoints with my peers and get feedback from whomever might take the time to read and respond. I think mostly about God and what it looks like to serve Him best. A. W. Tozer said that, "What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us."

I'm starting this to do just that: share the things that come to mind as I work in ministry and walk with God. Perhaps there'll be a few fun detours along the way where I talk about a different kind of experience or a new flavor of gum or something. We shall see. Until then, it's late and I have to practice the discipline of summer reading before I go to sleep.

Live in the light of the Son. εἰμί Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. "I am of Jesus Christ"