Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An Ugly Moment

All of my life I have prided myself that I could do just about any job.  And I have at one time or another.

The other day I was sitting in the restaurant watching the help as I waited for my dinner, and it struck me that I could not make my body do many of those tasks for any length of time any more.  If I need to get a job, I now have to be very careful to find one that I can actually physically do!

You know that you are getting old when you have to admit to yourself that you cannot do the things that you once could -- even things you would rather not do.  That flexibility was kind of like an ace in the hole just in case.  Now I cannot do many things just because this body is getting older.

It is a truly ugly moment in one's life!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Why Me?

Sometimes I want to ask that question.  Or "Why not me?".

I just read the district newsletter.  It was full of wonderful articles about people doing things and how wonderfully they worked for them.  I am delighted that they have captured success.

I just wonder why when I do those same exact things, it never has those same salutary results for me.  I go out of my way to help people and if I get a thank you I am doing better than average.  People don't join my church.  They don't come and help me when I need it.  Sometimes, if they have the opportunity, they will turn on me and do or say something nasty.

I read an article about a pastor who began to read through the Bible with his wife.  Suddenly, he had a Bible study with thirty people attending!  Two Bible studies, actually.  I am happy for him.  I have been reading the Bible for decades.  My Bible classes are basically reading through the Bible, sometimes with commentary, and answering questions.  My Bible studies have shrunk, not grown.  Mind you, most everyone who attends tells me how wonderful they think they are!  I have had people leave my congregation for a different local congregation telling me how terrific I am, and that I ought to be the pastor of a large congregation, so that my talent will benefit even more people - as they are on their way out the door!  Why doesn't it work for me?

I am not complaining.  No, really!  I know why the things that are happening are happening.  God works in His own way and at His own time.  I have been doing the same things for decades, and have had varying "success" at different times.  I just find it frustrating to read all the 'how to' articles and the 'we did it this way' testimonials, which all suggest or say outright that if you are creative and clever like them and do things the right way, you will be amazed at the results.

I understand that God works in His own way and at His own time.  I would love to have different results, but I would love even more if people in the church stopped acting as though it is their creativity and their effort that makes things work the way they work.  I have figured out that God grants the prosperity we enjoy, whatever that prosperity may be (actually, the Bible teaches that principle). I just worry that someone who hasn't figured that out might actually take those theology of glory kind of messages to heart and be beaten-up by the sense of failure that accompanies doing all the right things - things others are boasting about making them so successful - and finding their results are not all that impressive.

Limited sucess is hard enough to handle without those who ought to know better preaching to you that the right program or technique is all you need.

When will the church get back to living out and living in her own theology?

Sunday, February 06, 2011

A New Trend?

I have noticed recently that fewer and fewer of the Obits list church affiliation for the "dearly departed".

It started with fewer services being held for the departed at any church.  Now it is rare to find a church mentioned in the obituary.  I have also noticed that there seems to be an increase in no funeral or memorial service at all.  The obit simply tells us that beloved so-and-so has died, and will be fondly remembered, and so forth.  Sometimes it says, explicitly, that there will be no service.  Sometimes the mention of any funeral or burial is simply lacking.

I see this as a measure of our culture.  Faith is waning.  People have more generally accepted the evolutionary idea that we are just life forms, and that life is limited to this realm.  The hope or hunger for the eternal has been morphed into the fascination with "ghosts" and the paranormal.

On a similar vein, our local animal rescue establishment is ever expanding, but the local 'help the needy' effort, which is - oddly enough - located right next door to the animal rescue establishment, is small and struggles for support.  It would appear that those cute little animals are more worthy of charity and assistance than our fellow human beings.

Our society is sick, and getting sicker.  Pray for us!